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Texas News
Texas releases $11 billion of $18 billion in federal stimulus money for public schools
The newly released funds come after educators and state Democrats urged the governor to unlock the pandemic relief money as schools plan their budgets for the next school year

Texas’s top state leaders announced Wednesday they are releasing $11.2 billion out of nearly $18 billion available in federal pandemic relief funding that has been dedicated for the state’s public schools.

The announcement comes as education advocates and Demcratic lawmakers have been urging officials in recent weeks to release the money that was set aside by Congress for Texas’ public schools to address learning loss and cover pandemic-related education expenses.

Reinventing School Discipline in Texas: After Years of Unequal Punishment for Black Students, Dallas ISD Moves Toward Historic End to Most Suspensions
Aiming to upend policies that have disproportionately punished Black students, the Dallas Independent School District is moving to rewrite its school disciplinary code, ending suspensions for low-level infractions like disrupting class or using profanity.

Instead of kicking students out of school, the district plans to use digital tools that have become part of school life during the pandemic to create in-school “Reset Centers” where students can Zoom into classes and access mental health professionals and teletherapy.

Corpus Christi ISD becomes District of Innovation, allowing local control and skilled courses
Corpus Christi ISD is now a District of Innovation.

As a District of Innovation, the state will allow CCISD to have greater local control, increased flexibility governing educational programming and empowerment to innovate and think differently.

At Monday’s district board meeting, Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Kimberley James presented the district innovation plan for 2021-2026.

Bryan ISD creates middle school mariachi band
A new addition to the Bryan ISD Fine Arts Department is preparing music students for high school.

This year, one of the Los Vikingos Mariachi Directors, Osvaldo Garcia, has created an SFA Middle School group, “Mariachi Palomino.”

“The community has already seen the success of Bryan High School and we’re still expanding over there. We just wanted to start these students from the very beginning,” said Garcia.

Justay Cervantes, one of the band members, says she’s exploring new opportunities.

Round Rock ISD’s Dr. Steve Flores To Receive Recognition From The Round Rock City Council May 13
Dr. Flores served Round Rock ISD as superintendent for more than seven years, a capstone to 37 years of service to public education in Texas

The Round Rock City Council will be recognizing the work of Round Rock ISD Superintendent Dr. Steve Flores at its meeting Thursday, May 13 at 6:00 p.m. The community is invited to attend.

Texas will get two new congressional seats in 2022, as communities of color continue to grow
Texas’s population grew by nearly 4 million people over the last decade, more than any other state in the nation, and the state is on track to gain two seats in Congress as its national influence continues to expand.

Texas had more than 29 million residents in 2020, according to new population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday, an increase of 3.9 million, the biggest in the nation. The state will also gain more seats in Congress than any other as seven states, including California and New York, are set to lose seats.

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Supporting Your Career
9 mind tricks you need to use to make the hiring manager like you
As you’re heading into a job interview there are two possible places your mind will go naturally gravitate toward: you’ve either got this in the bag or you don’t.

There are a select few tricks that will make your chances of getting a call back that much more certain.

Whether you’re worried about being liked by the hiring manager or you just really want to lock down your dream job as soon as possible, here are the top mind tricks you need to make the hiring manager warm up to you immediately.

National News
Census data leaves Latinos wondering: Were we counted?
After warnings about a potential undercount of the Latino population, three key Sun Belt states made smaller than expected gains in House seats.

A decade of booming growth in the Sun Belt appeared set to pay off with a big jolt of new political power after the 2020 census, with Texas, Florida and Arizona projected in early estimates to pick up as many as six additional House seats combined.

Supreme Court could determine when and whether schools can regulate off-campus speech
Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. has the potential to determine whether schools can discipline off-campus speech, namely speech made on social media. The decision could build on the 1969 Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which determined public schools can discipline or regulate speech that would disrupt school operations.

“It’s the most important student speech case in five decades,” said William Zee, an education lawyer who often represents public schools and has experience in similar off-campus speech cases. “I think this is definitely going to guide this issue for the next generation.”

Educators’ View: Principals Know Best What Their Schools Need. They Should Have a Central Role in Deciding How Relief Funds Are Spent
The recent passage of the American Rescue Plan represents a once-in-a-generation federal commitment to K-12 schools across the country. The impact will be felt immediately: The $122 billion in direct funding will support safe school reopenings and help ensure that those schools already providing in-person instruction can safely stay open. Beyond reopenings, the funds will be critical to helping students recover from academic and mental health challenges induced and exacerbated by the pandemic.

‘A Professional Learning Community Is Not a Faculty, Grade Level, or Department Meeting’
The new question-of-the-week is: What is a professional learning community and how can educators build one?

A professional learning community is a group of individuals who meet in person or online to share ideas in a collaborative way. For educators, it represents a process of learning as a collective team. A PLC is an ongoing journey of discovery.

It is important to understand that a professional learning community is not a faculty, grade level, or department meeting. A PLC is also not a school committee, such as one set up to decide on a new academic program. These types of learning environments may include individuals with a shared vision, but a PLC is more aligned with continuous improvement over time.

Analysis: In Thousands of Districts, 4-Day School Weeks Are Robbing Students of Learning Time for What Amounts to Hygiene Theater
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made clear that good ventilation and consistent mask wearing are far more effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19 than disinfecting surfaces.

This clarification was long overdue. Scientists have long suspected that the virus is mainly airborne. They recognized that measures like deep cleaning and temperature checks were likely more effective as hygiene theater than as a strategy for actually limiting spread.

Orquesta de la Luz: Three decades since the conquest of salsa in Japan
The orchestra celebrates its 35th anniversary with a new wave to “Latinize” their Japanese compatriots.

Can salsa be understood without understanding Spanish? Or even more complicated: can it be sung in Spanish without understanding the language? Is there a hidden meaning in the phonetics of the salsa verse?

Thirty-five years ago, the Orquesta de la Luz was able to do all this and to conquer the Latin American audience and the New York scene. A titanic musical feat that earned them a place in salsa heaven as well as among the great names of cultural dialogue — which led to a United Nations Peace Medal.

Las Tienditas
This Week’s Featured Sponsor
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Sheryl Colaur – 708-565-3545