TALAS E-newsletter – September 9

Posted on September 9th, 2021
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Your Dose of Inspiration
Dr. Angelica Ramsey, first female superintendent of Midland ISD
Dr. Angelica Ramsey joined Midland ISD in February of this year. After nearly half a decade as superintendent of the Pleasant Valley School District in Camarillo, CA, Dr. Ramsey—a UTEP graduate who lived in El Paso for ten years while at Socorro ISD—described returning to West Texas as like “coming home”.

Dr. Ramsey was selected for the MISD superintendent position from over 30 applicants, with board president Rick Davis noting that she has “improved districts in every place that she’s been.” She has been described as a powerful and capable leader who is data-driven, results-oriented, and possesses “laser focus” when it comes to curriculum and academic improvement. For her excellent judgement in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, she started to gain recognition as early as February of 2020, when she began the process of ensuring Pleasant Valley families had internet access and procuring workbooks for students in the event that schools would be forced to lock down—which they did only weeks later.

Dr. Ramsey wrote in an op-ed this past April: “Schools are the heartbeat of any community. I have seen that we have the desire, people and expertise to collectively make sure all of our MISD schools are places where our scholars meet their highest potential.”
Texas News
Nearly two-thirds of HISD students are Latinos. A new program aims to make their voices heard.
Nearly a year ago, 122 speakers registered to talk at a Houston ISD board meeting held on Zoom.

One by one, the speakers took their allotted minute to express whatever concerns and thoughts brought them there.

Watching the meeting, Andy Canales, counted about two dozen Latinos among a group of almost 100 speakers who wanted to address the district’s search for a new superintendent. And only 10 of those were not district employees, the executive director of Latinos for Education Texas recalled.

Weslaco schools to tackle students’ mental health
The Weslaco school district will begin addressing students’ mental health from a “multifaceted approach” as a result of any experiences or trauma incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said in a news release Monday.

Using the district’s social emotional learning plan, school officials believe they can address students’ mental well being now that they have returned to school.

Where EPISD and SISD stand in superintendent searches
Two of El Paso’s largest school districts continue without a permanent superintendent, but new developments have been made in their searches.

Last week, the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees voted 6-1 to go with a new search firm, Austin-based Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle P.C., after cutting ties with their original hire.

As KTSM previously reported, board members voted to terminate the contract with the Texas Association of School Boards Executive Search Services after members were notified of a possible “conflict of interest.” Board members said they were told one of the firm’s employee’s relatives was interested in applying for the position.

Texas AFT joins in lawsuit to protect access to voting after voter suppression bill is signed into law
Voto Latino, LULAC Texas, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Texas American Federation of Teachers today filed suit to block SB 1, Texas’s draconian voting law that is one of the most restrictive of its kind.

The four groups, which collectively represent millions of Texans, contend that the proposed new law’s core provisions will deeply degrade the democratic cornerstones of representation and fairness, particularly for people of color and older Texans.  

Looking for a new opportunity?
Region One ESC Executive Director Search
Region One Education Service Center is one of 20 regional education service centers in Texas serving 38 school districts and 10 charter school systems. They are currently looking for someone to fill the Executive Director role.
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National & International News
From Reopening Schools to Mask Mandates, Education Policy Expected to Play Key Role In Upcoming Newsom Recall Vote in California
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has sometimes been on the opposing side of the state’s large charter community, signing legislation that added roadblocks to launching and expanding schools.

But that doesn’t mean charter leaders are ready to vote him out. Margaret Fortune, who leads a network of schools serving mostly Black students, called the Sept. 14 recall disruptive.

How states are strengthening financial literacy programs
In addition to state education agencies taking a lead in expanding financial instruction, local school systems and organizations are also boosting programing and resources.

Research published last spring by Carly Urban, an associate professor of economics at Montana State University, shows there were 754 changes to schools’ financial education policies during the 2020-21 school year. Of those schools, 265 schools changed to a standalone course requirement.

4 ways schools are enhancing parent relationships in the return to classrooms
School systems will need to be proactive on outreach and attention to individual students’ needs to retain and attract families, researchers say.

The return to full-time, in-person learning may lead teachers and administrators to relax their heightened attention to communication and relationship building with parents regarding the safety, academic, and social and emotional status of their students, but the exchange of information between home and school is as important now as it was during the first year of the pandemic, say teachers, parents and education stakeholders. 

Schools opening after Labor Day could see a spike of COVID cases — if mitigation measures aren’t followed
Back-to-school after the Labor Day weekend could mean fresh spread of coronavirus unless schools take strong action to keep the virus in check, doctors and education experts are warning.

August saw an explosion of Covid-19 cases when some schools resumed in-person classes without mask measures in place and tens of thousands of students and staff were forced into quarantine. Some classrooms even returned to online learning temporarily.

It could happen again.

Statue of Indigenous woman to replace Columbus in Mexico City
The statue of Columbus on Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City will finally be replaced by a sculpture created in homage to Indigenous women.

In commemoration of Indigenous Women’s Day, celebrated on Sept. 5, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum made the decision to replace the Christopher Columbus statue, located on Paseo de la Reforma, with a statue in honor of Indigenous women.

Although the statue of Columbus will be relocated to América Park, the decision has caused much controversy. 

Las Tienditas
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