51 Westlake High School students have been named National Merit Semifinalists for the 2019-20 school year, breaking Westlake’s 2010 record of 47 students, according to a press release from Eanes ISD. EISD stated that nationwide, semifinalists represent less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors. Those recognized as semifinalists will now be considered as potential recipients of one of 7,600 National Merit Scholarships.  view article arw

Starting this school year students all over Texas will have to learn to write in cursive according to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills agency. Though some Texas Schools had gotten away from teaching Cursive writing, WFISD Curriculum Specialist Mae Walker said Wichita Falls students have never stopped. “I know there are a lot of benefits for students that are dyslexic, and I know there is a lot of research behind that and how that can help," said Mae Walker.  view article arw

At a live discussion of the Austin Independent School District’s proposal to overhaul the entire district, school officials said the idea is about more than just closing schools. Meanwhile, city leaders said there’s room to grow to bring more equitable opportunities to students. KUT hosted the show during Morning Edition to try to answer questions parents and community members have posed since the proposal was released Sept. 5. What follows are some highlights from the discussion, lightly edited for clarity. view article arw

A READER ASKS… DATA MEETING QUESTIONS

September 1908:30 AM
 

We just completed our first checkpoints. What are some good questions to ask during our Data Talks?  If the answer is, “No,” there is no reason to talk about anything else. Working to get on pace is the only instructional priority.  Once the answer to the pacing question is, “Yes,” then there are three other questions that should drive the conversations and planned actions in the data meeting view article arw

Georgia's high school graduation rate is continuing a steady increase that began in 2012. view article arw

Commerce ISD Superintendent Charlie Alderman reflects on the the recently announced state accountability ratings, in which the district received an overall rating of B, up from last year's C rating, and Commerce High School received a B, but the Commerce Middle School received an F rating and A.C. Williams Elementary received a D. Alderman says the district and the high school ratings are multi-faceted, while the middle school and elementary ratings are based on a single-day of testing. view article arw

SAN ANTONIO - Things continue to get shuffled around when it comes to the South San Antonio Independent School District.  The school board was set to fill three seats left vacant following some sudden resignations earlier this month. Only two have been filled so far. view article arw

Former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and Spurs Sports & Entertainment Chairman and co-CEO Peter J. Holt will lead a new steering committee focused on improving early childhood education for San Antonio’s youngest students.  Among the tasks for the temporary group is planning for the reauthorization of Pre-K 4 SA, the City of San Antonio’s tax-funded pre-kindergarten program, and potentially recommending ballot language to City Council. It also is charged with studying the gaps in early education for students up to 8 years old and making recommendations on what an early childhood advocacy group would look like for San Antonio. view article arw

The Killeen Independent School District board of trustees took action on multiple items during their meeting Tuesday night, including one designed to ease overcrowding. By a unanimous 7-0 vote, the board approved the recommendation by the district’s administration to submit class size waivers to the Texas Education Agency for 17 different classrooms, kindergarten through fourth grade, at 12 different schools within the district. view article arw

Texoma kids continue to do great things in the classroom. After making incredible scores on their PSATs seniors Ila Kamath, Krishna Reddy, and Rohan Tanjavur are the only students in Wichita Falls to be named semi-finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. “Whenever I took the test, I did not expect to score as well as I did,” Hirschi High School senior Rohan Tanjavur said. view article arw

While technology continues to evolve and the job skills needed for someone to remain competitive in the professional world constantly change, old-fashioned “good habits” like time management, determination, teamwork and being “teachable” are still valuable lessons to pass along to young people. Casey Chaney, math teacher and Chancellor of Greenville High School’s engineering-centered Early College High School program, is someone committed to supporting students as they learn both up-to-date and timeless job skills. As GHS’ Early College High School program entered its second school year this fall, that commitment was recognized as 23 of Chaney’s students showed their appreciation by nominating her as the Greenville Independent School District’s first Hero of Hope of 2019-20. view article arw

