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The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas

Texas School Business

MAY / JUNE

2020

Where there’s a will

Texas school districts lead their communities, serve their students during COVID-19 Also in this issue: TEPSA President Julie Gauthier, Port Neches-Groves ISD TACS President Monty Hysinger, Dumas ISD


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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

20 TEPSA President Profile New TEPSA president focuses on community support by James Golsan

16 22

Cover Story Where there’s a will Texas school districts lead their communities, serve their students during COVID-19

In the Spotlight Calhoun County ISD’s Tiffany O’Donnell leads with a focus on community, curriculum

by Dacia Rivers

by Dacia Rivers

24 TACS President Profile Monty Hyzinger takes the helm at TACS by James Golsan

Departments 7 Who’s News 28 Calendar 30 Ad Index

Photo Features

6 TSPRA members gather in Austin for annual conference 14 TASBO hosts Engage 2020 Conference in Houston

Columns

5 From the Editor by Dacia Rivers 13 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 26 Regional View 30 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.


Helping you through the unexpected. You’re there for Texas students. The TASB Risk Management Fund is here for you. TASB RISK FUND

tasbrmf.org


From the editor

A

s editorial director of Texas School Business, I enjoy a spectacular privilege — an inside look into what’s going on in public schools across Texas. This is my favorite perk of the job, and I can’t count how many times I’ve learned of the work you’re doing in your districts and been so impressed that I momentarily wished my own children could take advantage of a particular program or offering. Today I am impressed once again, but for a different reason. While the many school districts across Texas are as diverse as it gets, they’re all tasked with the same immense challenge right now as remote instruction has become a necessity. Hearing your stories, the tales of child nutrition workers doling out tens of thousands of meals, teachers learning how to use online teaching platforms, students who are so eager to learn they go above and beyond, has been uplifting and inspiring. Starting on page 16, our feature article focuses on some of these stories. It’s my hope that you’ll find encouragement in them, as I’m sure you realize more than anyone that every district across the state has stories just like these. Administrators have taken this unprecedented moment in history and turned it into a time to shine. I hope that you are feeling proud of the work you’ve put in, the leadership you’ve inspired, and the difference you have made in the lives of many. As always, if you’d like to see stories from your district featured in the pages of this magazine, I would love to hear from you at drivers@texasschoolbusiness.com.

Membership Professional Learning Advocacy Learn more at tasanet.org

Texas School Business

MAY / JUNE 2020 Volume LXVII, Issue 3 406 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

James Golsan Riney Jordan Jim Walsh

Dacia Rivers Editorial Director

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 2020 Texas Association of School Administrators

Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

5


Photo Feature

TSPRA MEMBERS GATHER IN AUSTIN FOR ANNUAL CONFERENCE In February, Austin welcomed members of the Texas School Public Relations Association for the group’s annual conference, which included numerous learning opportunities and award presentations.

◄ Charles T. Doyle of Texas

First Bank receives a Partner in Public Education Award from (l to r): Erin Gregg, Lubbock ISD; Immediate Past President Kristin Zastoupil; President Monica Faulkenbery; and Stephanie De Los Santos, Harris County Department of Education.

▲ School public relations professionals from across Texas gathered at the TSPRA conference to enjoy the opportunity to network with their peers.

▲ Patti Pawlik-Perales, Alamo Heights

▲ Roundtable meetings allow conference attendees to get informed on several topics in a short period of time.

▲ Keynote Speaker Anne Grady signs

books for attendees in the exhibit hall.

▲ TSPRA conference attendees pose in their 2020 convention T-shirts. 6

Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

ISD, President Monica Faulkenbery and Lindsey Fishback, Blackboard, present the TSPRA Media Award to David Chancellor of WOAI News 4 San Antonio.

▲ Roland Alzadua, Harlingen CISD,

received a Crystal Commendation from incoming TSPRA President Veronica Castillon.


Who’s News Academy ISD Billy Harlan, the

district’s former chief administrative officer, is now superintendent.

The district’s new head football coach is Chris Lancaster, most recently the offensive coordinator at Troy ISD’s Troy High School. He is a graduate of Clemson University and has more than 30 years of experience as a coach, head football coach and athletic director. In addition, he served as deputy superintendent of his alma mater, Riverside Military Academy, in Gainesville, Georgia.

athletic coordinator and head football coach. Prior to his time in Comal ISD, he coached and taught at Reagan High School in San Antonio’s North East ISD and in Katy ISD. He received his bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from Texas State University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Sul Ross State University.

Bloomington ISD Now serving as superintendent of Bloomington ISD is Mark Anglin, who most recently led Broaddus ISD.

Boles ISD The Boles ISD board of directors announces the hiring of Mikayle Goss as superintendent.

Brady ISD

Agua Dulce ISD

Brady ISD’s new superintendent is Hector Martinez, former assistant superintendent of Brownwood ISD.

Richard Wright, former principal of

Brownwood ISD

Falfurrias High School in Falfurrias ISD, is now leading Agua Dulce ISD as superintendent. After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming, he began his career in Texas public education in Lamar CISD, joining Victoria ISD in 2012 and going on to serve in Edna and Louise ISDs before his time in Falfurrias. He holds a master’s degree in education and administration from the University of Houston at Victoria.

Alamo Heights ISD (San Antonio) Ron Rittimann, who for the past 12 years

has served as athletic coordinator and head football coach at Johnson High School in San Antonio’s Northeast ISD, is now Alamo Heights ISD’s athletic director.

Alba-Golden ISD Eddie White has agreed to serve as interim superintendent for Alba-Golden ISD. Previously superintendent of Lone Oak and Campbell ISDs, he has also served in the interim position at Tom Bean, Wolf City and Edgewood ISDs.

Bartlett ISD The new superintendent is Teddy Clevenger, former principal of Teague High School in Teague ISD. Now serving as the district’s secondary principal is Austin Crawley, a 14-year educator who has worked as a principal, assistant principal, teacher and coach. He spent the past five years as an assistant principal in Belton ISD.

Bastrop ISD Bryan Hill, who was co-offensive

coordinator at Smithson Valley High School in Comal ISD, is now Cedar Creek High’s

Mitch Moore has been

promoted from principal of Brownwood High School to assistant superintendent of business and finance. A graduate of Brownwood High, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and a master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University. He joined Brownwood ISD in 1995.

Bullard ISD Jack Lee, former

superintendent of Blooming Grove ISD, is now superintendent of Bullard ISD.

Burleson ISD Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and quarterback coach Jon Kitna is Burleson High School’s new head football coach and athletics coordinator. He began his coaching career in Tacoma, Washington, before coming to Texas as head football coach at Waxahachie High School in Waxahachie ISD.

Cedar Hill ISD The Cedar Hill ISD board of trustees has confirmed the appointment of Melanie Benjamin as director of athletics. She had been serving in an interim position. She has spent her 22-year education career in the district,

working as a PE teacher and basketball, volleyball, track and field, and cross-country coach. She was named athletics coordinator in 2004. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton State University. Cherron Ukpaka has been hired as director

of professional development. She comes to Cedar Hill from Fort Worth ISD, where she was that district’s elementary literacy director since 2017. She previously worked in Mansfield ISD and in Stillwater (Oklahoma) and Oklahoma City Public Schools. She received her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and her master’s degree in education administration from the University of Phoenix.

Channing ISD Michael Stevens, who was

Electra ISD’s principal for grades seven through 12, is now superintendent of Channing ISD. Prior to his time in Electra, he was assistant principal of Vernon ISD’s Vernon High School and taught in Palacios and Mesquite ISDs. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University at Commerce with a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.

Chico ISD Now serving as district superintendent is Scott Higgins, who most recently led D’Hanis ISD.

Chireno ISD Former Bartlett ISD secondary principal Michael Skinner now leads Chireno ISD as superintendent.

Clarendon ISD Former Baird ISD superintendent Jarod Bellar has accepted the position of superintendent of Clarendon ISD.

