Good educators are hard to find

October 1808:25 AM

Imagine a child's surprise on the first day of school when she is greeted by her new teacher, a robot with a smile painted on its metallic face. Texas' teacher shortage isn't severe enough to hire robots - not yet. But it is so acute that some rural districts are livestreaming educators from other districts.There's one glaringly obvious way to help remedy the shortage. We have tens of thousands of teachers who are not only afraid they are going to lose their jobs but are afraid they are going to be forced out of the country. President Trump should allow undocumented teachers, who qualify under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to stay in classrooms. view article arw

A KIPP staffer embroiled in an investigation for allegations of indecency with a child has been fired, officials said in a letter sent to parents Monday. view article arw

When Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year penned a viral breakup letter to the state and announced his reluctant departure for a higher-paying job in Texas, he promised to keep advocating for Oklahoma teachers.  This week, Shawn Sheehan followed through by publishing a full, side-by-side comparison of his and his wife's teaching incomes and household expenses from when they worked at Norman Public Schools and now, in public schools in Lewisville, Texas. view article arw

A school administrator has been fired for unprofessional behavior involving a student. The alleged incident happened on Tuesday at Brooks Collegiate Academy on Vance Jackson Rd. view article arw

Furr High School Principal Bertie Simmons will remain on temporary leave as investigators look into a second set of "pretty serious" misconduct allegations, Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza said Wednesday. In his first comments about Simmons since she was placed on leave two weeks ago, Carranza said "multiple sources" at Furr High School have brought information to district staff that is "serious enough that we have to investigate those allegations." He declined to elaborate on the nature of the allegations or information provided. view article arw

Killeen ISD removed a teacher from Palo Alto Middle School and barred him from all campuses pending the outcome of an investigation into his alleged "inappropriate conduct," KISD wrote in an emailed message to parents. In the message, the district identified him as eight grade science teacher David House. The district said the decision to remove House was made after an allegation was made by students. view article arw

Math can be an intimidating subject. But eighth-grade students at Medina Valley Middle School look forward to it because of Lou Ann Witte. "She's funny, she's really funny," eighth-grader Robert Gilmore said. "Math is hard for some kids so you've kind of got to be an entertainer to teach math," Witte said. view article arw

Caldwell Independent School District and the parents of its students are looking to lend teachers a helping hand by starting the Caldwell Education Foundation.  The foundations goal is to raise enough money through fundraisers so that teachers, from Kindergarten to High School, no longer have to spend part of their own paycheck on supplies. "Me personally, I spent three thousand dollars of my own money," said Caldwell first grade teacher Lindi Herford, when asked how much money she used on supplies for her classroom. view article arw

On Wednesday, Hutto ISD fired a contract employee after allegations of an improper relationship with a student. The district released a statement that said, “Hutto ISD places the safety and security of students as its highest priority. We encourage any staff [members] or students to come forward anytime they may have information or concerns regarding possible inappropriate behavior by other staff or other students.” view article arw

Probation has been revoked for an East Texas teacher who was convicted of having an improper relationship with a student. Thursday, Gregg County Judge Alfonso Charles approved revoking probation for Spencer Brewer, 26, of Gladewater. According to Gregg County judicial records, Brewer violated the conditions of his probation by: view article arw

The investigation into Furr High School Principal Dr. Bertie Simmons over whether she "threatened" students with a baseball bat for not adhering to dress code in the early part of the school year is old news. Houston Independent School District has instead moved on to a new, separate investigation into Simmons but this time no one is saying what it's about. On the same day that HISD released to various news outlets an audio recording of Simmons making the perceived bat "threat" over the intercom (below), HISD then announced that actually she wasn't under investigation for those comments anymore, and that in fact, more allegations were lobbed against her while she was on leave. view article arw

