Joan Raymond dies; she was 81

February 2406:19 AM

Joan Raymond, who served as South Bend Community School Corp.'s superintendent from 2000 to 2006, died Wednesday morning at her home in Florida, the school corporation announced. She was 81. Raymond came to South Bend in July 2000 after leading school districts in Elmhurst, Ill., Houston and Yonkers, N.Y. By the time she retired in 2006, she had spent more than half of her 50-year education career as a superintendent. view article arw

Tax Rate Verification

February 0608:40 AM

UPDATED Please click here and verify your 16-17 tax rate. If you find any errors please email 

Reducing standardized tests is the most popular way to improve the state’s public school system, according to the results of a poll released by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas on Wednesday. view article arw

The Lake Travis school district will need two new elementary schools and a new middle school within the next decade to keep up with projected student population growth, demographers told the school board during the Feb. 21 board meeting. It comes as no surprise that Lake Travis, with its well-performing schools and increasing residential development, is a high growth district.  view article arw

A Texas state lawmaker says it's time to hold Dallas County Schools accountable. State Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, filed a bill Thursday that would put the fate of DCS, the financially troubled school bus agency, back in the hands of local taxpayers.The bill is the first of two proposals expected in the legislature that could ultimately shut down the agency, which serves as the bus contractor for the Aledo, Carrollton/Farmers Branch, Cedar Hill, Coppell, DeSoto, Dallas, Highland Park, Irving, Lancaster, Richardson, Weatherford and White Settlement independent school districts. view article arw

Dallas ISD approved a measure to change their policy and reduce out-of-school suspensions for pre-kindergarten to second grades. The district has been working on this for months, and even had a task force look at the issue. The task force included educators, parents and advocates in the district. view article arw

The woman who used to manage the finances at Dallas County Schools is speaking out, saying she's not responsible for the financial crisis at the school bus agency. Denise Hickman, who spoke exclusively to NBC 5 Investigates, was pushed out of DCS in November after she was accused of misusing taxpayer money to pay traffic tickets for school bus drivers who ran red lights. view article arw

Military officials met with Central Texas education officials from nine area school districts and local higher education institutions at the 2017 Fort Hood Education Summit on Thursday. view article arw

Students in pre-K through second grade can no longer get suspended from school for minor offenses under a new policy adopted by the Dallas school board Thursday night. After nearly two hours of heated debate, trustees eventually approved changes in a 9-0 vote. The district's youngest students can not be kicked out of school for Level I offenses, typically minor issues like small classroom disruptions or talking back to a teacher. They could still be suspended for the more severe Level II discipline problems, such as bullying and fighting, after a second offense in most cases. Trustee Miguel Solis brought the proposal forward after reports showing how minority children -- African American boys in particular -- are suspended at significantly higher rates than other students, including in DISD. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas -- Improper student-teacher relationships are once again on the rise in Texas. The Texas Education Agency reported new numbers today to a Senate Committee looking at legislation to try to fix the problem. The agency told lawmakers it has opened 97 such cases so far this school year. During that same period last year, there were 68 cases. One senator's bill would make it a crime for a principal or superintendent to fail to report teacher misconduct. He said too often, accused teachers aren't reported and simply get transferred to other schools. view article arw

FORT WORTH  More than 15,000 students were absent from Fort Worth schools on “A Day Without Immigrants” on Feb. 16, an indication that immigrant families responded to President Donald Trump’s immigration strategy by keeping their children at home.  The day was described as an immigrant strike. Participants were encouraged to stay home from work, keep their children out of school and not make purchases.  The district’s attendance rate that day was 82.58 percent, compared with the usual average of about 95 percent. Some students missed class because of illness or other reason. view article arw

If there’s one thing Prosper Waco and Waco Independent School District leaders can agree on, it’s that there’s no one-shot answer to improving education, health and financial stability in the city, Waco ISD Board President Pat Atkins said. But with 29 initiatives implemented and at least three more in the pipeline since Prosper Waco launched in 2013, the collaboration between the two entities and many others will keep the city moving forward, Atkins said. view article arw

