Sara Leon & Associates, LLC

HOUSTON – KPRC2 wanted to know what local school districts are planning to do to help failing students or to assist students that regressed over the last school year. We sent out a poll to all area school districts. What programs will your district offer to help students that are failing or regressed in their learning? Are these students facing any particular deadlines? 100% of the districts that responded will offer Summer School 90% will offer after school learning 67% will offer tutoring 47% will offer before school learning *Districts were allowed to offer more than one solution. view article arw

At 3:30pm (CST), Episode 7 of the Reboot Mini-Series kicks off. Today’s interactive discussion will address Proactive Training Frameworks and provide suggestions and ideas that can be implemented immediately. Join me, Dr. Mike Laird, and now over 100’s of educators from across the country for a real time, interactive conversation about the solutions schools need... view article arw

In the winter of 2019, two committees composed of Houston ISD employees, parents and advocates issued recommendations for how the district should tackle two of its thorniest issues: campus funding practices and access to magnet programs. Some of the proposals would require sacrifice, committee members warned, including the potential closure of low-enrollment campuses and the elimination of magnet funding to elementary schools. Yet other recommendations, such as staffing all schools with essential support personnel and expanding magnet programs to all neighborhood middle and high schools, would offer more opportunities to students with the greatest needs, they said. Two years later, HISD administrators and school board members have implemented few of the proposals, let alone discussed them at length publicly. view article arw

In the education wars of the past 20 years, one of the most contentious issues has been what to do when a school is rated as failing for four or five years in a row. In some cities, at some times, district leaders have replaced such schools — the administrators and staff, not the buildings — with more promising teams. But 2015’s Every Child Succeeds Act removed any pressure to do that, and outside of a few districts, little of it is happening.  As a result, millions of urban children are stuck in failing schools, which should be a national scandal. Experience is clear: Replacing a struggling school is far more effective than trying to turn it around. view article arw

Austin ISD said 13 locations will provide SAT testing on two days in April to high school juniors at no cost.  High school juniors within Austin ISD will have the opportunity to take the SAT test for free on two school days in April, according to district officials.   Austin ISD said 13 locations will provide SAT testing to high school juniors at no cost.  "This is a great opportunity for students to access this pivotal test that’s a factor for college admission at most major universities," the district said in a press release. view article arw

More students are headed back to class in the Dallas Independent School District. The district is hitting social media, giving out incentives, and pleading with parents and students to spend the last nine weeks on campus. While some of Lincoln High School Principal Johnna Weaver students are thriving remotely she says many are not and before this school year ends she's going to do something about it. "A lot of students are struggling with at-home learning because they don't have the support," said Weaver.    (12) view article arw

Leander ISD's plans to offer a permanent, online-only high school program called the Virtual Learning Academy this fall fizzled out due to not enough students expressing interest in participating in the program, the district announced Monday. The plan originally sought to offer the program to 300 students only in LISD's 9th and 10th grades, or 150 slots per grade. The program would have added another grade each subsequent year until it built up to a full four-year program. The program would have allowed students to graduate but would have come with restrictions, such as not being able to participate in school extracurricular activities. LISD had considered the program as an option after seeing many students thrive in the online-only learning environment during the coronavirus pandemic. School officials have been considering the option for years. Ultimately, LISD developed and shared a survey with students and families from Feb. 24 to March 23 to judge their interest in the program but only garnered 63 responses, an insufficient amount for them to move forward with the program. view article arw

Lewisville ISD is planning to go back to the number of instructional minutes that it used before the COVID-19 pandemic happened.  During a work session Monday, LISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers said the staff is recommending 435 instructional minutes per day, which is what LISD used in the 2019-20 school year.  Last year the district decided to increase the school day by 25 extra minutes so it could bank enough school days and provide flexibility in case the COVID-19 pandemic forced the district to shut down.    view article arw

Waco ISD works with parents before their child is born up until they're enrolled in preschool to instill early developmental skills that will set the child up for academic success. "We work from those gross motor to walking to fine motor and writing, and our goal is to send them ready to pre-K," said Anita Henderson, Lead Parent Educator. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency says Tuesday’s statewide disruption of the STARR test has been resolved.  North Texas school districts are working to reschedule tests after a technical issue caused problems with English and writing assessments.   view article arw

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Some students ran into trouble today trying to take a required achievement test including in the Amarillo metro area. AISD, Canyon, River Road and Bushland all reported connection issues with taking the STAAR test online. Bushland Superintendent Chris Wigington said students were kicked off line or couldn’t sign on at all. The Texas Education Agency said the effects were statewide for grades four and seven writing, and freshman English. The agency hopes to have the technical issues fixed by tomorrow to resume testing. Below is the Statement from TEA Student Assessment Division: view article arw

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Putting students through a military-inspired program is a unique thing one Dallas ISD school is doing to improve behavior and grades. In Teno Myles’ class, there are no desks or chairs. The Army veteran is teaching all Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center kindergarten through 5th graders the valuable skill set he received in the military in an interactive way. view article arw

