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68

YEARS

The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas

Texas School Business

JANUARY / FEBRUARY

2021

A diverse perspective Killeen ISD debuts African-American studies course

Also in this issue: TSPRA President Veronica Sopher TASBO President Darrell Dodds


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Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

12 Cover Story

14

A diverse perspective

TSPRA President Profile Veronica Sopher leads TSPRA through COVID-19 and beyond

Killeen ISD debuts African-American studies course by Dacia Rivers

by James Golsan

16 TASBO President Profile New TASBO president brings decades of financial leadership to the role by James Golsan

Departments 6 Who’s News 22 Calendar 25 Ad Index

Columns

5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 Digital Frontier by Henry Hall 18 The Arts 20 Student Voices by Ana Paula Villicana 25 The Back Page by Riney Jordan

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.


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MIDWINTERCONFERENCE LEADERS CULTIVATING LEADERS We're bringing the 2021 TASA Midwinter Conference to you! Join us January 25-27 for a virtual version of our premier conference that will feature the same high-quality content, engagement, and opportunities for making personal connections that you have come to expect from TASA's Midwinter Conference! Participate in sessions live and/or watch them following the conference for up to 30 days!

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From the editor

H

appy new year! I hope 2021 finds you refreshed, recharged and ready for whatever’s next.

We’ve got an inspiring feature for you in this issue of Texas School Business, featuring Keina Cook, a Killeen ISD teacher who is leading one of the first African-American studies classes in the state, based on a new TEAapproved curriculum. That kicks off on page 12, and you won’t want to miss it. To see what educators in the state are doing to motivate and educate students in new and forward-thinking ways, even while juggling the requirements COVID-19 has sprung upon them is truly inspiring. I am no clairvoyant, but I believe there are better days ahead for all of us. And as a parent myself, I’d like to thank you all for continuing to deliver high-quality education to Texas’ public school students, all while keeping them safe. Please know that you are appreciated, in my house and beyond.

Texas School Business

Dacia Rivers Editorial Director

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021 Volume LXVIII, Issue 1 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Dacia Rivers DESIGN

Phaedra Strecher COLUMNISTS

Henry Hall Riney Jordan Jim Walsh

ADVERTISING SALES

Jennifer Garrido

TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Kevin Brown

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA RELATIONS

Amy Francisco

Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published online bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators. © Copyright 2021 Texas Association of School Administrators

Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

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Who’s News Abilene ISD Ketta Garduno has accepted the position of associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Most recently the district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, the former teacher, counselor and principal also spent two years as executive director of career and technical education. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Abilene Christian University and her doctorate from Texas A&M University.

Bridge City ISD Superintendent Todd Lintzen has announced his intention to retire at the close of the 2020-21 school year. This will complete a 36-year career in education.

Burkburnett ISD New Superintendent Brad Owen has been with the district for 24 years, most recently serving as executive director of innovative learning and technology as well as assistant superintendent of administrative services. The Burkburnett High School alumnus received his bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, his master’s degree from Midwestern State University and his doctorate in organizational leadership and development from Grand Canyon University.

Carthage ISD Jim Dunlap has been named interim superintendent. He previously led Hallsville and Beckville ISDs and most recently was Carthage ISD’s chief operating officer.

Celina ISD The district’s new superintendent, Tom Maglisceau, comes to Celina from Rockwall ISD, where he was assistant superintendent of student services. The 27-year educator previously served in Dallas and Highland Park (Dallas) ISDs.

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Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

College Station ISD Now serving as executive director of secondary education is Tiffany Parkerson, former principal of College Station High School. She has been with the district for 18 years as an English teacher, instructional coach and assistant principal in addition to her most recent position. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

Coppell ISD Former Coppell High School band director Gerry Miller is now the district’s coordinator of fine arts. He was Frisco ISD’s founding director of bands and fine arts department chair, coming to Coppell in 2016.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Former Cypress High School director of instruction Michael Contreras is now principal of Labay Middle School. Currently in his 26th year as an educator, he worked in San Angelo and Judson ISDs before joining CFISD as an assistant principal. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from Angelo State University and his doctorate in professional leadership from the University of Houston. Tim Estelle, coordinator of

secondary fine arts, has been honored with the designation of Administrator of the Year by the Texas Educational Theatre Association (TxETA). The award is presented to an administrator who has demonstrated outstanding work advocating for fine arts education. Former Cypress Ranch High School associate principal Jason Tullos now leads Hamilton Middle School as principal. He has spent 14 of his 19 years as an educator in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, working as an assistant principal before taking his most recent position. His bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in educational leadership were awarded from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Cypress Point High School’s former assistant principal, Lloyd Turner, has been promoted to principal of Aragon Middle School. An educator for 11 years, he has taught at Hamilton and Arnold middle schools and served as a content instructional specialist at Labay Middle School. He is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University, where he also earned his master’s degree in education administration.

Dallas ISD Dallas ISD’s newly hired deputy chief of construction services is Brent Alfred. An architect and certified construction manager, he has more than 20 years of experience in design and construction, focusing the past 12 years on K-12 schools and learning environments. He holds a degree in architecture from Southern University. Susana Cordova has been appointed deputy superintendent of Dallas ISD, coming to her new position from Colorado, where she was superintendent of the Denver Public Schools. With more than 30 years of experience as an educator, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction/education administration from the University of Colorado. Libby Daniels has accepted the position of chief of communications. She has been with the district since 2008, working as acting chief and deputy chief of communications and executive director of Dallas Schools Television. She received her degree in communications from Texas State University.

Superintendent

Michael Hinojosa was named

2020’s Educator of the Year during the annual Council of the Great City Schools Conference, held virtually in the fall. His award includes a $10,000 college scholarship, to be presented to a student in Dallas ISD.


Denver City ISD

Jarrell ISD

Kerrville ISD

Superintendent Patrick Torres has arrived at his new district with 27 years of experience in education, having served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and assistant superintendent in Dallas, Wylie, GrapevineColleyville, Eagle Mountain Saginaw and Red Oak ISDs. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in education from Dallas Baptist University.

Jarrell ISD’s new superintendent is Toni Hicks, a 25-year veteran of Texas public education. Formerly a teacher in El Paso and Leander ISDs and an assistant principal and principal in Round Rock ISD, she was most recently Leander ISD’s assistant superintendent of curriculum. She is a graduate of Texas State University with a master’s degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a doctorate from the University of Texas.

Kerrville ISD board of trustee member Rolinda Schmidt has been reelected to a three-year term on the board of directors of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), representing ESC Region 20, position A. She has served on the Kerrville ISD board since 1996, holding the positions of vice president, president and, currently, secretary.