The embattled Harlandale school board met Monday night. The district is fighting a takeover by the Texas Education Agency, while battling a former contractor in court. $900,000 of taxpayer money is at stake. That's how much Jasmine Engineering says the district owes the company for overseeing construction projects. Harlandale ISD has been arguing that its contract with Jasmine was voided when the TEA announced it was taking action against the district. The relationship between the engineering firm and district officials was at the center of a TEA investigation Which determined the superintendent and school board needed to be replaced. view article arw

Following a keynote address by Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath in which he called for broad community engagement in public schools, Greater Houston Partnership President Bob Harvey told area business and school leaders he expects the replacement of Houston ISD’s board in the coming months and asked them to get involved and advocate for a new direction for the district. “HISD needs a fresh start,” Harvey said during closing remarks at the partnership’s first-ever State of Education summit. “That’s why we’ve called on Commissioner Morath to appoint a local board of managers to run the district that is composed of a diverse group of Houstonians who will prioritize our children and create sustainable conditions where clear-minded decisions can be made.” view article arw

The Wichita Falls ISD board room was packed with people wanting to make their voices heard about why they do not want any school buildings in District 2 to potentially close. The school board has discussed closing Kate Burgess Elementary and changing Hirschi High School and Booker T. Washington Elementary into middle schools. Parent and educator Erica Persaud said, “Members just like you in the past have actually come to this decision before. They’ve closed down buildings and made promises of a better life for our children only to find these buildings overcome by foliage.” view article arw

Snyder ISD to face state penalties

September 1708:30 AM
 

Snyder ISD is facing state penalties after Snyder Junior High School received its fifth consecutive "failing" rating. Dr. Eddie Bland, the superintendent at Snyder ISD, said that the school district's priority is putting students first. "Our students deserve the best that we can give them every day we walk in that door," said Bland. "And that's what we're gonna keep doing for this school year." view article arw

Big changes to discipline and educational programs are coming to New Waverly schools. The New Waverly ISD School Board approved its district improvement plan for the 2019-2020 school year during their regular meeting Monday night. Bullying prevention and educational programs were among the changes coming to the district. “Much of the changes to the district improvement program relate to wording, but there are some important goals we have in mind,” New Waverly ISD director of curriculum Stephanie Brock said. “We want to ensure our students and staff are safe at all times and that we are prepared for any problems that may come.” view article arw

Turning a struggling school into a good one requires systemic, long-term commitment from every educator, parent and community member. It does not happen overnight. It needs the support of the entire community, and mostly, it needs time. Texas schools have used outside partners for years; the key is choosing the right one. Nearly a decade ago, partnership models in Texas added a path with proven, high-quality operators, most notably, the SKY Partnership in Spring Branch ISD. A few years later, Grand Prairie ISD and Uplift Education collaborated on a partnership program. Back then, there was no specific mechanism for districts to seek out high-quality turnaround partners or innovative programs to dramatically increase the quality of education for students.  view article arw

Wayne Carter stopped by Warren Middle School in Forney to show us what makes it such a special place to learn. view article arw

Crossroads is a concept to help keep kids from dropping out of school purposed by AISD. It is not official just yet, as board members are currently voting whether to continue exploring with this concept. “Creating a special environment, a special school that will allow them to go nine through twelve," said AISD Superintendent Doug Loomis. "And help them recover credit get back on the right track and be successful and not be dropouts.” view article arw

In Fort Bend ISD, gone are the days of just jumping jacks and dodgeball in the elementary school gymnasium. For kids who seek flexibility and inner peace, the school district has yoga as a physical education option. Students at Palmer Elementary School in Missouri City can choose to practice yoga during P.E. class. view article arw

Parental Involvement Assistants will be going door-to-door through northern Hidalgo County neighborhoods on Wednesday as part of Project Gateway 2019. The project is aimed at recruiting students who have not reported back for the 2019-2020 school year. read more arw

Officials with the Texas Education Agency have arrived in Manor to investigate opposing accusations that have embroiled the school district’s top leaders, leading Manor school board members to postpone a vote scheduled for Monday on whether to order disciplinary action against Superintendent Royce Avery.  Board member Matildy “Sam” Samaripa Jr. said he wasn’t sure when they would take up the vote again but said it would make sense for them to wait until TEA’s investigation is complete. view article arw

