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Texas News
PSJA ISD receives Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, first approved provider by state
The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (ISD) announced they have been approved as a COVID-19 vaccine provider site by the State of Texas.

The district said they have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccines to administer to PSJA ISD educators.

“We are grateful to be able to provide this service to our PSJA Team,” said PSJA Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. “We look forward to distributing more doses as they become available.”

Ysleta ISD sets vaccination goal for March, supports smaller districts
Ysleta Independent School District officials said Tuesday that more than 2,500 of its 6,000 employees will have received a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this week – and officials hope to vaccinate all employees who are willing to receive it by the end of this month.

“Safety is at the forefront of everything we do every day as educators,” said Ysleta ISD Superintendent of School Dr. Xavier De La Torre. “We stand ready not only to support our own employees who seek COVID-19 vaccines, but also our fellow educators at smaller El Paso-area school districts.

‘I love this district’: HISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan announces departure, accepts superintendent position in Springfield Missouri
The Houston Independent School District announced Monday via social media that Grenita Lathan, the interim superintendent, is leaving the district, sharing a statement from her on Facebook.

Lathan made remarks Monday afternoon about her departure during a press conference. Lathan said she has accepted a new position as superintendent with the Springfield Public Schools in Springfield Missouri, starting on July 1.

Education Experts Go Deep on Texas’ Second Annual Public Education Poll – Raise Your Hand Texas
We’ve said since the beginning that the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Poll is for everyone. It is for educators, researchers, lawmakers, and communities. It represents the voices of all Texans about an issue that impacts all Texans. It is Texas’ poll.

The eighth Intersect Ed podcast episode features education experts from a variety of fields reflecting on the Foundation Poll data and how it impacts their work. This was always the goal — that Texas across fields would use the research to inform decisions and stimulate action to improve public education for all students and families.

A Texas lender sued thousands of low-income Latinos during the pandemic. Now the feds are investigating.
Oportun Inc., a small-dollar loan company, disclosed to investors that it is the subject of a probe by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau following reporting by The Texas Tribune and ProPublica.

A federal consumer watchdog agency has launched an investigation into a company that aggressively sued thousands of Latino borrowers in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic while depicting itself as a financial ally of the community.

‘Not Celebrating Yet’: South Texans Wait for Biden to Cancel Trump’s Wall
In an interview last August, Joe Biden made a pledge: “There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration.” It was the first time the then-presidential candidate made such a clear promise. On January 20, hours after assuming office, he took executive action to pause wall construction for two months, idling excavators and bulldozers along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Biden’s order did not cancel outstanding construction contracts, withdraw eminent domain lawsuits, or revoke the waivers of environmental and historic preservation laws that allowed the project to proceed without normal safeguards—leaving South Texans still fearing a border wall could soon rip through their backyards.

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Supporting Your Career
When You’re Doing All The Right Things In Your Job Search—But Still No Joy
A Silicon Valley career coach shares his tips for what to do when you’re already doing everything right.

Navigating crowds of candidates in a virtual hiring market, today’s jobseekers have their work cut out for them. Network virtually with all the right people (but don’t be annoying). Showcase your adaptability on your resume (just like everyone else is, but do it differently). Give highly personable interviews via a screen (just do your best).

If you’re frustrated with doing all the right things but still not landing the job, you’re not alone. I recently connected with Silicon Valley career coach Kyle Elliott on the biggest challenges facing jobseekers right now—and how to overcome them.

National News
Here’s What’s In The American Rescue Plan
The House gave final approval to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday, passing it to President Biden’s desk for his signature. The colossal package known as the American Rescue Plan allocates money for vaccines, schools, small businesses and anti-poverty programs such as an expanded child tax credit that would mean new monthly payments to many parents.

You may be thinking: Didn’t the House already pass a relief package? Yes. But then the Senate had to make changes to the bill — some to satisfy Senate budget rules and others to gain the support of moderate Democrats. Once the Senate modifications were in place on Saturday, back to the House it went.

USDA Extends Free Meals to Children through Summer 2021 Due to Pandemic
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the nationwide extension of several waivers that allow all children to continue to receive nutritious meals this summer when schools are out of session. These flexibilities are now available through Sept. 30, 2021.

USDA is extending these waivers to provide local program operators with clarity and certainty for the summer months ahead, when many children cannot access the school meals they depend on during the academic year. The waivers were previously extended only through June 30, 2021.

Analysis: Remote or in Person? Underspending or Running Deficits? What School Reopening Decisions Mean for District Budgets
How are school district budgets faring this year? That depends.

Many districts are struggling financially. They have spent large sums of money dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic — buying technology, purchasing cleaning supplies, hiring more substitute teachers and attempting to address student learning loss and disengagement. This story, of districts in distress, is an easy one to tell, and there are certainly many districts in this situation.

But that narrative does not describe all districts. Those that have remained mostly or entirely virtual have actually been able to save money, and some are even on pace to run surpluses this year.

Supreme Court—over John Roberts’ sole dissent—rules in favor of student in First Amendment case
The Supreme Court on Monday revived a lawsuit brought by a former student seeking to hold his state university accountable for violating his First Amendment rights when it barred him from speaking about his religion and distributing religious literature.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for an 8-1 majority, allowed the lawsuit to continue even though the student, Chike Uzuegbunam, who has since graduated, was only asking for $1 in damages and the school’s policy has changed.

Thomas wrote that it was “undisputed” that Uzuegbunam’s rights were violated and that he could proceed with the case even though he was only seeking nominal damages.

Ensuring an Equitable Recovery for Latinos
The federal government must increase support for colleges that serve the Latino community given the pandemic’s devastating impact, argue Viviann Anguiano and Janette Martinez.

To overcome the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Latinos and ensure an equitable recovery, Congress and the Biden administration must step up support for the colleges that, by and large, serve this community: Hispanic-serving institutions, known as HSIs. Ideally, that would mean appropriating $1 billion a year for this group of more than 400 colleges and encouraging other funding measures that would equitably support Latinx students.

Want big advances from students and schools? Invest in principals, says new research
School principals, who rank second only to teachers in influencing how well students learn in school, matter even more than previously believed, according to major new research.

In fact, replacing a below-average principal with an above-average one will result in an additional three months of learning in math and reading annually for the average student, compared with an extra four months of learning when replacing a below-average teacher with an above-average one.

Las Tienditas
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