Abilene ISD officials are taking the first steps in addressing the names of four elementary schools this week. The workload may not be as intense as first thought.  Two of the four in question, Reagan and Lee elementary schools, may not need name changes.  Reagan Elementary, a school that has failed to meet minimum requirements in state standardized testing results for two years — not including this past school year, cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic — is being considered for closure. view article arw

Lead Your School represents a cadre of educators from across the country that are driven to maximize student opportunities and to lead the profession by example and action. @LYSNation is one way to share information, ideas, and reflections with those incredible teachers and school leaders. These are the Top 10 tweets shared in the past week. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas - At least one Texas state representative is asking for the TEA to reconsider the STAAR test for the upcoming school year.  State Rep. Gina Hinojosa sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath, saying the state should join others in requesting a federal waiver for the exam.  Last week, the TEA said it would continue with the exam, but with some changes. view article arw

The balance between safety and normalcy ate up much of Krum ISD’s Wednesday school board meeting.  The meeting was held virtually, with some members tuning in from home. Members present were masked.Interim Superintendent Mike Davis laid out one of the most concrete plans for campus openings so far, though it was clear plans could change at any moment. As of Wednesday evening, plans included stricter seating on buses and in schools, as well as more stringent cleaning of buses and campuses. view article arw

Texas Education Agency officials are deep into a wide-ranging investigation of Houston ISD’s special education department, examining whether district staff violated numerous federal laws and state rules that help ensure students with disabilities get vital support while in school, the Houston Chronicle has learned.  Records reviewed by the Chronicle show state investigators have spent the past 8 1/2 months reviewing whether the state’s largest school district failed to follow about 20 special education regulations, such as properly identifying students with disabilities, delivering legally entitled services, re-evaluating students’ needs and involving parents in key decisions. view article arw

On Tuesday, the Texas Education Agency released its health guidelines for students to safely return with just four weeks until the start of the 2020-2021 school year.  There is no doubt in any ones mind that this next school year will look different from years past.  ”We have specialists who are really looking at what are the best ways to navigate, but honestly the most important thing is to reassure our children that it's okay,” said Christie Whitbeck, superintendent of Bryan ISD. view article arw

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — The Brock Independent School District and Tarleton State University agreed recently to a partnership to help BISD seniors get their college education. The Brock ISD Board of Trustees and Tarleton leaders finalized an arrangement offering guaranteed admission and annual scholarships for the top 25 percent of Brock High School graduates beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.  As part of the agreement, called the Distinguished High School Partnership, Tarleton also will waive ACT (American College Test) or SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) requirements for students in the top quarter of their class and application fees for students who qualify. view article arw

Educators agree that students should continue to read throughout the summer to ensure they don’t lose the education from the previous year. For many students, they want to read, but they don’t have access to books.  Now, Texas students have access to thousands of titles online for free.  It’s being made possible through online literacy portal, myON, and a shared account made available through Get Texas Reading. That is the statewide collaboration between the Texas Education Agency and Renaissance. The site offers digital books and new articles in English and Spanish for students kindergarten through 12th grade. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency released new guidance Tuesday regarding in-person and remote instruction for the 2020-2021 school year as local school districts move forward with planning for August.  Bryan, College Station, Hearne and Navasota superintendents all said the guidance is helpful, but does not change their plans as all four have been exploring the in-person, remote and hybrid options available to offer. view article arw

Georgetown ISD Superintendent Fred Brent announced July 7 that the district intends to offer families in-person and at-home schooling options in the fall.  After conducting a survey with about 8,000 responses, Brent said GISD families want both options.  “People want to come to school, and people want to do home learning. We will do both,” Brent said.  The announcement comes after the Texas Education Agency released guidelines on how districts should operate in the fall. The TEA requirements state districts should comply with the statewide masks orders and notify parents and staff of any confirmed coronavirus cases within a school.   Brent said the district is prioritizing face masks and shields for students who want to attend in person, and the district is currently working on how to navigate that for each grade. view article arw

The back-to-school plan is subject to change, in compliance with the most up-to-date guidelines from Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency. The original plan was published on Thursday evening, after Abbott issued a new executive order that mandates masks for all individuals in the state — with certain exceptions. Allen ISD officials are asking parents and students to commit to either online or in-person learning for the fall semester by July 20. Parents should receive a commitment form by Monday, July 13. view article arw

Fort Bend ISD plans on offering both face-to-face and virtual instruction for the 2020-21 school year. There is a possibility the district will offer hybrid instruction on an alternate day schedule if proper social distancing can not take place on campus due to the number of students enrolled. view article arw

