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Texas News
Somerset ISD has a lone finalist for superintendent, Jose H. Moreno of Robstown ISD
The Somerset Independent School District board has picked Jose H. Moreno, 51, the superintendent of Robstown ISD near Corpus Christi, as the lone finalist to replace Superintendent Saul Hinojosa.

Hinojosa announced his retirement from the position last summer after 15 years and the district began its formal search in November, with help from the law firm Walsh Gallegos. The board conducted two rounds of interviews in January before settling on Moreno with a unanimous vote Monday night. By law, it must wait 21 days before taking a vote to make the hire.

Donna ISD Expands Migrant Student Initiative
Growing up in a migrant family was very challenging. We were 11 in all, so as you can imagine, my mom and dad struggled to make sure we all had what we needed to get by. When I turned 12, I recall leaving our home in Donna for the first time with my parents and three older sisters. My younger siblings stayed behind until they were old enough to join us on these yearly trips.

In time, I came to understand that my family was part of the labor movement of South Texas workers who migrated north to work the fields. First, we headed to Michigan where we worked the strawberry, tomato, and cucumber fields. From there, we journeyed west to Montana, where we faced the tedious and difficult task of thinning rows and rows of sugar beets.

Fabens ISD mariachi group heads to state competition
Fabens High School mariachi ‘Los Gatos Salvajes’ will be heading to state competition after earning a Division 1 at the West Texas UIL Region Mariachi Contest held at Eastwood High School on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Mariachi director Natalie Carrasco stated the group was formed six months ago and have been recently performing for five. She adds she is very proud of how far the group has come in such a short time. 

How can surplus dollars benefit Texas schools?
Legislature to consider increasing funding key programs so districts can invest in infrastructure

The 88th Texas Legislature is dealing with an unprecedented budget surplus, and the number of people fighting for a piece of the $12.5 billion approved spending budget is quickly increasing.

However, billions of dollars worth of that surplus is money from within the Foundation School Program that was appropriated but never spent. We believe that money, which was designated for education, should stay in education. And some simple budgetary changes within the FSP could have lasting benefits for Texas school children.

Texas lawmaker seeks compensation for victims of Uvalde, other shootings
Citing the Uvalde school massacre as a catalyst, Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez proposed two pieces of legislation Tuesday addressing gun violence on school grounds.

Senate Bill 574 would compensate school shooting victims and families of victims dating back to January 2018. The bill would provide $1 million for each deceased person, $250,000 for each “seriously physically injured” victim, $100,000 for each person suffering from a mental or emotional disability, and $50,000 for each physically injured victim after gun violence at a Texas public school.

Affiliate Feature
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National News
First Latina Selected to Lead National Principals Group
One of the nation’s major school leadership organizations will notch a historic first with its selection of a new leader to take on the top post in 2024.

Raquel Martinez, a principal in Washington state, will take over this month as the president-elect of the National Association of Secondary School Principals—meaning that, come August next year, she’ll be the first Latina to lead the organization as its president.

After Early Success With English Learners, Can a District Keep Its Momentum?
Elizabeth Alonzo swerved around desks that reached just above her knees. She set up laptops for Katherine Wilson’s 2nd graders, so they’ll be ready for an online reading test.

The students were finishing up P.E. in the gym. All except 9-year-old Jose Perez Juarez, who was meeting with a counselor who works with students new to the country.

Alonzo is an aide at West Elementary in Russellville, one of 10 bilingual instructional assistants the district hired using federal pandemic relief funds—part of the school district’s latest efforts to create a more inclusive, affirming school climate for English learners.

3 strategies districts should consider when weighing school closures
As enrollment declines lead to closure discussions, education and finance experts suggest ways to get ahead of the curve and mitigate fallout.

Districts nationwide are facing school consolidation and closure decisions due to enrollment declines — a trend education and finance experts say was a long time coming but was temporarily staved off in some places thanks to federal pandemic aid.

Washington’s Bellevue School District, for example, plans to close and consolidate three elementary schools. Similarly, Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin voted to close an elementary school after budget cuts and enrollment declines. 

How to Best Teach Immigrant and Refugee Students, and Why It Matters
In Jessica Lander’s classroom at Lowell High School, every student is a recent immigrant or refugee. They come from about 30 different countries, including the Republic of Congo and Cambodia. And she’s been exploring innovative teaching strategies to help best reach her diverse students.

Lander teaches history and civics at this large public school in Massachusetts, and she says one of the most important strategies is to find ways to bring out her students’ stories in the classroom. For instance, her students work on one project where they study stories of immigrants and then write about their own immigration stories, and another where they choose a favorite family recipe and together compile a cookbook that they publish to share with the broader community.

After the pandemic, young people need music education more than ever before
Boosting music and arts can improve overall student achievement and well-being

When 15-year-old Ka’iulani Iaea first moved schools, she struggled. She missed her friends and familiar teachers. Life at her new school started to change for the better when she began learning the music of her Native Hawaiian culture.

“It was very hard and rough because I hate change. But being able to feel the music and express myself freely made it very much easier for me,” the high school student shared on the Tamron Hall Show during the announcement of the 2023 Lewis Prize awards for community nonprofits that advance creative youth development through music.

Las Tienditas
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