She is the latest in a string of lawmakers calling for the suspension of STAAR testing for the next school year.  “It’s going to be an inappropriate measure of where we are,” said Powell. “We are starting behind this year – we’re going to be playing catch-up all year long.”  School leaders say the same thing. Dr. Marcelo Cavazos recently told the Arlington ISD school board while testing data is important, “our priority has more to do with our students getting back to learning and progression. No test should take away from that.”   (14) view article arw

HOUSTON — COVID-19 is teaching hard lessons to Houston-area school districts. They lost contact with more than 11,000 students after the pandemic hit in the spring and remote learning replaced traditional classrooms.  Poor students, students of color and young students were lost most often, a KHOU 11 Investigation has found. view article arw

SC,   Teacher response to the yesterday’s training was incredible. From, “This is the best training we have had since the pandemic started,” to “This changes my whole outlook on remote instruction,” to “It’s nice when the trainer actually models the training topic.”   Once again LYS has hit a home run. Thank you!  ... view article arw

A new course about the history and culture of African Americans comes to Texas classrooms this fall. Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs are among those that will offer a statewide curriculum in African American Studies.  The State Board of Education approved the course as an elective for high school students back in April.  "We will have schools that will be for the first time offering African American Studies and I'm extremely excited about it," said Dallas-area state board member Aicha Davis. view article arw

SC,   I wanted to take a moment to let you know how very helpful my entire team found yesterday’s Reboot training to be (The Reboot: School Operations in an Unpredictable World, by Cain and Laird).  It was just what we needed to hear to reinforce what we had started thinking about while also bringing to light... view article arw

The Plainview Independent School District approved a new career and technical education course for students last week.  During a special called meeting, the court unanimously approved an advanced floral design course. Board members Adam Soto and Tyler James were not present.  “Floral design is part of our overall plan to expand our career and technical program at the high school,” said principal Brandt Reagan during Thursday’s special meeting. view article arw

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. and Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo late Monday issued an order delaying in-person instruction by private and public schools until after Sept. 28.  As justification, the order cites Texas’ rank as the state with the third most COVID-19 infections in the nation on July 13, the fact that infections had increased 183% by Aug. 9, and that Cameron County currently has the eighth-most positive COVID-19 cases among Texas’ 254 counties. view article arw

After months of planning and preparing, the 5,400 students in Marshall Independent School District begin the new school year Thursday. District leaders describe the huge effort it has taken to prepare for the return of students to the classroom and online through distance learning. view article arw

MONT BELVIEU, Texas — Many districts in Harris County have delayed starting school till September with most opting to do only virtual learning at least through mid-October.   Some teachers are even protesting to delay in-person learning even longer. But in neighboring Chambers County, all public school students may return to classrooms as early August 13.   Barbers Hill is one of three districts in the rural county. Eighty percent of its students have committed to in-person learning for the start of the school year.  Superintendent Dr. Greg Poole said, “It’s absolutely what's best for kids. I think a lot of political decisions are being made.”   (11) view article arw

Top LYS Tweets – August 10, 2020

August 1008:25 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

Hudson students will now be able to check out e-books and audio books through an app after a partnership with Hudson ISD, Kurth Memorial Library and OverDrive.  Representatives from the school, library and OverDrive expressed excitement over the partnership, especially during a time when many students will be learning remotely with less access to physical media.  “This unique collaboration strives to promote literacy and digital learning by combining the schools’ and the library’s digital reading resources in one app,” a press from OverDrive said. “As a result, students can learn anytime, anywhere because of the convenience, ease of reading on-the-go and the inherent popularity of technology.”  The app for phone and tablet called Sora provides access to thousands of age-appropriate titles for student use inside the classroom, at home and more 24/7. view article arw

Plano ISD schools will not hold comprehensive exams this year at the end of each semester as the district puts more weight on daily assignments and participation during the pandemic. The PISD board of trustees unanimously approved these updates to the district’s grading policies at its Aug. 4 meeting as officials prepare for the school year to begin next week. view article arw

