TSB—January 2011

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January 2011

BORDERING ON EXCELLENCE Gaining ground with student immigrants

A New Year’s message from the editor, page 5

Meet TASA’s John Fuller of Wylie ISD

Sylvester Vasquez Jr. leads TASB


CONTENTS TASA’s John Fuller represents transformation in life and in education


by Stacy Alexander Evans

TASB President Sylvester Vasquez Jr. faces a dynamic year


by Ford Gunter

COVER: Texas public schools meet challenges of immigrant population


by Sarah Orman

photo FEATURES TEPSA members gather for fall conference TAGT gathers for networking, training in Fort Worth Texas ASCD hosts annual conference in Houston


25 29 31


From Our Readers


TSB Professional Development & Events Calendar


Who’s News


Advertiser Index


From the Editor


Tech Toolbox


The Law Dawg  —  unleashed


The Back Page


by Katie Ford by Jim Walsh

by Terry Morawski by Riney Jordan

Credits: Cover, istockphoto.com. This page, former student immigrant Montserrat Garibay now teaches bilingual education at Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten Demonstration School in Austin. Photo by www.s-kphotography.com. The views expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or Texas School Business advertisers. The publisher also makes no endorsement of the advertisers or advertisements in this publication. January 2011 • Texas School Business


TASBO’s 65th Annual Conference

Te x a s A s s o c i at io n of S c ho ol B u s i ne s s O f f ic i a l s


Texas School Business • January 2011

From the Editor Happy New Year! Can you believe we’ve already said goodbye to the first decade of the 21st century? It seems like only yesterday we were crossing our fingers that our electronic devices wouldn’t spontaneously combust at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, 2000! The year 1999 was full of speculation; everybody had their theories on what would happen as we crossed into the new millennium. Would computers crash? Would ATMs stop working? Would Elvis return? So many people were worried about what the future held. Obviously, much of the fretting wasn’t warranted by what happened — or rather, didn’t happen — as the first seconds of the 21st century ticked away. Looking ahead to the second decade of the new millennium, many of us are concerned about the future of Texas public schools. This time, I believe our worries are warranted. Granted, we have dedicated and talented public school administrators, educators and trustees across Texas, but so many other factors influence the quality of our schools — politics at every level, public and private funding, state demographics, socioeconomics, community support and parents, to name a few. In the coming year, we at Texas School Business will report on the trends affecting our public schools. And we’ll do this by talking to administrators and educators who are overcoming obstacles, closing achievement gaps and making a difference in classrooms across Texas. We kick off 2011 with a cover story on Texas’ immigrant population. It’s a hot issue that has grabbed everyone’s attention, from the smallest district on the Texas-Mexico border to members of Congress in Washington D.C. We hope this story will inspire and spark conversations among you and your peers. Coming up this spring: a look at school reform efforts and coverage of the first-ever SxSWedu in Austin!

Katie Ford Tex. Lic. #10138

(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) January 2011 Volume LVII, Issue 4 1601 Rio Grande Street, #455 Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-478-2113 • Fax: 512-495-9955 www.texasschoolbusiness.com

North Forney High School, Forney ISD

Publisher Ted Siff Editor in Chief Jim Walsh Editorial Director Katie Ford Design Phaedra Strecher Columnists Riney Jordan, Terry Morawski, Jim Walsh Advertising Sales Manager Jim Johnson Business Manager Debbie Stover Director of Marketing and Customer Relations Stephen Markel Digital Media Manager Douglas Bigham ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620

Sunnyvale High School, Sunnyvale ISD

Naoma Huff Auditorium, Clyde High School, Clyde CISD

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From Our Readers Katie: Thank you for the overly kind article about TSPRA’s Key Communicator Award (November/December 2010). Writer Jennifer LeClaire did an outstanding job; we spoke while I was in New York for a Tyler ISD alumni gathering, which was attended by our sizable group of working actors/actresses in NYC — East Texans on Broadway. I’m receiving many calls and comments on how well written the article was, and your editor’s comments mentioning me were, again, overly kind. Could you forward my thanks to Jennifer? Larry Goddard Executive Director Tyler ISD Foundation Dear Ms. Ford: I was proud of Larry [Goddard] for winning the Key Communicator Award at the TASA/TASB Conference and equally pleased to read the excellent article highlighting his talents and accomplishments in the November/December issue of Texas School Business. Larry’s passion for public education and the children of Tyler ISD shines through in all of his actions for the Tyler ISD Foundation. The article well documented his passion and hopefully will lead others to join his quest for helping public school foundations become part of the solution to enriching education for students. Of course, the bad news is now everyone knows his talent, and we’ll probably have to give him a big raise to keep him in Tyler. Thanks again for the story; you did a great job. Tab Beall Former Board President Tyler ISD Foundation

quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Thank you for taking notice, and thank you for making others take notice. Judson Jones Artistic Director Theatre East Jim Walsh: I read your column, “The Law Dawg – unleashed: My visit with Sister Mary Holywater” (October 2010), and adored it. I am Catholic, and although I did not have the benefit of attending Catholic schools growing up, I did have catechism every Sunday with the nuns. We were fascinated with them; they were a Franciscan order and wore the complete black habit. They are very responsible for many of the “issues” I have today. Thanks for making me smile. Carrie R. Galatas Admin General Counsel Conroe ISD Jim Walsh: Read your column (“The Law Dawg – unleashed: My visit with Sister Mary Holywater”) in the October issue of Texas School Business. May be your best work ever. Really, I mean that. A cross between Jim Walsh and Frank McCourt. My favorite line in McCourt’s first book, “Angela’s Ashes,” was when the priest was teaching Latin in Catholic school in Ireland. The quote was from a priest, who was striking his students with a paddle and exclaiming: “If Latin was good enough for our Lord Jesus Christ to speak, it’s good enough for you!” Good read, my friend.

I just wanted to say how greatly I appreciated the article about Larry Goddard receiving the TSPRA Key Communicator (November/ December 2010). Too often the people who have such a profound effect on our communities are the same people who get overlooked. We must celebrate these champions, and your article did just that. It not only celebrated Larry Goddard, but it also challenged others with the idea that indeed one person can make a huge impact on the lives of others. In a time when we are facing an educational deficit, staggering dropout rates, and schools that are literally falling apart, I am so thankful for Larry Goddard. He has committed his life to making sure that our children have not just quality education, but an excellent one. This is his opus.

Katie: I wanted to reach out to you to tell you how grateful we are for the beautiful article you wrote about our Evelyn Turlington Elementary School in Waller ISD (“Waller ISD school wins 2010 Caudill Award,” November/December 2010). You have a true writing talent. We all enjoyed reading the article and will cherish it as a keepsake in our district. I wish you and your family a restful and blessed holiday. Thank you again for your support. Marianne Kosik Director of Public Relations Waller ISD

Reading your article I was reminded of the


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THE LAW DAWG – unleashed by Jim Walsh

Who has the best DAEP in Texas?


