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Texas News
YISD’s De La Torre takes on new statewide role
Dr. Xavier De La Torre, Superintendent of Schools at the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD), took on a new statewide leadership role as of Sunday, according to the district, as the 2022 President of the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS), a large organization in advocacy for the growth and advancement of Latino learners and leaders in Texas.

Dr. De La Torre was sworn in during the TALAS executive board meeting Sunday in Austin, following an endorsement from state Rep. Art Fierro.

TALAS Activities at TASA Midwinter 2022
TALAS kicked off the conference weekend with a Mentorship Program meeting on Saturday, followed by a joint luncheon with TABSE. At Sunday’s executive board meeting, Dr. Xavier de la Torre was sworn in as the new TALAS President.

There were two TALAS sessions on Monday: “Leadership Transparency on Student Learning Loss from Across Texas”, hosted by Dr. Celina Estrada-Thomas, Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora, and Dr. Veronica Vijil; and “Advocacy for Latino Learners and Leaders is Mission Critical” (Dr. de la Torre, Dr. Ricardo Lopez, Dr. Salazar-Zamora, Dr. Vijil, and Mr. Mark Paz), in which TALAS leadership shared the vision of the organization and discussed the priorities for advocacy/voice, as well as leadership development. The Meet & Greet afterwards featured a special performance by Mariachi Nuevo Cascabel, San Marcos CISD.

Dr. Lucio Calzada hosted a final session on Tuesday morning, “Mentorship Program Success in Developing Latino and Non-Latino Leaders”, in which he described the framework for the success of the TALAS mentorship program, shared the current programs for Cohorts 7 & 8, and discussed recruiting potential protegees for 2022.
North Texas districts closing ahead of upcoming winter storm
From school closures to hazardous driving conditions, North Texans are bracing for a major winter storm that’s due to deliver frigid cold and frozen precipitation.

Many area school districts began activating their inclement weather plans on Tuesday, a day before a strong arctic blast will bring a wintry mix of precipitation that is expected to deteriorate road conditions and send temperatures well below freezing for several days.

Latino Dallas ISD Families Less Likely to Have High-Speed Internet: Survey
The Dallas Regional Chamber got a detailed look on Thursday at a survey that has some worried about the city’s future workforce.

A recent survey by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation found Hispanic families in the Dallas Independent School District are less likely than white or Black families to have high-speed internet at home.

Due to teacher shortage, some urge Texas to cancel STAAR testing this year
TEA numbers indicate that last year’s STAAR test scores were worse than scores in 2019.

A parent at Manor ISD is raising her concern with how students are going to perform on this year’s STAAR test, given that there are wide-scale teacher shortages caused by COVID-19 that are affecting how students learn.

“From what I understand, from what my daughter is telling me, the students go into the classroom, they call roll for the students, and then the student just sits there,” said parent Skeeter Simpson. “How can they do a STAAR test if they’re not learning what they need to do the test?”

Texas students, frustrated by limited COVID-19 protocols, turn to petition drives and walkouts
The omicron variant has resulted in record-high COVID-19 cases in Texas schools. Despite student and staff absences, one Round Rock student said schools are remaining open for in-person learning “while everything around us is falling down.”

For Texas high school students, keeping up with class work was hard enough before the pandemic.

But then the pandemic hit, and with it came debates over everything having to do with Texas schools. Masks or no masks? Will online classes be available?

Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents Sets Virtual National Education Career Fair for Feb. 11-12
In an effort to connect education organizations and schools facing ongoing staff shortages with job seekers, the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents will host a virtual National Education Career Fair from 1 to 5 p.m. EST on Feb. 11 and Feb. 12, the organization said in a news release.

School districts and education companies from across the country will be at the online event to recruit for a wide variety of jobs, including teachers, school counselors, school and district superintendents and other education positions, as well as for corporate jobs such as education consultants.

Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National News
Increasing Segregation of Latino Students Hinders Academic Performance and Could Amplify COVID Learning Loss, Study Finds
Elementary students from low-income families are less likely than they were two decades ago to attend schools with middle-class peers — a trend tied to the growth of the Latino population and continuing “white flight” from many school districts, a new study finds.

Conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Maryland, the analysis of over 14,000 districts nationwide shows that in 2000, the average child from a poor family went to an elementary school where almost half of the students were defined as middle class. By 2015, that figure had fallen to 36 percent.

New Orleans will be the first major school district to mandate COVID vaccinations
As school systems across the U.S. struggle to keep classrooms open amid the pandemic, New Orleans is set to become the nation’s first major district to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for children 5 and up, though state regulations will allow parents to opt out easily.

Ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, many schools in the city have been holding vaccination events, including one at KIPP Believe school.

One by one, dozens of children presented their signed permission slips, pushed up the sleeves of their pale yellow school uniform shirts and — often wincing, but rarely with tears — received a shot. Then they got candy.

CRT Map: Efforts to restrict teaching racism and bias have multiplied across the U.S.
Officials nationwide have raced to enact new laws and introduce new policies meant to shape how students discuss the nation’s past — and its present. Many of these efforts have attempted to ban critical race theory, an academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism.

In some states, lawmakers have tried to restrict antiracism training or the teaching of what they call “divisive concepts.” But on the opposite end, other states are adding ethnic studies courses or incorporating more about people of color into their learning standards.

More than half of teachers are looking for the exits, a poll says
Teachers are picking up slack for absent colleagues. They’re covering for unfilled positions. And 55% of them say they will leave teaching sooner than they had originally planned, according to a poll of its members by the nation’s largest teachers union.

The National Education Association poll, conducted in January, helps quantify the stress being placed on educators right now. It found that the number who say they’ll leave the profession sooner has risen significantly since August.

These Latinx Students Helped Design A Satellite That Was Sent To Space
Alejandro Cordero, a professor of electronics and the CEO & Founder of Innova Space, which is reportedly the only company in Latin America that specializes in the design and development of PocketQube pico-satellites.

Innova Space was born from an educational project led by Cordero and his seventh-year students. Cordero had challenged his students of Technical High School, which is dubbed number five in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina with designing a satellite in 2019.

Las Tienditas
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