The Leander Independent School District will ask families to pick between two options for the 2020-21 school year — 100% online or 100% in-person learning for students. In a newsletter to LISD families, the school district said it’ll offer families the ability to choose their path later this month. The LISD school year is scheduled to begin August 13. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas public school districts haven’t finalized their plans for a return to the classroom, but they know the state will resume its high-stakes standardized testing for millions of students.  Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told the state Board of Education on Tuesday that the annual State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, also known as STAAR, will return in the 2020-2021 school year.  Republican Gov. Greg Abbott suspended STAAR tests in March even before schools were ordered closed for the rest of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Days later, the federal government waived its standardized testing requirements. view article arw

Even as districts grapple with how to reopen campuses amid the coronavirus pandemic, Texas will require students to take its high-stakes, state-mandated standardized exams in the upcoming school year.  Texas will move forward with administering the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, in the 2020-21 school year. Commissioner Mike Morath told State Board of Education members Tuesday that the testing will include some changes, including an expanded testing window and an extended period for online testing.The state also will adjust the way its accountability system works “given we lost last year’s data and it’s going to be harder to calculate growth,” Morath said. view article arw

Like many districts, Clear Creek ISD is still preparing for the upcoming school year. The district has formed a committee dedicated to developing a strategic and safe plan to reopen Clear Creek ISD schools in August. So far, CCISD has approved a list of committee recommendations which address safety, health, PPE and technology. view article arw

Even as districts grapple with how to reopen campuses amid the coronavirus pandemic, Texas will require students to take its high-stakes, state-mandated standardized exams in the upcoming school year.  Texas will move forward with administering the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, in the 2020-21 school year. Commissioner Mike Morath told State Board of Education members Tuesday that the testing will include some changes, including an expanded testing window and an extended period for online testing. view article arw

The treatment of students with disabilities in the Texas public education system has all the ingredients for an emotional and disturbing HBO series. It involves politics, money, deception, denial, Federal investigations, lawsuits, questionable State contracts and the wrongful termination of a “whistleblower” at the Texas Education Agency (“TEA”). Unfortunately, it also involves the neglect of underprivileged students and families that rely upon and are guaranteed assistance from public schools. view article arw

As schools plan for the fall, state education departments and lawmakers are gearing up to suspend another round of federal and state standardized tests, saying instruction should take priority for the 2020-21 school year.   On June 18, Georgia became one of the first states to seek an assessment waiver. Gov. Brian P. Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods jointly announced their decision to apply for suspension of standardized testing to the U.S. Department of Education.   Continuing with high-stakes testing for the next school year, they said in a joint press release, would be "counterproductive." view article arw

Proposed changes to the statewide sexual education policy — the first in more than two decades — drew 265 Texans to a virtual State Board of Education hearing Monday where they debated topics including whether students should start learning about contraception in middle school.  The recommended changes, which comprehensive sex education advocates have applauded, would start lessons on birth control in seventh and eighth grade, rather than in high school, and add lessons about consent from fifth grade through high school.The debate Monday revolved around which approach would keep students safest and healthiest and would reduce the state’s teen pregnancy rate — the fourth-highest in the nation.    (30) view article arw

King Davis was stunned when he saw how many parents wanted to keep their children home from Sheldon ISD schools in the fall. Across grade levels and campuses, more than 48 percent of the 2,324 parents who responded to a survey said they wouldn’t send their kids back to in-person classes on campus.  Those fears were reported June 18, just as the Houston region began seeing an enormous spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, setting records for both data points every day for the past two weeks, and before Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday suspended elective surgical procedures in Harris County and Texas’ other large metropolitan areas. view article arw

SAN ANTONIO — The Alamo Heights Independent School District is giving families a choice when it comes to their children's education in the Fall: students may either attend classes in-person, or they can attend remotely, but they can't do both. view article arw

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath and Gov. Greg Abbott last week told state lawmakers that schools would reopen for face-to-face instruction in the fall, but officials and families were unclear on what that would look like. On Tuesday, the TEA announced guidelines for school districts that begin to bring that picture into focus.  “It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall,” Morath stated. “But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses. Detailed guidance on what this will look like will be issued by TEA early next week.” view article arw

On School Vouchers – The Book

June 2608:25 AM

Lead Your School and Wash Your Hands! Your turn… Follow @LYSNation on Twitter and Lead Your School on Facebook.  The post On School Vouchers – The Book appeared first on Lead Your School. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, high school students who apply to The University of Texas at Austin for fall 2021 undergraduate admission will not be required to submit an ACT or SAT test score as part of their application.  UT says that since tests have been canceled and future testing opportunities will be limited, they decided to suspend the requirement.  “This is a student-centered decision. During this time of uncertainty for students and high schools, we are focused on working with students to support their next steps toward college,” said Miguel Wasielewski, executive director of admissions. “Suspending this requirement ensures that students have the information they need to complete their application for admission.” view article arw

