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Texas News
Donna ISD’s first female Superintendent completes Ed.D
More women are taking on leadership roles in school districts across Texas for the 2021-2022 academic year compared to men.

281 women were certified this year to become superintendents in Texas schools; that’s compared to 164 men.

In Donna, the school district has recently welcomed their first female superintendent since its creation one hundred years ago.

Principal on the roof: How one AISD principal is helping raise money for accessible playground equipment
The principal of Highland Park Elementary School in west Austin spent her day working from the roof last week.

Katie Peña promised her students they could have a pajama day and she would work from the roof of the school if they raised more than $15,000 for accessible playground equipment.

The students were able to go above and beyond and raise more than $24,000.

Bilingual children might have a superpower, UT study finds
A yellow smiley face bounces around a flat screen TV as a mesmerized toddler sits in front. He’s wearing a cap that cradles his head, attached to a bundle of wires.

The baby seems impossibly calm as UT Associate Professor Maria Arredondo conducts this experiment — one she’s already done on over 100 children. 

In a study published in March, Arredondo revealed how bilingual infants from 6 to 10 months old think and learn differently from those who grow up in monolingual households.

A Texas program that backs school districts’ bond debt is about to reach its limit — and it could mean raising taxes
Under the state’s Permanent School Fund’s Bond Guarantee Program, schools get the best interest rate on bonds. That soon may be over if the federal government doesn’t act.

A state-backed program that for decades has helped school districts get the lowest interest rates possible on bonds is about to reach its limit — and if it does, districts might find themselves having to ask for more money from taxpayers.

Uvalde shooting victims file $27 billion class-action suit
Victims of the Uvalde mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school in May have filed a $27 billion class-action lawsuit against an array of public entities and officials, seeking damages for ongoing trauma.

The suit filed last Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas names the city of Uvalde, its police department, the school district, the state Department of Public Safety and several police and school officials, alleging they failed to follow protocols for an active shooter.

Affiliate Feature
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National News
45% of public schools had at least one teacher vacancy this fall
Nearly half, or 45%, of public K-12 schools had at least one teacher vacancy as of October, according to government data released Tuesday.

Roughly the same percentage of schools had a teacher vacancy in January, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ School Pulse Panel survey that tracks schools’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic – during which schools received a massive amount of federal relief funds.

The average public school had two vacant teaching positions in October, and 4% of all public school teaching positions across the country were vacant, according to a survey of 990 schools.

Historic Rise in Child Bereavement as COVID, Drugs and Guns Claim Parents’ Lives
Parent deaths rose 25% in 2020 and the virus explains only a fraction of the increase, with accidental overdoses and gun homicides driving that number

It’s been two-and-a-half years since Reid Orlando lost his mother and he continues to feel the sting. His mom, a single parent and ER nurse of three decades, caught the virus while helping patients during the pandemic’s deadly first wave and did not recover.

Districts Are Spending More Per Student. Here’s How to Make Sure All of Them Benefit
Money is a perennial stress point for education leaders, but the pandemic has made budget needs even more urgent. Studies suggest it could take upwards of $600 billion to bring students back academically from learning disruptions over the last three years, and ongoing student absenteeism can hamstring district efforts to stabilize funding.

The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics suggest districts and states have been spending more on average per student across a wide array of instruction and student supports since 2019. Total per-pupil spending rose from $13,395 before the pandemic to $13,489 in 2020, the most recent year available. But average daily attendance, which is used to calculate federal and state funding for schools, fell in 14 states during that time; New Mexico saw the largest drop at 2.4 percent.

How to Recruit and Retain School Board Members of Color
Three years ago, Jasmin Shaheed-Young formed an Indianapolis nonprofit called Rise Indy that was focused on promoting educational equity. She knew that having a school board that looked like the community would be important to her cause, but there was a lot of confusion in the community around what school board members’ roles in education are.

Her solution was to start a program called the Circle City Leaders Program, which recruits women and people of color to run for school board. Three years and two school board election cycles later, all seven of the Indianapolis Public Schools board members were candidates supported by Rise Indy. Four are people of color, and four are women.

‘Gas’ Is the Latest App to Catch Fire With Kids. What You Need to Know About It
On the surface, Gas, a new app catching fire with high schoolers, sounds as much like an educator’s dream come true as any social media platform could be.

Strangers can’t contact kids. Users can only say nice things to each other, by participating in polls with an ostensibly positive spin, instead of writing their own, possibly hurtful messages.

But dig a little deeper and it’s clear that Gas—recently the number one downloaded free social media app in Apple’s app store—has serious flaws, experts said. As with other forms of social media, there’s still potential for hurt feelings and even bullying. What’s more, the app’s business model seems tailor-made to profit off teenage insecurities.

For now, educators aren’t sure what to make of Gas.

Las Tienditas
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