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Texas News
Austin School District Defies Texas Governor’s Ban On Mask Mandates
NPR’s Noel King talks to Dr. Desmar Walkes, medical director and health authority for Austin, about Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask mandate ban.

“Kids will not be forced by government or by schools to wear masks in school.” Judges overruled Gov. Abbott in Dallas County and in Bexar County after they sued him. Local officials in those counties can require masks for now. And in the meantime, schools are reopening. Districts in Dallas and Austin are ordering students and staff to wear masks, despite what the governor says.

Dallas ISD Makes Masks Mandatory as Students Return to Classrooms
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa cited the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases for the temporary mask mandate

The Dallas Independent School District will require face masks on district property beginning Tuesday, a move the district says is necessary to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.

Spring ISD joins growing list of Texas districts defying Abbott’s mask order
As Spring ISD students head back to the classroom Wednesday, they won’t be required to wear masks, but not for long.

Thirty-three thousand students will return to in-person classes in Spring ISD, and with that will come some changes.

Effective Monday, Aug. 16, Superintendent Dr. Rodney Watson says the district will require mask wearing for all students, staff and visitors in all district buildings, regardless of vaccination status. This comes as cases of the delta variant continue to raise concerns.

Del Valle High School honors its regional Teacher of the Year
Del Valle High School had a ceremony that will honor its regional Teacher of the Year Tuesday morning.

Science teacher Ramon Benavides was awarded Del Valle High School teacher and 2021-2022 region 19 Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Benavides was selected among 13 of the region’s top educators to win the Region 19 teacher of the year.

“I Don’t Believe Anything”: Among the Unvaccinated in One Central Texas Community
Bell County struggles with misinformation and conspiracy theories as the deadly delta variant spreads like wildfire.

“You don’t have to wear a mask!” the man shouted as I approached the Army Store in downtown Killeen. It was a brutally hot afternoon in late July, and Bell County, where Killeen is located, was reporting around a hundred new coronavirus cases a day—a fivefold increase from the previous month. COVID-19 patients occupied 15 percent of the region’s hospital beds, among the highest rates in Texas. There were just five available ICU beds in the surrounding six counties.

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Supporting Your Career
4 Strategies For Diverse Professionals To Fast-Track Their Career Wins
In recent years, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have vaulted to become a top-of-mind issue for companies everywhere. And while things are trending in a positive direction, many workplaces still have a long way to go before everyone sees different as good.

What’s encouraging, says CareerHigher founder and director Andy Agouridis, is that even while companies make progress in DEI, workers from non-traditional backgrounds can leverage their uniqueness as an asset in today’s workplace.

National News
Biden Administration Defends Districts Defying Florida Mask Mandate Ban as Delta Variant Renews Reopening Fears
The Biden administration is backing school district leaders in Florida who are defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’s executive order banning mask mandates in schools this fall.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday it would be possible for federal relief funds to cover salaries if the governor follows through on withholding pay from superintendents and board members who require students to wear masks.

Why Cardona is now expressing support for student and staff vaccine mandates
‘If it becomes mandated, it will help flatten the curve and also get us back to normal,’ Cardona says

Teachers and students may be required to get COVID vaccines to keep schools open throughout the pandemic, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona says.

California and New York City have so far required teachers to get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing. Cardona not only said he supports these mandates but might also expand the requirement once the vaccines are fully authorized by the FDA for Americans of all ages.

Report: Kindergarten entry assessments key to knowing instructional needs
As more schools open for in-person learning during the 2021-22 school year, some are predicting a “kindergarten bubble” — an influx of 4-to-6-year-olds who may be entering formal education for the first time and whose range of skills will vary widely depending on their educational experiences last year.

Kindergarten entry assessments, also known as KEAs, are typically administered in the early weeks of kindergarten and can consist of direct assessments, which require a child to respond to a direct prompt from the assessor, and observation-based assessments, in which teachers document a child’s interactions and behaviors across a range of activities like playtime or whole-class learning.

The pandemic challenged school administrators, but didn’t break us
We’ve learned the importance of remaining flexible, agile and creative

Thanks to hard work, vaccinations, carefully orchestrated safety precautions and many collaborative efforts, we have turned the corner on the pandemic, at least here in the United States.  

In education, school and district leaders brought new tools and procedures online to deal with the pandemic. Many of the actions we took were unprecedented and unpopular, but necessary. State and local leaders made tough calls, erred on the side of caution and learned lessons that have redefined our playbooks.  

How Daisy Gonzales went from foster care to the top of the nation’s largest system of higher education
Gonzales will temporarily replace Eloy Ortiz Oakley at California Community College

Just who is Daisy Gonzales, California’s new acting community colleges chancellor? Her journey, which she describes as an “incredible story,” may resonate with many of the system’s 2 million students.

 “I became aware that I was in foster care at the age of 4,” she said. As a child, Gonzales grew up in a variety of places including group homes, child care facilities, and even with relatives.

Las Tienditas
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David Webb – Regional Partnership Director, Texas – 214.883.2880