TALAS E-newsletter – April 29

Posted on April 29th, 2020
TALAS members are leaders.
Join today!

Share with us what you’re doing in your district

TALAS wants to share your ideas, tools, and resources with your colleagues.
If you have an idea or resource to share,
please email it (include any links, etc.) to talasnews@gmail.com .
We’ll also include resources on the TALAS webpage.
TALAS joins the Texas Legislative
Education Equity Coalition (TLEEC),
formerly known as the Texas Latino Education Coalition (TLEC)
Recently, TALAS joined TLEEC in making COVID-19 Recommendations to State Leaders. The  letter was sent electronically to the Governor, Commissioner Morath, and Commissioner Keller. IDRA and MALDEF released a statement on the letter you can find linked here:  https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Texas-Legislative-Education-Equity-Coalition-Sends-COVID-19-Recommendations-to-State-Leaders-.html?soid=1123015203871&aid=q90FD5ktUzk

Over the next couple of weeks, we’re asking TALAS members to share the letter and supportive messaging. We want to help spread the message especially as the DOE just opened up the application process to the states and Commissioner Morath has stated he’ll send out Texas specific guidance in 3-4 weeks regarding CARES Act funds.

What’s happening in Texas
Marlin ISD Superintendent Lone Finalist Chosen
A TALAS member and graduate of the TALAS Mentoring program. Congratulations!
Dr. Darryl J. Henson, a native of Houston, Texas, joins Marlin ISD from Cedar Hill ISD where he has served as the Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership since 2018. As the Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership he supervises, supports, and coaches all of the district’s principals and assistant principals.

Prior to his appointment in Cedar Hill ISD, Dr. Henson served as the principal of North Forest High School in the Houston Independent School District, principal of Parkland High School in the Ysleta Independent School District, and with other experiences as a classroom teacher, coach, and principal in the Austin, Houston, and El Paso regions.

During his tenures at North Forest and Parkland high schools, both campuses experienced unprecedented gains on state assessment results, increased enrollments, and reinvigorated senses of school spirit and community pride. These turn-around efforts lead Parkland High School to being one of the 1.9% of Texas schools to earn all seven Distinction Designations from the Texas Education Agency. Under his leadership, Dr. Henson lead the efforts of guiding North Forest High School in earning the highest student progress measure of all Achieve 180 high school campuses in the Houston Independent School District in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Austin ISD Statement from the Board President
April 28, 2020

Statement from the Board President on behalf of the AISD Board of Trustees

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees on April 27, 2020, accepted the resignation of our superintendent, Dr. Paul Cruz. Dr. Cruz will be stepping down from the role of superintendent effective Aug. 31, 2020, and he will serve as superintendent emeritus until Dec. 31, 2020.

We appreciate Dr. Cruz’s leadership throughout the years, and especially over the past seven weeks through the COVID-19 pandemic. He has led our District in mitigating risks during this unprecedented time with a focus on the safety, learning, and social and emotional needs of our students, families and our community.

His departure is bittersweet. While it will be hard to see him go, we are nevertheless very proud of his accomplishments here in the District and we are eager to see him thrive at the University of Texas. Dr. Cruz has been and continues to be our collaborative partner in the governance of the District. We congratulate him as he embarks on his next professional challenge and we are glad he and his family will continue to live in Austin.

In terms of the Austin ISD superintendent search, we expect to complete the process no later than Aug. 31, 2020. While so much has changed and continues to change in our daily lives as a result of the pandemic, our fundamental AISD mission, vision and values remains the same.

You can continue to expect transparency and communication in this process, and in turn, we expect your input and advocacy on what is going well with the District and what qualities you would like to see in the next superintendent. With your help, we will succeed in our goal to find the best possible leader for our District.
Here’s a list of Central Texas school districts’ graduation changes
Senior year is usually a busy time for graduates as they prepare to move on to the next stage of their lives. Central Texas school districts have been shifting graduation plans to make sure seniors have their moment.

