There were three citizen comments at the DeSoto ISD Board meeting on September 28. Mr. Entaune Tyson began by saying the district is moving in right direction but academics are still a concern. He said if you do not continue to improve he will consider sending his children elsewhere in the future.    .(29) view article arw

Remote learning no longer will be an option for families in Louise ISD, a 530-student school district in Wharton County located about an hour and a half southwest of Houston along U.S. 59.  In a Sept. 22 letter to families, Superintendent Garth Oliver said online classes will not be offered starting Tuesday. He said while virtual learning had been billed as an option to engage students whose families feared COVID-19 spread in schools, “this approach has not been successful for more than a handful of students.”  “The effort required of our teachers and administrators will no longer be divided by the requirements of offering remote learning beginning Tuesday, September 29, 2020,” Oliver wrote. “If we begin to see health concerns develop, we will revisit this topic.” view article arw

Teachers across Galveston County have had to adapt their curriculums drastically this year to account for changes in learning techniques brought on by the pandemic, and some educators are worried that some students’ needs won’t be fully met, they said.  Many educators are worried the fractured nature of the school year will lead to some students — particularly those whose families are economically disadvantaged and have fewer resources — falling behind in the curriculum. Efforts to prevent that from happening have greatly altered teaching methods and ways the state assesses students and schools this year. view article arw

The U.S. public education system is our best defense against inequality and our best weapon in creating a stronger nation.  Voters should approve Dickinson’s bond package, knowing it’s an investment in their community and democracy. view article arw

Top LYS Tweets – September 29, 2020

September 2908:30 AM

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... view article arw

From shiny red pencils reading "My Attendance Rocks!" to countless plaques and ribbons and trophies and certificates and gold stars: For as long as anyone can remember, taking attendance — and rewarding kids for simply showing up — is a time-honored school ritual.  For good reason: Just being there, day in, day out, happens to be one of the most important factors that determines a child's success in school. And average daily head count forms the basis of school funding decisions at the federal, state and local level.  Yet now, like so many other aspects of education, that simple measure — "here" or "absent" — is not so simple anymore. States are having to update their attendance policies to cover the realities of virtual learning. And where school is being held in-person, strict coronavirus health protocols mean students must now stay home at the slightest sign of illness, or to quarantine in case of a potential exposure.    (25) view article arw

Jonathan Lopez last year made a big switch from working in commercial refrigeration to teaching Dual Language Principles of Construction and HVAC 1 at the Dallas ISD North Dallas Career Institute. view article arw

DeSoto ISD School Board Meeting TEA-Mandated Public Hearing On Corrective Action:  he DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees and administration will conduct the district’s monthly board meeting as well as a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 28, 2020.  The public hearing will be held during the regular meeting and will communicate the Board and administration’s Corrective Action Plans as required following the published findings of the district’s recent TEA investigation. view article arw

The U.S. Department of Education recognized Fort Worth’s Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences high school with the 2020 National Blue Ribbon honors on Thursday.  The Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences is one of 367 schools recognized for their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups, according to the National Blue Ribbon website. In Texas, public schools are consideredfor nomination based on the previous year’s STAAR assessments.  “We are so pleased to be able to share the news about the national distinction that has been bestowed upon our Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences,” Superintendent Kent Scribner said in a press release. “Congratulations to Principal Jack Henson, as well as all of the teachers and students at TABS. This honor is well deserved!” view article arw

PHARR, Texas – PSJA’s Kelly-Pharr Elementary has been recognized as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.  Recipients of this prestigious honor are selected based on a school’s high level of student achievement or their exemplary progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. DeVos recognized 367 schools in total.  Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years.    view article arw

Houston ISD continued its strong showing in the prestigious National Blue Ribbons Schools competition by earning three awards this year, while Spring ISD celebrated its first award in nearly three decades, the U.S. Department of Education announced this week. view article arw

Somerset High School teachers and staff lined up early Wednesday morning along the bleachers in one half of the gym as they waited their turn for testing that would determine if they have the novel coronavirus.  Soon after, the school’s volleyball and football players gathered in socially distanced rows set off by cones typically used for the Bulldogs’ practice drills.  They were the first groups in the school to participate in a new program bringing mass testing for the coronavirus into the San Antonio area. Community Labs, a nonprofit founded by local philanthropic organizations, is providing rapid-result, low-cost coronavirus testing and selected the 4,000-student Somerset Independent School District to kick off its testing program.     (28) view article arw

