TALAS E-newsletter – July 16

Posted on July 16th, 2020
How to Renew Your Membership Today!
TASA’s online Member Services Center is the place to go to renew your membership. Simply log in using your username and password. If you forgot your password, retrieve it here. Once logged in, please click on the My Account tab to make any updates to your profile information. Then simply click on the Membership tab to access the Membership Signup button. Follow the instructions and your TASA membership will be renewed in no time! Questions?
Please read these step-by-step directions or contact Debbie O’Donnell at 512.852.2108.
Seminar for TALAS Members
Title: Uncovering Hidden Inequity
Hosts: Dr. Jeanette Chien & Ken Spero
Thursday, July 16th at 2 PM EST

Invite your staff and colleagues to this free session hosted by Dr. Jeanette Chien (SDCODE) and Ken Spero of SchoolSims (formerly Ed Leadership Sims).

In the simulation entitled Uncovering Hidden Inequity, you are a principal supervisor and your goal is to ensure equitable learning opportunities for students of color, while also attending to your own and others’ biases while framing your message about equity. In essence: building policies and structures to serve equity, while acknowledging both material differences and political interests.

Texas News
Corpus Christi ISD’s Roland Hernandez named regional Superintendent of the Year
Corpus Christi ISD Superintendent Roland Hernandez was named the regional Superintendent of the Year on Friday.

Hernandez, who joined the district in 2014, won the honor for Region 2 of the Education Service Center.

Hernandez earned his bachelor’s degree at Texas State University, his master’s degree at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin.

He began his career in education as a teacher and coach in Angleton ISD in 1992. Before joining CCISD, he served as superintendent in Waco ISD. Hernandez also served as administrative assistant to the associate commissioner in the Division of Accountability at the Texas Education Agency and the program coordinator for the University of Texas at Austin’s Charles A. Dana Center.

Regional Superintendent of the Year, Dr. J.A. Gonzalez, McAllen ISD

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
 –Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Associate
Justice, US Supreme Court, 1902-32

Dr. J. A. Gonzalez is a teacher at heart. Put a marker in his hand and a blank whiteboard beside him and his eyes light up. Whether his audience is made up of students or fellow professionals, he relishes the opportunity to teach.

“I am fascinated with the art of teaching and learning,” he said. “Everyone is some kind of smart —be it mathematical, verbal, kinesthetic or musical. We all have a particular learning style and

it is our job, as educators, to help our students discover their talents and to build on their natural skill sets.”

Fort Worth ISD Board President, superintendent send letters to governor raising concerns about school opening plans

Fort Worth ISD Board of Education President Jacinto Ramos, Jr., and Superintendent Kent P. Scribner are among the signatories of separate letters sent to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday raising concerns about the state’s readiness to open schools as planned in the fall. .

Dr. Scribner, as the chair of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents and a member of the Texas School Alliance, and Ramos, president of one of the ten largest school districts in the state, both urged the governor to set forth a plan for the coming school year that would –

·    Waive attendance accounting requirements

·    Set a floor on average daily attendance so funding at least remains the same as 2019-2020

·    And allows school districts to design curriculum that meets the needs of individual communities.

From Test Prep To Active Learning: The El Paso Transformation
Imagine the Intensity of a Syracuse full court press, the efficiency of Navy SEALs, the agility of a Silicon Valley startup, and the compassion and responsiveness of the Red Cross.  

As I interviewed the leadership of the El Paso Independent School District over the last two weeks it didn’t feel or sound like most school districts. The remarkable level of talent, the mission alignment, the “whatever it takes for every student” mentality was striking. 

When the pandemic struck in March, superintendent Juan Cabrera told his team, “From today forward, we are half education, half social services—whatever these kids need you have my permission to put that hat on—be completely responsive to their needs.” The speed and quality of response to the pandemic meant that education shifted smoothly to remote learning and new meal delivery protocols were quickly implemented. 

Tomball ISD families have 10 days to choose face-to-face or virtual classes
Students in Tomball ISD can choose between face-to-face, on-campus instruction or Tomball Virtual School for the fall semester, district officials announced during a special-called virtual meeting July 9.

Families should have received a commitment form on July 13. They must select their decision by July 24 to aid the district in fall arrangements, according to Chief Academic Officer Amy Schindewolf.

“We are excited to welcome students back this fall. We are working to ensure a safe and productive environment for everyone,” she said. “Parents will have the option of choosing the model that is best for their students.”

Parents will select a model for the duration of the semester; however, TISD will allow parents to switch models at the end of the nine-week grading period if desired, she said.

Texas high schools who changed their offensive mascots and others who should
Compared to Washington’s NFL team, Houston high schools were way ahead of the curve when it came to canceling offensive mascots and even changing entire school names. Of course, no one should be looking for any extra credit just for beating Daniel Snyder to the punch.