Kindergarten was supposed to be a big year for Presley Simpson, but the 5-year-old won’t be setting foot inside her kindergarten classroom.  As Texas emerged as a coronavirus hot spot this summer, her mom, Cristen Simpson, came up with a different plan: Presley and a friend in her South Austin neighborhood will attend school online, with the help of a teaching facilitator, who also will guide the children through enrichment activities, such as art and physical activities.  “I don't want to send her where she has to sit in her desk all day, where she can't hug her friends or see her teacher's face,” Simpson said, noting the difficulty of overseeing her daughter’s online schoolwork and hands-on activities while simultaneously working full-time from home. “Those are all things that pushed me to figure out a home solution because she’s very outgoing, very active and very loving, and I just can’t imagine her not having those physical and emotional connections during the day.” view article arw

School leaders across the state through the Texas Association of School Administrators on July 30 posted a letter laying out several requests from state officials as they face COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges heading into the 2020-21 school year.  “In spite of all the planning and expenditures for safety measures that Texas school districts have undergone with the help of the state, there are cases of COVID-19 in many communities, and schools and students may have to shift between remote and on-campus instruction at various times during the school year,” the letter read. view article arw

It’s kind of a continuation of what she was doing, but now she’ll serve students in the whole district.  “That means I get to help all the ECISD seniors be successful after they graduate high school,” Gray said. “We get a lot of kids that get into college that don’t enroll in college or get to the campus.”  Amy Anderson, AVID director for ECISD, said the district loses 30 percent of students between high school graduation and stepping foot on a college campus.  “Life happens,” Anderson said when asked why this happens. “I think it’s the same way that as adults. We have these grand plans and this is what we want, but then life happens; COVID happens; parents lose their jobs; I don’t have any money; I don’t have a way to get there; I don’t have housing. There’s all these different components that maybe they didn’t have quite ironed out and then they panic or they get a really good job where they feel like they’re making great money because it’s the best job they’ve had so far.” view article arw

On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that students in grades 5 and 8 will not be held back based on STAAR test results. Although the governor took a step in the right direction, he did not address the bigger problem. Standardized testing should be used primarily as a diagnostic tool to help teachers and students at the beginning of the year, not at the end. This was true before the pandemic and is especially true now. view article arw

Read Fort Worth is a literacy initiative dreamed up by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and the Superintendent of Fort Worth ISD.  “It was created knowing that we wanted to make sure that every child in the Fort Worth ISD system could read on grade level by the time they left the third grade,” said Elizabeth Brands, Executive Director of Read Fort Worth. “This metric is proven both within Tarrant County and across our nation as a key indicator of a child’s success in school and in life.”  While Read Fort Worth is active all year, summer is a time where students lose a lot of learning while out of traditional school. view article arw

CENTRAL TEXAS – Central Texas parents are angry after Governor Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR testing requirements, for some students.  On Monday, the Governor announced the requirement will be waived for students entering fifth and eighth grade this academic school year (2020-2021).  “I mean, I don’t understand why he can’t waive it for everybody – not just the fifth and the eighth grade. If you’re going to waive it for everybody, why not just waive it for everybody who has to take it?,” says Michelle Corbin, a Killeen ISD parent of three.  The waiver means students in both grades will still have to take the test – however, they will be promoted regardless of their score. The STAAR Test is usually administered multiple times a year, but the governor stated it will only be given once in May for grades 3 – 8. view article arw

PORT ARTHUR — Learning a new language is always a challenge, but it's about to become even more complicated for hundreds of students in the Port Arthur ISD.  Students in the district's English as a Second Language program, or ESL, are boys and girls who come from other countries and are learnig English in addition to their regular courses.  The director of the PAISD Bilingual Education Program admits teaching students English is more effective in person, but because of COVID-19 spread, that's not possible right now in Port Arthur. That's why the district is making sure these English as a Second Language, or ESL students, have the resources necessary to learn from home, including preparing their parents who don't know English themselves.  "We have Chinese, Vietnamese, we have kids from the Philippines, a couple from India, Pakistan, but most of our students are Spanish speakers," said Tatiana Morales Owens, PAISD's Director of Bilingual Education view article arw

The Bridge City Cardinals are set to be Orange County's canaries in the coal mine as they head back to their classrooms Monday.  The school district's Aug. 3 return to the classroom is nearly two weeks ahead of any of its neighbors and a brave venture, given this year's Covid-19 pandemic.  "We are looking forward to the start of the 20-21 school year," was the word from Todd Lintzen, superintendent. view article arw