Ector ISD Jennifer Morris, the district’s

new superintendent, has been an educator for 16 years. She worked in Dodd City and Anna ISDs and S&S CISD and, for the past three years, was Ector ISD’s elementary principal.

Garland ISD Sherese Lightfoot has joined

the district as executive director of communications and public relations. With experience as a speech and communications teacher, teacher coordinator, assistant principal and school improvement officer, she comes to Garland from Lancaster ISD, where she was chief of communications.

Georgetown ISD New chief financial officer Scott Tipton comes to Georgetown ISD after serving in the same position for the past five years in Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and Bandera ISDs. He earned his master’s degree in instructional technology from West Texas A&M University.

Houston ISD Atherton Elementary School principal Albert Lemons has announced his upcoming retirement, bringing to a close a 55-year career as an educator. He began as a teacher in the 1960s and was the first African-American teacher at Oates Elementary. He took the reins at Atherton in 1990.

La Villa ISD Former La Villa High School principal Robert Muñoz has been promoted to district superintendent.

Katy ISD Haskett Junior High’s new principal, David Paz, has spent his career in the district, beginning as a teacher and going on to serve as an assistant principal and, most recently, as principal of Mayde Creek Junior High. He earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston and a doctorate in public administration from Texas A&M University.

Keller ISD The new director of assessment, accountability and improvement is Marjorie Martinez, an employee of the district for 18 years. She has been a teacher, assistant principal and, most recently, coordinator of assessment. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and a master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas. Jennifer Price has been

named executive director of curriculum and instruction. A 21-year employee of KISD, she has served as a special education teacher, assistant principal, coordinator of assessment and, most recently, director of assessment, accountability and improvement. She earned both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education administration from Texas Christian University.

Lamar CISD After leading the district for 20 years, Thomas Randle has announced his upcoming retirement, effective at the end of the school year. The 43-year educator has spent 26 years as a superintendent, previously leading La Marque ISD. He was ESC Region 4’s Superintendent of the Year twice, in 2001 and 2017. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and his doctorate from Oklahoma State University.

Leander ISD The Leander ISD board of trustees announced the appointment of Erika Cruz as principal of Plain Elementary School. Formerly an employee of Round Rock and Pflugerville ISDs, she holds a bachelor’s degree in applied learning and development from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in elementary education from Texas State University. Leander ISD’s newest campus, Tarvin Elementary School, will be led by Christy Hilbun, who has been Bagdad Elementary’s principal for the past four years. She has been with the district since 2004, working as a kindergarten teacher, instructional coach and assistant principal. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas > See Who’s News, page 8 Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

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Who’s News > Continued from page 7

Tech University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. A new child nutrition services director is in place for the district. Upenda Sibley joins LISD with 25 years of experience. She most recently held leadership positions with Southwest Foodservice Excellence.

Mitch VandenBoom, who was assistant principal of McKinney High School, has been chosen to lead Faubion Middle School. An educator for 13 years, he joined McKinney ISD in 2009. He received his bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. He is pursuing his doctorate at the University of North Texas.

New Caney ISD Matt Calvert, who had been

New Communications Director Matthew Prosser has been with the district since 2016 as a communication specialist. He was previously a newspaper journalist and photographer in Texas, Maryland and Ohio.

serving as the district’s deputy superintendent, has agreed to take the position of interim superintendent. He was with Marshall ISD for nine years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent of business and financial services before joining New Caney ISD as executive director of finance.

McKinney ISD

Pearland ISD

Longview ISD

Jennifer Harrison is the

new principal of McClure Elementary School. She spent the past five years as assistant principal of McNeil Elementary and has 15 years of education experience. She previously taught in Garland and Allen ISDs, coming to McKinney in 2005. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University. Melanie Machost has accepted

a promotion from assistant principal of Cockrill Middle School to principal of Dowell Middle School. An educator for 16 years and a campus administrator for four, she began her career in Garland ISD and came to McKinney in 2006. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University. Johnson Middle School now has Holly Rogers as principal. The longtime district campus administrator and Dowell Middle School principal brings 27 years of experience to her new assignment. She is a graduate of East Texas State University with a master’s degree in educational administration from Dallas Baptist University.

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Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

Larry Berger, now serving

as assistant superintendent for support services, was previously director of maintenance and operations and principal of Pearland High School. He is a two-time winner of the district’s Secondary Principal of the Year award and was honored in 2015 with H-E-B’s Excellence in Education Secondary Principal award. The new principal of Alexander Middle School, Andrea Clayton, has 16 years of experience in education, working as a math and science teacher and volleyball, basketball and soccer coach in San Antonio ISD. In Pearland ISD, she was an assistant principal at Sablatura Middle School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary and her master’s degree in education from Concordia University. Brad Hayes is the district’s

new director of safe and secure schools. He was principal of Alexander Middle School since 2017 and taught science at Pearland High School prior to that. He began his career in Galveston ISD and was an administrator in Cleveland and Clear Creek ISDs. He is a graduate of the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where he was awarded

both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education administration. La’Kesha Henson-Vaughn has

been named Pearland ISD’s first director of childhood education. She has been with the district for 15 years, serving for the past five as principal of Rogers Middle School. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University and her doctorate in educational leadership from Prairie View A&M University. Director of Transportation

Keith Kaup has been named

director of the National Association of Pupil Transportation for ESC Region 4. He has held his current position with the district since 2019. Newly appointed Cockrell Elementary School principal Rebecca Mathis is a product of Pearland ISD schools who went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and master’s degree in special education from the University of South Carolina. She spent the past five years as assistant principal of Magnolia Elementary and previously worked in Spring Branch ISD and as a teacher in the Salt Lake City (Utah) School District. Now leading Rogers Middle School as principal is Ajunta Thomas. She is a former counselor, director of college guidance, teacher and career advisor in Clear Creek and Fort Bend ISDs and the University of Houston. She holds two bachelor’s degrees, in English linguistics and business administration, from the University of Houston, and received her master’s degree in counselor education from Texas Southern University.

Ponder ISD Jeremy Thompson, who spent the past 15 years as superintendent of Era ISD, now leads Ponder ISD.

Reagan County ISD Eric Hallmark is the district’s new superintendent, a promotion from his position as assistant superintendent. > See Who’s News, page 10


THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED

TSB has a new website!