In 2014, the Houston ISD school board voted unanimously to prohibit the use of any race or ethnic group as a mascot or nickname. That meant Lamar High School switched mascots from the Redskins to the Texans and Westbury High School dropped its Rebels moniker and became the Huskies. The switch carried over to middle schools with Hamilton changing from Indians to Huskies and Welch banishing Warriors in favor of Wolf Pack.

In 2017, HISD went even further, renaming schools that honored Civil War leaders. Robert E. Lee High School became Wisdom, Jefferson Davis High School was renamed Northside and John H. Reagan High School changed to Heights.

Some Texas Districts Will Start School Year Online; Some Are Undecided

The first day of school is a little over a month away. Texas schools are making decisions about reopening — decisions that have never had to be made before and are on the minds of every parent, teacher, staff and faculty member. Some school districts want a delayed opening.

“I don’t know how many districts plan to delay starting school this fall, but the number is growing, and some local health officials are recommending a delay. It is too dangerous for students and school employees and their families to start school in August. The pandemic is raging in Texas, at least partly because the governor reopened Texas too soon in May. We can’t make that mistake with our schools. We urge the governor and the Texas Education Agency to slow down and order a delay in reopening all school buildings statewide,” Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, said on Tuesday.

Yesterday RA News reported that Texas teachers and others provided recommendations for a safe back-to-school plan for Houston schools.

Broadband availability presents hurdle to virtual instruction for area school districts
Texas schools now have a little guidance but there are still too many unknowns to know for sure what the start of the 2020-2021 academic school year will look like.

After the Texas Education Agency handed down guidelines, area school leaders began immediately working on plans to provide flexibility to parents on making decisions about what’s best for their kids while allowing districts to continue to comply with the newest guidelines.

According to TEA, parents can decide whether they want their kids to receive online instruction or in-person instruction and districts have to be prepared to offer both.

New Opportunities
Supporting Your Career
This one powerful practice will instantly make you more influential
In our often-polarizing world, the ability to change someone’s mind can be a powerful asset. In a professional setting, it’s a critical tool for influencing others. And you need influence in order to drive forward certain outcomes, do your job effectively and develop your own career.

But how can you be more influential?
But getting your boss to change her mind about an important decision, negotiating with a client who refuses to budge or convincing your coworker to buy into your idea requires a lot of finesse. There are, after all, complex power dynamics at play. Not to mention the fact that it sometimes seems that in the moments when you most desperately need someone else to see things from your perspective, they seem hell-bent on sticking to their own point of view. The solution? A persuasion technique first brought to light by famous French mathematician, physicist, philosopher and writer Blaise Pascal over 350 years ago.

National News
Momento Latino, joined by Eva Longoria and Joaquin Castro, wants to speak up for Latinos
Momento Latino is a new coalition dedicated to elevating issues important to Latino communities.

Newly-formed group, Momento Latino, is already pushing to erase inequalities towards Latinos as the coronavirus continues to devastate communities across the U.S.

Founded by influential Latinos like Eva Longoria Bastón, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Henry Muñoz III and Chef José Andrés, Momento Latino is a coalition focused on combating disparities within health, education, the economy and politics amid the coronavirus crisis.

“This is not about setting up a single fundraiser and walking away. It’s a movement.” Longoria Bastón told NBC.

Nevada school district pushes school reopening to Aug. 24

Nevada’s Clark County School District received approval from the state Department of Education to delay the start of the school year until Aug. 24.

District Superintendent Jesus Jara announced the scheduling change during a town hall event Monday, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Clark County is the nation’s fifth-largest school district, serving 320,000 students in Las Vegas and neighboring communities, the district’s website said.

The remainder of the district’s reopening strategy awaits approval by the state, which must review plans to restart classes using updated health regulations following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The reopening plan conditionally approved by the Clark County School Board last week will return to the board for further discussion if approved by the state.

Coronavirus spread threatens to overrun school reopening plans
As the calls from the White House to fully reopen schools grow louder, evidence continues to pile up to show that scenario is unlikely to happen, at least not on the national scale President Donald Trump desires. That’s not because state and local officials aren’t trying, but because the spread of the virus is beginning to overwhelm even the best-laid plans.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, for example, had been working on a blueprint to reopen schools in August as part of a long and delicate process. But with the virus now surging across Texas, the outbreak may make the decision for him.

“Initially I thought we would be ready, but I’m starting to have second thoughts,” Hinojosa told MSNBC’s Garret Haake last week. “Our parents have pivoted, more than 50 percent of them are now saying they don’t want to come, and we’re hearing loud and clear from our employees, especially our teachers, that they have a lot of concerns about how we can pull this off.”

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