Renew your membership today!
TASA’s online Member Services Center is the place to go to become a member of TALAS. Please read these step-by-step directions or contact Debbie O’Donnell at 512.852.2108.
Texas News
A belated thank you to the SAISD trustee who found Pedro
In a city that likes to be on a first-name basis with San Antonio’s most admired people, Pedro Martinez, San Antonio Independent School District superintendent, became known as simply Pedro from the very start.

His vision for academic transformation and his passion for sharing that vision caught fire quickly in the city. With Martinez a finalist for the superintendent’s job with Chicago’s public school system, it’s worth recounting the story of how he ended up in San Antonio. It was thanks only to the moonlighting work of a single SAISD school board trustee, attorney Steve Lecholop, that Martinez even became a long-shot candidate for the job.

Set for School: Hutto ISD Superintendent explains its latest request of parents, teachers and students
Hutto Independent School district welcomed 8,957 students this school year, all in person and not virtual. Superintendent Dr. Celina Estrada-Thomas says the district is following County guidelines and requiring students and staff wear masks on campus.

The superintendent is also asking parents, students, teachers and staff to inform the Human Resources department if they are vaccinated. “Right now, I do not have a good reading on the number of people vaccinated in our buildings. If you look at the CDC guidelines, it’s a mitigation strategy. It slows down the spread,” said Superintendent Estrada-Thomas.    

Full FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine opens door for vaccine mandates in Texas
With the U.S. Food and Drug administration’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, Texas is in uncharted territory when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine Monday is cracking open the door for Texas cities, counties and school districts to compel their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 — moves previously blocked by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Texas House moves to fund limited virtual learning as delta variant thwarts return to normalcy in schools
The bill, which would provide funding through September 2023, needs final approval from the House before it heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

After months in limbo, Texas lawmakers took a step toward expanding and funding virtual learning as the pandemic still proves a threat to families not yet comfortable sending their children back to classrooms.

The Texas House approved Senate Bill 15 on Friday night in a 115-3 vote. The bill will go to a final reading and vote in the House before making its way to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

Opponents of “Critical Race Theory” Are Winning a Culture War in Montgomery County
School board meetings in Texas’s most Republican large county have devolved into shouting matches about curriculum, leaving many teachers worried about the academic year ahead.

Before she even reached the podium to deliver remarks at the Conroe Independent School District board meeting in late July, Ginger Russell began to talk. The small-business owner and mother of two had only three minutes allotted to discuss “critical race theory.” She had spent much of the previous few months attending school board meetings across Montgomery County, north of Houston, decrying the academic framework that examines the ways in which legal, social, and cultural systems can perpetuate racial discrimination. 

Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
Supporting Your Career
6 interview red flags that are concerning enough to reconsider an offer
Interviewing for a job is a two-way street — and it can be paved with subtle red flags. 

“The interview process is a direct line of sight into the culture of a company. The attention to detail, candidate experience, timeliness with responses, and generosity of shared information throughout the process is indicative of what will happen when you choose to join that organization,” says career expert Joe Mullings, Chairman & CEO of The Mullings Group, a talent acquisition and branding company in medtech.

Some warning signs that an organization might not provide the dream job you’re hoping for are glaring: a hiring manager letting you wait an hour in the lobby or a mention that the last two people in the role you’re applying for have left. 

National News
Latino community college presidents cautiously optimistic about enrollment
Freshman enrollment took a big hit in fall 2020. While educators are keeping an eye on the delta variant, they hope steps to retain and help students pay off.

As students head back to school for the fall, administrators at Hispanic-serving community colleges across the nation say they are more optimistic about student enrollment numbers, particularly compared to last year, at the height of the pandemic.

Local School Boards Are Banning Critical Race Theory. Here’s How That Looks in 7 Districts
This year’s tumultous debates over whether American racism exists, who perpetuates it, and how it should be taught in K-12 classroom settings has saturated the nation’s thousands of school districts.

About 26 states now have taken steps to curb various aspects of how teachers discuss with students America’s racist past and how districts fight systemic racism. Many take effect this fall, and some of them contain penalties for teachers and administrators, including the loss of their license or fines.

The science of catching up
Daily tutoring for those who are most behind rises to the top in research evaluations

Tens of millions of students may now be months or, in some cases, even a full year behind because they couldn’t attend school in person during the pandemic.

Significant setbacks are especially likely for the most vulnerable students — kids with disabilities and those living in poverty, who didn’t have a computer, a reliable internet connection or a workspace to learn at home. Educators will have to do something different for the 2021-22 school year to make up for those losses.

Use open educational resources to boost teacher collaboration, curriculum coherence
A first-person perspective on using OER to empower teachers and improve districts with openly licensed educational materials.

Every year on the first day of class, one of the authors of this piece would ask his social studies students what they considered the most dangerous thing in the classroom. They were always surprised to hear his answer: their textbook. He wanted his students to think critically about the single perspective that the commercial textbook showed—and which it didn’t. He also wanted them to think about how that one textbook too often controlled what they learned and didn’t learn.

Netflix’s Highly Anticipated ‘Maya and the Three’ Is Stacked Full of Mesoamerican Culture
Growing up, studios from Disney to Pixar were happy bringing us incredible stories from the ancient cultures of Greece, Egypt, and Rome, but we never got to see our ancestors on the big screen. Don’t get me wrong: Hercules to this day remains one of my favorite animated movies, what’s not to love about it?

But we are long over due for a legit representation of ancient Mesoamerican culture and now, thanks to Netflix, it looks like that is happening in the form of a nine-part animated series entitled Maya and the Three.

Las Tienditas
This Week’s Featured Sponsor
TALAS sponsors make this newsletter and other TALAS activities possible. Please support them. Click on the logo to learn more!
Staymobile is a technology solutions provider focused on mobile and desktop device protection, deployment, and repair. From extended factory warrantees, to de-kit/configure/deployment, to quick and accurate turn-around repairs, Staymobile provides end-to-end service solutions for school districts, government offices, and enterprise businesses of all sizes. In business for over a decade and backed by A rated insurance companies, Staymobile operates a national footprint of repair and deployment facilities manned by A+ certified technicians. As a vertically integrated solutions provider, Staymobile can offer best-in-class solutions at better prices and with a greater degree of efficiency. Our list of partnerships with manufacturers and resellers continues to grow, as does our protection of over 2 million devices across the country. For more information, please visit

Vice President of Business Development