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Texas News
Texas City ISD superintendent honored as ‘2021 Outstanding Citizen of the Year’
The superintendent of Texas City Independent School District has made her mark on both the school district and the surrounding community after just one full year on the job.

Dr. Melissa Duarte, who is now in her second year with the district, was named 2021 Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce.

The award was presented at the Chamber’s 53rd Annual Membership Gala on Jan. 20 at the Doyle Convention Center in Texas City.

Austin ISD now excusing student absences related to pandemic concerns
A local parent with an immunocompromised child hopes other districts follow suit.

Austin Independent School District announced it will excuse student absences related to pandemic concerns while Austin-Travis County is in Stage 5. 

AISD is putting some of its funding worries aside and giving parents a bit more wiggle room.

McAllen ISD adds Emotional Intelligence as requirement to school curriculum
After the McAllen ISD superintendent read Daniel Goleman’s book on Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ) years ago, he has now recently added a required course on EQ.

“Coming across the work of Daniel Goleman years ago I thought, ‘Man, this is brilliant,’” commented Dr. J. A. Gonzalez, the Superintendent for McAllen ISD. “It’s necessary as we move through life, but even more so in the midst of a world pandemic and coming out of it.”

Watchdog says Texas education adviser espouses racist conspiracy theory
A watchdog group is calling for the ouster of an adviser to the State Board of Education because he has echoed a racist conspiracy theory and has described Democrat Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election as a “literal coup.”

“So damn the COVID, the president must now lead his followers into America’s streets and squares,” the adviser, Stephen Balch, former director of The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization at Texas Tech University, wrote in November 2020.

What’s next for Texas social studies as the fight over ‘critical race theory’ continues?
As Texas heads into what’s likely to be a contentious review of how public school students learn history, one watchdog group is already calling for the removal of an advisor charged with providing input on social studies lessons.

The State Board of Education is at the beginning of a year-long review process of social studies standards. This comes after a legislative session where debate centered around how to eliminate “critical race theory” from the classroom. The resulting laws restricted how educators could address the history of racism in schools and approach current events.

2022 TALAS Meet & Greet
January 31, 2022 | 5:30–7 pm
Four Seasons Hotel Austin, San Jacinto Ballroom
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
Supreme Court will consider challenge to affirmative action in college admissions
The case, naming Harvard and the University of North Carolina, is the most serious threat in decades to affirmative action at public and private colleges and universities.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear challenges to the admissions process at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, presenting the most serious threat in decades to the use of affirmative action by the nation’s public and private colleges and universities.

SAT college admissions exam, no longer required by many schools, to go digital
U.S. high school students will use laptops rather than pencils and paper to take the SAT college admissions exam beginning in 2024, in a move to digitize the standardized test whose use has declined during the pandemic and as many universities no longer require it for admission.

Students who take the new digitized SAT – once a stress-inducing rite of passage for nearly all college-bound Americans – will have two instead of three hours to answer questions and will face shorter reading passages, College Board said in a statement on Tuesday. Test-takers may also use a calculator for the math portion to the exam.

How de-escalation strategies can reduce disruptive classroom behaviors
Using specific approaches matched to the phases of a classroom behavior crisis cycle can help schools prevent or respond to intense situations.

How educators respond to students in the cycle of emotional and behavioral crisis — including when students are calm, when concerning behaviors peak and when those behaviors subside — is critical to minimizing and preventing intense situations in classrooms, according to Reesha Adamson, an associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Leadership and Special Education at Missouri State University.

Parent-activists, seeking control over education, are taking over school boards
The end came unceremoniously for Superintendent Scott Baker.

At a contentious and chaotic school board meeting in Virginia’s Spotsylvania County this month, members moved into an unplanned closed session and voted to fire Baker, who had served in the role for a decade. The board probably violated Virginia open meetings law, and it failed to identify an interim superintendent. But it offered an undeniable show of strength — proof that the Spotsylvania school system, like many others around the country, is entering a new era, under new power.

Ellen Ochoa, first Latina to go to space, to publish bilingual STEAM-themed children’s book series
The renowned Latina engineer and researcher aims to promote scientific curiosity and the fundamentals of STEAM among young readers.

Children’s publisher Lil’ Libros, created by two Los Angeles moms and friends with the goal of promoting bilingual education, has acquired worldwide rights to a series of five STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) themed books in Spanish and English written by Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the American engineer who became the first Latina woman to go to space. 

Las Tienditas
This Week’s Featured Sponsor
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Contact: Jennifer Knighton – 512.736.3592