June 2020

Page 1

The Coronavirus Will Hit School Funding Hard. Find Out Why—And What You Can Do. A Publication of the Texas Association of School Boards | Volume 38, Number 5 | June 2020 Texas Lone Star Also in This Edition: Gen Z and the Pandemic How Will Schools, Classrooms Change? The Value of Trust An Eye-opening Tour of Florence ISD

Featured Event

VIRTUAL SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

JUNE 24-26

JUNE [ALL JUNE EVENTS TENTATIVE]

2 • Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (virtual conference)

8 • TASA Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (virtual conference)

9 • [POSTPONED] TASB HR Services “Managing

TASB Officers 2019-20

Lee Lentz-Edwards, Kermit ISD, President

Jim Rice, Fort Bend ISD, President-Elect

Ted Beard, Longview ISD, First Vice-President

Debbie Gillespie, Frisco ISD, Second Vice-President

Bob Covey, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Secretary-Treasurer

Jim de Garavilla, Silsbee ISD, Immediate Past President

TASB Board of Directors 2019-20

Moises Alfaro, Mathis ISD, Region 2

Kay Alley, Crosbyton CISD, Region 17

Rose Avalos, Aldine ISD, Region 4H

Kamlesh Bhikha, ESC 2, ESC Representative

Steve Brown, Ector County ISD, Region 18

Kevin A. Carbo, Mesquite ISD, Region 10D

Yolanda Cuellar, South Texas ISD, Region 1B

Thomas Darden, Cooper ISD, Region 8

Jason Dohnalik, Cameron ISD, Region 6

Karen Freeman, Northside ISD, Region 20B

Corinne French, Valley View ISD, Region 11D

Demetrio D. Garcia, Kenedy ISD, Region 3

Linda Gooch, Sunnyvale ISD, Region 10B

Mary Jane Hetrick, Dripping Springs ISD, Region 13B

Tony Hopkins, Friendswood ISD, Region 4C

Sandy Hughey, North East ISD, Region 20E

Bill Lacy, Katy ISD, Region 4E

Mark Lukert, Wichita Falls ISD, Region 9

Jayme Mathias, Austin ISD, Region 13A

Raymond P. Meza, San Felipe Del Rio CISD, Region 15

Dan Micciche, Dallas ISD, Region 10C

Vernagene Mott, Pflugerville ISD, Region 13C

Patricia O’Caña-Olivarez, Mission CISD, Region 1A

Nicholas Phillips, Nederland ISD, Region 5

Jacinto Ramos Jr., Fort Worth ISD, Region 11B

Page Rander, Clear Creek ISD, Region 4B

Georgan Reitmeier, Klein ISD, Region 4A

Armando Rodriguez, Canutillo ISD, Region 19B

Rolinda Schmidt, Kerrville ISD, Region 20A

Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Houston ISD, Region 4D

Cindy Spanel, Highland Park ISD, Region 16

Becky St. John, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Region 11A

Anne Sung, Houston ISD, Region 4

Mildred Watkins, La Vega ISD, Region 12

Greg Welch, Clyde CISD, Region 14

Robert Westbrook, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, Region 20D

For more information about these events or deadlines, visit the TASB website at tasb.org or call TASB at 512.467.0222 or 800.580.8272 toll-free.

2 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org Calendar
Workshop, Austin
State and Federal Leave”
TASA Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (virtual conference)
TASA Virtual Summer Conference 2020
TASB HR Services “Get a Grip on the Family and Medical Leave Act” Workshop, Austin
TASA Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (virtual conference)
Deadline to
TASB Advocacy Agenda Resolutions
TASBO Summer Solutions Conference, Galveston
School Board Awards Nominations
to Regional ESCs
9 •
9-12 •
10 • [POSTPONED]
10 •
15 •
submit
15-17 • [CANCELED]
16 • 2020
Due
and the Pandemic” Leadership TASB Webinar
Budget Cohort for Texas District Leaders, Galveston
• TASB Virtual Summer Leadership Institute
2 • State Board of Education Meetings, Austin
• Candidate nominations deadline for TASB Board of Directors
16 • “Gen Z
17 • TASA/TASB/TASBO
24-26
29-July
30
JULY EVENTS TENTATIVE]
Application deadline for Leadership TASB Program
National School Public Relations Association Annual Seminar, St. Louis, Missouri
TASB Facility Services Asbestos Designated Person Training, Austin
• TASB Facility Services Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Training, Austin
• TASB Facility Services Environmental/Facilities Regulatory Compliance Training, Austin
• Submissions deadline for TASB Business Recognition Program
JULY [ALL
1 •
12-15 • [CANCELED]
14 •
15
16
31

Features

8 The Financial Fallout

COVID-19 has triggered an economic meltdown, and school districts may be hit hard. Here’s why public education advocates are worried—and what can be done.

Departments

2 Calendar 20 Legal News

24 Capital Watch

26 HR Files

30 News & Events

Columns

5 From the Top

7 Editor’s Footnote

30 Leadership TASB

38 Q & A

12 Gen Z and the Pandemic

Our students are having a watershed moment—a life-changing event that defines a generation. How will students, schools, and classrooms change?

16 The Value of Trust

TASB’s Joel Nihlean recently visited Florence ISD. Go along on his tour of the district to see how a strong team of eight copes with challenges big and small.

Texas Lone Star • Volume 38, Number 5

Texas Association of School Boards

P.O. Box 400 • Austin, Texas • 78767-0400 512.467.0222 or 800.580.8272 (toll-free)

Roger White • Managing Editor

Melissa Locke Roberts • Assistant Editor

Shu-in Powell • Graphic Designer

Patrick Morris, Virginia Hernandez • Photographers

Amy Rames • Advertising Coordinator 360 Press Solutions • Printer

Texas Lone Star (ISSN 0749-9310) is published 10 times a year by the Texas Association of School Boards. Copyright© 2020 by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). All rights reserved. Reproduction, adaptation, distribution, and exhibition in whole or in part are prohibited under penalty of law without the written license or permission of TASB. Copies of Texas Lone Star are mailed to trustees of TASB member school boards and their superintendents as part of their membership. Subscriptions are available to nonmembers for $36 (1 year), $69 (2 years), and $99 (3 years). Single copies are $5.

Address changes should be sent to Michael Pennant, TASB, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400.

Articles in Texas Lone Star are expressions of the author or interviewee and do not represent the views or policies of TASB. Permission to reprint should be addressed to the Managing Editor, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400.

Texas Lone Star does not guarantee publication of unsolicited manuscripts.

Postmaster: Send address changes to TASB, P.O. Box 400, Austin, Texas 78767-0400.

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Contents | June 2020 Web Watch Listen to our new podcast series, TASB Talks: Leadership during COVID-19, at tasbtalks.org For more information about tasb.org and our related sites, contact TASB Online Communications at 512.467.0222 or 800.580.8272 toll-free or visit tasb.org/help/index.aspx.
Cover design by Brady Severns

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Application period May 1–July 1

Email leadershiptasb@tasb.org to request an application and visit tasb.org/leadershiptasb for more information.

Scholarships for tuition and travel are available.

Dickens and COVID-19

Working Together during ‘Best of Times, Worst of Times’

Iwatched a movie recently where the main character quoted Charles Dickens’ first line from A Tale of Two Cities to make his point. And then, not two days later as I watched Jeopardy®, the Final Jeopardy correct response was “What is … it was the best of times, it was the worst of times?” As I reflect about what is going on today, I realize Dickens was right. It is the best of times, but it is the worst of times.

The school doors are closed, businesses are only partially open, and energy prices have tanked. And did I mention people are dying? These are certainly the worst of times. This is a time like no other, where the smart thing to do is to think before we act. And when we do act, we need to act responsibly. There are predictions that even when things do return to normalcy that the current federal funding program will not be enough to cover state education cuts. What can state and local leaders do?

that any cuts made do not disproportionately land on students who are English language learners, those with disabilities, or from lower socioeconomic families. His most vital point is for leaders and all voters to advocate for increased flexibility in spending of educational funding dollars to allow districts greater financial freedom as they focus on individual student needs.