n the September 2009 issue of this magazine, I posed the question: Who has the best Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) in Texas? I wanted to call attention to the fact that many districts in Texas have done a fine job of serving kids who are assigned to DAEP. DAEPs were imposed on Texas public schools by the Legislature in 1995. The idea behind DAEPs is a good one: Let’s provide a separate space to serve the kids who have gotten into trouble. Let’s focus on academics and behavioral improvement. Let’s see if we can get these students back on track, thus preventing dropouts and disciplinary infractions. Not all districts have done a great job with their DAEPs. “Warehouse” is a term one hears from time to time, but that is hardly the whole story. When I posed my question seeking the best, I received several positive

responses. One was from Harlingen CISD. I have not done enough research to declare Harlingen’s program “the best,” but after spending two days there and getting to know the staff, I can certainly attest to its quality. Here are some reasons why. First, the principal really wants to be there. Ann McLelland has served in a number of positions in the district, as both teacher and administrator; she has worked with the full spectrum of kids. When the job at the Secondary Alternative Center (SAC) opened up, she wanted it. Eleven years later, she still shows up at work every day eager and impassioned about making a positive difference for the kids in the program. Second, the program puts a big emphasis on home visits — getting to know what dynamics are going on away from school. It is no secret that many of the students who

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get in trouble at school are dealing with inadequate nurturing. This can come in many forms — poverty, abuse, neglect, substance abuse, violence, lack of consistency. Both teachers and counselors at the Harlingen SAC placed high value on home visits. Larry Guinn of Plano ISD is widely known as “the Discipline Dude,” and the SAC in his district is named after him: the Larry Guinn Special Programs Center. Guinn stresses that for an alternative program to be effective, it must “impact the family.” I saw that impact in Harlingen CISD . Third, there was real instruction from real teachers and real counseling from real counselors. I spent a couple of days at the DAEP and did not see kids working in isolation on computers or worksheets. I saw teachers teaching and counselors counseling. Fourth, there is a strong disciplinary component to the program; it is clearly discipline, not punishment. Harlingen CISD employs Marines to serve as drill instructors. They are not harsh, but they are tough. There is a strict dress and grooming code for students. Cell phones are not allowed on campus. Everyone is “wanded” at the beginning of the day. In their first five days, new students attend class in a portable building where they are acclimated to the program. When an adult enters the room, they stand. They are taught to respect each other, their teachers and themselves. What I saw in Harlingen CISD was a program designed to equip students to make better decisions in the future. Isn’t that what DAEP is supposed to do? We made a short film about Harlingen’s program; we call it “Attitude is Everything,” which is the program’s motto. Our film runs about 15 minutes and gives a good overview of how the program works. You can check it out on the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest Website at: http://bit.ly/hamgFK. JIM WALSH is editor in chief of Texas School Business. He is also a school attorney with the firm of Walsh Anderson Brown Gallegos and Green PC. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa.com. January 2011 • Texas School Business


Keep Current As all school administrators, board members, and school attorneys know, school law does not stand still. The Legal Digest is dedicated to providing relevant, timely and comprehensive reporting, analysis and training on all aspects of school law. The Legal Digest leads off with an in-depth article on a contemporary school law topic written by Texas attorneys and legal commentators. The rest of the issue is devoted to digests of the latest federal and state rulings, Commissioner decisions, special education hearing officer decisions, and Attorney General opinions affecting Texas schools. Adding a dash of humor to each issue is Jim Walsh’s “Law Dawg” column. Published ten times a year, the Legal Digest provides the latest developments in the law to help administrators stay abreast of this rapidly changing field and avoid litigation.

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Texas School Business • January 2011

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Tech Toolbox by Terry Morawski

Eight new year’s resolutions from a true techie


t’s that time of year when people begin to make New Year’s resolutions. These can be fun and are always full of hope for new beginnings for the upcoming year. As your resident techie, I thought I’d throw out a list of suggested techie resolutions for 2011. I hope you enjoy, and maybe you’ll add a few to your list. 1. Take a deep breath. Avoid jumping on the bandwagon of the next big device to hit the marketplace. They’re coming this year: the 2011 versions of the iPad, the Netbook, the even smarter smartphones. Often there’s pressure from the community or staff to jump on the next big wave, but be careful not to jump too early. Breathe, research and then — if it makes sense (and cents) — buy it.

2. Less Angry Birds, more Evernote. The market has produced some highly entertaining applications for mobile devices, but don’t forget the productivityenhancing apps for 2011. 3. An end to jargon. Education is full of jargon, which only creates a larger divide among parents, school staff, trustees and administrators. Jargon also gets in the way of a perfectly good conversation about technology. So, keep the tech talk simple. 4. Socializing with real people is fun. No amount of time on Facebook or other social networking sites can replace a lunch with good friends. Social media superfans will tell you online interaction


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is just as rich as offline. Sorry, superfans: It’s just not true. 5. Customer service is everything. “Customer service” has become somewhat of a buzz phrase within school districts in the past few years. Yet, it needs a focus to be something more than a public relations campaign. To do technology right, everything from training to ordering equipment needs to be handled with an eye toward customer service. 6. Drop something. Often, it’s much easier to launch a new product than to maintain an old one. Software eventually becomes outdated. If it’s time, drop it. 7. Read, read, read. I recently purchased a Kindle e-reader. The ability to quickly load books and have access to them on my mobile devices has been great. We all know reading is great brain food. In a publishing industry that’s becoming more mobile, I have no excuse not to read. 8. Master Outlook. OK. I’m telling on myself a bit here. Our district migrated to Microsoft Outlook in 2010. I began using the system right away without spending much time learning about the tool. From past experience, I know that some of the most basic tools deserve some study. I’ll get to you eventually, Outlook. I appear to have my work cut out for me this year. Does your organization have any techie resolutions or goals you’d like to share for 2011? They might make a future column. Good luck out there, and happy new year! TERRY MORAWSKI is the assistant superintendent of communications and marketing for Mansfield ISD. Terry writes online at www.communicationsjetpack. com. He can be reached at terrymorawski @gmail.com. January 2011 • Texas School Business


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Texas School Business • January 2011

12/7/2010 5:09:48 PM

TASA PRESIDENT profile Wylie ISD’s John Fuller represents transformation in life and in education by Stacy Alexander Evans


s a first-generation college graduate, H. John Fuller came from humble beginnings. But he never lost sight of the impetus that propelled him to the top as the superintendent of Wylie ISD and the president of the Texas Association of School Administrators: the students. “When I’m traveling on business and people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m in the people development business,” he muses. His focus on students and their talents, rather than an ironclad pedagogy, is a common thread woven through all of Fuller’s thoughts on education. Fuller, who was an honors student at Dallas Baptist University in the late 1960s, has a friendly and approachable demeanor — more Southern gentleman than stuffy academic. Yet his ideology is distinctly progressive; one might even say constructivist. Fuller says he believes that the key to unlocking a promising future for Texas education is rooted in two things: creativity and innovation. These qualities have driven him in his leadership position as a superintendent for the past 33 years, and they proved to be a prime motivator when he took on his current role as president of TASA. “Today we are not in the business of reforming schools. If we are,” he asserts, “we’ve got our blinders on. “Public education will cease to exist if we just try to reform it. We’re at a point where what we really need is transformation. We’ve got to become more creative, more imaginative. We’ve got to do more with less. We’ve got to use technology,” Fuller says. This idea of seamlessly integrating technology into the landscape of scholastic infrastructure comes up again and again when Fuller speaks of the future. Ten years ago, an educator’s dearest dream was computer access for every child. But today the promise of technology as a teaching aid reaches far beyond that. “Every time a child is sick,” says Fuller, “the school loses money because that child is not in school. Now, with the technology we have, there’s no reason why we can’t deliver the instruction to that child in his or her own home via the Internet.”

Wylie ISD Superintendent John Fuller celebrates the November 2010 groundbreaking of Achieve Academy with Transition to Life instructor Malia Nompone (green jacket) and students Chasity Wofford and Rock Knezek. Programs at the new academy will include Choice Academic High School (for students who haven’t been successful in a traditional school setting); elementary and secondary alternative school programs; students with special behavioral needs; and the Transition to Life program.