Gainesville Independent Superintendent DesMontes Stewart says waiving the grade promotion requirement for some students taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test this school year will give teachers a bit of a breather.  Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday afternoon, July 27, that the grade promotion requirement for fifth and eighth graders taking the STAAR test has been waived for the 2020-2021 school year. Typically, school districts had to take into account a student’s score on the STAAR test to determine whether the student could be promoted to the next grade level, according to a press release from Abbott’s office. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that Texas students must take the state standardized test next spring, but fifth and eighth graders can graduate without passing it.  Texas students will still have to take the STAAR test next year, but fifth and eighth grade students will be able to move on to the next grade even if they fail, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday.  State education officials announced earlier this summer that third through 12th grade students would take the state standardized exams, or STAAR, this upcoming academic year. Normally, fifth and eighth graders must pass the STAAR in order to move on to the next grade, or else they must retake it later that year or over the summer. But Abbott said that next spring, the fifth and eighth grade math and reading exams would only be administered one time, in May.   (29) 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

Educators aren't just concerned about the academic COVID-slide, but also the impact of isolation on social and emotional learning.  So much was missing from students' educational experience from March to May. You've likely heard about the academic gaps created from remote learning, but just think about what the isolation from friends, some family and teachers does to a young person still developing into who they are. That worries top educators in East Texas. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There's an online trend that's growing on social media as parents continue to weigh their options for their child's return to school.  The idea is simple: have a teacher, tutor or parent monitor a small group of students while they do their school work and interact with others. They're calling it "learning pods."  "Some kids just genuinely learn better with just a physical presence with someone there, so I understand that it would be preferential for some people," Jessica Ronnau said. view article arw

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Lufkin Independent School District board of trustees met on Thursday night to discuss important topics facing the district as they hurdle toward the beginning of a new school year with a pandemic complicating matters.  Lufkin ISD Superintendent Lynn Torres began by speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the upcoming calendar. She offered the dates of Aug. 24 and Aug. 31 as possible start dates. view article arw

NUECES COUNTY, Texas — If you have a student who is facing truancy charges in the Corpus Christi Independent School District, there's a bit of reprieve headed their way.   The CCISD filed a formal letter with the Justice of the Peace that handles the majority of truancy cases. The district asked that the court dismiss all 2019-2020 cases. view article arw

CONROE, Texas -- The Conroe ISD board of trustees adopted a resolution on July 21 asking the state to set aside the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing and school accountability ratings for the 2020-21 school year.  The resolution was submitted by trustee Scott Moore and reviewed at the board's July 21 meeting. Moore said the testing and ratings for the 2019-20 school year were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and many other districts across the state are asking for another suspension. view article arw

What About Morale First a reminder. The leadership priority list for schools this year is as follows:   Priority 1-A: Keep Your Adults Alive   Priority 1-B: Keep Your Student Healthy   Priority 1-C: Keep Your School Open   School leaders nod and then someone says, “But won’t this be bad for morale?”  view article arw

Ector County ISD trustees received an update on the work being done by the Equity Task Force which studied discipline and suspensions.  The group included local educators and community members. The data shows African-American students, who make up 4 percent of the student population, are a disproportionately big percentage of out-of-school suspensions, in-school suspensions, and alternative placements, the board recap said. The task force was formed earlier this year after a presentation showing discipline was disproportionately given to African American students compared to other student groups. view article arw

First a reminder. The leadership priority list for schools this year is as follows: view article arw

Imagine the Intensity of a Syracuse full court press, the efficiency of Navy SEALs, the agility of a Silicon Valley startup, and the compassion and responsiveness of the Red Cross.  As I interviewed the leadership of the El Paso Independent School District over the last two weeks it didn’t feel or sound like most school districts. The remarkable level of talent, the mission alignment, the “whatever it takes for every student” mentality was striking.  view article arw

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — In about a month’s time, schools will be opening their doors once again. However, this school year will be different.  “The plans are uncertain because we don’t know yet what school is going to look like. What we do know is that school this year is going to be entirely different there’s so many different things that teachers are going to have to do to teach, ” Texas State Sen. Kel Seliger, explained. view article arw

Top Tweets – July 20, 2020

July 2008:30 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...The post Top Tweets – July 20, 2020 appeared first on Lead Your School. view article arw

Seventeen Frisco ISD students have been named in the final group of college-sponsored awards from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, giving the Class of 2020 a total of 38 National Merit Scholars. view article arw