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A Rio Grande Valley school district is requiring all its staff to return to work on campus this week. A petition filed by teacher union Texas AFT on behalf of staff at South Texas Independent School District is asking the district’s board members to consider teachers in their next transitioning phase. view article arw

Growing up, everyone has an idea of what they want to be. As young people, most people move out of their parents’ homes with an idea about an incredible career of doing what we believe we are meant to do. Sometimes that plan works out and sometimes life changes in midstream. This is what happened to Lainie Fritz, the first Dayton ISD educator to be in the spotlight this school year. view article arw

“I know my students, because I was them,” said Winnetka Elementary School teacher Margaret Martinez. For Martinez, the purple footprints painted on the sidewalk outside the Oak Cliff school are symbolic. Her path took her away, but it also brought the kindergarten teacher full circle. view article arw

SHERMAN, Texas (KTEN) -- The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the shortage of substitute teachers. It's a problem seen nationwide, but now it's hitting close to home.   "We did expect for there to be a drop because we are in the middle of COVID-19," said Sherman ISD spokeswoman Kimberly Simpson. "Unfortunately, that is just the reality we are in."   Subs are opting out of their gigs due to health concerns, leaving districts strapped.  "Some people are unsure about coming back in subbing, and I felt like there was a definite need," said new long-term substitute teacher Catherine Walton.   view article arw

Lillian White was approaching year two of her teaching career at Great Hearts Western Hills charter school in San Antonio, but her time was cut short.  A week before students were set to return to class, White was fired for her refusal to stop wearing homemade masks that displayed phrases like "Black Lives Matter" and "Silence is Violence," according to KENS 5's Zack Briggs and Adam Pyle. view article arw

Fewer substitutes have been in McKinney ISD classrooms this year so far due to COVID-19-related concerns, according to the district. MISD’s pool of substitutes this school year was higher than average with 470 active substitutes compared to the usual 350-400 substitutes, said Cody Cunningham, district chief communications and support services officer. But the number of substitutes in classrooms has been “much lower,” he said. view article arw

The pandemic is causing school districts to dig deep for substitute teachers. With Austin ISD students expected back in class next month the district needs more educators on standby.  In the spring after all learning moved online some AISD substitutes were let go because need drastically dropped. However, now the district is hoping to hire people back. Currently AISD has about 550 substitutes hired, and they'd like to start in-person learning with 700-800 substitutes available.  In the past substitutes have been retired teachers, but right now being older and at-risk for COVID-19 is keeping many longtime subs at home.  "As we reopen, we do anticipate that we will have an increased need for substitutes and we want to be as prepared as we can possibly be," says Fernando Medina, chief officer of human capital for AISD. view article arw

Rice Independent School District was recently approved to receive additional funding from the Texas Education Agency for its most qualified and effective teachers. House Bill 3 allows districts to apply for and receive funding for these educators. It also allows the district to recruit the best of the best.“The application process was not an easy task, but we simply could not pass up the opportunity for some of our teachers to earn up to an additional $32,000 a year,” Superintendent Amy Harvell stated.  The Teacher Incentive Allotment Plan allows teachers to earn either a Recognized, Exemplary, or Master Designation. These are based on several standards including Teacher Performance, Student Achievement, and Leadership Practices. view article arw

SAN ANTONIO — Lillian White said she never fathomed wearing a Black Lives Matter mask would cause such an uproar and lead to her termination from Great Hearts Western Hills just about a week before students were set to return to class.  “It was really stressful because I have a financial obligation to help support my family,” White said. “It’s also kind of heartbreaking that this is the kind of – this is the reason that I lost my job.” view article arw

The February raid on Houston ISD headquarters and the home of the district’s chief operating officer stemmed from allegations that the high-ranking administrator engaged in a kickback scheme with a district contractor, newly filed court records show.  In a civil forfeiture complaint filed by an assistant U.S. attorney Thursday, federal officials allege Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby conspired to pay an unnamed contractor for work performed by district employees in exchange for kickbacks. Federal agents seized $90,150 in cash from Busby’s home in February, as well as $95,874 in cash from the home and vehicle of the contractor, according to the filing. view article arw


September 2208:30 AM

September 17, 2020- The Boerne Independent School District has announced that Chief Financial Officer Tish Grill will retire in December at the end of the fall 2020 semester. Grill has served in the education industry for 35 years, including the last six as BISD’s CFO.  “Words cannot express how grateful and fortunate we are to have had Tish as our CFO at Boerne ISD,” Superintendent Dr. Thomas Price said. “There is no doubt that Tish is the best CFO in the state of Texas, and truly has gone above and beyond for our community. She is a true leader and will be missed by all of us. We wish her the absolute best of luck in the future. Tish will always be a part of the Boerne ISD family,” said Dr. Price. view article arw