To make these kinds of changes, Fuller says, public schools need to be granted some of the same freedoms and privileges granted to charter schools to maximize their flexibility. “One of the things I’ve tried to do as (TASA’s) president is to build that capacity for change,” he says. “My students won’t be competing for jobs with students in Highland Park; they’ll be competing for jobs with students in China, Taiwan and India.” Fuller fully recognizes the link between technology and today’s global economy. “We need to understand that this new vision for students in Texas can’t be centered on test-takers,” he asserts. “It’s got to be focused on higher-level thinking — students who can come out of our school systems who are creative, innovative and can provide leadership, not only for our communities in Texas, but for our state as well as our country.” As Fuller nears the end of his term, which will expire at the TASA Midwinter Conference this month, he says he has gained great respect for the vast diversity among Texas school districts.

“Every school district in Texas is unique. With that in mind, you have to understand that we need to be flexible if we’re going to make the necessary transformation,” he says. Although Fuller will leave his position as president, he fully intends to keep working toward TASA’s mission of influencing laws and policies designed to improve public education. “One of the things I really hope to do is to influence the Legislature nationwide by making it clear that Texas is ready for change,” he says. TASA is an incubator for administrative leadership in Texas education. And, for the past year, this organization has been in the able hands of a strong, yet humble, man who describes himself as a servant-leader. “You grow as a leader and you have tendencies to move in one direction or another, and there’s no right or wrong way to provide that leadership. But it needs to be centered on people, and valuing people,” he says. STACY ALEXANDER EVANS is a freelance writer and designer in Austin. January 2011 • Texas School Business



Texas School Business • January 2011

TASB PRESIDENT profile Sylvester Vasquez Jr. faces dynamic year by Ford Gunter


n education, some years are tougher than others. Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) President Sylvester Vasquez Jr. knows he has his work cut out for him in 2011. “Obviously, this is going to be a tough year upcoming because the Legislature meets,” says Vasquez, who also serves as vice president of the Southwest ISD Board of Trustees. “A lot of what’s forced upon school districts comes from legislation.” A year in which state lawmakers meet to enact new laws is also a year in which school boards scramble to make the laws work, often without additional money to fund the mandates. It can’t come as a huge surprise that as the head of TASB, Vasquez’ primary concern is funding. Texas school districts have been funded at the same clip as they were in 2006. Yet, districts are facing rising costs and having to look at cuts every year. “We’re hearing 3 percent to 5 percent, and we may not get the growth allotment, which a lot of districts that are growing depend on,” he says, speaking informally on behalf of Texas school administrators. “We have a ‘No Cut’ campaign: Please don’t cut our funding. Right now, many districts would be willing to take the hold harmless of 2006.” To illustrate the problems with the lack of growth allotment, Vasquez cites some examples from his home city of San Antonio. “Northside school district grows by 3,000 kids per year,” he says. “They’ve got to spend the same amount they spent on 80,000 kids for 83,000 kids.” Exacerbating the problem is the fact that many of the fastest-growing districts also serve some of the poorest areas of the state. Those school districts depend more on the support of teachers’ aides, tutors and counselors to maintain education standards; yet, these positions are usually the first “fat” to be trimmed when budget cuts begin. Yet, the outlook isn’t entirely dim. “Where we’ve seen the greatest strides is closing the gap with the economically disadvantaged,” Vasquez says. “Teachers are the last [positions] they’re going to cut.” Lack of school funding isn’t a new topic for Vasquez, who grew up in Edgewood ISD on the west side of San Antonio — one of the

TASB President Sylvester Vasquez Jr. (center) shakes the hand of keynote speaker David Warlick, owner and principal of The Landmark Project, at the TASA/TASB Convention in September, as TASB’s immediate past President Sarah Winkler looks on.

poorest in the state. Edgewood was the school district that, in 1968, filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas, saying that it was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to determine school financing by property taxes. The U.S. Supreme Court decided against Edgewood ISD, ruling that education was not a fundamental right. At the time of the decision, in 1973, Vasquez was in the 8th grade. As a young father, Vasquez became vested in public education and inspired to make a difference. While working the graveyard shift as a security officer at Lackland Air Force Base, he began spending his days volunteering with the PTA at the elementary school where the oldest of his three sons was enrolled. “I just got into it,” Vasquez says. “I started coaching kids in Christian Youth Organization and the Pony League. I just saw, at that time, the lack of involvement with fathers in schools.” Vasquez ran for the Southwest ISD Board of Trustees in 2000, won and immediately went as a delegate to the state convention— once a chore tossed to the rookies, but now a function reserved for the more-experienced board members. He ran for TASB’s Board of Directors in 2001 and lost. Undeterred, he then applied for and entered TASB’s leadership school. Upon his graduation in 2003, Vasquez

ran again for a position on the TASB board and won. Since then, he has gained extensive experience with the statewide association, having served on a total of 13 committees — including six currently. In the past decade, he has chaired four of them. TASB is not Vasquez’s only priority. A Texas Lutheran College graduate and construction estimator/supervisor for SANTEX Painting and Drywall, the Southwest ISD trustee also finds time to volunteer with the Southwest High School band and serve as vice president of the Bexar County Board Coalition (an organization he helped found) and as a Southern Region director for the National School Board Association Hispanic Caucus. After his presidency, Vasquez will have one more year of executive committee service as the immediate past president. In the meantime, Vasquez remains fiercely proud of Texas public schools in the face of trying times, and singularly dedicated to his presidential role. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we give you free public education,” Vasquez says. “We’re going to continue educating all kids. Not just the best and the brightest, but all kids.” FORD GUNTER is a freelance writer and filmmaker in Houston. January 2011 • Texas School Business


Bordering on excellence

Texas public schools face challenges, meet needs of student immigrant population

by Sarah Orman


ast November, Texas State Representative Debbie Riddle, RTomball, camped out overnight in the hallway of the state Capitol in Austin. The ostensible purpose of her vigil was to get her bills posted and numbered first in the upcoming legislative session. (It also landed her a live interview on FOX News.) Part of her proposed legislation would require public schools to account for their “unauthorized alien” students at the beginning of the school year and report this information to the state. Riddle advertises the bills as “Arizona-style” immigration legislation. Under current law, it’s impossible to count how many students are undocumented because schools are prohibited from taking any action based upon citizenship that would negatively impact a student’s access to a public education — for example, requiring a Social Security number for enrollment. The Dallas Morning News recently reported that 92 percent of Texas schoolchildren have Social Security numbers on file, meaning the number

of undocumented students can’t be more than 8 percent. It’s likely even lower, because even students who are citizens or permanent residents can’t be required to submit Social Security numbers. Plyler v. Doe The story of immigration and how it affects public schools has Texas roots. In 1982, the United States Supreme Court, in the historic case of Plyler v. Doe, held that school districts are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution from denying children an education based on their immigration status. The decision overturned a Texas statute, passed in 1975, that withheld state funding for educating children who weren’t legally admitted into the United States; the statute also gave districts the authority to deny enrollment to these children. Austin attorney Rick Arnett argued the case before the Supreme Court on behalf of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which took the position that the state wasn’t obligated to educate the children of illegal immigrants. Arnett recalls that immigration was a hot topic when the statute at issue in Plyler was passed. Similar to sentiments today, many people blamed illegal immigration for overburdening state services. But “not many school people were clamoring to keep these [undocumented] kids out of school,” he says.

