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Texas News
CCISD dual-language program aims to teach English while maintaining Spanish skills
The program works well for Gladys Garcia’s kids, who benefit from learning English in school to keep up, but also get to keep their native language.

Corpus Christi schools are aware of the need for dual-language and bilingual-education choices to get children on even footing with their English-speaking peers.

Gladys Garcia is new to the area, and told 3NEWS that no one in her family knows English. 

Michael Hinojosa and Jeannie Stone: Texas schools must consider the data before adopting a 4-day school week
We need to be protecting every minute of instructional time.

When we put on our “teacher eyes,” we can understand why the idea of a four-day school week could be an attractive incentive for educators who have one of the toughest but most impactful jobs in the world. As parents to young adults who used to be school-aged children, we also empathize with families who would favor a three-day weekend.

Mayor Sylvester Turner expects the state will soon take over Houston ISD
The Texas Education Agency has been in a legal battle to take over the state’s largest school district since 2019.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday morning that he has been told that the Texas Education Agency plans to take over the Houston Independent School District as early as next week.

The biggest school district in Texas and the agency that oversees it have been locked in a legal fight for years, with the TEA raising concerns over Houston ISD’s school board management and low scores in one high school.

Virtual music lessons create access and equity for Dallas ISD’s young musicians
During the pandemic, Demetrius Ethley was unsure if he would retire from being Carter High School’s choral director, but instead, he has now been teaching for 13 years, specifically functional piano, modern band, musical theater, music theory and choir. Part of “Mr. E’s” continued passion for the arts comes from being in Dallas ISD’s Virtual Private Music Lessons Program, which was soft-launched last October. 

The virtual program allows directors to nominate students of a certain competency level for free, private music lessons over Zoom. Lessons are currently administered by University of North Texas graduate students or faculty members, and last year, when the program began, there were about 250 lessons per week. That number has grown and now stands at almost 650 lessons per week for 61 middle and high schools. 

School districts face millions in extra costs as Texas program that backs bond debt hits its limit
Without the state’s safety net, districts with pending bond projects must now decide whether to pay more in interest or halt construction.

A state-backed program that for decades has helped school districts get the lowest interest rates possible on bonds and keep their credit scores high has reached its debt limit — and it could cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Texas’ Permanent School Fund promises lenders who buy bonds from a school district that the state will pay them back if the district can’t. But it can only vouch for so much debt.

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National News
Why a Handful of School Districts Rejected COVID Relief Funds
An overwhelming majority of school district leaders this year are eyeing the finish line for federal COVID relief dollars and pondering a future without them.

Stewart Jesse, superintendent of Glass City Academy, a public charter district in Toledo, Ohio, is not among them.

He and his colleagues chose not to accept the $75,000 in federal relief funds they were offered across three rounds during the pandemic. That places Glass City among a small number of districts across the country that rejected the federal relief funds made available to them since the early days of the pandemic.

Students’ Early Literacy Skills Are Rebounding. See What the Data Show
After years of academic interventions, more young students are reading on track than at any time since the pandemic began, according to new data from 43 states.

For the first time since 2019-20, the majority of students in every grade, from K-3, are on track to tackle grade-level reading by the end of the year—though no grade has yet matched its pre-pandemic performance levels, according to data from the curriculum and assessment group Amplify.

The new data also show that Black and Hispanic students in many grades are improving faster than average, shrinking the academic gaps that had widened during school disruptions.

CDC calls on schools to help address historic high teen trauma
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on schools to prevent and reduce the negative impact of violence and other trauma on teens, as it released a report Monday finding dramatic increases in mental health challenges for teenage girls. The report found nearly 3 in 5 teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, double the rate for boys and a nearly 60% increase over the highest level recorded in the past decade. 

Nearly 1 in 3 teenage girls seriously considered attempting suicide, also marking a 60% increase from a decade ago. And 1 in 5 said they had experienced sexual violence in the past year, with more than 1 in 10 teen girls experiencing rape. 

Principal problems: How stressful is it to be a building leader these days?
‘Principals in every state are facing enormous challenges resulting in significant stress with no end in sight,’ one K12 leader told researchers

The mounting challenges our principals face are producing some conflicting numbers. In one survey, 94% said they were generally satisfied with being their school’s principal, but in another poll, half of building leaders said their stress level is so high they might just change careers or retire.

Broken Kid, Bad Kid: Schools & Foster System Must Do More for Students in Need
Hinds & Zink: Staff training, communities of support, relationships with families can help improve educational outcomes of youth in the foster system

Students in the foster system experience educational outcomes that no other community would accept for their own children. Only 3% of students in the foster system earn a bachelor’s degree by age 26 and, in New York City, just one in four obtain a high school diploma within four years. Young people with foster system experience who graduate from college are celebrated for their resilience in the face of enormous odds. But as University of Nevada Professor Kenyon Lee Whitman, who himself was in the foster system, writes, “celebrating the resilience of foster youth is not a problem, but not interrogating the systems in place that require them to be resilient, is.”

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