Schools, this year for the first time, are receiving a letter grade from A through F. The Texas Education Agency has promoted this change as a way to help parents evaluate schools more effectively. In the past, we had the expectations approach. Schools failed and/or exceeded expectations. The evaluation of these schools is based on the same thing. The change has no meaning, except that in theory, parents can better understand giving a school a letter grade as opposed to failing expectations or meeting expectations. view article arw

A lawyer for the Harlandale Independent School District is preparing to cite the federal Voting Rights Act to accuse the Texas Education Agency of unlawfully stripping power from elected leaders of predominantly black and Hispanic school districts. view article arw

TOP LYS TWEETS – SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

September 1608:30 AM
 

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS tweets from the past week when they were first posted.  And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list. view article arw

Here is a look at how each school scored on The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, tests. view article arw

Everything is the same, until it isn’t. All the “causes” our  political leaders trot out after every mass shooting event are patently false. I’ve listed the most common of them on the chart above.  If the in-common reasons were the true cause, then mass shootings would be common occurrences in our peer countries. But they are not.  We are different than our peer countries in just two categories… view article arw

The school district recently earned an overall B grade from the Texas Education Agency — specifically 86 out of 100. School officials acknowledged they need to improve some students’ reading, writing and math scores, particularly English-language learners. However, they note that, overall, their kids made gains in all TEA’s accountability indicators — student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps between student groups performance. Considered were State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exam performance and progress; college, career and military-readiness rates; and graduation rates. view article arw

ROUND ROCK, Texas — Christina Greene said her 5-year-old son, Jonah, was bullied at school because of something he was wearing for his medical issues.  She said the school administration was working with the family on the problem and it was an isolated incident.  "He's trying to live his best life." said Greene. "He wants to be at school, like everybody else. He wants to walk down the hallways. He wants to sit at his desk and draw and paint and color and read and do everything that those kids want to do too." view article arw

After expanding its pre-K program by opening it to all four-year-olds, Palestine Independent School District needed five additional classrooms at Washington Early Childhood Center. The classrooms serve an added 88 students, pushing enrollment in PISD's Pre-K program this year to 268.  The school district offered a daycare program at Washington ECC, 1020 W. Hamlett St., for almost 10 years. This summer, the daycare for teachers and school district staff, serving 40 children, moved to a renovated church building on Murchison Street, the former home of Dogwood Community Church. view article arw

Time to play the same old broken record… Here is what I have heard from Republican politicians this week (paraphrased). BR = Broken Record. A = Answer  BR: “Now is not the time to talk about gun regulations because to do so would be to politicize tragedy.” view article arw

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath visited Dunbar College Preparatory Academy this afternoon to see first-hand the implementation of a new program designed to turn the school around. The middle school was labeled “improvement required” for five consecutive years, but with the initiation of the Accelerating Campus Excellence program, Dunbar is hoping to improve their school rating from an “F” to a “B” this year.  “We knew we needed to do something different, we’ve invested a great deal in this school and we know good things are going to happen,” Rollo said. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency officially shifted to its new A-F accountability rating system for its 2018-19 scores—a change that has been impending since the Texas Legislature approved the new system in 2017. The 2019 accountability ratings, which were released Aug. 15, score districts and individual campuses by their performance in three key domains: Student Achievement, School Progress and Closing the Gaps, according to the TEA website. view article arw

Why do so many college students drop out, and what can be done about it?  That’s the subject of a new book, “The College Dropout Scandal,” written by David Kirp, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.  Kirp writes:  "Higher education is billed as the ticket of admission to America’s middle class. That’s true for students who earn a bachelor’s degree — their lifetime earnings will be nearly $1 million more than those with only a high school diploma, and the gap keeps widening as more employers demand a university credential. view article arw

To Our National and State Level Republican Elected Officials,  I am a lifelong gun owner. I enjoy hunting, shooting skeet and target practice at the gun range. I am licensed to carry a concealed firearm. I am not afraid of guns.  I share the above to strengthen my case when I say the ongoing social experiment (of your making) to essentially arm everyone and anyone, indiscriminately, to enhance personal and community safety has failed, with increasingly deadly consequences. view article arw