TASB also has some advice in these challenging times. It is recommended that school boards and superintendents stay connected with each other and the community. They should demonstrate calm and capable leadership. The superintendent should be allowed to lead and manage the district. Most decisions need to be made by the person hired as the school’s leader. The superintendent or the designee should be the official voice of the district as the entire staff maintains a unified public message. Now is the time to demonstrate leadership and support.

of the economy due to the impact of the requirements of social distancing.

No man is an island. We are all Texans, and we all feel the effects of this virus. We must stay focused and know that we will overcome these difficult times.

We need each other. With all that has occurred over the past few months, we realize now how much we appreciate the way things were. Little trips like to the grocery store or salon are big, big deals now. Toilet paper used to be used as an example of an inelastic commodity in economic classes when studying supply and demand. No more. We now know that in a crisis a large supply of your favorite brand is comforting to have in reserve. Buyers are willing to pay more when supply is low and demand is high. Our economy needs all of us. It’s our job as consumers and responsible citizens to act responsibly and look to the future.

Shared Sense of Purpose

Flexibility in Spending

Michael Griffith, a researcher and policy analyst at the Learning Policy Institute, an independent research program dedicated to advancing equitable learning, has some suggestions from his Learning in the Time of COVID-19 series. He suggests that community leaders push for increased federal assistance to allow districts to weather the economic downturn without drastically impacting the education of the neediest students. Next, he proposes we ensure

Staying Focused

The 17th-century writer John Donne wrote that “No man is an island.” Donne compared people to countries and argued for interconnectedness. He explained that no one suffers alone and that being aware of others’ pain makes us stronger. I think that is where we are today. Whether we are in a community with large COVID numbers or not, we feel the effects of COVID-19. We have friends or families affected by the virus itself or the downturn

But these are the best of times because we are stronger. We have faced our challenges, and we are preparing for the future. We appreciate our families and friends more. Parents are developing new respect for classroom teachers, and teachers are reciprocating. Children miss their teachers and vice versa. Appreciation abounds. Workers are thankful for their jobs.

We live in Texas! What could be better than that? I find personal strength and comfort knowing that we are all connected by our shared sense of purpose as school board members and community leaders. We are all working to make the best decisions for now and for the future for our schools and our communities.H

texaslonestaronline.org | June 2020 | Texas Lone Star 5 From the Top
Lee Lentz-Edwards Lee Lentz-Edwards, a Kermit ISD trustee, is 2019-20 president of TASB.
It is recommended that school boards and superintendents stay connected with each other and the community.
She is counting on you. Speak up for our children. Speak up for Texas public schools. standup4txpublicschools.org

Now More than Ever

Funding for Public Schools Must Be Top Priority

Take a moment to read the following, written by Michael Villarreal, director of the Urban Education Institute at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA):

“Leo Cimilien’s world widened when he began preschool last fall at San Antonio’s Advanced Learning Academy. The 5-year-old got to practice English, since his Haitian-born family speaks Creole and French in the home. He got to run and play on the school’s playground, since there’s no playscape or green space at his apartment complex. And he spent time each day learning in a large, caring community as he bonded with teachers and friends.

“But when the coronavirus outbreak hit San Antonio, these vital parts of Cimilien’s world slammed shut. Like many students now, he stays indoors, restless and isolated. His parents, who lost jobs amid the pandemic, are having a hard time keeping him occupied and entertained.

surely face when they return to school potentially months behind in their academic progress. The Pew Research Center’s recent analysis of the US Census Bureau Data reveals high-speed web access is unavailable or unaffordable in at least 15 percent of households in which school-age kids reside.

What this means for public schools when they reopen is that educators will be facing a broad spectrum of academic levels of students in each grade—depending greatly on the resources the kids had at home during the lockdown.

And this means that schools will be hard-pressed to do more than they ever have before to get all students up to speed. As you’ll read in this edition’s cover story, beginning on page 8, districts state-

wide have moved to remote learning and have dealt with costs unimagined until now: deep-cleaning campuses, purchasing distance learning materials, new software and technology, delivering meals to students, and more.

“When students return to schools, they’ll be all over the place academically, and many will be dealing with emotional trauma,” noted TASB’s Dax Gonzalez. “Academic interventions and counseling costs will dramatically increase. The question is by how much.”

Funding at Risk

Ironically, this crisis comes at a time when funding for public education is again at risk. It’s critical that local public education leaders start talking with legislators and their communities about the risks to school funding now. Your voice is needed now. Visit texansforstrongpublicschools. org. Read up on the issues. Find out who represents you—and let them know that public school funding is a top priority. Our students need us now more than ever.H

“Last month they had money to pay their cellular and Wi-Fi bill. But with no savings, the sudden lack of income and a looming rent payment, they fear internet connectivity will soon become an out-ofreach luxury.”

Problems Now—and Later

This excerpt from a recent edition of UTSA Today shows clearly not only the problems faced at home by students with scant resources, but the problems they will

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Editor’s Footnote
It’s critical to start talking with legislators about the risks to school funding now.

The Coronavirus Will Hit School Funding Hard. Find

Out Why—And
What You Can Do.
8 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org

The rapid spread of the coronavirus and necessary public health response will hit the state budget hard. This damage has the potential to punch a big hole in school district budgets, too. The dramatic fiscal downturn has already been dubbed the Coronavirus Recession, and it has public education advocates across the state worried.

“Between COVID-19 effectively locking up the Texas and national economies and the dramatic drop in oil prices, what I’m hearing from school board members are worries that the state just passed a big school funding bill, and the state might not be able to keep the promises of that bill even for this coming school year,” said TASB’s Governmental Relations Division Director Dax Gonzalez.

It’s still too early to quantify the exact impact this recession will have on Texas public schools, but the gathering storm clouds bear an eerie resemblance to the ones we saw on the horizon before the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from education funding in 2011.

Understanding what happened to public education funding last decade, the pressures legislators will be facing, and how the decisions they make can impact local school districts is important. School board members, superintendents, and public education advocates will need to speak up or see history repeat itself.

Why Education Experts Are Worried

For school funding, the Coronavirus Recession looks a lot like the Great Recession of the late 2000s. If the past is prologue, the parallels to our current situation start in 2006. The Texas Legislature touted cuts to school property taxes and set a new tax rate limit of $1.17 that summer.

About a year later, the economy went into freefall. Several US financial institutions collapsed, and the federal government stepped in to dole out more than $1.4 trillion in stimulus and bailout funds. The Great Recession was the most severe economic downturn in the nation since the 1930s.

Texas received some stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that helped prop up the national economy. Instead of investing those funds in nonrecur-

ring expenses to boost the Texas economy, legislators chose to shore up gaps in state funding created by the recession. The decision came with an expensive price tag.

By 2011, the stimulus funds had dried up. The Legislature faced a fiscal cliff. They didn’t have the revenue to meet the state’s needs. Budgets were slashed across the board—most notably, $5.4 billion was axed from public education.

“Fast forward to 2020 and a lot of the same underlying dynamics are at play,” said Gonzalez.

Last summer, the Texas Legislature touted property tax cuts and compressed school property tax rates to $1.08. In a new twist, the state also imposed a local property tax revenue cap of 2.5 percent for school districts. Then the Great Lockdown happened. The economy has again gone into freefall.

The federal government has again stepped in, approving a $2 trillion stimulus package that will start making its way down to the states for disbursement.

Texas Comptroller Glen Hegar had previously projected a conservative $2.9 billion surplus, a projection some expected the state to beat. Hegar told the Texas Tribune during a virtual event that the state budget could be short several billion dollars next session.

“I know that we’re unfortunately in a recession. I just don’t know how deep it’s going to be,” Hegar said during the interview.

