Miller named lone finalist for Moody ISD Super
A Central Texas educator with ties to Temple and Belton schools has been named as the lone finalist for the superintendent job at Moody ISD. Andrew Miller, an MISD assistant superintendent, was named Monday as the lone finalist by school trustees. Current Superintendent Gary Martel plans to retire in December after 35 years in public education. In his time at Moody, Mr Miller led efforts to establish Moody High School designations as a TSTEM and PTECH academy, programs that allow Moody students the opportunity to earn college credit hours and industry-based certifications prior to graduation.
Killeen Daily Herald
Ector County trustees hire five principals
The Ector County ISD board hired five principals and an executive director during its meeting Tuesday night. Priscilla Aguilar was chosen as principal of Carver Early Education Center; Margarita Acosta at Cameron Elementary principal; Noe Ortiz as principal of Ireland Elementary; Micah Arrott at Pease; and Fallon McLane at San Jacinto. The Executive Director of Student and School Support is Daryton Ramsey. Trustees also heard the end-of-year Measure of Academic Progress results; the district's end-of-year performance was 50%, while the middle-of-the-year was 46%. The district goal was 52%. Superintendent Scott Muri said state test results will be delayed possibly until July or August.
Abilene ISD names first Purcell Elementary principal
Less than a day after she was celebrated by Abilene ISD as Region 14 Assistant Principal of the Year, Matilda Jimenez was named the first principal at newly renamed Purcell Elementary, which previously was Johnston Elementary. Jeffrey Brokovich, who was principal at Johnston Elementary for the past 2½ years, is returning to the district's central administrative office to serve as human capital coordinator in the district's human resources department. Ms Jimenez, who received the Region 14 accolade from the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association, left Johnston in 2016, taking a role as instructional coordinator at then-Lee Elementary through the 2017-18 school year. She then served two years as the school's assistant principal before transitioning to Austin Elementary this past year in that same role.
Spring Branch announces summer teacher pay hike
Spring Branch ISD teachers began summer school this week with a 20% pay increase, an incentive to attract educators to campuses to help offset learning losses for more than 3,000 students. The district is focusing heavily on their youngest students, SBISD Superintendent Jennifer Blaine said in a statement, with about 750 pre-K and kindergarten English language learners expected for the Special Language Academy. The program will be managed at five Spring Branch campuses, including Wildcat Way, Shadow Oaks, Tiger Trail, Bear Boulevard and Edgewood. The classes will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays until July 1st. Meanwhile, about 1,200 elementary school students can attend classes at Buffalo Creek, Housman and Rummel Creek elementary schools on Monday through Thursday from June 7th-30th. Eight hundred middle school students and 400 high school students will also be in attendance over the summer.
Coppell divides up bond savings among various projects
During Monday’s board workshop, CISD Trustees approved using approximately $8.3m from $19m in 2016 bond savings for new projects and annual allocations. A total of $250,000 will be spent on accessibility updates to campuses under the Americans with Disabilities Act, while $3.4m will go on improvements to sports facilities. Spending from the annual allotments includes $2.8m on technology, $1m on school buses, and $165,000 on library books.
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Resuming in-person learning last fall accelerated COVID spread in Texas
When Texas schools returned to in-person education last fall, the spread of the coronavirus “gradually but substantially accelerated,” leading to at least 43,000 additional cases and 800 additional deaths statewide, according to a study released last month. The study was done by University of Kentucky researchers for the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and tracked weekly average COVID-19 cases in the eight weeks before and eight weeks after the state’s school districts sent students back to school in the fall. The researchers said the additional cases they tracked after students began returning to schools represented 12% of the state’s total cases during the eight weeks after reopening and 17% of deaths. Researchers chose Texas because, by the fall term, most schools around the country were still closed as Texas and a handful of other states were reopening in “less-than-ideal circumstances,” said Aaron Yelowitz, an economics professor at the University of Kentucky and one of the study’s researchers. In response, Texas Education Agency Frank Ward said that, out of the the approximately 3.8mstudents, teachers and staff on Texas public school campuses this school year, a little over 5% reported confirmed COVID-19 cases.
New survey reveals continued existence of digital divide
While the country moves toward connecting more households to the internet than ever before, insufficient bandwidth remains a challenge for school districts and limits what tools students can use at home. The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has surveyed 400 districts across the country, finding that basic internet access is less of an issue in distance learning than an inability to use bandwidth-intensive content, such as video conferencing and streaming. Ninety-four percent of districts faced challenges with video conferencing during remote learning. For 66% of those districts, the problems were caused by insufficient bandwidth. Respondents listed slow connections and multiple users as the top technical problems they faced. CoSN chief executive Keith Krueger said that part of the problem is that the federally recommended broadband thresholds for households don’t meet the needs of remote learning. Families may have plenty of bandwidth to stream or download content, he said, but not enough to upload. And most households have two or more students, compounding the problem.
EdWeek Market Brief
Pandemic prompts some states to pass struggling 3rd graders
A number of U.S. states are revising policies stipulating that schools hold back struggling 3rd graders who don’t pass state standardized reading tests. Two states, Florida and Mississippi, decided this year that pupils who fail reading assessments won’t be held back. Lawmakers in a third state, Michigan, are debating the same policy. Proponents of letting students pass say states should focus resources on strengthening classroom instruction and literacy intervention efforts. “These kids are little. They’re eight-years-old and they’ve only been reading for two or three years,” said Franki Sibberson, a retired 3rd grade teacher and a former president of the National Council of Teachers on English. Sibberson said she understands the importance of assessments, but that focusing on one high-stakes test doesn’t provide teachers with a complete picture of a student’s progress. This emphasis on test scores makes it difficult to meet the child’s needs, she said. The U.S. Department of Education granted states flexibility on testing this spring, including altering the administration of tests and waiving accountability and school requirements under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, known as ESSA. Although the waivers are in place, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran still encouraged students to take the assessments. “All sides say you want accountability,” Corcoran said during a March news conference. “We gotta go out there and get the measurement. When we get the measurement, then we can sit back, look at the data and make the decisions that are best for children.”