After they were postponed from May, MC Harris High School kicked off the Bryan and College Station graduation ceremonies Wednesday night with 65 students receiving their diplomas.  Instead of filling the Bryan ISD Performing Arts Center, friends and family cheered on their graduates from the stands of Merrill Green Stadium. view article arw

Remote education induced by the coronavirus pandemic presented a new set of challenges for schools this year, but most local students finished the semester with passing grades.  About 93 percent of El Campo ISD students, or 3,397 out of 3,634, met the requirements for passing the final grading period of the school year. The remaining students were evaluated by the district’s Grade Placement Committee that determined whether students would need to attend summer school.  “The Grade Placement Committees reviewed attendance, grades, and participation in the online learning when making decisions,” ECISD Assistant Superintendent Dolores Trevino said.  Louise ISD officials estimated all but nine out of the district’s more than 520 students completed enough assignments to pass the semester. The number of passing students was initially lower, but before the last week of school, teachers and administrators called home and pushed students to finish assignments. view article arw

America has been obsessed with student standardized tests for nearly 20 years. Now it looks like the country is at the beginning of the end of our high-stakes testing mania — both for K-12 “accountability” purposes and in college admissions.  When President George W. Bush signed the K-12 No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, the country began an experiment based on the belief that we could test our way to educational success and end the achievement gap. His successor, Barack Obama, ratcheted up the stakes of test scores under that same philosophy.  It didn’t work, which came as no surprise to teachers and other critics. They had long pointed to extensive research showing standardized test scores are most strongly correlated to a student’s life circumstances. Real reform, they said, means addressing students’ social and emotional needs and the conditions in which they live, and making improvements in school buildings. view article arw

Due to the pandemic, STAAR tests were not given last spring. Let’s continue this practice and retire STAAR, or any similar version of it, forever. Teachers have much better things to do with their students than teaching to these tests month after month.  The State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests are an array of high stakes, multi-hour exams in math, reading, writing, history and science. They feed into the A through F campus ratings, which should also be abolished. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Julie Borque still remembers the first time she logged onto a video call with her third-grade students.   "There were tears," said Borque, a teacher at Settlers Way Elementary School in Sugar Land. "I didn't understand that the children had been so afraid and worried for my health, other teachers. They were worried about each other. I had prepared this great lesson that very first day. (I) never got to the lesson. Children just wanted to talk. They wanted to cry. They wanted to laugh."   view article arw

As a timer counted down to Kelsey Carroll’s first Advanced Placement exam of the year, she stared at her phone, laptop and detailed notes in front of her. These would have gotten her kicked out of testing last year.  She and her sister Jackie put in weeks of studying and stress for their respective AP tests. But none of that mattered. Their tests weren't accepted. view article arw

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Archer City High School students now have the chance to start college early by graduating high school with two medical certificates: one as a certified nursing assistant, and the other as a clinical medical assistant.  Justin Sanders, the continuing education coordinator at Vernon College for Allied Health, said he was noticing more and more high school students from Archer City traveling to the Wichita Falls campus to get their Certified Nursing Assistant training.  Now the Wildcats can do it while at school. view article arw

SAN MARCOS – Cody Patterson, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Texas State University, has received a $445,000 National Science Foundation grant to study ways to improve the teaching of algebra in middle and high schools to better prepare students for the rigors of college algebra.  The three-year interdisciplinary project, “Reasoning Language for Teaching Secondary Algebra (ReLaTe-SA)” is a Level I Exploratory project in the NSF’s teaching strand of the Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12) program.  Patterson said the project will examine three main questions: How do middle school and high school math teachers use language and algebraic reasoning when explaining common concepts and procedures? view article arw

After multiple town halls, board discussions and a lengthy application process, Longview ISD has received districtwide Senate Bill 1882 charter status, something Superintendent James Wilcox envisioned months ago.  The Texas Education Agency sent the district a letter Monday granting the approval, providing the district give some clarifications from the applications.  The nonprofit East Texas Advanced Academies has operated six Longview ISD campuses as SB 1882 charters since the TEA granted approval in May 2019.  The district now can partner with the Texas Council of International Studies and Longview Educates and Prospers to operate its remaining campuses.  Chief Innovation Officer Craig Coleman said in a written statement the students stand to gain from TEA’s latest decision. view article arw

The Harlandale Independent School District board has hired new lawyers to advise it in day-to-day operations - the same firm that advised trustees during years they repeatedly awarded lucrative work to an engineering firm in a no-competition process that eventually drew the ire of the Texas Education Agency and almost resulted in a state takeover of the district. view article arw