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Texas News
‘Unlike any other’: Gregory-Portland ISD holds groundbreaking for Early Childhood Center
Gregory-Portland ISD pre-K and kindergarten students from T.M. Clark, W.C. Andrews, East Cliff and Stephen F. Austin elementary schools gathered around the future Early Childhood Center for a groundbreaking ceremony Friday.

Each student, staff member and community member present received their own commemorative hand shovel to participate in breaking ground for the $37.6 million building.

The project is part of the district’s $107.7 million 2020 bond and is anticipated to be complete in 15 months.

Dozens of Latino law students to get scholarships in Houston
Diana Davila had plenty of people telling her that pursuing a career in law wasn’t a good idea. She heard it was too expensive and support was limited for young Hispanic women like her, a first-generation Mexican American immigrant from the Rio Grande Valley.

“I faced a lot of obstacles, but I ended up being the first everything in my family,” said Davila. “I grew up in a family where English isn’t the first language, but I am the first one to graduate from college in the United States, the first one to do any type of grad school, and will be the first lawyer among my relatives and childhood friends.”

Jasper ISD joins growing list of Texas districts switching to 4-day school week
The implementation of a four-day school week is gaining some traction across Texas.

Jasper Independent School District, located about 130 miles northeast of Houston, is the latest district to change its schedules for the upcoming school year.

“It’s got its pros and cons,” Superintendent John Seybold said. “We talked to many districts, but the main thing is teacher recruitment. There is a nationwide teacher shortage [and] that’s the main driving force behind a four-day week.”

Seybold says 64% of parents and staff were in favor of the new plan.

Group calls on state education leaders to include diverse voices in curriculum
The Texas Education Agency is working to determine how to make changes to match the new law on teaching “critical race theory.” Last year, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 3 into law adding provisions to the state’s Education Code and changing how certain topics such as race are explored and discussed in the classroom.

However, the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Tejas Foco Committee on Mexican American Studies is concerned about what and whose history gets left out of the curriculum. They say if certain historical figures are eliminated students will miss out.

Greg Abbott’s Latest Border Theater
The governor’s plans to bus migrants to D.C. and ramp up vehicle inspections at ports of entry have little to do with federal immigration policy.

On Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott made the same pilgrimage he’s made dozens of times in the past two years, traveling from Austin down to the Rio Grande Valley to stir fears about unrestricted immigration. Abbott had a new occasion to rail against President Joe Biden after White House officials announced last week that the administration would end its use of an emergency provision called Title 42. Like the Trump administration, Biden has used the federal statute—which gives the executive branch the power to close the border during a public health crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic—to expel millions of migrants without a deportation trial. The governor for months has decried what he calls Biden’s “catastrophic open border policies.” Now, in Weslaco, twenty minutes east of McAllen, he sought to raise the level of alarm even higher and explain how Biden’s supposedly open borders will somehow get even more open.

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National & International News
Fears of a School Superintendent Exodus: With Data Revealing Massive Pandemic Turnover, New Survey Shows Another 1 in 4 Leaders Expect to ‘Leave Soon’
More than a quarter of America’s superintendents plan to leave their posts imminently — and hundreds more are unsure they want to keep balancing pandemic-era 67-hour work weeks and staffing challenges, a new RAND survey of over 350 district leaders has found. 

While RAND’s early look at 2021 departure rates suggests the “big quit” has yet to play out among superintendents, an emerging trend raised concern: Urban school district superintendents are leaving in higher numbers than their suburban and rural counterparts. And that churn could further damage the districts, composed predominantly of students of color who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. 

U.S. sees explosion of dual-language programs
The number of Spanish immersion schools and dual-language programs in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the past decade.

Why it matters: The growing number of these programs shows not only the cultural impact recently arrived Latinos have had in the U.S., but also how families are embracing multilingualism after decades of rejecting it.

Driving the news: Several studies have found that speaking more than one language makes people smarter.

Positive student-teacher relationships boost instructional quality
Positive student-teacher relationships not only help students but benefit teachers in an interesting way — by leading them to use more challenging instructional techniques, which in turn improves students’ academic achievement, according to research from the University of Missouri.

Using “prosocial classroom behaviors” like showing kindness and compassion increased teachers’ motivation and confidence, research from the University of Missouri shows. It also led teachers to use more challenging instructional techniques that make lessons interesting and relevant to students, said Christi Bergin, a research professor at Mizzou and co-author of the study, which will be published in the journal Learning and Instruction. 

University of Chicago Study Reveals Benefits of Early Bilingual Education for English Learners
Illinois school districts are reporting a shortage of bilingual education teachers with as many as 100 vacancies, as of October.

To help fill the void, the Illinois State Board of Education announced the launch of a $4 million grant to cover tuition costs for teachers interested in becoming licensed to teach English-language learners.

It could make all the difference for the youngest learners. A study from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research shows that getting bilingual education support to English learners early pays off in the long term.

Bilingual Teacher Susie Garza Navarijo presents a Workbook to Help Children Learn English and Spanish Easier
Communicating in one language gives you a significant edge, but learning a second language will put you much farther ahead. Bilingualism improves a child’s capacity to multitask and solve problems. Bilingualism can also boost creativity, focus, and attention to detail. However, mastering two languages in a single lifetime is undoubtedly challenging. Each language has its own set of regulations, which and some are complicated. Thankfully, a multilingual instructor with over thirty years of expertise teaching young children Spanish and English is available to help students, tutors, and parents. The book “Learning to Read in English and Spanish Made Easy: A Guide for Teachers, Tutors, and Parents” is presented by Susie Garza Navarijo.

Las Tienditas
This Week’s Featured Sponsor
TALAS sponsors make this newsletter and other TALAS activities possible. Please support them. Click on the logo to learn more!
Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC (SWS) is an independent financial services firm offering, investment banking, sales and trading, research, and advisory services. The firm ranked as the #1 M/WBE senior managing underwriter in the nation, a ranking the firm has held for 23 of the last 25 years. SWS also ranks among the top‐4 senior managers based on average deal size and among the top‐10 senior managers in various sectors. The Texas team is led by Equity Partner, Honorable Henry Cisneros, the first Latino mayor of San Antonio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton. SWS provides customized, best-in-class solutions incorporating comprehensive financial advisory, capital raising and risk management, delivering the highest level of value-added services to our clients. Dually headquartered in New York and Oakland, SWS is comprised of over 130 diverse professionals spanning 19 offices across the U.S., including: Dallas, Houston, and Austin.

Nicole Conley – Managing Director – 512.541.0707