TALAS E-newsletter – September 16

Posted on September 16th, 2021
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Your Dose of Inspiration
David Gonzalez, United ISD Superintendent
David Gonzalez was selected earlier this year to replace celebrated UISD superintendent Roberto Santos, who recently retired after serving the district for nearly two decades and had earned widespread recognition for outstanding leadership during his 16-year superintendency. While these are some large shoes to fill, the fact that the board selected Mr. Gonzalez as Mr. Santos’ replacement only speaks to his own excellence and leadership capabilities.

Mr. Gonzalez is no newcomer to UISD. As associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction since 2014, he spearheaded numerous district initiatives, including several programs to promote special needs individuals, and helped bring major technological upgrades to UISD’s almost 2,000 classrooms. His efforts, and the supporting role he played to then-superintendent Santos, were instrumental in the stunning academic improvements the district saw during this time.

For his support of special needs students, Mr. Gonzalez was officially recognized for Outstanding Service from a Community Leader, and in March of this year he was chosen by TASA as one of four “Inspiring Leaders” in Texas. David Canales, executive director for middle schools in UISD, described the two-time Principal of the Year winner as a “visionary leader”, commenting that “it is his experience, heartfelt commitment and dedication to the students, teachers and administrators that are the driving force toward academic excellence for United ISD.”
Texas News
Duarte’s Path to TCISD Superintendent a Lifelong Love Affair
Believing a leader in education should be fully vested in the community she serves, Dr. Melissa Duarte moved from Friendswood to Texas City shortly after she was hired to serve as Superintendent of Texas City ISD.

Duarte, who is beginning her second year overseeing TCISD, originally hails from New Jersey. She has been calling Texas home since she was in high school. “We moved to the Rio Grande Valley when my father’s business closed down in the 80’s,” said Duarte. 

SAISD first school district in West Texas to install COVID-19 mitigation system
San Angelo ISD remains committed to providing a safe, in-person learning environment. As part of that commitment, SAISD is now the first school district in West Texas to source an Integrated Viral Protection TM (IVP) unit, an innovative indoor biodefense system scientifically proven to destroy the virus that causes COVID-19 (99.999 percent) and other airborne pathogens.

A Texas school district doesn’t require masks. The state is suing the district anyway.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has unleashed another wave of lawsuits against school districts over their masking policies — but one of them says it doesn’t even require face coverings.

Midway Independent School District is a Waco-area district that sits on a list compiled by the attorney general’s office of school districts and counties that have flouted Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban and put in place their own mask-wearing orders.

As promised, Biden administration appeals Texas ruling making DACA unlawful
Biden promised in July the Department of Justice would challenge the decision.

As promised, the Biden administration is challenging a Texas ruling that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program is unlawful.

The Department of Justice filed a notice in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday to start the process to overturn the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in favor of nine states led by Texas that found the creation of the DACA program violated federal administrative law.

Looking for a new opportunity?
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Take a look at who’s hiring:
National & International News
White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday intended to coordinate efforts across the federal government to improve educational and economic outcomes for Hispanics.

The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics will focus on policies that address “systemic causes” of challenges faced by students, improve their access to high-quality teachers, and address racial disparities in education funding, among other issues. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will serve as chairman of the initiative, which will be established at the U.S. Department of Education, and Cardona in turn will pick its executive director.

Covid-19 vaccines for younger children could be authorized sometime this fall, Fauci says
Covid-19 vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11 could get the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration sometime this fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

“If you look at the studies that we at the (National Institutes of Health) are doing in collaboration with the pharmaceutical companies, there will be enough data to apply for an emergency use authorization both by Pfizer, a little bit later by Moderna,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday.

Obstacles on the Path to Degrees
A new study argues that debt aversion and transportation problems pose major barriers to college completion for Latinx students.

A new study argues that Latinx students disproportionately fear taking on student loan debt and face transportation challenges, which both pose formidable obstacles to completing college.

CDC Survey Finds Most Parents Do Not Want Kids In School Full Time
More parents are fearful of the Delta variant and their kids getting sick. As such, they want options for remote learning.

A CDC survey has found that most parents do not want their kids going back to school full time, all based on fears related to COVID. As a result, many families would rather that their school districts have options for virtual learning. This change in opinion comes as the Delta variant has made so many kids sick or worse since schools began to open last month. And parents fear that their children could be next.

Professor’s new textbook prepares medical students for interactions with Spanish-speaking patients
A new Spanish language textbook, conceived specifically for courses in Spanish for medical purposes and written by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s María Antonia Anderson de la Torre, Ph.D., has been published.

The book, “¿Cómo se siente? Conversational Spanish in Medical Settings,” will guide intermediate Spanish students through real-life situations where they will be able to practice the language and prepare for interactions in Spanish with Hispanic patients. Anderson de la Torre is an assistant professor of Spanish in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. 

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!
Vanir has delivered more than 1,000 projects for more than 100 school districts, totaling more than $6 billion in modernization and new construction cost. We facilitate effective and efficient coordination between district planners, regulatory agencies, community and user groups, advisory committees, design consultants and dozens of other participants.

Our education sector projects have included master planning, needs assessments, constructability review, project scheduling and budgeting, bidding, award, on-site construction management and project closeout. We also provide staff augmentation services such as “owner’s rep” and have managed architect, contractor and other professional consultant selection. Our services range from condition assessment/feasibility studies to complete program management for a number of districts.

Vice President / Area Manager

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