Jesus texts too much? by Jim Walsh

I

learned quite a bit about “The Poet X” by reading the case of Coble v. Lake Norman Charter School. This book, by Elizabeth Acevedo, won the 2018 National Book Award for Young Adults. The book is about a 15-year-old girl in a poor neighborhood in Harlem. The court sums up the story like this: The self-described “brown and big and angry” Dominican girl furiously confronts catcalling boys, chafes under her Catholic parents’ restrictive rules, endures verbal and physical abuse from her mother, and both adores and resents her “genius” twin brother, who seems to be everything she’s not. Lake Norman Charter School included the book in the required reading curriculum for ninth grade. Not surprisingly, some parents did not approve. The school allowed any parent to have their child opted out of reading the book. If they chose that, the student would get an alternative, equivalent assignment. But the Cobles wanted the book removed from the curriculum altogether, and so they took the matter to court. The first step was to seek a temporary restraining order. This is a high hill to climb, and the Cobles did not make it to the top. The court denied the request for the TRO, noting in particular that it was not likely that the parents would succeed on the merits. The young girl at the center of the story does express some negativity, even hostility, toward religion. The court points out that this is not so surprising, given that “her mother quotes scripture to her while abusing her.” Moreover, the court pointed out that “even figures in the Bible like Job doubted God’s goodness.” In its legal analysis, the court points out that

the school merely included this book in the curriculum. It was not endorsing the thoughts expressed by this fictional character: To include the work in the curriculum, without further evidence of the school’s endorsement, no more communicates governmental endorsement of the author’s or characters’ religious views than to assign “Paradise Lost,” “Pilgrim’s Progress,” or “The Divine Comedy” conveys endorsements or approval of Milton’s, Bunyan’s or Dante’s Christianity. The book sounded just right for ninth graders to me. In my day it was Holden Caulfield. Now it’s Poet X who wonders if “Jesus is like a friend who texts too much.” The court summed it up: The passages identified by Plaintiffs are references to religion in a work depicting a poor, Afro-Latina, adolescent’s painful process of coming of age. These passages are less theology than anthropology, less commentary on religion than comment prompted by the frustrating confrontation of adolescents with parents, sexual desire, religious doubt, and loneliness. Texas allows parents to have their child opted out of any assignment that conflicts with the parents’ religious or moral beliefs. So if this happened in Texas, the school would be required to allow the student to read some other book. But when parents seek to dictate what goes into or stays out of school assignments, they are rarely successful. The school district decides the curriculum. The court denied the TRO on Nov. 6, 2020, and the decision can be found at 2020 WL 6545871.

Check us out online at texasschoolbusiness.com for: ► recent issues ► how to submit articles ► Bragging Rights nomination info ► advertising information ► and more! Texas School Business THE NEWS MAGAZINE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN TEXAS

68 Years and Counting

JIM WALSH is an attorney with Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle PC. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

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Who’s News > Continued from page 8

Round Rock ISD A new position, chief equity officer, has been created in Round Rock ISD, with DeWayne Street selected to fill it. He brings two decades of experience in equity and diversity to his new job, most recently as a diversity consultant for business and other organizations.

Sherman ISD

Spring ISD

Jefferson Elementary principal Nancy Jung has been selected to lead the district’s new full-day prekindergarten program at Perrin Learning Center, slated to open for the 2021-22 school year. She will bring 30 years of education experience to the program, and holds a master’s degree in school administration.

Anderson Elementary School assistant principal LaToya Patterson is the new ESC Region 4 president-elect of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). The alumna of Spring ISD schools taught at Dekaney High School and at Anderson before taking the assistant principal role in 2017.

Round Rock ISD has named James Williby its first assistant chief of police. He has served as a school resource officer since 2012 and is a former deputy sheriff. He holds a bachelor’s degree from EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University.

Steven Traw, who has served as principal of Sory Elementary since it opened in 2008, will take on another new campus when Dillingham Elementary opens in the fall of 2021. He graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and earned his master’s degree in school administration from the same institution. Prior to joining Sherman ISD, he worked in Mansfield and Fort Worth ISDs.

San Angelo ISD

South San Antonio ISD

Executive director of athletics Rodney Chant has been named 2020’s Athletic Director of the Year by the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA). He is beginning his 27th year in education, having started his career as a coach in Terrell ISD and going on to serve as director of athletics in Pasadena and Fort Bend ISDs. He joined San Angelo ISD in July 2020.

Marc Puig is South San Antonio ISD’s newly appointed superintendent. He comes to San Antonio from Beeville ISD, where he held the top post since 2016. Prior to that, he led San Benito CISD and Culberson County-Allamoore ISD. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington and his doctorate in education from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Who’s News

Valley View ISD A 26-year educator, Monica Luna has been chosen to lead Valley View ISD as superintendent. An employee of the district since 1996, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Wharton ISD A new superintendent is in place for Wharton ISD. Michael O’Guin began his career as a teacher in Fort Bend ISD, going on to serve in Galveston, Van Vleck, Cypress-Fairbanks and Nacogdoches ISDs. In 2018 he accepted the position of deputy academic officer in Hays CISD.

Ysleta ISD (El Paso) Norma Myers, principal

of Capistrano Elementary School, is ESC Region 19’s 2020-21 president-elect of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). ◄

Do you have good news to share about your district? Send news items for Who’s News directly to news@texasschoolbusiness.com

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Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021


DIGITAL FRONTIER

How instructional technology reimagined the student learning experience during a pandemic by Henry Hall

L

ike many districts, Richardson ISD began this school year in a phase of forced innovation with students attending school virtually. Throughout the school year, students have had the option to continue to attend school virtually or in person. While the fluid nature of this situation presents a variety of challenges, working in tandem, classroom teachers and technology departments are reevaluating how instruction is delivered and developing positive student learning experiences and outcomes. As part of Richardson ISD’s “Connect With IT” initiative, the district’s instructional technology department conducted a needs assessments within our 55 campuses to determine the support structure for the 2020-21 school year. After conducting onsite campus visits, it became vividly clear that unlike ever before, teachers were in need of additional support in the area of instructional technology integration. To assist with this, the instructional technology department developed a program called AIM (Apple Integration Mentors) and offered participation to all 43 of our elementary campuses, all of which have a 1:1 student iPad implementation in place for grades pre-K through six.  As part of the AIM program, which is being led by two instructional technology specialists who are both Apple Distinguished Educators, one representative from each elementary school was selected by the campus leadership team to participate in a specialized half-day technology training once a month. Training was designed to support the unique needs and challenges teachers face in current educational environments, in which students are simultaneously virtual, face-toface, or co-seated. Program participants receive specialized training on leveraging Apple tools and devices to create engaging learning

experiences for virtual and face-to-face students. After each training, AIM members share their learning with campus staff in a variety of ways, including professional development sessions offered throughout the day and before/after school, Lunch and Learns, Tech Tip Tuesdays Smores, videos, and training modules in our LMS.

District outcomes • Create a team of digital leaders fluent in navigating Apple tools and iPad who model best teaching practices in virtual, hybrid and face-to-face learning environments. • Build a comprehensive bank of student and educator digital artifacts that demonstrate exemplary instruction.

