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Texas News
This San Antonio teen went from taking tests to shaping his school district’s future in just a year
One of San Antonio’s school board members celebrated his 19th birthday a few months ago. Unlike many elected offices, there is no minimum age to run for school board in Texas. The only requirement is that candidates be old enough to vote when they take office.

This time last year, Michael Valdez was a senior at Edgewood Fine Arts Academy on San Antonio’s West Side.

In June, he crossed the stage to accept his diploma. By November, he was sworn in to his first elected office, becoming one of the seven trustees tasked with leading the district from which he had just graduated.

First Mexican-born woman in space speaks at Bowie High
as part of Hispanic scholarship program event
The Mcdonald’s owner and founder of the HACER National Scholarship Program along with the first Mexican woman to travel to space, are helping Hispanic high school seniors reach for the stars.

The scholarship founder, Richard Castro, joined Mexican astronaut Katya Echazarreta as a guest speaker to speak to students as part of a tour across high schools in the U.S.

In addition to awarding half a million dollars in scholarship funds to 30 applicants this year, the Golden Arches is recruiting Echazarreta, a former McDonald’s crew member who recently made history as the first Mexican-born woman in outer space.

Data, Dollars, and Defending Austin ISD at the Capitol
Highlights from the AISD Board of Trustees’ first meeting in 2023

During its first meeting of 2023, Jan. 12, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees already had a full plate. Trustees are facing a teacher pay crisis, inequities in learning outcomes, the challenge of hiring a new superintendent, and the Texas Legislature in session. Here are the highlights:

Money moves. Trustees and district staff both emphasized increasing teacher pay in the 2023-24 budget, but how much salaries will improve is far from set. District staff proposed a minimum 5% raise for teachers, from a starting salary of about $52,000 to $54,000. “I’m not interested in a 5% raise for teachers,” said Trustee Kevin Foster. “I’m interested in a thorough reimagining that matches what some places around the country have done. Yes, they’re outliers, but they’ve shown it’s possible for our starting teachers to make $70K.”

Will teachers get a $15K salary boost? Dems urge across-the-board raises as debate begins
School support staff would see pay bumps of 25%.

House Democrats on Tuesday filed a bill that would provide Texas teachers with a $15,000, across-the-board pay raise.

House Bill 1548, the measure introduced by Austin Democratic Rep. James Talarico, would give school districts enough money to grant $1,500-a-month salary bumps for teachers, librarians, counselors and school nurses.

Other school employees would get a 25% pay increase.

Families of Uvalde shooting victims will visit the Texas Capitol weekly to talk gun laws
Marissa Lozano wants lawmakers to do something about gun safety.

Her sister, Irma Garcia, was one of 21 people killed eight months ago at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. She said she’s frustrated with the Texas Legislature, arguing they haven’t done anything to prevent future school shootings.

Affiliate Feature
The Garland Association of Latino Administrators is a group of dedicated leaders whose ultimate goal is to develop leaders to foster success for all learners. We know that sometimes all it takes to change the world is a little support. Since 2019, we have been determined to make an impact on our Latino communities. The core of our efforts is to bring our team’s fresh ideas and passion for the range of activities we’re involved in. Through all of our endeavors, we hope to display the conviction behind our beliefs.
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National News
Cardona Calls for Better Teacher Pay, More Multilingualism in Speech
In an address in Washington, the education secretary laid out his department’s 2023 priorities, but offered few specifics

Calling for increases to teacher salaries and greater strides toward multilingualism, but with scant mention of the task of post-COVID learning recovery, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona outlined his department’s priorities for 2023 in a speech Tuesday afternoon. 

How a Superintendent Urged Parents to Discuss Gun Violence With Their Kids
A superintendent in one of the three California communities that’s been the site of a mass shooting since the start of last week shared specific tips with parents on discussing gun violence with their children, and advised them not to avoid discussing the topic.

The community letter from Superintendent Denise Jaramillo of the Alhambra Unified School District came barely a day after a gunman opened fire Saturday night at a dance studio in Monterey Park, a Los Angeles-area community served by the Alhambra district, killing 11 people during a Lunar New Year celebration. The district sent the letter just hours before another mass shooting rocked the state. On Monday, a man shot and killed seven farm workers at two locations in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco. A week before, on Jan. 16, six people were killed at a home in Goshen in central California.

Latino Teens Are Deputized as Health Educators to Sway the Unvaccinated
Classmates often stop Alma Gallegos as she makes her way down the bustling hallways of Theodore Roosevelt High School in southeast Fresno. The 17-year-old senior is frequently asked by fellow students about covid-19 testing, vaccine safety, and the value of booster shots.

Alma earned her reputation as a trusted source of information through her internship as a junior community health worker. She was among 35 Fresno County students recently trained to discuss how covid vaccines help prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death, and to encourage relatives, peers, and community members to stay up to date on their shots, including boosters.

5 tactics to help students embrace networking and relationship-building
Experts suggest guiding students to identify and expand their network of relationships, or “social capital,” so they can begin building professional pathways.

The term “networking” might conjure images of awkward social events rife with bland appetizers and stunted conversations, but that’s an old-school view educators should chuck, experts say.

Instead, networking is about relationships and relationship-building — and teaching that concept doesn’t have to be boring.

Here’s how a support group helps first-generation students navigate college in Wichita
When Emily Cruz was a high school senior looking to go to college, she didn’t know where to begin.

As the first of her family to attend college, she wasn’t familiar with how to apply for financial aid or how to find scholarships.

“It was kind of like figuring things out on my own,” Cruz said. “There weren’t many resources available to help me navigate.”

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