TALAS E-newsletter – October 21

Posted on October 21st, 2021
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Mentoring Program Feature
Dr. Jennifer Garcia-Edwardsen
Mentored by Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora
Dr. Jennifer Garcia-Edwardsen
Executive Director of Elementary Schools, New Braunfels ISD

Dr. Jennifer Garcia-Edwardsen is an educator and community leader who recently joined New Braunfels ISD as their new Executive Director of Elementary Schools. Her honors include being named the Del Valle Elementary Teacher of the Year and Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2011, an H-E-B Excellence in Education Finalist in the Emerging Leader Category (2011), an H-E-B Excellence in Education Semifinalist in the Principal Category in 2018, and to Austin’s Under 40 Recipient in the Youth and Education Category in 2020.
Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora

Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora has been an educator for over three decades in South Texas, Houston and Central Texas. Currently she serves as Superintendent for Tomball Independent School District. During the course of her career, she has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades and has held executive and leadership roles at multiple organizations, including as President of TALAS until 2020.
Texas News
TALAS Executive Director on Advancing Latino Leaders and Learners in Texas
5 Questions with Dr. Stan Paz
Despite the fast-rising numbers of Latinos in Texas schools, there are few Latino top administrators in education. The Texas Association for Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS) advocates for the growth and advancement of Latino learners and leaders in Texas—something the state desperately needs given the critical shortage of Latino leadership. 

Executive Director and Founding President of TALAS Dr. Stan Paz’s 45 year-long career in education has spanned the gamut as a former superintendent, deputy superintendent, vice president of McGraw-Hill Education, and regional vice president of Sylvan Learning.

In this interview, Dr. Stan Paz explains how TALAS helps district administrators succeed in order to improve public education for all students—with an emphasis on improving the educational and career opportunities of Latino youth.

Aldine ISD announces new leadership academy for boys
Aldine ISD plans to open a leadership academy focused on closing the achievement gap for Black and Latino male students for the 2022-2023 school year, the district announced Tuesday.

The Young Men’s Leadership Academy, a school of choice for grades one through eight, will seek to provide opportunities for boys of color to explore deeper learning to prepare them for high school and college. The school, part of a partnership with Prairie View A&M University, will allow students to delve into community engagement, social justice and advocacy work. There will also be an emphasis on social and emotional learning.

First lawsuit filed challenging new Texas political maps as intentionally discriminatory
Before they’re even signed into law, the state’s new maps for congressional and statehouse districts have been challenged in federal court by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Before they’ve even been signed into law, Texas’ new maps for Congress and the statehouse are being challenged in court for allegedly discriminating against Latino voters.

The Texas Story: Why Strong School Governance and Effective Education Ecosystems Are Key in Helping Students Thrive
If this story had been written 15 years ago, Houston would have been the star. The Houston Independent School District had “it”: effective governance and a supportive community, both of which were leading to impressive innovations and improving outcomes. At the same time, two successful charter networks — KIPP and YES Prep — launched and expanded in the region.

Today, Houston has lost “it.” While the charter sector in Houston remains strong, progress for students in the district has ground to a halt.

Critical Race Fury: The School Board Wars Are Getting Nasty in Texas
A small-but-loud faction of parents and activists is making life miserable for local school officials—and shouting down the kids who speak in favor of lessons about the history and persistence of racial discrimination.

No child is guaranteed success in life, but students in Eanes Independent School District, located in the rolling hills of West Austin, will have an easier time attaining it than many of their peers. The neighborhoods that feed into Eanes are some of the state’s richest. All but one of the district’s nine schools won an A rating from the state in 2019, the last time grades were handed out. 

Sponsor News
Tynker Announces District Grants for Spanish K-5 Coding Curriculum
Tynker is delighted to share that the Spanish version of our K-5 programming courses is now available. Even better, in line with our mission to bring equitable learning opportunities to all students, we’re excited to announce our new Tynker en Español grants for school districts in the US!
Your Spanish ELL students can have access for the entire school year to our nine Spanish language courses at no cost at all. Applications will only be accepted from appropriate district representatives so feel free to forward this email to the right person at your district. For more details, please visit our grant overview page.
This grant is only available to school districts, networks, and groups located in the US.
Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National News
‘Drawing Better Lines’: The High Cost of Housing Even a Neighborhood Away Prices Many Low-Income Families Out of Better Schools, Report Says
The Laraway Community Consolidated School District, west of Chicago, has an ample supply of housing where a family at the poverty line can find an apartment for about $1,000 per month.

But if the family wants to move their child to better schools in the nearby Elwood, Union or Manhattan districts they would be hard-pressed to find housing in that price range. 

Without free community college, can it still be a game changer for Latino students?
President Joe Biden’s proposal, now expected to be scrapped, can be a strong message for students. But making college accessible goes beyond free tuition, some experts say.

Felicia Lozano, a barista at Starbucks and a full-time student at San Antonio College, still had to “step it up” and scramble to work more hours to cover community college and living costs this year.

Bilingual independent study: How one California district is making it work
To enroll in bilingual education in most school districts in California, you have to attend class in person. It’s too difficult to find enough bilingual teachers and too hard to teach a new language online, most districts say.

But one district, Montebello Unified, near Los Angeles, is taking on those challenges and offering bilingual classes to independent study students.

The Proud Boys Are Coming for Public Schools
Rightwing militants failed to overturn the 2020 election, but now they’re aiming at a new target.

When violent insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, some of the rioters were members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group prone to street brawling and pro-Western, anti-Muslim, and misogynistic rhetoric. 

The insurrectionists were thwarted, but now extremist groups—including the Proud Boys—are aiming their threats and violence at a new target: public schools.

Local Mom Creates Bilingual Books for Families of Children in a Dual Language Program
Raising bilingual children is a unique challenge for parents that speak only English. When the opportunity of a Spanish Dual Language Immersion program opened at Highlands Elementary School, one Saugus parent jumped at the chance.

At the height of the Pandemic, Marie Urquidi had a Kindergartner and a First Grader in the DLI Program when the school went to digital learning. With only a couple of years of high-school-level Spanish, she didn’t feel equipped to help her children with their lessons in Spanish for the remainder of the 2020 school year. “I enjoy doing something together as a family, and I wanted to create something that enabled monolingual families to experience a second language together,” she explains. While her kids are enrolled in bilingual education, she wanted to find a way to keep up with them.

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!
Mesa Cloud is a student progress platform, purpose-built to automatically track each student’s achievement against their best path. We ensure no student falls victim to circumstance by scanning every student every night to check their status towards graduation, CTE, and advanced pathways that they might be eligible for. Our ‘digital safety net’ catches kids that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks, identifies opportunities to close equity gaps, and streamlines difficult manual processes for counselors and administrators district-wide.

Matt Smith, Account Executive, matt@mesacloud.com

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