“Participants are enjoying the hands-on immersive experience as they work together to create innovative solutions to classroom challenges,” said Robin Gunter, director of instructional technology. The “Connect With IT” initiative has created a community of like-minded colleagues focused on maximizing the potential of devices to engage students and create personalized and meaningful learning experiences, whether the classroom setting is in person, virtual, or hybrid. The program has been a great success at a very critical time and continues to receive positive recognition by campus staff, central office leadership and our school board.

• Provide a platform for students to showcase learning with iPads. • Foster a culture of innovative teaching, meaningful technology integration and student-centered learning. • Develop a community of innovative and collaborative educators. AIM candidate qualifications • Teachers and LITES can participate. Exceptions for instructional coaches depend on the campus. • Minimum two years of teaching experience • Must commit to attending all F2F sessions and submitting deliverables.

Program expectations • Integrate Apple curriculum and tools within daily instruction and continue to evaluate and improve upon instruction. • Lead by example by modeling best teaching practices. Support could include leading professional developments, sharing resources, writing newsletters, filming tutorials and partnering with instructional technology. • Showcase digital lessons and activities and discuss how methods used align with ISTE standards and impact learning. • Build a comprehensive portfolio of student digital artifacts demonstrating multimodal, student-centered learning.

• Submit deliverables that connect learning standards and align with program rubrics. • Eager to learn and apply studentcentered instructional models. • Effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues. • Can present learning and showcase digital artifacts at a district level. •

Willing to try approaches, methods and apply new methodologies within daily teaching practices.

HENRY HALL is chief technology officer in Richardson ISD.

Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

11


▲ Connie Crittenden, Killeen High School's Gear-Up coordinator, visits the African-American studies course to share her family's heritage.

“For me, I felt that it was long overdue,” says Cook, a ninth-year educator who was named one of Killeen ISD’s 2020 teachers of the year.

A diverse perspective Killeen ISD debuts AfricanAmerican studies course by Dacia Rivers

A

bout a year and a half ago, Killeen ISD’s Susan Buckley, who then served as principal of Killeen High School and now works as chief learning officer for secondary schools in the district, approached Keina Cook, a history teacher at the high school, about developing a semester-long special topics class that focused on African-American

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Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

history. Cook’s reaction was immediate.

Keina Cook

“She hardly got a chance to get the words out of her mouth before I was like, ‘I’m in. Let’s do it,’” Cook says.

The timing was fortuitous. While Cook and Buckley were planning the course, TEA

approved the standards for an AfricanAmerican studies elective. The district jumped on the offering with both feet, and in August 2020, Killeen became one of the first districts in Texas to offer an AfricanAmerican social studies elective, with Cook leading the classroom. “For me, I felt that it was long overdue,” says Cook, a ninth-year educator who was


named one of Killeen ISD’s 2020 teachers of the year. Having taught AP U.S. history and I.B. history in the district, Cook has seen firsthand how the curriculum isn’t as inclusive as it could be. While the curriculum does touch on the history of marginalized people, Cook saw an opportunity to give students more. To go deeper. “Black history is American history,” she says. “And I think the time is right, right now. I think with what’s happening in the world and kids being curious, our awesome student population needs to be able to see themselves in the work that they’re doing and what they’re studying.” In Killeen ISD, African-American students make up 35% of enrollment. By introducing this elective, Cook and KHS Principal Kara Trevino hoped to give interested students insight into their own stories and introduce them to lesser-known heroes of U.S. history. “We have a very diverse population here,” Trevino says. “As the principal of the school, I think it’s so important to be inclusive and to value each person, their inner soul, where they come from and who they are.” While Cook’s AP U.S. history course includes mentions of women, Native Americans and other minorities, she says it is a history based on white men and their achievements. The majority of Black history taught in the course focuses around the Civil Rights movement, which is important, but limited to one brief unit in the class. By contrast, Cook begins the AfricanAmerican studies class in Africa. She says that she only learned about African kingdoms from her father, not in any history class. Most U.S. history classes begin teaching the Black experience only after African-Americans had already been enslaved and brought to the country. “Whenever we are taught our history, it starts as if they were born enslaved,” she

says. “We don’t talk about who they were and what kind of civilizations they had prior to them being enslaved and brought here. It’s important to know that they were human beings. They weren’t born enslaved. It was a condition placed on them.” Landry Searcy is a student in Cook’s African-American studies class. She’s also enrolled in AP U.S. history, and the classes happen to fall adjacent to each other on her schedule. “The two are very different. When I go to African-American studies, the class is told from a different perspective,” she says. “I enjoy having those classes back to back.” Throughout the hallways of Killeen High, Cook’s class is generating buzz. Searcy says she expects that by next year, kids will be fighting to get into the elective. Cook says she’s heard from other teachers how her students have been bringing up things they’ve learned in the course in their other classes. “They’re definitely taking what we’re doing with them,” she says. “They’ve never had these conversations before, so the idea that we can enhance their lives in that way and have them remember something beyond just the content and the curriculum is very exciting.” Kicking off any new program in the midst of a pandemic is a feat. Due to COVID-19, some of Cook’s plans for the course have had to be scaled back, but she’s still managed to make it a dynamic experience for her students. She’s partnered with an art history teacher in the district to come in for some cross-curricular learning. A local community member came to share her family history with the class. Members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club did a presentation for the class, teaching students about the Buffalo Soldiers and the U.S. Colored Troops, former African-American factions of the U.S. Army frequently missing from traditional history lessons. Cook was the first to advocate for the class in the district, and it’s clear she is passionate and excited about its future. “If I could teach this class all day, every day, I would be in absolute heaven!” she says.

▲ A student in Cook's class addresses his classmates.

Cook is working toward a master’s degree and has partnered with Daina Ramey Berry, the chair of the history department at the University of Texas at Austin and a renowned scholar on gender, slavery and Black women’s history. Through the collaboration, the university will offer the district workshops and support as the class curriculum is developed and expanded.

▲ Students in Killeen's African-American studies course visit a mock convict leasing gallery.

