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Local students could find themselves receiving dual credit for an EMT program offered as early as Fall 2019 at Rusk High School, courtesy of Rusk ISD's Educational Experience Affiliation with UTHSC-Tyler. Trustees voted unanimously to endorse the agreement, with board member Jake Ocker the only one not present at Monday's meeting. “We are wanting to implement a dual credit EMT program for our high school students, (and) the affiliation agreement with UTHSC is the first step towards that goal,” said Superintendent Grey Burton. view article arw

Upcoming Conference Presentations: ASCD Empower19 Conference; TASSP Summer Conference;  NAESP Summer Conference; NASSP Summer Conference; Fundamental 5 National Summit (Keynote)  view article arw

Oliver Schlaffer has a musical family. He’s a master cellist who’s traveled internationally, performing in world-renowned symphonies. His wife, Yumi Ko, is a decorated harpist and the originator of the harp program in Frisco ISD. Today, he spends most of his time educating and training young musicians in his Plano home. For Schlaffer, excellence is his standard.  “For the last 20 years, I’ve been a teacher and I’m always talking about striving for excellence. And when I see the students who are truly excellent being attacked, I don’t have a choice. I have to defend them,” he said. The Plano ISD School Board is still deliberating whether to keep or remove honors credit from music courses like band, choir and orchestra. No other fine arts courses like theater or art have been affected by this decision. In response, Schlaffer and several like-minded parents have launched an initiative called Bring Back Honors. The change.org petition, Bring Honors Music Back to Our PISD Students, has garnered over 1,500 signatures with support from music teachers, students and parents alike. view article arw

Burleson ISD was recently named a finalist in the large district category of the 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, which honors outstanding Texas public schools. The H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards seek to pay tribute to those educators, districts, early childhood facilities and school boards that go the extra mile each and every day to serve their students and their communities and who inspire others to do the same, according to the H-E-B website. BISD is one of five finalists in the state competing for this year’s large school district award. The winning large school district receives a $100,000 cash prize. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 5 in Austin. view article arw

Cy-Fair ISD families looking to transfer their children to another school within the district now have a list of options for next school year. During the March 7 school board meeting, trustees approved the open and closed campus designations for in-district transfer students for the 2019-2020 school year. Eight high schools, five middle schools and 25 elementary schools will be designated as open for transfer, according to a presentation delivered by Cy-Fair ISD director of general administration Kristi Giron. view article arw

MESQUITE, Tex. — Reading is 9-year-old Kristen Hernandez’s thing. She pores over mystery books, stories about vampires and even a college-level anatomy textbook that her mother is studying to become an X-ray technician.  So when her parents, Jessica and Alberto Hernandez, found out last summer that she had scored below grade level on the reading section of Texas’ annual high-stakes standardized test, they figured she had just had a bad test day. After all, Kristen is prone to nervousness, pushing her tortoiseshell glasses onto her forehead and rubbing her temples. view article arw

When it comes to STAAR tests, students have the option of substituting a qualifying score on a college or advanced placement exam to fulfill a STAAR test requirement. "A student can use a qualifying score on a substitute assessment to satisfy his or her testing requirement for an EOC test,” an email from the Texas Education Agency to Tami Wiethorn, assessment coordinator for the Waco Independent School District. view article arw

For district administrators, just how much does money talk when it comes to boosting test scores?  Texas Republicans are in the thick of designing a statewide funding formula that could answer that question in a very big way.  Under a proposal being prepared by legislative leaders, the state would set aside $800 million annually to reward districts that have various strong outcomes. view article arw

DeSoto ISD, under fire for questionable spending uncovered by the CBS 11 I-Team, is combating criticism by releasing its own docuseries. Wednesday night, the school district looked to address some of the concerns in a documentary airing in Victory Park in downtown Dallas. The film is called, “DeSoto Rising.” view article arw

Lancaster ISD is planning a special graduation celebration on Thursday evening for students who passed all of their classes, but who didn’t get the opportunity to graduate with classmates because they didn’t pass end-of-course exams. Former students like LaTraze Ford will now get to celebrate in a cap and gown. view article arw

On Wednesday, Texas Sen. José Menéndez said a two-year hiatus of the STAAR test would allow legislators time to ensure Texas public schools are being fairly assessed. According to Sen. Menéndez, Texas ranks 40th in education quality and that "students are being set up for failure from the inside out by standardized testing." view article arw