State leaders can likely address short-term needs to finish out the second year of the biennial budget without a special session. When the Legislature meets again in January 2021, they’ll have the opportunity to steer the state out of a post-stimulus slump or repeat recent history by using stimulus funds to pay for recurring expenses.

Effect on State, Local Education Funding

Public education depends on state funding. The current funding system makes public education more expensive for the state in an economic downturn.

Local school district taxes generally raise about 55 to 60 percent of the cost of public education. Then the state steps

COVID-19 has triggered an economic meltdown. School budgets are in trouble, and it could be deep trouble if Texas repeats the mistakes of the recent past. Here’s why public education advocates are worried— and what can be done.
texaslonestaronline.org | June 2020 | Texas Lone Star 9

in to fill in the rest of the funding—about 40 to 45 percent. As property values fall in many areas, as they likely will, districts will pull in less revenue. With that, the state’s funding obligation grows.

“The reality is money is going to be tight at the local level—and at the state level, too. Education is a big-ticket item for the state, and the state’s revenue streams are all going to be hit by this,” said Gonzalez.

Pre-K-12 public education funding accounts for almost a quarter of the state’s biennial budget. The Texas Legislature has a limited set of revenue streams available to fund public education, including:

• Sales taxes

• Motor vehicle sales taxes

• Oil and natural gas production taxes

• Franchise taxes

• Motor fuel taxes

• Permanent School Fund disbursements

• Texas Lottery allocations

• Revenue from local property taxes recaptured from school districts

Sales taxes account for 57 percent of all tax collections in Texas. With huge swaths of the economy effectively closed, unemployment rising, and travel restricted, the state’s tax revenue streams are slowing to a trickle.

The oil and gas industry still plays a major role in the Texas economy, and the pandemic has hit this sector hard. Oil futures took a brief and unprecedented plunge into negative territory in April. In addition to the impact of the virus, production decisions by Russia and Saudi Arabia have driven the price of oil down to historic lows.

The state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), also known as the Rainy Day Fund, relies on a robust oil and gas industry to fill its coffers.

In addition to the impact on state tax revenue, many Texas school districts in natural resource-producing communities will be disproportionately affected by dropping property values.

The Economic Shutdown and HB 3

Texas legislators invested more than $11 billion in school finance reform in 2019. There was $6.4 billion in new money for public schools as part of House Bill 3 (HB 3), plus $5.2 billion to buy down school property taxes.

The state will be hard-pressed to fulfill the landmark legislation’s goals without a quick economic recovery. It may be difficult to sustain both the new investments in public

education and the state buydown of property taxes.

The Texas Legislature built in a modest revenue stream last session that provides limited funding for HB 3’s promises. It’s called the Tax Reform and Educational Excellence Fund.

The money in the Tax Reform and Educational Excellence Fund comes from:

• Revenue appropriated from the most recent state budget

• Limited disbursements from state endowments

• Online sales taxes

• Severance tax revenue diversions provided by the Constitution (to be used for the property tax buydown)

But just like the franchise tax passed in 2006 to help compensate for tax compression, the fund cannot be expected to fully sustain the additional costs incurred by tax compression and education funding increases.

School districts have worked fast to move to remote learning, incurring a litany of coronavirus costs: deep-cleaning campuses, purchasing distance learning materials, new software and technology, delivering meals to students, and more.

“When students return to schools, they’ll be all over the place academically, and many will be dealing with emotional trauma,” Gonzalez noted. “Academic interventions and counseling costs will dramatically increase. The question is by how much.”

Coupled with the state’s grim revenue picture, the new property tax revenue caps established in HB 3 will further exacerbate the shortfall of funds available to support public schools. The revenue cap limits school district budgets to no more than 2.5 percent more than the previous year’s revenue.

If schools need more money than the 2.5-percent increase in their budget to cope with the fallout of this pandemic, they’ll have to hold a costly tax ratification election.

“School districts are hamstrung by the cap at the worst moment,” said Gonzalez. “And because the state is obligated to make school district budgets whole, the state will be on the hook for a greater share of public education funding as both state and local tax revenue decline.”

What State Leaders Can Do

When the Legislature meets in January, they’ll be responsible for evaluating the impact of this recession and how best to address it – likely through a mix of budget cuts, funds from the ESF, and allocating federal stimulus dollars. But that doesn’t mean state leaders will wait until 2021 to do anything.

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“When students return to schools, they’ll be all over the place academically, and many will be dealing with emotional trauma. Academic interventions and counseling costs will dramatically increase. The question is by how much.”

Comptroller Hegar said he has the authority to access the nearly $8.5 billion available in the Rainy Day Fund. It’s unclear if that would be enough to bridge the budget shortfalls that are likely during the second year of the current biennium. And there’s still the next biennium to consider.

“State leaders aren’t likely to consider completely draining the Rainy Day Fund, so there will be fewer dollars to allocate to essential state services like public education, health and human services, and infrastructure,” said Gonzalez.

The downward pressure revenue caps place on local property tax rates leaves school districts with limited moves to work around lost state revenue. Some public education advocates are questioning if the state can afford the cost of the property tax rate compression right now.

Taking a cue from the temporarily waived Open Meetings Act provisions, some have suggested temporarily waiving the property tax buydown and revenue cap provisions, as well.

The federal government’s $2 trillion economic aid package directs $31 billion to states, school districts, and institutions of higher education for costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s also $13.5 billion for schools through formula grants to states and another $307 million that the US Department of Education will distribute to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office to help schools maintain instructional continuity.

Remember, the 2009 stimulus created the fiscal cliff and 2011 budget shortfall that ended in billions being cut from

public education. Reverberations from the fall off that cliff continue to be felt today.

What Local Leaders Can Do

It’s critical that local public education leaders start talking with legislators and their communities about the risks to school funding now.

Have your administration create outlines and graphics that illustrate what budget cuts would mean for your schools.

“Create scenarios that include 5-percent, 10-percent, and 20-percent reductions in funding. Include specific details about how these cuts will impact your schools, students, parents, and the taxpayers in your community,” said Gonzalez.

Start having discussions about those scenarios in board meetings. Tell your legislators to resist the urge to use onetime federal stimulus aid to prop up the state budget without a plan for filling the gap once the federal aid is gone.

“Everyone is going to have to reduce costs and make cuts,” said Gonzalez, “but repeating 2011 really should not be an option. We can learn from our mistakes.”

Tell lawmakers to protect school budgets. Your voice can make the difference. Visit www.TexansForStrongPublicSchools/Save-HB3 to find out who represents you—and let them know public school funding is a priority.H

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Joel Nihlean is content marketing manager for TASB.

GEN Z AND THE PANDEMIC

Our Students Are Having a Watershed Moment. How Will Schools and Classrooms Change?
12 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org

Editor’s note: Amy Lynch, a generational issues expert and author, will present a webinar June 16 on “Gen Z and the Pandemic” for the Leadership TASB Class of 2020, Leadership TASB program alumni, and those interested in applying for the 2021 class. For more information about Leadership TASB or to request an invitation to the webinar, e-mail leadershiptasb@ tasb.org.

OK, folks, this is it. Covid-19 is the tipping point for the Crisis (capital C) that generational scholars have predicted for, well, generations. Once a century, the wheel turns through four generations and we enter a Crisis—a major disruption that changes how we live, govern, and define ourselves. For example, our grandparents and great-grandparents endured World War II. Today, we, our families, and students face a pandemic and the instability it triggers.

Every 80 to 100 years, huge problems demand solutions. In US history, we had the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. Now, roughly a century later, this Crisis is right on schedule.

So here we are, you and I, and our Gen Z students and children, caught up in the flow of history, living through a period of intense uncertainty. The good news is that this stage will end eventually, and we will cycle into a period of Unity. But Crisis comes first.

