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TASA’s online Member Services Center is the place to go to become a member of TALAS. Please read these step-by-step directions or contact Debbie O’Donnell at 512.852.2108.
Texas News
‘Breaking a glass ceiling’: EPISD board selects Diana Sayavedra as superintendent finalist
The El Paso Independent School District board of trustees spent about eight hours in closed session interviewing four finalists for the district’s vacant superintendent position before choosing Diana Sayavedra as the lone finalist on Monday.

EPISD board President Al Velarde made a motion to name Sayavedra as finalist for the position and trustees voted 6-0 in favor. District 1 trustee Leah Hanany abstained. There will be a 21-day period before the board will vote to hire her.

“I’ve been researching the school district and I know that the community is very passionate about their next leader,” Sayavedra said after the meeting.

Central Texas TALAS affiliate hosts successful kickoff event
History was made this weekend as central Texas leaders met to kick off CTALAS, the central Texas affiliate of @TALAS4edu. We networked, shared leadership journeys, and discussed the power of Latino advocacy. What a turnout!
—Norma Castillo on Twitter (@ncastillo74)

The CTALAS kickoff event this past weekend was an amazing success, with far greater turnout than expected and several TALAS superstars in attendance to support this new affiliate. With this event coming on the heels of the enormously successful TALAS El Paso launch a few weeks ago, it has truly been a terrific month for TALAS affiliates! We are excited to watch CTALAS grow and develop into an empowering network for school leaders throughout central Texas.
Texas Tech University’s College of Arts & Sciences announces new Institute for Latina/o Studies
Texas Tech University’s College of Arts & Sciences announced on Nov. 16 the official formation of the Institute for Latina/o Studies, a dedicated hub for research, teaching, internationalization, and community engagement led by an interdisciplinary cohort of faculty and staff. The institute represents the latest investment by Texas Tech, a recognized Hispanic-Serving Institution, in its proactive outreach to the Hispanic community.

“The College of Arts & Sciences is honored to be the home of the newly established Institute for Latina/o Studies,” said Brian Still, acting dean of the college. “A passionate, skilled, and tireless team of faculty and staff, working with stakeholders across the Texas Tech University System, have made this new, important institute a reality.”

NAACP addresses Woodsboro ISD school board after black teen is reportedly attacked
NAACP-Corpus Christi President Jeremy Lane Coleman attended the Woodsboro ISD school board meeting Monday after the tasing of a black teenager reportedly took place in Woodsboro over the Halloween weekend.

The alleged incident became widespread knowledge just last week, rocking this small community.

Coleman, who was joined by other local NAACP executive officers, said his appearance at Monday’s meeting was to 100 percent let the community know, as well the Woodsboro administration and school board, that the civil rights group is monitoring their actions when it comes to this situation.

The Latest Chapter in the Texas Culture Wars: Sex Education and Textbooks
The culture wars keep coming in Texas, and the latest one involves sex, textbooks, and the LGBTQ experience. 

On Tuesday the State Board of Education will decide whether proposed textbooks that include content on gender identity and sexual orientation will make their way into the backpacks and laptops of children in Texas and across the country. 

Both sides are gearing up, the latest in a series of polarizing fights in Texas schools, which recently included school mask mandates, teaching about systemic racism and library books with sexual content. Just last week, Governor Greg Abbott wanted charges brought against educators offering “pornographic” books to students after pointing out two LGBTQ memoirs as examples.

Future of Assessment Research Project: Invitation to Participate
The Education Trust, a national non-profit that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income backgrounds, is working with state and district administrators across five states, including Texas, to better understand how standardized state assessments can be used to support students and families in preparing for college and career. To do this, we need your help!

We would like to invite you to participate in a virtual focus group discussion conducted by Ed Trust staff. This discussion will occur in a group setting, with no more than 8 participants. It will last approximately one-hour and will be audio-recorded with your permission. Please note that your participation is voluntary and confidential; if you decide to participate, you may change your mind and withdraw your participation at any time.

During the focus group discussion, you will be asked about your thoughts on state assessments and the relationship between state assessments and students’ preparation for college and career. No identifying information will be collected from you during the discussion. For your participation, you will receive a $50 Visa e-gift card.

If you would like to learn more about the study or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ed Trust by emailing

If you would like to participate, please follow this link to complete a short survey to help determine your eligibility to participate:
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National News
Highly Watched Pennsylvania School Funding Case Heads to Trial, Years After Low-Income Districts Sued to Overturn a ‘System of Haves and Have Nots’
A trial that’s been years in the making could spur drastic changes to Pennsylvania’s school funding scheme, long considered among the nation’s most inequitable and one that plaintiff districts accuse of creating a “system of haves and have nots” between low-income communities and their better-off neighbors. 

Beginning Friday and available via livestream, the trial centers on a state funding system that relies heavily on local property taxes that plaintiffs allege provides inequitable state money to districts in areas with low property values and less personal wealth in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s equal-protection provision. The current system fails to meet the commonwealth’s obligation to provide students with a “thorough and efficient system of education,” their attorneys argue.

Parents protesting ‘critical race theory’ identify another target: Mental health programs
Groups have voiced opposition to suicide prevention programs, mental health coordinators and social emotional learning, claiming they are being used to indoctrinate students.

At a September school board meeting in Southlake, Texas, a parent named Tara Eddins strode to the lectern during the public comment period and demanded to know why the Carroll Independent School District was paying counselors “at $90K a pop” to give students lessons on suicide prevention.

‘This Is Not What We Signed Up For’: A Principal’s Plea for More Support
This is not what we signed up for. Nobody else who entered the field of education years ago did. For 27 years, I have loved my job and never dreaded going to work. I have certainly faced many challenges in my times as a teacher and principal, but nothing compares with what school is like in 2021. In fact, the face of education has shifted significantly since I began my career in the classroom.

Today, parental involvement is down, if not totally absent. Too many families are overstretched and cannot give the support to their kids that they need to make parent-teacher partnerships work.

How PE teachers are tackling ‘physical learning loss’
Running a mile at school — or just doing a few jumping jacks — helps kids with academic and social emotional learning, but too many schools are giving PE short shrift, educators say

Amanda Amtmanis, an elementary physical education instructor in Middletown, Connecticut, handed out cards with QR codes to a class of third graders, and told them to start running.

The kids sprinted off around the baseball field in a light drizzle, but by the end of the first lap, a fifth of a mile, many were winded and walking. They paused to scan the cards, which track their mileage, on their teacher’s iPad and got some encouragement from an electronic coach — “Way to run your socks off!” or “Leave it all on the track!”

Rural educators dispel myths, outline 4 strategies for equitable policy
Speakers at the National Forum to Advance Rural Education shared hope for the future of rural education and how to improve it.

In education, policy is power, said Christina Kishimoto, a former state superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education. 

“If you take a look at your district’s policies, especially your district’s financial policies and you follow the money, you get a clear sense of the story of the equity of access in your own district,” Kishimoto said during an “Equity in Rural Life Ted-Talk Panel.” 

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