TALAS E-newsletter – September 30

Posted on September 30th, 2021
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Texas News
UT Austin historian Monica Muñoz Martinez among MacArthur ‘genius grant’ recipients
“This award is so timely for me, personally,” Martinez said, “to remain committed to make sure the public has access to the truth, true history, even when it is troubling.”

A Latina historian devoted to keeping alive the stories of long-dead victims of racial violence along the Texas-Mexico border is among this year’s MacArthur fellows and recipients of “genius grants.”

Ysleta ISD launches program to support social-emotional health
The Ysleta Independent School has implemented a new program called Social and Emotional Learning that provides more support for students in their transition back to in-person learning.

Ysleta ISD launched the Kindness in the Classroom curriculum in the fall that is integrated into every campus from Pre-K through high school.

The focus of the program is to help students acquire and apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes to manage emotions, achieve personal goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions, among others.

In a bilingual city like San Antonio, dual language education is key
The story of San Antonio is one imbued with a rich bilingual history. From San Antonio being one of the first cities to desegregate schools after Brown v. Board of Education to the first Texas Association for Bilingual Education meeting taking place in 1972 at Karam’s restaurant on Zarzamora Street to San Antonio students in Lanier and Edgewood high schools in the 1960s rising up against systemic racial prejudice to San Antonio native Senator Joe Bernal leading the first Texas Bilingual Education Act that repealed the 1918 English-only law in Texas, San Antonio has been a pillar of advocacy for equitable bilingual education.

Biden administration opens investigation into Texas’ mask mandate ban in schools
U.S. Department of Education’s investigation will explore whether Texas follows federal law that protects students with disabilities.

Federal officials launched an investigation into Texas’ ban on mask mandates in schools, wading into the state’s ongoing legal battles over requiring face coverings during the ongoing pandemic.

School districts are already fighting Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning such mandates in state court while Disability Rights Texas, an organization that is representing families of students 12 and younger with disabilities, has filed a lawsuit in federal court.

Hundreds of COVID-19 Texas school cases were missing from state data. Here’s why
Labor Day closures led hundreds of school districts to miss the latest reporting deadline, further skewing state COVID-19 data.

At first glance, the latest iteration of the state’s COVID-19 case tracker for Texas public schools might be cause for alarm.

Case counts at a dozen of the area’s largest districts — including Lewisville, Frisco, Birdville, Richardson and Denton ISDs — climbed by over 100 student cases last week, according to Friday’s update.

In isolation, that rise would be significant. That’s not the whole story, though.

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Upcoming Events
2022 Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE) Annual Conference
January 29–30, 2022
Austin, TX
The 2022 TCWSE Annual Conference will be an in-person event January 29-30, 2022, at the Austin Convention Center. (It will be held in conjunction with the TASA Midwinter Conference.) Our theme is Dream It. Believe It. Claim It. Be It. We hope you’ll join us!

Keynote speakers:
Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez
San Elizario ISD Superintendent
Cameron Quinn
U.S. Dept. of Defense, Defense Institute of International Legal Studies
Sheleah Reed
Chief of Staff and Chief Communications Office for Aldine ISD
Superintendent Round Table
Reimagining Technology in Education: A Chat with HP Edu Team
Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, 11 am–12 pm EST
The HP Education team is organizing a roundtable discussion with superintendents about the future of technology in education.

Over the past year and a half, technology adoption and integration in K12 has accelerated at unprecedented speed. Moving forward, how can we take what we’ve learned and forge new paradigms for access, equity, and outcomes with education technology?

Join HP’s Education team for a conversation to bridge public and private sector perspectives.
National News
How Far Will Supreme Court’s Super-Conservative Majority Go to Push Religious Freedom in Public Schools? Maine Choice Case Provides Fresh Test
Olivia Carson, the Maine student at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case over religious school choice, graduated from Bangor Christian Schools this year. So even if the court rules states can no longer exclude schools that teach religion from their voucher programs, Carson will have moved on to study business at Husson University.

But other families, and those on all sides of the school choice issue, are already speculating about how far the court’s conservative majority will go.

Tutors wanted: Inside the nationwide sprint to build big new programs to catch students up
Oklahoma education officials came up with an ambitious plan to help students who struggled during the pandemic: build a 500-person math tutoring corps.

The goal is to have 250 tutors in place by January. But first, the state has to find them.

Already, they’ve changed their recruiting approach. After assuming most of the tutors would be college students, university presidents warned officials to expect only “about half of the tutors we were initially seeking,” said Joy Hofmeister, the state’s schools chief. Now, the state is also targeting teachers, retired educators, and some 30,000 others with teaching licenses — and plans to pay teachers who tutor $50 an hour.

Students Are Going Hungry, Cafeteria Staffing Is a Mess. Here’s Why
Pandemic-related supply-chain and labor challenges are causing major headaches in K-12 cafeterias across the country, in some cases, leading students to go hungry and schools to contemplate a dreaded return to fully remote learning.

Administrators at Mitchell Elementary School in Philadelphia scrambled to order pizza, water, and juice to feed 400 students after food deliveries fell through and cafeteria staff weren’t available one day last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Some of the pizzas never arrived. This wasn’t the first time this school year that the students went hungry, and the school wasn’t the only one in the area where students have gone hungry this school year, the Inquirer reported.

The deadliest place for environmental activists is Latin America
“You never think that defending our right to water and life will lead to death,” an activist in Mexico says as a Global Witness report details the killings of environmental defenders.

Diana Gabriela Aranguren could not believe what the news was saying. She looked at the TV screen over and over, trying to understand how it was possible that her friend had been killed.

“He had just made a post on Facebook at 6 p.m. to participate in an activity and a bit later, the tragedy came on the news,” Aranguren, a teacher and environmental activist, said about the death of Oscar Eyraud Adams, an Indigenous Mexican activist and leader who was killed on Sept. 24, 2020, in Tecate, Baja California.

First Tonys after Broadway’s reopening — and reckoning — brings hope to Latino actors
“I questioned everything about my life. I missed my stage — everyone went through loss and change,” said “Chicago” star Bianca Marroquín.

In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Broadway actor Bianca Marroquín would find herself awake in the middle of the night, trying to make sense of the shuttered theaters that had turned her world upside down.

“I would wake up at 2 a.m. with a heavy heart and anxiety. My entire existence had changed,” she said. “I had wanted to do this [performing] since I was 3, and now it was gone. I questioned everything about my life. I missed my stage. Then I thought, was it time for me to move on, to say goodbye?” 

Las Tienditas
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IXL’s K-12 personalized learning platform is used by 8 million students. Our comprehensive, standards-aligned curriculum adapts to each student and provides guidance that targets their needs. With the Real-Time Diagnostic and IXL Analytics, teachers have the insights they need to boost student performance in the classroom and on high-stakes assessments.

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