Sara Leon & Associates, LLC

Considering the possibility of a resurgence of the coronavirus this fall, the City of Laredo and the city’s two school districts are collaborating to create a public WiFi network so that students without internet at home will still be able to learn remotely.  “Unfortunately there are a lot of people that are at or below the poverty line and there’s a significant amount of people that don’t have access to internet,” Councilman Marte Martinez said. view article arw

Weeks after Midland board leaders approved a calendar for the 2020-21 school year, Midland ISD staff wants to “circle back around for another discussion” of optional calendars.  Midland ISD Superintendent Orlando Riddick told trustees during their budget workshop last week that a discussion would take place Monday. The agenda packet for today’s school board meeting offers more detail, including a plan used by Socorro ISD, which was a template for the district’s “intercessional” draft.   (20) view article arw

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Van ISD wants to make sure every student has access to education when they need it most. With the support of the superintendent, the school board decided to purchase electronic devices for all students in the district. iPads will be provided to students in Kindergarten through fifth grade and students in sixth through 12th grade will receive touch-screen Chromebooks. view article arw

Yesterday, they launched a new software that allows public health officials around the world to create their own contact tracing apps. Thanks to Bluetooth (so fancy), the app could detect people nearby you may have interacted with. If someone tests positive for COVID-19 and shares it with the app, users who were near them within the last 14 days will get notified.  The power of technology.  Yup. The idea is to boost regular contact tracing, usually done by humans. That's when public health staffers help an infected person track down who they came into contact with – in an effort to trace the spread of the virus and try to contain it. Contact tracing is seen as a potentially critical tool to help slow COVID-19's spread. And Apple and Google's software is meant to make the process faster and more effective. view article arw

In an effort to increase efficiency and safety, the Sherman Independent School District plans to use new biometric technology within its schools starting next school year.  The SISD school board approved the implementation of the new technology, which will be used in the food service and transportation departments across all campuses.  For the roll out of the technology, the district has pledged just over $127,000 for the technology to be installed in all campuses. The technology is expected to cost the district about $60,000 annually for service and fees. view article arw

Even though Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has given the go-ahead to do so, the Brownsville Independent School District has decided not to offer in-person summer school this year.  Abbott announced Monday that school districts across the state could begin offering summer school classroom instruction as early as June 1, marking the first time in-person instruction could be offered in Texas since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools two months ago. view article arw

The McKinney ISD board of trustees approved a student laptop initiative May 19 that provides nearly 14,000 MacBooks for schools throughout the district.  The current MISD laptop program issues laptops to students at the high schools. With the expansion to the program, every student in the district will be given a laptop starting in the third grade.  “In light of all the things that have happened during this quarantine, I believe it’s in the best interest for us to expand [the program],” Superintendent Rick McDaniel said during an April 28 board meeting.   view article arw

As Hays CISD finishes a school year interrupted by coronavirus shutdown at spring break, members of the board of trustees and district officials are trying to plan for the 2020-21 campaign.  Superintendent Eric Wright praised the staff, parents and students of the district in getting through the rest of the school year, which ends May 22. Spring break was extended in March due to coronavirus and then online instruction replaced classrooms for the final two months of the school year.  Wright told members of the board of trustees at a May 18 meeting that all but 52 students in the district of more than 21,000 were reached and provided instruction to end the school year. The district provided portable WiFi services to hundreds of students who needed help, and 863 students without internet worked with packets of information to complete in writing and submit to teachers. view article arw

Fort Worth ISD announced more details Monday about its plans to celebrate nearly 5,000 seniors who will graduate this spring. The district will hold a series of virtual graduations on Saturday, June 20, with voluntary in-person celebrations the following week.  The outdoor celebrations will follow guidelines issued by the Texas Education Agency, according to Fort Worth ISD. view article arw

Some districts plan to move students who have not logged on since March to summer classes. North Texas school districts are trying to reach students who have yet to log on for online learning, which has been in place since March.  WFAA asked districts how many students have not been reached through online learning and what is believed to be the cause for students not connecting with the district. view article arw

As more businesses across Texas are cleared to reopen, one Austin-based company is looking to make the transition into these new phases safer.  Athena Security has developed their Elevated Body Temperature Detection System, which uses infrared and computer vision cameras to take the temperature of as many as 2,000 people per hour, with each reading taking only fractions of a second.  "It’s this very accurate device, so that people can quickly walk through, and accurately get a temperature so you know if there’s any possible symptoms. It works very quickly, within 1/16 of a second," said Athena Security President Michael Green. view article arw

The Abilene Independent School District needs to collect the 5,200 Chromebooks it distributed earlier in the year, Superintendent David Young said Wednesday.  Families who borrowed the laptop computers need to return them to either Abilene High or Cooper High from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. between May 18-22.  Returns will be made in a "drive-thru fashion," Young said. view article arw

Children with severe disabilities often don’t have the ability to speak up when they are hurt at school, so determining what happened can be difficult. That’s why one Dallas ISD trustee wants to require each special education classroom in the district to have video cameras. Texas public schools are already required to place one in a special education setting if a parent requests it. view article arw

Robert Bostic, a self-described evangelist for science, technology, engineering and math, really started something when he became the superintendent of the Stafford Municipal School District in 2014. The Stafford High Robotics Program, which began two years ago, competed May 19-20 in Austin as one of 32 teams from the state invited to the 2017 University Interscholastic League Robotics FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Division State Championship based on the points it earned at earlier competitions. view article arw

A threat was made against Seven Lakes Junior High School via social media Thursday, officials said. view article arw

On March 11, 2016, the Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath, requested an opinion from the Texas Attorney General on the implementation of SB 507. This new law requires video surveillance of certain special education settings upon request beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. In an earlier blog post, I outlined the provisions of SB 507. view article arw

Schoolhouse bullying is nothing new. It has been going on for decades wherever someone bigger, tougher or meaner believed they could get away with abusing another child. And wherever it's happened, it has been harmful to the person being bullied in degrees ranging from intimidation and fear to causing children to commit suicide, or even murder. view article arw

School districts have been caught flat-footed in the last two years, facing an onslaught of digital textbook providers who follow no standard data file creation process. This problem is called "user provisioning," (a.k.a. account provisioning) a fancy way of saying that you have to create usernames and passwords in EVERY online system students and staff will need to use. view article arw

The Beaumont ISD Board of Managers appointed Fred Shafer as executive director of the district's special education department during a special meeting Monday, according to social media reports. view article arw

New Braunfels ISD Superintendent Randy Moczygemba is in Washington DC today, joining President Barack Obama for the "ConnectED to the Future" Event, a special conference including superintendents and other educators from across the country, who will lead their schools and districts in the transition to digital learning.  view article arw

While the staff at TexasISD.com preferrs Google Chrome as our browser of choice, we often use Mozilla Firefox as well.  We aren't huge fans of Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) but the site works on it as well...as long as you are current in your versions, otherwise, well...it's just a mess. Most browsers have an update function and may even notify you that there are updates availible.  In some districts I have been to, the attitude is what I have works, why update. Well, what you have probably doesn't work that well and you just don't realize it. Take a second to check your browser version or look for updates if you haven't in a while. view article arw