TALAS E-newsletter – July 9

Posted on July 9th, 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.
Texas News
Year-round’ school in Garland begins next year. Other Texas districts should follow its lead
With so much still undecided about the upcoming school year because of concerns about COVID-19, you might have overlooked a major step by the Garland Independent School District that holds promise to finally help close the achievement gap for low-income and minority students.

Last week, Garland was one of the few Texas districts to smartly approve intersessional calendars for the next two school years. The calendars account for more interruptions in classes because of spikes in COVID-19. But most important, they build in extra school weeks to provide remedial help for students throughout the year to help those who have fallen way behind because of last year’s school closings and the usual summer slide.

Intersessional weeks will be added in October, March and June for remediation, acceleration or enrichment, and the district will move from a six-week to a nine-week grading cycle.

Los Fresnos School District Delays Start Of Classes
The Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District is delaying the start of classes.

The Brownsville Herald reported Monday that classes won’t be starting until September 8th. The modified calendar is waiting on final approval by the Board of Trustees in their July 13th meeting.

Superintendent Gonzalo Salazar says the decision comes out of an abundance of caution because of the recent uptick in coronavirus cases reported all around the Valley.

Schools in Travis County are not just segregated. They’re the most segregated in the state.

Valerie Sterne has always known anecdotally that schools in Austin are segregated. She used to be a teacher and an administrator with the Austin Independent School District, and saw firsthand that students of color and low-income students were all attending the same schools. When she left to get her PhD in education policy, she decided to study the issue and get hard numbers.

Even though she expected to confirm her suspicion, one result from the study she published last month was still surprising: Schools in Travis County are more segregated than anywhere else in the state.

“I knew it was segregated here, but I thought it would be similar to other urban counties in the state,” said Sterne, a first-year education policy and planning doctoral student at UT Austin. “And it’s not.”

HCISD outlines new formats for school year

Choose your path. The Harlingen school district has released an online brochure detailing the new instructional pathways parents can choose for their children this school year.

Those pathways fall under two broad categories — face-to-face and remote.
And remote for the fall looks somewhat different than it did in the spring, said Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer for the Harlingen school district.

EPISD launches website for parents to choose if they sent their students to campus
The El Paso Independent School District is allowing parents to select if they will send their children to campus or keep them home for the Fall Semester.

The survey has been emailed to parents but is also available online at the district’s reopening website.

Parents can choose from the following options:

A staggered schedule that combines virtual and on-campus instruction. Students will go to the campus twice a week and continue learning virtually from home for the rest of the week.

Virtual learning that provides full at-home instruction using the EPISD@Home portal.

In-person learning five days a week on either a half- or full-day basis for students in select special programs such as English-language learners, students in grades pre-k through second and specific students with disabilities.
A option must be chosen by parents prior to Aug. 3, when school resumes.
As students prepare to return to classrooms, PSJA ISD provides options
The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District is preparing for teachers and students to return to classrooms in the fall — with options that include in-person instruction, hybrid instruction and online-only instruction.

For students who return to classrooms, the district will take safety precautions to reduce the risk posed by COVID-19.

Superintendent Jorge L. Arredondo said the district plans to distribute laptops to students who need them.

For the full story, watch the video above.
Clint ISD to hold first 9 weeks of classes online
Clint ISD announced its students will start the upcoming semester online.

The district says classes will start on July 27, the same date as nearby Socorro ISD. Students will participate from home but teachers will be in their classrooms using cameras and broadcast equipment.

The virtual learning will last until September 25, at that time, Clint ISD says it will decide if students should return for face-to-face learning.

LISD votes to be online only for first six weeks

The LISD Board of Trustees voted Monday for a complete remote learning experience for the first six weeks and discussed the current iteration of the 2020-21 instructional model.

Monica Garcia, District 7 trustee, said that she is concerned about the recent survey and its 35% participation rate, or over 8,200 of the more than 24,000 LISD students. The lack of involvement may lead to uncertainty for parents and may result in issues for students at the start of the school year. She added that students will be expected to engage in schoolwork.

“This time it won’t be self-paced,” Garcia said. “Students must participate, or they will not pass.”

New Opportunities
Supporting Your Career
How to ace your next online job interview
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the way we work — and that includes how we interview for that work. While remote job interviews are nothing new, they’re now the norm as companies grapple with reopening. As we prepare for them, there are a few important things that we should bear in mind, according to career coach  Dr. Dawn Graham .

