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Texas News
Donna ISD’s Hafedh Azaiez named Region One Superintendent of the Year
Donna Independent School District (ISD) Superintendent has been named Region One Superintendent of the Year for 2021.

Dr. Hafedh Azaiez has been with the district for three years.

“I’m honored and humbled to have been chosen for this prestigious recognition,” Dr. Azaiez said in a release. “What our district accomplished over the last three years is nothing short of amazing and a lot of credit goes out to everyone involved.”

Planting seeds of knowledge: Educator named RGV Bilingual Teacher of the Year
With each passing year and new set of students, Nelda Cruz makes sure to go above and beyond for her classroom.

As a kindergarten teacher at Judge Oscar De La Fuente Elementary School, Cruz says her teaching techniques and style go hand-in-hand.

From making sure her students get the extra help they need while learning new material to reminding her students how proud they should be for being bilingual, Cruz’s ultimate goal is to help her students become successful and be productive people in society.

‘He always gives back’: Houston educator Lupe Mendez named Texas Poet Laureate
Lupe Mendez traces his love of poetry back to Edgar Allan Poe and a thunderstorm.

His 7th grade English teacher set a haunting scene on a rainy day in Galveston, placing candles around the classroom and playing Poe’s collected works through a boom box with narration by beloved horror film actor Vincent Price.

Hometown Heroes: Tatiana Morales bringing language to English learners
Tatiana Morales can relate to the English learners in Port Arthur Independent School District on many levels.

“We have about 15 percent of the student population who are English learners,” Morales said. “That was me, at one point in time almost 40 years ago.”

At the age of 9, Morales and her brother came to the United States, fleeing from the Communist Sandinista Government in Nicaragua.

Q&A with EPISD’s new board president Al Velarde
The selection of El Paso Independent School District’s new board president was the only unanimous decision trustees reached June 15 when they chose new officers. The seven-member body all backed Al Velarde, who also cast a ballot in his favor.

First elected to the board in 2015, Velarde is the chief executive officer of the Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center. He is the most senior trustee on a board where the rest of the members have served two years or less.

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Supporting Your Career
6 ways to avoid getting ignored when applying for jobs
If you keep getting ghosted when you apply for jobs, there may be several reasons the hiring manager at the other end of your email correspondence isn’t getting back to you. 

For starters, consider the sheer volume of people who might be applying for the same job. Depending on your industry, HR might be overwhelmed with candidates, the position might have been filled internally or, even, eliminated for cost-cutting reasons.

National News
‘The Supreme Court Sided With Students’: High Court Affirms Off-Campus Speech Rights While Balancing School Efforts to Combat Cyberbullying
A Pennsylvania school district violated a high school cheerleader’s First Amendment rights when officials punished her for a profane, off-campus social media post, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a high-profile case that could affect how schools across the country discipline students for their online behaviors.

But the court’s 8-1 ruling doesn’t prohibit schools from regulating students’ off-campus speech altogether. Given the rise of online learning, the court declined to create a “broad, highly general First Amendment rule” defining what counts as impermissible off-campus speech, but it said schools could regulate students’ comments in certain instances such as those involving “severe bullying or harassment” or to confront violent threats.

Latino groups push for confirmation of voting rights expert Myrna Pérez as federal judge
“This is an important step from the Biden administration to begin to correct the imbalance of federal judgeships,” Latino group leader says.

National Latino leaders are pushing the Senate to quickly confirm voting rights expert Myrna Pérez as a justice for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. If confirmed, she would be the only Latina on the bench of that federal appeals court and the first since Sonia Sotomayor moved from it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Joe Biden nominated Perez last week for the appeals court, which serves New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

‘Be very careful’: Cardona expresses concerns about virtual learning next fall
As he continues his push to reopen schools, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says he is concerned about the students who will choose to learn virtually next year — and about schools using that option for students who would benefit from more hands-on help.

“My fear is that the students that need the in-person the most would be students who would either select or take the fully remote option and not get the supports that they need,” he said during an event hosted by Chalkbeat and The Education Trust. “I would also fear systems that have students who do not fit the traditional mold of how schools are designed being pushed out.”

Lessons in Leadership: How can districts improve recruitment, retention for male teachers of color?
In South Carolina’s Richland School District Two, Superintendent Baron Davis has also prioritized strong magnet programming and facilities improvements.

Since assuming the superintendency in Columbia, South Carolina’s Richland School District Two in 2017, Baron Davis has overseen several key initiatives to diversify the school system’s teacher workforce and academic offerings, as well as to fortify and enhance its facilities. Much of his two-decade career has been spent in the 27,000-student district, where he is also the first African American to hold the top leadership position.

Tortilla taunt as a racist punchline – that’s so not 2021
Those who grew up with a pile of homemade tortillas in the middle of the dinner table know that it is best to take one from the bottom.

Chances are good that when a Mexican family sits down to dinner, Mom is still flipping tortillas on the comal and adding new ones to the top of the stack.

Meet Natalie Diaz, the first Latina to win a Pulitzer Prize in poetry
Diaz won the award for her book of poetry, which details stories of her identities, as well as the positioning and experiences of her communities in the U.S.

Since the award for the category started being given out in 1922, there had never been a Latina to win a Pulitzer Prize in poetry — until now.

Natalie Diaz is the first Latina poet to win a Pulitzer Prize in poetry, for her second poetry collection book, Postcolonial Love Poem.

The collection centers around her identities and the injustices that many in her communities often face. 

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