Acommunity committee charged with evaluating Waco Independent School District’s facility needs beyond the next decade heard recommendations on elementary schools that include closing Alta Vista Elementary School and renovating or replacing two neighboring schools. Representatives of Austin architectural firm O’Connell Robertson suggested to Waco ISD Community Advisory Committee members Monday night that expanding Kendrick Elementary School and South Waco Elementary School and closing Alta Vista could start to address the district’s need to improve its aging elementary school campuses. Alta Vista’s attendance zone is flanked by the other two South Waco campuses, and those schools would absorb Alta Vista’s students. view article arw

Lewisville ISD is converting four middle school campuses and one elementary campus to STEM academies for the 2021-22 school year. It will be the first time middle schoolers in the district will have the opportunity to participate in a dedicated STEM program, according to information from the April 12 board of trustees meeting. view article arw

ALEDO, Texas - A Parker County school district disciplined several students over racist bullying. The Aledo ISD students held a pretend ‘slave trade auction’ on social media. view article arw

Redesign campuses and consulting services for principal searches are two of the items the Ector County ISD Board of Trustees will discuss in a board workshop Tuesday. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the first-floor board room of the administration building, 802 N. Sam Houston Ave. COVID-19 protocols are in place.  The Texas Education Agency awarded ECISD School Action Fund Planning Grants to Noel and Lyndon B. Johnson elementary schools and Wilson and Young Middle School to be Redesign Campuses to create “new and improved learning environments that substantially increase student achievement.” view article arw

Longview Independent School District is among only 15 in the nation to win a 2021 Magna Award from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) that recognizes districts across the country for programs that advance equity and break down barriers for underserved students. The East Texas Montessori Prep Academy (ETMPA) was recognized for its commitment to equity as a first place winner in the 27th annual Magna Awards program. “2020 was a year of challenges for all of us,” said Mrs. Shan Bauer, Longview Board of Trustees President. “Winning top honor for the 2021 MAGNA awards attest to the barrier breaking educational programs Longview ISD’s leaders have put in place. I am beyond proud of the determination of administration and staff for making sure that our public Montessori campus continued to administer proven methods to all students during such trying times. Continuing to ensure such programs offer fair and equitable education to all students within the district is the key to future successes.” view article arw

REFUGIO, Texas — A progress monitoring system was already in place at Refugio elementary school but with the pandemic, Principal Twyla Thomas knew gaps in learning would increase because students were being taught online. Thomas said they knew they would have to tighten up their hands-on instructions in small group sessions with students using a tool they call Renaissance for STAAR math and reading. view article arw

We're getting you some answers as our area school districts wait to find out what will happen to hundreds of millions of dollars of federal relief money. Teachers and administrators are busy planning how they'll help thousands of students play catch up over the summer. it's a problem school districts all across San Antonio will be facing. But the money set aside to help is still tied up in Austin.  “We got a long way to go with learning loss for kids,” said Dr. Brian Woods, superintendent with Northside ISD.  Schools were thrown for a loop when the pandemic hit last year.  District leaders like Woods estimate thousands of students will have to play some catch up. view article arw

This past week was one full of both highs and lows for the people of Texas. One of the biggest lows was the completely avoidable let down of the young students of Texas. On Tuesday, April 6th, there was an absolute failure of the administration of the English I STAAR EOC and the 4th grade Writing STAAR, which are standardized tests proctored in Texas. Not only did the testing portal itself crash, but once it did, the way the situation was handled after was appalling. There was confusion and no action plan. Some students were told to just go home, other students were told to drive to another testing center in the hope that they might get to complete their test there. But overall, there was no clear guidance in the midst of this chaotic situation. view article arw

A post circulating on social media in the Spring Branch community has caused concern. Students at Stratford High School in Spring Branch ISD voiced concern over feeling uncomfortable with a class activity by a teacher who officials said is now on administrative leave. Mary Daly’s granddaughter said she was in the class during the incident. Daley showed KPRC 2 a photo of the class assignment that raised concern. view article arw

