TALAS E-newsletter – November 7

Posted on November 7th, 2019
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Superintendent Search: TASB ESS Announces Lone Finalist for Kermit ISD
Kermit ISD Board of Trustees has chosen Jose Lopez, Superintendent of Taft ISD, as Lone Finalist for Kermit ISD.

Mr. Lopez has 18 years of experience serving as teacher, middle school and high school assistant principal, principal at both the elementary and secondary level, and central office administrator. During his educational career, he has placed an emphasis on collaboration and communication with students, parents, and staff. Prior to joining Taft ISD, he served as the Executive Director for State and Federal Programs in Mission CISD where he provided service and guidance to 24 campuses and approximately 15,500 students.  

During his time as an elementary principal in Mission CISD, he led his campus to its first ever TEA Exemplary Rating within 10 years and outperformed the more affluent schools in the District and State. Cantu Elementary, with predominately minority, economically disadvantaged, and at-risk students, also received recognition as a Title I Distinguished Progress School in 2009 and a Title I Distinguished School in 2010.

In September of 2014, Mr. Lopez was one of only 15 Assistant Superintendents and Administrators from across the nation selected to participate in the prestigious year-long Superintendents Leadership Academy (SLA) through the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS).

Mr. Lopez holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Houston Baptist University as well as bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Public Management with a minor in English from Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri.  

Mr. Lopez and his wife Michele have four children, two of which attend Taft Public Schools. Anna and Benjamin attend the Early Learning Academy at Petty Elementary
Round Rock ISD’s Steve Flores named Central Texas Superintendent of the Year
Steve Flores, Round Rock ISD superintendent for the past six years, has been named the Central Texas Superintendent of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. The chamber will recognize Flores at its annual State of Education on Nov. 14.

“Dr. Flores has made an enormous impact on creating a culture of high expectations in Round Rock ISD,” said Drew Scheberle, Austin Chamber senior vice president, education, in a Nov. 6 release. “He doesn’t shirk from a challenge or make excuses for low performance. From the beginning of his tenure, Dr. Flores has been a unifier. He helped the Chamber and education partners come together on smart metrics for student success, and he has led by example in focusing on college/career readiness.”

The Austin Chamber of Commerce pointed to initiatives including college- and career-readiness expectations and a focus on continuous improvement as reasons for selecting Flores. In addition, the release stated Flores’ investment in mental health by working to reduce the student-to-counselor ratio, prudent financial investing to manage district growth, and standardization of quality practices for racial and educational equity.
Jack Lowe Elementary principal earns a top honor from the U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education has selected Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School Principal Sandra Barrios as one of 10 national recipient of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership, which recognizes outstanding school leaders and the vital role they play in guiding students and schools to excellence, frequently under challenging circumstances.

Barrios and the 9 other recipients will be honored during the National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony on Nov. 14 in Washington, D.C.

“Bell awardees have created environments where students and teachers thrive,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said. “These principals are living proof that strong, transformative leadership is critical to student success.”
Top 10 Principal: Hudson’s Rachel R. Ayala among nation’s best
Even though she will receive the award later this month, Rachel R. Ayala’s being chosen for the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership developed over a period of years.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently announced that Ayala will be among 10 principals to be honored with the Bell award in a ceremony Nov. 14 in Washington, D.C. It is the top award for school principals given by the U.S. Department of Education and part of the Blue Ribbon Schools Program.

Ayala took over as principal of Hudson Elementary School in 2015. This year Hudson was named a Blue Ribbon School, recognizing its transformation from a struggling school to a nationally recognized campus.

Call for University of Texas San Antonio to Embrace Hispanic-Serving Mission
A group of Hispanic faculty members and administrators at the University of Texas at San Antonio says that the institution does not live up to and has not embraced its identity as a Hispanic-serving institution. A petition by La Raza Faculty and Administrator Association urges the university to become a “Hispanic-thriving institution” by making various changes. Those include adopting a strategic plan to become a leading Hispanic-serving institution, beyond talk of “‘inclusive excellence’ that minimizes and obfuscates the majority Latina/o/x and Chicana/o/x student population and region it serves — except when it benefits from federal monies and grants.”

Other demands are greater investment in Hispanic studies, faculty members and students, a center for Mexican American studies and more community engagement. The group wants living wages for all staff members and the establishment of a well-funded vice provost’s office for HSI initiatives and strategies. “The university must do better in recruiting and hiring leaders that represent and understand our community, and that indeed, want to work, have experience and are experienced with working on our community,” La Raza’s petition states. Some of its criticisms echo those articulated in a recent report by Hispanic full professors at the University of Texas at Austin.
Voces Oral History Project: How the legacy of Latinos in South Texas will survive

The 1970s were a “dynamic” time for Latinos in South Texas.

