Renew your membership today!
TASA’s online Member Services Center is the place to go to become a member of TALAS. Please read these step-by-step directions or contact Debbie O’Donnell at 512.852.2108.
Texas News
After 36 years with La Joya ISD, superintendent announces her retirement; board appoints Beto Gonzalez as interim
Superintendent Gisela Saenz, who steered the La Joya Independent School District through a turbulent four-year period marked by the pandemic, declining enrollment and a major corruption case, announced her retirement on Wednesday.

Saenz started her career with La Joya ISD in 1987, when she became a kindergarten teacher at Rosendo Benavides Elementary School in Sullivan City — her hometown. During the next three decades, Saenz worked her way up to superintendent.

“My career has been a blessing in so many ways. Many of my kindergarten students are now district employees,” Saenz said Wednesday, when she addressed the school board. “And I’m so proud that they serve our students in many capacities.”

PSJA ISD mothers form folklorico group
Mothers from the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District united to form a folklorico group.

The creation of the dance group was inspired by the opportunities in the PSJA Parental Engagement Program, which aims to increase the number of parents engaged in their child’s education.

The twelve mothers meet weekly at the Cesar Chavez Elementary and Ramirez Elementary parent centers in Pharr. 

Tomball ISD extends Two-Way Dual Language program to Tomball Intermediate
Rosehill Elementary School students enrolled in Tomball ISD’s Two-Way Dual Language program will now be able to continue the program as they advance to middle school. The Tomball school board unanimously approved extending it to Tomball Intermediate School at its April 11 meeting.

“The program has been successful; it’s been well sought out; and so we’re just continuing [it],” Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora said during the April 10 workshop meeting.

Started in the 2019-20 school year, the Two-Way Dual Language program teaches students math, language arts, science and social studies in English and Spanish, Community Impact previously reported.

LULAC concerned over lack of representation in HISD board of managers applicants
Local Latino leaders said they’re concerned by the low percentage of Hispanic applicants despite having a Hispanic student population of 62% in the district.

The Texas Education Agency last week released a demographic breakdown of the applicants for the Houston ISD board of managers set to take over the district.

The deadline for applications was originally April 6, but has been extended to April 20 to allow more people to apply.

TASB Legislative Report – April 13-14, 2023
House Pub Ed posts for Thursday: The House Public Education Committee has posted 17 bills for on April 20. You may view the bills and information on watching the hearing online and submitting electronic comments in the committee posting.

One bill of note is HB 4522 by Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville) that would change school district bond election language to state “THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX RATE INCREASE” only if the bond proposition would actually increase the district’s interest and sinking tax rate. 

Affiliate Feature
The Garland Association of Latino Administrators is a group of dedicated leaders whose ultimate goal is to develop leaders to foster success for all learners. We know that sometimes all it takes to change the world is a little support. Since 2019, we have been determined to make an impact on our Latino communities. The core of our efforts is to bring our team’s fresh ideas and passion for the range of activities we’re involved in. Through all of our endeavors, we hope to display the conviction behind our beliefs.
Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National News
Despite ‘Crisis,’ States and Districts Slow to Spend $1B in Mental Health Funds
A month after ED Secretary Miguel Cardona called the sluggish pace ‘unacceptable,’ only one state has distributed money from the post-Uvalde law

Like many state leaders this year, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers used his January State of the State address to call for expanding student mental health services. 

“We cannot overstate the profound impact that the past few years have had on our kids,” he said. 

5 best practices for school district succession planning
While it’s typically discussed in regard to the superintendency, one leader says districts should consider succession for all levels of staffing.

Changes in leadership are potentially fraught times for school districts, and having a succession plan can ensure smooth transitions with an eye toward organizational growth, experts say.

“From a leadership perspective — the board of education and superintendent and executive team — succession planning should be on your agenda throughout the year,” said John Kellogg, superintendent of Westerville City School District in Ohio, which has been focusing on succession planning for nearly a decade.

How to Get Students to Take Advanced Courses Sooner: Strategies for Schools
High school students are more likely to choose honors and other advanced courses in their junior or senior years, but for some students, that might be too late.

To ramp up the number of students—particularly Black and Hispanic students—who graduate ready for higher education, schools need to rethink their class prerequisites and provide better access, guidance, and supports to help students prioritize their course progression, according to an ongoing research project in Delaware. It was part of new college-readiness research highlighted on the first day of the American Educational Research Association’s annual conference here. The four-day meeting is expected to draw about 14,000 researchers from around the world and will be followed by a two-day virtual summit in May.

TikTok remains top social app for teens despite drop in favorability, study finds
TikTok remains teens’ most favored social media platform so far in 2023, though its favorability fell one percentage point from the fall of 2022 with a 37% share, according to Piper Sandler’s Spring 2023 Taking Stock with Teens survey.

Behind TikTok is Snap (27%) and Instagram (23%). TikTok has been the top ranking social media app since spring 2022, when it unseated Snap. Thirty-one percent of teens spend their daily video consumption on Netflix, followed by YouTube (28%), both falling one percentage point from last fall.

3 state budget trends to watch for higher education
Though legislatures’ budgets are still up in the air, patterns are emerging around college funding.

Across the country, legislators are collaborating, compromising and negotiating on the details of their state budgets. The annual process can have significant repercussions for higher education: Public institutions, of course, get their yearly funding from their state. But private institutions also stand to benefit from state financial aid grants.

It’s still too early in the process to tell where all the chips will fall this year, but here are a few initial trends.

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!
Imagine Learning, we believe every child deserves the chance to enjoy learning and the right to fulfill their unique potential. For more than fifteen years, our foundation has been helping students acquire, develop, and strengthen the language skills necessary to fully participate in academic settings and prepare for college and careers. Today, we provide a complete suite of adaptive digital curriculum and assessment solutions for PreK–8 that delivers unmatched excellence in language development—accelerating learning across subjects for all students. Imagine Learning is passionate about igniting engagement, maximizing personal relevance, amplifying confidence and inspiring breakthroughs for students and educators.