Desertaire Elementary School earned one of the most coveted awards in education Thursday when it was among 367 schools to be named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School.  “I’m beyond proud of our teachers and scholars,” said Desertaire Elementary School Principal Beth Harbison. “We are a family of learning, and we appreciate the support from our Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre and the community.”  YISD officials stated that the honor “affirms the hard work of students, teachers, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.” view article arw

Three Dallas ISD schools have earned the National Blue Ribbon School award! Henry W. Longfellow Career Exploration Academy, Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Early College High School, and Edward Titche Elementary School are the district winners. view article arw

Principals, teachers encourage pre-k

September 2508:25 AM

Because 65 percent of students in prekindergarten arrive unprepared, Superintendent Scott Muri and Ector County ISD are conducting a blitz to bring more youngsters into the fold.  Along with Muri, Carver Early Childhood Center Principal Sherry Palmer, Lamar Early Childhood Center Principal MaryJane Hutchins, D’on Paquette, a teacher at Carver, and Jennifer Merriman, a teacher at Lamar, participated in an ECISD Live event called “Pre-k in the Pandemic.”  Based on research, Muri said, it’s known that prekindergarten experiences are critically important to children’s development. view article arw

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD’s Kelly-Pharr Elementary was included in the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ recognition of 367 schools for the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program award.  “Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” DeVos said in the release. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”   According to the release, the recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.  view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District is giving parents a closer look into what on-campus instruction will look like for students beginning Oct. 5.  The district made it clear—the virtual platform will still be used for both remote and on-campus students. However, there will be some interactions between students and teachers, as well.  Middle and high school students will get online work and face-to-face instruction. There will be opportunities to work with peers in learning pods and to get personal instruction from teachers.  High schoolers will be on a hybrid schedule, alternating between on-campus and at-home instruction during the week. view article arw

AUSTIN, Tex. – September 24, 2020 -- The United States Department of Education (USDE) announced today that 26 Texas Public Schools received 2020 national Blue Ribbon honors.    (25) read more arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This week, Austin Independent School District is connecting parents, teachers, advocates, therapists, researchers and many more to discuss ways to help students with dyslexia succeed.  “It’s really a combined effort to make these students’ education the best that it can be,” explained Ilza Garcia, the district’s administrative supervisor of dyslexia and literacy.  The district’s annual dyslexia conference has gone virtual in the midst of COVID-19. Global Possibilities—Austin ISD’s Central Texas Dyslexia Conference 2020 kicked off on Sept. 18, and provides those interested with pre-recorded sessions discussing everything from how to overcome obstacles to building confidence. The conference offers those interested a two-week window to view the discussions. view article arw

When it comes to school and classroom operations the least healthy and hygienic way to do things is how we did them prior to March 2020. Not purposefully unhealthy and unhygienic… Lazily unhealthy and unhygienic.   Don’t take offense, we were all guilty. The reason for this was because over the past couple of generations,... view article arw

SAN ANTONIO- The area's largest school district, Northside ISD, is allowing parents to change their child's current learning model.Families can switch to virtual or in person learning by filling out a new questionnaire starting on Wednesday.  Requests are due by the end of the month, and will impact the next grading period, beginning October 19.  Up to 10 students will be allowed per classroom and the district stresses it is still following a tiered transition to the classroom. view article arw

A preliminary report detailing an investigation into the Santa Rosa Independent School District by the Texas Education Agency found that the SRISD Board of Trustees failed to report allegations of child abuse, failed to fingerprint all employees, and recommends that the district’s accreditation be lowered.  TEA’s Special Investigations Unit initiated its on-site investigation into the SRISD Board on March 3, 2019, according to the document.    (21) view article arw

Top LYS Tweets – September 21, 2020

September 2108:30 AM

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... view article arw

It could potentially be November before students in the Fort Worth ISD return to campus, depending on how the school board votes at tomorrow's meeting. Last week, the board voted down a plan extend online-only learning by four more weeks, meaning students could return to campus on Oct. 5. Now it looks like officials are reconsidering that vote. view article arw

Keller ISD Superintendent Rick Westfall updated the community about the recent temporary closure of Fossil Ridge High School after several employees were asked to quarantine as a result of COVID-19 contact tracing.  In a video statement addressing the closure, Westfall said the switch to remote learning for 14 days resulted from a lack of available staff for the campus to remain open.  “If you look at our dashboard, you’ll see that there are 11 student cases that are active right now and two teacher cases ... at Fossil Ridge High School. Those combined cases in relationship to the number of people that are actually in the building certainly are not enough to warrant an entire closure of a building,” Westfall said. “However, the adherence to what we need to do with contact tracing ... the fact that we needed to contact trace from 11 kids and from two teachers, it actually ended up impacting 25 of our teachers on our campus at Fossil Ridge.” view article arw