Behavioral Changes

This pandemic is certain to be a touchstone moment for Gen Z. Each generation has a watershed moment during childhood or adolescence—an event they all remember vividly, a sudden plunge toward uncertainty that helps define them as a generation. These events affect us all, but they absolutely crystalize the frame of mind for a generation of kids.

Gen Z will remember Covid-19 in much the same way Boomers remember the assassinations of the Kennedys and King, in the way Gen X remembers the Challenger Explosion, and the way Millennials remember 9/11. This spring, Gen Z kids have been sheltering in place, wearing masks, socially distancing, learning online, and having to carry on without their friends and teachers and mentors, without the school community that nurtures them. Many must endure without essential programs that school provides. They cannot predict for certain that they will be in classrooms next fall. How will all this shape them?

One way we can make predictions is by looking back. Consider the Silent Generation, the great-grandparents of Gen Z. As children during World War II, Silents watched their parents struggle with bread lines, broken banks, and war. Of necessity, Silents helped their families plant

gardens, recycle nearly everything, and save money. They became helpful and compliant. So compliant, in fact, that they earned the name Silent. Some of those same traits will almost certainly play out in Gen Z.

Let’s look at what kids are experiencing now and how it may change their behaviors in school. Here, in no particular order, are a few best guesses.

Big crowds, big anxiety. As we know, ordinary things like touching a handrail or breathing air in an enclosed space are now potentially dangerous. Kids are soaking up the lesson that being with other people is risky. We may see Gen Z avoid crowds, not just now but always. Concerts and sporting events that trigger exhilaration for older generations may scream danger for Gen Z.

Even when school is running normally again, we may need to accommodate the anxiety that close proximity can trigger for Gen Z kids.

Masks. The masks we wear in public are likely to impact Gen Z. Like Millennials before them, Gen Z already tended to cocoon under headphones when in public. Now they wear masks, too, diminishing identity, expression, and recognition. Will Gen Z be less able to read facial expression, less able to interact with and consider the needs of other people in public spaces?

When school is running normally again, will Gen Z need more coaching in these areas?

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These events affect us all, but they absolutely crystalize the frame of mind for a generation of kids.
Amy Lynch Photo courtesy of Amy Lynch

Parents doing the impossible. Parents are working and parenting full time, essentially doing the impossible. Parents who lose jobs must still support families–another impossible task. Gen Z is experiencing that stress. It is likely they are learning to be more compliant, to stay out of the way and put their own needs on the back burner for a while.

As educators, we may find our students more patient and more realistic in their expectations of us.

Distrust. Before the pandemic, the concerns were climate crisis and gun control. Gen Z sought action on both but encountered government inertia, denial, even ridicule of their concerns. As a result, we are likely to find Gen Z distrustful of institutions and government. They are sometimes called Gen True for this very reason.

As they interact with us at school, will they question the official line and ask for clarity and facts more intensely than we expect?

Home. For Gen Z, home and family are a cocoon of safety these days. This generation was already close to their Gen X parents and great fans of puzzles and board games. Now they are planting gardens, doing housework, raising chickens, and cooking with their parents. They are likely to value home even more deeply than other generations. This may be reinforced if communities repeatedly open up, encounter danger, and close down again as the virus mutates and reoccurs.

Even when school is running normally, will large numbers of Gen Z opt to learn at home?

Resourcefulness. Gen Z was already revealing itself to be a hands-on, DIY generation. Digital systems have been their everyday reality, making them hungry for tactile tasks. Now they are at home with parents who no longer have disposable income. As a result, kids are making do and making things.

Gen Z already preferred learning by doing. As educators, we may find they expect more practice and less theory.

They may create hands-on solutions with little direction from adults.

Surveillance. Contact tracking is essential to stopping the pandemic. As businesses and communities seek to protect people with increased surveillance, Gen Z may give up privacy earlier generations expected.

In classrooms and schools, will this generation actually be reassured by scrutiny such as added cameras and tracking devices? Will they develop comfort with additional forms of identification such as certification of immunity or vaccination?

They Look to Us

There is more. We may find that Gen Z desires virtual reality for learning. We can expect them to travel less and save more. They may become less urban as parents learn to work from home and decide to move their families to open spaces in the countryside. Since enclosed spaces promote contagion, it’s possible that Gen Z will avoid cars and buses, opting for scooters, bicycles, and motorcycles for transport to school.

There are many impacts we cannot predict, many questions we cannot answer today.

But one thing we do know. Gen Z looks to us. They look to us as parents and grandparents, as educators and policymakers. We are their bedrock during this uncertain time. This is an event we will remember all our lives, and so will Gen Z. Fortunately, we are here to teach them, to model resilience and community, and to protect them.

Amy Lynch is an author and professional speaker addressing generational challenges in the workplace and the marketplace. She has been quoted in Entrepreneur, Fast Company, The Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, and NBC Evening News.

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Gen Z looks to us as parents and grandparents, as educators and policymakers. We are their bedrock during this uncertain time.

Generational Cycles—Where Do You Fit?

Cycles play out in four predictable stages. Which stage shaped your generation?

Unity: A stage of expansion and relative prosperity that follows a Crisis. For example, from the 1940s to the 1960s (after World War II) when the economy grew, the market was strong and jobs were plentiful. The Silent Generation built careers, businesses, and families and gave birth to Baby Boomers.

Awakening: A period following Unity when the economy remains strong, but culture is challenged. For example, from roughly the early 1960s to 1978, the assassinations of Kennedy and King, the Civil Rights Movement, the Peace Movement, Women’s Movement, and Gay Rights Movement sparked protests and violence. Boomers witnessed and participated in these growing divisions. Meanwhile, Gen X was being born.

Unraveling: A series of years when big problems go unsolved. The economy, the government, and even families do not function as well as before. For example, from roughly 1978 to 1995, Gen X came of age and witnessed the oil crisis, the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Challenger Explosion, and globalization. Meanwhile, Millennials were being born.

Crisis: A generational stage when dysfunctional systems, institutions, and economies are disrupted and reshaped. From roughly 1995 to 2020, Millennials came of age, witnessing 9/11, the Enron scandal, the 2008 financial crisis, school shootings, and terrorism. Gen Z was born during this period.

Source: Amy Lynch

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Tour of Florence ISD Highlights Importance of Strong Team of Eight

ven the best-laid plans often go awry. How we plan for that, how we respond, and how we work together when it happens reveals a lot about our character and our relationships. The response of school districts across the state to COVID-19 and shutdown orders has made that clear.

But it’s not just the big, unimaginable, and unprecedented events like a global pandemic that school districts must tackle. It’s anything—big or small, expected or not. A tight leadership team means the district is ready.

Let me take you on a tour of Florence ISD. Last fall, I had the opportunity and honor to tour the district with some of my TASB colleagues. It was my first time on a district tour, and I left impressed. Superintendent Paul Michalewicz, Board President Ed Navarette, and the whole district made meticulous plans for their guests. What they showed us was impressive, but what they didn’t intend to show was more so.

A Promise of Excellence

Florence ISD, a rural district about 50 miles north of Austin, is draped in a decades-long history of FFA awards. The district boasts a student-operated meat-processing center and student-run meat market. The program was featured on the evening news in Austin.

Squeezed between the expansion of Fort Hood and Killeen to the north and the suburban boom in Georgetown to the south, Florence ISD is also a fast-growth district. And it has all the growing pains that come with that designation.

It was a still-warm October morning when a cadre of TASB employees, State Board of Education member Tom Maynard, and staff from the office of Texas State Representative Terry Wilson (R-Marble Falls) descended on Florence ISD. We received a king’s welcome from the Florence High School drumline as we stepped off the bus.

After the drumline came to a roaring halt, Superintendent Michalewicz made quick introductions. There were board members and staff, including the band director, the

“What we’re interested in is equity across programs. What we’re interested in is about being excellent in all programs,” Florence ISD Superintendent Paul Michalewicz explained to visitors as they toured district facilities last fall.
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Photo by TASB Media Services

principal, and the director of curriculum. They swept us along on to the start of our tour.