“As long as the state gave them money, [educators] didn’t want to be involved,” he says. Still, there were a number of school districts that, in response to the 1975 statute, began charging a yearly tuition to the student population in question to make up for the lack of state funds. One of those districts was Tyler ISD. Tyler ISD happened to be within the jurisdiction of Judge William Wayne Justice — a politically liberal judge whom attorneys representing immigrants believed would look favorably on their case. Consequently, a case was brought against Tyler ISD for its tuition requirement; that case eventually was consolidated with other challenges around the state to become Plyler v. Doe. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Justice’s decision for the plaintiffs, and the United States Supreme Court granted review. According to Arnett, he never expected to win in the Supreme Court. “It did not seem feasible — even from the most cold-hearted point of view. … [It] did not seem at all likely that we would win because these kids would end up on the street,” he says. “The experts all told us we would lose seven to two.” In fact, the court voted five to four to overturn the statute. A most difficult problem In language that seems almost prophetic today, the court observed that the situation of illegal immigration in our country raised “the specter of a permanent caste of undocumented resident aliens, encouraged by some to remain here as a source of cheap labor, but nevertheless denied the benefits that our society makes available to citizens and lawful


Texas School Business • January 2011

residents.” This underclass presented “most difficult problems for a nation that prides itself on adherence to principles of equality under law.” The court cited Brown v. Board of Education to support its ruling that the children of illegal immigrants couldn’t be denied a public education: “In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right that must be made available to all on equal terms.” By denying children an education based on their inability to prove their legal presence in the United States, the Texas statute denied them “the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose[d] any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation.” Accordingly, the Texas statute couldn’t meet the threshold of rationality to pass constitutional muster. The elephant in the room Julieta Garibay has personal experience with the challenges faced by undocumented students. She came here with her mother and sister from Mexico when she was 12 years old and her sister was 13. Julieta and her sister, Montserrat, who had attended a Catholic girls’ school in Mexico, enrolled in Austin ISD upon arriving in Texas; both graduated from Anderson High School. According to Julieta, immigration status in school was like “the big elephant in the room.” “Everyone could tell when it was a new kid, who doesn’t really speak the language, with a nervous expression, but no one asks,” says Julieta, who recalls that occasionally other students called her and her sister “wetbacks.” Even though the girls’ mother was undocumented and couldn’t speak English fluently, Julieta remembers that her mother always emphasized the importance of education. It was a challenge, though, for her mother to get involved in school activities like the other parents, because of the language barrier and also because she was busy with her work as a housecleaner and nanny. When schools don’t provide adequate language translation services in their communications efforts, often students are called upon to translate school policies or notices meant for the parents. In Julieta’s

At age 13, Montserrat Garibay and her little sister moved to Texas from Mexico with their undocumented mother. The Garibay sisters went on to graduate from Austin ISD schools and pursue college degrees, despite multiple obstacles because of their immigration status. Montserrat now teaches bilingual education at the Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten Demonstration School in Austin. Photo credit: SK Photography, www.s-kphotography.com.

experience, this happened even when the discussion involved “adult conversations you wouldn’t necessarily want a 12- or 13-year-old child to be part of.” As every educator knows, a parent’s involvement can make or break a child’s education. Getting immigrant families in general involved may pose cultural, as well as linguistic, challenges. According to Julieta, in Mexico it isn’t as common as it is in the United States for parents to question a teacher or school administrator. Also, immigrants who haven’t come here legally are often afraid to make themselves known to teachers or other people at the district. “I think they see the teachers as authority figures, like the police,” she says. “In Mexico, there’s lots of corruption. You don’t talk to the police — not like here, where you believe that they are protecting you. Here, it’s OK to ask questions, to inquire about why they are telling you something. It’s like a 180 from Mexico.” View from the border At Lloyd and Dolly Bentsen Elementary School in McAllen, two miles from the border with Mexico, Principal Carla Zuazua-Garza says the secret to successfully educating immigrant students is not unCarla Zuazua- like the approach you’d take with all students: Garza You work as a team to

focus on individual student needs. According to Zuazua-Garza, all students entering Sharyland ISD schools for the first time, whether new to the United States or not, take a language assessment to determine whether they qualify for bilingual education. “This year, some of our (immigrant) students come from private schools; their families are well off, so they know English and don’t qualify for bilingual education,” she says. Other students may qualify for bilingual education, which means — among other things — that they can take standardized tests in Spanish through the fifth grade. A professional educator for 23 years, Zuazua-Garza doesn’t focus on the immigration status of her students. “Sometimes you come to find out (when someone is undocumented),” she says. “One thing we do is treat everyone the same: focus on the child and their needs. You aren’t going to have a positive school climate if you treat people differently. “You know, we are not the Border Patrol. We give them all the opportunities and education that they need, no matter who they are,” the principal says. Zuazua-Garza and her staff make an effort to reach out to all families at the school. She says that getting parents involved is one of her school’s top priorities. As a symbol of this commitment, See BORDER on page 21 January 2011 • Texas School Business


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The Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education and the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest are pleased to announce the twenty-fifth annual one-day conference on current issues concerning the education of students with disabilities. Special education directors and other special education personnel, as well as superintendents, principals, school board members, and school attorneys will find this conference valuable. Please visit www.legaldigest.com for more details. Speakers and topics incude:

Prior Written Notice: Practical Strategies to Comply with Regulations Paula maddox roalson — Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Gallegos & Green, San Antonio

25 Years of Special Ed Law: What Have We Learned? Jim Walsh – Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Gallegos & Green, Austin Graduation & Transition: Legal Issues & Practical Strategies Chris BorreCa – Thompson & Horton, Houston

The Latest on Student Discipline: Legal Issues & Practical Strategies dave riChards – Richards, Lindsay, & Martín, Austin

Bullying & the Student with a Disability: Legal Issues & Practical Strategies Jan Watson – Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Gallegos & Green, Irving

ABC (Athletics, Band, & Cheerleading) and IDEA: Legal Issues & Practical Strategies Cynthia BueChler — Buechler & Associates, Austin

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Texas School Business • January 2011

TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS WEEK OF JANUARY 31 February 1 Business Skills for Campus Secretaries and Bookkeepers ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. February 2 ESC Region 12 Spring Meeting George’s Restaurant, Waco For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org February 3 PTA Day at the Capitol Texas Capitol, Austin For more info, (512) 476-6769 or (800) 825-5782. www.txpta.org February 4 Legislative Update Day University of Texas AT&T Conference Center, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Members, $135 (includes dues); nonmembers, $235. February 4-6 Annual PTA Convention Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 476-6769 or (800) 825-5782. www.txpta.org Cost: Advance registration (by Jan. 7), $75; onsite registration, $90. WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7 February 7 Advanced PEIMS Workshop Location TBA, Fredericksburg For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. TEPSA/Legal Digest Family Law Workshop ESC Region 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Jan. 7), $69. After Jan. 7, $89. February 8 Wage and Hour Rules for Public Schools ESC Region 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org February 9 BoardBook Training TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org

ESC Region 17 Spring Meeting Cooper High School, Lubbock For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org February 10-11 Superintendent Secretary Training Conference TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $129. February 11-13 Lone Star Coaching Clinic Hilton Hotel and Conference Center, College Station For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.pointstrikes.com Cost: Preregistration, $70; onsite registration, $80. February 12 STEM Class: Managing Change Mesquite ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org February 13-15 Texas School Counselor Association Annual Conference Sheraton Hotel, Arlington For more info, (512) 472-3403 or (800) 580-8144. www.txca.org Cost: $100. WEEK OF FEBRUARY 14 February 14 The Right Way to Hire the Right People ESC Region 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org February 16 Beyond the Textbook: A Day of Discovery (Science Education) Corpus Christi area For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 16-17 Leadership Fusion Summit ESC Region 4, Houston For more info, (713) 744-6595. www.leadershipfusion.net Cost: $365. February 17-18 Curriculum and Leadership Academy IV (session 1 of 3) Hurst- Euless-Bedford ISD, Pat May Center, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