Despite widespread support for teaching sex education in public-school classrooms, over 83 percent of Texas districts taught abstinence-only — or no sex education at all — in 2015-16. Meanwhile, as the state’s larger districts adopt abstinence-plus sex-ed curricula, Texas continues to experience one of the nation’s highest teen birthrates. “Six out of 10 Texas [high school] seniors have had sex at least once,” said David Wiley, a Texas State University health education professor. “I’m not quite sure what we’re protecting students from.” view article arw

Tom Gunnell, Katy ISD’s chief operations officer, has taken to using the phrase “here we grow again” in reference to the fast-growth district that adds about 2,500 students each year and continues to construct new schools. Three new facilities opened prior to this school year, and another three new buildings are set to open next year. In order to populate the new campuses—Paetow High, Stockdick Junior High and Bryant Elementary schools—KISD rezoned portions of the district in anticipation of the 2017-18 school year at the Dec. 12 board of trustees meeting. view article arw

The so-called “800-pound gorilla” was acknowledged during the second forum regarding Midland ISD’s Lone Star Governance Plan on Thursday night at Stonegate Fellowship. Discipline was brought up toward the end of the forum, and board members, Midland ISD’s interim superintendent and teachers appeared in agreement that a more controlled classroom is needed for the goals of the governance plan to be completed.

Ideally, the chief goal of a sound education is preparing the next generation to make their way through — and their mark on — the world. Some Navarro ISD students recently got a head start on the latter as they put some of their extraordinary multimedia talents to use in creating a video showcase for a Texas Association of School Boards competition.  view article arw

It’s a great time to be Amanda Perkins. The fourth grade math and science teacher was just selected as one of five finalists in the state up for H-E-B’s Excellence Award. That means she’s $1,000 richer, and Cheatham Elementary is, too. Plus, she’s a thesis away from a master’s degree in math education and will become a mother in August. view article arw

Huntington kindergarten teacher Angela Duncan was at a loss for words this morning when her class was interrupted by the HEB prize patrol. Duncan, who has been in the district for over two decades, was presented a $1,000 check from HEB. view article arw

Hajera Hashimi’s favorite subject at Anderson High School is science. She’s only a freshman but she’s starting to think that the University of Texas is where she wants to go to college. She wants to become a doctor   view article arw

Beginning today, JASON Learning, with help from Dell, is providing immediate, free access to innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula to the Greater Austin area’s public schools. JASON Learning is a national non-profit that offers STEM education programs, online materials and interactions with real scientists through life changing discovery journeys.  view article arw

Students from all over Grayson County are hearing from an international anti-bullying speaker this week. “We learned about bullying and not to bully,” said 4th grader at Gunter Elementary Reid Brackeen. Speaker Keenan West says he’s been traveling to speak about the topic for about 5 years view article arw

The District of Innovation (DOI) concept passed during the 84th legislative session in House Bill 1842 was unanimously approved during the school board’s Feb. 13 meeting. Approval of the DOI concept came to the school board as a recommendation by a 22-member DOI committee. view article arw

Walking the stage in cap and gown, with the “Pomp and Circumstance” march playing, is something students dream about. But it’s a dream that might be dashed if they have not met all your graduation requirements. The Wichita Falls ISD at its school board meeting Feb. 20 adopted a resolution to partially suspend the requirements of its commencement activities policy to allow some students who have not met all those mandates — namely, those who have not passed one or two of their end-of-course exams — to walk the stage with their peers. view article arw

Not So Special Ed

February 2407:45 AM

In May of 2009, an Austin mother by the name of Cheryl Fries filed a lawsuit against the Eanes Independent School District for denying her daughter, Claire, who suffered from cerebral palsy, what the Americans with Disabilities Act has mandated since 1990: a right to “a free appropriate public education.” view article arw

Engineering students at Gregory-Portland High School received a four-year, $55,500 donation from Cheniere Energy. view article arw

In the regular meeting, the School Resource Deputy program was approved, allowing the Brazos County Sheriff's Office to provide the district with deputies for schools. "One of the things we're hoping to develop out of this is mentoring and interaction with the youth of our community so they can see we're normal people and we have a job to do, but want to help them succeed," said Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk.The school resource deputies will begin their five year contracts on the campuses starting this fall. view article arw

