TALAS E-newsletter – September 2

Posted on September 2nd, 2021
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Your Dose of Inspiration
Susana Cordova, Deputy Superintendent of Dallas ISD
This issue, as part of a new series featuring outstanding Latino and Latina administrators in Texas, TALAS is putting the spotlight on Susana Cordova, who recently left her position as the superintendent of Denver Public Schools to join Dallas ISD, and whom some expect will be DISD’s next superintendent.

Cordova is the daughter of Mexican-American parents and a first-generation college graduate. After three decades with DPS, she came to DISD earlier this year, telling the Dallas Morning News: “Dallas looks a lot more like the kind of district that motivated me to want to become a teacher. Denver Public Schools today is much whiter and much wealthier than the Denver Public Schools I grew up in and I was teaching in.”

As the first Latina DPS superintendent, Cordova led significant improvements in student outcomes and was widely praised for her dedication to Denver student success, her collaborative attitude, and her tireless commitment to racial equity. She is credited with the many strides DPS took towards diversity and inclusivity under her leadership, as well as shifting the district’s perspective on ESL and multilingual students.

Thank you, Susana, for everything you have accomplished. We can’t wait to see what you do next!
Texas News
Lockhart ISD’s Mark Estrada named finalist for superintendent of the year
The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) named Lockhart Independent School District Superintendent Mark Estrada Jr. as one of five state finalists for 2021 Superintendent of the Year.

Estrada had advanced to the state-level competition after being selected as the 2021 Regional Superintendent of the Year in June by the Education Service Center Region 13, which comprises a total of 57 school districts in Texas.

Morton Ranch High School forms first ever Katy ISD mariachi band
The Katy ISD music scene is now even more culturally inclusive. Morton Ranch High School announced Aug. 26 that it would be forming the district’s first mariachi band.

Orchestra director Gabriel Katz will be leading the band, which will be an after school activity open to all students, not just those in band or orchestra. “We’re bringing Mexican culture and heritage to our campus by using mariachi as a tool to help celebrate diversity for students,” Katz explained. “We’re giving all students an opportunity to become part of the fine arts and make a difference through diversity within that mariachi style of music.”

Tomball Connections Academy recognized by TEA for restorative practices
Tomball ISD’s Connections Academy received recognition from the Texas Education Agency for restorative discipline practices, earning the “Experienced” designation on the RDP Fidelity Continuum Scale.

Tomball ISD was commended for using restorative practices such as restorative language, classroom respect agreements, circles and affective statements, according to a Tomball ISD press release.

Tomball Connections Academy was the only school, out of the 15 that were recognized, to receive an “Experienced” implementation level.

As the Pandemic Continues to Roar Through Texas, Museums Double Down on Connecting Kids to Science
After 18 grueling months of closures and pandemic protocols, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas had begun to see signs of visitors coming back, bringing their kids in for hands-on science experiences and schools planning field trips.

“We’re definitely seeing pent up demand,” said Perot Museum CEO Dr. Linda Silver.

Schools are feeling the pressure, she said. Fifth grade science scores dropped precipitously last year. Not only was science on the back burner as schools doubled down to salvage reading and math, what science instruction did happen lacked stickiness.

Inside the High-Stakes Hustle of Small-Business Salsa
For a small salsa company to succeed, it takes a lot more than a great dip.

Back in 1994—around the time salsa first overtook ketchup as America’s number-one-selling condiment, and before mayonnaise took back the throne—San Antonio–based Pace Foods was famously bought by the Campbell Soup Company for $1.12 billion. Flash-forward to 2021, and salsa is still a king of the condiment aisle. Here in Texas, grocery store chip and dip shelves are stacked with rows and rows of brightly hued jars, luring in would-be buyers with placards touting award-winning recipes and “Made in Texas” provenance. At around $5 a pop for a low-margin product, such an abundance of dippin’ sauce prompts the question: How do salsa start-ups make it?

Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National News
Education Department Launches Civil Rights Probes Into Five States Banning District Mask Mandates
Following through on prior warnings, the U.S. Department of Education is opening civil rights investigations into states that prohibit local districts from requiring masks for all students.

The department’s Office for Civil Rights on Monday sent letters to five states — Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah — explaining that their policies prevent districts from protecting students that might be at higher risk of health complications from COVID-19 because of a disability.

ESSA error? Why 49 states missed the mark on equity in school spending data
$125 billion in American Rescue Plan recovery funding increases the need for transparency, advocates say

If equity is a top priority in many districts, it is not apparent from the most recent round of state ESSA spending reports, an advocacy organization says.

Only one state, Illinois, provided enough transparent detail to allow advocates to analyze resource inequities and the action being taken to address them, according to “Going Beyond ESSA Compliance,” an interactive report and web tool produced by The Education Trust.

‘It’s always been there:’ Dolores Huerta speaks out on racism and Jim Crow
At 91, the co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union is still active and speaking out against voter suppression.

Do the numbers.

Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta was born in the spring of 1930 in Dawson, a tiny mining town in the high hills of northern New Mexico. That means Huerta, the legendary co-founder of the United Farm workers, just celebrated her 91st birthday.

40 Bilingual Kid-Friendly Tips, Crafts, Recipes and Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage All Year
Did you know that the idea for Hispanic Heritage Month was born in the heart of Los Angeles?

In June of 1968 — more than 50 years ago! — California Congressman George E. Brown, representing California’s 29th Congressional District (which includes part of Los Angeles County), presented a resolution for national recognition of the contributions of Hispanic people and culture to American society and history to the House of Representatives. The resolution was co-sponsored by 19 bipartisan members of Congress.

Meet La La Liu, who transforms into the Latin Asian LGBTQ superhero Lúz
The Dominican Chinese female superhero is introduced in the third issue of the “La Borinqueña” comic book series by Edgardo Miranda-Rodríguez.

She’s a Dominican Chinese college student who identifies as LGBTQ — and ends up transforming into a superhero to help her friend and fellow Latina superhero, La Borinqueña.

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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