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A chill in the air means two things in Texas: school’s back in session, and football is here. With most districts already beginning their football schedule, some have discovered the dilemma of how to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19 while still maintaining their spot under the Friday Night Lights. The current executive order in Texas requires face masks to be worn unless you’re in a county with less than 20 active cases or have filed exemption paperwork. As of today, only 57 counties are exempt from this mandate, and these counties have to face the challenge of remaining under 20 reported cases. With new teams every Friday filling the bleachers from different high infection-rate counties, people are now in close quarters without masks to watch their teams play. And, as Homecoming fast approaches, alumni from all across the country may be bringing their germs with them as they scream the fight song. It’s time to put a winning strategy in place before the impending flu season outshines playoffs.
FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Fort Bend ISD father wants the district to do more to help students who are suddenly struggling in school because of the learn-from-home environment. "To expect, for instance, two seven year old's to know exactly what to do at all times without the prompting of an adult, I think it's asking a lol," said Curtis Whittaker. The Whittaker's have a larger family than most with eight children, including a set of twins and triplets, but they're facing the same challenges most other families do with virtual learning. view article
The Valley View ISD Board of Trustees has selected Monica Luna as the lone finalist for the superintendent of schools post. According to a district news release, Luna has worked in education for more than 26 years as a paraprofessional, teacher, coach, diagnostician, assistant principal, principal, executive director and assistant superintendent at Valley View. Luna is a Donna native who has worked with the district since 1996, the release says. (6) view article
Who is Nate Paul, the real estate investor linked to abuse-of-office allegations against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton?
This is going to be a saga that likely will have a long lifeEarlier in his career, media reports called the now 33-year-old real estate investor a “wunderkind,” a “rising star” and a “prodigy.” Now he’s fighting more than a dozen bankruptcies and has been linked to criminal allegations against an embattled Texas politician. view article
Kids were frightened, educators were horrified — and there was this: ‘PLEASE let an experienced teacher moderate the next debate’
Kids were scared, teachers were horrified — and there was this among the reactions to the Tuesday night showdown between President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden: “PLEASE let an experienced teacher moderate the next debate." In fact, some of the most interesting reactions to Trump’s bullying behavior and moderator Chris Wallace’s inability to control the event came from the education world, with comparisons made between Trump’s behavior and that of kindergartners, and between Wallace’s performance and how a kindergarten teacher would have handled it. view article
Growing up in segregated Austin, Johnny Brown envisioned equality would one day mean equality for all. “I wonder, and I continue to wonder, about the reason people treat others a certain way based on [social] class,” Brown said. “I thought about what role I could play to influence society to help people enjoy a better quality of life and stuff like that.” Brown did play a key role in the history of what is now Texas State University in nearby San Marcos, becoming the first black student-athlete at the school and playing basketball there for three seasons. He then began a long career in education, including a run as the first head varsity basketball coach at the present L.C. Anderson High School in Austin and eventually Port Arthur Independent School District superintendent from 2006-13.. (29) view article
From shiny red pencils reading "My Attendance Rocks!" to countless plaques and ribbons and trophies and certificates and gold stars: For as long as anyone can remember, taking attendance — and rewarding kids for simply showing up — is a time-honored school ritual. For good reason: Just being there, day in, day out, happens to be one of the most important factors that determines a child's success in school. And average daily head count forms the basis of school funding decisions at the federal, state and local level. Yet now, like so many other aspects of education, that simple measure — "here" or "absent" — is not so simple anymore. States are having to update their attendance policies to cover the realities of virtual learning. And where school is being held in-person, strict coronavirus health protocols mean students must now stay home at the slightest sign of illness, or to quarantine in case of a potential exposure. (25) view article
Carroll ISD announced Sept. 15 it had named an interim superintendent amid its search for a permanent hire. Former Frisco ISD Superintendent Jeremy Lyon will serve as the interim CISD superintendent starting Oct. 15. This move will allow for outgoing Superintendent David Faltys to transition to a special advisor role through the end of December ahead of his scheduled retirement. “The Board is excited to have a leader like Dr. Lyon join our team during this important transition period,” CISD board President Michelle Moore said in a release. “He is personable, a good listener, and has experience leading a large district, which will serve him well as he steps into this temporary role. We believe he is an excellent choice to serve as interim.” Firm Thompson & Horton is conducting the search for the district’s next leader as Lyon takes his temporary seat. Lyon retired from his FISD position in 2017, according to the district, with a total of 14 years of experience as superintendent. (16) view article
