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Texas News
Calallen ISD Superintendent Arturo Almendarez announces retirement
After serving as superintendent of Calallen ISD for over 27 years, Arturo Almendarez announced he will retire next year at the end of January.

Almendarez revealed the news at the Nov. 8 district board meeting.

Having been in the field of education for over five decades, Almendarez said he knew it was time to retire.

Parents push for new ways to teach Native history and culture
As Native American Heritage Month draws to a close, advocates say more work is needed to update instruction.

Skye Howell grew up in Houston and remembers being taught Native American history through myths and stereotypes “that relegated us to the past.”

Today, Howell is the parent of a second-grader at Becker Elementary School in Austin and a board member of Great Promise for American Indians, a Texas nonprofit that works to preserve the traditions, heritage and culture of American Indians.

With over 500 active Covid cases in El Paso’s 4 largest school districts, mask debate may reignite
As cases begin to rise among school aged children in El Paso, the Texas ban on mask mandates has been momentarily restored by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Prior to this, schools with children with disabilities were able to enforce a mask mandate, although no schools within the El Paso area were doing so.

Among the four largest school districts in El Paso, there are currently 511 active Covid-19 cases.

High Profile Exits Leave Uncertainty in Reform-Darling San Antonio Independent School District
When San Antonio Independent School District superintendent Pedro Martinez left his post earlier this year, he was confident his innovations and improvements would live on long past his tenure.

“One of the things I’m the most proud of here—I can see both in direct conversations as well as the data—is that the culture has shifted from when I started,” Martinez told The 74 after announcing his departure to become CEO of Chicago public schools. “Now that people see what is possible, there’s no going back.”

How More Efficient Health Care Has Worsened COVID Surges in Texas
A drive toward optimization and hospital consolidation has left the state with less capacity per capita.

The stories that Rodney Young has heard again and again from former students—physicians working in small towns surrounding Amarillo—have been bleak. They’ve told Young, a family doctor who teaches at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, in Amarillo, of how they’ve had to transfer critical patients to hospitals that are hours or even states away because of ICU bed shortages when COVID-19 cases surge.

Lessons in Leadership: An Educator’s Journey
Tuesday, Dec. 14, 3 p.m. EST • Virtual Event
To celebrate our long-standing partnership, Curriculum Associates CEO Rob Waldron invites you to an exclusive virtual event. He will be joined by Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent and former State Commissioner of the Hawaii Department of Education, and Marie Izquierdo, Curriculum Associates’ Senior Vice President of Education and former Chief Strategy Officer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, to talk about their journeys to becoming educational leaders. The conversation promises to be interactive, thought provoking, and inspiring.
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National & International News
As Threat of Omicron Variant Looms, School Closures Continue Ticking Upward
Even before the World Health Organization labeled the Omicron coronavirus strain a new “variant of concern” Friday, school closures were continuing to increase across the country.

Last week, 621 schools across 58 districts announced new closures for a variety of reasons including teacher burnout, staffing shortages and virus outbreaks, according to counts from Burbio, a data service that has tracked school policy through the pandemic. Since the start of the academic year, 9,313 campuses across 916 districts nationwide have added extra days off.

Inside the ‘big wave’ of misinformation targeted at Latinos
Before last year’s presidential election, Facebook ads targeting Latino voters described Joe Biden as a communist. During his inauguration, another conspiracy theory spread online and on Spanish-language radio warning that a brooch worn by Lady Gaga signaled Biden was working with shadowy, leftist figures abroad.

And in the final stretch of Virginia’s election for governor, stories written in Spanish accused Biden of ordering the arrest of a man during a school board meeting.

8 ways urban schools are accelerating learning in the wake of COVID
Many administrators have lengthened the school year or school day and expanded summer school programs.

Extended learning, tutoring and small-group instruction lead the way as schools work to accelerate—rather than remediate—to ward off COVID-era learning loss.

Many administrators have lengthened the school year or school day and expanded summer school programs, according to a Center on Reinventing Public Education analysis of 100 large and urban districts.

Pandemic-era civil rights data essential to inform special education equity
The upcoming Civil Rights Data Collection will provide a key foundation for understanding the pandemic’s impact on these students.

Twenty months into the pandemic, we are plagued by more questions than answers regarding its impact on students’ experiences and academic performance. While data continues to be collected in real-time, historical trends provide a baseline to help us understand and, ideally, develop strategies to address problematic shifts triggered by the pandemic.

Honduras elected its first female president, Xiomara Castro
Honduras’ ruling party conceded defeat Tuesday in presidential elections held two days earlier, giving victory to leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro and easing fears of another contested vote and violent protests.

Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura, presidential candidate of the National Party, said in a statement that he had personally congratulated Castro, despite only about half the voting tallies being counted from Sunday’s election.

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!
Vanir has delivered more than 1,000 projects for more than 100 school districts, totaling more than $6 billion in modernization and new construction cost. We facilitate effective and efficient coordination between district planners, regulatory agencies, community and user groups, advisory committees, design consultants and dozens of other participants.

Our education sector projects have included master planning, needs assessments, constructability review, project scheduling and budgeting, bidding, award, on-site construction management and project closeout. We also provide staff augmentation services such as “owner’s rep” and have managed architect, contractor and other professional consultant selection. Our services range from condition assessment/feasibility studies to complete program management for a number of districts.

Vice President / Area Manager