Substitute teacher Bernadette Martens-Saxelby says filling in on campus in the age of COVID-19 means she has to be in multiple places at once. She is engaging with students on multiple platforms and in several places throughout the day.  On Wednesday, she sat in the back of a classroom on the second floor of Lake Travis High School, ready to engage with students in person and online.  As more students return to classrooms in the coming days and some teachers raise concerns about coming back amid the coronavirus pandemic, school districts in the Austin area will be calling on substitute teachers to fill the gaps and take on new roles. view article arw

The Victoria I.S.D. school board approved the appointment of a newly-created position within the district, Executive Director of Communications and Public Relations. Ashley Scott, currently serves as a digital media specialist for the City of Victoria, was appointed to the new position, which begins October 5. In this new position Scott will lead the communications team to promote the district’s brand, “provide timely and effective information to educate and empower families, staff and the community, as well as provide support to the superintendent by means of visionary and pragmatic leadership using a variety of communication tools, administrative support, and technology.” Shawna Currie, who serves as the district’s Communications Director, will remain in her same position with more focused responsibilities. view article arw

Substitute teacher Bernadette Martens-Saxelby says filling in on campus in the age of COVID-19 means she has to be in multiple places at once. She is engaging with students on multiple platforms and in several places throughout the day.  On Wednesday, she sat in the back of a classroom on the second floor of Lake Travis High School, ready to engage with students in person and online.  As more students return to classrooms in the coming days and some teachers raise concerns about coming back amid the coronavirus pandemic, school districts in the Austin area will be calling on substitute teachers to fill the gaps and take on new roles.  At Lake Travis High, Martens-Saxelby said her day included teaching a junior level English class; monitoring students tuned in for the campus’ genius hour, when students receive extra instructional support; and supporting students who were tuned in online for another class while the classroom teacher was instructing other students. view article arw

Blended Learning is a tie between traditional learning in a brick-and-mortar location and learning online with some type of student control over the time and pace you’re learning at, Messick said.A Dumas native, Messick earned a bachelor’s in general studies and a master’s in educational leadership from West Texas A&M University in Canyon.  She taught at Coronado Elementary in Amarillo and Cactus Elementary for seven years and was the assistant principal at Lamar Early Education Center for two years and assistant principal at Alamo STEAM Academy for a year before that.  Messick said she had heard some things about Blended Learning in the past. When she saw the Blended Learning coordinator position posting she wondered if it would be a good fit for her. view article arw

Spring Hill ISD is considering cutting its school week to four-and-a-half days.  Superintendent Wayne Guidry said the goal of shortening the week would be to give teachers Friday afternoons to prepare for the next week  “Our teachers have basically taken on dual jobs being virtual and in-person teachers,” he said. “We bought hardware, software, trained them, and our teachers are still spending a lot of time outside of school working.” view article arw

During the Sept. 8 Garland ISD District Affairs Committee meeting, Kim Caddell, executive director of research, assessment and accountability, provided the committee with an update on the teacher incentive allotment (TIA). The TIA was first presented to the board of trustees on May 19 during a special board meeting. It is a state funded program created by House Bill 3 to recognize and financially reward highly effective teachers.  “TEA has approved GISD’s TIA Cohort C System application. This means that we will begin collecting data during the 2020-21 school year in order to identify teachers eligible for a TIA designation,” Caddell said. view article arw

A shortage of substitute teachers has been a problem since long before the pandemic.  Now, demand is rising fast, so much so that one North Texas school district is concerned there may not be enough to go around as more districts return to the classroom.  Dr. John Mathews, assistant superintendent for administrative services at Celina ISD, said nearly 70% of students and staff who’ve had close contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 have been traced to off-campus activities. view article arw

For a breakdown of the number of employees and average pay in each category, explore the interactive chart below.  The chart below shows the breakdown of Lewisville ISD staff by category. Hover over the categories below to see how Lewisville ISD pay compares to the statewide averages. These numbers are from the 2019-20 school year. view article arw

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Chartwells K12 is celebrating Chef Appreciation Week by recognizing five chefs from across the country for their exceptional efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.  WFISD Executive Chef Carrie Richardson was honored as one of the five chefs chosen as a “Hero Behind the Food” for her positive impact throughout the pandemic.  Chef Richardson and her team helped students in Wichita Falls with emergency and summer feeding efforts when the pandemic closed schools. view article arw

A former Petersburg ISD agriculture teacher pleaded guilty on Tuesday and admitted to harassing a 16-year-old student through repeated text messages, according to court documents. William Duffin Galloway, 45, was the agriculture teacher at Petersburg High School in September 2019 when the school discovered and reported inappropriate communications on Galloway’s cellphone to one of his students. According to court documents, Galloway had the student’s cellphone number and would text message them about school-related activities. view article arw

LAKE TRAVIS, Texas (KXAN) — As more students return to campuses for in-person learning, a handful of teachers at one local school district are on the fence about returning at all.   Teachers, students and parents at Lake Travis Independent School District have reached out to KXAN. They say the district denied their request to continue with remote learning, because of their own or family member’s health conditions.  Larry Schmidt has been a teacher for 15 years. His five-year tenure as a Lake Travis High School physics teacher has been nothing but great. view article arw

