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
Richard Rivera named lone finalist for Weslaco ISD superintendent
“I tell principals, I want you to treat all your kids the same way you would want a teacher to treat your son or daughter. So all the kids at Weslaco ISD are mine; so I want them treated fairly, with a lot of love, a lot of kindness, a lot of compassion.”

After a 12-year hiatus, Richard Rivera is headed back to be the full-time superintendent of the Weslaco school district.

At a special meeting Wednesday, Weslaco ISD trustees named Rivera, the current interim, as the lone finalist for the position permanently.

Is hybrid learning the future of Texas education? This Dallas school is showing the way
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one Dallas school district campus found that there was a demand for a different type of learning.

Dallas Hybrid Preparatory Principal Olga Romero said the school leadership team saw that there was a rise in requests for hybrid learning. They also wanted to get students prepared for college. In 2021, 76% of college students had at least one hybrid or virtual class.

Passage of Senate Bill 15 two years ago meant Texas schools could offer a hybrid model that allowed schools to provide a combination of virtual and in-person instruction.

Texas Senate passes school library bill meant to keep “harmful” materials off shelves
Proponents of the bill say it will keep inappropriate material away from kids. Some librarians are concerned about the logistical challenges it could bring.

The Texas Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would significantly change the processes and procedures Texas’ school libraries have to follow.

Senate Bill 13, from Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, would let parents receive notice each time their children obtain school library materials, prohibit the acquisition or retention of “harmful” and indecent materials, and create local councils to help districts ensure “community values are reflected in each school library catalog in the district.” Members of the upper chamber approved the bill with a 18-12 vote. It now heads to the House.

“Our Resolve Has Never Been Stronger”: The Relatives of Uvalde Victims Advocate for Gun Control in the Lege
Families of Texas mass shooting victims waited more than twelve hours to testify on a bill that would raise the age to purchase certain guns.

With emotional testimony about their own experiences, parents of children who were killed in the Uvalde school shooting urged a Texas House committee late Tuesday to pass onto the full chamber a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase certain semiautomatic rifles.

Families waited more than twelve hours after the House Select Committee on Community Safety first convened at about 9 a.m. to testify about their final memories with some of the nineteen children and two teachers who were killed in the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary and how their lives have changed since.

TASB Legislative Report – April 19, 2023
The Senate Education Committee passed the following bills on to the full Senate on Wednesday:

SB 410 (Paxton) requires the SBOE to adopt rules requiring students in grades 7 and 8 to receive fetal development instruction.

SB 472 (Hughes) requires political subdivisions to consider charter schools the same as school districts for purposes of zoning and permitting.

Affiliate Feature
AHSA, TALAS’ Houston affiliate, is a professional organization for education employees of TEA Service Region IV who are dedicated to developing and advancing school leaders that can help better the lives of students we serve. Additionally, AHSA has adopted philanthropy of supporting rising school leaders and donates up to $35,0000 in scholarships to individuals pursuing a career in education. Since our inception, AHSA has given over a half-million dollars to this cause and continues to award more scholarships each year.
Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National News
School Districts Took On Juul With A Novel Legal Strategy. Now They’re Going After Social Media Giants.
Last year, a group of lawyers representing hundreds of school districts pulled off what many thought was an uphill battle. They squeezed a billion dollar settlement out of Juul using a centuries-old legal argument: that the e-cigarette startup was a “public nuisance,” a term for things that cause widespread harm. Now, some of those same firms are using the same argument to take on social media giants.

The suits – now approaching 50 filed on behalf of public school districts across several states since the beginning of the year against ByteDance, Snap, Meta, and Alphabet – argue that these companies’ social media platforms are exploiting children much in the same way that Juul allegedly targeted young students.

How a middle school teacher grew students’ math scores despite pandemic challenges
Throughout the pandemic, students were held to high expectations, whether they were learning in person or virtually

As a senior at Indianapolis’ Ben Davis High School, Jacob Gregory enrolled in an Exploratory Teaching program. He thought of it as an easy way to leave school for a few hours, but it ended up sparking “an unknown interest in teaching,” he said. 

Today, the sixth grade math and science teacher at McKinley Elementary School is a quiet rock star. The school’s sixth grade growth scores in math are at nearly 58 percent, meaning more than half of the students met their individual growth targets on the state’s ILEARN test.

STUDENT VOICES: ‘Dreamers’ like us need our own resource centers on college campuses
The best way to support undocumented students is to give them a place of their own for support

Among the multiple groups of struggling students in America, the undocumented live in the shadows, awaiting recognition and assistance.

They are not easy to spot, and often face far more challenges than many other groups, left to navigate a difficult path to higher education without adequate assistance. Nationwide, just 2 percent of undocumented students are enrolled in postsecondary education.

Surprise! Rising Enrollment Numbers Show Young People Want to Be Teachers
Aldeman: Despite doomsday narratives, the data suggest that things are getting better, not worse. The teacher pipeline is growing

Flat starting salaries. Attempts to ban books. A lack of respect. An all-time low in the percentage of Americans who want their child to become a public school teacher. 

The teaching profession must be in a state of crisis, right?  

If so, someone should tell young people. According to data that came out late last year, the number of people enrolled in teacher preparation programs rose by 6% from 2019 to 2021. Teacher preparation program completions increased a similar amount. 

Share your school district’s rising leaders
K-12 Dive is seeking trailblazing leaders to feature in their third annual spotlight on assistant principals and district administrators.

Behind every great superintendent or principal is a leadership team helping to distribute responsibilities, ask the right questions and flag critical pain points to support effective schools.

And for a third year, K-12 Dive’s Rising Leaders is looking to share the stories of these trailblazing assistant principals and district leaders.

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!
Energia®, a nationwide energy-savings engineering firm, turns school district energy liabilities into educational assets. They are a team of Energy Performance Contract (EPC) experts and manage the process from start to finish for school districts. From scope evaluation, to ESCO (Energy Services Companies) selection, to construction oversight, to validating results, Energia represents YOU, the school district, making sure the entire EPC project goes as planned, and the savings are maximized.