February 17-19 AASA National Conference on Education Hyatt Regency, Denver For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasanet.org February 18-19 Alamo City Coaches Clinic Embassy Suites Riverwalk, San Antonio For more info, (830) 438-5360. www.alamocitycoachesclinic.com Cost: $65. February 19 STEM Class: Managing Change Fort Worth ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org February 20-22 Assistant Principal Workshop Doubletree North, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Members, $135 (includes dues); nonmembers, $225. WEEK OF FEBRUARY 21 February 21 Performance Appraisal: Methods and Issues ESC Region 4, Houston For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $165. February 23-25 TSPRA Annual Conference: Champions for Kids Sheraton Hotel, Arlington For more info, (512) 474-9107 or (800) 880-9107. www.tspra.org Cost: Three-day conference: members, $400; nonmembers, $460. Two-day conference, members, $290; nonmembers, $355. One-day conference, Wednesday or Thursday, $170. One-day conference, Friday, $125. Late registration fee (after Jan. 11), $35. February 24 STEM Class: Profile for Success Spring Branch ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org February 24-26 Texas Middle School Association Annual Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1105. www. tmsanet.org See CALENDAR on page 20 January 2011 • Texas School Business


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS

CALENDAR continued from page 19

February 25 Rules of Engagement: Determining Employment Status ESC Region 20, San Antonio For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org WEEK OF FEBRUARY 28 February 28 ESC Region 9 Spring Meeting ESC offices, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org TEPSA/Legal Digest Family Law Workshop ESC Region 6, Huntsville For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Jan. 28): $69. After Jan. 28: $89. February 28-March 4 Texas Association of School Business Officials Annual Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $290; nonmembers, $380. March 1 STEM Class: Dialogue of Diversity Garland ISD For more info (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org March 2-3 A Framework for 21st Century Learning, With Jay McTighe Houston area For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org March 5 STEM Class: Stress Management Fort Worth ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org STEM Class: Time Management Fort Worth ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org STEM Class: Telephone Skills Mesquite ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org STEM Class: Dialogue of Diversity Mesquite ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org March 5-9 Texas High School Athletic Directors 20

Texas School Business • January 2011

Association Conference South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center, League City For more info, (972) 600-5214. www.thsada.com WEEK OF MARCH 7 March 7 ESC Region 19 Spring Meeting Jaxon’s Restaurant, El Paso For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org March 9 ESC Region 11 Spring Meeting Joe T. Garcia’s Restaurant, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org ESC Region 20 Spring Meeting ESC offices, San Antonio For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org WEEK OF MARCH 14 No events listed. WEEK OF MARCH 21 March 24 STEM Class: Assisting Difficult People Mesquite ISD For more info (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org March 26 STEM Class: Basic Communication Mesquite ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org STEM Class: Assisting Difficult People Fort Worth ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org WEEK OF MARCH 28 March 28 TCASE/Legal Digest Annual Conference on Special Education Law Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Feb. 28): online, $135; offline, $160. Regular registration (after Feb. 28): online, $150; offline, $185. Business Skills for Campus Secretaries and Bookkeepers Location TBA, Rockwall For more info, (512) 462-1711.

www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. March 29 Federal and State Compliance Issues Workshop Location TBA, Richardson For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. March 30 Texas Association of Community Schools East Texas Spring Conference Ornelas Activity Center, Tyler For more info, (512) 440-8227. www.tacsnet.org ESC Region 4 Spring Meeting Jersey Village High School, Houston For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org ESC Region 7 Spring Meeting Whitehouse High School, Whitehouse For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org March 31 Trim the Fat from your Files: Managing Personnel Records Effortlessly ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org April 2 STEM Class: Effective Office Practices Mesquite ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org WEEK OF APRIL 4 April 4 Three Ps: Payroll, PEIMS and Personnel Location TBA, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. April 5 ESC Region 14 Spring Meeting Abilene Country Club, Abilene For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org April 7 ESC Region 13 Spring Meeting Liberty Hill High School, Liberty Hill For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Federal and State Compliance Issues Location TBA, Mt. Pleasant For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220.

TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS

April 7-10 National Association of Elementary School Principals Conference Convention Center, Tampa, Fl. For more info, (703) 684-3345 or (800) 386-2377. www.naesp.org WEEK OF APRIL 11 April 12 STEM Class: Professional Growth Plan Spring Branch ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org April 12-14 Texas Retired Teachers Association Annual Convention Grand Hyatt, San Antonio For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org April 13 Beyond the Textbook: A Day of Discovery (Science Education) Amarillo area For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org Federal and State Compliance Issues Location TBA, San Angelo For more info, (512) 462-1711.

BORDER continued from page 17

the parent handbook is in English and in Spanish, and it’s available on Sharyland ISD’s Website. Certain elementary campuses in Sharyland ISD focus on “newcomer” students. Students who receive the lowest score of “1” on the language assessment are assigned to these campuses so they can receive focused attention on their English skills. Other school districts in Texas that receive Title III federal funds for serving immigrant and limited English proficient (“LEP”) students also use this approach. Also, the Sharyland ISD federal programs director holds parent meetings and trainings year-round, not just at the beginning of the school year. Zuazua-Garza relies on these opportunities to get parents in sync with her school’s policies and activities. “This is one way of getting (parents of new students) involved and training them in our procedures. It’s not just for immigrants,” she says.

www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. April 13-14 Using Graphic Organizers and Assessment Tools to Make Mathematics Content More Accessible to Struggling Students (session 2 of 3) Maple Street Training Rooms, Frisco ISD For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org April 14 Trim the Fat From Your Files: Managing Personnel Records Effortlessly ESC Region 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org April 15 TCASE/Legal Digest Annual Conference on Special Education Law Convention Center, Arlington For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by March 15): online, $135; offline, $160. Regular registration (after March 15): online, $150; offline, $185.

April 16 STEM Class: Profile for Success Garland ISD For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org WEEK OF APRIL 18 April 18 Region 1 Spring Meeting Location TBA, Edinburg For more into, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org April 20 Beyond the Textbook: A Day of Discovery (Science Education) Rio Grande Valley area For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org WEEK OF APRIL 25 April 29-30 Celebrating Educational Opportunities for Students of All Cultures Conference El Dorado Hotel, Santa Fe, NM For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: By March 15, $225; after March 15, $275. TSB

The situation of illegal immigration in our country has raised ‘the specter of a permanent caste of undocumented resident aliens, encouraged by some to remain here as a source of cheap labor, but nevertheless denied the benefits that our society makes available to citizens and lawful residents.’ – U.S. Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe Bilingual education also isn’t just for immigrants, Zuazua-Garza says. She draws on her personal background to make her point. “I was born here, but my first language was Spanish and I started in a bilingual setting at public school,” she says. “I worked as a teacher in bilingual education for four years and now 19 years as an administrator. … My personal experience helps me relate to students and parents. Lots of U.S.-born students’ first language is Spanish. Bilingual education … is good for everyone.”

