Today, we honor and remember Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a true American hero who fiercely advocated for the rights of all Americans, but especially for the most vulnerable and under-served in our communities. Upon earning his medical degree and serving his country with distinction in World War II, Dr. Garcia opened a medical practice in Corpus Christi. It was there that Dr. Garcia saw firsthand the difficulties that veterans and migrant farm workers faced. Inspired by his experiences, Dr. Garcia founded the American GI Forum, which fought for many causes, including medical benefits, civil rights and voting rights. However, better education opportunities may have been Dr. Garcia’s most important passion. view article arw

STEM activities are part of the plan for students at Crowley Middle School, they brainstorm, design, and build. Last school year, the district decided to see what these students could do with an old bus. "It didn't have anything in here, it just had the seats," said student Myron Bard. "We had to clean it up first, it was a dirty one," said student Eden Resendez. view article arw

North Zulch ISD talks technology

September 1908:25 AM

The North Zulch ISD school board heard a presentation from new technologies director Todd Armstrong regarding possible technological upgrades in the district on Thursday during their monthly meeting for September. “We got two themes this year,” said Armstrong. “The first is new and improved, and there are some improvements we can make here that do not cost much but will really raise our standards. The second is old and improved. All of the technology that we have will be kept running as we make sure it is efficient for its placement. We need a lot of devices to do the things we want to do in the classroom.” view article arw

Parents of many students in grades K-12 grew up trying to stay alive while playing the game The Oregon Trail or crisscrossing the world in search of the elusive Carmen San Diego. Now, parents, teachers and many adults worry about what's happening on smartphones and tablets. Kyle Berger is in charge of technology at Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District. In addition to keeping the schools' computers up and running he's often called to the office to help with issues that happen with students using a social media app. view article arw

The growing number of Texas residents without health insurance has placed the state in a class all of its own — and that should be an embarrassment. How can we pride ourselves on a robust state economy and strong job market when 5 million people, many of them children, lack health insurance? view article arw

Students of the Waxahachie Independent School District can now anonymously report suspicious activities using their cellphones. tip411 allows students, staff, parents and the wider community to ” to share important safety information anonymously with district and campus administrators by sending them secure messages with information about bullying, drug use, and suspicious or potentially criminal activity via a free smartphone app,” according to a Friday press release. “When a tip comes in, it will go to the campus administrator, our district head of security, our superintendent and the executive director of secondary or elementary learning, depending on if the tip is for an elementary or secondary campus,” District Spokesperson Jenny Bridges said. view article arw

Across Texoma, school districts are changing the way they secure their schools. Whether it's warning people of a suspicious person on campus, alerting first responders, or reporting bullying, school districts can now do it all. Easily through an app on their phones. Wichita Falls ISD is now using the app "Navigate Prepared" that allows teachers and staff across the district to communicate not only with each other, but also with first responders. view article arw

Burkburnett ISD anonymous alerts app

September 1608:25 AM

The Anonymous Alerts anti-bullying and safety app reporting system helps combat bullying and other negative activity in schools by empowering students to speak up. Social and peer pressure are some of the hardest obstacles for students to overcome. The system allows for 1-way or 2-way anonymous encrypted communications between submitters (students or parents) and district administration and/or school staff. Users of the system have the option to remain anonymous or reveal their identity when submitting a report.  view article arw

McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez says seeing Rio Grande Valley students building sophisticated robots gives his “peace of mind and peace in my heart.” McAllen High School hosted the 2019-20 season opener for FIRST RGV’s various robotics competitions on Saturday. More than 1,600 students, parents and supporters were packed into the school’s gymnasium. view article arw

The Edcouch-Elsa school district is taking further action to address the sale of computers with sensitive information through policy changes and efforts in public transparency after failing to do so earlier this year. Administration sent a letter Sept. 5 to all district parents with information about an April 6 auction in which computers with sensitive information, such as names, Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, were sold. The letter indicated the information on those computers came from two locations: Truan Junior High School and the Transportation Department. view article arw