Trevino is quick to credit Cook with nurturing this collaborative relationship and with dedicating herself wholeheartedly to bringing this ground-breaking course offering to students in the district. “She is the rock and has made this all happen,” Trevino says. “I’m just here to support it. I’m here to keep pushing. And I think that’s important, for teachers and principals to be able to have that relationship.” Superintendent John Craft agrees. “Ms. Cook has dedicated countless hours to developing the curriculum which captures the history of Black Americans and the significant contributions they have made to our country,” he says. “We look forward to expanding this course in the future.” Cook’s dream is to see her example spread throughout the state. From more AfricanAmerican studies classes to similar offerings focused on Mexican-American and Asian-American studies, she hopes other educators will take up the call until everyone who has contributed to American history is represented in curriculum in a meaningful way. “For administrators, I think it’s important for them to be willing and supportive,” she says. “Please support teachers in their endeavors, because so many of us are locked into a specified curriculum and a pacing, and we don’t get to go as deeply as we would like to. But this class gives you the opportunity to do that, and it’s been a joy. I feel like a first-year teacher all over again.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business magazine. Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

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PRESIDENT PROFILE

Texas Schools Public Relations Association

Veronica Sopher leads TSPRA through COVID-19 and beyond by James Golsan

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ew Texas Schools Public Relations Association (TSPRA) President Veronica Sopher is a public relations professional to her core. While much of her career has been spent in the education field, her education and early career were defined by success in both public relations and marketing. A product of Houston ISD and the University of North Texas journalism school, Sopher’s early career included brief stints in finance marketing and then public relations for a public health charity system.

It was a transition that worked out very well for Sopher, as she’s served in a similar role for multiple large Texas school districts.

While a career in public relations never stopped being Sopher’s passion, it was her time working in charity that made her realize she very much enjoyed working jobs with a service component involved. At the young age of 27, she took over as director of public information for Arlington ISD, and says part of why she chose that path was “comfort with the system.”

It was during her time at Arlington ISD that Sopher first became involved with TSPRA.

“After my time in public health care, I moved into public education, and a lot of it was the same structure. You work with elected officials, you’re accountable to the taxpayer, so it just felt like a good fit.”

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“I did that job for six years, then took over as assistant superintendent of community and government relations with Leander ISD, and recently took over as chief communications officer for Fort Bend ISD, so basically the same exact role 20-plus years of public education,” Sopher says, adding that she’s excited to be closer to home (Houston) again with the Fort Bend move.

“As soon as I got on board in Arlington, I got on board with TSPRA. I’ve had numerous leadership roles with TSPRA over the years; I served as parliamentarian on the executive committee; I served as vice president over the Austin area for a couple of terms, and now I’m president-elect,” she says, adding that in addition to those positions, she has occupied numerous committee positions at TSPRA during her time with the group.


“After my time in public health care, I moved into public education, and a lot of it was the same structure. You work with elected officials, you’re accountable to the taxpayer, so it just felt like a good fit.” — Veronica Sopher

When asked about her goals for her time in leadership now she is set to assume TSPRA’s presidency, Sopher is quick to point to service of her constituents. “During my time as president, my focus is going to be on supporting our members during this global crisis,” she says, “I don’t see this situation going away any time soon, and it’s incredibly important to be able to respond to the needs of our constituents, both internal and external, during these challenging times,” adding that this is a dynamic, ever changing situation, and the need for clear communication is paramount. “At the end of the day, the health and safety of our students and staff are more important than they have ever been, so for my presidency, I want to make sure that the organization is supporting the members at every level they need to be supported.” That sort of support has been and will continue to be especially important as Texas’ education system continues to function through COVID-19, and the need for clear, up to the minute communication between school districts and parents has never been more important. “The expectation today is that people receive real time information and data, and we have to be available to respond to inquiries, craft statements, and push them out as quickly as possible, all while doing our traditional work of celebrating the great accomplishments that are happening in our school districts, whether those accomplishments are happening virtually or face-to-face.”

It is that duality many districts are dealing with — the challenge of educating students in both a virtual and an in-person setting — that drives corresponding challenges on the communications side, according to Sopher. “We have to ensure that we are providing factual timely information to our parents, as well as our staff, so that they are comfortable working in whatever modality their district is operating in during the pandemic. The pressure is on as communications professionals to execute that responsibility.” While this is a challenge every district must navigate, doing so as a statewide organization with membership spanning most Texas school districts is a unique challenge unto itself. When it comes to navigating that challenge, Sopher is grateful for TSPRA leaders and membership that came before her, and is hopeful that she can “pay it forward” as a resource for young communications professionals during her time as president. As an experienced communications professional with a strong track record in public education, Sopher is likely to be exactly that kind of resource — and more — during her time in leadership.

Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) Membership: TSPRA members include public school personnel, foundation staff and boards, education associations and businesses that serve schools and foundations. Mission: TSPRA is a professional organization whose members are dedicated to improving public education in Texas by promoting effective public relations practices, providing professional development for its members and improving communication between Texans and their public schools. Year founded: 1962 Number of members: more than 1,000 Website: tspra.org

JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional based in Austin.

Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

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PRESIDENT PROFILE

Texas Association of School Business Officials

New TASBO president brings decades of financial leadership to the role by James Golsan

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imagined when he started (“I thought, ‘I was in banking, this school finance stuff will be easy.’ That was a mistake,” Dodds acknowledges with a laugh), it turned out to be the right choice.

“Education was the family business,” Dodds says, though it was not the business where he began his career.

“The whole way” is now approaching 20 years in the education profession. His career in the field began at Alpine ISD in 2002, where he would spend 16 years, ultimately serving as the district’s assistant superintendent for school finance. In 2018, he moved to Greenwood ISD just outside of Midland, where he occupied the same role, and then took over as chief financial officer at Midland ISD in the spring of 2020, mere days before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Texas.

ew Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) President Darrell Dodds has had the education profession in his blood his whole life; it just took him a few years to realize it was the career for him. The West Texas native grew up surrounded by teachers and education leaders. His father taught, coached and became a superintendent later in his career; a career path his uncles on the same side followed as well. His mother was also a teacher.

“I was in banking for about 14 years,” he says, “And I decided I wasn’t liking the way the banking industry was moving, so I wanted to do something else.” With those deep family roots in education, Dodds thought it would be a natural transition to take the skills he’d developed in the finance industry and move straight into working in school finance. And while the move turned out to be more of an adjustment than he

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“The move from the corporate world to education has been a blessing the whole way,” he says.