Back then Corpus Christi native Diana Gutierrez Fernandez attended Texas A&I University, which is now called Texas A&M University-Kingsville. The United Farm Workers movement, led by Cesar Chavez in California, was gradually catching on in South Texas — an isolated part of the state, where A&I seemed to be the region’s center for political activity, Fernandez said.

The university also was the home of several Chicano civil rights organizations: the Raza Unida Party, the Mexican American Youth Organization and the Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations.

In 1977, activist Antonio Orendain led a 1,500-mile, 80-day march from the Rio Grande Valley to Washington, D.C., to advocate for a minimum wage for migrant farm workers. Fernandez, who was involved with Raza Unida, remembers wearing bell bottoms as she marched from San Antonio to Austin.
New postings
Natalia ISD

Del Valle ISD

Canutillo ISD
Internal Auditor – search by JG Consulting

  • New School Development Manager (Education Specialist V)
  • SBEC Enforcement Attorney (Attorney III)
  • State Compensatory Education Financial Analyst (Financial Analyst II)
Explore Career Opportunities Today
Texas Association of School Administrators TASA Career Center
Hazard, Young, Attea Associates https://hyasearch.com/browse-jobs /
Region 17 ESC http://jobs.esc17.net/
6 ways you must research a company before an interview
You’ve been invited in for an interview at a company you’re jazzed about. The opportunity is a perfect fit for your experience and expertise, and the pay is on par with your salary expectations. You’ve laid out your power outfit and you’re ready to woo them — but if you haven’t spent time researching the company, you’re missing the mark. While studying up on a company used to only mean glancing over their website, these days, there are plenty of other avenues that hold important information. As career expert Wendi Weiner explains, the internet is a playground for helpful insight that could put you a step above other candidates who don’t do their due diligence. Not only will you be prepared for anything they toss your way but you will definitely come across as uber-prepared when you can reference your research. Here, a guide on how to truly prep:  

Google, Google, and Google some more
If you’ve been single in the digital age or ever matched with a could-be partner online, you know how search engines are for your anxiety. With a few quick terms, you can figure out plenty about people, places and of course, businesses. That’s why Weiner advises Googling your potential employer and reading through the first five pages of results. “You want to know how the company is poised online as well as what others say about the company,” she explains. “Seek out as much info and investigative research as possible to see what’s out there about the company.” Keep track of your progress and bookmark what’s most interesting, so you can study before you head into the interview.

National News
Report: Few Black and Latino Children Are Served by High-Quality State Preschool Programs
Just 1 percent of Latino children and 4 percent of black children are enrolled in high-quality state preschool programs, according to a report released on Wednesday that details the barriers students of color face when accessing early education.

That finding, in  a report by The Education Trust , centers on 3- and 4-year olds in state-funded preschool programs across 25 states and Washington, D.C. Of the states analyzed, none provided black and Latino children with sufficient access to high-quality programs, according to the Washington-based think tank, which focuses on education equity.

Researchers compared 2017-18 enrollment data for state-funded programs against 10 quality benchmarks set by the National Institute for Early Education Research, including hiring teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree, offering professional development and maintaining a staff-teacher ratio of 1-to-10. Researchers gave programs high marks if they met 9 or 10 of the benchmarks.
In 11 of the 25 states and Washington, D.C., Latino children were underrepresented in programs relative to their overall population numbers, and black children in three states were similarly underrepresented.

In need of bilingual teachers, recruiters head to Puerto Rico

Evelyn Ortiz came from Puerto Rico to Grand Rapids by putting coins in a pay phone and telling the operator she wanted to talk to the Michigan Department of Education about getting a teaching job. The obliging operator connected her to MDE, where an official said they needed bilingual teachers. 

Long story short, Ortiz was hired in 1997 to teach bilingual second grade at Burton Elementary School. She arrived, she said, with 13 boxes, two children and one friend in Grand Rapids. 

“I kind of say it was meant to be,” said Ortiz, now in her 10th year as principal at Buchanan Elementary School. “I love working for Grand Rapids Public Schools. My passion and love is for my community, my children, my families.”

Now she is offering other teachers in her homeland a chance to follow her path to GRPS, although by decidedly less old-school means. 
The Latino Teacher-Student Divide: 5 Steps to Close the Gap

Latino students are the largest ethnic group in U.S. public schools, representing 25 percent of the overall population.

Yet, Latinos make up only 9 percent of the nation’s teaching corps.

While demographic gaps exist between all nonwhite student populations and teachers, the gap for Latinos is the largest, a new report from New America’s Education Policy Program shows.

Despite the fact the number of K-12 Latino teachers has more than quadrupled over the last three decades, the growth has not kept pace with the rise in student population.

The report, Paving the Way for Latinx Teachers: Recruitment and Preparation to Promote Educator Diversity, identifies the “academic, financial, and sociocultural” barriers that Latino students face along the pathway into teaching and proposes solutions to funnel more Latinos into the profession.
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