Cleburne ISD Kristi Rhone has returned to Cleburne ISD

after accepting the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. A graduate of Cleburne High School, she joined the district as a teacher in 1993, leaving for an 18-year stint with Grandview ISD, where she was principal of Grandview Elementary and assistant superintendent. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s

> See Who’s News, page 9 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

7


An open letter to the public education community of Texas.

Thank you! Thank you for doing what matters most and for the depth of your commitment. For the long days, late nights, and time spent leading and planning so your teachers can deliver thoughtful remote lessons. None of us were able to predict what a virus such as this one would do. Millions unemployed, the cancellation of the entire sports seasons, the loss of a third of the school year, and no prom. Thank you for thinking beyond lessons and grades, for caring for students’ physical and emotional needs, and for thoughtful and fun ways of staying connected. Because of your commitment, our children will be able to overcome this challenging time, emerge stronger, and better prepared. Your seniors will not have those faded, unfashionable yearbook photos to remember the spring of 2020. But, like you never forget that special educator who changed your life, your students will remember the remote connection with you, because you looked after them when things got hard. And because of what you are doing today, they will amaze and inspire us all tomorrow with their courage to work hard for everything that is good and right. You are here for them in all the important ways. You always are! As we approach Teacher Appreciation Day, we want to reaffirm our gratitude for all the outstanding educators and leaders in Texas.

We will see this through! It will take some time, and physical distance, but not social or emotional distance. Some will use the summer to ensure everyone completes their year, each at their own pace. Next school year, some of our students and teachers, the most vulnerable, may have to continue to learn from home. We are here to help. Email us: briefing@itslearning.com

itslearning.com/thanks-Texas 8

Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020


Who’s News > Continued from page 7

University. Her doctorate was also awarded from Tarleton State.

College Station ISD Mike Martindale, who served as the district’s interim superintendent since February, now holds the top job. He was previously the district’s deputy superintendent and chief financial officer and prior to that was first principal of College Station High School. In addition, he has 16 years of experience as a principal in Angleton, Barbers Hill and College Station ISDs. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

experience, 18 of those as an athletic director. Prior to his time in Rockdale, he coached and taught in Cypress-Fairbanks’ Thornton Middle School and in Bay City, Fort Worth, Dickinson and Jacksboro ISDs.

of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics.

Now leading Dean Middle School as principal is Hoang Pham, former associate principal of Cypress Lakes High School. He has spent all but four years of his 24-year career with CFISD, beginning as a teacher at Cypress Springs High, then working as the school’s assistant principal. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University.

hired to serve as district superintendent. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. A 14-year educator, he was a teacher, coach, athletic director and principal in Granger ISD and was most recently superintendent of Moulton ISD.

Former Mercedes ISD director of student services Edward Churchill has taken on the role of superintendent of Crystal City ISD.

Chief financial officer Karen Smith is the recipient of the 2020 Commitment to Excellence award from the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO), the organization’s highest honor. Serving as the district’s CFO since 2019, she was previously assistant superintendent of business and financial services.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

Del Valle ISD

Crystal City ISD

Former Cypress Spring High School associate principal Andrea Lagard has accepted the job of principal of the district’s Alternative Learning Center-East. She has spent her 21-year career with CFISD with the exception of one year with Dallas ISD and three years with Houston ISD. A graduate of Prairie View A&M University, she holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Texas Southern University. Becky Mendez has been promoted from assistant principal of Postma Elementary School to principal of Holbrook Elementary. She has spent her 15-year career in CFISD, working as a special education teacher at Jowell Elementary, then as campus special education liaison. A graduate of the University of Houston Downtown, she holds a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University.

Former Rockdale ISD athletic director Jeff Miller now serves as Cy-Fair High School’s athletic coordinator and head football coach. A graduate of Cy-Fair High, he has 27 years of coaching

Annette Tielle, who led the district on an interim basis, is now superintendent. An educator for 28 years, she previously served as assistant superintendent of Comal and Pflugerville ISDs. She is a graduate of Bloomsburg University and received her master’s degree from East Stroudsburg University. She is at work on her doctorate in education at the University of Texas.

Deer Park ISD Former assistant superintendent Stephen Harrell has been promoted to superintendent of Deer Park ISD. A graduate of Deer Park High School, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in educational management from the University of Houston Clear Lake. He began his career in the district in 1989, taking his most recent position in 2013.

Denton ISD Liz Raftery has been named

director of child nutrition. She has more than 20 years of experience in nutrition services, beginning in Seattle, Wasington, followed by 11 years in child nutrition in Connecticut. She joined Denton ISD in 2014. She is a graduate of the University

Devine ISD Todd Grandjean has been

Douglass ISD Douglass ISD’s new superintendent is Justin Keeling, former high school principal in Woden ISD.

El Paso ISD The appointment of Mary Arnold as principal of Aoy Elementary School has been announced by the district. She has been the school’s assistant principal since 2015. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas and her master’s degree in counseling and educational leadership from Webster University and the University of Texas at El Paso.

Eagle Pass ISD The district has a new superintendent. He is Ismael Mijares, former deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Ector County ISD The new principal of Burnet Elementary School is Mayela Sanchez Serrano, who was previously a principal in San Elizario ISD.

Elkhart ISD Elkhart ISD announces the appointment of Luke Goode as the district’s athletic director and head football coach. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, he coached in Lufkin and Lone Oak ISDs and was most recently offensive coordinator at Mesquite ISD’s Poteet High School.

Fort Worth ISD Fort Worth ISD has hired Mike Ball as chief financial officer. With more than 35 years of experience in Texas public school finance, he has served in Rockwall, Galena Park, College Station and Sulphur Springs ISDs and was Lewisville ISD’s CFO since 2015. He received his > See Who’s News, page 10 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

9


Who’s News

Georgetown ISD

> Continued from page 9

bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce and his master’s degree in finance from Sam Houston State University.

Frisco ISD

A new director of human resources is in place for Georgetown ISD. Sue Harrison was previously a campus administrator, human resources coordinator and assistant director of staffing for Round Rock ISD. Jeanna Sniffin has joined the

Emerson High School, scheduled to open in the fall of 2021, will be led by Kristen Sommers as principal. Currently the associate principal of Lebanon Trail High School, she joined the district in 2008 as a special education teacher at Liberty High School.

district to serve as principal of Williams Elementary School, coming to her new job from Fort Bend ISD, where she led Thornton Middle School. An educator for 22 years, she also worked as a teacher and principal in Lamar CISD and Needville ISD.

Garland ISD

Goliad ISD now has Stacy Ackley as superintendent. She previously led Royal ISD.

Superintendent Ricardo López has been elected president of the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS). He has led Garland ISD since 2018.

Goliad ISD

Hays CISD Hays CISD has hired its first fine arts director. Patty Moreno is a music educator with 30 years of experience, beginning as a teacher in Kyle ISD and going on to work in Round Rock

and Houston ISDs. In 2008 she was named fine arts coordinator for Austin ISD, where she remained until taking her new position with HCISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance and piano pedagogy and a master’s degree in music education, both from Texas State University.

Industrial ISD Former Victoria ISD executive director of human resources Clark Motley has joined Industrial ISD as principal of Industrial High School. He was with Victoria ISD for 13 years, working as an assistant principal and principal prior to his most recent position.

Irving ISD After 10 years as a coach and the past four as defensive coordinator at Arlington ISD’s Lamar High School, Billy Skinner has been named athletic coordinator and head football coach for MacArthur High. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University.

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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

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Karnes City ISD Former San Benito CISD assistant superintendent Hector Madrigal has accepted the position of superintendent of Karnes City ISD.

Katy ISD Mayde Creek High School has a new head football coach and athletic coordinator. Brian Randle began his coaching career in 2003 in Lamar CISD, going on to work in Mansfield and Alief ISDs. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University at Kingsville and holds a master’s degree in counseling and leadership.

Killeen ISD The district’s newly-appointed chief human resources officer is Jessica Neyman, former human resources director in Georgetown ISD. Prior to that, she was legal counsel for North Clackamas School District in Oregon.

Klein ISD The new principal of Metzler Elementary School is Danis Boone, who previously served as assistant principal of Frank Elementary. An employee of the district for seven years, she was last year’s Assistant Principal of the Year.

