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Texas News
Rivera named Mesquite ISD’s deputy superintendent
In a special meeting held Wednesday morning, the Mesquite ISD Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Ángel Rivera, Ed.D., as the district’s deputy superintendent effective July 1.

Rivera will succeed Deputy Superintendent Beth Nicholas, who is retiring in June.

Rivera serves as assistant superintendent for innovation and leadership and supervises the following district departments: Leadership Development, Library Services, Instructional Technology, ReadPlayTalk and Community Education.

Assistant superintendents begin new roles
Tiffany Whitsel and Clarissa Rodriguez began their new roles as assistant superintendents in Taylor ISD March 8.

Whitsel is the assistant superintendent of organizational management, and Rodriguez is the assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

Whitsel comes to Taylor after serving as the executive director of secondary schools in Waco ISD. Prior to that, she served as principal of Rockdale High School at Rockdale ISD and principal of Park Crest Middle School at Pflugerville ISD. Whitsel began her career as a teacher and coach in Texarkana Pleasant Grove ISD and Redwater ISD teaching science, physical education and health. She replaces Rodney Fausett, who previously held the position of deputy superintendent.

Tomball, Magnolia school notebook: Magnolia ISD nurses awarded $12,000 grant
Magnolia Independent School District’s Nursing Department received a $12,000 grant from the Tomball Health Coalition, the district announced in a news release March 23.

Since its inception in January of 2013, the Tomball Health Coalition has helped students and districts like Magnolia ISD by promoting the health and wellness of residents from Magnolia, Waller, Tomball and other surrounding communities via healthcare programs.

Hispanic Texans are still struggling to get vaccines. Here’s how Dallas is trying to change that.
Grassroots organizers and county employees are organizing registration events in some of the underserved neighborhoods in the city. But they still worry it won’t be enough.

It wasn’t that she didn’t try to get the vaccine. María Gilberta Reyna had attempted to register through a Dallas hospital’s online application, but she never managed to make it work.

“I would put my information but the site would throw me back to the initial page,” Reyna, who is a Mexican immigrant, said in Spanish.

Texas AG Paxton issues opinion on public school vaccine policy
In response to an inquiry from state Rep. James White, R–Hillister, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion on school district policy related to vaccine mandates.

White expressed concerns about a news report issued by KSAT-TV in San Antonio, pointing to mandatory vaccine requirements. Prior to students enrolling in school last fall, vaccine requirements (not COVID vaccines) were mandatory, although there were some exemptions.

One Texas Town, Two School Districts, Clashing Mask Policies: How Science and Politics Collided in New Braunfels’ Classrooms
For locals and tourists, it’s hard to overstate the charm of New Braunfels, Texas, a place of spring-fed rivers, dancehalls, and German festivals.

Yet against this idyllic backdrop, the nation’s ongoing fight over mask-wearing has pitted neighbor against neighbor and put the region’s schoolkids squarely in the middle of an overheated argument.

In what quickly became a conversation about science, personal liberty, and the role of government, the town’s two school boards, New Braunfels ISD and Comal ISD, landed on opposite sides of the face covering debate earlier this month after Gov. Greg Abbott announced the statewide mask mandate would end March 10.

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Supporting Your Career
Yes, You Have Transferable Skills—Here’s How You Can Show Employers
In cover letters and résumés, workers aiming to pivot to new jobs and industries can explain how their skills in one sector can benefit another.

By choice or necessity, many workers are seizing the moment to break into new industries.

For some, it’s an imperative. Even as hiring picks up, the U.S. has 9.5 million fewer jobs than one year ago, before the pandemic. Industries battered by lockdowns, such as travel and hospitality, have struggled, driving many workers to look for jobs in other sectors. Some workers who have held on to their jobs or found new ones after a layoff feel stagnant or underemployed. Many hope an industry change will mean greater security.

National News
Cardona Summit Shines Light on Districts With Successful Reopening Stories and ‘Real-World Evidence’ of Following CDC Guidelines
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will travel to local communities over the next few weeks in a continued push to get more schools to reopen before the Biden Administration’s self-imposed 100-day deadline.

“My job, I can do it better if I’m listening to what is happening in the field,” Cardona told viewers during a summit designed to highlight progress districts have made bringing students back to the classroom and to address pandemic-related learning loss.

We’re Crowdsourcing the Wisdom of Dozens of Experts on How Schools Can Best Address Unfinished Learning. Some of What They Have to Say
After one of the worst years in the history of American education, light is finally glimmering at the end of this very dark tunnel. Teachers and other school staff are getting vaccinated; infection rates are starting to drop; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reduced its safe-spacing guideline for (most) schools to 3 feet; and President Joe Biden has promised a partial return to normalcy as soon as the Fourth of July.

For instructional leaders in school districts and charter networks across the land, that means their focus can start to shift from managing the daily crises of remote and hybrid learning to looking ahead to autumn, when there’s reason to expect almost all students to be back in class full time once again. In other words, it’s time to focus on education recovery, to ensure that the challenges encountered by students since March 2020 do not set them back for the rest of their education careers.

CDC: School leaders ‘essential’ to staff COVID-19 vaccine access
President Joe Biden issued a directive on March 2 telling states to expand vaccine eligibility to teachers, staff and child care workers, and dedicating all unclaimed vaccination appointments in The Retail Pharmacy Program for those groups until the end of the month. The program is a collaboration between the federal government and states to allow retail pharmacy locations to provide COVID-19 vaccines. 

Currently, all but five states have not completely expanded eligibility, Ethier said. Florida, West Virginia and Montana, for example, still maintain age limitations for school staff, teachers and child care workers. North Dakota’s eligibility is limited to certain counties, meaning its prioritization of school staff and child care workers is not statewide. Utah, meanwhile, has prioritized teachers and school staff but not child care workers, she said.

Teachers union ‘not convinced’ on CDC guidance to reduce classroom spacing
The nation’s second-largest teachers union on Tuesday questioned the Biden administration’s decision to reduce the recommended distance between students in a classroom from 6 feet to 3 feet.

In a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) pressed for additional recommendations on mitigation measures like ventilation, testing and effective cleaning.

Most States Fail to Measure Teachers’ Knowledge of the ‘Science of Reading,’ Report Says
For many elementary school teachers, teaching students how to read is a central part of the job. But the majority of states don’t evaluate whether prospective teachers have the knowledge they’ll need to teach reading effectively before granting them certification, according to a new analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality.

According to NCTQ’s evaluation of state licensure tests for teachers, 20 states use assessments that fully measure candidates’ knowledge of the “science of reading,” referencing the body of research on the most effective methods for teaching young children how to decode text, read fluently, and understand what they’re reading.

This Mexican Sculptor Created Models Used in Original 1933 Classic ‘King Kong’
When late model-maker and sculptor Marcel Delgado created movie monsters for the original 1933 film King Kong, there were no computer-generated effects to help him make movie magic. All he used were his hands to sculpt models of the title ape who would become one of the most iconic movie characters ever.

Born in the village of La Parrita in Coahuila, Mexico, in 1901, Delgado and his family moved to Saticoy, California, at the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. While studying art at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, special effects pioneer Willis O’Brien invited Delgado to start working on the dinosaur models for his new silent film project, 1925’s The Lost World.

Las Tienditas
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