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MONT BELVIEU, Texas — A Black 17-year-old Barbers Hill High School student who was suspended over a dispute regarding his hair will spend an extra week at the alternative school he was sent to, according to his attorney. Darryl George's parents have filed a lawsuit claiming the district's punishment has violated Texas' CROWN Act, which went into effect earlier this year and prohibits race-based hair discrimination. They argued the district was discriminating against George because of his locs. view article arw

Out of over 400 fourth-grade applicants across the state of West Virginia, Ethan Reese, a 4-Her from Randolph County, was selected to light the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree this year. After being introduced as “the pride of West Virginia,” Reese flipped on the lights for the Christmas tree during a lighting ceremony Tuesday evening to a countdown of “five, four, three, two, one!” view article arw

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a statement after an Austin Independent School District (ISD) police officer was shot in the line of duty this morning: view article arw

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Over the course of nearly 40 years, across 18 different school districts and 65 different school campuses, the impact that Communities in Schools only continues to expand. An impact that is felt not just on-campus, but at home. "We work really closely with counselors, social workers, teachers, administrators, to identify students that just may need somebody to listen to," explained Christa Creek, chief program officer for Communities in Schools of the Coastal Bend. view article arw

California next year will become one of the few US states to teach students media literacy, a move experts say is imperative at a time when distrust in the media is at an all-time high and new technologies pose unprecedented challenges to identifying false information. A state bill signed into law this fall mandates public schools to instruct media literacy, a set of skills that includes recognizing falsified data, identifying fake news and generating responsible internet content. Researchers have long warned that the current digital ecosystem has had dire consequences on young people, and have argued that such instruction could make a difference. The US surgeon general has cited digital and media literacy support as one way to combat the youth mental health crisis spurred by social media. The American Psychological Association already has urged parents and schools to teach media literacy before they expose young people to social media platforms. view article arw

Indoor Playground for Toddlers

December 0608:30 AM

TEXARKANA, Texas -- A former stay-at-home mom along with her husband has opened an indoor playground for young children with hopes of filling a need in the Texarkana community. Married couple Eric and Tiffany Clayton, owners of Toddler Town TXK, an exploratory, imaginative indoor playground for young children from infants to age 6, celebrated its soft grand opening on Monday. view article arw

Not every downtown high-rise is a good fit for an office-to-housing conversion, but some officials and developers see benefits in turning unused space into new residential units.   From an 18th-floor apartment smack dab in the middle of downtown, a renter sipping coffee at a quartz countertop would have a view of towering office buildings and a distant horizon. If they moseyed to their bedroom window at the corner of Santander Tower, they could look down on bustling rush-hour traffic — and a giant sculpture of a eyeball.  Until earlier this year, no one could have called the two-bedroom apartment home. Before then, it was a vacant, unused workspace.  “This was someone’s corner office,” said Katy Slade, a Dallas developer behind the recent renovation of the high-rise on Elm Street. view article arw

There's a big issue casting a shadow on the holiday travel season – a shortage of aviation workers. From pilots to crucial air traffic controllers, projections are showing it may only get worse in the years to come. But a new program by Fort Worth-based American Airlines is aiming for a long-term solution. American Airlines has teamed up with the CR Smith Museum for the new Aviation Career Pathways program, which is about to wrap up its first full semester since launching this school year. The multi-year program for middle and high school students provides access to aviation STEM education and creates exposure to industry career opportunities. The museum is an independent nonprofit organization located on American Airlines' campus in Fort Worth. view article arw

Terrell ISD recently highlighted its partnership with Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC), which provides high school juniors and seniors opportunities to pursue medical careers through the Health Science Academy. In a release, Terrell ISD highlighted Terrell High School Senior Ava Foren, who spends three hours a day at the Academy and is enrolled in pharmacology and medical assistant classes. view article arw

