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Texas News
Gregory Portland ISD selected to first of its kind state advocacy program
The program aims at giving the district the tools they need to help advocate education priorities to state lawmakers.

The Gregory-Portland Independent School District has been selected to take part in a new program called the Trustee Advocacy Program through Raise Your Hand Texas.

The non profit was created by HEB chairman Charles Butt with a goal of improving public education for the 21st century.

Canutillo ISD a finalist for H-E-B honors
The Canutillo Independent School District is a finalist for H-E-B’s annual Excellence in Education Awards program and could compete for more cash prizes.

H-E-B announced Tuesday that eight school districts and five early childhood facilities have been selected. H-E-B is also recognizing five public school boards to highlight the importance of strong leadership at the board level. 

Since the program’s inception, officials at H-E-B say they’ve awarded more than $12 million in funding to benefit outstanding Texas public schools. This year, H-E-B will award a total of $82,500 to the finalists and school boards, who will go on to compete for even greater cash prizes at the statewide level.

Socorro ISD early colleges celebrate students who received associate degrees with stole ceremonies
More than 140 students in early college high school programs in the Socorro ISD celebrated their milestone achievement of earning an associate degree while still in high school at special ceremonies during the month of December.

Mission Early College High School, Rams Early College at Montwood High School, Socorro Early College at Socorro High School, and Trailblazers Early College at Americas High School honored their fall 2021 college graduates by awarding them their stoles signifying the achievement at in-person and virtual events.

‘Woefully inadequate’: With Texas foster care in crisis, expert panel calls for accountability, specialized services
A panel of experts tasked with recommending fixes to Texas’ troubled foster care system denounced the state’s mental health services as “woefully inadequate” on Monday, urging Texas officials to improve specialized care and work faster to get children out of unlicensed facilities where hundreds are being kept temporarily.

Gov. Greg Abbott agreed to establish the panel in October in response to a decade-long class action suit against the state alleging conditions in foster care violate children’s rights. The crisis reached new heights last year, as Texas closed down a number of facilities flagged for unsafe conditions — but didn’t replace the beds lost, leading to a capacity crisis that reached all-time highs last summer. 

State Rep. Celia Israel announces run for Austin mayor
Former Austin mayor and Democratic state Sen. Kirk Watson has also expressed interest in running for the position, as has City Council member Kathie Tovo. Two candidates have formally announced their candidacy: Jennifer Virden, a Realtor and former Austin city council candidate, and Erica Nix.

Outgoing Democratic state Rep. Celia Israel announced Tuesday she will run for Austin mayor.

Israel, who was elected to the Texas House in 2014, said her campaign will focus on housing, affordability and transportation in the city.

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National News
The White House will distribute 10 million more COVID tests per month to schools
With schools all over the country struggling to deal with a surge of coronavirus cases from the omicron variant, the White House on Wednesday announced it is increasing the supply of COVID-19 tests for schools to help keep facilities open for in-person learning.

President Biden and others in his administration insist schools should stay open, even with the omicron wave making it harder than ever to manage.

Across Cultural Lines, Home Schooling has Boomed Since COVID-19 Hit
For Isabel Bishop, 12, and her 8-year-old brother, Bodhi, school might mean a trip from their home in Fairfax County to the Harriet Tubman Museum in Maryland to learn about slavery and the underground railroad.

For Mali Holmes, 7, of Richmond, school might mean playing chess with friends and developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

For Tera Thomas’ sons – Noah, 10; Jude, 8; and Elias, 7 – school might mean baking Christmas cookies. “Lots of math and instruction following,” the boys’ mother said.

The 5 best scholarships for Latino students
Scholarships are a great way to pay for college without the obligation to repay funds. Maximizing scholarship potential can be especially useful for Latino students, who on average received less in institutional grants than their white counterparts in 2016, according to a statistical brief from UnidosUS.

There are hundreds of organizations that recognize this financial gap and offer scholarships specifically for Latino college students with the aim of making a college education more accessible and affordable. Here’s where you can start your search and apply for a few of the best scholarships for Latino students.

From “West Side Story” to “Encanto”, Latinos win big at the Golden Globes
Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose won acting awards for “West Side Story,” and Mj Rodriguez for “Pose.” “Encanto,” with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, won best animated feature.

Latinos won big at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, with Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose taking the top acting awards for “West Side Story,” Mj Rodriguez winning for her role on the FX show “Pose,” and “Encanto” winning best animated feature.

César Chávez’s march that changed it all is the topic of a new graphic novel
“The thing that stuck with me the most was his perseverance,” award-winning comic book author Terry Blas said of the iconic Latino labor leader.

He wanted others to remember him by organizing. And now, almost 30 years after his death, a new graphic novel wants to inspire young readers with the story of a 340-mile protest march that lifted César Chávez as a national champion for farmworkers and labor and civil rights everywhere.

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