District-Wide Computer Virus

September 1008:30 AM

A computer virus attacked district servers over the summer, causing numerous delays to scheduling and class syllabi. Luckily, all data encrypted by the virus has been recovered from backups apart from a few external drives not managed by the district. As for how the virus originally came into contact with district computers, not much is known. view article arw

Chillicothe ISD is leading the way with new technology for students. WT2 earpieces the district purchased this year helps teachers and students communicate, when they don’t speak the same language. “It’s helped me as a teacher feel like I actually have a connection to the students that only speak Spanish," Chillicothe elementary English teacher Carrie Palowski said. view article arw

The newest science technology instructor in town is 38 feet long and scheduled to make multiple visits to 26 Killeen ISD elementary schools this year. The Killeen ISD mobile STEM lab made its highly anticipated debut on Aug. 30, ending the first week of the school year on a high note for a group of lucky fifth-graders at Venable Village Elementary School on Fort Hood, the first students to see it. view article arw

There are innumerable variations of different scams going around these days, not to mention the various ways companies, banks and school districts are being tested everyday. Protective measures like firewalls and anti-virus applications are not keeping pace with the hackers. Enter the insurance industry to help compensate businesses, and now school districts, for its losses. view article arw

Two pilot programs kicked off in Cy-Fair ISD at the start of the 2019-20 academic year. While the district’s STEM Academy for Automation, Robotics & Computer Science (ARC) launched at Cypress Springs High School, the program is available for all CFISD high school students, Chief Academic Officer Linda Macias said at a Sept. 5 board work session. The program is designed to help prepare students to continue training and education in careers like mechanical and electrical engineering, hardware and software engineering and computer programming. view article arw

New Caney ISD is considering further specialization of career and technical education programming in its high schools after seeing consistent CTE enrollment increases over the last five school years. CTE courses—which can include hospitality and tourism, business management and finance—are meant to promote college and career readiness. In the last five years, CTE enrollment across the district has increased by more than 19%, from roughly 4,300 students in the 2014-15 year to roughly 5,200 in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, according to district data. view article arw

Whether it be the larger class sizes or the many educational opportunities, college can be intimidating for rural students for different reasons. At Texas Tech, efforts are made to ensure these students get a worthwhile education. As a way to improve retention and engagement among rural students on campus, different departments at Tech work to provide multiple options for rural students to get involved. The correlation between student engagement and retention of rural students is one factor people may consider when wanting to help rural students get the most out of their time at Tech. view article arw

Students attending Wells ISD will be participating in a different experience this year, one that will prepare them for the real world after graduation. Instead of another elective or college prep class, they will be learning how to take care of animals in a new vet tech program. “I gave the students a student interest survey and through that survey we had a lot of kids interested in exploring a vet science program,” said Jill Gaston, Wells High School Principal. view article arw

A recent graduate of Pasadena ISD's Career and Technical High School is looking to turn his skills into a career. "Welding for me, it's an art," said 18-year-old Alvaro Torres. "It takes time, it takes skill, it takes patience to be able to do this kind of craft." view article arw

Proximity Learning Inc. is proud to announce a district-wide expansion of virtual online teachers in Ector County ISD. Driving America's oil boom is an East Texas town in the heart of the Permian Basin. Companies here are offering six-figure salaries, free housing for a year, and company cars to entice anyone with a college degree to work for them, further exacerbating the current teacher shortage. With the district facing over 300 vacancies on the first day of school, the administration was determined to develop a plan to ensure equity for their students. Ector County ISD is expanding a pilot program at Permian High School that streams highly qualified, certified Texas teachers into their classrooms to lead instruction. view article arw

Over the past few days, as time permits, I've begun reading Michael Schmoker's Focus. I decided to see what Schmoker and ASCD have been promoting the last few years. Of course, I still remember my first impression of Mike Schmoker from when he visited the San Antonio ISD. At that time, I served as a Director of Instructional Technology and Library Services (ITLS as it was known in those days), and I was shocked at what he was suggesting. view article arw

Winona ISD is bringing an innovation bus also know as 'Wildcat on Wheels,' to its students for the 2019-2020 school year. The bus offers WiFi for students and their parents.  "We wanted to be able to go to those areas in our district where we knew students might be at a higher level of economically disadvantage status," Winona ISD Superintendent Cody Mize said. "Where we can help them and just kinda be that extension of the school for them." view article arw