In the past three board meetings, Klein ISD’s board of trustees has approved requests for class size waivers from the Texas Education Agency—meaning classroom sizes are too big for state standards. A district must submit a request for a class size exception for any classrooms in kindergarten through fourth grade that exceed the TEA’s 22-student class size limit. view article arw

JOIN THE MARCH FOR A CURE

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Here at Lead Your School, as much as we love instruction, we hate cancer. This love/hate dynamic manifests itself with our annual March For A Cure Challenge. During March, for every completed PowerWalks Classroom Observation, we donate 5¢. It may not sound like much, but thanks to all the PowerWalk campuses across the nation, the donation grows quickly. view article arw

Austin Superintendent Paul Cruz joined other school leaders Wednesday to discuss persisting inequities in education during a South by Southwest EDU panel. The panel “Equality v. Equity: What’s the Difference?” examined disparities among school resources, discipline rates and opportunities for students. Cruz spoke alongside Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell and Tomball school district Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora. Cruz said the Austin school district looks at equality as a simple concept, “and that’s math.” view article arw

Your Legislature enjoys a variety of reputations, some unflattering. Among them is that it’s pro-business to a fault, too willing to mold law to favor of businesses that seek to skirt rules and laws put in place to protect the public from profit-driven excess. That proclivity was on full display this week at an underground hearing sparked by the owners an East Texas business that had been shut down by a duly-sworn law enforcement officer duly enforcing the law. So a panel of lawmakers, meeting two stories beneath the Earth’s surface, listened to a representative of the industry in question and made it clear they were ready to do whatever that representative, Branson Burton of Austin, wanted. view article arw

The Terrell Independent School District is excited to announce the opening of the Global Leadership Academy (GLA), a specialized kindergarten through fifth grade campus. Scheduled to open in Fall 2019, the GLA provides families with an opportunity to choose a learning environment that provides an educational experience that is different than a traditional campus. view article arw

Texas' unpopular statewide standardized test is once again caught in legislative crosshairs, this time after a controversial Texas Monthly article has questioned whether the test was evaluating elementary and middle school students based on reading passages that were one to three grades above their level. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, along with academic experts and educators, will appear before the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday to answer questions about the test, known as the State ofTexas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR.  view article arw

Students in the Class of 2020 at Borger High School are part of a new trend. The students were the first to take the SAT Test on a weekday and the Borger Independent School District covered the cost of taking the SAT Test. view article arw

One of the best Class A boys basketball teams in the state no longer plays in the "rock gym" a half hour northwest of Denton, which is a shame, because it's a barn straight out of Hoosiers. Eight rows of bleachers lacquered like Elvis' pompadour. Elegant arched roof with wood beams. Burnished oak floor swanky enough for the Savoy. "Gym Rules" sign, the first and third lines of which read, "Clean gym shoes only" and "No smoking -- dipping". And, of course, stone walls on all sides. Only thing missing is Gene Hackman in a sweater vest. view article arw

A consulting firm has recommended steps that that Clear Creek ISD can take to improve its special education program that include providing more relevant information to parents through the district’s website, newsletter and social media. The firm, Gibson Consulting Group, has also advised that the district improve communication with parents regarding children’s academic and behavioral performance. view article arw

There are those that don’t understand the power of reflective observation.  They mistakenly believe that there is nothing to learn after a few cursory visits to a classroom.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the most important key to building insight and deeper understanding about teaching and learning is to engage in a steady volume of daily classroom observation. What we have learned over the past ten years is that after about every 300 classroom observations, the observer will notice, discern, and/or learn something new… something that was previously hidden. It is the “Eureka” moment, and there is nothing else like it in instructional leadership. view article arw

A new program in the Dallas Independent School District could eventually lead to an expanded pre-kindergarten program. The district is carefully stepping into it. After a heated debate, Dallas ISD’s board of trustees approved a plan to partner with private organizations for its pre-k program. The vote came just before 1 a.m. Friday. view article arw

All but five of the 637 students at Gallegos Elementary in Brownsville Independent School District qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Many come from homes without plumbing. More than 50 percent have limited English language skills. In most cases, numbers like that would spell disaster on state accountability tests, but at Gallegos, 91 percent passed their state math exams in 2018. In reading, the biggest challenge for non-native speakers, 85 percent passed. view article arw

