TALAS E-newsletter – March 19

Posted on March 19th, 2020
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TALAS Superintendents responding to COVID-19
Tomball ISD Superintendent Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora speaks with a reporter about actions taken in response to COVID-19.
Lucio: With schools closing, we need to address ‘homework gap’
State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. expressed his support of emergency measures proposed in the U.S. Senate that aim to mend the digital divide in rural and poor areas amidst school closures due to COVID-19.

On Monday, 13 senators led by Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) called on Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to temporarily allow schools to use E-Rate funding to provide Wi-Fi capable devices and hotspots to students during this health crisis.

The E-Rate program issues discounts to schools and libraries for telecommunication and internet services and is capped at $4 billion each year. With $2 billion already allotted thus far, the senators are urging Pai to waive relevant rules to allow schools to make these accommodations so students can continue their education at home.

How Will the Oil Bust and the Coronavirus Affect the Texas Budget?
Historically, the Lege has met shortfalls with tax increases or spending cuts. Whether Dems or the GOP are in power makes all the difference.

The correct immediate response to the spreading novel coronavirus is to prioritize the health and safety of Texas residents. A larger state crisis is starting to boil just beyond the horizon, though. Between the economic downturn that the virus will cause and a growing oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, there could be a multibillion-dollar hole in the state budget by the time the next legislature begins in 2021.

Economic recessions have created these kinds of budget shortfalls three times since the eighties. The first time, with Democrats in power, the state response was major cuts to state programs, with a substantial tax increase to offset some bigger reductions. With Republicans in charge during the last two recessions, state lawmakers relied solely on spending cuts, leading to higher college tuition for students, reductions in state health care programs, and teacher layoffs. The new budget hole probably will become a major issue in legislative races in this November’s elections.

How to Effectively Coach Bilingual and Dual-Language Teachers
In Coaching Teachers in Bilingual and Dual-Language Classrooms, published by Solution Tree, author Alexandra Guilamo details how to create an effective observation and feedback cycle to coach teachers in bilingual and dual-language classrooms.

Throughout the resource, readers gain insight into pertinent and comprehensive coaching theory and acquire implementable strategies for coaching, sourced directly from Guilamo’s firsthand work and experience.

“Bilingual and dual-language teachers serve the fastest-growing student demographic in the U.S., and they deserve and require support,” explains Guilamo, who is a leading expert in the implementation, education, and effective leadership of dual-language, bilingual, and language-learner education. “That is the goal of this book—to provide the tools that coaches need to level the playing field in schools. In the end, structuring schools to provide equal access to instructional supports is the only way to make it work for all teachers and transform outcomes for students.”

Former Dallas lawmaker launches think tank dedicated to studying Texas Latinos
As a politician, Jason Villalba always struggled to find data on how Latinos felt about many of the issues he faced in the Texas House.

Where were Latinos on private school vouchers? Fixing homelessness? The controversial bathroom bill that captured the Legislature’s attention in 2017?

Now, the former Republican state representative is launching a foundation to help answer those questions.

“There is a need for robust data that speaks to neither Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or progressives,” he said. “People [have] a real desire to learn about these issues untainted by the political visions that we all wear.”

Last year he announced the “soft launch” of the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit aimed at studying the political patterns of Latino voters in Texas. The group, which has partnered with the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, aims to poll Latino voters in the state on a variety of political issues and weigh in with election analysis, previews of the state’s legislative session and census reviews.

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
Resources for TALAS Members
Free access to SEL resources through the end of the school year
reThinkEd, in their commitment to support districts impacted by schools closures, is offering free access to their SEL platform through the end of the school year. In addition they have released an  SEL toolkit  that anyone can access, it will be updated frequently. Please note, only district administrators can request access for their schools. 
Some additional supports:

As we continue to monitor the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on our schools, students and parents reThinkEd asked two of their experts to put together short webinars addressing stress that this uncertainty can cause.

Steven Tobias, Psy.D
Director of the Center for Child & Family Development

Blaise Aguirre, MD
Medical Director at McLean Hospital
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry/Harvard Medical School

These have been added to the SEL toolkit.

For more information, please contact;
Diana Frezza
Senior Vice President
m: 845-587-1523
Ed Leadership providing free, online simulation experience
The unprecedented outbreak of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and the global public health crisis it has spawned, is an extraordinary circumstance and we want to wish all of Administrators, Educators and Staff in our schools all the best in staying healthy and navigating the challenges of educating our children.

To help support this challenge from both a Leadership Development standpoint and to encourage communication amongst teams Ed Leadership Simulations is offering a free, online, facilitated simulation experience on March 24th at 1:30 PM EST on Cultural Competency in Schools. This is a great opportunity to engage with your colleagues within your district and other peers around the country during this challenging time. Click here to register.

In addition to the webinar, you will receive free access to our Cultural Competency Simulation for the remainder of the school year. This will provide you opportunities to stay connected with your staff and continue their growth.

Simulated scenarios assist in growing current and aspiring leaders and make for engaging and collaborative professional development experiences. By clicking this link, you can register for the webinar. If you cannot attend, you can still register and you will receive a recorded version of the event.

All the best.

Ken Spero, Chief Executive Officer
Ed Leadership Sims
(215) 565-5598

Experience is the Best Teacher

Working Remotely

7 Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Teams
Right now,  remote working –or, working from home–has become more than a trend. It’s now  a necessity for companies all across the globe . As a result, there are thousands of team leaders and managers who find themselves  suddenly managing a completely remote team . Honestly, that can be scary, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever had to do so and didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.

If that’s you, this list of tips will help you set up yourself and your team for success:

1. Have a Daily Check-In
Whenever possible, this should be one-on-one, and face-to-face via video. Phone conversations, email, and Slack go only so far. Your team needs to see you, and you need to see them. The good news is that services like Zoom or Google’s Team Hangouts make this relatively easy. At first, this should be every day. The purpose is simple–set the agenda and provide the feedback and resources your team members need.

2. Communicate a Lot
It probably goes without saying that you should be in regular communication with your team. One of the hardest things about working from home, especially if you’re used to an office environment, is the sense of loneliness and isolation that can set in. That’s especially true considering that many people are practicing social distancing.

National News
As schools close due to the coronavirus, some U.S. students face a digital ‘homework gap’
As K-12 officials in many states close schools and shift classes and assignments online due to the spread of the new coronavirus, they confront the reality that some students do not have reliable access to the internet at home – particularly those who are from lower-income households.

Here are key findings about the internet, homework and how the digital divide impacts American youth.

1) The majority of eighth-grade students in the United States rely on the internet at home to get their homework done. Roughly six-in-ten students (58%) say they use the internet at their home to do homework every day or almost every day, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Just 6% of students say they never use the internet at home for this purpose.

Bill to Boost Bilingual Access in the House
Last month, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva introduced the Supporting Young Language Learners’ Access to Bilingual Education (SYLLABLE) Act in the House of Representatives. The bill helps establish high-quality dual-language immersion programs in communities with high numbers of low-income families and supports those programs from pre-K to 5th grade.

“Today, bilingualism is an asset in our multicultural society and provides our students with more job opportunities in the economy of the future,” said Rep. Grijalva. “The SYLLABLE Act recognizes that importance, supports dual language programs in low-income communities, and ensures that every child has access to new educational opportunities that prepare them for a successful future.”

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.

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