Winona ISD is bringing an innovation bus also know as 'Wildcat on Wheels,' to its students for the 2019-2020 school year. The bus offers WiFi for students and their parents.  "We wanted to be able to go to those areas in our district where we knew students might be at a higher level of economically disadvantage status," Winona ISD Superintendent Cody Mize said. "Where we can help them and just kinda be that extension of the school for them." view article arw

Teachers and aides from the La Vega Primary School Phil Bancale Campus learned how to use an innovative 3D program at a staff development training before classes began. The zSpace program provides applications for hands-on exploration, thanks to a 3D interactive experience that offers augmented reality and virtual reality for students. view article arw

The thoughtful use of technology has been a topic of frequent discussion at Eanes ISD following parent protests regarding the district’s iPad program. The objections to the program are in reaction to a first grader who was able to access lewd images while using the device. The district uses its iPad program to manage classrooms and further introduce learning materials, and the board of trustees continued the discussion on how to regulate the use of technology within the classroom during an Aug. 27 regular meeting. view article arw

Studies show nearly half of girls are not encouraged to study science, technology, engineering or math. "We are bound with some sort of bias and stereotype that women cannot do very well in mathematics and science," Magdalena Rakowska, who holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering, said. She blames stereotypes, or even fear for the underrepresentation. view article arw

Classes are officially back in session, and most students in middle or high school have a cellphone, which can be a distraction. Parents in Spring Branch Independent School District are petitioning for a change in the district's cellphone policy in an effort to help limit those distractions. view article arw

River Road ISD high school teacher, Jennifer Garner was celebrated for being one of six finalist for teacher of the year. “We are so excited to have Miss Garner represent our district, she is just a phenomenal teacher. We’ve never had a representative from our district make it this far," said Board President Amanda Brown. "Miss Garner is just an outstanding representative because of the fact that she goes above and beyond every day.” While the school district is ecstatic over Garners accomplishment, they are also celebrating many other things, such as the advancements they’re making with their career and technical education programs. view article arw

To open up new opportunities for students with autism, the Ector County ISD Innovation and Special Education departments are purchasing virtual reality equipment. The virtual reality experience will include life skills, career and technology education, biology and anatomy among other subjects. Collaborators in this new initiative include Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Odessa and possibly Microsoft Research in Seattle, Washington. view article arw

"There are many apps out there that parents can choose from. One that is used is the 'Bark' app, and it allows parents to monitor students’ social media use." view article arw

If you think it couldn’t happen here, it just did. That would be this week’s “ransomware” attack on 22 government entities in Texas, though apparently none in this region. The hackers demanded ransom payments to free up the computer systems or public data they had locked up. Some of the taxing entities have been able to work around the cyber strike, though some are still trying to figure out what they can do.  Apparently none have given in and paid the ransom, but in other places public officials have swallowed hard and made the payments. That’s a tough choice, but these attacks have no easy options. The city of Baltimore refused to pay $76,000 (in bitcoin, difficult to trace) in a similar attack but has racked up $18 million in losses and restoration costs. view article arw

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Across Texas, hundreds of school districts researched and either implemented or upgraded school safety measures as a result of the deadly Santa Fe High School shooting in May 2018. This year marks the second time the Texas School Safety Center hosted its School Safety Conference with a combined audience of 135 law enforcement agencies and school administrators from 176 districts. Previously, the center hosted separate conferences — one for school-based law enforcement in the summer and one for school administrators in the fall. view article arw

As some students are logging into online accounts to get a jump on work for the new school year, nearly one in five students will go to school without the technology to complete the same assignments. view article arw

Harleton ISD officials said early Thursday that law enforcement officials are investigating a threatening social media post online but that the school district was never directly mentioned in the post.  ”Harleton ISD was made aware of a threatening post on social media,” the district posted on Facebook Thursday morning. “The school was never mentioned in the post or directly threatened. That being said, we take every instance seriously. We have contacted all parties involved and law enforcement is investigating. The safety of students and staff is our top priority and we will continue to be diligent in that regard.” view article arw