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Premont Independent School District have entered into a partnership that will create new educational and career opportunities for students from that small rural district. A ceremonial signing was held Wednesday morning at the University Center to kick off a new dual credit program. It will allow Premont students to attend some classes at A&M Corpus Christi and earn high school and college credit. view article arw

ABILENE, TX — Several school districts across Texas are still frustrated after a 'glitch' forced them to suspend the first day of STAAR testing. Abilene ISD was one of the schools impacted with more than 300 students affected. “It was not the finest day yesterday for the state testing entity,” said Dr. David Young, Abilene ISD Superintendent. Because of the pandemic, students were given the option to take parts of the test online. Students who took the test the old fashioned way, were not impacted. view article arw

exas education officials advised school districts to suspend the first day of STAAR testing after thousands of students showed up in person and were prevented from taking the standardized test online because of widespread technical issues across the state. “If your students have been able to access the test, they should continue testing. If your students have not been able to access the test, they should be dismissed from testing until the issue has been resolved,” the message from the Texas Education Agency said. view article arw

Students in Austin ISD and across the state of Texas were scheduled to participate in the first day of State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness testing April 6. However, a statewide technology outage has led testing to be canceled or delayed for many. According to AISD, the Texas Education Agency has confirmed that its Educational Testing System that administers the STAAR test is currently experiencing a statewide outage. view article arw

STAAR testing resumed at Central Texas school districts Wednesday, the day after a system failure prompted many Texas districts to delay or cancel testing. Temple Independent School District reported that testing at two campuses was held without interruptions in the online Educational Testing Service system. “Testing went smoothly today,” Lisa Adams, TISD’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said Wednesday. “We had two campuses test today, and there were not any technical errors. However, tomorrow will be a better indicator of ETS ability to handle a greater load as we will have nine campuses testing.” view article arw

Central Texas seniors say they look forward to traditional graduations after more than a year into the pandemic.  Most Central Texas school districts are preparing for in-person graduations, but with new COVID-19 protocols in place. Students, like Round Rock ISD's Alayna Pelayo, say it's going to be worth it. "We'll have our colleges picked out. We'll have all our AP tests done and I think it's just such a great way to end the year. I'm just super excited to get to stand with my classmates for the last time before we all kind of go our separate ways," said Pelayo. "We've been working so hard in school for 13 years."    (08) view article arw

“We thought about, ‘Well, okay if there’s a year to miss, kindergarten is probably the year that is the most appropriate to miss of a school year for our child’,” said Moulton. “And so we went, ‘Well we can probably use our nanny’, because my wife and I both work. ‘Can we put some of this more basic education hours on my nanny’?" In 2019, more than 80,890 students were enrolled at Austin ISD, but just like Moulton’s family, the COVID-19 pandemic made some parents re-evaluate enrollment. For the 2020-2021 school year, enrollment numbers dropped to 75,075, a decrease of more than 5,000 students.    (08) view article arw

School district officials across Southeast Texas halted standardized tests Tuesday morning as the Texas Education Agency began reporting issues with the state’s standardized testing online platform, which has been plagued in recent years by intermittent outages. In a message sent to education service centers and district testing coordinators Tuesday morning, TEA officials said they have “received reports of districts experiencing technical difficulties” with the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, platform. The message does not specify how many students or districts are impacted. Beaumont ISD online students came this morning to campus, some for the first time all year, to take the test. They have since been sent home. view article arw

Temple ISD Superintendent Bobby Ott said remote learning was much less effective, especially for younger students.  Temple Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott announced Tuesday there would be no remote learning in the 2021-2022 school year. Ott said the district would develop and revise the current health and safety protocols that are consistent with local authority guidance. view article arw

Southside Independent School District’s election has three candidates and three open seats on its board — but the decision on who will fill those seats is still up to the state. Since 2017, the school district has been operating under a seven-member board of managers appointed by Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, who removed the elected board after a special accreditation investigation found it unable to govern and properly handle the district’s finances. view article arw

Last week we held our Board Excellence awards. For those who are unfamiliar, these awards celebrate a student’s academic standing and conduct. Students from each grade level from five through eight, and the top 10 students from Victoria East High School and Victoria West High School grade levels nine through 12 received an excellence award. Students in grades 6-12 must be enrolled in at least one honors, gifted and talented, pre-advanced placement, and/or advanced placement class. Eligibility for all students in grades 5-12 is based on the student’s cumulative grades for the grade level (elementary, middle school or high school) through the fall semester. view article arw

Earlier today, school districts across the state of Texas, including Huntsville ISD, experienced connectivity issues with the STAAR Online Testing Platform (SOTP). The Educational Testing System (ETS - test vendor) posted updates to the STAAR Assessment Management System dashboard every 10 minutes to keep districts apprised of the progress in resolving the issue. At this time, connectivity issues with the SOTP have not been resolved. To this end, Huntsville ISD had no option but to stop the 4th grade Writing test and the English I EOC for the remainder of the day. Although the middle school experienced connectivity issues as well, they were still able to complete the 7th grade Writing test today. view article arw