This is a list of graduation changes from Central Texas school districts:

Austin ISD

Austin ISD said its graduation ceremonies, originally scheduled for May 26 through 28, will be postponed to Aug. 10 through 13. The school district said all graduations, except Rosedale, will take place at the Erwin Center. 

AISD said because of the ongoing COVID-19 issues, the new dates are subject to change and dependent on conditions at that time. The tentative August graduation schedule is attached. It said the High Schools Office, with a committee of parents, students and principals, is working on a virtual graduation ceremony plan. AISD said it expects the virtual graduations to happen on or around June 15.

Round Rock ISD

Round Rock ISD officials said graduation ceremonies are canceled until further notice, but they plan to hold virtual ceremonies.

Below is the information RRISD shared with families regarding graduation:

“Prom and graduation ceremonies are treasured events that we know our Seniors and their families have been looking forward to for years. For the safety of our students and their families, it is with great sadness that we announce that Round Rock ISD May graduation ceremonies and all prom events are canceled.

“With the hope that circumstances change later this summer, the District is in discussions with the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park to establish potential dates for in-person commencement ceremonies. If it’s safe to do so, schools that hold their commencement ceremonies at the Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center will also be rescheduled for a date later this summer. The ability to hold in-person graduation ceremonies will depend on situational circumstances and direction from local governments on large gatherings at that time.

Parents, high school seniors excited graduation ceremonies will resume

The Don Haskins Center will be filled with graduates once again after COVID-19 left many families wondering if they’d get to celebrate the big day.

El Paso, Socorro, Canutillo and Clint school districts are aiming for late June and July. Borderland families are starting to feel like they can see the light.
“Yes! I ran downstairs and I told him, Luke, your graduation is back on,” said Elizabeth Tomlinson. Tomlinson and her family say graduation is a milestone in life they’ve celebrated for generations.

Spotlight EPISD
The craft of writing has become a priority for many Texas school districts. As student writing proficiency hovers around only 20% based on last year’s STAAR data, some districts are committing more time and resources to producing proficient writers.  A recent report from the Southern Regional Education Board claims, “ In order [for young people in Texas to write effectively], many more teachers must be given the training, support and resources they need to provide high-quality writing instruction.”

El Paso ISD is leveraging technology to support student writing development, as the board has set rigorous CCMR goals which factor in proficient writing skills. Across the district, you’ll find teachers utilizing a free online platform to differentiate writing instruction, provide targeted practice on discrete writing skills, and support student composition and revision with thoughtful scaffolds. In fact, students have mastered over 51,000 grammar and writing topics just this year, which helps set a strong foundation for student compositions during the writing process.

Tomball ISD cancels end-of-year celebrations; graduations still tentatively set for July ISD approves temporary grading policy revisions
Despite announcing April 24 all end-of-year celebrations would be canceled for the school year, Tomball ISD’s tentative graduation plans for July are still on, said Allison Suarez, TISD director of communications and marketing.

TISD said in a letter to families April 24 that all end-of-year celebrations—including prom, Cougar/Wildcat Walks and ceremonies of any kind—had been canceled due to the continuing coronavirus outbreak and social distancing measures. However, graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 are still tentatively scheduled for July 24 at the Berry Center in Cypress, as Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. Eighth-grade ceremonies, fifth-grade ceremonies and other school events in the month of May are included in the cancellation, Suarez clarified.

Clint ISD Early College listed on U.S. News & World Report’s for Best High Schools
The Clint Independent School District announced that Clint ISD Early College Academy has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best High Schools for the fourth consecutive year.

According to a release, Clint ISD Ealy College Academy is the number one ranked traditional high school om the El Paso area.

The school ALSO ranked number two in the El Paso Metro area for all schools next to Harmony Science Academy, a charter school, a release said.

In One Month: Deadline to Submit Session Proposals for the 2021 TASA Midwinter Conference 

If you’re interested in presenting a session at the 2021 TASA Midwinter Conference, January 24-27 in Austin, it’s time to submit your proposal! TASA will again use the Session Selector process.