Zuazua-Garza has seen firsthand that immigrant students can excel in school. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that recent immigrants drop our scores, but actually some are very well educated and help our scores,” she says. In her district, all of the elementary and junior high schools are rated “exemplary” by TEA. She adds, “Our high school is recognized. It was so close to being exemplary; it was just two students away!” In November 2010, Zuazua-Garza’s school, for a second year, made the Texas See BORDER on page 27 January 2011 • Texas School Business


Who’s News Brownsville ISD Celia De Los Santos is the new principal of Pullam Elementary School, where she has served as facilitator since the campus opened in 2009. An employee of the district for more than 19 years, she has been a Celia De Los Santos facilitator at Vermillion and Paredes elementary schools; a teacher at Paredes, Morningside and Casteneda elementaries; and a paraprofessional at Sharp Elementary. Taking the reins as principal of Hudson Elementary School is Loretta J. Dickinson. She is an educator with more than 20 years’ experience, including the past seven as a facilitator Loretta J. at Egly Elementary. In Dickinson Brownsville ISD, she was a teacher for three years at Burns Elementary. Her career has also included 11 years in both public and private schools in Oklahoma and other districts in Texas.

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Texas School Business • January 2011

Burleson ISD The district has appointed a new superintendent. He is Richard Crummel, who has served as interim superintendent since July 2010. He has been an educator for 38 years, 31 of those in Burleson ISD and the remainder with Fort Worth ISD. During his time in Burleson, Crummel has been Burleson High School’s band director, assistant principal and principal; district director of instrumental and choral music; executive director of learning supports and public relations; and chief administrative officer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from North Texas State University and his master’s degree in music education from East Texas State University. Coppell ISD Andra Penny has been elected to the University of North Texas (UNT) College of Education Development Board. Penny is a UNT graduate and currently serves as an adjunct professor there, teaching post-baccalaureate initial teacher certification online courses. She is

Who’s News also principal of Coppell ISD’s Cottonwood Creek Elementary School. Additionally, she has served as a teaching coach at Columbia University and is a national presenter and keynote speaker. She Andra Penny is a past president of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), for which she served 12 years as a state board member. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Donna Benotti, head volleyball and girls’ golf coach at Cy-Fair High School and department chair of physical education and health, has been chosen to serve as first vice president of the Donna Benotti Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) for 2010-2011. She was second vice president of the organization, which is the largest association for coaches of girls’ athletics in the country, for 2009-2010. Benotti has been in her current position at Cy-Fair High since 2002. Prior to that time, she held head coaching positions at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark.; Cedar Valley College; and Texas A&M University at Kingsville. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from Henderson State University. Ralph Funk, principal of Jersey Village High School, is the newly elected president of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). He has been involved with TASSP for 25 Ralph Funk years and has served in leadership positions for the past four years — initially as second vice president and subsequently as first vice president and president-elect. TASSP represents almost 6,000 secondary school administrators throughout Texas, providing resources for members such as professional development, networking opportunities, publications and liability insurance.

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Who’s News WHOS NEWS continued from page 23

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Jo Beth Palmer, junior varsity volleyball and assistant track and field coach at Cy-Fair High School, has been inducted into The University of Texas Women’s Athletics Hall of Honor. She was a track Jo Beth Palmer and field and volleyball star at The University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education, from 1980 to 1984, and was the school’s first female two-sport All-American. Her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction is from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Palmer began her career as head girls’ volleyball coach at Del Valle High School in Del Valle ISD. She then served in the same capacity at The University of Texas at San Antonio before moving to Bryan ISD as head girls’ volleyball coach and assistant coach for basketball and track. She held the same positions in Pampa and Spring ISDs before joining Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, where she has spent the past 12 years teaching health and physical education and coaching. Additionally, she has been a club volleyball coach throughout the state for the past 20 years. Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD Superintendent Pat Adams retired in December 2010. Stepping in as interim superintendent is Sandra Quarles, who retired from the district in 2008, after having served 11 years as an elementary principal and teacher. Dumas ISD The new superintendent is Mark Stroebel, who, for the past six years, has served as assistant superintendent. He began his career in Hart ISD, where he was a teacher, coach, athletic director, Mark Stroebel assistant principal and principal of Hart High School. He came to Dumas ISD in 1992 as principal of Dumas Junior High, where he remained until taking on the role of assisSee WHOS NEWS on page 28


Texas School Business • January 2011

TEPSA members gather in the fall

Carol Ann Dawley and Vickey Little of Teague ISD.

Jennifer Villines and Vanessa Kiser of Northwest ISD.

Virginia McKay and Ron Wyatt of Goose Creek ISD.

Kathleen Porterfield and Kelly Bender of Lake Travis ISD.

Janie Braxdale and Sylvia Stowe of Lake Travis ISD.

Camelia Chester and Sara McClain of Aldine ISD.

Lettie Gonzalez and Joan Harding of Spring ISD.

Dan Eble, Kimberly Powers, Diane Phelan and Marla Nickelson of Pasadena ISD.

Martha Garza, Patty Delgado and Kelly VanHee of Hidalgo ISD. January 2011 • Texas School Business


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Arturo Almendarez, Calallen ISD


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Texas School Business • January 2011

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Business and Education Coalition’s Honor Roll, a prestigious academic recognition granted to only 4 percent of all the schools in Texas. “As border districts,” she says, “even though we have challenges, we overcome them by focusing on students’ needs.” Hard conversations to have with kids Evangelina Orozco is the immigrant college coordinator for Austin ISD. A sort of “traveling college advisor,” Orozco visits all the high schools in the district, identifying immigrant students and scheduling counseling sessions Evangelina to assist them with the Orozco unique issues they face in applying for college. Although, she is prohibited by law from singling out undocumented citizens, “a lot of my work ends up being with undocumented students because they need so much help,” she admits. The nature of her position requires Orozco to focus on high school seniors, but she is concerned about reaching immigrant students earlier. Particularly when students are accustomed to hiding their illegal immigration status, they may feel that they can’t approach teachers or counselors to ask for help. “Whenever a teacher talks about college or financial aid, they sort of tune it out because they think, ‘That’s not for me.’ We should be talking to them much earlier,” she urges. “Often by the time I reach them, it’s the first time anyone has told them they can go to college, so they haven’t been preparing.” Senate Bill 1528 One of Orozco’s missions is to publicize Senate Bill 1528 (Texas Education Code 54.052), a law that categorizes immigrant students, including undocumented students, as Texas residents for tuition purposes. Many immigrants believe they can’t attend college here. Says Orozco, “When I go to talk at elementary schools, the parents flock to me afterwards. People don’t know, and we’ve had this law for 10 years!” Working with local organizations, Orozco conducts trainings for counselors and educators on the specific needs of

immigrant students. Often, she is called upon to provide basic education about immigration law as well, because school district employees who don’t understand immigration can often do more harm than good when dealing with undocumented students. It’s been “a real eye-opener,” she says, to learn just how little educators and administrators know about the nation’s immigration system. For example, many teachers and counselors Orozco has encountered don’t understand the complicated reasons why a student is undocumented. “They think it’s just that the parents weren’t proactive or didn’t pay a fee,” she says. “(The educators) then make assumptions, give the kids false information or raise false hopes.” Usually, she finds her listeners are eager to learn about how to help undocumented students. “[M]ost educators are very receptive, very open. They want to know how to serve (those students). They think it makes sense because we have to serve them in K–12.” Especially because “some of these kids are our top students,” Orozco observes, “[l]ots of secondary teachers are not aware of the issues. They can’t believe when someone opens up to them and tells them they are undocumented. Their heart goes out to them.” Emotional repercussions of the issue Orozco tries to be “very clear” with undocumented students when she explains to them that, under current law, even completing a college degree will not automatically lead to citizenship. Nonetheless, she encourages them to continue their education. “I try to inspire them with stories of other kids like them who went to college.” It makes a difference when undocumented high school students see kids like them who went to college and don’t regret it, even if they have not worked out their immigration status. These are “tough conversations to have with kids,” says Orozco, who must explain their limited options after graduation. “It’s a huge, awful realization, what I am telling them,” she says. It may be particularly difficult for students whose families weren’t open with them about their immigration status; some students don’t become aware of their sta-

