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Texas News
Dallas joins other Texas school districts in requiring clear or mesh backpacks after Uvalde massacre
The Dallas school district announced Monday that it will require students to carry clear or mesh backpacks to class, joining other Texas districts in implementing new security measures following the Uvalde school massacre.

The new rules apply to 6th-12th grade students at Dallas Independent School District — the second-largest public school district in Texas — and will take effect when the upcoming 2022-2023 school year begins in August. Other types of bags will no longer be allowed, according to the school district.

‘Nobody Has Accepted Accountability’: Uvalde Families Demand Change to Police and School Personnel
After the release of a damning House report, a Monday night school board meeting became tense and passionate as organized Uvaldeans refused to be silent.

On Monday evening, almost two months after the deadliest school shooting in state history took place two miles across town, a crowd of Uvaldeans trickled into their South Texas city’s spacious high school auditorium for a special school board meeting to weigh in on the now-frightening prospect of the incoming 2022-2023 school year. In the front row of seats, families placed photographs of the victims—19 elementary schoolers and two teachers—slain on May 24 by an 18-year-old man with an AR-style rifle.

EPISD aims to open county’s first public Montessori school
Leah Hanany was first exposed to Montessori as a young child, when she briefly attended a Montessori school in Austin. It was something she wanted for her own daughters, but she couldn’t afford to enroll them in one of El Paso’s few private Montessori schools.

This May, Hanany visited two public Montessori campuses in the Dallas Independent School District with the goal of bringing that method of education to El Paso students — regardless of their ability to pay. The El Paso Independent School District trustee has found an ally in that vision in Diana Sayavedra, who Hanany helped hire late last year to run the district.

Texas school board member admits a high school’s first Black principal was fired for being a ‘total activist’
A Texas school board member admitted that they fired a Black high school principal for pushing critical race theory.

In a video posted on Facebook, Tammy Nakamura, a newly elected member of the board, revealed to a Republican National Committee-sponsored school board panel in June that former Colleyville Heritage High School principal James Whitfield was fired for his antiracist activism. 

Expanding opportunities for Hispanic students enriches Texas
The UT System is joining other universities to better serve a growing percentage of the state population.

Texas is often defined by its entrepreneurial spirit and determination to push new frontiers. Businesses are establishing roots here in droves. People are moving here, working here and staying here. As our state continues to rapidly grow and diversify, Texas higher education has the responsibility, and the privilege, of ensuring an educated and trained workforce.

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Your Dose of Inspiration
‘Jane the Virgin’ writer: From undocumented English learner to Hollywood
Legal troubles, community colleges helped author Rafael Agustin find way forward

The plight of undocumented students often gets told through the pursuits and failings of policy that can feel like alphabet soup – DACA, Prop 187, AB 540.

Putting a face to those stories is important for us to be able to understand, in human terms, why California and the nation must chart a path forward for thousands of students who face uncertain futures.

Meet Rafael Agustin.

National News
Pace of learning back to normal during the 2021-22 pandemic school year but student achievement lags far behind, data shows
Math losses mount for middle school students

What do we know about how kids are catching up at school as the pandemic drags on? The good news, according to the latest achievement data, is that learning resumed at a more typical pace during the 2021-22 school year that just ended. Despite the Delta and Omicron waves that sent many students and teachers into quarantine and disrupted school, children’s math and reading abilities generally improved as much as they had in years before the pandemic.

Struggling Latino students should be priority, leaders say
Latino students should be a federal funding priority after they fell behind during the coronavirus pandemic despite making notable educational gains in recent decades, leaders with the largest U.S. Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group said Monday.

“There is funding there,” said Amalia Chamorro, who oversees educational policy for UnidosUS, formerly the National Council of La Raza. “We need to make sure it is directed to students with the most needs.”

One classroom but very different students: Why it’s now harder for children to catch up in school
A national testing organization found that teachers now must meet the needs of a broader range of students, making it more difficult to recover learning lost in the pandemic.

The pandemic’s impact on children has been so uneven that many U.S. classrooms now have a wider range of student abilities, with more students lagging far below grade level, new testing data shows. That’s made teachers’ jobs more difficult and put the prospect of academic recovery even further out of reach for many students. 

56% of K-12 schools worldwide report ransomware attacks in past year
Among respondents in a Sophos survey, 47% reported an increase in volume of cyberattacks and 50% saw an increase in complexity.

Ransomware attacks targeting the education sector have risen sharply worldwide.

Globally, 56% of K-12 schools and 64% of colleges and universities report being hit by an attack in the past year, according to an independent survey of 5,600 IT professionals in 31 countries by British security software and hardware company Sophos.

The state of learning loss: 7 takeaways from the latest data
American students are slowly starting to regain academic ground lost during the pandemic, according to nationwide and state testing data compiled by Chalkbeat. 

In the last year, students in younger grades have recovered between 15% and 35% of the learning they had lost, according to data released Tuesday by the testing group NWEA.

That’s the good news, particularly after a tumultuous school year that featured frequent staffing shortages, behavioral challenges, and student absences.

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!
Gaggle is the pioneer in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology. Our mission is to help ensure the safety and well-being of all students, supporting school districts in proactively identifying those who are struggling. We have helped thousands of districts across the country avoid tragedies and save lives.

Scott Murphy – Regional Sales Manager – 817.980.3438