How does it work? Potential presenters will submit proposals for sessions through May 15. Attendees will review the proposals June 15-30 and provide feedback as to which sessions they’re interested in attending at the 2021 conference. This process allows you to help create your own learning experience at the next Midwinter Conference. Submit your session proposal. 
Supporting Your Career
Just Posted

JG Consulting has been retained by St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools (LA) to recruit a Superintendent.

Your Source for Opportunities
McPherson & Jacobson LLC. https://macnjake.com/openings/
Texas Association of School Administrators TASA Career Center
Hazard, Young, Attea Associates https://hyasearch.com/browse-jobs /
Coronavirus Career Advice: 8 Ways To Be More Effective While You Work From Home
With the coronavirus pandemic raging around the world, millions of people are suddenly finding themselves working from home—for better or for worse. In many cases, this means sharing a dining room table with kids who are doing remote learning or carving out a corner of a crowded bedroom. Yaara Gooner to the rescue. This architect and designer has worked with five-star hotels, luxury restaurants and flagship commercial properties around the globe, designing spaces that boost productivity and spark creativity, while also offering a sense of place and home.

Most recently, as the lead architect and designer at LABS (flexible coworking spaces across London) and STAY (serviced apartments with the luxuries of a boutique hotel), Gooner has focused on creating environments that help people thrive. “We create spaces that are optimized for sleep, work and play,” says Gooner. “They are designed with a focus on wellness, where members and guests can be at their most productive and feel their best.”

National News
Latino Superintendents: ‘Going Back to Normal’ Not Their Goal After Coronavirus Crisis

Richard Carranza, chancellor of New York City public schools, says he doesn’t allow people to talk about “going back to normal.”

Normal, he said in a virtual convening hosted by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, was a system in which social and economic privilege determined too much about the quality of a student’s education — from funding, to access, to expectations.

“Normal was never good enough for our kids,” said Carranza, who oversees the nation’s largest school district with 1.1 million students.

Carranza joined other Latino superintendents and school leaders from across the country April 16 in a discussion about the inequities that existed before COVID-19, and the chances to address them in its wake.

School Superintendent Honored for His Support of Biliteracy Education
Superintendent of Schools Aubrey Johnson has been named New Jersey Seal of Biliteracy Superintendent of the Year by the New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/New Jersey Bilingual Educators for his support of those who are learning English and his understanding of how they contribute to their schools and communities.

In particular, the groups celebrate Johnson’s commitment to developing a district-wide pathway to biliteracy through bilingual and dual language programs. This includes the school district’s implementation of the New Jersey State Seal of Biliteracy, a New Jersey Department of Education designation that recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, listening to and writing in one or more world languages, in addition to English.

“New Brunswick is a vibrant, diverse community and our students speak more than 40 different languages,” said New Brunswick Board of Education Vice President Dale Caldwell. “This award is a testament to Dr. Johnson’s ongoing efforts to ensure that those students of ours who are in the process of learning English have the resources and support they need to succeed.”

Partnership creates Spanish-language learning programing for radio
A new partnership has created the first bilingual radio learning program in Virginia.

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced the partnership between the Virginia Department of Education and Radio Poder WBTK 1380 AM on Monday.
According to a release, this partnership between the state agency and the Richmond-area Spanish-language station will create “Virginia: Educación en Radio.”
It will feature prerecorded lessons in several subject areas to help Spanish-speaking students in grades K-12 keep learning while school divisions are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Support for TALAS Members
NoRedInk provides a comprehensive, adaptive, mastery-based writing platform for grades 4-12 that is TEKS-aligned. NoRedInk balances grammar and writing skills with composition and revision activities. Our platform engages students with adaptive, interest-based content which allows teachers to easily differentiate in the classroom whilst tracking mastery on over 1000 skills. Additionally, NoRedInk’s writing assignments allow students to build a portfolio of written work and engage in a highly scaffolded drafting, revision and peer review process. It’s free to sign up and use with students! Learn more about NoRedInk and how it’s preparing students for ACT/SAT and STAAR.
We hope you enjoyed our most recent webinar, Voices From the Field: Educating Children With Disabilities During the COVID-19 Era.