SAN ANTONIO — A tenth grader in Fort Sam Houston ISD is taking on life one activity at a time. From excelling in rigorous courses to helping his team win the state basketball championship, Joseph Gibson is doing it all with a positive attitude. And, if you’ve ever wondered how that's all possible, Joseph can you give some tips. view article arw

Kathaleen De Hoyos may not have been able to look forward to graduating high school in June without San Antonio Independent School District’s new virtual night school.  A transcript error led the Travis Early College High School senior to enroll in SAISD’s Evening FLEX High School so she could fulfill a missing class credit required to graduate. But the virtual classes held over the Zoom videoconference platform two nights a week also are available to high-achieving students who want to get ahead and graduate in three years instead of four, said FLEX High School Principal Paul Riser. view article arw

The STAAR test starts this week in some districts. The state's achievement test has become even more controversial this year as parents have asked for their students to be able to opt-out. Meanwhile, schools have dug in on its importance. Julia Dickey's son Dakota is a student at Arlington High School and has been learning at home all year. Dickey said Dakota has health concerns which made her unwilling to send him back to school during the pandemic. view article arw

There are some exciting new opportunities coming to Sweetwater ISD next school year. Sweetwater ISD will be launching a video series over the next several weeks detailing information about exciting changes coming our way, but before the launch of the video series I want to provide a preview of a few opportunities at our elementary schools:... view article arw

Each time Liberty Hill ISD enrolls a new student it fills one more seat in a classroom on one of its seven current campuses. That addition represents growth, and a look back over the last decade shows that growth is occurring at an unprecedented rate. But efficiently preparing for that growth each year takes much more than counting the students in classrooms, it requires accurate, reliable data that addresses the students not yet in a desk. Further complicating that task in LHISD is that the number of new desks needed in the next five years is expected to be double what it is now, and double that five more years down the line. Schools cost money and construction takes time, so how exactly does a district determine what to ask the community to support?    (06) view article arw

VICTORIA, Texas- Today districts across the state experienced connectivity issues with the STAAR Online Testing Platform (SOTP). The three STAAR tests affected were online Grade 4 writing, online Grade 7 writing, and online English I. Students could have experienced four different scenarios with online testing today: •the student could have successfully submitted the test without disruption; view article arw

Midland ISD Superintendent Angelica Ramsey expressed frustration with the testing problems Tuesday. Ramsey released a statement saying that “Like many other districts across the state, Midland ISD was affected by the interruptions to STAAR testing today. view article arw

Texas education officials advised school districts to suspend the first day of STAAR testing after thousands of students showed up in person and were prevented from taking the standardized test online because of widespread technical issues across the state.  “If your students have been able to access the test, they should continue testing. If your students have not been able to access the test, they should be dismissed from testing until the issue has been resolved,” the message from the Texas Education Agency said.  Texas officials mandated that students take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness in person this year at monitored test sites, although millions of students are still learning remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Texas officials mandated that students take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness in person this year at monitored test sites, although millions of students are still learning remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.    (07) view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new bill being discussed in the Texas House and Senate would give high school upperclassmen a break on their yearly end-of-course exams: standardized tests which require a passing grade for graduation. Texas currently requires seniors to pass English I, English II, U.S. History, Algebra I and Biology assessments. But the new, temporary bill would allow school districts to disregard those test scores altogether, and instead receive final approval from an individual graduation committee. “One exam does not measure everyone’s intellect,” said Senator Jose Menendez, the author of Senate Bill 2058. “We are not saying you get an automatic pass. Someone is going to review your work. Someone is going to review that you did the work. You have to show competence of the subjects.”    (07) view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Messages from teachers and superintendents started flooding into the KXAN newsroom Tuesday morning saying children were sitting in classrooms waiting for state testing problems to be fixed. Today is the first day for STAAR testing across Texas. A high school teacher from Austin said, “The portal kids use to access the test crashed. It’s a statewide outage. Kids are just sitting in rooms waiting for TEA to provide instruction to districts.” A few minutes later, Bloomburg ISD Superintendent Brian Stroman sent this message he said came from the Texas Education Agency: view article arw

The outages affected districts administering the tests online, ranging from slow response times to students being unable to log in.  Texas education officials advised districts to suspend the first day of STAAR testing after thousands of students showed up in person and were prevented from taking the standardized test online because of widespread technical issues across the state. "If your students have been able to access the test, they should continue testing. If your students have not been able to access the test, they should be dismissed from testing until the issue has been resolved," the message from the Texas Education Agency said. Texas officials mandated that students take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness in person this year at monitored test sites, although millions of students are still conducting their studies remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. view article arw