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Texas News
First day of STAAR testing canceled for thousands of students experiencing technical issues across Texas
Texas officials mandated that students take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness in person this year at monitored test sites, although millions of students are still learning remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas education officials advised school districts to suspend the first day of STAAR testing after thousands of students showed up in person and were prevented from taking the standardized test online because of widespread technical issues across the state.

San Marcos CISD will require most students to return in-person, with mental health playing large role in decision
Four San Marcos CISD students have died due to mental health-related issues in the past 10 months, according to superintendent Michael Cardona.

Cardona said mental health is the driving force behind SMCISD requiring most students to return to campus for in-person classes starting Monday, April 12 – when virtual learning officially ends.

Cardona said the four students who died were high school students participating in remote learning. He added that asynchronous learning, and the pandemic in general, have taken a toll on mental health for both students and teachers.

Canutillo ISD has plan to provide internet access to students in rural areas
Having access to internet has been so crucial for students to continue their education during the pandemic. However, those who live in rural areas don’t have the same access.

Oscar Rico, director of technology at Canutillo Independent School District, says the district hopes to give students in the Canutillo, Vinton, and Westway areas access to the internet.

Congress allocated $19 billion in federal stimulus money to Texas public education, but schools have yet to see an extra dime
Three federal stimulus packages passed during the pandemic included more than $19 billion for Texas public schools, but state leaders have yet to distribute the money. Local districts say they need it to cover pandemic-related costs.

For more than a year, the federal government has been pumping billions of dollars into school districts across the country to help them meet the demands of the pandemic. Most states have used that pot of stimulus funds as Congress intended: buying personal protective equipment for students and teachers, laptops for kids learning from home, improved ventilation systems for school buildings to prevent virus transmission and covering other costs.

Opinion: Immigration is personal in Texas and our leaders can meet the challenge
Hector Molina replaced my AC unit.

He was brought here 20 years ago by his parents when he was a young teenager. He attended middle school and high school here. Now 35, Molina has a wife, three kids and an air conditioning and heating company. He’s the leader of the men’s group at our church and the lead drummer in the church worship band.

In Texas, we understand the important role immigrants play as critical partners in our economy, our schools and in our cultural and civic life.

UTEP Educator honored by national group for work on book dealing with advanced writing studies
Isabel Baca, Ph.D., associate professor of English at The University of Texas at El Paso, recently earned a prestigious Advancement of Knowledge Award from the Conference of College Composition and Communication for a book she helped edit that promotes inclusive writing studies that will foster Latinx student success.

Baca, an associate professor of English, received the honor for her work on “Bordered Writers: Latinx Identities and Literacy Practices at Hispanic-Serving Institutions.” The book explores how writing program faculty and administrators at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) have transformed how writing is taught to be more inclusive and to foster Latinx student success.

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Supporting Your Career
These 30 overused words will get your resume thrown in the trash
Job postings and resumes are full of buzzwords and catch-phrases that will make anyone reading them do a quick eye-roll. However, certain words do matter — and your response to them does too.

For instance, if a job you’re applying for says its looking for someone “determined,” “skillful,” and “fast on their feet,” you’re likely going to try to identify some of those words on your resume in order to catch the eye of the recruiter. However, there’s a downside to this: if you don’t actually back-up what words you’re identifying yourself as with examples, it does more harm than good.

National News
Biden’s Covid relief offers Latinos billions. Will they claim it?
A Houston entrepreneur stunned a Latino family with how much they could get from the American Rescue Plan and the Paycheck Protection Program.

Houston investor and entrepreneur Tom Castro feared some Latino households might miss out on money coming to them in the latest pandemic relief package, so he started by helping the Ramirez family find more than $20,000, to start.

Pfizer: Vaccine Shown 100% Effective in Kids 12-15
Phase III clinical trials show that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 100% effective in protecting children 12-15 years old from infection, the company said in a news release.

The study enrolled 2,260 adolescents ages 12-15. No infections were reported in the group given the vaccine produced by Pfizer and its European partner, BioNTech, the release said. The placebo group reported 18 cases of COVID-19, it said.

The vaccinated children showed a strong antibody response with no serious side effects.

CDC says schools don’t need daily disinfection to prevent the spread of coronavirus
The nation’s top health agency is no longer recommending daily disinfection of schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance Monday, saying disinfecting chemicals like ammonia and bleach need be used only within 24 hours after an infected person has been there.

Last summer, the agency recommended strong disinfecting chemicals be used daily to prevent the spread of the virus in classrooms. Earlier this year, the CDC posted documents meant to de-emphasize disinfection on such a regular schedule, but Monday’s guidance more clearly erased the daily recommendation.

Possible loan forgiveness would benefit Latino students
The Education Department has suspended the collection of certain federal student loans that borrowers defaulted on, while Democratic senators insist that the relief bill has a provision that could facilitate canceling many more student loan debts through a tax break.

Why it matters: Latinos tend to have more problems repaying school debt, and in the current situation face growing stress and anxiety before even accounting for repayments.

Many have had to drop classes to work, to care for relatives or because they cannot afford tuition, and students of color are more likely now to say they will not graduate on time. Some have even become homeless due to campus closures.

‘Unacceptable’: Latino groups push Biden to nominate more Hispanic federal judges
“If this Administration is truly committed to ensuring that our courts reflect the communities they serve, they will need to nominate more Hispanic candidates.” 

Several prominent Latino legal and civil rights groups are pushing for more Hispanic nominees to the federal bench, saying that President Joe Biden’s first slate of judicial nominees, which includes one Latina, is “unacceptable” and that it falls short of his declaration that federal courts “should reflect the full diversity of the American people.”  

Not Mexican or American enough? Chicana author delves into identity in debut novel
Laekan Zea Kemp, author of “Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet,” talks about being both “Mexican” and “American” but “not sure that we would be fully accepted as either.”

Laekan Zea Kemp often thinks of a scene from the now-legendary 1997 film “Selena” when she pictures the two worlds many Mexican Americans have to navigate each day.

“There’s that famous line where her father says, ‘You know, we have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans.’ I think all Chicanos feel that so deeply,” Kemp said. “But even if we were to perfectly perform each of those identities, I’m not sure that we would be fully accepted as either.”

Las Tienditas
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