Our expert panelists shared their thoughts, experiences, and recommendations on several subjects within the field of Special Education and we are honored to have hosted them.

A recording of the webinar with closed captioning is available here.

We received several questions via the live-chat during our webinar and we did not have sufficient time to answer them all. Our panelists graciously agreed to write answers to the outstanding questions. You can find their responses to those on this page.

To help ensure that all learners have the appropriate resources, Rethink Ed is offering our Social-Emotional Learning platform at no charge for districtwide and whole-school implementations through the remainder of the school year. To learn more and request free access, visit our SEL Toolkit.
The Parent Toolkit for School Closures
(It’s also available in Spanish!)
The unprecedented events caused by COVID-19 have launched many parents throughout the country into truly uncharted territory. Nearly overnight, you all have become educators! We understand the thought of managing a homeschool environment for most is a daunting task, even as local districts are providing excellent resources. Our hope for this resource is to simply help parents focus their attention on the specific area of concern that is most important to them in the moment.

engage2learn (e2L) is a company of educators that has been supporting school districts since 2011 and, for that entire time, has operated as a virtual company. Because we are completely virtual and all have families, we have a lot of personal experience managing work from home along with our own kiddos, especially during the summer months and holiday breaks! The team who built this resource is comprised of the best of the best and has taken great care in providing the most actionable information to help you, individually, provide the best possible environment for your own kids. We know you’ll find this useful. There are three distinct sections of this resource, each with three problems or challenges that you may be experiencing or with which you identify. Along with each of the identified problems, we’ve provided a bulleted list of suggestions and resources.

Education Elements
As we talk with leaders across education and our district partners, we are learning that their most challenging and immediate needs are changing daily. Luckily our team is well versed in being responsive. We have learned over the last few weeks that our approaches, practices, and habits around doing work are helping not only our team but your teams to adjust to this constant state of change. In addition to holding webinars, our team is actively creating resources and building innovative spaces for conversations across states, roles and lived experiences. Our goal has been to build cohesiveness in the conversation, connecting leaders to learn from each other as they face similar unprecedented challenges.
In our next set of virtual learning and sharing experiences, we will expand our offerings to include complimentary webinars, blog posts, downloadable guides, and even 1:1 office hours and coffee chats for K-12 leaders to “talk it out” should you need it. We’ve organized this into the following focus areas: Virtual Learning + Virtual Work, Leadership, Communication, and Culture.

Governance in Crisis
We pause to salute the many heroes in our districts who have stepped up to meet the challenges of this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Many districts are scrambling to meet the human needs of our students & their families, to formulate plans for instruction during a time of physical distancing, and to respond to myriad questions, including the implications of this pandemic for advancement and graduation.

Are you looking for guidance and/or a forum in which to speak with other superintendents & school board members throughout the state? MASBA is partnering with Leadership ISD to offer a weekly Monday noon COVID-19 conversation for trustees & superintendents throughout Texas. Register today!

Free Printable A-Home Activity Packs
At Curriculum Associates we will stand by educators every step of the way as we navigate through this pandemic.

Our Printable At Home Activity Packs are available for Reading and Math, in English and Spanish for grades K-8. Districts/schools are allowed to print resources should they wish to provide to students in a print format. Otherwise, districts can post via their LMS site or Google Drive for their students. These resources are absolutely free!

Printable At-Home Activity Packs:
Printable at-home activity packs are designed to provide students with valuable self-directed exercises and practice during extended absences from school. Each pack is designed to reinforce key concepts for a given grade and are available now on our public site.
TALAS sponsors make this newsletter
and other TALAS activities possible.
Please support them. Click on the logo to learn more!
Unleash the writer within.
NoRedInk builds stronger writers through interest-based curriculum, adaptive exercises, and actionable data.

Copyright 2022 © TALAS. All Rights Reserved.