Leander ISD Former executive director of secondary education Chrysta Carlin is now assistant superintendent of pathways and innovation. Prior to joining Leander ISD, she worked as a teacher and administrator in Comal, Manor and Round Rock ISDs. She is at work on her doctorate in education at Texas Tech University. Leander ISD has welcomed Devin Padavil as its new area superintendent. Most recently Fort Bend ISD’s assistant superintendent of secondary schools, he previously worked as a principal in Pflugerville and Frisco ISDs. He is a graduate of Illinois State University with a master’s degree in education from the University of Texas. Former Canyon Ridge Middle School principal Kimberly Waltmon is now the district’s first executive director of special programs and services. She began

her career with Leander ISD as a special education teacher and, six years later, took her first administrative position as an assistant principal.

her bachelor’s degree from Howard Payne University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Houston.

Lewisville ISD

district’s general counsel. He comes to his new position from Austin, where he was assistant general counsel for the Texas Department of Insurance, having previously worked in the Texas Attorney General’s office. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and received his juris doctorate from Golden Gate School of Law.

A new chief financial officer is in place for Lewisville ISD. Tonya Tillman comes to the district from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, where she was associate superintendent for business services. A CPA, she began her career in the public sector before joining Ector County ISD, where she was assistant superintendent of business operations. She is a graduate of Angelo State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Liberty Hill ISD Santa Rita Elementary School will open its doors in August with Kristy Kline as its principal. She has spent the past 14 years as an elementary principal, coming to Liberty Hill from Leander ISD, where she led Bush Elementary.

Little Elm ISD The new principal of Lakeside Middle School is Jennie Petrasic, a former teacher at Brent Elementary who has been with the district for 12 years. She previously taught in Coppell ISD and holds a master’s degree in educational administration.

Lovejoy ISD Michael Goddard has

accepted the position of superintendent. He comes to his new assignment after serving as principal of Lovejoy High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and his master’s in education and doctorate in post-secondary administration from the University of North Texas.

Sid Pounds has joined Midland ISD as the

Northside ISD (San Antonio) Seven administrative appointments have been announced. They are: • Traci Contreras, vice principal, Locke Hill Elementary School; • Jessica Garza, principal, Lieck Elementary School; • Mary Libby, director of guidance and counseling; • Mark Lopez, principal, Garcia Middle School; • LaShanda Robinson, vice principal, Braun Station Elementary School; • Tawny Wagner, principal, Carson Elementary School; • Sara White, assistant principal, Holmes High School.

Orangefield ISD Shaun McAlpin has been promoted from assistant superintendent for finances to superintendent. He has spent his career with the district, beginning in 2002 as a teacher and going on to serve as an athletic trainer, assistant principal and principal. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lamar University and is at work on his doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University.

Pewitt CISD Melissa Reid, who was a

Mexia ISD Triston Abron has been

named the district’s athletic director and head football coach. He was most recently head coach for Pewitt CISD’s Pewitt High School.

Midland ISD The district’s new chief of staff, Katie Atkins, comes to Midland from Tomball ISD, where she was curriculum director for English, language arts and dyslexia. The 15-year educator received

principal in New Boston ISD, now leads Pewitt CISD as superintendent.

Pflugerville ISD Director of finance Jeffri Orosco has received the RISE Award from the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO). The award honors individuals who demonstrate significant leadership > See Who’s News, page 19 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

11


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THE LAW DAWG – UNLEASHED

TSB has a new website!

Outside of the box by Jim Walsh

I

’m writing this on March 26, 2020. I had plans for today, plans that were set a long time ago. The Houston Astros were scheduled to open the 2020 baseball season this evening, facing off against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels. My wife and I were planning to be in attendance, as we always are on opening day. But as you have probably heard, the best way to make God chuckle is to make plans. Instead, I’m at my desk in my home, where the mayor of Austin has ordered me to “shelter in place.” Sigh. I’m working from home, as are all of the employees at Walsh Gallegos as we work with you, trying to figure out how to serve students in these unprecedented circumstances. It’s impressive to see how educators are responding. Impressive, but also predictable. The public school has always been much more than a place where children go to learn how to read and write. It’s the hub of the community. In many, perhaps most towns and cities in Texas, the public school is the largest employer, drives the most miles, serves the most food. The people who help the school fulfill its mission comprise board members, administrators, teachers, nurses, counselors, therapists and diagnosticians, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, grounds and maintenance crews, IT staff and others. They are, overwhelmingly, “salt of the earth” type people. When there is a crisis in the community, the folks who work at the local school are the most likely to step up with a positive attitude and a creative “outside the box” workaround. We’re way outside of the box right now. The lawyers in our firm are dealing with myriad

questions that have never come up before. We do that through a framework that starts with the fundamentals. For example, in special education, the law gives us three fundamental principles: serve every child; individualize; value parental input. During this service interruption we have to take those principles and apply them to the specific questions that are coming up. There are other principles that help us respond to legal issues. What is best for the students? With regard to the expenditure of funds, we always ask: Does it serve an educational purpose? As you consider how to calculate class rank and valedictorian status, the principles are: What does policy say? What is fair? On all legal issues, we have to take into account the legal hierarchy: Let’s start with the U.S. Constitution. Then federal law. State law. Local policy. Let’s hope we all get through this and can look back to see that we expanded our horizons by learning new and innovative ways of using technology. I got a personal glimpse into the positive and potentially negative effects of technology when my 8-year-old granddaughter was at our house working on her math homework. She paused over one problem. Then, the solution came to her: “Alexa, what is eight times five?” Sure, she got the right answer and got it quickly. But is my granddaughter going to grow up to be one of those cashiers who can’t figure out how much change to give you? Of course that assumes we’re still using cash. We probably won’t. Sigh. We will get past this. School will resume. So will baseball. Let’s all just carry on.

Check us out online at https:// 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

67 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 MAY / JUNE 2020

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Photo Feature

TASBO HOSTS ENGAGE 2020 CONFERENCE IN HOUSTON The Texas Association of School Board Officers held its annual Engage conference in Houston in early March, with networking opportunities, learning sessions, certification courses and more.

▲ Kendra Gilbert and Michelle Culak from Region 6 ESC enjoy their time in the Expo Hall at the Engage Conference.

▲ Brian Kirkwood, national sales group manager for Virco, recognizes 2020-21 TASBO Board President Michele Trongaard for receiving an ASBO International Pinnacle of Achievement Award while she was at Wylie ISD.

▲ TASBO Executive Director Tracy

Ginsburg addresses attendees during the First General Session at the TASBO Engage Conference.

▲ TASBO recognized three members with

its new Outstanding Volunteer award. From left to right: TASBO Executive Director Tracy Ginsburg; Marilyn Young; Bill Fuller; Amador Garza; and 2019-20 TASBO Board President Julie Novak.

▲ During its First General Session, TASBO

recognized its 7,000th member: Yvonne Copeland from Fabens ISD (center). Also pictured are Tracy Ginsburg (left) and Deputy Executive Director Becky Bunte (right).

▲ Erica Stevens, TASB Facility

Services, with TASB’s Ryan Schmidt at the TASBO Expo.

◄ Julie Novak welcomes newly elected

board members Jennifer Land (new officer), Belton ISD; Meritza Webb, Klein ISD; Derek Gillard, Pasadena ISD; and Heather Wilson, Canyon ISD.

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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020


◄ Robinson ISD’s

Stacey Proctor shows off her Orange Frog spirit during her session on the training that applies happiness psychology concepts to increase productivity.

▲ TASBO staff members Rose Grandon and Sylvia Rocha-Schroeder.

► Klein ISD’s

Marie Miller copresents with Fort Bend ISD’s Dr. Julie Guillory during their session, “PEIMS Coordinator Nuts & Bolts.”

▲ Spring ISD’s Phillip Ellison presents at the TASBO Engage Conference.

◄ Julie Novak (left) and Tracy

Ginsburg (right) pose with keynote speaker Shawn Achor. Shawn discussed the personal and professional benefits of a positive mindset.

