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Texas News
Ricardo ISD has named new superintendent, Gina D. Garza
Ricardo Independent School District has officially named a new superintendent beginning June 2021. Gina D. Garza will begin serving the students, staff, and community of Ricardo ISD. Ricardo ISD is a community that is steeped in tradition, driven by excellence, and supportive of students and staff.

Prior to joining the Ricardo ISD team, Gina served as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Jim Hogg County ISD where she was instrumental in increased academic achievement, development of college, career, and military readiness initiatives, human capital development, and innovative academic programs PK-12 grade. With 22 years of experience, Gina served as a Dean of Instruction and Principal before moving into district leadership.

A Year After Nationwide Protests, District Promises for Racial Equity — Juneteenth Gains Legal Popularity, but Misses Classroom Recognition
Texas 8th-grader Ernest Toledo said he’s learned and relearned Texas history throughout elementary and middle school, yet has never been taught a word about Juneteenth, an event in the Lone Star State many consider the first independence day for Black Americans.

“We should talk about it,” Toledo said.

After the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd sparked massive racial justice protests last year, state and city governments — and many private companies — rushed to recognize June 19 as a holiday for the first time. While the long-sought initiative has gained considerable steam, on the eve of Juneteenth a year later, many students, educators and parents are still wondering when it will make it into their state’s social studies curricula.

UTSA receives $40 million gift from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett to bolster student success
The University of Texas at San Antonio announced Tuesday that it had received a transformational $40 million gift from philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett to support its vision of becoming a model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence. The unrestricted gift allows the university to allocate the funds in ways that will most benefit its student population, now and for generations to come.

Will Texas legislators take harsher steps to ‘abolish’ critical race theory?
Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Tuesday aimed at banning teaching of the theory in public schools.

Texas lawmakers will revisit critical race theory during a special session, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement the day after he signed into law a bill aimed at barring the teaching of certain concepts related to race and racism in public schools.

The new law “is a strong move to abolish critical race theory in Texas, but more must be done,” Abbott wrote in Wednesday’s statement.

A Forgotten Burial Site in Presidio Tells the Story of a Disappearing Border History
A small group fights to save a cemetery and what remains of a Lipan Apache existence in the Big Bend.

The little hillock in Presidio does not look like a cemetery. The place is surrounded by modest houses stuccoed white, peach, or gray, and a lone line of wire strung on T-posts is all that demarcates it from the rest of the neighborhood. The cemetery has neither a gate nor a sign. The graves amid the desert scrub and gravel are humped cairns of round red and gray volcanic rocks, some of which have rolled away from their original placements. No other markers, dates, or other identifying information exist except for two adjoining plots, where small, side-by-side metal crosses bear hand-painted names: Manuel B. Aguilar and Felipe E. Aguilar.

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Supporting Your Career
This question about COVID-19 will make or break your interview
Statistics say that four out of every 10 people will want to change jobs this year, making the job market even more difficult to navigate than before. If your resume does pique someone’s interest, and if you score an interview, you’ll want to research potential questions — especially about COVID-19 and the past year’s quarantine.

While many future employers might ask about your coronavirus experience in particular ways, this question, in particular, has been popping up more than any other. It’s different than other COVID-related interview questions because an interviewer isn’t asking how you’re holding up or how your adjustment was. Those questions tend to lead interviewees to rose-tinted answers filled with phony performative vulnerability or superficial meditations on the state of work, and quickly differentiate creative, honest employees from those who just want to say the right thing to score a new job.

National & International News
Latino educational nonprofit receives historic $10 million from MacKenzie Scott
“It was very powerful, after years of hard work,” said Excelencia in Education co-founder and CEO Deborah Santiago. “To see this validation for our community, that was powerful.”

A prominent national nonprofit that measures how successful colleges and universities are in graduating Latinos is one the recipients of historic funding from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The $10 million grant that Excelencia in Education received this week is the largest sum the organization has had since its founding 17 years ago.

Analysis: Tutoring, Summer School, Pods — Survey Finds Parents Aren’t So Thrilled About Most K-12 COVID Recovery Solutions on the Table
After more than a year in which the majority of students attended school fully or partially remotely, districts nationwide are contemplating how to meet children’s present academic and social needs and prepare them for the 2021-22 academic year. A slew of policies and practices are on the table for the summer and coming year, bolstered by funding from the American Rescue Plan.

One crystal-clear lesson from the ongoing crisis of school hesitancy has been just how influential parents are in determining their children’s educational pathways. Education leaders must factor in parents’ perspectives, or reopening can be a flop — students won’t show up. So we asked the Understanding America Study‘s nationally representative sample of approximately 1,500 K-12 parents how they feel about a range of practices and policies under consideration. Many of the results are surprising.

Latino students are canceling college plans more often amid pandemic, research suggests
Latino students are twice as likely to forego college plans

Latino students were once the fastest growing group of college undergraduates, but recent statistics show enrollment since the pandemic is down among this group. Now a new study provides suggestions for bolstering college admissions.

The COVID pandemic has affected education in so many ways and some high school grads have considered a change of plans.

After enrollment dips, America’s schools hope for fall rebound
Ashley Pearce’s daughter was set to start kindergarten last year in Maryland’s Montgomery County school system. But when it became clear that the year would begin online, Pearce found a nearby Catholic school offering in-person instruction and made the switch.

Now Pearce is grappling with a big question: Should her child return to the local public school? She’s hesitant to uproot her daughter after she’s made friends, and Pearce worries that the district might go fully virtual again if there’s an uptick in coronavirus cases.

“It’s going to be fine if we stay where we are, and that stability for my family is probably the way we’re going to go,” Pearce said.

K-12 Dive: Tell us about your school district’s rising leaders
Behind every successful leader is a strong team providing support, reinforcing the foundation and asking the right questions. This is especially true in K-12, at both the school and district levels.

K-12 Dive is launching Rising Leaders, a project that highlights trailblazing assistant principals and assistant superintendents ascending through the leadership ranks.

Do you have an assistant principal who sets a gold standard on diverse and inclusive disciplinary practices? Do you know an assistant superintendent who makes the grade when it comes to innovative approaches to curriculum and learning design? We want to hear about them.

How a Latina entrepreneur is offering tools to promote bilingualism at home
Lelu is a new subscription education service that teaches children about a multitude of different topics in Spanish.

Ana Leyva’s parents came to the U.S. from Mexico and Nicaragua before she was born.

They settled in California, where Leyva and her two siblings were raised. 

Years later, when Leyva married her college sweetheart and became a mother, she knew she wanted to teach Spanish to her children as a way to maintain their Latino culture.

With that in mind, Leyva created Lelu, a monthly subscription service that teaches kids various Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) topics in Spanish.

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!
Founded in 1998 and based in Dallas, Texas, Istation (Imagination Station) has become one of the nation’s leading providers of richly animated, game-like educational technology. Winner of several national educational technology awards, the Istation program puts more instructional time in the classroom through small-group and collaborative instruction. Istation’s innovative reading, math and Spanish programs immerse students in an engaging and interactive environment and inspire them to learn. Additionally, administrators and educators can use Istation to easily track the progress of their students, schools and classrooms. Istation now serves over 4 million students throughout the United States and in several other countries.