TALAS E-newsletter – April 1

Posted on April 1st, 2020
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TALAS Superintendents – Links to their respective pages regarding COVID-19 or Online Learning
Austin ISD Learning At-Home
El Paso ISD EPISD At Home
Fabens ISD In Home Learning
Ft. Worth ISD Learning At Home
Garland ISD At Home Learning
Houston ISD HISD @ H.O.M.E.
Hutto ISD Learn @ Home
Tomball ISD Remote Learning Plan
Perryton ISD announces hiring of new superintendent
The Perryton Independent School District had a special meeting Wednesday morning where it voted to name James Mireles as the new superintendent.

The board voted 6-0 to hire Mireles as superintendent with board member Richard Beyea unable to attend.

Mireles was principal at Perryton High School from August 2015 to May 2017. He was most recently superintendent of Texhoma ISD.

Leander ISD selects Jon Bailon-Valdez as Bush Elementary principal
The Leander ISD board of trustees at its March 26 meeting selected Jon Bailon-Valdez as the new principal at Laura Bush Elementary School in Northwest Austin,

Currently the assistant principal at Westside Elementary School, Bailon-Valdez began his career as an elementary school teacher before serving as an assistant principal in Ysleta, Socorro and El Paso ISDs in the El Paso area.

“Jon is a passionate leader who has demonstrated an ability to build a campus that sets high expectations and promotes learning for students and staff,” LISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing said. “His dedication to student growth and deep passion for parent partnerships will serve to enhance the culture of success at Bush Elementary.”

Bailon-Valdez received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in education from the University of Texas at El Paso. He is currently pursing a doctorate at New Mexico State University.
YISD keeps students, staff engaged at home with virtual activities
While students and staff at the Ysleta Independent School District stay safe at home during school closure, teachers and administrators are coordinating a variety of online games and activities to lift spirits and spark friendly competition across the district and El Paso area.

Since the school closure began March 23, Ysleta ISD schools have been busy posting on social media, sending video-recorded thanks to custodians and cafeteria workers, challenging followers to exercise and stay fit, sharing team photos, conducting read-alouds for elementary school students, and organizing popular eSPORTs competitions.

“Keeping students engaged during these difficult times is important,” said Mario Rodarte, an Innovative Technology support teacher at Ysleta ISD who has collaborated with colleagues at Clint ISD to host three Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Online Tournaments for the Nintendo Switch this week for students, parents, faculty, and staff from both districts.

Clint ISD offers needed medical equipment from shuttered academy
In an effort to share available resources to help the community combat COVID-19 (Coronavirus), officials with Clint ISD announced they are offering needed medical equipment to local hospitals in the El Paso area.

According to district public information officer Laura Cade, the Clint ISD Health Professions Academy located at Mountain View High School is closed and houses equipment and supplies that can immediately be used by local hospitals.

Equipment such as hospital beds and stretchers, as well as supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and hospital pillows will be offered to community hospitals in need.

El Paso ISD teachers, staff find unique ways to stay in touch with students
From the open top of a Jeep, to TikTok videos and selfies with signs at home, El Paso ISD teachers and staff – like many of their counterparts across the country – are finding unique ways to stay in touch with their students during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Earlier this week, Brown Middle School counselor Julie Black sent a socially-distant message of love to her students from her Jeep as they picked up their curbside meals.

“The connections between myself and my kids and parents need to be maintained,” she said. “I wanted to show them they are worthy of my time and love always. I am craving to make those human connections more than ever and I think my kids are feeling the same.”

Coronavirus is newest threat to Latinos’ census response, as groups pivot on outreach
Part of the plan for urging residents of the Dove Springs neighborhood to fill out census forms called for coaxing families at an Easter egg hunt, the soccer season opener, the César Chavez march and at the reopening of the recreation center.

Then came the coronavirus.

“At this point in time, everything’s been canceled,” said Jesus Becerra, who oversees social media for Contamos (We Count) Austin, part of the Austin-Travis County Complete Count Committee that is trying to improve residents’ census response rates.

As the coronavirus had taken its toll, local officials, like others around the country, have been forced to pivot from planned in-person events that were crucial to improving census response rates in Latino communities like Dove Springs.