▲ HealthCode’s Steve Amos with TASBO’s Tracy Ginsburg. HealthCode helps organize online fitness challenges.

◄ Forecast5 Analytics’

Travis Zander presents at the TASBO Engage Conference.

▲ Cypress-Fairbank ISD’s Karen Smith (center) was named the 2020 TASBO Commitment to Excellence Recipient. Also pictured: Tracy

Ginsburg; Cypress-Fairbanks Superintendent Dr. Mark Henry; Board Officer Michele Trongaard, Mansfield ISD; Julie Novak, Fort Sam Houston ISD; Mike Burke, Program Sponsor AXA Equitable; Board Officer Darell Dodds, Midland ISD; and Board Officer Jonathan Bey, Fort Worth ISD. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

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Where there’s a will

Texas school districts lead their communities, serve their students during COVID-19 by Dacia Rivers

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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

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pring break 2020 might go down as the least relaxing school vacation in history. For many Texas school districts, that one week in March served as a crucial period of planning, as COVID-19 made its way to their neck of the woods and administrators rushed to figure out how to respond.


What dedication looks like In Elgin ISD, Superintendent Jodi Duron says the district’s executive cabinet held virtual meetings every day of spring break to plan how to transition to remote instruction the following week. Many teachers in Elgin were already using Google Classroom, which put them in a good position to make the switch. Others spent the week of spring break in intensive training, learning how to use online systems and preparing to teach at a distance. Administrators decided the best first step after spring break was to check in with their students. Each teacher in the district called their students’ families one by one to ask what they needed and if they had internet access, helping the district inventory its needs and challenges. Nearly 80% of students in Elgin ISD are economically disadvantaged, and the district’s boundaries cover a somewhat rural 165 square miles, parts of which are unreachable by high-speed internet providers. These circumstances made it necessary for the district to create offline learning options for a portion of its students. Once remote instruction began, the district advisory council held a remote meeting to check in, and members kicked it off by sharing positive stories from their experiences. One teacher shared a story about one of her students who doesn’t have internet access at home. While the district provides low-tech learning options for students in that situation, this particular eighth grader is a participant in Apple’s Swift coding program, and to continue on that path, internet access is essential. So, this student rides in to work with her mother each day, then sits in their car in the parking lot, using the company’s WiFi to complete her school work, keep in touch with her teachers and participate in online activities. “We worry about our kids, but our kids are brilliant, and they are going to find a way,”

Duron says. “They do want to learn, and they do want to be in school. What really resonated with me was the teacher saying, ‘You know what? This student is going to be alright.’” Duron says that staff in Elgin has gone above and beyond in providing support for these unusual circumstances. The child nutrition staff consists of 36 employees, and it’s crucial to them that they make sure their students are fed even when schools are closed. They initially delivered food via school bus routes and pick-up locations, handing out 12,000 meals a week, but as COVID-19 spread, other nearby districts were having to shut down their meal programs due to illness among staff. To prevent a similar situation in Elgin, the staff switched to offering meals for pickup at elementary schools only. They were concerned that this might limit how many families they could serve, but the opposite turned out to be true. They’re now providing 15,000 meals per week, feeding even more families than before. One of Elgin ISD’s teachers was so inspired by their efforts, she sewed face masks for each child nutrition and transportation staff member, to protect them and the community. “Every employee in a public school district is essential in their own way, and our child nutrition staff proved that in a big way,” Duron says. “The goodness of people comes out in a time of crisis.” Looking ahead, Duron says she’s taking things one day at a time. She’s trying to figure out how to honor graduating seniors at a time when COVID-19 cases are still on the rise in the area. The district is also considering how to handle summer school, as well as how to wrap things up at the end of the year, such as collecting equipment and library books and planning a way for students to be able to say goodbye to their teachers to provide some sense of closure. With so many eggs in her basket, and things so up in the air, Duron says she’s grateful for the information and supportive communication TEA has been sending. She also manages the task of making decisions in uncertain times by staying connected with other superintendents and participating in weekly virtual meetings to discuss ideas and brainstorm together. Leading a school district is challenging enough even without a global pandemic in the mix, but Duron’s first priority is keeping

her staff, her students and their families safe and healthy, physically and emotionally. “I think it’s really important that we send positive messages of love and support to our students and our families, and that we thank parents — they’re taking on a tremendous responsibility,” she says. “This has been an exceptional moment for public education to show what it is that we do every single day on behalf of kids, and people are starting to recognize the value of that.”

The importance of community schools In the Panhandle, Pampa ISD Superintendent Tanya Larkin found herself in a similar situation. She was able to call a leadership team meeting the day before spring break started, a day when school district staff often have their sights set on upcoming vacations and much needed R&R. But this year, the team and Pampa’s instructional coordinators spent their spring break preparing for remote learning and meal distribution. “We turned to our professional networks for ideas, and I have to say, the level of shared learning and resources that were exchanged during that four-day period, and even since then, has been off the charts,” Larkin says. “Educators are selfless servants, and that has never been more apparent than during this crisis.” Within three days of Pampa’s virtual reopening, the district was distributing more than 1,000 meals per day. They checked out 2,000 electronic devices to students and helped set up six free WiFi locations across the community, to allow the third of Pampa’s students who don’t have internet access at home to participate in online learning. Teachers in the district jumped into action, and were ready for remote teaching and learning after just five days of training and planning. “It went much better than I could have anticipated,” Larkin says. “I think it was everyone’s willingness to be flexible and dig in. We didn’t have time to be afraid.” Initially, Pampa was looking at spending $100,000 to set up WiFi hotspots for students, but local service providers stepped up and offered to cover the cost. Keeping distance learning going has been a > See Will, page 18 Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

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> Continued from page 17

community effort in Pampa, with local businesses and churches allowing providers to set up equipment on their roofs and families to come park in their lots to access the WiFi. As in Elgin, students in Pampa have responded to the change with impressive agility. One teacher in the district became sick over spring break, while going through professional development and setting his class up for online learning. Shortly after launching the basics, he was admitted to the hospital, where he eventually wound up in the ICU. Because this teacher teaches a specific language, there were no others in the district who could step in and help his students. So one of them did it herself.

“We’re not just a public school; we’re a community school. We’re providing food and clothing, connecting families with social services, providing counseling, technology, devices, Wi-Fi, the list goes on and on.” The student called her principal, offering to help in any way possible to keep the class going. After speaking to the student’s mother, Larkin agreed, and the girl received help from other teachers to set up the online platform and develop lesson plans. She knew the language, had tutored other students, and used her skills to keep the class going. As her teacher lay in the ICU, she would call him to ask what he wanted them to learn, easing the fears and concerns he had about the teaching time he was missing. From there, the student was able to host Zoom meetings, share lesson plans and tutor his students so they hardly missed a beat. “The kids never missed out because of her selflessness, her leadership and her willingness to serve,” Larkin says. “It was a huge moment for our school and our community. To get through this, it’s taken every one at every level to step up, do more and keep our entire community on track.” The teacher has recovered and is now out of the hospital and co-teaching with the student. It’s Larkin’s hope that this student’s

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actions can demonstrate to everyone how important public schools are to their local communities.

she’s partnering with local community members, who are eager to reach out and help.

“Without public education, our community and many others would flounder,” she says. “We’re not just a public school; we’re a community school. We’re providing food and clothing, connecting families with social services, providing counseling, technology, devices, Wi-Fi, the list goes on and on.”

Summer school is also top on Larkin’s mind, and she’s working with her staff to reinvent the way it might look this year. She says her staff members are getting more comfortable with virtual teaching in small groups, guided reading and remote instruction in general. Parents, teachers and administrators in Pampa are brainstorming around the clock, looking ahead to what reopening school in the fall might look like.