Clear Creek ISD’s special education program is doing several things right, but “there is room for improvement” outlined in over two dozen recommendations consultants presented to the district March 4. CCISD hired education consulting and research firm Gibson last summer after several parents of special-needs students publicly protested and pointed out faults in the district’s special education program. After months of research, data analysis, interviews, surveys, campus visits and more, Gibson presented its findings to the board March 4. view article arw

Rep. Jared Patterson (R-Frisco) filed House Bill 2572 on Wednesday, proposing a statewide pilot program to assess students in social studies using a portfolio method, in contrast to STAAR. The legislation represents a step toward rethinking how Texas conducts standardized testing and aims to promote more authentic, classroom-based assessment of student performance. Currently, though no federal mandate exists, Texas administers STAAR examinations to social studies students in grades 8 and 11. view article arw

Many teachers on social media are asking whether the STAAR test is too hard for kids after a popular article suggested many tests are between one to three grade levels too advanced. In a February article for Texas Monthly, author Mimi Swartz looked at two studies that ran STAAR reading tests through at least five "readability tests". One 2016 study, by the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, found most reading passages are one to three grade levels too high. The other study, done in 2012 by Texas A&M University-Commerce, found most STAAR reading tests they analyzed were at least two grade levels above the students’ current grade level. view article arw

The timing seemed right, with the hiring of new Superintendent Steve Snell, a recent bond approved for a pair of brand new campuses, and an uptick in the pace of growth. In response to current changes and an understanding that change comes fast today, Liberty Hill ISD has decided to embark on a new strategic planning process. “This was a joint conversation between myself and the school board,” Snell said. view article arw

Playtime is getting a brand new look for students at Johnston Elementary School, thanks to a partnership between Irving ISD and the City of Irving. City and district officials recently completed renovations at Johnston Elementary School’s playground. view article arw

Public schools are front-burner for Texas lawmakers this year. As legislators calculate how much money each should receive, and how those payments should be funded, they also are looking at issues such as permanent raises for teachers and school safety.  Other issues starting to percolate include whether lawmakers will lengthen the school year for some students and even change the start or end dates of school years. view article arw

Harlingen CISD Superintendent Art Cavazos has boldly predicted that a unique partnership between his school district, UT-Rio Grande Valley and the City of Harlingen will “transform” the city and potentially become a state model. UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the same partnership will help UTRGV become a university for the entire Valley.   Representatives from the city, the school district and the university, announced the partnership at HCISD on Thursday. They said a new UTRGV-Harlingen CISD Early College High School campus is expected to open in 2021.  view article arw

When third-grade reading teacher Natasha Boone told her peers she was considering a job at Titche Elementary School, a chronically low-performing school known for its low test scores and rowdy classrooms, they all asked, "Why?" But now the Dallas Independent School District teacher is making around $70,000, including a bonus, to work in a school that she's helped to meet state academic standards, teaching students who wriggle excitedly before answering questions and stand when they want to speak. view article arw

Marshall ISD Superintendent Jerry Gibson and his team of administration staff, and teachers, including new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Anika Perkins have found a way in the past few years to educate students in a meaningful and lasting way, rather than just teaching to a test.  “We have what we call the five big rules,” Perkins said. “These five rules are non-negotiable on every campus. Dr. Gibson wanted to design this system so that no matter who is superintendent, this consistency would be there.”  Perkins, who joined Marshall ISD in late 2016, said consistency has been a problem for the district in past years. view article arw

In today’s editorial, I would like to share information regarding the 60x30TX Higher Education Plan. This document, developed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, will impact Texas. It provides a plan that defines four broad goals to strategically move our state forward to meet standing and emerging needs, as well as enrich our communities. 60x30TX specifically speaks to building an educated population that holds a certificate or degree, marketable skills, and manageable student debt. The primary objective advocates that 60 percent of Texans age 25 – 35 receive a certificate or degree by the year 2030. The 60x30TX task is directed to institutions of higher education; however, all Texas residents play a role in supporting this effort. The 25 – 34-year-old population of 2030 is attending our K-12 school system(s) today.   view article arw

TOP LYS TWEETS – MARCH 4, 2019

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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

Hargrave High School students now have an option to avoid their English or Math end of course exams. The board approved the participation in a Texas Education Agency policy that allows students to substitute their PSAT exam for an equivalent STAAR End of Course assessment if they meet a certain score at the Huffman ISD Board meeting on Feb. 25. view article arw