The Texas State Teachers Association on Monday asserted that schools statewide are not fully adhering to COVID-19 safety guidance, including Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask mandate and social distancing rules. In the two weeks since most schools once again began welcoming students, more than 650 of the group’s members from 135 districts reported issues ranging from difficulties with ventilation systems to inadequate supplies for protecting themselves and their classes from the virus. The association said the findings, collected through an online survey, reinforce earlier concerns that teachers, students and other school employees may not yet be safe in the classroom. (15) view article
“It’s like walking into a ghost town”: Under tight pandemic restrictions, college football returns to Austin
With just over 15,000 fans in a stadium that holds more than 100,000, the University of Texas kicked off the football season after requiring mandatory COVID-19 tests for students who attended the game. On game days in Austin, Jon and Julie Amberg perch in a shaded courtyard with a perfect view of Bevo Boulevard, the hours-long street party that invites thousands of Texas Longhorn fans to dance, drink and celebrate the team’s mascot, a live steer named Bevo, as he arrives at the stadium. This year, the Ambergs, season ticket holders for more than a decade, were among a handful of people quietly milling outside Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium as handlers escorted Bevo from his trailer a few hours before kickoff – without any fanfare. (14) view article
No, not John Bolton’s book. Ambassador Bolton’s book title comes from the song from the musical Hamilton. “The Room Where it Happens,” tells the story of the secret meeting between Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and John Madison, that led to Washington DC becoming our nation’s capital in exchange for a federal financial system designed by Alexander Hamilton, our nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Yes, I admit that I am a history junkie and a Hamilton groupie: I love the musical and actually have visited Hamilton’s home (Hamilton Grange) in New York City, his grave (Trinity Church Cemetery), Weehawken (the duel location), and even visited Aaron Burr’s grave (Princeton, NJ).
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Brandy Bowlen says she's the guardian of her campus. "Parents drop (students) off knowing that they're going to be taken care of by me, expecting that there's a school nurse, not knowing to even ask," said Bowlen, a registered school nurse at Klein Independent School District's Epps Island Elementary School. When some students head back to class in person on Sept. 8 at Klein ISD, the district said every campus will have a nurse that will help monitor and identify COVID-19 cases and outbreaks. (01) view article
BOWIE, Texas (TNN) - As Montague County has passed 20 active COVID-19 cases, Bowie ISD has asked all students in grades 4-12, staff and visitors to wear masks while at school and school events. view article
Instruction to end at 12 p.m. Tuesday to prepare for Hurricane Laura - La Porte Independent School District will close at 12 p.m. today so that staff members may prepare for Hurricane Laura, which is forecast to impact the greater Houston area as early as Wednesday. All district operations, including virtual instruction and extracurricular activities are suspended through at least Thursday. read more
SAN ANTONIO - North East ISD released a video Friday about how technicians are working to bring fresh air into your child's campus. view article
The City of San Antonio held a virtual town hall Wednesday evening to discuss reopening schools with Bexar County Health Authority Dr. Junda Woo and other members of San Antonio Metro Health’s school reopening committee, including Northside Superintendent Brian Woods and San Antonio ISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez. view article
RICHARDSON, Texas - Richardson ISD is getting ready for the first day of school by welcoming 300 new teachers this year. The district is set to start school Aug. 19 with three weeks of virtual instruction and transition to in-person classes after Labor Day. Some teachers just graduated this year and finished out their degrees online because of the pandemic. So many of them are already used to online learning. They’re hoping to use those skills to welcome students back to the classroom this fall. view article
ABILENE, Texas — High school football games at Shotwell Stadium this fall, like most everything else in 2020, will look different.
Petersburg Independent School District received a $102,638 Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant from the Texas Workforce Commission. Superintendent Brian Bibb said the funds will be used to purchase equipment for the district’s welding program. view article
By August 14, 2020, school districts must implement OCR’s new Title IX regulations, which create novel roles for school personnel. Districts need to decide now who will be assigned to each role and ensure they are trained before school starts.
