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Texas News
Ysleta ISD administrator Russell-Garcia honored by statewide group
Ysleta ISD’s Chief Human Capital Management Officer Bobbi Russell-Garcia was honored Thursday as the recipient of the 2021 Dr. Mary Hopkins Personnel Administrator of the Year by the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA) at its winter conference in Round Rock.

YISD officials say every year during the TASPA Winter Conference, the statewide group honors three members with the Distinguished Service Award, Personnel Administrator of the Year Award, and Honorary Membership Award.

‘I feel like I’ve come full circle’: EPISD superintendent back to border roots
At community meetings this year, students, parents and teachers made it clear they had new expectations for El Paso Independent School District’s next superintendent.

They wanted change in key areas: they called for a local with educator experience, someone familiar with life along the U.S.-Mexico border and its challenges, who speaks Spanish, and is Hispanic or a woman. 

SAISD’s next superintendent must engage parents as partners in education
Superintendent Pedro Martinez left the San Antonio Independent School District for Chicago Public Schools two months ago, and to date, parents have yet to see a timeline to hire a permanent leader. SAISD has been in a state of instability since March 2020 and with Martinez’s departure, the district is even more vulnerable. What’s more, Martinez is taking with him two key players, the district’s chief academic and IT officers. 

Preserving history of Mexican American school segregation
Activists in the small town of Marfa, Texas, are working to get national recognition for a building once used as a segregated school for Mexican American students, some of who were used as extras in the 1956 movie, “Giant.”

Why it matters: Efforts to preserve the Blackwell School in West Texas are part of a movement to save sites connected to the nation’s history of racial segregation and racial terror as a way to reckon with the past.

Texas Election Officials Went Looking for Illegal Voters. They Found Some U.S. Citizens.
Nearly 12,000 registered voters have received letters demanding proof of citizenship as part of Texas’s newest effort at “voter list maintenance.”

Since retiring after a 34-year career as a middle school counselor, 62-year-old Brownsville resident Mary Lopez has taken a number of part-time jobs to supplement her state pension. For the past four election cycles, she’s worked in Cameron County’s Department of Elections and Voter Registration, answering phones, helping register voters, and performing other clerical duties. Lopez enjoys getting a behind-the-scenes look at the democratic process. 

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National News
Williams: A New — and Long Past Due — Roadmap for Overhauling How Schools Serve English Learners
Ever talked to a precocious elementary schooler? Then you know all about collective nouns. What do you call more than one dog? A pack! A group of cattle? A herd! And, of course, sheep hang in flocks, fish swim in schools, and — best of all — those noisy birds on the roof are a murder of crows. 

Get together a bunch of policy researchers, though, and what do you have? It’s one of the less well-known ones. When we gather, we’re a “fracas” of policy wonks. Not an ounce of cohesion in the bunch. This is most fully true at the most focused levels: the more specific the topic, the more fractious the fracas. 

4 Things to Know About Alberto Carvalho, Los Angeles Unified’s New Superintendent
Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade’s long-time, charismatic and controversial schools chief, was selected Thursday by the Los Angeles Unified school board as its next superintendent.

An advocate of school choice, nontraditional schools and known champion of undocumented student rights, Carvalho, 57, has run Miami’s schools for more than a decade.

Carvalho’s sometimes unusual reform tactics have been credited for Miami-Dade’s rising high school graduation rate, now about 89 percent — about 30 percent higher than rates the year prior to his tenure. 

Philly schools could thrive under Latino superintendent, some activists suggest
As the School District of Philadelphia intensifies its search for a superintendent, members of the city’s growing Latino community are floating names of potential candidates and the agenda they should tackle.

Names mentioned include current state and city education leaders, as well as school chiefs in big cities elsewhere. Some value a candidate having experienced poverty — as many of Philadelphia’s students do — and someone who is true to their cultural identity.

Principals of Color Are Scarce. Here’s What Districts Are Doing About It
Research continues to show the benefits of educators of color on all students and the positive effects of same-race principals on students and teachers of color—more Black students in advanced courses, higher math scores, and the hiring of more Black teachers, for example.

Still, while 54 percent of students in public schools nationwide are nonwhite, nearly 80 percent of principals are white. There’s an especially yawning gap between the growing Hispanic student enrollment and Hispanic leaders of color: Hispanic students accounted for 27 percent of public-school students in the fall of 2019, while only 9 percent of principals were from the same background that year, according to federal data.

Wave of litigation over face mask policies hits districts nationwide
The return to in-person learning in SY 2021-22 came with one complication districts may not have anticipated: Litigation over face mask policies.

Districts in at least 14 states — California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas — are currently involved in some form of legal dispute over the use of face masks on school grounds. Courts have issued interim or final rulings in at least 32 of those disputes, with more complaints being filed every day.

Las Tienditas
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Duane Moyer, Regional Director – 404.354.2930