The Texas State Teachers Association today filed a grievance with Killeen ISD on behalf of its affiliate, the Killeen Educators Association, "whose teacher and paraprofessional members have been forced to work in unsafe conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic." view article arw

Bridge City High School Principal, Tim Woolley, has been selected to represent the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals as a Region 5 Outstanding Principal of the Year. TASSP recognizes outstanding principals and assistant principals from the twenty region Education Service Centers in the state. School administrators are nominated and chosen by their peers within their regions. Nominations are based upon exemplary performance and outstanding leadership.  view article arw

The Longview Independent School District Board of Trustees approved accepting more than 500 non-resident students seeking transfer into the district, during their regular meeting Monday, Sept. 14th.  Of the 502 students accepted into Longview ISD, 395 (or 78 percent) cited the educational opportunities at Longview ISD as their primary reason for transferring.  Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said the transfers come from "in and around the Longview area," as well as from other East Texas communities like Tyler, Pittsburg, Henderson, and even as far away as Nacogdoches. view article arw

Georgetown ISD nurses were recognized Sept. 10 by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce for their work during the pandemic. The chamber awarded the Healthcare Cornerstone Award to GISD nurses for their dedication and for the high level of professional care they provide to students. view article arw

Eanes ISD teachers are fighting for the right to choose between remote or on-campus teaching. The school district announced all teachers and staff are required to go back next week even if they have medical documentation suggesting they should be working from home. "When that email came in, I was heartbroken," said Gina Morreale, a West Ridge Middle School eighth-grade teacher. view article arw

Texas organizations representing teachers are worried about increased retirements and resignations when educators have to return to the classroom this fall. While there could be a wave of departures once in-person learning resumes, according to school districts retirements and resignations were down this summer compared to last summer.  "I have been teaching about 18 years," says Central Texas teacher Lisa Sparkman. She didn't expect to retire for at least a few more years because she loves where she works and what she does.  "It's hard to walk away from teaching," Sparkman says. view article arw

ANDERSON, Texas (KBTX) - Teachers in Anderson-Shiro now have the opportunity to make a near six figure salary. It’s because of House Bill 3 dealing with the Teacher Incentive Allotment, a framework for identifying the most qualified and effective teachers, and paying them accordingly.  The TIA is in its inaugural year and will allow 26 districts to generate nearly $40 million in additional funding.  “It was a no-brainer in terms of our district because we’ve been doing a similar incentive program since 2012 with the USDE and Department of Education grants,” said Scott Beene, superintendent of Anderson-Shiro Consolidated ISD. view article arw

INDIANAPOLIS -- With many teachers opting out of returning to the classroom because of the coronavirus, schools around the U.S. are scrambling to find replacements and in some places lowering certification requirements to help get substitutes in the door.   Several states have seen surges in educators filing for retirement or taking leaves of absence. The departures are straining staff in places that were dealing with shortages of teachers and substitutes even before the pandemic created an education crisis. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN received several emails over the weekend from concerned teachers and staff members in Eanes Independent School District. They tell KXAN they have to return to work next week, despite medical waivers allowing them to work remotely.  In August, eighth grade teacher Gina Morreale submitted medical documentation to Eanes ISD requesting to work remotely because of health reasons.  “They accepted them and in fact they told me not to go to campus,” Morreale said. “I’m the cheer sponsor and they told me we can’t have you on campus, you have to rely on your cheer moms for activities.” view article arw

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Anthony Lopez-Waste, a history teacher at Canutillo High School, has been named a finalist for the 2021 Texas Teacher of the Year.  Lopez-Waste is one of six finalists for Texas Teacher of the Year, and the only one in the El Paso area.  “I live in Canutillo. This is my community. This is my school. This is where my kids graduated from, so just being able to represent Canutillo and the City of El Paso is special enough,” said Lopez-Waste, who served in the U.S. Army for 20 years prior to becoming a teacher. “At the end of the day this honor is shared with our students because this doesn’t happen without the kids. It’s really an honor to represent the city because there are thousands of teachers that could and should be sitting in the same chair.” view article arw

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A former Lindale High School coach and star UT Tyler baseball player has been indicted for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a student.  Blake Maddox, 24, was arrested back in early February after the district was made aware of the allegations on January 28. He was an assistant football and baseball coach. view article arw

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Washoe County School Board has agreed to pay a former superintendent up to $70,000 for a year of payment into her state retirement after she was fired.  The board voted 5-1 to settle with ousted Superintendent Traci Davis after she filed a wrongful termination lawsuit claiming she was entitled to a year's salary plus damages following her firing. view article arw

A third-grade teacher in Columbia, S.C., has died from coronavirus complications just days after being confirmed to have the virus, district officials said Wednesday.  Demetria “Demi” Bannister, 28, a teacher at Windsor Elementary School, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday before dying Monday, Richland County School District Two spokeswoman Libby Roof said in a statement.  Bannister was last seen in the building Aug. 28, the last workday for teachers before the start of the school year, the statement said, according to The State newspaper of Columbia. The following week, she conducted lessons virtually from her residence. view article arw