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is the unanimous pick as Associated Press Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year, while Mississippi State linebacker Nathaniel Watson is defensive player of the year.  Locally, Texarkana's Landon Jackson was voted onto second-team defense. The Pleasant Grove graduate, who ranked third in the SEC in sacks, led Arkansas with 13 1/2 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks as part of a 44-tackle season. Jackson earned SEC defensive lineman of the week following an Oct. 14 game at Alabama in which he sacked Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe 3.5 times.  Jackson's 77.4 defensive grade ranked 62nd among edge defenders nationally and eighth in the SEC. He graded 78.7 against the run, 68.3 as a pass rusher and 74.8 in coverage. view article arw

The Socorro Independent School District will celebrate students at the district’s seven early college high schools who have earned an associate degree in the fall 2023 semester. The students will be presented with a stole to represent the milestone achievement and the degree that they have earned through the district’s partnership with El Paso Community College. An academic stole is a vestment that is worn around the neck and is used by many academic organizations to denote achievement. view article arw

The state of Texas will no longer pursue eminent domain on the former Fairfield Lake State Park property, leaving the thousands of acres to be developed by Dallas-based Todd Interests. Todd Interests on Tuesday morning released an announcement that had been drafted by the state Parks and Wildlife Department. The statement, which comes shortly after the land was valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, outlines that Texas will drop its eminent domain proceedings for the former park land and stop its efforts to reestablish the property as a public park. Cory Chandler, spokesperson for the department, said Tuesday that the state received a signed copy of the agreement back from Todd Interests, after the firm had released the press statement. view article arw

Rudolph the Red-Nose Pumping Unit has long been a holiday tradition in Lufkin. The machinery, now used worldwide to extract oil from the ground, was invented by a local businessman.  LUFKIN — As families and communities nationwide set up their Christmas trees, Nativity scenes and other holiday decorations, Lufkin residents earlier this month stopped downtown to celebrate the lighting of a 45-foot tall Mark 640 pumping unit, festively named Rudolph. The modern counter-balance pumping unit, also known as a pumpjack, was invented by Lufkin resident Walter Trout in 1952 to bring oil to the surface. The unit looks like a large horse. The head, which sits at the end of a long spine, moves up and down thanks to a “walking beam” connected to a large rotor. view article arw

A measure that would allow the Katy ISD board of trustees to use district funds to employ chaplains on campuses drew opposition from some Katy parents Monday. The school board discussed the proposed item during a work study meeting but no action was taken. The proposed measure follows the Texas Legislature's passage of Senate Bill 763, which took effect this year and allows school districts to employ chaplains on campus in lieu of certified counselors. A chaplain may perform the same duties a counselor would perform, according to the bill. Unlike school counselors, the chaplain does not need to be certified by the State Board of Education. view article arw

About two hours south of San Antonio lies the community of San Diego, Tex., a speck of a town with just under 4,000 residents. Its biggest claim to fame is the infamous “Plan of San Diego,” hatched in 1915 during the Mexican Revolution, which sought to reconquer from the U.S. government the portion of the Southwest that had been taken from Mexico in the Mexican-American War. While the Plan of San Diego was never acted upon, the rebellious spirit of this town’s inhabitants resulted in one of the most fascinating tales in South Texas history — one that involves buried treasure, an empty Folgers coffee can and a plate of enchiladas. view article arw

The Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education last week rejected most of the proposed textbooks that include climate science for eighth grade students. Five of 12 were approved.  A Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education last week rejected seven of 12 proposed science textbooks for eighth graders that, for the first time, were required to include information on climate change.  The 15-member board largely rejected the books either because they included policy solutions for climate change or because they were produced by a company that has an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policy. Some textbooks were also rejected because SBOE reviewers gave the books lower scores on how well they adhered to the state’s curriculum standards. view article arw

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – In October of 2023, Gadsden Independent School District partnered with KTSM Channel 9 and KTSM Peak Digital services to help draw awareness to the unique programs available as a Gadsden Independent School District student and aid in teacher recruitment. While meeting with Mr. Patrick Dempsey, Superintendent, Ms. Rosy Villalobos, Associate Superintendent for Federal Programs, and the leadership staff of GISD, I became aware of the fantastic and unique capabilities, programs, and resources that GISD provides their students. Among these programs is a specialized marketing and production class with all the abilities of a working marketing agency. I discussed my idea with leadership to allow the students to design and produce GISD’s digital marketing campaign from inception to production and have their work placed on view article arw