tus until it’s time to get a driver’s license or a summer job. Many undocumented students, facing these facts, may become despondent or even clinically depressed. Orozco encourages educators to be aware of these issues and to watch for warning signs of depression. On the other hand, she acknowledges that it can be tricky to reach out to undocumented students as a group, because there’s no legal or reliable method of identifying them. She cautions, “We have to be careful with confidentiality, and you can’t make assumptions. Just because one person is undocumented doesn’t mean the whole family is. Older or younger siblings can have a different status; parents can have different status. Just because someone is an English language learner doesn’t mean that he or she is undocumented. It is so individualized; it boils down to a one-on-one conversation. You have to build trust.” The DREAM Act A potential change in federal law may have a dramatic impact on the students Orozco counsels. The Development Relief and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act is a proposed piece of federal legislation that would allow certain undocumented students who graduate from high schools in the United States to obtain conditional permanent residency if they complete two years in either the military or a four-year institution of higher learning. According to the Migration Policy Institute, approximately 825,000 illegal immigrants are likely to become residents if the DREAM Act becomes law. The Obama Administration has been supportive of the DREAM Act. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has stated that the bill would help immigrant students who “have played by all the rules, gone to school, worked hard, (achieved) full attendance. Then they graduate, and the doors of opportunity basically slam shut.” In December, the bill passed in the House but failed to get 60 votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. Supporters plan to bring the bill back in the next legislative session. The Garibay Sisters: the Legacy of Plyler v. Doe Julieta and Montserrat took different paths after graduating from Austin ISD’s Anderson High School. Julieta graduated with honors in 1998. She even got a See BORDER on page 33 January 2011 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHOS NEWS continued from page 24

tant superintendent in 2005. Stroebel has a bachelor of science degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in education from West Texas State University. His superintendent certification was awarded from Sul Ross State University.

Evadale ISD The new superintendent is Brenda McDaniel. Fort Bend ISD Dawn Carlson, previously principal of Barrington Place Elementary School, is now a coordinator in the Department of Organizational Development.

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Texas School Business • January 2011

Melissa Reichardt, most recently assistant principal of Sugar Mill Elementary School, is now principal of Barrington Place Elementary School. An educator with 12 years’ experience, she has been a primary grade teacher at North Shore Elementary School in Houston’s Galena Park ISD and a campus instructional specialist at Galena Park Elementary, where she was also assistant principal. Other administrative positions have included assistant director of the Avance Head Start Program in Houston and assistant principal of Pecan Grove Elementary in Fort Bend ISD. Additionally, she has been an adjunct professor in teacher education courses at North Harris County Community College. Reichardt earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and her master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Georgetown ISD The Georgetown ISD Board of Trustees has appointed Joe Dan Lee as superintendent. He has served as the district’s interim superintendent since July 2010. An educator for 30 years, 23 of those have been spent as a superintendent, including a previous stint as superintendent of Georgetown ISD from 2004 to 2007. He was ESC Region 8’s Superintendent of the Year in 1998 and was a finalist for the same honor in ESC Region 7 in 2002. Lee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Karnes City ISD Jeanette Winn, who was serving as the district’s interim superintendent, is now superintendent. She began her career as a fourth grade teacher in Conroe ISD before moving to San Marcos Jeanette Winn CISD, where she spent three years teaching fourth grade and eighth grade math. She next taught sixth grade science in Seguin ISD. Her first administrative job came in Comal ISD, where she served as assistant principal See WHOS NEWS on page 32

Texas Association of Talented and Gifted meets in Fort Worth for fall conference

Janet Smith of ESC Region 12 and Mary Lea Pfenninger of ESC Region 3.

Cindy Sawyer and Pam Martin of Killeen ISD.

Julie Hartle and Michelle Tolar of HurstEuless-Bedford ISD.

Carolyn Schelp and Gerry Charlebois of Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.

Caroline Samuel, Sarah Burbick and Cynthia Galindo of Klein ISD.

Susannah Brown and Marilyn Evans of Houston ISD.

Kristen Jostin and Mechelle Wright of Big Spring ISD.

Rosy Quintana and Vanessa Arriaga of United ISD.

Carol Frausto of San Antonio ISD and Priscilla Lurz of Northside ISD.

January 2011 • Texas School Business






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Texas ASCD hosts annual conference in Houston Julie Brauchle, Erica Arevalo, Analisa Farah and Laura Dobbins of Corpus Christi ISD.

Nesi Cotton and Andrea Keith of Katy ISD.

Katie Kordel, Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Lawson and Mia Bennett of Frisco ISD.

Dwight Goodwin, Kelli Montgomery and Donna Solley of Birdville ISD.

Margaret Miller and Lane Ledbetter of Birdville ISD with Scott Forester of Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD.

Helen Zanker, Rebecca Bechtold and Jean Siaski of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.

Kevin Hood of Keller ISD and Tim Persall of Hays CISD.

Linda James and Tami Wiethorn of Midway ISD.

Christine Caskey and Sharon Boutwell of Katy ISD. January 2011 • Texas School Business


Who’s News WHOS NEWS continued from page 28

of Frazier Elementary School. She then moved to Arkansas, teaching sixth grade in Lewisville ISD and fourth grade and high school math in Magnolia ISD. She next spent four years in Columbia, S.C., working first as a middle school math teacher, then as an assistant principal for special education and discipline at Nursery Road Elementary and then as assistant principal at Chapin Elementary. Winn returned to Texas in 2003, taking on the role of principal of Sides Elementary in Karnes City ISD. After serving there for four years, she went on to lead Karnes City Junior High and Karnes City High School. Winn’s bachelor’s degree in curriculum and instruction is from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree is from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), where she also earned her superintendent certification. Northwest ISD (Fort Worth) Jacqueline Weilmuenster, coordinator of secondary mathematics for the district, was presented with the Eads Excellence Award from the Texas Association of Supervisors of Mathematics (TASM) in recognition of her commitment to mathematics education. Named for Tommy Eads, who was a teacher, mentor and

supervisor, the annual award recognizes TASM members who have made a dedicated and unique contribution to mathematics education. Socorro ISD (El Paso) El Dorado Ninth Grade Academy, which opened its doors at the beginning of the school year, welcomed Troy Byrne as principal. Most recently secondary math and science instructional coordinator for Clint ISD, he has Troy Byrne been an educator for 19 years, six of those as an administrator. He spent a total of seven years as a teacher of math and science at Clarke Middle School and Americas High School, both in Socorro ISD. Byrne received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from The University of Texas at El Paso. Eastlake High School has Jimmy J. Calderon as its first athletic coordinator/ head football coach. He is an El Paso native who attended Hanks High School in the city’s Ysleta ISD. He Jimmy Calderon played football for and

attended Sul Ross State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. His coaching career began at that institution when he served as an assistant football coach and athletic recruiter. He then was an assistant coach at Alief ISD’s Elsik High School and Giddings High School in Giddings ISD before returning to El Paso in 2001 as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator, and strength and conditioning coach at Riverside High School in Ysleta ISD. After six years in that job, Calderon was promoted to head coach, holding that position until accepting his new role at Eastlake. Leading the new Eastlake High School as principal is Angelica Ramsey. Before moving to her new position at the start of the 2010-2011 school year, she spent three years as assistant principal of SoAngelica Ramsey corro High School. In addition to her career as an administrator, she has been a teacher and softball coach. Ramsey holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific and a master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas at El Paso. She is working toward a doctorate in educational leadership through Liberty University. Victoria ISD The new principal of the Career and Technology Institute is David Lynn. He joined the district in 2006 as an assistant principal of Howell Middle School, coming to that job from West Oso ISD, where he was coordinator of special education, career and technology education and Section 504 programs. He also served as a special education teacher and assistant principal in West Oso. Lynn has two bachelor’s degrees, one in secondary education and one in history, both from Corpus Christi State University (now Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi). His master’s degrees in educational administration and occupational training and development were awarded from that institution.