This is part three in a four-part series of editorials regarding the Legislative Priorities adopted by Sealy ISD Board of Trustees in November. If you read my previous editorials, you already know that the Texas Constitution requires the state to finance the "support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools." Note the word public. Threats of vouchers from the state government prompted the board to adopt the following legislative priority:"Legislators should oppose any state voucher plan, tax credit, taxpayer savings grant, or tuition reimbursements to private institutions, home school students, or parents unless the recipient is held to the same financial and academic transparency, testing, and accountability requirements as public schools." view article arw

Coming out as a transgender boy brought untold relief to Irish student Lucas Cross. After years of holding it in, he could finally start using the boys' restrooms at school — because Ireland, like some other parts of the world, doesn't make a federal issue about where children do their business. As Donald Trump and U.S. courts seek to make transgender use of toilets an American battleground in schools , the more progressive corners of Europe and Latin America are shaking their heads in bewilderment. From Tipperary to Tierra del Fuego, schools let children go to the bathroom that suits their identity, a trend that could be reversed if the bitter U.S. debate travels overseas. view article arw

 What are engineers supposed to do? Solve problems.That's what Bessie Coleman Middle School teacher Edward Lie tells his students, instructing them to come up with a problem that someone has to deal with on a daily basis and do something about it.Four members of the Cedar Hill school's robotics club took him up on his offer — by inventing a robot cane for the visually impaired that buzzes and vibrates when it comes close to an obstacle."We all just brainstormed and came up with the idea," said team captain Carah Allen, a seventh-grader.The Panopticane — "panoptic" means "being or presenting a panoramic view," according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary — vaulted the gotta blast! robotics team to a first-place finish at the regional robotics meet in Richardson in January. The victory earned the team a trip to the state competition this spring.  'A robot seeing-eye dog' view article arw

A 17-year-old Midway Independent School District student was arrested Tuesday after police say he was selling prescription pills on school property, Woodway Director of Public Safety Yost Zakhary said. Conner Zorn, of Waco, was arrested at Midway High School at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday after a Woodway school resource officer was notified by Midway administrators about an incident involving Zorn. Zakhary said Zorn had several prescription pills, thought to be hydrocodone, on him and he was reportedly selling the drugs on campus. view article arw

The easiest to implement school improvement plan is…Just segregate those with either money, talent, or motivation from those who don’t and sure enough, the chosen few will outperform the unfortunate masses. It’s not the school, it’s not the teacher, it’s the separation (segregation) that creates the change in group performance. view article arw

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued this statement today following the announcement that President Donald Trump will rescind the edict by former President Barack Obama mandating that public schools no longer designate separate restrooms for boys and girls and prohibiting public schools from providing individual accommodation for transgender students. view article arw

De’Ajanae Moore wants a career in computer science. The fact that her neighborhood high school — South Oak Cliff’s collegiate academy — is partnered with technology giant Microsoft was one of the reasons the freshman chose to enroll. “I could work for Microsoft at 16, with an internship, and learn what I need to know,” Moore said. “And then, I’ve already got my foot in the door for a job.” That excitement is exactly what Dallas ISD hopes to incubate across the district, with expansion of its early college high school programs. On Wednesday, at a gala at the City Performance Hall, DISD unveiled corporate partners for its next round of collegiate academies, pairing 19 businesses with 10 new programs launching for the 2017-18 school year. The district’s early college high schools allow students to graduate with a high school diploma and either an associate degree or 60 hours of college credit from the Dallas County Community College District, at no cost to the student. The bottom line, said DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, is access to high-paying jobs. “Getting a great education can break the cycle of poverty, if you’ve got a great job,” he said.There’s strong evidence that those who participate in early college programs are significantly more likely to enroll in college and attain a degree, particularly among minority and low-income students. view article arw

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with a 13-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who spent years battling school officials for the right to bring her service dog — a goldendoodle named Wonder — to class. The justices ruled unanimously that federal disability laws might allow Ehlena Fry to pursue her case in court without first having to wade through a lengthy administrative process. The ruling is a win for advocacy groups that want to make it easier for disabled students to protect their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. School officials had argued that administrative remedies are an easier and less costly way to resolve educational disputes. view article arw