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Texas News
TALAS and other organizations pen letter to Land and Resource Management Committee members on HB 1348
“This bill is truly a test of whether a charter school will be able to build a new school facility in a neighborhood without the approval of any elected body that is accountable to the public and without a general public notice or an opportunity to provide input into the process.”

TALAS joined 15 other organizations in urging the members of the Land and Resource Management Committee to vote against HB 1348, which would restrict the participation of elected officials in the approval of new charter campuses. You can view the full letter here.
Dallas ISD plans newcomer centers for high schoolers learning English and revamp of dual-language programs
Changes are aimed at better serving students learning English.

Students struggling to learn English will get greater support on their path to become biliterate if Dallas schools create newcomer centers for high schoolers and revamp dual-language programs, officials said.

The proposed changes come more than 15 years after Superintendent Michael Hinojosa was first hired to lead the district and when DISD began exploring better ways to serve students learning English.

Weslaco ISD approves $1.7 million air filtration purchase
Trustees of the Weslaco Independent School District approved the purchase of over a million-and-a-half dollars worth of air filtration units meant to provide an extra barrier against COVID-19 transmission.

The 1,100 high-efficiency particulate air filtration units the district bought cost $1,590 a piece, making the overall cost of the units $1.749 million.

“These units will provide an extra blanket of safety for our students and staff,” Executive Director of Facilities/Athletics Oscar Riojas wrote in a statement from the district. “We are combating the COVID-19 virus right now, but this will help with the flu season and allergies, with anything and everything that is aerosolized.”

Canutillo ISD’s Martha Carrasco named President of Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators
Martha Carrasco, Canutillo ISD Chief Human Resources Officer, has been named President of the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA).

Carrasco was nominated and elected by general membership of the TASPA Executive Board. Previously, Martha was Secretary, then Vice President.

“It is an honor to be elected as President of the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators for 2021,” Carrasco said. “I am excited to be able to serve the countless administrators and support staff so they can provide the best service to the public school human resources profession. I am deeply grateful for the support and encouragement from Canutillo ISD and my team.”

Fine arts could become optional for Texas high school students under proposed bill
Lauren Anderson was one of more than 20 speakers who spoke in opposition of House Bill 434, which would remove the one fine arts credit currently required for high school graduation.

Lauren Anderson knows the importance of arts in education. The Houston Ballet’s first black prima ballerina works with students in economically disadvantaged schools, teaching movement and arts in integrative programs.

The Misconceptions of the “Missing Students” – Raise Your Hand Texas
Our latest episode of Intersect Ed examines the misconceptions around students who are “missing” from their public school. Critics often place blame on educators saying they are not doing enough to find their students. What we know is the exact opposite: educators are going above and beyond to stay connected to their students.

Throughout the episode, listeners will learn about the lengths school districts are going to find students and what barriers they are helping students and families to navigate throughout the pandemic.

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Supporting Your Career
The 3 Key Formulas To Answer Any Interview Question
Interviews can be tough. No matter how much you prepare, you just can’t ever predict exactly what questions you’ll be asked.

That’s why it’s always interesting to debrief with my clients after they have completed an interview. Honestly, just when I think I’ve heard it all, someone hits me with a doozy. The questions I hear range from the bizarre management consulting firm sort of curveball like, “How many golf balls fit into an airplane?” to the mundane, “What was the highest level math class you’ve ever taken?”

National News
12 Months After Pandemic Closed Schools, 12 Million Students Still Lack Reliable Internet
The day her teenage daughter’s hair began to fall out, Eva Garcia knew the stress had become too much.

For months, Kimberly Son Garcia had been getting bumped off Zoom classes and missing deadlines because of slow internet access. Until November, the Los Angeles family had grabbed Wi-Fi from the parking lot of Carl’s Jr., a local fast-food chain, or through a school-provided hotspot. After shopping for her own internet service and rejecting bundles she couldn’t afford, Garcia finally signed up for a $30-per-month plan from Spectrum.

U.S. Department of Education Continues Aggressive Plan to Safely Reopen Schools
Following President Biden’s signing the American Rescue Plan into law, the U.S. Department of Education announced additional details on its plans to support schools in safely returning to in-person instruction. The Department of Education will provide best practices, guidance, and support to schools as they navigate reopening, while the American Rescue Plan will provide $130 billion to help schools implement these safe reopening measures and address the academic, social, and emotional needs of students. These efforts are part of U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s priority to support schools, campuses, and students across the country and were outlined in President Biden’s Executive Order on Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers.

The pandemic’s remote learning legacy: A lot worth keeping
Educators are seeing pandemic innovations worth keeping – some may even help solve chronic problems of quality and equity.

As districts across the United States consider how to get student learning back on track and fortify parent interest in public schools, they’re asking the same question as Steve Joel: What should we keep after the pandemic?  

The superintendent in Lincoln, Nebraska, says a district survey this past fall found that 10% of parents liked remote learning – pandemic or not. Nationally, nearly a third of parents say they are likely to choose virtual instruction indefinitely for their children, according to a February NPR/Ipsos poll.

Colleges Counted on Enrolling Latino Students. Now They’re Scrambling.
Francisco Paulino almost didn’t make it to college last fall.

Three months before the start of his freshman year, Paulino contracted Covid-19. The coronavirus attacked his nerves, aggravating the symptoms of his carpal-tunnel syndrome. For weeks, he couldn’t move his arms, write, or use his phone. Even sleeping was “brutally painful,” he recalled.

Fortunately, Paulino’s Covid symptoms improved enough by the end of the summer for him to enroll in the engineering program at Quinsigamond Community College, in Worcester, Mass. But the carpel-tunnel problem persisted — and intensified, with all the writing required in his Calculus 2 and macroeconomics courses.

Families Face Steep Truancy Fines, Contentious Court Battles As Pandemic Creates School Attendance Barriers
It was the Monday morning before Thanksgiving when a police officer showed up on Tracie Higgins’s doorstep and handed a $439 fine to her teenage son for missing too many days of remote school during the pandemic.

But the bulk of her son Mark’s repeated absences, the Wisconsin mother protested, were the result of faulty school technology, including a Chromebook that wouldn’t charge. Debra Pratt, also of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, faced a similar situation this school year with her son Jason, who was fined for racking up 28 absences that the school district marked as unexcused – including the same day in late September that he tested positive for Covid-19.

Here Are All the Latinos Nominated for an Academy Award This Year
When nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards were announced Monday morning (March 15), there were few Latinos on the list.

According to most movie awards pundits, the best chance Latinos had to score a nomination in one of the four acting categories this year was with Colman Domingo for Best Supporting Actor in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Unfortunately, Domingo didn’t land one of the five nods.

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!
7 Mindsets delivers SEL solutions including mindsets, equity and multicultural pedagogy.

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Duane Moyer, Regional Director – 404.354.2930