A middle school in Minnesota has banned the student use of cellphones during the school day. Patrick Smith, principal of Maple Grove Middle School, said the policy has made a huge difference. “They’re smiling. They’re happy. They’re engaging with each other in the hallways,” Smith told “On Balance” host Leland Vittert. The crackdown on cellphones started last year. The policy prohibits Maple Grove Middle School students from using their cellphone from 8:10 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. view article arw

Fort Worth Independent School District elementary students will help the city choose an official bird among a list of six competing for the designation. Eighteen schools participating in the initiative will be assigned a bird, and students will research and give presentations advocating for their assigned bird to be chosen as the new feathery face of Fort Worth, according to officials. The top presentations will be featured on April 4 during the district’s annual science fair, where community members are invited to learn about the barred owl, eastern bluebird, Carolina chickadee, red-bellied woodpecker, red-shouldered hawk and great egret and cast their votes. “The idea came about as the science department was engaged in professional learning around using local phenomena to engage students in culturally relevant instruction,” said Cesar Padilla, spokesperson for the Fort Worth ISD. “While studying the state bird of Texas, the (northern) mockingbird, we thought that picking a bird for our community would be a wonderfully unique opportunity for our students to engage in many scientific practices.” view article arw

Some 183,884 students now attend HISD schools, down from 189,934 in 2022-23. The count has not been vetted by the Texas Education Agency, but was provided to the Landing by HISD in response to a public records request. The number represents the total students present on “snapshot” day, the last Friday in October each year, when Texas school districts tally their official enrollment. The 3-percent drop in students could spell a reduction in state funding next year at a time when questions already are swirling over HISD’s fiscal future. The loss of students also increases the likelihood of upcoming school closures and consolidations, a possibility HISD Superintendent Mike Miles already has mentioned. view article arw

A high school teacher in Rowlett was caught on video yelling at students and throwing a chair. That video has now gone viral on social media and is sparking a conversation about challenges educators face every day. Recorded on a student's cell phone, the 30 second video shows a Rowlett High School teacher losing his cool. It's not clear what led up to the outburst or how it ended but it appeared to involve the presence of another student's phone. view article arw

Some members of the committee said such a ban, proposed two months after a prominent conservative activist was caught meeting with a famous white supremacist, might be a “slippery slope” or too vague.  Two months after a prominent conservative activist and fundraiser was caught hosting white supremacist Nick Fuentes, leaders of the Republican Party of Texas have voted against barring the party from associating with known Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers. view article arw

BROWNSVILLE — Brownsville Veterans Memorial players figured they would not return to Sams Memorial Stadium after they defeated McAllen High in the bi-district round, not because they would not make it to the Region IV-5A DI final, but because teams usually play up north during this time of the season. The Chargers (11-2) host Corpus Christi Miller (13-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Sams Memorial Stadium with the last chance this season to showcase their exceptional talents in the company of their community as they look to set more city history. view article arw

The Waskom ISD Board of Trustees were presented with campus reports at a recent school board meeting regarding the elementary, middle, and high school campuses following the first two grading periods of the 2023-24 academic year. The campus reports were presented by principals and representatives of each campus and provided an opportunity to detail many of the events, activities and accomplishments of students at Waskom ISD throughout the year so far. “We really wanted each of the campuses to be able to showcase kind of all that’s been going on in the first two grade periods,” said Waskom ISD Assistant Superintendent Nichole Smith. view article arw

William “Willy” Rice, the founder of Rice University, will be buried at his family plot after students called for his removal due to his slave-owning past.  The remains of Rice University’s founder have been moved to a family plot in Glenwood Cemetery as part of a redesign of the Houston campus and the school’s reckoning with its founding father’s ties to slavery. The remains of William “Willy” Rice were previously buried under the Founder’s Memorial statue in the middle of campus. The statue has been taken off its pedestal and is set to be moved to a new location within the school’s Academic Quadrangle. The descendants of Rice agreed to have his remains transferred to a family plot, where he will be buried alongside his brother and his nephews, all university trustees and benefactors. view article arw

