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Texas News
Texas House forms Early Childhood Caucus to better support kids and families
Lawmakers say they want to focus on the years before pre-K.

Citing a need to boost support for Texas’ youngest kids and families, a bipartisan group of legislators said Thursday that they will champion changes that better lay a foundation for children’s success.

The lawmakers announced a new Early Childhood Caucus in the House that will promote wide-ranging legislation and policy positions they say will go far beyond the traditional focus on prekindergarten. The representatives said they want to get to work improving kids’ lives early, starting before they’re born.

Taft ISD names Dr. Irene M. Garza as finalist for superintendent
The Taft Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees, at its Monday, March 29, 2021 Special Board Meeting, named Dr. Irene M. Garza, Professor for Principal and Superintendent Certification Program at Stephen F. Austin as finalist for Superintendent.

The Taft Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees, at its Monday, March 29, 2021 Special Board Meeting, named Dr. Irene M. Garza, Professor for Principal and Superintendent Certification Program at Stephen F. Austin as finalist for Superintendent. By law, the Board must now wait 21 days before voting to hire Dr. Garza to be the new Superintendent of Schools for Taft ISD.

Socorro ISD honored with 30 state awards for exceptional communication, public relations work
The Texas School Public Relations Association awarded the Socorro Independent School District 30 awards for excellence in writing, communication, photography, videography, graphics and a special event.

“Team SISD won a Crystal Commendation award for the 2020 SISD Virtual Teacher of the Year Announcement, a first-ever event which was created to continue the annual tradition of celebrating the district’s Teachers of the Year and to name the top two winners, despite the challenges of not being able to have a large group gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” officials shared.

Dallas ISD Expands Program to Recruit More Latino Male Teachers
Dallas ISD started the initiative last year to hire more Black male teachers and is now also focusing on Hispanic male teachers to match the student population

Dallas ISD is expanding an initiative called the Adjunct Teacher Dallas Residency Program to recruit more Latino male teachers.

DISD has around 150,000 students and about 70% population is made up of Hispanic/Latino students.

Parents sue Katy ISD for keeping mask mandate after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted statewide requirement
The lawsuit claims district policies are unconstitutional and violate Abbott’s recent executive order.

A group of parents are suing the Katy Independent School District, calling its continued requirement for masks in schools unconstitutional and a violation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order from last month that lifted the statewide mask mandate, among other COVID-19 safety restrictions.

Texas to Provide State-Licensed Summer Camps With Rapid COVID-19 Tests One Year After Pandemic Forced Mass Closures
Texas will provide state-licensed summer camps with COVID-19 rapid tests in an effort to prevent potential outbreaks, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Tuesday.

Last summer, most summer camps were shuttered across the country because of the pandemic.

The tests will be voluntary for both staff and campers. Summer camp organizers need to apply to participate.

“As normalcy returns to Texas, we must remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19 by identifying positive cases and mitigating any potential outbreaks,” Abbott said in the statement. “I encourage qualifying summer camps to apply for this program so that we can continue to keep Texans safe.”

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Supporting Your Career
Here’s how 6-figure earners structure their cover letters
Ask a college graduate what their goal is after college, and they will tell you they want to land a job and hopefully make six-figures per year one day. 

Follow up the previous question with a question related to structuring their cover letter appropriately, and that same college student might look at you with a blank stare. There is the probability they don’t even know what a cover letter is – not kidding! 

Now, this doesn’t just go for college students; many adults do not know how to create a well-structured, professionally written cover letter. Even though some experts like LinkedIn editor Andrew Seaman advocate that “Many cover letters are left unread,” there is still the high probability that you will want to have one handy. 

National News
Sec. Miguel Cardona will look into Biden’s authority to forgive $50,000 in student loan debt
Depending on two memos requested from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, Biden could cancel $50,000 in student debt — if he deems himself to be capable.

While President Joe Biden has previously said that he is opposed to substantial student loan forgiveness, a recent move by the president indicates that he may be more easily swayed on the issue than previously thought. 

During a CNN town hall in February, Biden was asked if he would be in favor of $50,000 in student loan forgiveness per borrower. He had campaigned on the premise of student loan cancellation, but only up to $10,000 per borrower. 

Lessons from NOLA Public Schools: How New Orleans Became a Leader in Opening Schools During COVID-19
We have passed the one-year mark since we closed schools in New Orleans at the start of COVID-19. Prioritizing health and safety, we planned and prepared and proudly reopened our classrooms in September. We continued to follow the data and responded swiftly when we had to. For example, we closed schools briefly in January, when New Orleans experienced a spike in COVID cases, before reopening on February 1.

We are in a far better place now than we were last March. In fact, this March, we will have connected all of our teachers and school staff to places where they can get the vaccine—and we did this well ahead of schedule. Though we had initially anticipated it would take up to two months for our staff to have access to the first dose, we were able to make that happen in just three weeks.

How to keep our most vulnerable students from losing ground in the pandemic
Nebraska superintendent says dismantling structural and racial inequities will help

When the pandemic struck last March, schools across the country and in my district in Grand Island, Nebraska, quickly stepped up to the challenge of providing at-home learning and supporting our students and families.

We shifted lesson plans, handed out laptops and hotspots and adjusted food distribution — all at top speed.

But another crisis has been plaguing schools for much longer than the coronavirus: structural racism and inequities that too often limits students of color from living up to their extraordinary possibilities.

5 ways COVID-19 is influencing school construction projects
Three relief funding bills have injected $190.5 billion in funds for K-12, and leaders are eyeing needed improvements highlighted by the pandemic.

With nearly $190.5 billion has been earmarked for helping schools cope with the ramifications of the novel coronavirus pandemic, some leaders are eyeing the use of those funds for related school construction projects. 

In 2020, Congress passed two relief bills provided nearly $67.8 billion to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, in March, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, in December. 

With Alegria Bilingual Media, Colombiana Davina A. Ferreira Is Uplifting Latine Storytelling
Pre-pandemic, an old yellow van drove through Los Angeles communities in Echo Park, Boyle Heights and Hawthorne. Inside, Colombian motorist Davina A. Ferreira, the founder and CEO of Alegria Bilingual Media , invited youth of color to take a look at the four-wheeled bookstore she created. Children and teens alike flipped through the pages of bilingual kids literature and classics by Latine and African-American authors like Gabriel García Márquez and Maya Angelou respectively. Oftentimes, she sent some titles home with kids for free.

“The way we tell stories to ourselves has the potential to change our lives,” Ferreira, 40, tells Remezcla. “There’s power in storytelling. We can see ourselves as victims or sheroes.”

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi
On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

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