We passed between yellow-bricked, single-story buildings, led by Michalewicz. He alternated between leading us onward and walking backward to better address us.

“Today, we’re going to talk about the so-called ‘good, the bad, and the ugly,’” Michalewicz said as we walked. “We’re going to point out some things that we’re very proud of, that we’ve been able to accomplish over the last few years, but we’re also going to show you some things that are still deficits in our minds, and things that we still need to work on in the way of facilities. We’ll talk about programming today, and certainly the band program is one we really want to highlight.”

We visited the band hall, where we saw new band instruments and uniforms. The band was fresh off a first-division win at the regional marching band contest. Their confidence and skill showed.

Michalewicz explained that board support was part of the theme of the day.

“The board supports initiatives that we bring to them, and we wanted to certainly support this band program by getting them these nice new, shiny uniforms that are indicative of their expertise and the accolades that they’re receiving."

Then he showed us to a newly renovated weight room with rows of shining, modern equipment. The room was special to Michalewicz.

“This is actually the first room I walked into as I was coming to interview for the superintendent position, but it didn’t look like this,” he said. “I happened to know the athletic director at the time, so I came down to visit with him for a few minutes, and he calmed my jitters.”

The room, used by boys’ and girls’ athletic programs for both the middle school and high school, was two-thirds the size back then. Then, the walls were bare cinderblocks, and the floor was rumpled, old astroturf. The lumpy, greenrubber granules were so uneven that twisting an ankle was a known risk.

The improvements to the weight room were one piece in a bigger plan for improving student achievement.

“What we’re interested in is equity across programs. What we’re interested in is about being excellent in all programs,” Michalewicz said.

Over the next hour, he showed how the district has delivered on that promise. We toured through the high school, the middle school, and the nearly 100-year-old elementary school.

There were visiting soldiers from Fort Hood helping with PE class. There was a woefully out-of-date science lab in line for bond money and the Fresh Food For All distributions. We heard about expanding CTE programs, and more technology upgrades than outlets.

We saw excited students. And we heard proud and driven administrators talk about continuous improvement.

Trust, Confidence, and Vision

We were just beginning to scratch the surface when plans went a bit sideways. As we stood in the entryway of the elementary school, there was a flurry of whispered conversations. Administrators and Michelawicz quietly conferred with the board members on the tour.

Then the huddle was over. We moved on to the next stop on our tour: A genuinely delicious barbecue lunch prepared by the Florence ISD food service staff.

We didn’t know it at the time, but a water main had burst somewhere near downtown Florence. The city cut off water to the schools indefinitely.

As we headed to lunch, a plan was being executed. School was shutting down. Buses were firing up to take kids home, and communications were going out to parents.

Michelawicz and his team, campus principals, and everyone down to food service knew their role in the changed plans for the day. They moved through what could have been chaos with a cool calm.

With empty campuses and a few minor adjustments, our tour continued, too.

No matter what program or plan they highlighted—a fully functioning meat sciences lab, a robotics program, a

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laundry list of items their bond would help them accomplish, or an initiative to win hearts and minds—the real theme behind it all was trust. Trust allows every member of the Florence ISD team to function at their highest level.

Obviously, not every district has perfect relationships on their team of eight. The dynamics can be disjointed or difficult at times. Sometimes there’s a sort of wrestling going on because not everyone is aligned with the vision and where the district should be going.

Board President Navarette, a Leadership TASB graduate, described the high-functioning Florence ISD team—a team that almost wasn’t.

“We used TASB’s Executive Search Services to find the superintendent, and we call it an act of God that we found Mr. Michalewicz,” Navarette said. “He originally didn’t make our top six. Then one of the candidates dropped out. That allowed him to slide up, and after that first interview, we were ready to hire him.”

Navarette said Michalewicz blew everyone away on that second interview. He remembered every question word

for word and who asked it without even looking at notes. But that doesn’t translate immediately to trust. The board moved ahead cautiously and offered a two-year contract.

Before the contract was up, the board was already discussing extending it. They considered a five-year contract. Navarette credits the board’s solid working relationship with Michalewciz for the success of the recent $7.5 million bond package.

“We’ve built that trust by being transparent. He gained our trust by being transparent. We gained his trust by being transparent,” said Navarette. “He had the same vision that we did for the district, so we’ve got a really good team of eight. If you don’t have a good team of eight, you’re not going to have a good district. You’re not going to move in the right direction. It’s all about that trust.”

Navigating Back to Normal

Since the governor closed schools statewide in March, I’ve thought a lot about the Florence ISD leadership and their cool heads.

Photos by TASB Media Services Florence ISD Superintendent Paul Michalewicz fist bumps a member of the Florence High School drumline as they greet visitors to the campus.

Having to shut down your schools in the middle of a tour is a real curveball. None of it fazed them. The trust went from top to bottom. Everyone understood their role. Staff executed on their responsibilities, and everything kept moving.

I’ve thought about my own kids’ schools and our district, and every other district across the state. Everyone’s been thrown a curveball.

There’s no question that response varies from district to district. Everyone is doing their level best under difficult circumstances. I have no doubt though that those with strong leadership teams are handling it all with a high level of grace and professionalism.

Florence ISD’s leadership team is committed to excellence across all programs and in everything the district undertakes. That includes safely shutting down its schools

in an orderly way. And now it means moving to remote instruction, too.

No doubt there will be other challenges for Texas schools as we navigate back to normal. Strong, steady leadership teams will help smooth the bumps out on that road.

Michalewicz is now headed into his sixth year at Florence ISD. If his enthusiasm is any indicator, he couldn’t be happier.

“I say this seriously, because I’m an old dude and I’ve been in other places,” Michaelawicz said as we walked through the empty high school. “In other places, it’s not like this. The relationship that I enjoy with the board—and that my admin team enjoys with this board through me—it’s not like any that I’ve been associated with before.”H

During their fall 2019 tour, visitors explore Florence ISD’s award-winning meat sciences lab, which includes a student-operated meat-processing center and student-run meat market.
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Joel Nihlean is content marketing manager for TASB.

A Cyber Q&A

Legal Aspects of District Cybersecurity in Texas

From data thieves stealing identities or demanding ransoms to online predators preying on students or trafficking minors, school cyberattacks disrupt learning, divert student resources, and subject victims and districts alike to costly recovery efforts. For these reasons, school district cybersecurity was a focus of the Texas Legislature during the 86th legislative session.

This article focuses on answering questions specific to what Texas law requires school districts to do with respect to cybersecurity.

from cybersecurity issues and incidents. A district’s cybersecurity plans may not conflict with the Department of Information Resource’s (DIR) adopted information security standards for institutions of higher education outlined in Chapter 202 of the Texas Administrative Code.1

Q: Must the school board approve the district’s cybersecurity plan?

A: The law does not stipulate that the school board adopt the cybersecurity plan prior to implementation. This makes sense because a district may require flexibility to amend plans in response to

Q: Must Texas school districts adopt a cybersecurity plan?

A: Yes. TASB Legal Services interprets Section 11.175 of the Education Code’s requirement for school districts to adopt a cybersecurity “policy” as a requirement to have an administrative plan or procedures to address cybersecurity.

TASB Policy Service offers Model Policy CQB(LOCAL) to direct the district to adopt a cybersecurity plan to secure district cyberinfrastructure against cyberattacks and other cybersecurity incidents, determine cybersecurity risk, and implement mitigation planning. A district cybersecurity plan typically will need to address steps the district may take to prevent, mitigate, resolve, or recover

unique cybersecurity needs and to make timely adjustments to keep pace with today’s cyber threats.

However, many districts will have their cybersecurity plans embedded in other districtwide plans, such as their emergency operations plan, that school boards review and approve on a regular basis. Districts should work with their technology directors and school attorneys to identify and organize their cybersecurity protocols into a clear planning document that focuses on increasing cybersecurity and reducing vulnerability to unauthorized access to district data.

