TALAS E-newsletter – November 11

Posted on November 11th, 2021
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Texas News
MISD named District of the Year for work with bilingual students
MISD’s Dual Language campus ready to showcase program

Midland ISD has been recognized as “District of the Year” for progress shown among emergent bilingual students (English learners). The distinction was awarded by Summit K12, an online, standards-based supplemental curriculum provider that helps close achievement gaps and ensure linguistic and academic growth for all students.

The Summit K12 award highlights school districts that demonstrated the greatest gains on the 2021 Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) composite scores. Finalists were selected from top performing, state-wide Summit K12 partners, including 300 districts.

Medical District principal combines two passions: education and medicine
Before he began shaping lives in Dallas ISD as an educator, Robert Gonzalez was a family doctor in Colombia who made sure kids were healthy.

Gonzalez left Colombia for Texas as his home country grew increasingly dangerous. He felt called to become a teacher and joined Dallas ISD through the alternative certification program.

“Serving students and serving patients as a doctor are very similar: You get to make a positive difference in a child’s life,” Gonzalez said.

Gov. Greg Abbott tells state agencies to develop standards to block books with “overtly sexual” content in schools
Abbott targeted two books that have been removed by schools recently that center on LGBTQ characters. One of the books includes a graphic illustration and the other includes depictions of sex.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday told state education officials to develop statewide standards preventing “pornography” and “other obscene content in Texas public schools,” citing two memoirs about LGBTQ characters which include graphic images and descriptions of sex.

The new University of Austin hopes to counter what its founders say is a culture of censorship at most colleges
The university’s mission is to create a “fiercely independent” school that offers an alternative to what founders see as a rise in “illiberalism” on college campuses.

There’s a large yellow brick house with red trim in Austin’s West Campus neighborhood, a stone’s throw away from the University of Texas’ flagship campus. Inside sits the headquarters for a new liberal arts university launching to counter what its founders believe is a growing culture of censorship on college campuses.

Biden’s infrastructure plan will set aside about $35 billion for Texas projects
The funds will help advance existing plans, pay for much-needed repairs and launch other projects for roads, bridges, broadband access, electric vehicle charging stations and more.

The White House estimates that Texas will receive about $35.44 billion over five years for roads, bridges, pipes, ports, broadband access and other projects after federal lawmakers passed a long-anticipated national infrastructure bill on Friday.

CTALAS Membership Kick-Off
Sat. Nov. 13th, 4–6 pm
Kalahari Resort, Round Rock, TX
Mark your calendars! CTALAS (Central Texas Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents) is hosting their Membership Kick-Off this month. The event will be held at the Kalahari Resort on the afternoon of Saturday, November 13th and will feature superintendent guest speakers Dr. Michael Cardona (San Marcos CISD) and Dr. Celina Estrada-Thomas (Hutto ISD). This event is made possible by the generous support of ParentSquare.
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National News
Not Every Student from Latin America Speaks Spanish: How Educators Can Recognize — and Meet the Needs of — Indigenous-Speaking Students
In a large lecture hall last spring, my professor began talking about their work with Mayan communities in Central America. A student in the front row hesitantly raised their hand, asking “Aren’t the Mayans dead?” My professor did not laugh at — or even look surprised by — the comment. Instead, they responded: “I get this question every year”. 

When we think of countries south of the U.S. border, it is easy to imagine Spanish-speaking communities and people. And making statements like “people in Central America speak Spanish” or “the Mayans are dead” do not tend to be questioned. Because everyone in Latin America — and everyone with Latino origins in the U.S. — speaks Spanish (or Portuguese), right? Well, not exactly. 

Chicago’s future school board members will not be paid, raising questions about representation
Chicago’s future elected school board members will not be compensated for serving, raising questions about whether that will create a barrier for representatives from marginalized communities.

Under a compromise bill passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by Gov. J.B Pritzker in June, Chicago will have a 21-member school board starting with 11 seats appointed by the mayor and 10 elected in 2024. The board will transition to a fully elected school board by 2027, with a second election held in 2026.

Gifted education’s future requires more diversity, inclusion and access
School systems that commit to more equitable gifted and talented programs are changing mindsets, identification practices and services, but teacher training remains challenging.

When Melanie Lichtenstein was a young student, her mother, an educator, took her one Saturday morning to be tested for giftedness. She tested well, received a gifted label and was pulled out of classes several times a week for more advanced work, including problem-solving exercises and experiments. 

6 actions district leaders should promote to keep lead out of drinking water
Nearly half the schools in a dozen states from which data is available discovered lead in their drinking water

Most states help schools test drinking water for lead but inconsistent decontamination efforts may be putting children at risk, a new report finds.

Nearly half the schools in a dozen states from which data is available discovered lead in their drinking water, according to a 2018 study.

My endless quest to get a good education for my immunocompromised child
Few options exist for kids who can’t be near others

So much of parenting my 5-year-old son, Krishna, has involved advocating for him — first in pediatrician’s and pediatric specialists’ offices, then in emergency rooms, urgent cares and hospitals, then with therapeutic services agencies and specialty pharmacies and medical equipment and health insurance companies.

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!
We create assessment and practice solutions that put learning analytics to work for educators. Schools across Texas and nationwide use our solutions to analyze students’ abilities and guide high-quality instruction. We help teachers teach better, students learn better, and school administrators lead better—all to improve academic outcomes.

Strategic Account Executive

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