TALAS E-newsletter – March 12

Posted on March 12th, 2020
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The strength of TALAS is the network. If you have been recently promoted let us know so that we can share the good news. Share with your colleagues the great work happening in your districts via the newsletter. Send emails to talasnews@gmail.com
Congratulations to TALAS Board Member Dr. Veronica Vijil!

FISD Superintendent named Distinguished Educator of the Year by Sam Houston State University
Dr. Veronica Vijil, Fabens Independent School District Superintendent, has spent her career listening to people to see how she can positively impact their lives. On Sunday, March 8, 2020, it was her turn to hear from those whose lives she’s impacted.

Vijil was recently named Distinguished Educator of the Year by the College of Education at Sam Houston State University. This is the highest honor that the university can bestow upon its alumni.

“It’s a fantastic honor for both Dr. Vijil and for the Fabens District. It confirms their [board of trustees] instinct and decision to hire a great leader,” said Clifton Tanabe, Dean of the College of Education at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Austin ISD posts request seeking firms to conduct superintendent search
Austin ISD began advertising last week a request for proposals, or RFP, for an executive search firm to conduct the district’s pending superintendent search.

According to a March 2 update posted to the district’s website, the process to secure a search firm will take about six to eight weeks, and an overall timeline about the superintendent search will be more clear once a firm is hired.

The RFP listing, posted online March 3, shows that submissions from interested search firms are due March 24 at 2 p.m. The district will then create a shortlist of search firms and presentations April 4, and a finalist could be approved at a special board meeting April 20.

Who wins when a state guarantees college admission to its top high school students?
A Texas policy that promises in-state college applicants in the top 10% of their high school class admission to any of the state’s universities increased access and improved graduation rates, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

The researchers found the policy brought in more students from high schools with higher shares of underrepresented and low-income populations and pushed out prospects from more advantaged schools. 

The findings come as several lawsuits challenge affirmative action policies at public and private universities. 

Advocates, teachers aim to help growing number of young Texas voters wield their power
High school teacher Rene Saenz decided to try something new in 2018.

He’s taught social studies in Corpus Christi for almost a decade. In that time, he’s invited county officials to show students how voting machines work, shown the teens political debates, given them voter registration forms and invited them to join a social studies honor society called Rho Kappa.

Saenz teaches at Moody High School. More than 90% of its 1,600 students are Latino, and more than three-quarters of them are economically disadvantaged.

The school is a polling location in Nueces County in South Texas. So, with permission from the school district, Saenz took his students on a “field trip” — to the voting booths in the cafeteria.

UTRGV to host first Latin theater festival, inviting three Mexican companies
The Latin Theater Initiatives student organization at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will be opening their stage to Mexican theater companies on Saturday — an event that the group’s founding adviser, Eric Wiley, said is a reflection of one of the university’s core missions.

“The whole concept of our school then, which is still true today, was that our campus was supposed to embrace both Latin America and U.S. cultures, and act as a conduit or middle person,” Wiley said of UTRGV in 1999, his first year as a theater professor there.

“And for Mexican American theater, I don’t think there is a better place really to have it.”

To commemorate the group’s 10th anniversary on Saturday, LTI will be hosting Primer Festival Internacional de Teatro Latino del Valley — the first theater festival that the university has ever hosted.

TALAS is recruiting both mentors and proteges
Despite the growing diversity of its population, the ethnic composition of state and local educational leadership administration systems has remained virtually unchanged over the last few decades.

For Latino and Latina leaders, access to information, visibility, and prospects to develop and grow as professionals are examples of opportunity dimensions that are not sufficiently available to them even to this day. For this reason, TALAS established the Latino and Latina mentoring program in Texas.


Participation is voluntary
Minimum two-year commitment
Mentors and protégés are expected to make a minimum of two contacts per month. Contacts may be in person and/or by telephone, Skype, Jigsaw, or email.

Mentors must commit to a minimum of one meeting with the entire cohort during a one-year period. All meetings will coincide with TASA’s scheduled conferences (TASA/TASB Convention, TASA Midwinter Conference, and UT/TASA Summer Conference on Education).

Note: The mentoring program is open to TALAS members only. If you would like to join, please visit Join TALAS on our website.

