TALAS E-newsletter – September 3

Posted on September 3rd, 2020
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Editor’s Note: Last week’s newsletter had a story about CCISD adopting a budget with a $1 million deficit. This was inaccurately reported. We apologize for sharing inaccurate information. CCISD adopted a balanced budget.
Texas News
Congratulations to SOY Finalists!
Corpus Christi ISD’s Roland Hernandez named state finalist for Superintendent of the Year
Corpus Christi ISD Superintendent Dr. Roland Hernandez is one of five Texas public school educators selected as a state finalist for the annual Superintendent of the Year award.

Hernandez, in his seventh year at CCISD, has 22 years of administrative experience and is the president of the Texas School Alliance, a release from CCISD said.
Hernandez earned his bachelor’s degree at Texas State University, his master’s degree at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin.

McAllen schools superintendent in the running for top state award

McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez is in the running for state Superintendent of the Year award, the Texas Association of School Boards announced Monday.

Gonzalez was nominated for the award and selected as one of five finalists from across the state, hailing from districts in Corpus Christi, Newton, Denton and Alpine in addition to McAllen.

“On behalf of the McAllen School Board and our district staff, I would like to congratulate Dr. Gonzalez for this incredible honor, and it is (well-deserved),” School Board President Conrado Alvarado wrote in a statement released by the school district Tuesday. “He has shown tremendous leadership and foresight during this time of incredible challenge, and our community’s children has benefited from his leadership.”

As the school year begins online, thousands of Texas students are being left out of virtual learning

Texas schools struggled this spring to abruptly shift from teaching students in classrooms to reaching them at home. Many students fell behind in the makeshift remote learning systems cobbled together when the pandemic hit.

Education officials vowed to do a better job come fall.

But as the new academic year ramps up, a patchwork system will still leave many students across Texas struggling to get an education. Some will be sharing computers with three or four siblings, their districts unable to muster more than one laptop per family. Others live in rural areas beyond the reach of broadband internet. Thousands of laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots remain on back order, and the state still hasn’t finished building out the system of virtual courses it is offering school districts.

Survey: Two-Thirds Of Harris County Latino Students Fear The Deportation Of Someone They Know

Two-thirds of surveyed Harris County students said they fear someone they know being arrested or deported, according to a new report on Latino high schoolers.

The study by the University of Houston and Migration Policy Institute, released Tuesday morning, surveyed 306 foreign-born and U.S.-born Latino students at 11 schools in Harris County and Rhode Island.

Just over half of students surveyed said they knew someone who had already been deported, according to the study.

A third of high school kids feared being deported themselves, which includes some students who are U.S. citizens and cannot be deported. Another third of students also said immigration fears caused them to change their behavior, like avoiding the doctor or church.

Dallas ISD: Newly Created Campus Position Will Use Data To Drive Racial Equity At 10 Schools
A newly created position at 10 schools will leverage data, partnerships, trainings and support to ensure all students–and especially Black students–have equitable access to services, representation and a great education at the campus.

The 10 new Culture and Climate Facilitator positions are part of a larger effort to ensure racial equity across Dallas ISD. District leaders are currently examining the data to determine the 10 campuses where they should place the facilitators during the fall semester.

“We want to provide our highest need campuses with the resources they need to succeed,” said Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership Leslie Stephens.

Socorro ISD students without Internet access will return to campus for in-person learning Here
Socorro Independent School District announced Monday that it will begin working to bring staff and students back to its campuses.

The district plans to bring people back for on-campus instruction under a phased approach beginning September 8 through September 28.

Adriana Candelaria reports on El Paso school districts’ plans to return to on-campus instruction this fall. (KFOX14/CBS4)

Remote learning will remain an option throughout the 2020-2021 school year for those who chose remote instruction for their child.

Absent widespread testing, Texas schools have limited tools to prevent coronavirus spread

Ideally, students and teachers returning to classrooms this fall would be tested for the novel coronavirus “as much as in major league sports,” says Diana Cervantes, an epidemiologist at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. In Texas, that will not happen.

With no plans for widespread testing and a virus still spreading quickly in many communities, “schools should be prepared to have infected individuals show up,” said Spencer Fox, a University of Texas at Austin researcher who models coronavirus risks.

