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Texas News
Region 5 Superintendent of the Year makes local community proud
Dr. Mike Gonzales has been named the 2021 Region 5 Superintendent of the Year.

The Port Neches-Groves Independent School District administrator has served as superintendent for four years, with a total of 24 years in public education.

Gonzales has exhibited exemplary and visionary leadership toward improving student performance, which is the mission of the award, according to a release from the Region 5 Education Service Center.

UTSA partners with SAISD to establish Dual Language Community Lab Schools
The University of Texas at San Antonio is building on its efforts to advance knowledge and practice of dual language education.

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) and San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) are partnering to lead three Dual Language Community Lab Schools.

As part of Senate Bill 1882, signed into law during the 2017 Texas legislative session, the 1882 Partnership aims to create a dual language model lab school network that will advance the preparation of teachers, principals, counselors, school psychologists, and others dedicated to educating bilingual students in San Antonio.

Austin ISD To Alter Policies After Finding Black Students Are Far More Likely To Be Disciplined
The Austin Independent School District is changing its disciplinary practices after a new report showed Black students were five times more likely to get disciplined than white students. Hispanic students were twice as likely to get suspended compared to white students, the report found.

The report, released Thursday, found that most of the students who were disciplined were in middle school. Twenty-five percent of Black and 14% of Hispanic middle-school students were suspended or received other types of punishment last school year. Only 6% of white middle-schoolers received suspensions.

United Way Of Metropolitan Dallas Fights Pandemic-Related Learning Loss
A new program in DeSoto ISD and Cedar Hill ISD is getting students excited about learning, even during the summer break.

It is a program called “Heal, Play, Learn,” developed by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, in partnership with the school districts.

After a year filled with pandemic-related learning disruptions, Susan Hoff with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas said the program hopes to help kids fall back in love with school and learning.

What the Texas Legislature did for public education
Texas’ 2021 regular legislative session ended last month with lawmakers doing something education advocates initially feared wouldn’t happen: they passed a budget that kept the previous session’s funding gains in place.

That sums up how public education fared this session, said state Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, who serves on the Texas House Public Education Committee. “For the most part, we maintained the status quo,” she said.

Reminder: TALAS Annual Meeting
June 23-24, 2021

Join us for the TALAS Annual Meeting & Affiliate Meeting in Austin, TX this year! The deadline to register is Friday, June 18. View the event program below, or click here to download the PDF.
We still have several openings for the Top Golf event sponsored by Swing Education and IXL. If you would like to sign up, you can do so at this link.
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Supporting Your Career
The 5 Questions You Must Ask During Your Job Interview
As a career coach, I consider interview prep to be one of the most important activities I engage in with my clients. I’m always keeping my ear to the ground, soliciting updates on the latest interview practices and approaches, and especially the questions that are most commonly coming up in interviews.

I try to use this column regularly to share some of my strategies for acing some of the most important interview questions, and there is one question I always spend extra time on with my clients that I think will surprise you.

National & International News
For the First Time in the Pandemic, a Majority of 4th Graders Learn in Person Full Time
For the first time since the pandemic began, the majority of 4th graders nationwide have finally made it back to classes in person full time, according to the latest federal data. But there are still big racial and socioeconomic differences in who has access to full-time in-person instruction.

In the fourth of five monthly federal surveys this spring, tracking how schools have been reopening and instructing students during the pandemic, the National Center for Education Statistics finds that by April, nearly all K-8 schools offered at least some in-person instruction, and 56 percent of them provided full-time instruction on campus.

Efforts to restrict teaching about racism and bias have multiplied across the U.S.
Over the last several months, officials nationwide have raced to enact new laws and introduce new policies meant to shape how students discuss the nation’s past — and its present.

Many of these efforts have attempted to ban critical race theory, the academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism. In other states, lawmakers have tried to restrict specific kinds of antiracism training or the teaching of “divisive” concepts. The picture is varied, though, and other states are adding ethnic studies courses or incorporating more about people of color into their learning standards.

Analysis: Engagement, Demographics, Academic, Economics — School Needs Index a New Way to Gauge Success in Serving Students With the Greatest Challenges
We have heard a great deal over the course of the pandemic about learning loss. But while the negative impact of COVID-19 on students of all kinds is becoming increasingly clear, some students have struggled since long before the pandemic, including those living in extreme poverty or without homes; students in juvenile justice facilities; and overage, undercredited high schoolers.

Existing measures of school performance, however, don’t provide enough information to identify which are doing a good job with these vulnerable student populations and which aren’t.

Do principals hold the key to fixing school discipline?
Across the U.S., education leaders grapple with emerging questions about the best approach to student discipline. These questions stem from heightened concerns that disciplinary tools that remove students from school, such as out-of-school suspensions (OSS) and expulsions, may harm the removed students’ future educational achievement and attainment. This is particularly worrisome considering that suspensions are not evenly distributed across students. For example, Black students in secondary schools miss over five times more days of school due to suspension than do their white peers.

‘Dying of thirst’: The Cucapá in Mexico fight against climate change and oblivion
“It is a fight that seems that we will never win,” says Lucía Laguna, as Indigenous Mexicans grapple with geography, the legacy of dams and treaties, narcos and climate change.

Lucía Laguna carries her fate tattooed on her face — from the corner of her mouth to her chin, black lines surf across her coppery skin — the tribal art honoring her people will also serve an important function later on.

Latina podcasts are on the rise as more diverse Latinx stories need to be heard
How two Philly Latinas created a podcast to shed light on different lived experiences among Latinas as a whole.

As the need for more Latinx representation in the media becomes more apparent, Call Your Sister, a Philly-based podcast aims to make their experiences and the stories of other Latinas heard via podcasting.

The podcast medium has allowed listeners to hear a variety of different topics and issues as the format reaches and caters to people across the country. However, it wasn’t until recent years that podcast platforms saw an increase of Latina-based podcasts.

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!
Newsela takes authentic, real-world content from trusted sources and makes it instruction ready for K-12 classrooms. Each text is published at five reading levels – with thousands of articles available in both English & Spanish to help Spanish-speaking English Language Learners with comprehension – so content is accessible to every learner. Today, over 2.5 million teachers and 37 million students have registered with Newsela for content that’s personalized to student interests, accessible to everyone, aligned to TEKS and other instructional standards, and attached to activities and reporting that hold teachers accountable for instruction and students accountable for their work. With over 10,000 texts in Newsela’s platform and 10 new texts published every day across 20+ genres, Newsela enables educators to go deep on any subject they choose.

Newsela’s offerings include Newsela ELA, Newsela Science, Newsela Social Studies, Newsela SEL, and more.

Contact District Partnership Directors Josh Cobb or Perla Sanchez for more information.