While planning the details of remote instruction, Larkin and her team were also focused on maintaining the social and emotional wellness of Pampa’s students. Emotional wellbeing is always an area of concern, in any school district, but in times of extreme stress, it becomes even more critical. Counselors in Pampa worked to create a check-in system for parents, students and staff, realizing that everyone’s life is in upheaval at the moment, and everyone could use the support. The counselors have also been releasing online videos for students and parents, focusing on everything from how to set a schedule at home to shining a light on depression, self-harm and suicide. When routines are disrupted, it can be easy to fall into depression, and district staff want first and foremost to keep their students feeling safe, cared for and supported. “Anytime you deal with distance learning, you’ve got to create some kind of check-in with the psyche, social and emotional part of a student,” Larkin says. “There’s more to it than just learning the academics.” As summer looms large on the horizon, Larkin is walking several paths every day. She’s finding ways to honor graduating seniors, from putting up light pole banners in town to scheduling a graduation-byappointment system. Each step of the way,

No one knows what the circumstances will be come August, but Larkin says that putting the “what-ifs” out there is better than operating in silence and that open communication has helped the Pampa community cope with the crisis and be prepared for however the district has to adjust to reach its students. “Communication is a big staple of leadership,” Larkin says. “Keep doing the right thing for the right reasons, and when the dust settles, you’ll know that you did your best, and so will your staff, students, parents and community.” If any good can come from the COVID-19 situation, Larkin hopes for a greater appreciation of public education. Numerous outside factors have caused some folks to give up on their local schools, but for some, districts rising up to meet the challenge and keep students learning in a time of uncertainty has served as a reminder of the importance of public education. “There’s been a newfound respect from parents to teachers and teachers to parents,” Larkin says. “I think everybody took so much for granted, and I don’t think we’ll do that again for a long time.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.


Who’s News > Continued from page 11

qualities and achievements and who display a desire to advance their careers with continued engagement in TASBO. Orosco, who has been with Pflugerville ISD since January, previously served in Hutto ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in business from Wayland Baptist University.

Plano ISD Jeff Smith has accepted the position of Plano

ISD’s athletic director. Most recently serving in the same position in Prosper ISD, he also coached and served as athletic coordinator at McKinney High School in McKinney ISD. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University.

Riesel ISD After a 21-year career with the Texas Department of Public Safety, retired sergeant D.L. Wilson has accepted the position of police chief of Riesel ISD.

Rio Vista ISD Tony Martin has been named district

superintendent.

Rosebud-Lott ISD Superintendent

Steve Brownlee has

announced his upcoming retirement, effective in June.

Round Rock ISD Amy Grosso has been selected to serve in

the newly created position of director of behavioral health. Most recently the district’s coordinator for future readiness, she holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in educational psychology from Baylor University. Her doctorate in counseling and counselor education was awarded from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

San Angelo ISD Connie Bozarth has retired after a 34-year career as Central High School volleyball coach. She took her first coaching assignment at her alma mater, Bronte High School in Bronte ISD, then transferred to Lake View High School in San Angelo ISD for eight years. She has spent the past 18 years at Central High.

The district’s new assistant superintendent of business and support services is George McFarland, a 29-year educator who has previously served as a teacher, athletic coordinator, principal and superintendent. He earned his doctoral degree from Lamar University.

San Vicente ISD Former Utopia ISD superintendent Jessica Milam now holds the top position in San Vicente ISD.

Sealy ISD Superintendent Sheryl Moore will conclude her 35-year career as an educator when she retires in June. She has led the district for six years.

Sherman ISD A new district athletic director has been named. Bob Jones, with 27 years of experience in middle school and high school athletics, most recently served as athletic director for Bastrop ISD. Prior to that assignment, he coached and worked as athletic coordinator in Shepherd, Aldine, Red Oak, Pleasanton, Fort Worth and Judson ISDs.

Tyler ISD Joe Willis has accepted the

role of head football coach for Lee High School. He joins the district from GrapevineColleyville ISD, where he was head football coach and boys’ athletics coordinator at Heritage High School. He has 28 years of experience as a coach, 11 of those as head coach.

Waskom ISD Former assistant superintendent Rae Ann Patty is now district superintendent. A 23-year educator, she spent 20 years with Texarkana ISD before joining Waskom ISD three years ago.

Weatherford ISD After serving as district superintendent for nine years, Jeffrey M. Hanks has announced his upcoming retirement, effective the end of June. Prior to his time in Weatherford, he spent 10 years as superintendent of Burnet CISD and worked as a high school principal, teacher and coach. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University and his doctorate from Texas A&M University. An interim superintendent has been named for the district. Rod Townsend, an educator for 35 years, previously served as superintendent of Rochester, Hico and Decatur ISDs. After his retirement in 2017, he led Spring Hill and Peaster ISDs on an interim basis.

Wells ISD The Wells ISD board of directors has approved Jill Gaston as superintendent. Previously the district’s secondary campus principal, she has been an educator in Center, Central, Hudson, Pearsall, McMullen County, Cotulla and Bryan ISDs.

White Oak ISD Brian Gray has been tapped

to lead White Oak ISD as superintendent. He had a short stint, since August 2019, as superintendent of Harleton ISD and prior to that led Irion County, Union Grove and Iredell ISDs. He received his bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State University and his master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University at Texarkana.

Wortham ISD A new superintendent has been approved for Wortham ISD. Melissa Bosley, a 27-year educator, received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and her master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She began her career in Corsicana ISD, going on to work in Red Oak and San Antonio’s Northside ISD before taking her most recent position as Clifton ISD’s curriculum director. ◄

Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

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PRESIDENT PROFILE

Texas Elementary and Secondary Principals Association

New TEPSA president focuses on community support by James Golsan

W

hat was your favorite way to play pretend when you were young? Maybe you were a firefighter, or a cowboy; maybe you played house. While growing up in Groves, Texas, new Texas Elementary and Secondary Principals Association (TEPSA) President Julie Gauthier liked to pretend she was a teacher. “My sister and brother are 10 and 13 years older than me, so when my brother went off to college, I turned his room into my classroom,” she says. It took asking for Christmas presents from the local teacher supply store and some surplus worksheets from her teachers at school to really get her classroom going, but by the time she was old enough for neighborhood kids to start coming by to play, Gauthier would have them seated and ready to learn in her little one room schoolhouse. “They used to look at my mom like, ‘Save us now!’” she says with a laugh. Gauthier remembers being fascinated by her teachers early on, enthralled by everything from their lesson delivery to the way they moved within the classroom. Yet even though her passion for education was apparent from a young age, Gauthier did not start her college career with designs on being an educator.

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“My mother was an eighth grade teacher and my father was a county judge, and we all strongly believed in public service,” she says, adding that her initial career plans were to follow more in her father’s footsteps than her mother’s and become a lawyer. It only took a few classes with her pre-law cohort at Texas A&M University, however, to realize teaching truly was where she felt most at home. Gauthier’s student teaching took her through some early classroom work in College Station ISD, which cemented her path toward a career in education. Still, her parents, whom she describes as “amazing influences” in her life, encouraged her to further her education since she, in Gauthier’s words, “was young, unmarried and had the time.” Upon graduating from Texas A&M, she returned to Southeast Texas to pursue a master’s degree from Lamar University in the fall of 1999. That year marked the formal start of her teaching career as well, as she taught fourth grade at Groves Elementary while she pursued her graduate degree.


“I cannot thank my parents enough for encouraging me to keep going,” she says, adding that while she had to work incredibly hard at the time, earning her master’s opened up a career pathway on which she’s enjoyed every step: her initial fourth grade teaching, followed by a stretch serving as the district’s elementary curriculum coordinator, then a principalship back at Groves Elementary, and finally her current position, assistant superintendent for Port Neches-Groves ISD. It was during her time as a curriculum coordinator that Gauthier first became directly involved with TEPSA (at a regional level first, then a statewide one), though the organization had been on her radar long before that. “As a district, we always supported TEPSA,” she says, adding that she’d been excited to get involved with the organization since the minute she received her administrative certificate. “TEPSA meetings have always been something I look forward to, and as an organization I’ve always thought so highly of

“That’s what TEPSA does such a great job of — speaking up for public schools, speaking up for our school children and our school leaders, advocating for and making sure people understand the work that we do.” them,” she says. “The professionalism and the way they treat us is top notch.” Now that she’s assumed the TEPSA presidency, Gauthier says that above all else, her mission is to keep TEPSA “doing what it’s doing,” especially given the uncertainty in the education field surrounding COVID-19. “We have 6,000 school professionals in our organization, and if this situation has shown us anything, it’s the degree to which

our public schools are the backbone of our community,” she says, adding that she wants her organization to be able to provide leadership and steadiness in the lives of its members. “That’s what TEPSA does such a great job of — speaking up for public schools, speaking up for our schoolchildren and our school leaders, advocating for and making sure people understand the work that we do.” When speaking to Gauthier, it becomes apparent how strongly she believes in community. She has a profound connection with her hometown — she’s married to her high school sweetheart and raising two children there, in addition to her professional ties — and it’s easy to see she’s eager to build on and manifest an even greater sense of community across TEPSA during her time in leadership. Public schools are, as she says, the backbone of their community. Under Gauthier’s leadership, TEPSA will continue to be a backbone for our public schools. JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional based in Austin.