Texas School Business • January 2011

BORDER continued from page 27

recruiting letter from Yale University, which her mother still keeps in an album. At that time, no Texas law would have enabled her to pay in-state tution. She says it was “pretty depressing” to get out of high school with the awareness that she couldn’t get a job or afford to attend college. When many of her peers left for college, Julieta stayed home and helped with her mother’s work, because “that was the only way I could contribute to the family.” When she learned about a pilot program that enabled certain undocumented high school graduates to attend Dallas and Houston community colleges, Julieta was determined to get back to school. In January 2001, Julieta enrolled at Dallas Community College. When the precursor bill to SB 1528 was passed in June 2001, she transferred to The University of Texas at Austin in 2004 to complete her degree in nursing. She remains undocumented. In Montserrat’s case, when she graduated from high school in 1997, she resolved to continue her education right away. Because attending college here wasn’t an option, she went back to Mexico to live with relatives and start her degree in education. She says going back to Mexico was like experiencing culture shock in reverse. Montserrat’s U.S. education made it difficult for her to adjust. “Yes, I know Spanish, and yes, I was born in Mexico, but it was very hard. You know, I was from this educational system. I am outspoken; I ask questions. It was very traditional there. I couldn’t fit in with

everybody else,” she admits, noting that “in a way” she felt more like an American living in Mexico. After two years, Montserrat was able to get a tourist visa, and her mother’s employers sponsored her to go to Austin Community College as an international student. She then transferred to The University of Texas at Austin. Her tuition was expensive, but she was determined to complete her degree and become a teacher. Montserrat also applied for and gained U.S. citizenship. She teaches bilingual education at the Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten Demonstration School in Austin. As a teacher, Montserrat’s personal background helps her relate to her immigrant students. “I think I am more cognizant of what the families go through,” she says. “A lot of the parents don’t speak English, but they still care a lot about their kids’ education. I relate to that because my mom was involved, even though she didn’t speak the language.” Although teachers can’t ask directly about a student’s immigration status, Montserrat feels that she has a good idea of who is undocumented. For one thing, she is known in her school’s community as a good resource for immigrant student issues. “People at school know me since I’ve been here for four years; they send students to me with questions,” she says. In recent years, she has made a point of visiting all her students’ families at home. This year, that meant 18 home visits at the beginning of the fall semester, already a busy time for teachers.

Immigration law online National Immigration Law Center: NILC.org American Immigration Council’s Immigration Policy Center: immigrationpolicy.org “It’s a chance for them to get to know me,” she explains. “In pre-K, you are really selling the foundation of the educational experience. It’s important to show that teachers want what’s best for the kids. The families love it. They’re like, ‘Are you going to do this every month?’ It does take a lot of time. They always have food out, and they ask me to stay for dinner. I have to tell them no; I’m on a tight schedule.” Like many people, Montserrat remembers one special teacher in her life who was “like a guardian angel” for her and her sister. This particular ESL teacher was aware of the girls’ immigration status and took a practical approach to helping the sisters figure out how to find solutions. “She was just like, ‘OK, what can we do about this?’” In Montserrat’s view, “Having her in our life really pushed us to do a lot of the things that we have been able to do. This country has been so good to us. It’s our responsibility to give back. You can change a person’s life. Whether you are undocumented or not, everyone needs good teachers.” SARAH ORMAN is a school attorney and freelance writer in Austin.

Who’s News West Orange-Cove ISD A new superintendent has been named for the district. He is James Colbert Jr., who returns to Texas after serving as assistant superintendent of campus operations for the Hamilton (Tenn.) James Colbert County Department of Education. An educator with 15 years of experience, he was a classroom teacher, coach and assistant principal in Pflugerville ISD and a principal in Dallas ISD. Colbert’s bachelor’s degree in education was earned from The University of Texas and his master’s degree in education is from Texas State University. TSB January 2011 • Texas School Business


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by Riney Jordan

A note that changed a child’s life forever


here we were, enjoying our granddaughter’s swim meet. But if you’ve ever been to one of these tournaments, you know that there is a great deal of time between your child’s swim heats. It was during this lengthy lull that a group of teachers sitting near me began talking about their jobs. They talked about other teachers, about curriculum, about their administrators. They were all sharing stories. Oh, it might be something that a student had said that gave all of us a hearty laugh. But then the tone got rather somber as one third grade teacher said she had had a classroom experience she didn’t think she would ever forget. “He’s a quiet kid,” she said of one of her students. “He’s never a discipline problem. I hardly know he’s even in the room most days. But a few days ago, he came to school complaining of his arm hurting. I didn’t think too much about it at first, but he came up to my desk and said that his arm was really bothering him.” The teacher went on to say that the student wore long sleeves and wouldn’t show his bare arm; however, his insistence finally got the best of her and she sent the student to the nurse’s office. A few minutes later, the nurse knocked on her door and asked her to step into the hall. “What’s going on?” she asked the nurse. “Did you, by chance, take a look at his arm?” “No, I didn’t. Why? Has he got a serious injury?” “There is nothing wrong with his arm, other than something written on it,” the nurse quietly replied. “What? What’s written … and who wrote it?” “His mother wrote it. According to him, she was drinking last night and got upset with him. To show him how angry at


Texas School Business • January 2011

him she was, she took a permanent marker and wrote ‘s---head’ on his arm as punishment.” What? This can’t be real, I thought, as the commotion of the swim meet faded into the background. No mother would write something like that on her child’s arm — or would she? The facial expressions among the teachers in the group said it all. Eyes were wide open; mouths were hanging open. Almost instantaneously, I felt sick to my stomach. “We called Child Protective Services; they checked it out and, yes, the mother admitted it,” the teacher said, adding that she didn’t know what action would be taken against the mother, if any. I’ve thought about that young man almost constantly since that afternoon. Here was a student who had to figure out a way to get some help. His arm wasn’t hurting, but his heart had been crushed. He had no need for pain pills; he just needed someone to let him know that he had worth. Such a cruel act has long-reaching effects. I have no doubt that this young boy will never forget the humiliation and heartbreak he suffered following his mother’s cruel and unthinkable action. None of us are perfect parents, but when you hear such a story, it makes you want to love your own even more. It’s a different world today, and kids need our love and support more than ever. And that’s why, when the wife and I returned home, we made it a point to give each of our grown children a call to simply say, “We just wanted you to know how much we love you and how proud we are of you. And don’t ever forget it!” RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book, “All the Difference,” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at riney@yahoo.com or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.

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