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Texas News
Kaufman ISD names new superintendent from southeast Texas school district
On Feb. 13, 2023, Kaufman ISD Superintendent Lori Blaylock announced her retirement to the district’s board of education during a board meeting.

Another North Texas school district has announced new leadership with continuing change across the area.  

On Friday, Kaufman Independent School District named Dr. Joshua Garcia as the lone finalist for superintendent, according to district leaders. Garcia is currently the superintendent of Rockport-Fulton ISD in Rockport, Texas, where Kaufman ISD said he led the district through a long-range facilities master planning process that resulted in the passage of a $66 million facilities bond, increased the district’s fund balance, and expanded opportunities for students.

East Texas school district using earpods to communicate with non-English speakers
WISD recently purchased language translating earbuds through a local grant of $19,000. They hope to utilize it to help students who don’t speak English as their first language.

Artificial intelligence is on the rise across the world as it becomes easily accessible through applications on our phones. But, what if we can utilize it to break down language barriers?

A local East Texas school district is using this method to help communicate and educate students who don’t speak English as their first language. 

Smaller Houston-area school districts could pay teachers $6,000 more if proposed bill is approved
Houston area teachers would receive a pay boost of up to $6,000 under a bill proposing to put $3.3 billion toward additional compensation for Texas educators.

The bill was approved by the state Senate last month with backing from several Republicans and one Democrat. It has now moved on to the House for consideration.

The bill proposes funding $2,000 pay raises for teachers in districts with more than 20,000 students, and $6,000 raises for teachers in districts with less than 20,000 students.

H-E-B recognizes Corpus Christi ISD, local teachers in statewide awards
A school district and two educators in Corpus Christi won big in the 2023 H-E-B Excellence in Education statewide awards. 

Corpus Christi ISD was named the large school district of the year, earning a $100,000 grant. The district was chosen out of five finalists after judges toured Browne Middle School and Veterans Memorial High School in March, visiting with students, staff and community members.

“H-E-B is an exceptionally strong supporter of public education,” Superintendent Roland Hernandez said in a news release. “For them to recognize CCISD at this level is truly gratifying. We thank our staff, students and families for their daily dedication, which makes it possible for our district to earn recognition at such a high level.”

TASB Legislative Report – May 2, 2023
House passes instructional materials bill

The House on Tuesday passed to third reading HB 1605 (Buckley) that would require TEA to create an open education resource (OER) instructional materials for voluntary use by school districts. The materials would be available to all students, parents, teachers, and districts free of charge except for printing and shipping fees.

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National News
Supreme Court to hear case on school board members’ social media use
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to hear a case on whether two southern California school board members violated parents’ First Amendment rights by blocking them on personal social media accounts the board members used to communicate about job-related issues with the public. 

The case, O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier, was accepted by the high court after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the board members’ decision to block two parents on social media was a government action in violation of the parents’ First Amendment rights. 

Lessons From 4 District Leaders Who Conducted Equity Audits
District leaders who have conducted equity audits swear by their effectiveness to find disparities and start addressing them.

These analyses often look at student data on academic performance, discipline, or attendance, or a combination of those, and compare them with the district’s, school’s, or classroom’s demographics to see which types of students are under and overrepresented.

Education Week spoke with four district leaders in three districts, who emphasized the importance of analyzing data about student performance, discipline, and other areas to find and target discrepancies.

How Information, Navigation and Options Can Transform Education Beyond K-12
Cortez: Together, these three enablers of choice can make postsecondary options a sound investment rather than a high-stakes gamble

Generations of Americans have grown up viewing a two- or four-year college degree as a necessary investment in economic mobility. But for many people — especially those who are first-generation, low-income, Black, Hispanic or Native American — higher education is a high-stakes gamble.

Backpacks—even the clear ones—are being banned in end-of-year safety push
Students in Flint Community Schools in Michigan are now prohibited from bringing any backpacks to school for at least the rest of the school year.

In a rush to tighten security as the school year winds down, more districts are banning clear backpacks along with the standard canvas and nylon models.

As most administrators know, schools have been barring backpacks for years to prevent students from concealing weapons and other potentially problematic objects. Many districts allowed students to switch to clear backpacks which made all the content much more visible, but that’s no longer a viable solution, say leaders who are hoping to head off the annual rise in behavioral incidents in the final weeks of school.

The Power Of Innovation At Hispanic Serving Institutions
There are 571 Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the United States, educating 62% of Latinx students across the nation. Moreover, according to Excelencia in Education, over 400 colleges and universities are on their way to becoming HSIs due to a rapidly growing Latinx population. California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is one of the nation’s largest HSIs and is committed to building on its HSI designation to foster equity in innovation. With the support of Autodesk, a software company, CSUN recently broke ground on the new Autodesk Technology Engagement Center. The Engagement Center will accommodate design, research, fabrication, and mentorship. It will also house the academic programs of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and a Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub.

Las Tienditas
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