“March 24 was my first day to report to work, and then they sent us home right after that,” he laughs. As it turns out, Midland hired exactly the man they needed for a challenging time, as Dodds is used to operating under difficult circumstances. On his first day at Alpine ISD, the district was operating with a negative fund balance, had an


We were in a position through the strategic plan to respond quickly to the pandemic, get much of our curriculum updated for online delivery, get our technology updated, that sort of thing. — Darrell Dodds

interim superintendent, and was under TEA conservatorship. Dodds and the rest of the leadership team at the district were able to guide Alpine ISD out of those rough waters, and he hopes that experience, along with his near 20 years of financial leadership in the education field, will put him in a good position to guide Midland ISD through the current crisis. In the meantime, he says, his staff and colleagues have made the transition as easy as he could have hoped. Dodds’ leadership experience will also serve him well when he takes the reins at TASBO in the spring of 2021. He has been involved with the organization almost as long as he’s been in the field, and credits TASBO with much of his professional development when it comes to getting up to speed on school finance. “When you’re entering a new profession, you want to do everything you can to help yourself get ready for the job. TASBO was great about meeting with me and giving me the foundation I needed to work in school finance and get to the point that I was able to meet and work with other education business professionals,” Dodds says. He’s returned the favor by serving in various TASBO leadership positions through the course of his career, becoming an officer with the organization in 2019 prior to his pending presidency. Dodds says first and foremost that he hopes to build on and continue to work within the structure of TASBO’s strategic plan over the next two years. It is that strategic plan, and the staff at TASBO working to implement it, that Dodds credits with the organization’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were in a position through the strategic plan to respond quickly to the pandemic, get much of our curriculum updated for online delivery, get our technology updated, that sort of thing. Leadership, including [former TASBO President] Michelle Trongaard and especially organization staff deserve a lot of credit for getting us into a position to respond when a crisis hit,” he says, adding that he hopes the new round of five-year strategic planning organizational leadership has recently completed will be just as effective for navigating future challenges. To say Dodds’ TASBO presidency is starting in a challenging moment would be an understatement. A legislative session looms in 2021, and the education field is still months and possibly years from fighting all the way through the impact of COVID-19. Such times call for experienced, steady, compassionate leadership, all of which are qualities Dodds embodies. TASBO is in good hands going into 2021. JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional based in Austin.

Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) Membership: TASBO supports Texas school district employees in all areas of business and operations, including accounting and finance, operations and student services, personnel, purchasing and inventory management, technology and student data, and safety and risk management. Mission: TASBO maintains a high standard for ethical conduct while continuing to evaluate the direction of the organization and the profession. Using its core values and purpose as a guide, TASBO seeks a bright future for schools and its members. Year founded: 1946 Number of members: 7,000 Website: tasbo.org

Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

17


THE ARTS

News in fine arts education

Literacy in the visual arts classroom by Kaileigh Newman

â—„ Students in Aldine ISD's visual arts classes

experiment with mood and tone as part of a curriculum that is integrated with literature classes.

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n Houston, Aldine ISD is a mainstay in the art scene. The visual arts department continues to provide choices and opportunities to celebrate student artwork. A student who is lucky enough to spend 13 years in an Aldine ISD art classroom will experience thoughtful lessons, challenging contests, eye-opening field experiences and rigorous pathways of learning. The rapport that art teachers develop with students allows the teacher to nurture the passion and talent that they bring to the classroom. In the visual arts department we foster our own skills and approaches to teaching art through tight-knit professional learning communities and widereaching state and national networking opportunities. The Aldine ISD visual arts department is a group of uncommonly capable, endlessly encouraging, and particularly professional teachers. They cherish the opportunity to learn with, from and about each other, passing that attitude on to the students of our community.

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The visual arts department has been creating ways to provide an integrated arts curriculum with a focus on children’s literature for the past five years. The work initiated by the former director of visual art, Dr. Michaelann Kelley, continues through the work of the classroom art teachers as well as professional development opportunities with the new director of visual arts, Kaileigh Newman. As a district we face challenges and data head on. We recognize that one area our students show a deficiency is identifying mood or tone. The images of a story enhance the mood and tone, and when students are only focusing on the text, they miss opportunities. Students excelling in reading does not happen in a silo, and it is the arts integration that allows students to see their passion and transfer that knowledge of reading. Art teachers from four Aldine ISD elementary campuses (Angela Coffey from Greenspoint Elementary, Tony McMillan from Anderson Elementary, Kelly Patterson from Kujawa Elementary


▲ Yvonne Lopez-

Taylor addresses her art students at Carter Academy.

and Yvonne Lopez-Taylor from Carter Academy) developed lessons providing ways for students to write and talk about artwork, inspired by the text from “The Art of Comprehension” by Andrew Bryan. The “art” of comprehension will allow art teachers to show students new ways to understand, synthesize, and respond to texts using various artwork examples. Allowing students to discuss artwork will build their vocabulary and empower their voice and opinions. Sharing opinions in the classroom allows them to hear their peers voice to support their ideas with evidence. Teaching literacy components such as theme, summary or text evidence can become rather mundane when focusing solely on the text. Shifting to reading a piece of artwork teaches those same literacy components in an exciting way. Angela Coffey, literacy and arts teacher at Greenspoint Elementary, helps build creative integrated units focusing on reading, writing, and social skills. During the pandemic this work has not stopped. Coffey has created interactive artist note cards, read aloud videos and videos guiding students through questioning and reflection about art. Most often students can use their inference skills to understand the mood or tone. Using the access lens from Bryan’s book, art teachers ask more questions to identify facial expressions, distance between characters and color. Art teachers have built writing and questioning about famous artwork into their warm ups, as well as self reflection. District art teachers are selective of which artworks and artists to use because as Lopez-Taylor says, “Our students need to see themselves in the artwork.” Artists such as Kehinde Wiley give teachers a way to reach students academically but also personally. First through fifth grade

students write and respond with thought provoking opinions to Wiley’s paintings. Writing is art and is a natural integration for learning. Art teachers are also able to link the production of skills, expression and meaning in artmaking for elementary students. Through the collaborative efforts of these four teachers, students have created self portraits that express mood and tone through color or symbolism. At Kujawa Elementary, Patterson looks at Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period and his abstract portraits. Her students have the choice to create abstract portraits or portraits using

facial expressions and color to express the mood for the viewer. The group’s work doesn’t stop there. They have presented their success with students writing and talking about artwork in district staff development meetings as well as statewide conferences. The art teachers in Aldine ISD have a passion for student learning but also a passion for sharing their knowledge with others. Aldine art teachers are a constant source of inspiration to the entire Aldine ISD community. KAILEIGH NEWMAN is the director of visual arts |in the teaching and learning department in Aldine ISD. Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

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STUDENT VOICES

Words of a wolverine by Ana Paula Villicana

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he moment I walk in, a hallway greets me displaying the names of former graduates who received full ride scholarships or admittance to the best schools in Texas. Seeing the words “Terry Scholar” or “Gates Scholar” under the names of students I knew and worked with was my inspiration and clear indication that even someone like me from the Rio Grande Valley could achieve great success. My dreams and aspirations would not remain as just fantasy, but a possible reality that I could achieve. The word “possible” is one that my parents often felt did not apply to them. With eight

other brothers, my dad could not afford to go to college, and my mom could not go to high school because there was not even one built for her. But they came to the U.S. with the thought in mind that what was unattainable for them could be achievable for me and my three younger brothers.

I was prepared. I gained a level of maturity and responsibility.

