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Texas News
Texas House of Representatives honors Ysleta ISD Superintendent
Ysleta Independent School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre was honored earlier this month by the Texas House of Representatives for “making a positive difference in the lives of countless young Texans in his distinguished role as an educator.”

District officials say that the congratulatory resolution for Dr. De La Torre, HR 422, was filed by State Rep. Art Fierro in late March, and laid before the state House of Representatives and adopted on Thursday, April 1.

In the resolution, the House of Representatives commends Dr. De La Torre for numerous accomplishments throughout his career in education, and extends its sincere best wishes for continued success with his important work.

BEAM Shines A Light On Irving ISD
Two students and three teachers received honors from the Bilingual-ESL Education Association of the Metroplex (BEAM), an organization that promotes the collaboration of local bilingual and ESL educators and students.

Students Christopher Camacho (fourth grader at Good Elementary School) and Arely Hernandez (eighth grader at Bowie Middle School) won the top prize for their submissions in the student-essay contest. With the help and advocacy of their teachers, Camacho and Hernandez submitted essays written entirely in their second language about how the pandemic has challenged and impacted their lives.

Klein, Tomball ISD superintendents talk work programs, goals for 2021
The superintendents of Klein and Tomball ISDs met to discuss work programs, COVID-19 adaptations and hopes for the 2021 legislative session at an April 8 North Houston Association event.

KISD Superintendent Jenny McGown said her district is focusing not only on maintaining its current career and technical education programs, but also expanding to include a logistics program and a virtual academy for students who have thrived during remote learning.

EPISD student enrollment numbers on the rise but daily attendance is still catching up
More students are returning to school campuses while participation in remote learning has decreased, but overall daily student attendance is still in decline at EPISD.

Student enrollment is increasing again after severe losses because of COVID-19 pandemic. EPISD officials said the district lost 4,900 students because of the pandemic, largely at the elementary level, at a March budget meeting with school board trustees. 

How should Texas schools spend $18 billion in stimulus money? Education leaders have ideas.
As students filled classrooms Thursday morning at Best Elementary School, four second-graders gathered in a tucked-away corner of the Alief ISD campus, using plastic coins to learn how to count money.

The specialized, small-group instruction is an important tool for catching up students struggling academically — a group whose numbers are growing amid the pandemic. Alief officials hope to tap some of the billions of dollars in federal stimulus money in the next few years to hire additional staff that would allow them to give students more one-on-one attention.

How the Digital Divide Is Failing Texas Students—And Why That Might Be About to Change
For rural families who lack reliable, high-speed internet, Zoom-style instruction is a luxury.

For months, Gus Peters, a high school senior in the East Texas town of Jasper, went where the Wi-Fi was. Some days, he parked himself at the local coffee shop, Jasper Java, ordering a green tea frappé to appease whoever was working the register. Other times, he went to Elijah’s Cafe for a Trail Blazer, the diner’s signature dish of chopped steak smothered in gravy. Often, he spent hours in his gray Ford Escape in the parking lots of Walmart, Lowe’s, or McDonald’s, his sister Grace beside him, both of them on their laptops, doing schoolwork. “I didn’t feel right sitting in the parking lot,” Gus says. “Didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there.” He and his sister were Wi-Fi nomads.

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Supporting Your Career
The 5 Crucial Interview Questions Of 2021 (And How To Answer Them)
Back in the “before times,” when most of my clients expected to be interviewing for jobs in person, my interview coaching looked and sounded a lot different. I would meet up with a client to discuss their body language and even the volume or tone of their voice.  

You may not believe me, but I used to ask clients to the room and walk back in, so that I could make sure that they were striding into their interviews with confidence. After all, 50% of hiring managers think that a candidate can be eliminated based on how they dress or walk into the room!

National News
Will FEMA Reimburse Schools for COVID-Related Costs? Here’s What We Know
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse school districts for costs they incurred trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to an advisory issued this week by the agency. But district officials and their advocates remain confused about what the agency will pay for and what they’ll have to do to get the funds—especially after some districts last year saw requests for millions of dollars of aid denied.

The agency’s new policy directly reverses guidance it issued under the Trump administration in September, which said FEMA would no longer reimburse school expenses for masks, personal protective equipment, and other COVID-19 protection efforts.

Analysis: As Urban Districts Prepare to Reopen, Most Are Not Doing Enough to Communicate How They Will Keep Students and Teachers Safe
As districts move to offer more in-person learning this spring, many teachers, parents and students remain hesitant, worrying whether schools — and their specific campuses and classrooms — are safe. This is especially true for families of color.

In Los Angeles, less than a third of surveyed families plan to return in person. But officials have expressed hope that communicating about district plans, including school-based COVID testing, improved ventilation systems, contact tracing and teacher vaccination sites, will help convince more parents to send their children back.

What the Government Is Doing To Help Latinos & Latino-Owned Business Hit Hardest by Pandemic
There are many experts that have great influence over policies, especially during a global pandemic. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen is most certainly one of them. Having been the first person ever to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisors, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury Department, she is certainly qualified and knowledgeable. Hence, when Secretary Yellen makes statements, we must not take them lightly. Earlier this week, Secretary Yellen pointed out that “Economic crises generally do this: They take pre-existing inequalities–and make them even more unequal,” and one of the biggest inequalities contends is among Latinos.

If you really want more equitable schools, you must first ask some questions
Enough with the reports, surveys and committees: Here’s how to take action

For nearly a decade, I have made a living navigating an incredibly convoluted ecosystem called educational leadership. Like many fields, it has its own unique structure, governance and jargon.

Education leadership requires a proficient understanding of students, schools and systems if one seeks to obtain longevity and success. I’ve had both, but neither has provided immunity from the frustration of observing how the education system continues to fail so many of our students.

For Latino kids, a new educational show has puppets, Spanish, and a little English too
“They can celebrate and be proud of their multicultural identities,” Romina Puga, host of “Club Mundo Kids,” said. “This whole show was built with them in mind.”

Where can you find a talking coconut and a pink puppet asking a NASA expert about space — while speaking in Spanish with a sprinkling of English?

“Club Mundo Kids,” a new educational series aimed at first- and second-generation Latino children, premieres April 10 on Televisa and April 11 on Universo, a channel owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.

NASA Names Asteroid After Former Astronaut José Hernández
Its scientific name might be Asteroid 122554, but now the astronomical object will also go by the name José Hernández. NASA recently called Hernández, a former astronaut and engineer, and asked permission to name an asteroid after him.

Hernández told KCRA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Sacramento, that he told NASA that he didn’t mind receiving the honor as long as it wasn’t the kind of asteroid one would see in a Hollywood disaster movie.

“Just make sure it’s not one that’s heading towards Earth because I don’t want people to get mad at me if it’s one of those doomsday asteroids,” he joked.

Las Tienditas
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For 50 years, Curriculum Associates (CA) has been united around one common purpose: to make classrooms better places for teachers and students. In the years since, we’ve remained driven by this mission, introducing and then constantly improving innovative and exciting products that give every student the chance to succeed. We believe teachers are the essential glue between our programs and classroom success, so we strive to empower them with the tools and resources to accelerate student growth. Together with educators we’re making equitable learning programs a reality—raising the bar and making it reachable for all.