Jefferson ISD trustees on Tuesday upheld the termination of a former district custodian after hearing the employee's level three grievance during a regular board of trustees meeting. Former Jefferson Elementary School custodian Anthony Jackson came before trustees on Tuesday to argue his case for the return of his job after the district terminated him this summer following safety violations. Jackson, who said he has been with the district for about 15 years, was fired this summer after failing to put up wet floor signs in hallways after cleaning. view article arw

A former Hudson ISD kindergarten teacher who had intercourse with at least six high school students pleaded guilty on a DWI charge on Thursday. Heather Robertson, 39, appeared in an Angelina County court, where she was sentenced to 90 days in jail, along with a $500 fine. view article arw

New audio has been released in the case of an 83-year-old principal accused of inappropriate conduct in Houston ISD. Dr. Bertie Simmons was escorted out of Furr High School after she allegedly threatened students with a baseball bat. The district relieved Simmons of duty in late September. view article arw

A contract employee who worked with the Hutto High School band was fired over allegations he had a relationship with a student, the district said Wednesday. The school district says the inappropriate student-teacher relationship allegedly happened during the spring 2015 semester. Hutto High and district administrators say they were notified on Oct. 4, 2017 of the allegation. The now former student was a 17-year-old senior at the time. The employee was with the district since 2010. view article arw

Furr High School Principal Bertie Simmons will remain on temporary leave as investigators look into a second set of "pretty serious" misconduct allegations, Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza said Wednesday. In his first comments about Simmons since she was placed on leave two weeks ago, Carranza said "multiple sources" at Furr High School have brought information to district staff that is "serious enough that we have to investigate those allegations." He declined to elaborate on the nature of the allegations or information provided. view article arw

Humble ISD recognizes employees

October 1207:30 AM

Humble Independent School District trustees took time Tuesday, Oct. 10, to recognize employees across the district. Also, Humble ISD Education Foundation and Jen Sitton, chair, were touted for raising $33,000 from selling more than 5,000 Humble ISD Strong T-shirt sales. The money raised will go back into the district through the Humble ISD Education Foundation. Honored at the board meeting were the following Super Staffers: view article arw

A Texas high school band director is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student and threatening to kill himself if she told anyone, according to court documents. Police received a tip that Brian Drake had sex with a Cypress Creek High School student in 2015. The tip included a voicemail allegedly of Drake threatening suicide if the female student reported it. view article arw

PERRYTON - The Perryton Independent School District Board of Trustees began their special meeting with an executive session that lasted nearly three hours.  School Board President Monty Kinnard says this started when he received a sexual harassment allegation against Superintendent Robert Hall and Assistant superintendent Keith Langfitt.   Officials say they brought in an independent investigator to look at the situation.  view article arw

Houston ISD has hired slightly more Hispanic principals in the past year, a Houston Chronicle analysis has found, a modest increase that doesn't appear to clearly support an embattled principal's claims that the district is carrying out a systematic replacement of white principals in favor of non-white school leaders. view article arw

Longview ISD trustees officially approved about $1.2 million in employee raises, a planned expense in the 2017-18 budget that was adopted by the board in August. Raises include step increases for teachers, a 3 percent from the midpoint raise for nonteaching staff and a $4 per hour raise for bus drivers. The district Monday also accepted more than $21,000 in donations for sports programs and for Hudson PEP Elementary School. view article arw

Furr High School Principal Bertie Simmons alleged Monday that age and racial discrimination factored into Houston ISD's decision to temporarily remove her from her job, further fueling an acrimonious fight between the renowned administrator and the state's largest school district. Simmons, who is 83 and white, alleges that her temporary removal with pay follows a pattern by the district of replacing white principals with non-white administrators, according to complaints filed with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education. view article arw

The vast majority of U.S. teachers favor the use of state standards for academic achievement, but most oppose the tests that states are using to measure student success, according to survey results released Thursday. The dichotomous results came from a survey of 1,321 teachers across the country conducted by the RAND Corporation, a nonpartisan think tank specializing in public policy research. The survey found nearly 90 percent of mathematics and English/language arts teachers said they "agree" or "strongly agree" that state standards should be used to guide classroom instruction. The Texas State Board of Education has adopted a set of standards called Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS. view article arw

