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Texas News
Texas State, San Marcos CISD partner for innovative teacher residency program
Texas State University, through a grant from US PREP, has collaborated with the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (SMCISD) on an innovative year-long teacher residency program designed to improve outcomes for students and student teachers alike.

The residency is different from the standard pathway taken by education students because it provides the continuity of being in the same classroom for the entire school year. Placement in the same classroom for field work and student teaching allows for a deeper immersion into the culture of the classroom community and the formation of stronger, more supportive relationships with cooperating teachers, school leaders, students and their families.

Civil rights lawsuit continues to divide Spring Branch ISD, possibly impact school board elections
A civil rights lawsuit could potentially delay Spring Branch ISD’s board of trustees election, with the possibility of the election being moved from May to November. This has caused more tension in an already divisive debate within the school district.

Back in June 2021, a former Spring Branch ISD teacher and former school board candidate Dr. Virginia Elizondo filed a federal civil rights lawsuit which alleges that having every school board member elected “at-large.” This means they represent the entire district instead of neighborhoods which violates the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 because it dilutes the voting power of minorities.

UH approves bachelor’s degree in Mexican American and Latino studies
The University of Houston is now offering a Bachelor’s of Arts in Mexican American and Latino/a Applied Studies. The school’s Board of Regents unanimously approved the program at its meeting last week.

“We live in a global world and a global economy, we have developed a program to not only give students cultural competency, but also prepares them to get jobs,” said Dr. Jeronimo Cortina, associate director of the university’s Center for Mexican American Studies who led the effort to establish the degree program.

COVID-19 cases are declining in Texas schools after omicron surge
Student and staff COVID-19 cases are declining after districts reported the highest levels since the pandemic began. But the data is incomplete and likely an undercount.

Students in Texas public schools are experiencing another year upturned by COVID-19 as the delta and omicron variants spread.

Texas schools appear to be turning a corner with the virus after the highly contagious omicron variant caused a surge in student and staff COVID-19 cases in January. Statewide, cases and hospitalizations have declined. For now, schools are prohibited from requiring masks, though some continue to ignore the governor’s order banning mask mandates. 

Jill Biden’s San Antonio Visit Highlights Childcare Challenges for Military Families
The First Lady visited an Air Force daycare to discuss the concerns of service members whose children have disabilities.

On Wednesday, First Lady Jill Biden stood in a colorful preschool classroom at the Gateway Child Development Center inside San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base, as the young children of service members showed off their counting skills. Afterward, military staff and families joined Biden in a discussion about service members’ access to childcare, particularly for children with disabilities.

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National News
For Diversity in School Boards: Georgia Students Lead the Fight
Maariya Sheikh is just 16 years old, but every day at school she gets a lesson in inequality she says the adults around her should heed.

Drawn by a specific academic program, Sheikh chose to attend high school outside the affluent, majority-white area of Cobb County, Georgia, where she lives. Her new school is the most racially diverse in the county. It is also significantly less resourced than her middle school. Students, many from disadvantaged neighborhoods, see the difference. Her high school teachers often pay for class materials out of their own pockets. More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, they are short of hand sanitizer.

Our schools must tell a better and more complete story about our growing economic inequality
We risk raising children without empathy for those with different backgrounds

Since the end of the Great Recession, the U.S. economy has experienced tremendous growth. However, as the economy has grown, so has economic inequality, increasing dramatically across the country.

The average income of the nation’s top 10 percent of earners is now more than nine times higher than the average income of the bottom 90 percent. The pandemic is exacerbating the trend: Over the past two years, billionaires’ wealth increased more than ever before, a report by Oxfam International found. And an estimated 160 million people were pushed into poverty.

Biden Supreme Court Nominee, Praised for ‘Stellar Civil Rights Record,’ Could Face Conflict on Upcoming Harvard Admissions Case
President Joe Biden made history Friday when he nominated federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, however, she’ll likely face pressure to sit out one of the most important cases involving race and education in recent years. 

In 2016, she recused herself from a sexual misconduct case against the U.S. Department of Education because she has served on the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, where she previously graduated magna cum laude and served as editor of the Harvard Law Review. Prior to her confirmation hearings for a federal judgeship, she explained in a questionnaire that she “was serving on the board of a university that was evaluating its own potential response” to sexual assault guidelines.

The Afro Latino who redefined how Black history is remembered
Arturo Schomburg’s experiences as an Afro Puerto Rican at the turn of the century influenced his approach to rescuing and preserving Black history.

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg is regarded as one of the foundational figures of Black history in the United States, with one of the nation’s most important research and cultural institutions named after him.

Yet his legacy goes beyond the work he did as a historian, writer and collector of global Black art and historical materials.

A Latina creates a platform to provide scholarships for STEM students
There is scholarship funding from companies and organizations that goes unrewarded because students don’t know about it, said María Trochimezuk, founder of IOScholarships.

A Latina has created a platform to provide access to scholarships worth almost $38 million for Latinos and other students interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

María Trochimezuk, 47, created IOScholarships after noticing the amount of scholarship money that went unrewarded due to the lack of applicants. The free platform gives STEM students in high school and college a place to find scholarships, internships, work opportunities, financial education and resources based upon GPA, merit and financial background.

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