SILSBEE ISD

The largest convening of public education policymakers in Texas! • Crowdsourced session selections • Network with 4,000+ • Exhibit hall with more than 300 product and service experts

#tasatasb tasa.tasb.org

• Field trips • Live podcast interviews • Show-stopping live student performances • Small School District Seminar

Join us in Dallas October 2–4 Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center

Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Thought leaders and innovators in education

Calhoun County ISD’s Tiffany O’Donnell leads with a focus on community, curriculum by Dacia Rivers

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iffany O’Donnell has always loved curriculum. Principal at Harrison Jefferson Madison Elementary School in Calhoun County ISD, she calls herself a protector of instruction, and it’s evident in the way she focuses on giving teachers time and keeping classroom interruptions to a minimum. “I put a big emphasis on maximizing instruction time, and we don’t interrupt instruction very often,” she says. “Students are rarely taken out of the classroom unless it’s an extreme circumstance.” O’Donnell graduated from Calhoun High School herself and is proud to work in her home district. Between then and now she has served as a kindergarten and first grade teacher, a facilitator and a RTI specialist, along with assistant principal. When O’Donnell first began teaching, it was her principal, Mitzi McAfee, current deputy executive director for academic services at Region 3, who encouraged her to get a master’s degree and consider moving into administration. O’Donnell has served as principal at HJM Elementary since 2015, and she finds joy in walking down the halls each day and seeing the smiling faces on her staff and students. With a motto of “The Power Of One,” staff at HJM Elementary are focused on each and every student, refusing to let any fall behind or slip through the cracks. For O’Donnell, it’s a family-style approach that has led to an inclusive, welcoming campus atmosphere. “We call ourselves a family. We speak to the kids as if we are a family,” she says. “And the students rise up and meet our expectations every time.” While a focus on curriculum is paramount at HJM Elementary, community and character-building are close seconds. The campus is home to a virtual Shark Town community, which allows the school to function like its own mini-city. The entire community is involved, including parents and local businesses, such as H-E-B, Walmart, IBC Bank and the post office. As Shark Town “residents,” students can apply for jobs, filling out applications and interviewing, just like they’ll do someday in the real world. To help boost attendance, students earn one dollar for each day they come to school

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▲ The campus at HJM Elementary School includes a virtual "Shark Town," which includes a post office, a TV news desk and a bank, among other model businesses.

and participate. Every once in a while, Shark Town opens for business, and students can spend the money they’ve earned and saved at H-E-B or Walmart. But first, they have to cover their bills and taxes.

“We really emphasize to our kids that there is something larger than ourselves at HJM,” she says. “And these things allow teachers to focus more on instruction than discipline and management.”

“We have utilities they have to pay, and it’s hilarious to see kids have to go pay their taxes,” O’Donnell says. “They’re not real happy about it, but that’s relevant, realworld learning.”

Besides a focus on curriculum and a dedication to character-building, O’Donnell is also passionate about instilling a love of writing in her students. She has seen the difference daily writing can make in student achievement, and she works with staff to incorporate writing assignments in each day’s activities. She also asked teachers to display writing examples on the walls of the school, modeling their importance and allowing visitors to get a glimpse of the kind of development possible beginning as early as kindergarten.

When a nearby news station, KAVU Newscenter 25 in Victoria, upgraded its set, they donated their old set to the school. The set has been made over as the Jaws 25 set and sits in the common area, where staff and students use it to film the school’s daily announcements. The school also holds nine-week assemblies to recognize students for outstanding academics, citizenship and perfect attendance. DPS troopers or representatives from the sherrif ’s or fire departments attend, shaking students’ hands as they come on stage to receive their medals.

“We provided teachers with training and graphic organizers for each grade level, which facilitated the writing process,” O’Donnell says. “And after kindergarten,

the students are used to the organizers and the rubrics, so it transfers into other grades seamlessly. The amount of writing that each student can produce is pretty amazing.” HJM Elementary has a high percentage of at-risk students, but the campus outperforms similar schools in the state and achieves STAAR distinctions. O’Donnell says she does pay attention to these achievements, but doesn’t consider them to be a symbol of the school’s success. For that, she looks to the bigger picture. “Our world is getting smaller, and to be competitive in the workplace, proficiency in writing is a necessity,” she says. “And for every student of ours, every day, that is our goal. Because of that, our writing scores have come up, but it’s not about the scores. It’s about future student success.” DACIA RIVERS is editorial director of Texas School Business.

“It brings a sense of pride to the kids, and it helps with behavior because they want to be recognized,” O’Donnell says. “We try to do a lot of character building to help with overall behavior.” Motivational rallies are another part of the family-building atmosphere at the school, where speakers come in and reinforce school procedures such as how to walk down the hallway appropriately or speak to cafeteria staff with respect. Since starting these rallies two years ago, O’Donnell says she has seen a significant positive response in her students.

► Students at HJM

Elementary earn a dollar a day for attendance, which they can spend at H-E-B or Walmart, after they've paid their bills and taxes. Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

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PRESIDENT PROFILE

Texas Association of Community Schools

Monty Hyzinger takes the helm at TACS by James Golsan

T

o be an educator is to be a leader. Whether that means teaching a single classroom full of students or serving as superintendent of a massive 5A district, coming to work each day, there’s going to be a group of people, often young people, looking for your guidance in one way or another. While many in the education field might not think of leadership as the career path they’re on, Monty Hyzinger, the new president of the Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS), knew from a young age that not only did he want to work in education, he wanted to be a leader in the field. The Muleshoe native says it was the influence of his early teachers that started him down the path toward a career in education … and not just his classroom instructors. A benefit of growing up in a town the size of Muleshoe (current population just north of 5,000) is that administrators often get to know their students almost as well as the teachers. “When the superintendent got wind of the fact that I was interested in education, he called me into his office and talked about the profession with me for a long time, and really hit on how you could influence so many people’s lives from a superintendent’s position, and really just planted the seed,” Hyzinger says.

The Muleshoe native says it was the influence of his early teachers that started him down the path toward a career in education.

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Hyzinger’s pursuit of a career in education began with his attendance at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M), where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. Upon graduating, he went straight into teaching in Canyon ISD, and has been traveling a path through the education ranks since. His next stop was Floydada ISD, where he served as a junior high school principal, and then he moved into his first superintendent position in Clarendon. Hyzinger held that post for 15 years before moving into his current position as superintendent of Dumas ISD, where he is set to begin his sixth year in the fall. It was during his time at Clarendon ISD that Hyzinger first became involved with TACS. “We loved the way they supported and pulled for us, and really loved what they stood for,” Hyzinger says, adding that while TACS’ focus is on rural schools, the group is on the side of all students and all school districts, no matter their size.


On a more personal level, Hyzinger says he “truly admired” TACS’ leadership at the time he became involved with the organization, which further fueled his desire to take part in what they were doing across the state. Much as has proven the case with his broader education career, leadership came to Hyzinger quickly. He became a regional representative with TACS first, then had an opportunity to run for an officer’s position and became the organization’s vice president. He is now entering his first year as TACS’ president, during what he describes with a laugh as a “unique time” for the Texas education community. While COVID-19 presents an array of challenges for rural and urban schools alike, Hyzinger sees a potential long-term silver lining for all educators, most especially those working in rural schools: an increased familiarity with classroom technologies and distance learning.