Q: How might a district go about completing a cybersecurity plan?

A: In developing or identifying the district’s cybersecurity plan, districts may find helpful the Texas Cybersecurity Framework available on the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) Texas Gateway website (texasgateway.org). This framework contains the security assessment standards created by the DIR that are required for Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education. The framework is not a legal requirement for local governments or school districts. It is, however, a comprehensive checklist that can help districts identify potential sources of vulnerability, determine what additional steps are needed to increase security, discuss how to respond and recover from a breach incident, and organize helpful training for all computer users.

A district may choose to mirror the state requirements in its plan but is not required to duplicate it. Districts may also find helpful the DIR’s guidance on information security to state agencies on how to create and implement their cybersecurity plans (see dir.texas.gov). Some districts may choose to work with private vendors, TASB Risk Management Services, DIR, or other providers that offer cybersecurity assessment services.

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Districts should work with their technology directors and school attorneys to identify and organize their cybersecurity protocols into a clear planning document.

Q: Will TASB provide a sample or model cybersecurity plan to districts?

A: No. Cybersecurity plans will look very different for districts around the state. Districts across Texas may face different cybersecurity threats and have varying staff, student enrollment, access points, online content, types of technology support services, network infrastructure, devices and information systems, external agreements, and other technical arrangements. A onesize-fits-all model will not work for every district.

Therefore, although TASB Policy Service has created a basic starting point in its Regulation Resource Manual at CQB(REGULATION), it is not a complete plan. A district will likely find that more district-specific protocols will need to be developed in consultation with its technology director and school attorney.

Q: Are cybersecurity coordinators required for each district, and what are the duties of a coordinator?

A: Yes. Every Texas school district superintendent is required to designate a cybersecurity coordinator to serve as a liaison between the district and TEA in cybersecurity matters. TEA has asked districts to submit the name and contact information of the designated coordinator to TEA by using the AskTED system. For more information on how to designate the coordinator and how to report cyberattacks to TEA, see TEA’s 2019-20 Cybersecurity Webinars (visit texasgateway.org/resource/cybersecurity-tips-and-tools).

A school district cybersecurity coordinator must report to TEA any cyberattack or other cybersecurity incident against the district’s cyberinfrastructure that constitutes a breach of system security and to notify a parent (or person standing in parental relation) whose student’s information was involved in the attack

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texaslonestaronline.org | June 2020 | Texas Lone Star 21
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or incident for which reporting was required.2

Q: Are Texas school districts required to provide cybersecurity training?

A: Yes. All local governments, including school districts, are required at least once a year to identify employees who have access to district computer systems or databases and require those employees, as well as elected board members, to complete a cybersecurity training program certified by the DIR.3

If a local government employs a dedicated information resource cybersecurity officer, then the district may offer to its employees and board members a cybersecurity training program that is not DIR-certified so long as the district’s program still meets other legal requirements.4 The board may select for employees the most appropriate DIR-certified cybersecurity training program or the program offered by a dedicated information resource cybersecurity officer.5 The dedicated information resource cybersecurity officer must complete an online form on the DIR’s website and submit it to the DIR to qualify the district for the exception.

For the 2019-20 school year, the DIR will require employees and trustees to complete cybersecurity training by June 15, 2020. For more information about training deadlines and reporting procedures, see DIR’s cybersecurity awareness training and certification requirement

site at dir.texas.gov or e-mail the DIR at TXTrainingCert@dir.texas.gov.

Q: What qualifies a person to be a dedicated information cybersecurity officer?

A: According to the DIR’s website, a

22 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org
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dedicated information resources cybersecurity officer must be an employee who has the responsibility for the organization’s information security, possesses the training and experience required to administer cybersecurity functions, and has more than 50 percent of the employee’s workload as information security duties.

Q: Must school boards report cybersecurity training and require periodic audits?

A: Yes. A school board must verify and report on the completion of a cybersecurity training program by employees of the school district to the DIR. A board must also require periodic audits of the district to ensure compliance with the law.6

The DIR will expect all local governments, including school districts, to

complete on a web form an acknowledgment that its employees have complied with the security awareness training requirements. The DIR has also made available a Governing Board Acknowledgement Form that boards may complete and retain for their documentation purposes. Visit the DIR website for updates.

Q: May the school board choose any cybersecurity training?

A: No, a school board must approve an appropriate cybersecurity training program that is certified by DIR unless the district employs a dedicated information resources cybersecurity officer and the district offers a cybersecurity training program that complies with the law.7 A district’s dedicated information resources cybersecurity officer must file an exception request with the DIR

by using its online Local Government Cybersecurity Training & Awareness Program Exception Form and affirm that the district meets the exception requirements.H

A version of this article can be found online on TASB Legal Services’ School Law eSource Technology page. Visit tasb.org/ services/legal-services/tasb-school-lawesource.aspx . For basic concepts about cybersecurity, see TASB Legal Services’ School Cybersecurity: Getting Started. For more information about required district response to security breaches, see TASB Legal Services’ School Cybersecurity: Security Breach Notification and Response

1Tex. Educ. Code §§ 11.175(b), (c), 2054.133. See also TASB Model Policy CQB.

2Tex. Educ. Code § 11.175(d)-(f).

3Tex. Gov’t Code § 2054.5191(a-1); see also Tex. Gov’t Code § 2054.003(9) (including school district under the definition of local government).

4Tex. Gov’t Code § 2054.519(b), (f).

5Tex. Gov’t Code § 2054.5191(b).

6Tex. Gov’t Code § 2054.5191(b).

7Tex. Gov’t Code § 2054.5191(b).

Julie Allen is a TASB Legal Services senior attorney.

texaslonestaronline.org | June 2020 | Texas Lone Star 23
A school board must verify and report on the completion of a cybersecurity training program by employees of the school district to the DIR.
in for the data you want.

Get the Word Out

End-of-School Advocacy Tips for Board Members

Being a school board member means being an advocate for your district. Here are some activities you can do as we wrap up a school year ending amid great uncertainty:

Communicate to parents, taxpayers, and others about what your district is doing to prepare for next year given the many questions related to the coronavirus outbreak. By and large, districts have been able to successfully navigate the

end of school during a tumultuous time, maintaining instructional opportunities, food service, and emotional support. As your district plans for the upcoming school year, be sure to keep the community informed as to how you plan to deliver instruction and services whether schools start as normal or in a different fashion.

With some people questioning the need for brick-and-mortar schools, now is the time to reinforce just how

important school districts are to communities.

Communicate to your legislators about what your district has done and plans to do to support your community. With the state budget at great risk for significant shortfalls, districts must share with legislators all that they do to support students, families, and communities. The state will likely face a significant revenue shortage next biennium as districts are hamstrung by a 2.5-percent revenue cap on local property taxes.

If state legislators are faced with having to cut spending in the budget, there will be tremendous pressure to reduce education funding—as it is a significant portion of the overall state budget. Remind legislators of the various services your district provides and that schools are often the economic and cultural centers of their communities.

Some examples of information to share include:

• Your district’s academic success and challenges

• How your district is working to

24 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org Capital Watch

achieve its goals amid the coronavirus pandemic

• Challenges and additional costs your district is experiencing

• Cost efficiencies your district employs

• Mandates from the state that prevent your district from being more efficient

• The rationale behind employee salary changes

Advocacy Resources

Visit the TASB Member Center for more ideas and information regarding advocacy at tasb.org/trustees/champion-your-district/.

TASB Governmental Relations staff are available to answer any questions you may have regarding public education advocacy, the Legislature, or the TASB Advocacy Agenda. For more information, call or e-mail Dax Gonzalez at 800.580.4885 or dax.gonzalez@tasb. org.H

Dax Gonzalez is division director of TASB Governmental Relations.