SAN ANTONIO - The Texas State Teachers Association has sued San Antonio ISD and the state's education commissioner.  It all goes back to what the association said was the commissioner's decision back in 2018 to allow SAISD to turn over operations of Stewart Elementary School to Democracy Prep, a New York based Charter School chain.  The lawsuit alleges commissioner Mike Morath wrongly approved the deal with the out of state charter school chain and is asking the court to declare Democracy Prep's application void.  We've reached out for comment from the education commissioner. view article arw

Monitor assigned for Manor schools

September 1806:22 AM

After a yearlong investigation into the alleged wrongdoing of the Manor school board president, the Texas Education Agency is assigning a monitor to oversee the Manor district and its school board members, according to a correction action plan sent to Manor this month and obtained by the American-Statesman.  A monitor, conservator or board of managers typically are assigned to a district for chronic low academic performance, fiscal mismanagement or cheating on state standardized tests. Monitors are appointed by the education commissioner “to participate in and report to the agency on the activities of the board of trustees or the superintendent,” according to the agency.  The Texas Education Agency in August 2019 began reviewing complaints lodged against the Manor district after three district officials — two human resources employees and a trustee — said board President Elmer Fisher conspired with two other employees and other board trustees to oust the former superintendent, violating the Open Meetings Act by discussing and agreeing to fire the superintendent while away from board meetings, and unilaterally approved expenses regarding an independent investigation into the former superintendent. view article arw

I know it has been tough for classroom teachers as schools have re-opened. This  is specially true for veteran teachers. Veterans who are competent, expect smooth classroom operations, and positive student outcomes. Which is not the norm right now.   That’s OK. Because this year isn’t normal. This year is an anomaly.   Which means... view article arw

SPRING, TX – Sept. 16, 2020 – The Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) has announced the 42 winners of the 2020 District of Distinction Award, naming Spring ISD among the list of honorees for the second year in a row. The award, given to just 20 Texas school districts for the first time last year, recognizes a commitment to providing a well-rounded curriculum that supports strong visual arts education across all schools and grade levels.  “We’re so proud to have Spring ISD again named a District of Distinction,” said Director of Performing and Visual Arts Dr. Joe Clark. “It’s not something every district can do, and it really speaks to the continued support of our arts programs and our Arts Integration initiative from our board members, our superintendent and all our district and campus leaders. view article arw

El Paso Independent School District has put a district-wide freeze on homework while virtual learning continues.  The freeze is meant to limit screen time for students and reduce unnecessary stress on students and parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the district said. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While students deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fall semester, minority students started the new school year already at a disadvantage.  Statistics are clear there are disparities in testing, performance and access to resources between white and minority students. On average, Latino students are roughly two to three years of learning behind white students of the same age, according to researchers at McKinsey & Company  ABC13, Houston's news leader, brought together education leaders for a town hall Tuesday night, exploring the consequences of the academic achievement gap for students of color in southeast Texas. view article arw

As I have been discussing the new priorities for this school year, school leaders are not disagreeing, but there are a lot of “what about’s.”   Mostly “what about accountability” and “what about my performance focused boss (principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent, and/or school board)?”     The answer is, “This year, politely ignore the what... view article arw

The Texas Education Agency compiles information about campuses in each public school district each academic year, including enrollment and demographics. Normally, it also includes results from the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests, but those were not held this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. view article arw

A preliminary report detailing an investigation into the Santa Rosa Independent School District by the Texas Education Agency found that the SRISD Board of Trustees failed to report allegations of child abuse, failed to fingerprint all employees, and recommends that the district’s accreditation be lowered.  TEA’s Special Investigations Unit initiated its on-site investigation into the SRISD Board on March 3, 2019, according to the document.   (16) view article arw

Ector super: School tops on TELPAS

September 1508:25 AM

Ector College Prep Success Academy has surpassed its target scores on the TELPAS test, the state exam given to English learners and bilingual students.   Information from Ector College Prep Success Superintendent/CEO Robert Bleisch shows 44 percent of students at Ector passed the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System and did better than it has in its history.  Crockett Middle School’s passing rate was 26 percent, Bowie was 25 percent, Wilson and Young, 21 percent, Bonham, 14 percent, and Nimitz, 6 percent. view article arw