“This situation is going to force us to make some purchases that will better prepare us in the future if something like this happens again, but I think there are major advantages to learning how to use this technology for all our students,” he says, adding that he thinks there is potential for learning technologies to proliferate around the state — especially in smaller and more rural communities — more quickly than it would have otherwise. When asked about his goals for his time in leadership in a post-COVID-19 world, Hyzinger cites a continued need to advocate for community schools, especially during what could be a budget-tight legislative session in 2021. Maintaining the funding increases smaller and more rural schools received in the school finance reform package that passed during the 86th Texas Legislature will be key, he says, along with making sure local control is still paramount

in Texas education, continuing to promote school safety and perhaps most importantly, advocating on behalf of all Texas students. These are strange and challenging times in Texas education, and in our world as a whole. For education leaders who provide support and leadership to broad constituencies, those challenges are even more pronounced. In Hyzinger, TACS has a veteran, successful leader in education at the helm, and a steady hand to steer them through those challenges in the coming months. JAMES GOLSAN is a writer and education professional based in Austin.

Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

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REGIONAL VIEW

Education service center programs & practices

Region 1 ESC PATHS Project: supporting educators and students in educational pursuits

▲ The PATHS Project offers a glimpse of prospective future careers to students in Region 1.

I

t’s a hard pill to swallow to admit we don’t have all the answers at our fingertips. This is especially so when students who are planning their future have specific questions regarding educational requirements, career paths and career choices and depend on our guidance to lead the way. But for educators in Region 1 ESC, a new initiative called the PATHS (Pathways Aligned to Health Sciences) Project aims to provide information and support to students and educators as they navigate career pathways in the healthcare field. The two-prong objective of the PATHS Project is to align highwage, in-demand pathways with students in high school to transition to higher education and to assist teachers to make the connections for students as to how this looks when planning out their academics. The Center for Excellence in College, Career, and Life Readiness at the Region 1

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ESC partnered with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, the Health Science Institute at Renaissance and Performance Therapeutics to create the PATHS Project. The first-ofits-kind project funded by TEA’s Perkins Federal Reserve Grant brings together these partners with 10 selected school districts including Harlingen CISD, Hidalgo ISD, Lasara ISD, La Joya ISD, Lyford CISD, PSJA ISD, South Texas ISD, Roma ISD, Vanguard Academy and Valley View ISD in the Rio Grande Valley. As a potential model for the state, the selection of these districts was deliberate; the project identified a diverse group of districts that was representative of students at all levels, explains Dr. Eliza Alvarado, project director. Early conversations with the PATHS partners and representatives of the local Texas Workforce Board identified the need to align high-wage, in-demand healthcare

pathways in high school with transition into higher education institutions; link secondary and postsecondary crosswalks of career-focused learning with multiple entry points and work-based experiences; and provide academic and career focused postsecondary advising with online resources for sustainable efforts and duplication throughout the region. “In Health Science as well as many other pathways there are changes to existing programs almost daily,” explains Dr. Alvarado. “In addition, some credentials are stackable, and some are not. Institutions of higher education as well as school districts recognized this disconnect and were proactive in finding solutions to bridge this gap and provide students with the most current and valuable information possible. Partnerships in this endeavor were key in finding the solution to address this issue.”


The PATHS Project offers intentional activities for both teachers and students to bring the learning to life and provide support for educators. Such events include the Pathfinder Academy, an educatorfocused workshop pairing educators with representatives from higher education to learn about the different health science programs available at their local higher education institutions. Student workshops offer students workbased learning experiences with workforce partners. During these workshops, students are exposed to patient scenarios in a hospital setting using simulation mannequins. Student conferences feature multiple breakout sessions where various healthcare professionals explain to the students what their jobs involve day-to-day. Cybermentoring sessions offer one-onone video conferences between students and various health care professionals. In addition to sharing their journey with students, it allows students to make a connection with a professional in the “real world.” A major component of the PATHS Project is an online portal, Pathfinder Central, which will serve as a repository of information for both students and educators and truly offer information at your fingertips. Students will have access to basic information on every program in various health science professions offered at their local higher education institutions and educators

▲ Dr. Teddy Bear visits students in Region 1 ESC. will have access to profession-specific frameworks to help them guide students on academic and extracurricular services throughout their post-secondary career. Cybermentoring, as well as interviews with the deans of various institutions, will also be available through Pathfinder Central. Maria Davila, CTE coordinator at PSJA ISD, says activities provided by the PATHS Project opens students’ eyes to the different career opportunities: “Students learn that you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse. Society is not a ‘one-size-fits all.’ These kids have different skills, different talents, different capacities that they can contribute so if they can find their niche, they’re going

to be able to excel in that job. We want our kids to be successful and we find that they are when they are doing something they love.” The PATHS Project will not only affect the students and educators in today’s classroom, but will also have a regional impact. “Jobs in health sciences have blossomed along the border,” says Dr. Alvarado. “South Texas is home to 24 for-profit, nine non-profit and seven public hospitals. This, along with a myriad of other health-related businesses in the region, currently positions the health science industry as one of the fastest growing employment sectors in South Texas. These high-growth industries provide better-paying jobs and have increased the demand for a better-educated and skilled workforce. This represents an opportunity for students in the Region 1 area, and we want our students to be a part of the future workforce in healthcare.” “Our goal for the PATHS Project is to provide opportunities for our students to explore and discover careers in the healthcare field that will provide them not only with jobs, but with careers that will positively impact their future, the future of their family, and of our region,” explains Dr. Cornelio Gonzalez, executive director of Region 1 ESC. “We also want to support our educators. We want to ensure that they have the very best tools to facilitate learning for their students. The PATHS Project accomplishes both.”

▲ The PATHS Project introduces students to numerous on-demand careers in the Region 1 area, including nursing.

Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

27


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

JUNE June 2 TASA/N2 Learning Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Online Meeting For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000. TASA/N2 Learning Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Online Meeting For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000. June 3-4 TASBO Workshop: Leadership Fundamentals ESC 2, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $500; nonmembers, $550. June 5 TAHPERD Areas 6 and 7 Workshop University of Texas, Arlington For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org June 6 TAHPERD Area 12 Workshop Ysleta ISD, El Paso For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org June 8 TASA/N2 Learning Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Online Meeting For more info, (512)477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000. June 8-10 TAGT Gifted + Equity Conference Embassy Suites, Denton For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org Cost: By May 17: TAGT members, $215; nonmembers, $315.

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Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

May 17-June 2: TAGT members, $250; nonmembers, $350. June 9 ED 311 and TASSP Conference on Education Law for Principals Hotel Anatole, Dallas For more info, (512) 478-2113. info@ed311.com Cost: $230. TASA/N2 Learning Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Online Meeting For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000. TASB Training: Managing State and Federal Leave TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Participants from TASB member districts, no charge; all others, $425. June 9-12 TASA Summer VirtualCon Online For more info. (512) 477-6361. https://tasavirtualcon.org Cost: TBA June 10 TASA/N2 Learning Learning Assistant Principal Leadership Academy Online Meeting For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,000. TASB Training: Get a Grip on the Family and Medical Leave Act TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Participants from TASB member districts, no charge; all others, $425. June 10-11 Texas ASCD Academy Jumpstart Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org

June 10-12 TASSP Summer Workshop: Navigate with Heart Hilton Anatole, Dallas For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: TASSP members: By May 22: $273; after May 22: $323. Nonmembers: By May 22: $473; after May 22: $523. June 15 TASBO Workshop: Orange Frog – The Happiness Advantage Moody Gardens Convention Center, Galveston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $335; nonmembers, $385. June 15-16 TASBO Summer Solutions Conference Moody Gardens Hotel, Galveston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Conference only: Members, $200; nonmembers,$250. Conference with course(s): Members, $125; nonmembers, $175. June 16 TASBO Course: Certified School Risk Managers: Handling School Risks Moody Gardens Hotel, Galveston For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $175; nonmembers, $225. June 17 TASA/TASB/TASBO Budget Cohort for District Leaders (session 4 of 4) Moody Gardens Hotel, Galveston For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. events.tasb.org Cost: Up to three participants, $3,000 each for all four sessions; each additional participant (up to 2), $750. June 17-19 TEPSA Summer Conference Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: Conference only by May 15: Members, $379; nonmembers, $618. Conference only after May

15: Members, $429; nonmembers, $668. Conference and master class by May 15: Members, $528; nonmembers, $827. Conference and master class after May 15: Members, $628; nonmembers, $927. June 17-20 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org June 18-20 TETA SummerFest San Antonio College, San Antonio No phone number provided www.tetatx.com June 24-27 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Omni Hotel, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org June 25 ED311 Workshop: Effective Documentation of Teachers Civic and Convention Center, New Braunfels For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Cost: $195.

