TALAS E-newsletter – May 28

Posted on May 28th, 2020
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Smarter Together
Leadership, Innovation, and the Science of Motivation

Anxious, fearful, worried, overwhelmed, and sad were the five most frequently mentioned emotions by more than 5,000 teachers who responded to a recent survey from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Collaborative for Social Emotional and Academic Learning.

As leaders, how do we balance the mental and physical well-being of our staff while motivating them to innovate and address the needs of our students when they return from extended school closures? Now more than ever, we’ll need to develop new strategies to engage students and teachers and help them develop resilient mindsets to face the challenges ahead.

Daniel Pink is the author of six provocative, best-selling books about business, work, and behavior—including his newest, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, which spent four months on the New York Times Bestseller list and was named a “Best Book of 2018” by Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads, and several more outlets. This book unlocks the scientific secrets to good timing to help readers flourish at work, at school, and at home. His TED Talk on the science of motivation is one of the 10 most watched TED Talks of all time, with more than 20 million views.

Join us on Tuesday, June 2, 2020
11:00 a.m. EDT / 10:00 a.m. CDT / 9:00 a.m. MDT / 8:00 a.m. PDT
If you have questions, please contact: CurriculumAssociatesEvents@cainc.com

During this session, Daniel and Curriculum Associates CEO, Rob Waldron, will take questions from attendees and discuss leadership moves that motivate people to do their best work.
What’s happening in Texas
Some Fort Worth ISD Students To Return To Elementary Schools Next Week
The first Fort Worth students to return to school classrooms will be back as early as next week after campuses were closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Four elementary schools in the district are preparing now to have students back on campus for summer school.

A total of about 300 students are expected across the four locations.

Most of them are bilingual, or English as a second language students, who the district determined would benefit from a learning environment difficult to create outside of the classroom.

“The parents wanted to consider that,” said district spokesman Clint Bond. “And most of our elementary students we don’t do a one to one device with them, in other words, a computer or chrome book or a hot spot.”

Some special education students are also expected to attend summer sessions.

City of Laredo collaborating with LISD, UISD to create public WiFi grid
Considering the possibility of a resurgence of the coronavirus this fall, the City of Laredo and the city’s two school districts are collaborating to create a public WiFi network so that students without internet at home will still be able to learn remotely.

“Unfortunately there are a lot of people that are at or below the poverty line and there’s a significant amount of people that don’t have access to internet,” Councilman Marte Martinez said.

The eventual goal will be to create a citywide “mesh” network, explained the city’s IT Director Homero Vazquez. With federal or state grants, this could be accomplished within a year, he said.

In the short term, the city’s plan is to create neighborhood access points working with the school districts and the city’s existing infrastructure. Hot spots would be placed in recreation centers, libraries and schools.

Discussion held on how Dallas, Houston ISDs are reaching out to their at-risk students
As the school year comes to a close, school districts across the state are weighing their options for what next year will look like.

The group, Children At Risk, hosted a discussion with the two largest school districts in the state – Dallas ISD and Houston ISD – to see how they’re reaching out to their at-risk students, and what education might look like in the months ahead.

“What’s going on with our schools? How are they adapting to the coronavirus? How are they planning for the future? what does the future look like?” said Dr. Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children At Risk.

No one knows for sure what going to school will actually look like after the COVID-19 pandemic, especially at the state’s two largest districts.

“Reduced students in the classroom, reduced staff, staff also working in a virtual format, some face-to-face,” Houston ISD interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan said. “I believe a number of our parents are going to want to keep their students at home, so we’ll need to continue to provide them with that option.”

With Texas State alumnus at the helm, Lockhart ISD looks to the future of remote learning
Lockhart ISD Superintendent Mark Estrada began spring break this year thinking his students and staff would return the following week. Instead, developments surrounding COVID-19 began moving quickly and “every day that went by, it became more and more clear that we were not coming back to school,” says Estrada, who holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Texas State. What began as a week of cancelled classes turned into a remote learning plan for the remainder of the school year.

To meet the challenges presented by COVID-19, the district distributed laptops to students and converted their parking lots to WiFi zones so that internet would be accessible to families who don’t have access. As a long-term solution to meet the needs of families without internet, Estrada has developed a partnership with an internet company to build WiFi towers across the county.

SMCISD Board Approves Pay Raise For District Employees
San Marcos Consolidated ISD employees will receive a pay increase for the 2020-2021 school year. 

The SMCISD Board of Trustees approved a 1% pay increase for its teachers and administrators during its regular meeting on Monday. The trustees also approved a $0.50 pay increase for hourly employees, such as paraprofessional, clerical and other district employees. 

The board had five options to mull through. The first option would’ve kept the district’s pay scale frozen in its current rate. The second option would’ve increased teacher and administration salaries by 1% and included a $0.25 pay raise for paraprofessional, clerical and other staff. Option three increased teacher and administration salaries by 1% and included a $0.50 pay increase for paraprofessional, clerical and other staff. The fourth option would’ve raised teacher and administrator salaries by 1.5% and would’ve included a $0.50 pay increase for paraprofessional, clerical and other staff. The fifth option would’ve increased teacher and administration salaries by 1% and included a $1 pay increase for paraprofessional, clerical and other staff.

EPISD trustees approve 2% employee raises, adopt $641 million budget
El Paso Independent School District trustees unanimously approved a 2% pay increase for teachers, librarians and student activities managers. It will take effect July 1.

The new compensation plan was part of the $641 million 2020-21 budget the EPISD board of trustees adopted Tuesday during a video conference meeting.

