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Texas News
UISD selects Gonzalez as next superintendent
The United Independent School District selected its next superintendent late Monday night at a special called meeting.

To replace the retiring Roberto “Bobby” J. Santos, UISD announced that David Gonzalez is the finalist to replace the longtime district leader. He is expected to be officially hired next month during a public meeting, according to a previous timeline set out by board president Ramiro Veliz III.

PSJA Board approves school calendar, increasing instructional days
The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD School Board announced they have approved the 2021-2022 Academic School Calendar.

The new calendar includes additional instructional days.

“As educators and parents, we know that virtual learning is not for everyone,” said PSJA Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. “Although many of our students are thriving in a virtual environment, many others need the face-to-face support and guidance our teachers provide in our classrooms.” 

El Paso lawmaker’s bill promoting digital citizenship in public schools passes Texas House
A bill that seeks to expand digital citizenship education in public schools passed in the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday. 

Texas state Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso, brought forward House Bill 129 in response to the Walmart mass shooting in 2019.

“Today marks a step toward healing the terrible wounds El Paso suffered from the August 3, 2019 Cielo Vista Walmart massacre. I filed H.B. 129 in remembrance of the lives lost and the damage to our community as a result of that horrible act,” González said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

Texas Schools Are Getting Worse At Advancing English-Learning Students, Report Says
New data show Texas schools may be failing their bilingual students, as an increasing share of English-learners aren’t becoming proficient in the language after five years.

An increasing share of English-learning students in Texas are not becoming language proficient within five years, according to new analysis of state data by Rice University’s Kinder Institute.

The findings from the institute’s Houston Education Research Consortium identified that more elementary school students now are classified as “long-term English learners” than 20 years ago.

Texas must maintain higher education and K-12 funding to tap billions in federal aid for public schools
The state can seek a waiver from the federal government if it can’t keep education funding steady.

Texas must keep funding steady for both K-12 public schools and state institutions of higher education to tap billions in federal pandemic aid, new Department of Education guidance clarified Monday.

The state’s top budget writers were hesitant to spend about $18 billion in the federal money as they waited weeks for answers on what was required. The department’s clarification noted that the state must maintain funding levels or seek a waiver.

Juanita Craft Helped Integrate the Texas State Fair—And Inspired the Next Generation of Civil Rights Activists
The subject of our latest Texans You Should Know history profile started 182 NAACP chapters and welcomed kids and power brokers alike into her South Dallas home.

When Juanita Craft bought her little white bungalow on Warren Avenue between Atlanta and Myrtle streets, South Dallas was in turmoil. It was 1950, and the city was changing. The blocks around her house, now known as the Wheatley Place Historic District, had been a Black settlement since the nineteenth century; the community was a freedman’s farming colony before the streetcar turned it into a bona fide suburb. But in the years after World War II, the city’s African American population was expanding beyond Wheatley’s borders.

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Supporting Your Career
These 8 Skills Will Make You Relevant In The New World Of Work
Work will return to “somewhat normal,” but it will never go back to the way it was. Very few of us will be consistently collocated with our colleagues. Some people will be at the office. Others will be WFH, and yet others may be in a shared office space, satellite office or other “third place.” So most interactions will be hybrid or even “tribrid.” That means you need to master a new set of skills so you can grow your personal brand and succeed in this new multifaceted environment.

The skills I discuss in this article aren’t always the ones that people are focused on or even consider improving, but they’re essential now and will be even more valuable as the workplace evolves. Whenever the workplace atmosphere becomes more complicated, flexibility becomes more crucial, especially in these eight key areas.

National News
Biden administration extends universal free school lunch through 2022
The Biden administration on Tuesday issued an extension for free school lunch through 2022 as part of its effort to reopen schools safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a press release, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow school meal programs to resume serving meals to students this fall and will extend the programs through the following year. The programs will also allow for flexible service that promotes social distancing as schools begin to reopen across the country.

Discussing the Derek Chauvin Trial in Class: How Teachers Are Doing It, and Why
In 2018, Echo Park Elementary School teacher Qorsho Hassan, a Black Muslim woman, was pulled over in Minneapolis for having prayer beads hanging off her rearview mirror.

The police officer commented that an audio recording of the Quran, which Hassan and her mother were listening to, was too loud and then gave her a ticket. It was a story Hassan recounted in detail to her 4th grade students this school year when, just 17 miles away from where she was pulled over, police shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man. The incident left her with a sense of panic and doom that came “full circle in a really bad way,” she said.

‘Doomed’ By 8th Grade: Underserved Students Thrive In College, But Disparities In Access Start Early & Persist Insidiously, New Report Reveals
When it comes to understanding which students make it not just to, but through college, substantial past education research has identified steep differences along lines of race, gender and class.

A recently released report, however, provides an alternate narrative.

The study, which links middle and high school achievement to postsecondary outcomes in five New England school districts, finds stark racial and socioeconomic gaps in enrollment at four-year colleges. But after students matriculate, disparities in who continues on toward graduation largely disappear.

The Rise of Hispanic-Serving Institutions and the Path Forward
Hispanic-Serving Institutions make up 17 percent of all U.S. public and nonprofit colleges—yet they enroll 67 percent of all Hispanic and Latino undergraduates.

That data, published in April, underscores the huge responsibility facing the country’s more than 500 Hispanic-Serving Institutions, so designated because at least a quarter of their students are Hispanic. More colleges will soon join their ranks, as enrollment of Hispanic and Latino students in higher education is expected to exceed 4.4 million students by 2025. Already, more than 300 colleges are classified as “emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions.”

Five major immigration promises Biden hasn’t yet fulfilled
Not one separated migrant family has been reunited by the Biden administration. Family detention centers run by ICE are still operating.

The Biden administration’s recent reversal of its plans to raise the refugee cap sparked outrage not only among immigration advocates but from Democrats who accused the president of breaking his promise. Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois said in response to the news on Twitter Friday, “Say it ain’t so, President Joe. This is unacceptable.” Raising the refugee cap is one of at least five promises on immigration made by candidate and President-elect Biden that have not yet been fulfilled as the end of his first 100 days approaches.

This Book Offers Powerful & Harrowing Testimonies From Children Detained at Border
“Giving a voice to the voiceless” might sound like one of those cliché sayings that has lost its meaning since it’s been used so much by artists and writers over the years, but when the purpose of your project is to do exactly that–and do it without making it sound like it’s a message coming from a company’s marketing department–then powerful things can really happen.

Such is the case with a new book from Project Amplify, a national nonprofit organization that works to establish legal protections for children in government care and shape meaningful legislation for the benefit of child migrants.

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!
Vanir has delivered more than 1,000 projects for more than 100 school districts, totaling more than $6 billion in modernization and new construction cost. We facilitate effective and efficient coordination between district planners, regulatory agencies, community and user groups, advisory committees, design consultants and dozens of other participants.

Our education sector projects have included master planning, needs assessments, constructability review, project scheduling and budgeting, bidding, award, on-site construction management and project closeout. We also provide staff augmentation services such as “owner’s rep” and have managed architect, contractor and other professional consultant selection. Our services range from condition assessment/feasibility studies to complete program management for a number of districts.

Vice President / Area Manager