JULY July 9-12 TASSP New Principal Academy Trinity University, San Antonio For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.com July 12-14 TAHPERD Summer Conference Embassy Suites, Austin For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Early Bird registration (by May 15): Professional and associate members, $130; retired members, $45; student members, $35. Pre-registration (by June 15): Professional and associate members, $140; retired members, $45; student members, $35. Late registration (after June 15): Professional and associate members, $150; retired members, $55; student members, $45.


July 12-15

July 16

September 3

THSADA State Conference Convention Center, Waco For more info, (832) 623-7803. www.thsada.com

TASB Training: Environmental/ Facilities Regulatory Compliance TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Participants from TASB member districts, no charge; all others, $425.

Location TBA, Waco For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com

July 13 TASBO Workshop: Business Manager Fundamentals Marriott Hotel at Champions Circle, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $225; nonmembers, $275. July 13-15 TCASE Interactive Convention JW Marriott, Austin For more info, (512) 474-4492 or (888) 433-4492. www.tcase.org July 14 TASB Training: Asbestos Designated Person TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Participants from TASB member districts, no charge; all others, $425. July 14-15 TASBO Internal Audit Academy Marriott Hotel at Champions Circle, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $305; nonmembers, $355. July 15 TASB Training: Integrated Pest Management Coordinator TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222 or (800) 580-8272. www.tasb.org Cost: Participants from TASB member districts, no charge; all others, $425. TASPA Summer Law Conference Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org July 15-16 Texas ASCD Transformative Principal Leadership Academy (session 1 of 3) Tivy High School, Kerrville For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd. July 15-17 TASPA Summer Conference Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org

July 19-21 THSCA Convention and Coaching School Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.com Cost: Pre-registration (until July 1): $60. Late registration (July 1-10): $75. Onsite registration $90. July 22-23 Learning Forward Texas Workshop: Cultivating Leadership Clear Creek ISD, League City For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org July 28 TASBO Workshop: Orange Frog – The Happiness Advantage TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $335; nonmembers, $385. July 28-29 Learning Forward Texas Workshop: Tips and Tricks, Part 1 Irving ISD, Irving For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org

AU G U ST August 5-6 TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 1 of 4) Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org

S E PTE M B E R September 2 ED311 Back to School Workshop Location TBA, New Braunfels For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com

September 9

September 22 ED311 Back to School Workshop Location TBA, Midland For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com

ED311 Back to School Workshop Location TBA, Richardson For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com

Learning Forward Texas Workshop: Cultivating Leadership Keller ISD, Keller For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org

TASA First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 2 of 4) Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org

September 23

September 10 ED311 Back to School Workshop Location TBA, Kilgore For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com September 15 ED311 Back to School Workshop Location TBA, Houston For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com September 15-17 Texas ASCD Instructional Rounds Godley ISD, Godley For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd. September 16

ED311 Workshop: Effective Documentation of Teachers Location TBA, Midland For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com TASBO Workshop: Orange Frog – The Happiness Advantage Spring ISD, Spring For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $335; nonmembers, $385. September 24 ED311 Back to School Workshop Location TBA, Lubbock For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com September 24-25 Texas ASCD Transformative Principal Leadership Academy Tivy High School, Kerrville For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd

ED311 Back to School Workshop Location TBA, Beaumont For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com

September 24-26

TASBO Workshop: PEIMS Fundamentals Marriott Northwest, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $225; nonmembers, $275.

September 25

September 17-18 TASBO PEIMS Academy Marriott Northwest, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $305; nonmembers, $355. September 18

TETA Theatrefest Moody Gardens, Galveston No phone number provided. www.tetatx.com TASBO Workshop: Orange Frog – The Happiness Advantage Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, Bedford For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: TASBO members, $335; nonmembers, $385. September 30 TASA/N2 Learning Principals' Institute Hilton Garden Inn, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $6,000 for all six sessions.◄

ED311 Back to School Workshop Location TBA, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.ed311.com Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

29


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Texas School Business Advertiser Index

ASCD.......................................................... 10

Change: oh, how it can strengthen us by Riney Jordan

O

ne of my favorite songs over the years has been “A Change is Gonna Come” by the late, great Sam Cooke.

In those lyrics, he sings of hope — hope for African Americans and others who had been ignored, persecuted and belittled for far too long. The song was a message of hope and encouragement, and it became one of the anthems in that struggle for equality. Well, at the time of this writing, we are going through another time of great change. COVID-19 has changed the way we work, socialize, worship and shop. No one alive today has ever experienced anything quite like it. But, in spite of the inconvenience and the cloud of doom and gloom that seems to hang over our world, there are so many glimmers of hope popping up all around. I think it started when the country first received notice of the virus and almost immediately, there was a rush on toilet paper, hand sanitizer and bleach-laden wipes. But once it was obvious that those items were harder to find than the golden egg in an Easter egg hunt, people began sharing. A neighbor on our street sent a message that if you needed a roll of toilet paper to come by their residence. Rolls would be left at the front door, with instructions to take one if needed. Then came the announcement from a young couple next door that if we needed anything from the grocery store, they’d go get it and leave it on our front porch. One day, their kids came over, rang the doorbell, ran to the street and when we opened the door, they were standing in a neat row along the curb. “We’ve missed you. We wish we could give you a hug!” they yelled. When schools all across the country made the decision to close, the first thoughts from parents were fear, anxiety, and disbelief. Mom and Dad were going to have to be the teachers. Yikes! Almost as quickly, teachers began sending

lessons and activities to the homes of each of their students. With most businesses also closed, parents and their children were there, together, to make the most of a difficult situation. I have hundreds of teacher followers on Facebook, and the stories they are posting are just beautiful. Take for example, the staff of Anna Mae Dalton Elementary in Mansfield ISD, who decided that more than anything, they needed to see their students. For those who aren’t gifted in this manner, that might be hard to understand, but the majority of teachers care deeply about their students. They have accepted the cold, hard reality that in many cases, they might be the only person who nurtures and encourages that student.

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Advertise in Texas School Business magazine.

For three hours, the parade wormed its way past the home of every one of their students. Kids and parents were there, holding their own signs of appreciation for the staff. One parent yelled, “I’ve never appreciated you enough until now. Stay well! We need you!”

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More than 50 cars paraded past, each filled with a school staff member, doing a little something to show their students that they hadn’t been forgotten. How long will all this last? No one knows for certain, but however long it is, I am convinced that the American spirit will be rekindled and blaze during this time like never before. Yep. This current “change” that came is, hopefully, “gonna” make us kinder, more compassionate, and more self-sufficient than ever. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

convocation, graduation or awards banquet, visit www.rineyjordan.com.

Texas School Business MAY / JUNE 2020

eSHARS.....................................................12

With this idea in mind, each staff member sent messages to their students to be in their front yards to view the parade in midafternoon. They decorated their vehicles with signs expressing their love and encouragement, met in the school parking lot, formed a lineup, and slowly drove through all the neighborhoods that housed their 746 students.

RINEY JORDAN is the author of two books and a frequent public speaker. To invite him to speak at your

30

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May/June 2020 Texas School Business  

The May/June 2020 issue of Texas School Business, published by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), includes a cover artic...

May/June 2020 Texas School Business  

The May/June 2020 issue of Texas School Business, published by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), includes a cover artic...

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