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Texas News
Lockhart ISD’s Mark Estrada honored with prestigious award
Lockhart Independent School District Superintendent Mark Estrada has been named a national LifeChanger of the Year award winner. A surprise ceremony was held at Lockhart ISD Central Office Wednesday morning with about 50 attendees, including district central office employees and school board officials.

Estrada was selected as one of 18 winners out of 850 nominations for K-12 school employees from across the country. He will receive a $3,000 prize, which will be awarded as a $1,500 individual prize and a $1,500 donation to the district.

ECISD, Midland ISD and Big Spring ISD receive Innovative Services for Students with Autism grant
The grant is worth more than $2.2 million.

Ector County ISD, Midland ISD and Big Spring ISD came together and received a Innovative Services for Students with Autism grant from the TEA for more than $2.2 million. 

ECISD will be the manager of the fund and the funds will be given to each district on a need basis. There will be special education classrooms across all three districts that are equipped with the proper tools to help students with autism.

Some Deer Park ISD parents are demanding bilingual services at all schools
A group of parents from Deer Park ISD are calling on district representatives to make bilingual services available at every school. This morning, we listened to the parent’s concerns and took them to the district.

Some parents say they are upset because they shouldn’t have to take their children to a school 30-40 minutes away to get bilingual help for their children. The district says they have three centralized schools that provide the services for students in Pre-K to fifth grade. The bilingual Pre-K program is federally funded.

UH students worked on a ‘revolutionary’ project about Houston’s Jewish Latinos
Dr. Lucy Graubard recently welcomed two students from the University of Houston to her home with a surprise.

“She made us bourekas, which was pretty amazing!” said one of the students, Miranda Ruzinsky, about the baked pastry that is very popular in the Sephardic Jewish gastronomy. She added that Graubard’s food offering couldn’t have been more effective to break the ice for the specific purpose that brought them to her house.

“Migrant Lockdowns” Are the New Active-Shooter Drills in the Rio Grande Valley
When undocumented immigrants venture near campuses, many schools institute security protocols. But criminal acts by migrants are far less common than deaths caused by high-speed police chases.  

News of a threat came early one morning in December. Border Patrol agents were chasing migrants who had crossed the border into Mission, just west of McAllen. The agents had notified police, who had in turn advised a nearby middle school to go into lockdown. Moments later, the principal of the school broadcast over the speaker system that teachers and students should take cover. Educators locked classroom doors and turned off the lights. 

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.
An Effective Practices Webinar:
La Sopa de la Abuela: A Special Education Telenovela
Wednesday, May 4, 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET
Join a team from Arlington Public Schools in Virginia to learn about La Sopa de la Abuela: A Special Education Telenovela. During this session, the team will share the story of how parents and staff co-created a telenovela as a resource for families who speak Spanish to navigate and participate in the special education process.

During this session, attendees will:

  • Hear the story of how La Sopa de la Abuela came to be;
  • Reflect on the power of family and staff collaboration in co-creating learning tools;
  • Learn how content was manifested from a script into the medium of an impactful video;
  • View segments of La Sopa de la Abuela;
  • Explore the benefits and various uses of the telenovela and accompanying parent resources;
  • Have access to this free resource to share with families and staff in their communities.
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Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National & International News
Biden says he’s considering canceling ‘some’ student debt
The president’s remarks confirmed his private conversation with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in which he was widely reported to express a willingness to take executive action on student debt relief.

President Joe Biden confirmed on Thursday that he’s considering canceling “some” amount of federal student loan debt but emphatically ruled out acceding to progressive demands to forgive as much as $50,000 per borrower.

“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction.”

Financial literacy is growing, but uneven access could widen racial wealth gap
National access to financial education has increased slightly since 2018, when just five states required personal finance courses for all high-schoolers and 16.4% of high school graduates took such a course, according to a new report published by nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance. 

In 2022, eight states had implemented standalone personal finance courses and 22.7% of high school graduates had taken one. Four additional states — Florida, Ohio, Rhode Island and Nebraska — are currently implementing financial course requirements statewide, which will bump the states requiring some finance material to 12 and the percentage of students taking those courses to 32.5%.

Inside Latino Parents’ Push for Healthy, Culturally Appropriate School Lunches
In 2017, a group of parents in Lafayette and Boulder, Colo., met with Boulder Valley School District’s director of nutrition to address a lack of Latino foods in the school lunch menus. In the years since, BVSD implemented a culinary center to cook fresh, local, and cultural food.

Now a new group of Latino parents have asked neighboring district St. Vrain Valley Schools in Longmont Colo., to take on similar changes in its school menus. These parents discuss their advocacy work and what others can learn from it.

What do classroom conversations about race, identity and history really look like?
Young people and educators in Alabama, Texas, Washington and Virginia talk about how they are navigating issues ensnared in the culture wars

Parents, politicians and activists flooded school board meetings across the country in recent months, desperate to be heard. 

In 60-second soundbites, they exploded over masks, books and so-called critical race theory. Their voices often echoed across social media and fueled viral news segments.

The long-run impacts of Mexican-American school desegregation
A large body of research has examined the seminal Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 and its implications for Black students in the United States. Less well-known is the 1947 Mendez v. Westminster decision, which ended de jure segregation of Mexican-Americans in California—a group that had long been segregated into separate schools and classrooms throughout the Southwest.

Understanding the impacts of the Mendez decision is critical to understanding the experience and present circumstances of the Latino/Hispanic community, which now makes up about one-fifth of the U.S. population and an even larger share of the U.S. public school population. A quantitative examination of the impacts of Mendez can also illuminate the potentially enormous benefits of integrating schools today, when Hispanic students remain among the most likely to be segregated.

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!
Newsela takes authentic, real-world content from trusted sources and makes it instruction ready for K-12 classrooms. Each text is published at five reading levels – with thousands of articles available in both English & Spanish to help Spanish-speaking English Language Learners with comprehension – so content is accessible to every learner. Today, over 2.5 million teachers and 37 million students have registered with Newsela for content that’s personalized to student interests, accessible to everyone, aligned to TEKS and other instructional standards, and attached to activities and reporting that hold teachers accountable for instruction and students accountable for their work. With over 10,000 texts in Newsela’s platform and 10 new texts published every day across 20+ genres, Newsela enables educators to go deep on any subject they choose.

Newsela’s offerings include Newsela ELA, Newsela Science, Newsela Social Studies, Newsela SEL, and more.

Contact District Partnership Directors Josh Cobb or Perla Sanchez for more information.