Infections are inevitable in schools, and administrators will face the challenge of keeping them from growing into outbreaks that force school shutdowns and spark community hot spots. Employing many mitigation measures, experts say, is the best strategy: mask-wearing, hand-washing, keeping students in isolated cohorts, ensuring proper ventilation and holding class outside whenever possible.

Looking for a new opportunity?
Career Advice
10 Books That Will Transform Your Career In Under An Hour
These days, there’s a lot that’s up in the air. But when it comes to your career, perhaps you’re certain about one thing: It’s time for a change.

Like many people who want to make a career pivot, you might not know where to start. I get it—there’s a deluge of career advice out there, and it’s hard to sort through it all and know what’ll work for you. Plus, revamping your professional life takes time. That’s not something many of us have much of, especially if the current state of the country (and the world) has you working more than usual, trying to juggle a job and homeschooling—or both.

Frankly, the process can be so overwhelming that you might be tempted to just stay put. Don’t fall into that trap! Your happiness is worth the effort. And sometimes, even small steps forward can lead to huge shifts.

10 Leadership Lessons with Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall
For the past several years, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing tech founders and CEOs on stage before an audience of entrepreneurs and investors as part of my Startups Uncensored monthly event in Southern California. With the stay-at-home orders in place, I took the opportunity to revive my fireside chat series for a virtual audience with the C-suite leaders of well-known companies including Mattel, Zoom Video and Chipotle, and I recently partnered with Entrepreneur to host a new series entitled “If I Knew Then Leadership Lessons.” The CEOs of global brands, from Waze to Blue Apron, share invaluable lessons that they learned on their path to success, as well as practical career advice they’d give other entrepreneurs, in our one-hour chats.

In the fourth episode of the series, I had the privilege of speaking to Dallas Mavericks’ CEO Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, an especially poignant conversation that came at the same time we’re examining the racist behaviors that have tainted our country for so long. She is one of the most compelling leaders I’ve ever spoken to, and her life story – full of some truly unspeakable hardships and her own incredible personal fortitude – is a journey everyone should make time to hear about. When it comes to leadership, Marshall has real wisdom to share.

National News
‘Critical Thinking’ Review: John Leguizamo’s Inspirational High-School Chess Drama
“Critical Thinking” is one of those up-from-the-streets high-school competition movies where just mentioning the true story it’s based on kind of gives the game away. Set in 1998, it’s about the five chess wizards from Miami Jackson High who became the first inner-city chess team to win the National Championship. Boom! But, of course, it’s how they got there that matters, and even if this movie weren’t based on a true story, you’d know more or less know where it’s going. “Critical Thinking” has some appealing young actors, and it’s been directed, by John Leguizamo (who costars as the film’s tough-saint teacher), in a way that gives them the space to clown around and then get serious. It’s still, in the end, a bit of a connect-the-inspirational-dots movie, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be inspired.

Leguizamo plays Mario Martinez, who teaches an elective class in chess at Miami Jackson, where his students call him “Mr. T.” They’re a rowdy, bellicose, street-smart bunch, hard to control in class, so at first we think we’re seeing one of those movies, like “Stand and Deliver” or “To Sir, with Love,” about a captivatingly square gadfly instructor who shows a bunch of underprivileged kids how to transcend the expectations (or lack thereof) that have been thrust upon them.

Grant Opportunity

The Blended Learning Grant Program (BLGP) is a four-year process to design, launch, refine, and scale a high- quality blended learning program. Beginning with a planning year in year 0, districts will grow their blended learning model from a pilot program to a sustainable feeder pattern implementation by year four. Math Innovation Zones (MIZ) uses this approach with a focus on K-8 math blended learning implementation while TEA will also award grants for non-math blended learning pilots.

This is a great opportunity for districts that are innovators – those with the commitment and capacity to transform their instructional models to meet the needs of all students, all of the time.

  • Applications are due by midnight on September 18 (self-funded option available with a later due date – October 15)
  • An informational program webinar is available here.
  • Full program information can be found in the overview document available at this link
  • The official grant application is live on the TEA Grant Opportunities page

Any questions can be directed to miz@tea.texas.gov
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