TASB’s Executive Search Services is currently accepting applications for the positions listed below:

• Royal ISD. Superintendent. Application deadline: June 2.

For more information about vacancies or services provided by TASB’s Executive Search Services, call 800.580.8272, e-mail executive.search@tasb.org, or visit ess.tasb.org.

texaslonestaronline.org | June 2020 | Texas Lone Star 25
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A New Normal

Schools Will Face Challenges when They Reopen

Public schools in Texas are facing unprecedented times in the wake of COVID-19. Extended school closures have disrupted normal operations, causing districts to close facilities rapidly to preserve the health and wellness of students and staff in the district.

Public education has demonstrated immense fortitude by transitioning student learning from the traditional classroom to distance learning within a matter of weeks, and many school districts continue to support thousands of students across the state through food service delivery and pickup.

Public schools in Texas have met the challenge of providing educational continuity despite school closures, but the true test of resiliency will come when schools reopen and districts face a new normal next school year.

leaders, even those most veteran to the profession, are struggling with decision making and serving their communities during these uncertain and unsettling times.

While school districts have made the best of a difficult situation, the business of education will inevitably change in coming months. With the return of students and staff next school year, districts must grow their mindset to embrace a new type of work that focuses on providing immediate support for students and staff while preparing for possible disruptions in the future.

This moment in time is a critical turning point in education, and school leaders must embrace the new normal that is education and create momentum for their districts and their schools through effective and judicious leadership.

retention of teachers and staff, and it’s reflective of the culture and care dedicated to the school building.

Amid new concerns of health and safety in the current pandemic, providing a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff will be a key element to the successful reopening of schools. Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow surmised in his hierarchy of needs that individuals must feel safe and secure in their environment to achieve interpersonal goals and self-actualization. Transferring his theory to the field of education, students and staff must feel safe and secure in the classroom environment to fully engage in the teaching, learning, and social interactions critical to the education offered by the school.

New Pressures, Challenges

Taking on new challenges is an integral part of successful school leadership. School leaders are always under pressure to provide the best education for students while supporting the needs of their teachers and staff. They are in a constant state of motion and love the challenge of the profession on any given day, but current conditions in education have upped the ante for school leadership. Many school

Physical Environment of Learning

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments states the physical environment of a school creates a climate in which students can achieve. The center contends that safe, clean, and comfortable surroundings are key to student achievement, successful school programs, and lower absentee rates of students. The physical environment is a major factor in the performance and

Because the world is currently in constant flux in terms of personal health and safety, districts must assure students and staff they are safe and free from risk of illness and germs when they return to school. Districts must also be more transparent than ever in their commitment to the health and safety of all individuals in their learning community.

While there are never any guarantees to mitigate germs and illness in schools, districts can take robust actions to improve wellness in schools and address growing concerns about the ability to provide healthy learning environments.

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HR Files
With the return of students and staff next school year, districts must grow their mindset to embrace a new type of work that focuses on providing immediate support for students and staff.

Some key strategies to ensure all stakeholders feel comfortable as they return to the school facilities may include implementing stringent cleaning and disinfecting schedules, providing staff the tools to sanitize and maintain hygiene in the classroom, and educating all members of the learning community about the importance of cleanliness in schools. By capitalizing on these strategic efforts, districts can alleviate anxieties stemming from the current climate and improve health awareness in all their schools.

Rebuilding Culture and Climate

Once measures are in place to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment, school leaders can focus on rebuilding the culture and climate of the school. For weeks, schools have been empty and void of activity, and many students and staff have been deprived of deep connections with each other. Activities and events have been canceled, and many students have not had the opportunity to finish the school year with their peers. For teachers, year-ending activities have been curtailed or eliminated, and minimal time has been dedicated to finishing the tasks required to shut down the year completely. School districts were immobilized and had no true closure to the end of the academic year.

As school districts reopen in the fall, students and staff will look for direction

TASB’s Member Center is the best way to

Find out what thousands of school board members already know.

It’s all at tasb.org/trustees:

l Report and view continuing education credit

l Read exclusive articles and how-to’s

l View a calendar of upcoming events and actions you need to take

Access password-protected areas of tasb.org with your myTASB user ID and password.

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on how to rebuild and reignite the energy and passion found within the school. Teachers will seek to create dynamic welcome-back events for students, and students will want to begin reengaging in typical school activities.

While school leaders will be eager to start school in full force, it will be important for them to recognize the adjustment period necessary for students and staff as they return to campus. With the drastic changes to the format of school this past year, many students and staff will return with a new view of the educational setting. They may view the traditional classroom as limiting and confining.

School districts may experience a shift in the number of students and staff members who return through the doors, and the attitudes and outlook of those who do return may not align with the goals and the mission of the school prior to closures.

With new opportunities to renew and reinvent school culture, school leaders can capitalize on this moment of change and develop a new climate that helps all students and staff excel in the learning environment. They can create targeted

professional development opportunities for staff to learn new models of learning to support students, as well as offer innovative training to expand the ability of staff to meet the needs of students across multiple platforms. They can offer students new ways to engage in personalized learning apart from the traditional classroom, and they can essentially help students revitalize their school experience through building new relationships and engaging in varied learning formats with their teachers.

Returning to school after the extended closure can be a celebration for the school community and ultimately provide a positive impact not only on students and staff but on all members of the learning community.

Planning for the Future

While no one can predict the outcome of current pandemic conditions, school leaders are optimistic that students and staff will return to school on time in the fall. While returning to school helps alleviate immediate concerns of educational continuity, school leaders must prepare for possible disruptions and closures in the event there is a resurgence of the current pandemic environment. Most districts weren’t prepared for the dramatic impact of school closures in spring 2020, but lessons learned from those closures can guide future practice of school leaders into the next school year.

For a district to be fully prepared to enter the next school year, evaluation of

28 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org
Thank local businesses and organizations for supporting Texas public schools. Submit names using the online form. Receive an individual presentation packet for each honoree . tasb.org/standingup • 800.580.8272
2019–20 Business Recognition Program
“The greatness of a community is
most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”—Coretta Scott King
With new opportunities to renew and reinvent school culture, school leaders can capitalize on this moment of change and develop a new climate that helps all students and staff excel in the learning environment.

■ Web-based direct service documentation and reporting software

■ Training and best-practice guidance

■ User-friendly documentation process

■ Multi-tiered SHARS administration program

■ Step-by-step help with cost reporting and certification of funds

the district’s response to current closures should occur now, and district leaders should assess the district’s ability to withstand another major disruption in the event of pandemic resurgence.

After making an honest assessment of the capacity and capability of the district to respond in the future, districts must then revamp current critical response plans and create new operational structures to support the district through crisis.

The time to begin is now, and districts can start by planning how to secure staff and resources necessary to adequately support district operations in the event of additional closures. They can also actively engage in critical conversations while developing workable plans to address issues of concern that are relevant now and into the future.

Topics and ideas for these critical discussions may include:

Distance learning. How will the district provide educational continuity through appropriate instruction for all students that includes accommodations and supports necessary for student success? How will the district grade the work submitted by students?

Communication/governance. How does the district enlist the support of school board members during times of crisis? How does the district communicate plans of action to the board, district employees, and the learning community?

Professional development. How will teachers create online curriculum aligned to state-approved standards while delivering rich instruction and social interactions necessary to fully engage students in the learning process? How do teachers access ongoing support and development related to distance learning?

Human resources/finance. How will the district continue to pay and support employees during closures? How will districts respond to meet the individual needs of employees during times of crisis? How does the district secure funding? Is the district being a good steward of public funds when making operating decisions? How is the district keeping employees safe in the time of crisis?

Technology. What infrastructure and software must the district purchase to support online learning, employees working remotely, and the needs of families without internet connections? How does

the district manage technology inventory when needed in abundance?

