Renew your membership today!
TASA’s online Member Services Center is the place to go to become a member of TALAS. Please read these step-by-step directions or contact Debbie O’Donnell at 512.852.2108.
Texas News
Fort Worth ISD thinks ‘outside the box’ with effort to recruit teachers from Mexico
Fort Worth ISD is targeting educators in Mexico in its ongoing recruitment efforts to add bilingual teachers to the district.

The district planned to host a virtual job fair for teachers in Mexico City on Tuesday and Wednesday, it said in a news release Tuesday.

The informational fair will target teachers who are certified or interested in becoming certified in bilingual elementary and secondary Spanish for the 2022-23 school year, the district said.

La Feria ISD appoints new superintendent
Cathy Lee Hernandez is moving on from the superintendent position for La Feria ISD.

The school board unanimously approved her retirement/resignation agreement during a meeting held Jan. 10 and voted to appoint Lillian Ramos, the district’s executive director of special education, as interim superintendent.

“So Ms. Ramos, congratulations, and we look forward to working with you,” Board President Lisa Montalvo said at the Jan. 10 meeting.

The search begins for a new Mesquite ISD superintendent
Mesquite ISD has begun the search for a new superintendent.

The Mesquite ISD Board of Trustees voted last Monday to post an open position for a new superintendent after Superintendent David Vroonland announced his retirement in December.

At the proposal of Trustee Robert Seward, the board agreed to begin the search for a new superintendent by looking at possible candidates already working for the district.

Cy-Fair ISD superintendent shares heartfelt story of ‘modern family’ after trustee’s remarks on Black teachers
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Superintendent Mark Henry closed Thursday’s raucous school board meeting by denouncing trustee Scott Henry’s racially divisive remarks and taking a stand for a diverse workforce, empathizing with those hurt by the trustee’s statements Monday with a heartfelt, personal testimony of his own evolution. 

His comments came at the tail end of the four hour meeting where a number of parents in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD voiced concern during public comments about the newly sworn-in Trustee Scott Henry, who ran for election with a goal to rid the district of so-called “critical race theory” with two other candidates, Natalie Blasingame and Lucas Scanlon. 

Trust Keeps Our School-Research Relationship Alive in the Pandemic
How educators and researchers nudged forward a plan for equity

The success of our partnership—the Sol y Agua Research-Practice Partnership for Computer Science Education—between the El Paso Independent school district and the University of Texas at El Paso might well be defined by the fact that we have managed to move forward during the pandemic. Aimed at greater equity in computer science education, specifically for Latinx students, girls, and English-learners, our work to collaboratively develop and pilot middle school computer science curriculum that is bilingual and culturally responsive felt urgent until schools closed; until teachers worried about their missing students; until learning loss and testing pressures intensified; until substitute shortages and staffing changes shuffled plans; until team members fell ill and lost loved ones. And then, it wasn’t urgent at all.

Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National News
How to plan for a future of education where disruption is the norm
Forward-looking school leaders must accept ‘Covid as a constant,’ and plan accordingly

When will this pandemic end? It’s the question on everyone’s mind as a new year begins with another Covid surge forcing educators and policymakers to scramble.

But what if it doesn’t end?

Why Learning Loss Is Prompting Educators to Rethink the Traditional School Calendar: Start Earlier, End Later, Extend Breaks for Remediation
Pandemic-related school closures, which caused an alarming rate of learning loss among the country’s most vulnerable students, have prompted some administrators to reconsider the school calendar.

An earlier start date, a later end date and numerous, elongated breaks throughout the year could allow more timely remediation for children in need — and enrichment for those who are not.

The poorest students are falling furthest behind. Can mentoring help?
In the poorest neighborhoods, remote learning resulted in a half-point drop in a 9th-grader’s grade-point average.

Mentoring could be a key tool in K-12’s COVID recovery, particularly as evidence of the inequitable academic impacts of the pandemic mount.

More than 80% of teachers said mentors—trusted adults who get to know and support individual students—improve academic performance and also help students become more independent learners, according to a survey by Gradient Learning.

The Topics That Lead Book Ban Requests, According to School Leaders
Over the past year, some parents and activists have attempted to ban books about race, gender, and sexuality from classrooms and school libraries, sparking national headlines and controversies.

A new, nationally representative survey of educators sheds some light on how common these book censorship requests are—and which subjects are most frequently challenged. The EdWeek Research Center surveyed 1,200 teachers, principals, and district leaders in the second half of December.

5 superintendents to watch in 2022
These administrators’ track records and outlooks toward top issues facing K-12 and the challenges ahead make them key players to keep an eye on.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the average superintendent tenure was about five to six years. But the ongoing health crisis compounded the academic, technological, economic and emotional challenges facing district leaders, with many choosing to step down or retire early as pressures mounted. 

This was perhaps highlighted no better than in the nation’s three largest school systems — New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago — which together saw a trifecta of superintendent exits by the end of May 2021.

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!
Mesa Cloud is a student progress platform, purpose-built to automatically track each student’s achievement against their best path. We ensure no student falls victim to circumstance by scanning every student every night to check their status towards graduation, CTE, and advanced pathways that they might be eligible for. Our ‘digital safety net’ catches kids that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks, identifies opportunities to close equity gaps, and streamlines difficult manual processes for counselors and administrators district-wide.

Matt Smith, Account Executive,