The 2% salary increase translates to a $1,150 raise for EPISD teachers, said Martha Aguirre, executive director of the Budget and External Financial Management Office.

The new compensation plan also raises the starting teacher salary by $2,194. First-year teachers with a bachelor’s degree will earn $52,750 in the 2020-21 school year.

Supporting Your Career
Your Source for Opportunities
Texas Association of School Administrators TASA Career Center
Hazard, Young, Attea Associates https://hyasearch.com/browse-jobs /
McPherson & Jacobson LLC. https://macnjake.com/openings/
Hear from a Superintendent
 “Master Industry Chat” featuring the San Diego County Office of Education’s Superintendent, Dr. Paul Gothold

What does a Superintendent do? 
What degree and credentials are needed to become a Superintendent? 
What is the San Diego County Office of Education? 
How does their work support schools, teachers, and students? 
National News
School Board Appoints New Superintendent
This week the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint a new Superintendent, Hilda Maldonado. Maldonado was chosen for her extensive background in academic achievement, her strong focus on partnerships and her current leadership in responding to the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is currently the Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Partnerships in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) overseeing the development of system capacity to train and retain high caliber employees as well as develop partnership and grants efforts across the second largest district in the country. She will take the helm of Santa Barbara Unified on July 1, 2020.

Maldonado’s leadership career in LAUSD includes roles as Senior Executive Director of Diversity, Learning, and Instruction, Executive Director of the Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department, and Director of Schools. She has worked as a bilingual teacher, a bilingual coordinator, an assistant principal and a principal at two schools – both of which experienced growth in academics, safety and school culture under her leadership. Maldonado came to the U.S. from Mexico as an 11-year-old and credits her positive experience as an English learner as her motivation to become a bilingual teacher. 

Latinos are fastest growing population in US military, but higher ranks remain out of reach

Carl Castro had learned the news months earlier, but it didn’t really hit him until he was driving into work one day: He was going to be a colonel. 

That meant new privileges, as well as new responsibilities. Castro was excited to have generals listen to him and take his advice. As a psychologist in the military, he knew he would never be able to reach their rank, but at least he could influence their decisions to do what’s best for the soldiers and their families.

“The thing about being a colonel in the Army is that it allows you to make comments outside your lane and that’s accepted,” he said. “It’s generally not accepted at lower ranks in the organization.”

Castro is among a rare group of Latinos who have made it into the upper tiers of the U.S. military. Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the military, making up about 16% of all active-duty military, according to the Department of Defense. However, Latinos make up only 8% of the officer corps and 2% of general/flag officers, according to a 2019 report by the Congressional Research Service. A long history of racism and gender discrimination in the military, along with education and language barriers, are keeping Latinos from advancement, veterans and researchers said. 

Rising Voices Library Highlights Stories Of Black And Latino Boys
With many summer camps and vacations canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, books can still give children a sense of adventure.

The new Rising Voices Library is a collection of books from Scholastic that feature underrepresented communities in children’s literature. Dedicated to black and Latino boys, the collection contains 300 nonfiction, fiction and biographical titles.

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Scholastic Vice President and Executive Editor Andrea Davis Pinkney says there’s a “dearth of diversity” in children’s literature. As a mother with a black son, she says the books in the collection have relevant themes: family, culture, heroes and role models.

“I always say kids see what they see and they don’t see what they don’t see,” she says. “So when I see a face on the cover of a book that looks like my face, I feel good about myself. I have agency and I want to read more books.”

Planning for summer: Keeping emergent bilinguals, multilingual students engaged

Many, many students around the world will not return to school until the fall at the earliest. Researchers are predicting that there could be great learning losses due to students not being in school, despite our best efforts to continue instruction through virtual or distance learning.

The effect of emergent bilingual and multilingual students could also be significant. Yet there are some ways we can attempt to keep students engaged in learning, or at the very least engaged in continuing to build relationships with us as teachers and the school community. The activities being proposed are not meant to necessarily be mandatory, but ideas to continue to stay in contact with students and to engage them in informal learning opportunities.

As summer approaches, perhaps the most important consideration is how we will communicate and stay in touch with our students. Relationships are the foundation of learning.

While we may not be the teacher of our current students, keeping in contact with students maintains their relationship with you and the school community. There are several ways to continue to remain in contact with your students. The methods you utilize will depend on a variety of factors, including your availability, your students’ availability, and the availability of technology.

Las Tienditas
Support for TALAS Members
As states around the country prepare guidance for back-to-school planning, districts will be planning under ambiguous conditions. Responsive return planning will be crucial to creating thoughtful, robust and adaptable paths forward for any district. Join us for a series called “From Frameworks To Prototypes: Building Your Responsive Return Plans for 2020-2021”.

You’ve learned from our previous webinars the importance of responsiveness for any school or district leader. Join us once more to learn more about how we approach planning for a return through a responsive lens that allows you to navigate this ambiguity, with a concrete 4-part framework that will allow your teams and districts to prepare for different scenarios for return. 

Register for this series and learn how you can responsively plan to return to school. 

Walden has been offering individual courses for nondegree students since 2010. Until recently, doing that meant finding a course in the catalog, calling enrollment, submitting a transcript, and more of the full application for admission process.
With increasing demand for continuing education and professional development, we are  Upping Our Play  in how we make individual courses accessible to working professionals.
We recently launched a  Lifelong Learning  section of the WaldenU.edu website with a selection of more than 200 popular courses available to take individually. Powered by an e-commerce engine, the site makes it easy for prospective students to filter and sort courses, add them to their cart, upload supporting documents, pay with a credit card, and register for a course all in one visit!
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