With $200 million from the state and the same amount matched by Texas’ school districts, an initiative plans to provide needy students with computers and internet service for online learning before the school year begins. Dubbed Operation Connectivity, the plan aims to provide 1 million laptops, along with Apple iPads and 480,000 internet WiFi hotspots from all three of the major cellular providers, with the state handling the purchasing and local school districts sharing the costs. The logistics were put together by the Region 4 Education Service Center, Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office and Gabriella Rowe, the former director of the Ion, the centerpiece of the city’s drive to build a robust technology and startup community. view article
Does it seem to anyone else that the laws regarding transmissible disease and illness only came into existence after COVID-19 arrived to dominate our daily lives? Each week we wait breathlessly for a new direction (or some direction) as to how to respond when our students and employees are confronted with the prospect of walking into the school. At no time in modern history has this yearly ritual been the object of such dread. While children may still worry over whether their new clothes will pass muster, parents have to decide if they can afford to keep their children home. A parent who cannot keep their child at home sends them to you in hopes that you will protect them from being infected by “other students.”
Texas ends this school year in an unprecedented situation with the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School district special education departments are in an especially difficult position because the requirement to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education continues, despite the effects of the pandemic. In this time of uncertainty, we recommend that school administrators work closely with their special education departments to support their efforts to provide services to students.
We get questions at this time of year regarding music at graduation. The first most common question is “Can the school use Pomp and Circumstance as the entry/exit music?” The question arises because the school has been cautious about using music that is protected by copyright. The person who owns the copyright in a musical work owns the right to determine if the work 0may be performed publicly, though this right is not absolute and is tempered by the doctrine of “fair use.”
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school shutdowns across the nation forcing districts to transition to remote learning to educate kids, there has been a complete upheaval in terms of how we deliver and collect information about our students. Teachers are reaching out virtually—through video and teleconferencing—at untraditional times of the day, to entire groups of students and their parents. To paraphrase the Secretary of Education, it is the “ingenuity, innovation and grit” of our educators that has given rise to new situations and new questions surrounding student privacy.
General elections are next scheduled in Texas for May 2, 2020. Whether any elections take place on that date remains to be seen. For Texas school districts, there are issues concerning whether they should conduct elections at that time or postpone until November. While that question has been our primary consideration, there is also a related and additional question: How do we inspire voter turnout, now and going forward? School districts, educators and administrators have an interest in getting out the vote and in encouraging student voting. Below we will consider issues related to making determinations about conducting or postponing elections, how those decisions may affect voter turnout, and methods to increase turnout going forward from these strange days.
If the property the district wishes to sell contains a “facility” (undefined, but could mean any building), the district must first offer the property to any charter schools with boundaries that overlap the district boundaries. The district is not required to accept an offer from a charter school. Tex. Educ. Code § 11.1542.
In the last year, the Texas Legislature and court system made several important changes to how school districts must manage their school resource officers. Furthermore, these changes also impact and limit the way school resource officers may engage with students with disabilities.
Preventive Law: Superintendent’s and/or Principal’s Failure to Report Certain Student Criminal Activity to Required Campus Personnel: A Mandatory SBEC Report by the School Board
Since the passing of Senate Bill 7 in the 2017 legislative session, much attention has been paid to the reportability of superintendents and principals to the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) for failure to report educator misconduct. However, there is another SBEC-reportable offense which is commonly overlooked: the failure of a superintendent or principal to notify all required school personnel when a student is in the criminal system based on certain “reportable offenses” as defined by Code of Criminal Procedure section 15.27 and district policy GRAA (LEGAL).
Preventive Law: Navigating the Ambiguities of Texas Government Code Section 551.007: Public Commentary During Open Meetings
On September 1, 2019, Texas House Bill 2840 relating to the public’s ability to address open meetings of Texas governmental bodies, including public school districts, went into effect as codified at Section 551.007 of the Texas Government Code. The Bill is intended to provide the public with additional input into decisions made by school districts and other governmental bodies, but has also created considerable confusion as to what is required under the law, what is permissible, and what school districts can do to balance the interests of the public against the district’s interest in effective government and protection of employee and faculty rights.