Latest postings
  • Police Officer Closes April 14
  • Principal – Elementary Schools Closes April 13

  • JROTC Army Instructor, Bowie High School Deadline to apply 04-10-2020
  • Transition to Career Specialist, Special Ed & Health Services Center Deadline to apply 04-07-2020
  • Athletic Trainer, Andress High School Deadline to apply 04-09-2020

  • Assistant Principal – Tomball Jr. High School for 2020-21 SY

  • School Design Administrator

TEA – Various positions
  • Senior Database Administrator (Data Base Administrator IV)
  • Associate Commissioner, Compliance, Investigations, Enforcement (Director VI)
  • District Charter Incubation Manager (Education Specialist V)
  • Senior Auditor (Auditor IV)
  • Visual Impairment Program Administrator (Education Specialist V)
Your Source for Opportunities
Texas Association of School Administrators TASA Career Center
Hazard, Young, Attea Associates https://hyasearch.com/browse-jobs /
Support for TALAS Members
reThink Ed SEL is a CODiE Finalist for the Best Social Learning Platform
Rethink SEL is a CODiE finalist for the “Best Social Learning Platform for Students”, see our  press release . We are proud to be able to offer innovative SEL solution at no charge through June 30th. Now more than ever, our educators, students and parents need our support and tools, we are honored to be able to help them.

reThinkEd, in their commitment to support districts impacted by schools closures, is offering free access to their SEL platform through the end of the school year. In addition they have released an  SEL toolkit  that anyone can access, it will be updated frequently. Please note, only district administrators can request access for their schools. 
Some additional supports:

As we continue to monitor the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on our schools, students and parents reThinkEd asked two of their experts to put together short webinars addressing stress that this uncertainty can cause.

Steven Tobias, Psy.D
Director of the Center for Child & Family Development

Blaise Aguirre, MD
Medical Director at McLean Hospital
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry/Harvard Medical School

These have been added to the SEL toolkit.

For more information, please contact;
Diana Frezza
Senior Vice President
m: 845-587-1523
School Leaders Say Plan for Remote Teaching. But Take Care of Students First.
Many of the nation’s schools are now closed—some indefinitely—leaving educators and communities with more questions than answers. Chief among them: How will families and students cope with closures? And how can schools roll out effective remote learning plans in a short amount of time?

While it’s tempting to fret about how students will learn, and what online tools will make that possible, all that should take a backseat to something more important: their mental health and wellbeing, says Reshan Richards, director of studies at New Canaan Country School in Connecticut and a board member of Global Learning Academy.
The long-term health of the institution—like our society—will be better off if [mental health] becomes the priority. We’ll figure out the math, we’ll figure out Hamlet and the Odyssey.
“If your online school gets delayed by two weeks because you’re solving the mental health question, then I think your energy’s in the right place,” he said. “The long-term health of the institution—like our society—will be better off if that becomes the priority. We’ll figure out the math, we’ll figure out Hamlet and the Odyssey.”

National News
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Guidance
25 years after her death, singer Selena inspires fans across USA to pursue their dreams
Selena in a leopard-print bustier before a landscape of snow-capped pine trees. Selena in a white top, denim vest and long floral red skirt, alongside a kangaroo. Selena in her purple jumpsuit, in front of a giant mural bearing her likeness and her name.

These are photos on an Instagram page, Traveling Selena, created by friends Leroy Peña and Eva McDaniel. The pair make clothes by hand for a vintage Selena doll and take photos of the doll in front of landmarks and landscapes around the world.

Peña and McDaniel, both 34, frequently travel together, and they drew inspiration for the Instagram page from a visit to San Francisco in 2018. They saw a man taking a photo of a doll in front of a landmark and thought it was “the coolest idea ever,” Peña said.

Peña had had a Selena doll in storage since 1996. He decided to put that doll to good use.

How Cesar Chavez United Thousands of Farmworkers and Became a Civil Rights Icon
The fight for human rights is never done alone. It’s borne by a multitude of visionaries, carried on by armies of believers and waged in a variety of ways. Through, for a few examples, the quiet and peaceful dignity of Mahatma Gandhi. The soaring eloquence of Martin Luther King Jr. The fervor of Susan B. Anthony. The certitude of Malcom X. The unbending reason of Nelson Mandela. The persistence of young Greta Thunberg.

Among those icons old and young, past and present, a special place is reserved for Cesar Estrada Chavez, whose humility and resolute belief in La Causa made him a hero to millions.
“Why were they drawn to him?” asks Marc Grossman, Chavez’s speechwriter and personal aide for the Cesar Chavez Foundation. “Because he had great faith in them. He had faith they could do great things.”

‘The sky was calling’: Professor Cecilia Aragon’s memoir talks about her life as a Latina pilot on the US aerobatics team
Cecilia Aragon is typically found reading a pile of books in her Sieg Hall office, but 35 years ago, the human centered design & engineering (HCDE) professor was flying upside down in an aerobatic aircraft. 

Her upcoming memoir,  “Flying Free: My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team,”  is about a timid graduate school dropout who found her freedom in aerobatics. Her story takes us on a journey from a small town in Indiana to the big tech scene in Silicon Valley.

Born to immigrant parents in Indiana, Aragon had a rough upbringing as a young Latina student. She was frequently accused of plagiarism by teachers because they didn’t think a Hispanic girl could write so eloquently.

Although this made Aragon feel “not good enough” in school, she eventually found her comfort zone in mathematics.

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