Leander ISD is considering boundary changes for several of its elementary school campuses. As rezoning discussions continue, parents said they’re worried their children will have to start over at a new school once again. “Our children have been required to move three times in four years,” Leander parent Makenna Burke said. view article arw

With high school fall sports coming to a close, multiple school districts took to social media to remind their community of proper spectator behavior. Academy, Robinson, and Ennis ISD posted on Facebook reminding their fans to abide by the guidelines set in place by The Texas Association of Sport Officials and the University Interscholastic League. Jared Hunt, the athletic director for Academy ISD shares that when things get crazy, safety is their main concern. view article arw

Grapeland Independent School District (GISD) responded to an alleged threat made by a student on social media over the Thanksgiving break. There were no further updates as of press time as GISD released the following statement Monday, Nov. 27: view article arw

Chapel Hill High School students rolling up their sleeves to make meals for the faculty and staff, all prepared by them. The bistro opened last school year, but this year CTE Culinary Instructor Nicole White wanted to bring the bistro back and breathe more life into it. “I like to set our program to teach our students for real world experiences,” White said. “They need to know that when they come into the back of house that things are going to be extremely busy.” view article arw

Shortly after he was elected to the Southwest Independent School District board, the phone rang at Juan Alvarado’s house. When his 8-year-old daughter picked it up, a voice on the line informed her that if her father didn’t resign from the seat, he would be killed. The district’s first Hispanic trustee said he regularly was met with hostility and isolation when he joined the board in 1980, and threats weren’t that uncommon. But decades later, his name serves as a reminder of the board’s guiding principles. view article arw

Bullard ISD is continuing the legacy of Bullard Elementary School teacher Kathy Sleeper who taught at the district for 20 years. “She was a friend. I considered her a friend of mine. She was a friend to all the staff members here. She made each person feel special. She was truly an amazing teacher, an amazing person,” said Bullard Elementary School Principal, Jenny Kasson. view article arw

Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction upped the ante this week in his battle with atheist activists, proclaiming in a social media video that “people of faith will never be bullied.”  State Superintendent Ryan Walters’ remarks were made after Prague Public Schools, a district in his state, halted daily prayer broadcasts over school-run loudspeakers after a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist group, KOKH-TV reported. view article arw

In unincorporated West Odessa, residents relish their freedom. And they also go without basic services. Ector County Judge Dustin Fawcett, a young Republican with Ronald Reagan good looks and politics, wants to change that.   Two brick houses stand beside each other on a remote street off the main highway. A statue of Jude the Apostle, the patron saint of hope and lost causes, stands guard in front of the compound.  The houses are not mansions, but Jesús Sierra is proud of them all the same. After all, he built them himself, layering each brick. In just two years, he turned a blighted lot in the middle of nowhere into a home.  The freedom to build a life with no questions asked is a rarity found in West Odessa, an unincorporated area here in Ector County. There is no city council, no municipality with zoning laws. Only state and federal laws apply.  It’s what attracted Sierra. view article arw

Judge Alia Moses ruled in the federal government’s favor but chided the Biden administration for not allowing migrants to use international bridges to claim asylum.  A federal judge on Wednesday denied Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to stop Border Patrol agents from cutting concertina wire the state has laid out on the banks of the Rio Grande to stop migrants from crossing the border illegally. view article arw

A new Harvard University study found a surge in the number of Texas households headed by people 65 or older spending more than 30% of their income on housing. Advocates say keeping older adults housed will require substantial public investment and reforms.  Nearly 1.1 million older Texans are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, a problem expected to persist as baby boomers age, a report released Thursday found.  The number of Texas households headed by people 65 or older spending 30% or more of their income on housing costs in 2021 nearly doubled from the roughly 594,000 who were considered cost-burdened in 2017, according to a report from Harvard University’s Joint Center of Housing Studies. view article arw