Of course, the standard things that you’d do to prepare yourself for any interview haven’t changed — you should still research the organization and your prospective role there, use LinkedIn to see what the people who used to work in that position are doing now, and prepare questions for your interviewer or interviewers.

“But something that’s new with video is you, the candidate, are now responsible for setting up the environment,” points out Graham, a Philadelphia-based author and career expert. “You’re used to going into an office where the environment is already prepared, and you don’t have a lot of control. One of the things we have to recognize as job seekers is the environment setup is now half up to us, and we really have to take that seriously.”

Canutillo ISD to resume school with online classes for at least a month
Canutillo ISD
The Canutillo Independent School District said it will start off the new school year on Aug. 3 with online classes, known as remote learning, for at least a month.

The school district cited “upward trends in (coronavirus) infection rates” in announcing its plans on Friday, which officials said places an emphasis on safety.

“The district will deliver instruction through remote platforms until Labor Day. By Monday, September 7, 2020, the district will have communicated to parents whether to keep with 100% remote learning or continue with the reopening plans,” Canutillo ISD leaders said in a statement.

While the district noted “this plan is subject to change depending on future guidance from health officials,” here’s what has been unveiled for the re-opening, which school leaders said was put together after surveying parents, faculty and staff…

Fabens ISD releases 2020-21 ‘Back to School’ Options

Officials with the Fabens Independent School District (FISD) released their plan for a return to classes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to welcome our students and staff back to school for the 2020-2021 school year,” FISD officials shared. “We are working to ensure a safe and productive environment for all.”

As part of the new plan, parents in FISD will be offered two learning options: in person learning or full time virtual classes.

National News
U.S. Hispanic population surpassed 60 million in 2019, but growth has slowed
The U.S. Hispanic population reached a record 60.6 million in 2019, up 930,000 over the previous year and up from 50.7 million in 2010, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. Over the past decade, however, population growth among Hispanics has slowed as the annual number of births to Hispanic women has declined and immigration has decreased, particularly from Mexico.

Even so, Latinos remain an important part of the nation’s overall demographic story. Between 2010 and 2019, the Latino share of the total U.S. population increased from 16% to 18%. Latinos accounted for about half (52%) of all U.S. population growth over this period. They are the country’s second largest racial or ethnic group, behind white non-Hispanics.

Here are some key facts about how the nation’s Latino population has changed over the past decade.

A Hard Conversation for the Latino Community
Every weeknight, I sit down next to my co-anchor Ilia Calderón to host the Spanish-language news program “Noticiero Univision.”

Although our many viewers have come to know Ms. Calderón’s face, not many know how much she has had to overcome to sit in that chair. Her story, like that of many Latinos with African ancestry in the United States, is one of tremendous personal achievement, as well as astonishing perseverance in the face of deep-seated racism.

Ms. Calderón was born in the Chocó region of Colombia, a place she describes as “our little Black paradise.” When Ilia was 10, she left home to study in a Catholic school in Medellín, where one of the white students was so disgusted by the color of Ilia’s skin — and so proud of her own fair complexion — that she told Ilia, “You’re Black? Not even my horse is black!” That first encounter with racism in Latin America left a mark on Ilia — one she never forgot.

The Best Language Learning Software for 2020
What’s the best way to learn a new language? Ask anyone who speaks more than one language and you’re likely to get a wide range of responses. Classrooms, textbooks, language exchange programs are all tools that can help you reach a certain level of fluency. Language learning software is another tool that is becoming increasingly popular. However, each software features its own focus and teaching method. The best one for you will depend on your motivations. So, whether you are moving to a foreign country or want to brush up on your high school Spanish, we spoke with two experts and tested six programs to help find the best resource for you.

Why Use Language Learning Software?
Learning another language is not an easy task. Unlike children, who learn simply by listening to others speak, adults must undergo a long and arduous process of trial and error that includes both studying and practicing grammar, vocabulary, and speech. This takes a lot of time out of busy lives, especially if studying in-person.

Seminars for TALAS Members
Title: Uncovering Hidden Inequity
Hosts: Dr. Jeanette Chien & Ken Spero
When: 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.

Las Tienditas
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For 20 years, Achieve3000 has been guiding educators’ transition to online learning. Now, in these unprecedented times, we are here to help districts navigate the shift between teaching students at school and at home, ensuring every child, especially those most-at-risk, stays on-track. Whether it’s solving for your immediate challenges or planning for next year, we are here to support your success.
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