TALAS E-newsletter – August 23

Posted on August 23rd, 2021
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Texas News
Garland ISD to Offer Parent-Led Virtual Learning Amid Growing COVID-19 Concerns
Back-to-school is in full swing in North Texas, and it’s already come with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

As the pandemic continues and the virus evolves, school leaders are faced with tough decisions when it comes to the safety of students.

Wednesday, Garland ISD responded to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 with an important update for parents. In a letter to families, the district acknowledged parents’ worries over the spread of COVID-19 on its campuses, focusing particularly on elementary schools.

Texas Supreme Court Temporarily Allows School Mask Mandates To Remain
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott wanted the high court to disallow mask mandates in Texas school districts.

The Texas Supreme Court has dismissed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott’s request that it disallow mask mandates in Texas school districts — albeit on a technicality.

The Supreme Court’s order Thursday temporarily allows school districts to require face coverings because it leaves in place previous temporary restraining orders issued by a Travis County judge, whom Paxton wanted the high court to overrule. Justices cited a provision that typically requires matters to go to an appellate court before it reaches the state’s highest civil court.

Back to School: PSJA ISD combats learning loss created by virtual learning
With nearly a dozen school districts opening their doors to students this week, districts are planning to close the learning gap created by a year of virtual learning.

PSJA Carmen Elementary School Principal Adrian Karr said a majority of students in the school fell behind on a core subject.

“We did notice a decline in our math scores as compared to previous years,” Karr said.  

TEA reverses course, now says schools must notify families when kids are exposed to COVID
Texas schools now will be required to contact parents of children who are exposed to positive COVID-19 cases, per new guidance from the state.

The Texas Education Agency’s new safety guidelines for public schools released Thursday say that schools must notify all teachers, staff and families of students who are in contact with someone in a classroom or extracurricular activity who has a test-confirmed case of COVID. The new requirement is effective immediately.

A ripped-off mask and verbal assault: how tensions over changing mask rules spilled over in one Texas school district
In a letter to parents and staff, Eanes ISD’s superintendent called the incidents unacceptable and warned parents that the “the kids are watching.”

The first day of school has always been exhilarating for Tom Leonard, superintendent of Eanes Independent School District in Austin. It’s a day filled with “magical moments,” where children reunite with friends and teachers connect with students.

“Pandemic or no pandemic — it’s the first day of school, and I’m excited,” Leonard said on Wednesday afternoon, as Eanes ISD students returned to classes for a new school year.

Upcoming Events
Supporting English-Learners This Fall:
Focus on Assets, Not Deficits
Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 2–3 pm EST
The country’s 5 million English-language learner-students—three-quarters of whom speak Spanish as their home language, federal data show—faced unique challenges during the periods of remote schooling last year. Some worry that these students may have regressed in their English skills during that time.

But experts say that these students also experienced potential benefits from spending more time at home immersed in their families’ languages and cultures. They say teachers will need to give English-learners proper support going forward, which includes ensuring they are learning language within content and not in isolation; doing holistic assessments that take into account any gains made in home languages; and most importantly, avoiding assumptions on how much or how little progress was made in English-language skills.

This webinar explores these and other support strategies for educators working with English-learners this fall.
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Supporting Your Career
Get More Out Of Your Salary Negotiations With These 3 Tips
Romina Muhametaj is the founder of Six 7 Radius and hosts the Coffee with Romina podcast. Muhametaj has been negotiating from a young age. Even as an early teen, instead of doing chores, she worked with her father and saw B2B negotiations up close. Since moving to America, alone, when she was just 17, she has worked in sales and HR, but has always been negotiating.

Muhametaj shares some tips, that will work for pay rises, and a lot of other things you might need to ask for.

National News
California District Becomes First in Nation to Require COVID Vaccine for Students 12 & Up, But Experts Expect Legal Challenges
Culver City Unified, a 7,000-student district on the outskirts of Los Angeles, is requiring all eligible students and staff attending in-person school to vaccinate themselves against the coronavirus — the first public school system in the nation to do so amid a surge of cases due to the Delta variant.

In an Aug. 17 email to parents, Culver City Superintendent Quoc Tran announced that students would need to show proof of immunization by Nov. 19. Families who fail to comply by that date will have to enroll their children in a remote learning alternative called independent study, EdSource reported.

Biden warns governors: Stop trying to bully school leaders over masks
Cardona says masking is a civil rights issue, considering COVID’s impacts on students of color, low-income families and children with disabilities. 

Governors threatening to strip funding and take other action against school leaders who’ve mandated masks are now facing their own reckoning with a higher authority.

President Joe Biden Wednesday directed Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to use federal power, including taking legal action, against governors “who are trying to block and intimidate local school officials and educators.”

‘Buried’ CDC Guidance Emphasizes Universal Masking in Schools, Says Properly Protected ‘Close Contacts’ Needn’t Quarantine
Some key absences complicated the return to school in Wayne Township, Indiana: 461 to be exact.

After just eight days in classrooms, 37 positive coronavirus cases in the 16,000-student district outside Indianapolis had triggered hundreds of student quarantines, forcing young people to miss out on classes and extracurriculars.

5 insights break down how student suspensions are not falling equally
School administrators are issuing fewer out-of-school suspensions, but Black students and students with disabilities remain more likely to get suspended. 

Even though school administrators are issuing fewer out-of-school suspensions, Black students and students with disabilities remain more likely to face this most serious punishment.

K-12 schools suspended an average of 4.5% of their students in the 2017-18 school year, which was down from 5.6% in 2011-12, according to a new study by Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization focused on equity.

‘Fútbol is Life!’ Mexican actor Cristo Fernández is loving his ‘Ted Lasso’ role
As the irrepressible Dani Rojas in the hit Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso,” the role that kick-started the young Latino actor’s career is a perfect fit.

If fans of the exuberant “Ted Lasso” character Dani Rojas wonder whether art imitates life, a conversation with Cristo Fernández quickly reassures them that’s the case.

“My grandma and my mom used to say, ‘Cristóbal only speaks, breaths, talks, dreams, everything fútbol’ — soccer was literally my life,” the Mexican actor told NBC News, speaking about his teen years before his life-changing breakout role, where he’s known for his signature saying, “Fútbol is life!”

Las Tienditas
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At Amplify, we are passionate and relentless about partnering with educators to create meaningful learning experiences in schools. For this reason, we provide support and guidance at every step of your implementation, whether it’s helping your team think through an appropriate professional development plan, working shoulder to shoulder in the classroom, or providing real-time support in a chat window on a teacher’s laptop.

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