Memorial Early College High School in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD makes the aspirations of my immigrant parents come to fruition. It goes beyond just educating me with the core subjects but preparing me for a life after high school. To some, going to college seems out of reach because either they believe they are not good enough or

“Student Voices” is a regularly featured column in Texas School Business. It’s an opportunity for students of all ages from across Texas to share their experiences in K-12 public schools. Contact Editorial Director Dacia Rivers at drivers@texasschoolbusiness.com for publishing guidelines.

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there is just not enough money. Despite my parents’ hopes, I shamefully thought this as well growing up, but my doubts dissipated with the help of my school. We have a partnership with South Texas College where we can take courses with actual professors and complete an associate degree before high school graduation. Imagine that, getting to say, “I finished my associate degree before I even graduated high school for free.” I saw the look of hope and pride in my family’s eyes as I hung that pristine certificate above my desk at the end of my junior year. I felt like I had a chance. Growing up my father always told me, “Paula, I can’t pay for your college.” It was something that pained him, and to me, a phrase that shot down the longing I held for a college degree. But as I saved money through these college classes and had the help of programs like the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Engagement Center, where I created a resume and learned about the college setting, my pa’s words changed to, “Have you thought about Harvard?” and, “How about a master’s?” By the way, I did apply to Harvard, and I am definitely planning for a master’s. I was prepared. I gained a level of maturity and responsibility I would not have had without the dual credit program. I would not have met the wonderful teachers who provided me the guidance and advice that made me who I am, and I would not have even been able to foster my love for helping others.

than $20,000. I am filled with pride and even more joy knowing I could be one of the students placed on the hallway that motivated me every day throughout my journey. That corridor is my mark and declaration that I did this, and for whoever sees me on that wall, it is your turn. South Texas College equipped me with the necessary skills, but the Go Center secured my acceptance at the University of Texas at Austin and seven other colleges. Circumstance does not define the success an individual can achieve. To an outsider, the Rio Grande Valley is often seen as nothing more than a “border town” full of poor people without degrees. Granted, we are low income, but hundreds of students in my valley are getting an associate before a GED, and even more are going to college than ever before. We are progressing. We are a clear indicator that no matter where you are situated, no matter how much your family makes, you can succeed; and we are doing it as we speak.

We’re looking for a few good students Do you know a Texas public school student who would be interested in sharing his or her unique perspective on any aspect of their school? We want to hear from them! Students interested in being published for their portfolios or simply sharing their voices with our readers are welcome and encouraged to email drivers@texasschoolbusiness. com to be included.

From a dispirited teen with little hope for a degree, to a senior with accepted admission to the best university in Texas, an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the current valedictorian for the senior class of 2021, I am proud of who I am, where I come from, and what I’ve achieved. ANA VILLICANA is valedictorian of the 2021 senior class at Memorial Early College High School in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD. She plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin in the fall.

Many of us in the Valley are starting the college process for the first time ever. In fact, 80% of our students are first generation. Taking these college classes made me realize that I still needed to know how to apply to schools. That is where PSJA ISD’s Go Center program comes in. Their sole duty is to help seniors apply to the universities and scholarships of their choice. And boy do they deliver. Every year, the Go Center holds the title of helping seniors get more than $11 million in scholarship aid. I wanted to add to that title, so I joined the Go Team. Through them, I have helped almost 100 seniors and have even gotten offers of my own reaching more

texasschoolbusiness.com

Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

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Calendar Professional development & events Note: Many events are being moved, postponed or canceled due to COVID-19. Please verify any event listed below by calling the included phone number for the most up-to-date information.

FEB RUARY February 1-2 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy (session 3 of 3) Katy ISD, Katy For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 1-28 TEPSA Grow Leadership Conference Virtual event; content available throughout the month For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Individuals, $199; 2-9 team members, $179 each; 10 or more team members, $159 each. February 2-3 Texas ASCD Literacy Academy: Beyond House Bill 3 – Developing a School-Wide Literacy Plan Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 3-5 TASB Conference for Administrative Professionals Virtual event For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: $174. February 4 TASA Budget Boot Camp Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $150; nonmembers, $175.

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February 5 TSPRA North Central Texas Area Regional Meeting (ESC Regions 9, 10, 11) Location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org February 7-9 Texas School Counselor Association Annual School Counselor Conference Round Rock, Kalahari Resort For more info, (512) 472-3403. www.txca.org Cost: Pre-registration: Members: $175; non-members, $200. Preregistration, single day: $125. February 8 ED311 Mini-Series: The Reboot (session 4 of 6) Webinar For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: No charge. February 8-9 TASSP Assistant/Aspiring Principal Workshop Virtual event For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: $159. February 8-10 TCASE Great Ideas Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org February 8, 10, 12 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training (CMAT), Level 1 Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850. February 9 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (session 4 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $600.

TASA Executive Leadership Group, session 1 Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $800; nonmembers, $900. TASB Webinar: Preparing to Serve – A Webinar for School Board Candidates Virtual event For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 1 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd February 10 TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals Pittsburg, ESC Region 8 For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org February 11 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXXIII (session 1 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 15, 17, 19 TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training (CMAT), Level 1 Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850. February 15-19 TASBO Engage Annual Conference (Virtual event held March 2-4) Marriott and Hilton hotels, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $385; nonmembers, $510; associate members, $585; associate nonmembers, $635.

February 16 TASA/TASBO/TASB 2020-21 Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $3,000 per team; up to five members may attend virtual events at this rate. TASBO CSRM Program: Fundamentals of Risk Management Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org TCASE Webinar: Checking in with TEA, Review and Support Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other members, $45; nonmembers, $75. Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 2 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org February 17 TASPA Workshop: Certification Fundamentals San Angelo, ESC Region 15 For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org February 17-18 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 4 of 4) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $795; nonmembers, $895. February 22 ED311 Mini-Series: The Reboot (session 5 of 6) Webinar For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: No charge.


February 22-25

March 1, 3, 5

March 17

TSPRA Annual Conference Denton, Embassy Suites For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org Cost: By January 25: Members, $495; nonmembers, $670. After January 25: Members, $595; non-members, $770.

TASA Curriculum Management Audit Training (CMAT), Level 2 Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $750; nonmembers, $850.

February 23

TASA/TASBO/TASB Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders, March Event Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $3,000 per team; up to five members may attend virtual events at this rate.

TASPA Webinar Series: Title IX, Part Two: Investigating and Making Decisions about Title IX Complaints Webinar For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: TASPA members, no charge; non-members, $25.

TASA/TASB Legislative Conference Virtual event For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org TCASE Webinar: Checking in with TEA, Special Education Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other members, $45; nonmembers, $75. Texas ASCD Whole Child SEL Academy (session 3 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

March 2

TCASE Webinar: Checking in with TEA, Review and Support Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other members, $45; nonmembers, $75. March 2-4

TASA FRSLN Event 2: Leadership Focus Virtual or in-person, TBD For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $495.