Leaders Needed
Take a look at who’s hiring
Hazard, Young, Attea Associates https://hyasearch.com/browse-jobs /
Texas Association of School Administrators TASA Career Center
What To Bring To A Job Interview
When you’re walking into a job interview, you don’t want to wing it. Preparation leads to confidence, so knowing what to expect can help you to meet expectations when the stakes are high. It’s natural to be nervous. Prep work is the antidote: having the materials you need can help you to push through the nerves, talk about your experience and share your story with confidence. But remember: the most important thing to bring into a job interview doesn’t fit in your backpack.

“Stay Curious”

The famous words of Steve Jobs are what you have to bring into the job interview, if you’re serious about moving forward in your career. Curiosity is the key: what will you discover about the people, process and culture of the organization? Consider the job interview as a two-way street: they are interviewing you but also you are interviewing them. Enter the interview conversation as a detective—what are the relationships around your potential position? But don’t turn your curiosity inward: “I wonder if they will like me?” “Do they think I have an accent?” “How am I going to explain those six months at Lululemon to the CMO?” This kind of introspective curiosity goes by another name: self-consciousness. Better to leave that uneasy self-awareness at the door when you walk into the interview room. Put your attention on your interviewer and find out how you can be of service to the company. Here are some other things to bring when it’s time to talk about your next career move:

National News
USA Today Launches Hecho en USA, a Spanish-Language Series
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2017, the Hispanic population in the U.S. made up about 18 percent of the nation’s total population. With this audience comes the need for Spanish-language publications to thrive, but they also share the same struggles as their English-language counterparts as seen last December when Tribune Publishing shut down its Spanish-language newspaper, Hoy, which had served Chicago’s Hispanic community for 16 years.

It’s a different story at USA Today, where they recently launched a new series that will tell the stories of the nation’s Latino population. Hecho en USA (or Made in America) explore the lives of Latino families.

“I wanted to read more stories about Latinos beyond the immigration coverage,” Cristina Silva, national enterprise editor for USA Today, said. “Latinos are one of the most prominent demographics in the United States and there’s been a lot of changes in recent years. We wanted to make sure that our readers know about Latinos in 2020.”

Every 30 Seconds, A Young Latino In The U.S. Turns 18. Their Votes Count More Than Ever.
Within three days of arriving on campus at Harvard College in August, Erick Torres-Gonzalez, a first-year student, was registered to vote.

A student group called the Harvard Votes Challenge helped him fill out a new-voter form for Wisconsin, his home state. Volunteers walked him through the US presidential election process during an orientation program Torres-Gonzalez attended for new students from low-income and minority backgrounds.

Many students there were the first in their families to attend college. In November, Torres-Gonzalez, who is 19, will also be the first in his family to vote.

Like others his age, he worries about climate change, access to higher education and criminal justice. His other big concern, immigration, is more specific to growing up as a young Latino in the US. Many of his friends are undocumented. He has vivid memories of his grandmother in tears on election night in 2016 when Donald Trump won the presidency. An immigrant from Mexico, she spoke no English and feared Trump’s promises to crack down on immigrants.

The fact that Torres-Gonzalez is part of one of the nation’s youngest and fastest-growing minority groups gives him hope, he said.

How do you represent Black and Latino communities at major museum shows?
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco started its Community Representatives program back in 1992 when it hosted an exhibit of the work of Henry Ossawa Tanner. But it was with the Revelations: Art from the African American South exhibit that “codified” the program, according to FAMSF’S director of education, Sheila Pressley. 

Pressley says that, like at many museums, the staff and the docents at the FAMSF are predominantly white, and they want people who represent the diversity of the Bay Area. The de Young’s Soul of a Nation exhibit (through Sat/15) has Community Representatives—20 college students who are paid for their work and eight volunteers. The upcoming Frieda Kahlo exhibit which opens March 21 will also have them. After that exhibit closes in July, the museum hopes to bring the representatives to work with the permanent collection as well. 

“We’re a city museum and now we’re free on Saturday for Bay Area residents,” Pressley said. “The connection the representatives make is really, really helpful for new audiences who may not feel comfortable in museums. It’s so important to provide an array of representatives and different voices.”

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