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Texas News
Principal of the Year Finalist Spotlight: Theresa Fernandez Sigurdson, Francisco “Pancho” Medrano Junior High School
Theresa Fernandez Sigurdson is the principal of Francisco “Pancho” Medrano Junior High School. As the school’s principal for the past 12 years, Sigurdson has been an advocate for Medrano’s students. Her focus is not only on individualized support for the students’ academic needs, but also on maximizing their social, emotional, and cultural growth. She maintains high expectations for all students, which is exemplified through the school’s core values of excellence, effort, and esteem.

Northside Independent School District aims to relieve teacher shortage with hiring incentives
The district is offering a $1,500 sign-on bonus and bilingual teachers could be eligible for a $2,500 stipend.

The Northside Independent School District is hoping some of its new hiring incentives will entice more teachers to apply for open positions.

The district is offering a $1,500 sign-on bonus and bilingual teachers could be eligible for a $2,500 stipend.

“We had to split classes up. And so, our teachers who were there also struggled because not only were they responsible for teaching their kids, but now we’re asking them to teach other kids because there was a shortage in subs as well,” said Yvonne Correa, principal at Pat M Neff Middle School.

For one Black school board candidate in Texas, election day ends with prayers, slurs and a razor-thin result
Orjanel Lewis saw her school board race as a high-stakes referendum on her community’s core values. After weeks of heated campaigning, it was time for voters to decide.

Orjanel Lewis had been asleep for less than two hours when her alarm went off Saturday morning. 

The 35-year-old attorney and mother of two had been out past 4 a.m., crisscrossing the sprawling suburbs southwest of Houston to put up last-minute campaign signs outside almost 40 voting locations.

Governor pitches ‘Parental Bill of Rights’ at San Antonio rally
Though short on details, Gov. Greg Abbott promised to expand school choice so state taxpayer dollars follow students enrolled in private schools.

Gov. Greg Abbott Monday promised to enshrine a “parental bill of rights” in the Texas Constitution. 

He told supporters at a San Antonio campaign rally he would ensure parents have primary control over their children’s educations. 

“More must be done to preserve the rights of parents and give our children the future they deserve,” he said. 

Take It From Ex-Richardson ISD Superintendent Jeannie Stone: Defining ‘CRT’ Isn’t Easy
Nobody can agree on what CRT means, or whether it’s actually being taught in public schools.

It’s only three letters, but defining CRT is about as easy as nailing Jell-O to a moving train—something former Richardson ISD superintendent Jeannie Stone explained recently in a post on her blog.

First, there is what it is on its face: Critical Race Theory, a 40-year-old academic theory that examines race as a social construct, and how it has become entrenched in how justice is meted out and how public policy is formed. 

Upcoming Events
Save the Date!
Save the date for the TALAS Summer Conference 2022:

Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Kalahari Resort
Round Rock, TX

Stay tuned for continued updates on this exciting event.
Virtual Lunch & Learn:
Meeting the Challenge of Summer Learning
May 18, 2022, 11 a.m.
Join Newsela at this virtual lunch and learn where we’ll discuss the top 3 challenges that Texas districts and schools tell us they face with summer learning. You’ll see real-life examples of how Texas educators are using Newsela to address each of these challenges. You’ll also learn about Newsela resources that can be used not only for summer learning, but also to address HB4545 accelerated learning needs.

Enjoy lunch courtesy of Newsela and leave with valuable information to support you over the summer and beyond.

Register now and we’ll send you a $25 e-gift card to purchase lunch at your favorite spot:
Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National News
As Absenteeism Skyrockets, Schools Get Creative About Luring Back Lost Students
Church cookouts, gas money and walks to school are among the strategies, but with rates as high as 40%, educators call it a ‘heavy lift.’

Sliding off their backpacks as they come through the front door of the local Boys and Girls Club, a group of students grab pool cues. Outside, children laugh as they bat around a beach ball on the lawn. 

But the upbeat mood belies the more serious reason that brings many of them here: They’re missing too much school. A short distance from southern California’s famous theme parks, the bright blue stucco building has become an extension of the Buena Park School District’s response to soaring absenteeism. The club is a place to make friends and for many, offers the only stability they’ve had during the pandemic.

These 3 Latina Teachers Are Pushing the Boundaries of Computer Science Class
“They are changing the face of what computing looks like”

In Megan Bowen’s high school robotics class, students made cardboard mazes, quizzed a local expert who brought live birds into her classroom, and decided how they should be graded, all before touching a computer.

Their goal was to collaboratively design a “bird vending machine” that used small microcontrollers to train crows to find loose coins in the surrounding neighborhoods of Salem, Mass., then deposit them in a slot in exchange for food.

There’s something missing from my Advanced Placement classes, and that needs to change
College Board’s AP curriculum must embrace cultural diversity and move away from Eurocentrism

I took my first Advanced Placement course nearly four years ago in my freshman year of high school: AP World History. Throughout the year, I gained insight into thousands of years of human history, spanning from around 10,000 B.C.E. to 2000 C.E. The course, brimming with applicable content, was one of the most valuable classes I have taken in high school.

Report examines how tech can improve school-family engagement
Increased technology use can improve communication between schools and families, the report found, but this strategy is only practical if all families have access and support to use this technology. 

The pandemic created a real need for parents and educators to be resourceful when communicating with each other as schools shifted to 100% virtual learning spaces, and technology was part of that solution, said David Orta, a senior research analyst at the UChicago Consortium and a co-author of the report.

Smithsonian, with first exhibition, previews planned National Latino museum
The exhibition features figures such as the Mexican American union leader César Chávez, the Puerto Rican baseball star Roberto Clemente and the Cuban American singer Celia Cruz.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino, still in the planning stages, is set to introduce its first exhibition on June 18, the organization said in a news release Wednesday.

The inaugural exhibition is also the launch of the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History, another Smithsonian Institution.

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!
Vanir has delivered more than 1,000 projects for more than 100 school districts, totaling more than $6 billion in modernization and new construction cost. We facilitate effective and efficient coordination between district planners, regulatory agencies, community and user groups, advisory committees, design consultants and dozens of other participants.

Our education sector projects have included master planning, needs assessments, constructability review, project scheduling and budgeting, bidding, award, on-site construction management and project closeout. We also provide staff augmentation services such as “owner’s rep” and have managed architect, contractor and other professional consultant selection. Our services range from condition assessment/feasibility studies to complete program management for a number of districts.

Vice President / Area Manager