TASBO Engage Annual Conference (In-person event held February 15-19) Virtual event For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $385; nonmembers, $510; associate members, $585; associate nonmembers, $635.

February 25-26

March 3-6

Fast Growth School Coalition Annual Conference San Antonio, Eilan Hotel and Spa For more info, (512) 536-1206. www.fastgrowthtexas.org Cost: Members, $150; nonmembers, $250.

TASB Governance Camp Convention Center, Galveston For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

February 24-25

M ARC H March 1-2 TASSP Symposium: Making Middle School Matter Virtual event For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Until February 5, $139. After February 5, $159.

March 8 ED311 Mini-Series: The Reboot (session 6 of 6) Webinar For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: No charge. March 10 TSPRA San Antonio Area Regional Meeting (ESC Region 20) Location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

TCASE Webinar: Checking in with TEA, Special Education Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other members, $45; nonmembers, $75. March 23-24 TASA/N2 Learning Executive Leadership Institute (session 3 of 4) Dallas, Hilton Dallas/Park Cities For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $2,850 for all four sessions. TASA/N2 Learning Principals' Institute (session 5 of 6) Dallas, Hilton Dallas/Park Cities For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $6,000 for all six sessions. March 29, 31, and April 2

APRI L April 2 TSPRA North Central Texas Area Regional Meeting (ESC Regions 9, 10, 11) Location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org April 6 TCASE Webinar: Checking in with TEA, Special Education Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other members, $45; nonmembers, $75. April 8-9 Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy XXXIII (session 2 of 3) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org April 12 TASBO CSRM Program: Administering School Risk Embassy Suites DFW, Dallas For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org April 12, 14

Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $450; nonmembers, $500.

TASA CMSi Curriculum Management Planning Workshop Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $400; nonmembers, $450.

March 30

April 14

TASA Curriculum Writing Workshop

TCASE Webinar: Checking with TEA, Review and Support Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other members, $45; nonmembers, $75.

TSPRA San Antonio Area Regional Meeting (ESC Region 20) Location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org April 20 TASA/N2 Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (session 5 of 6) Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $600.

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April 20

April 28

TCASE Webinar: Checking in with TEA, Review and Support Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other members, $45; nonmembers, $75.

TASA FRSLN Event 3: Telling Our Story Virtual or in-person, TBD For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $495.

April 21 TASA/TASBO/TASB 2020-21 Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders Virtual event For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $3,000 per team; up to five members may attend virtual events at this rate.

MAY May 4 TCASE Webinar: Checking in with TEA, Special Education Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other members, $45; nonmembers, $75. May 7

April 21-23 TASB Legal Services School Law Boot Camp TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org

TSPRA North Central Texas Area Regional Meeting (ESC Regions 9, 10, 11) Location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org

May 12 TASPA Webinar Series: What Does a Recent Supreme Court’s Decision Mean for Gay or Transgender Employees? Webinar For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: TASPA members, no charge; non-members, $25. TSPRA San Antonio Area Regional Meeting (ESC region 20) Location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org May 18 TCASE Webinar: Checking in with TEA, Review and Support Division Webinar For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 443-4492. www.tcase.org Cost: TCASE administrative members may attend four webinars at no charge; other Members, $45; nonmembers, $75. ◄

Where did you find that great conference?

I found it in Texas School Business!

Discover upcoming conferences and continuing education opportunities in the calendar section of each issue of Texas School Business and on our website.

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Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021


THE BACK PAGE

Encouragement: a glimmer of hope in a darkened world

I

by Riney Jordan f there was ever a need for encouragement during my lifetime, I’d have to say it is now!

So many educators I talk to are discouraged, frustrated, anxious and ready to “throw in the towel.” Oh, my! This will never do! May I suggest one little thing we can do? (It’s not really “little,” but I don’t want to scare you off from reading the rest of this column. To be completely honest, it may be a small thing, but its effect is going to be really huge!) A word of encouragement, a moment to praise another individual, or a written acknowledgement of one’s improvement can be the one thing that picks them up from their despair, brings a glimmer of hope to their situation, and can literally turn a life around. That simple act of kindness can bring some much-needed light to a dark day. I’m sure that some of you are familiar with Robert Fulghum. He is probably best known for his little book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things.” If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend that you do. Years ago, Fulghum was attending a lecture by Dr. Alexander Papaderos, a Greek philosopher. As the speaker finished, he asked those in the audience, “Are there any questions?” Fulghum, who often posed the same question at the end of a lecturer’s remarks, raised his hand, and with a smile on his face, asked, “Dr. Papaderos, what is the meaning of life?” The other attendees laughed and began gathering their books and papers to leave, but the good doctor held up his hand, and responded, “Wait. I will answer your question.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a small, round mirror. It was only about the size of a quarter. He told the attendees that as he was growing up during the war, his family

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was very poor and he had few toys. He had noticed the broken pieces of a mirror from a German motorcycle that had crashed, so he picked up all the pieces, took them home and tried unsuccessfully to glue the pieces together. He finally discarded all but the largest piece of the mirror.

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He discovered that if he scratched the edge of the mirror on a rock, he could reshape it. Slowly, over time, it became the small, rounded mirror that he carried with him everywhere. He was fascinated by his new “toy,” and loved the way that he could reflect light into darkened corners, crevices and holes.

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“It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find,” he said. He said that as he grew older, he continued to carry this small, round mirror with him at all times. “As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game but a metaphor for what I might do in my life. With what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of the world —into the black places in the hearts of men — and perhaps change some things in some people.” Fulghum says that Dr. Papaderos then took the small mirror, caught the rays of sunshine coming through the classroom window and reflected them onto his face.

Advertise in Texas School Business magazine!

So many of our colleagues, our students, our parents and our neighbors need a bit of sunshine in their lives right now. Why not be the person who brings the light of encouragement during these dark days?

For specs and rates, contact jgarrido@tasanet.org or by calling (800) 725-8272

I remember hearing someone say one time that, “There is something inside each one of us that the world needs.”

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Maybe — just maybe — your words of encouragement are just what are needed to brighten someone’s life today and make a positive and lasting difference.

RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit www.rineyjordan.com.

Texas School Business JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2021

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Join Us! TASA is the professional association for Texas school leaders. In addition to advocacy and professional learning, we provide networks and services that offer mentorship and inspiration to our members. Although 2020 introduced a new set of challenges, TASA is working hard to provide the support that Texas school leaders need. We invite you to be part of TASA in 2020-21!

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January/February 2021 Texas School Business    

The January/February 2021 issue of Texas School Business, published by TASA, features Killeen ISD’s new African-American studies course — on...

January/February 2021 Texas School Business    

The January/February 2021 issue of Texas School Business, published by TASA, features Killeen ISD’s new African-American studies course — on...

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