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Texas News
Tomball ISD Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora elected to represent Texas for national public education association
Tomball ISD Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora has been elected to represent Texas on the governing board of AASA, The Superintendents Association, according to an April 29 release from the district.

Salazar-Zamora, who has served as superintendent since 2017, will serve with the AASA from July 1-June 30, 2024, according to the release. The AASA “advocates for equitable access to high-quality public education for all kids and supports and develops school leaders,” per the release. According to the website of the AASA, the association advocates for public education and district leadership on Capitol Hill.

She started out as the school custodian. Years later, she’s its most beloved teacher
Wanda Smith persevered through college while working two jobs and raising a family to become a teacher at the same elementary school where she was once a custodian and bus monitor.

Wanda Smith’s dream had always been to be a teacher, but she had to put that on hold after graduating high school to take care of her mother and provide for her family.

Smith worked long hours as a bus monitor and custodian for the Brenham Independent School District in Texas, but she never let go of the hope that one day she would be leading a classroom.

Glenn A. Martinez selected as next dean of College of Liberal and Fine Arts
UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy today announced the selection of Glenn A. Martinez, professor of Hispanic linguistics at The Ohio State University, as the dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the Stumberg Distinguished University Chair. He begins his duties July 1.

“Glenn Martinez is a highly accomplished administrator and scholar with a proven commitment to both promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and advancing diversity and inclusion,” Espy said. “He has a dynamic and impactful vision for coalescing a shared identity among—and creating opportunities between—our liberal arts, humanities and fine arts disciplines. We are excited for him to return to Texas and the UT System to join our academic leadership team.”

Texas’ pandemic budget shortfall disappears, as latest forecast shows a surplus
The latest revenue estimate doesn’t take into account all of the federal relief that has been sent to Texas over the past year by Congress through pandemic relief packages. State lawmakers have wrestled with how and who has the authority to spend that money.

Texas will close the books on its current budget cycle with an extra $725 million in the bank — which is welcome news as Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar had predicted in January that the state would suffer a $1 billion shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Point of Order: What we learned from a year of disruption to public education in Texas
In the latest episode of our podcast about the Texas Legislature, Evan Smith talks to LaTonya Goffney, the superintendent of Aldine Independent School District, about public education’s disrupted year — pivoting online, learning loss, budget woes, and what it will take to put the whole thing back together by fall.

GOP lawmakers want to ban “woke philosophies” like critical race theory in Texas schools
Gov. Greg Abbott has called for expanding the state’s civic education curriculum, but the House and Senate are quickly advancing bills that would restrict the discussion of current events and public policy in the classroom and prohibit critical race theory in public schools.

Mirroring moves by other red-state legislatures across the country, Texas Republicans are attempting to reach into classrooms and limit what public school students are taught about the nation’s historical subjugation of people of color.

Two bills moving through the Texas Legislature would bar the teaching of critical race theory, an academic discipline that views race as a social construct and examines how racism has shaped legal and social systems.

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Upcoming Events
TALAS’s Intro to HTML Coding Workshop
Hosted by Skill Struck

This is a one-hour coding workshop for Texas educators. Participants will learn the basics of HTML and build their own website.
Skill Struck’s Coding Workshops are made with the purpose to engage and connect educators and STEM professionals into the world of computer science. Skill Struck provides a trainer and platform where audience members can learn the principles of web development. Using the programming language HTML, participants will leave the event with a functional website they designed.

Teachers can also use this course for professional development hours. Certificates will be sent upon request.
Supporting Your Career
5 tips to writing emails that will always get you a reply
Emails are just as fundamental these days as food and water in our lives, and they form a large part of our daily communications.

Roughly 300 billion are sent around the world every day, according to Statista. On average, each of us who works in an office gets 121 emails per working day on average! Yet we send them and read them without thinking about them for a second.

But emails are essential. In some situations, they can’t be replaced with a short meeting or a phone call. We send them because of traceability or a time difference, or we need to have many people reading the same thing.

National News
This Week’s ESSA News: Education Department Approves Colorado’s Accountability Pause, Virginia Hopes 2021 Tests Aid in Student Recovery, Delaware May Give Kids Annual ‘Civics Day’ & More
The Education Department has released updated guidance to states on the collection of critical civil rights and education data. The guidance provides recommendations on how local and state officials can gather information on matters like attendance, school discipline, and school safety even as schools continue to recover from pandemic disruption and closures.

Deb Temkin, a vice president at the research group Child Trends, said that collecting such data is more important after the pandemic and that the information can “help inform studies of schools with large shares of students of color and changes in the teaching profession, among other things.”

FDA preparing to authorize Pfizer Covid vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds as early as next week
Biden said his administration has been making plans so that this age group can begin to be vaccinated quickly.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a new phase in his push to vaccinate Americans against Covid-19 that includes a focus on children as young as 12.

Although no vaccine is currently authorized in the United States for people under 16, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve Pfizer’s request to amend its emergency use authorization to include adolescents ages 12 to 15 as early as next week, according to a senior administration official with knowledge of the situation.

California Bill Would Redefine Dual Language Learners
A new bill in the California State Assembly could change the way educators work with and accommodate the unique needs of dual language learners (DLLs) enrolled in the state’s preschool system. California Assembly Member Luz Rivera has introduced Assembly Bill 1363, which would create a new definition of DLLs in an effort to take a more asset-based approach to early childhood education for DLLs, rather than defining students by limited English proficiency.

Researchers Combed Through Over 1,600 Teachers of the Year Since 1988. Here’s What They Learned about the Winners
The National Teacher of the Year program is a unique fixture in America’s education landscape — an annual, highly publicized recognition of excellence in the art of teaching, complete with a national tour and a trip to the Rose Garden. One day you’re leading a tenth-grade biology seminar; the next, you’re a combination Kennedy Center honoree and a World Series winner.

The selection process continues in 2021 even in the middle of an utterly atypical school year, with finalists from Nevada, North Carolina, Utah, and Washington, D.C., awaiting a final decision from the Council of Chief State School Officers, which has conferred the award since 1952. The winner will be granted access to leadership training, influential policy networks, and a platform to discuss the issues and students they care about for the next 12 months.

OPINION: We need more teachers of color. Getting there requires ambitious equitable solutions
Here’s how one teacher residency program is grappling with the problem

When Marie Lewis applied to the Nashville Teacher Residency (NTR), she was earning $18,000 per year as a paraprofessional, supporting students with special needs, one-on-one or in small groups.

To make ends meet, she also worked over the summers and during school breaks at a child care center, earning $10.25 per hour. A single Black mother of two, Marie loved children and knew she wanted to be a teacher, but couldn’t afford to pay for a licensure program, which can cost $30,000 or more at local universities for a degree and license. 

Platoon leader is first Latina to earn prestigious military badge at Fort Hood
“It just shows that we can do it, and that females are strong and we can handle this job too,” 1st Lt. Maria Eggers, 24, said after earning the coveted Expert Infantry Badge.

Imagine having to complete a physically demanding test that requires navigating terrain until 4 a.m., a 12-mile foot march while carrying full armor, having to put on equipment for a possible chemical attack, and disassembling a weapon all in just five days.

During a grueling week, 1st Lt. Maria Eggers recently did just that, making her the first woman and the first Latina from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment to earn the coveted Expert Infantry Badge, or EIB, qualifying at the highest level — True Blue.

Las Tienditas
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