While Frisco ISD’s enrollment numbers for kindergarten decreased by 5% this year, its pre-K program enrollment increased by over 50%. That increase comes on the heels of the program’s first year providing full-day pre-K services. Had the program not transitioned to a full-day service, the district’s pre-K program would likely have seen the same drop that kindergarten enrollment saw, said Melissa Ellis, FISD’s assistant director of Early Childhood Instruction. view article arw

Top LYS Tweets – April 13, 2021

April 1408:30 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 week.  In 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union released an analysis of 2015-16 federal civil rights data showing that 31 percent of students nationwide attended schools that have school resource officers but no psychologist, nurse, counselor, and/or social worker. view article arw

School districts in Bell County are making plans for in-person graduation ceremonies — festivities that largely span the Bell County Expo Center, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and other venues. Temple Independent School District spokesman Christian Hernandez told the Telegram that Temple High seniors will don their cap and gowns on May 12 at the Bell County Expo Center, 301 W. Loop 121 in Belton. The in-person graduation is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. “Each graduate will receive six tickets to distribute to friends or family, and all are required to wear masks,” Hernandez said. view article arw

Forney, Texas (Forney Independent School District) – For the seventh straight year, Forney ISD has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Anderson High School is wrestling with a spike in COVID-19 exposures after positive cases quadrupled during the week STAAR testing began.  The school has contacted some families, asking their children to remain quarantined after they were contact-traced back to the STAAR testing that occurred on campus last week. The district reports the positive cases are now isolated and did not originate in the classroom from the STAAR testing itself, but from outside extracurriculars. view article arw

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Corpus Christi Independent School District honored some outstanding employees today. Sandra Flores, the head custodian at Fannin Elementary School, was one of three employees to be named the "Above the Line" Employee of the Month. This recognition is given to CCISD employees who go the extra mile. Flores told us some of the most important duties she's performed on her job. She was presented with a gift bag full of CCISD swag like a lunch box, cups, a hat, pencils and notepads. view article arw

A Test for the Test Makers

April 1308:25 AM

The newest outpost of the College Board, the American standardized-testing organization, lies nearly 7,300 miles east of the nonprofit organization’s headquarters in New York City. Opened in 2019 in the Mahrauli section of Delhi, the four-person office of College Board India commands an enviable view of Qutub Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret—a 240-foot marble-and-sandstone structure built to honor the sultan who brought Muslim rule to the Indian subcontinent in the 12th century. view article arw

The academic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic represents one of the biggest challenges facing the Fort Worth school district and its Board of Trustees over the next year. More than 32,000 students in the Fort Worth school district are still learning remotely, and school officials don’t know when the district will be able to bring all students back to school in person. Once all students are back in the classroom, district leaders — including a slate of new trustees — will have to find ways to help students who lost ground during at-home learning. view article arw

At Comanche Springs Elementary in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district, the numbers simply add up to success. As a campus, students have solved 2,372,244 math problems through First in Math, an online program aimed at building students’ math skills through games designed to strengthen fact fluency, automaticity, computational thinking and other critical skills. Comanche Springs has participated in the program for three years and the entire school currently ranks third overall in the state and 33rd in the nation. It is the highest ranking the school has had since entering the program. view article arw

The academic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic represents one of the biggest challenges facing the Fort Worth school district and its Board of Trustees over the next year. More than 32,000 students in the Fort Worth school district are still learning remotely, and school officials don’t know when the district will be able to bring all students back to school in person. Once all students are back in the classroom, district leaders — including a slate of new trustees — will have to find ways to help students who lost ground during at-home learning. view article arw

TEXAS, USA — The H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards is giving away $100,000 in celebration of its 20 years of impact. According to an Excellence in Education Awards press release, public school teachers, principals and school districts, as well as private or public early childhood education centers can enter-to-win a share of the prize. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) told school districts across the state on Tuesday to suspend the first day of STAAR for thousands of students after widespread technical problems. “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 TEA said. view article arw

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

Over the past six months and 8 episodes we have been discussing the issues that have been important to you. You­—actual teachers and campus leader who have re-invented education, in real time, during a pandemic. With your state guidelines essentially being, “Good luck. Try not to die.” 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