San Jacinto Elementary School Principal Pam Walker is sold on the Tech Teach Across Texas 2+1 Fast-track Program, which offers educator preparation and classroom time with mentor teachers at Ector County Independent School District. The program is a collaboration of Texas Tech University, Odessa College and ECISD and the coordinator is Cinthia Salinas. view article arw

Fred and Nikita Moore say what happened to their child at a Mesquite Independent School District last week was inappropriate and humiliating. "I feel no 13-year-old should have to go through what my daughter went through," Nikita said. The Moores say their daughter, a diligent eighth-grade student and athlete at A.C. New Middle School, was told by her teacher to ask another teacher who'd entered their classroom for a Scantron test. view article arw

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Education and Human Development recently established a new teacher residency model in partnership with the Northside Independent School District, the largest school district in the San Antonio area. The first cohort of students within the model began this fall. “We are very excited about this new residency model with Northside ISD,” said Margo DelliCarpini, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. view article arw

Instruction for English language learners is about to get an upgrade. The San Benito school district has implemented a new bilingual model after board approval this past summer. Raul Trevino, the executive director of leadership and performance at San Benito CISD, said this will be the first year of implementation for the early exit model. view article arw

The Perryton Independent School District Board of Trustees will meet with legal counsel and possibly take action regarding a sexual harassment complaint during a special meeting Tuesday evening. view article arw

Gainesville Independent School District will host a substitute orientation from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday at the Gainesville ISD Administration Building, 800 S. Morris St. view article arw

The Killeen Independent School District is looking to hire a chief for its police force. The person who is hired will oversee 17 officers. The successful candidate will be expected to provide “a safe environment for district students and personnel throughout each campus and extra curricular activities by performing assigned duties personally or through others.” The job posting appeared on on Wednesday. The deadline for applications is Oct. 17. Whoever is hired is expected to start work Nov. 1. The salary range for the position is between $86,800 and $117,500 per year, according to the KISD pay range chart for 2017-2018, posted on the district’s website. view article arw

The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District recently hired three teachers from China to expand its Dual Language Enrichment Program by teaching Mandarin Chinese at various district campuses. Representatives from College Board recently visited the schools where it is being implemented to learn firsthand how the program is doing. The Chinese Guest Teacher Program, which has grown to be the largest Chinese visiting teacher program in the U.S. was made possible through a collaboration with the College Board and Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban). Since 2007, the College Board has brought more than 1,300 Chinese language and culture teachers to classrooms across the nation. view article arw

 A former Frenship High School teacher, Kandi Phillips, 30, was sentenced Friday to more than 8 years in federal prison.   Phillips was indicted and later pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge.  Official records said she was interacting with a student online and the interaction became sexual in nature. Earlier this year when the relationship became known, she resigned from Frenship. view article arw

Region 18 Education Service Center will be honor the Region 18 Teachers of the Year at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the service center’s conference center, 2811 LaForce Blvd., in Midland.Since 1969, the Texas Teacher of the Year Program has honored excellence in classroom education and provided a forum to showcase many outstanding educators whose efforts and example have inspired their students, their colleagues, and the communities they serve, a news release said. view article arw

HOUSTON (AP) — The attorney for a suspended principal in Houston says his client didn't disobey a district decision to relax the student dress code after Hurricane Harvey and never threatened a student.  Houston Independent School District officials announced this week that Furr High School Principal Bertie Simmons was placed on leave without pay Sept. 29 because of a personnel matter. view article arw

The head coach of the Lake Travis High School softball team has been fully reinstated by the school district. Coach Billy Coleman was placed on paid administrative leave on Thursday, Sept. 28 after he was accused of inappropriate conduct. view article arw