Nutrition/transportation. How will the district implement food delivery and pickup service and coordinate efforts with key departments to provide meals for students throughout the district in a systematic and safe way? What means of transportation may be used for deliveries? How can safe meal pickups be coordinated?

Employee and student wellness. How will the district provide counseling, social/ emotional support, and/or mental health activities for students and staff throughout times of crisis and closures?

If school leaders stay the course of providing strong leadership and engaging in candid conversation, the likelihood of success during the reopening of schools will be great. Ultimately, intentional planning efforts and decisive action will equip districts to respond to the needs of their communities while keeping the safety and well-being of all stakeholders in the forefront of the district’s mission.

(See New Normal, page 34.)

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Becoming One Leadership TASB Creates Family through Experience

LEADERSHIP TASB

Editor’s note: Leadership TASB is a unique board development program designed to take experienced board members to a new level of service and leadership by exposing them to a variety of issues, people, activities, and locations during a year-long program. Leadership TASB columns, written by class members, track the progress and share the experiences of each year’s class throughout the year.

The staff, class members, and graduates of the Association’s Leadership TASB program would like to extend a note of appreciation to program sponsor H-E-B. Through such grants and support, Leadership TASB is able to continue to offer high-quality leadership training to local school trustees at the grassroots level.

Challenging. Enlightening. Rewarding. Informative. Eye-opening. These are the descriptive words given to me when members of the Leadership TASB Class of 2020 were asked what one word they would use to describe our time as members of the current class.

To be honest, an unlimited number of words would not be enough for any of us to be able to adequately describe the enormous and positive impact that the Leadership TASB program has had on our leadership abilities, our knowledge of education, and our strength by gaining meaningful friendships with others who serve. We are all individuals who have become stronger collectively and who appreciate the uniqueness that each of us has brought to this experience. We understand that our districts are just as unique

as we each are, yet through the sharing of those differences, we have become one. That is because there is something that we all agree on, and that is how quickly we became family—a family of 36.

Making a Difference

I am sure that any of the more than 900 graduates the program has produced since the first graduating class would share the same feelings as those shared by the Class of 2020. The motto of Leadership TASB—“Making a Difference Become Limitless”—is exactly what the challenges brought to each class have endeavored to do.

We certainly did not run for a place on our school boards for the money; there is no financial reward. The reward is making a difference. By participating

in Leadership TASB, we have grown in our knowledge of how we can make limitless differences with the knowledge and experience we have gained through the opportunities for learning provided during every session.

Since 1993, TASB has offered this unique board development program that allows trustees through collaboration to elevate their service and leadership. This is accomplished in a yearlong program consisting of five sessions, where class members are exposed to a variety of issues, people, activities, and locations. Teamwork, trusteeship, equity, diversity, innovative learning, and visionary leadership are just a few of the subjects presented.

Leadership and Learning

The Leadership Class of 2021 sessions will begin at the TASA/TASB Annual Convention in Dallas October 2-4, 2020, in Dallas. From there, the class will travel to Austin, Corpus Christi, and Longview, and then conclude with a final session and graduation at the Summer Leadership Institute in Fort Worth in June.

Classes are chosen by a selection committee that includes Leadership TASB graduates. It is their task to review all applications and recommend participants. When making the selection, the committee strives to create a cohesive class reflective of Texas. Consideration is given

30 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org
News & Events
Members of the Leadership TASB Class of 2020 listen to a presentation during the February 21 session in Austin. Photo by TASB Media Services

to demographic differences among participants, variation of board tenure, and diversity among participating districts. In other words, everyone has a chance to be selected.

Are you willing to commit to clear your calendar on designated session weekends, be fully engaged in each session, participate by reading and responding to all pre-session and post-session correspondence, attend sessions through their entirety—and devote the time and resources necessary to complete all Leadership TASB projects and assignments?

If so, now is your time to apply. Applications for the Class of 2021 must be received by July 1, 2020. I challenge you to remember the words of John Kennedy, that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Is now the time for you to lead and learn in a new and dynamic way? The Leadership TASB Class of 2020 hopes so. Request an application at leadershiptasb@tasb.org.H

Katherine Sells, a Lewisville ISD trustee, is a member of the Leadership TASB Class of 2020.

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As the COVID-19 crisis continues, TASA | TASB is in an unprecedented situation requiring us to adjust normal practices. While there are no plans to postpone, reschedule, or cancel txEDCON2020, the health and safety of our members and attendees is our highest priority. Because of this, we are delaying opening registration and housing for txEDCON2020 until Tuesday, July 21, 2020. At this time, all other dates remain the same.

texaslonestaronline.org | June 2020 | Texas Lone Star 31
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State Support

TEA Provides COVID-19 Resources, Guidance

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has created a COVID-19 support page for school districts. Here, district leaders can find guidance and resources concerning such functions as accountability, school improvement, school discipline, school board matters, school safety, and more (tea.texas.gov/texas-schools/health-safety-discipline/ covid/covid-19-support-generalsupport).

Local school board members can find specific guidance and information in a school board FAQ page at tea.texas. gov/sites/default/files/200416_school_ boards_faq.pdf. On this page, trustees will find frequently asked questions on topics such as board goals and progress monitoring, board training, board meetings, elections, and more.

Sample questions and answers include the following:

Q: During this time, are school board members required to complete school board trainings outlined in TEC §11.159 and 19 TAC §61.1?

A: The commissioner has waived the board training requirements outlined in TEC §11.159 and 19 TAC §61.1 for all districts until September 1, 2020. Waivers will be automatically granted, pursuant to the commissioner’s general waiver authority under TEC §7.056. School districts do not need to apply for these automatic waivers. This means that school boards conducting elections in May 2020 will not need to report on board member training hours during their April board meetings. School board members, if needing training to fulfill training requirements, will need to complete the trainings at a later time, when the requirements are reinstated, but can complete training when time allows during this suspension, if trainings are available.

Q: Can board trainings still occur during this time?

A: Yes. Board trainings in groups with 10 or more are suspended state-

wide, at least until April 3, as we have been ordered to not gather in groups of 10 or more. This could continue beyond April 3 statewide, as the situation is being monitored and is very fluid. Also, local governing bodies such as city councils, city mayors, and county judges may have implemented stricter and longer restrictions governing public gatherings. Board trainings may be provided and taken by board members online or via webinar. If the training requires a live trainer, the training can be provided via webinar or in person if the gatherings are within ordered size restrictions.

Q: Is TEA providing any waivers regarding required annual appraisals for superintendents, educators, principals, or campus administrators? If so, is any action required by a district to apply for any of those waivers?

A: In light of current circumstances statewide, the commissioner is granting waivers regarding required annual appraisals for superintendents, educators, principals, and campus administrators. An application process to waive these requirements is available to districts. The decision to pursue waivers of appraisal requirements is strictly a local decision. However, boards of trustees should pursue these waivers from the commissioner as soon as possible since they have procedural requirements that must be fulfilled prior to them being effective.

TEA has provided a list of all available COVID-19-related waivers and required local actions, which includes the Educator/Principal/Administrator Appraisal waivers, on the COVID-19 Related Waivers document.H

Cleaning and Sanitizing Services for Schools

Get peace of mind that your schools are well-cleaned and sanitized with oversight services from TASB Facility Services and preferred provider Farmer Environmental. We can help you with:

• Third-party job oversight

• Finding experienced vendors

• Professional sanitation guidance Learn More. tasb.org/cleaning-schools

32 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org
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Cream of the Crop

H-E-B Excellence in Education Winners Announced

H-E-B Food Stores announced in May the statewide winners of the 19th annual H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, handing out more $430,000 in cash awards and grants to eight educators, two school districts, an early childhood agency and a public school board. The winners were announced during a virtual Toast to Texas Teachers organized by the #TeachersCan initiative in celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week and included surprise appearances from Matthew McConaughey, Eva Longoria, Matt Bonner, and Kendra Scott.

The following winners were selected from a pool of 58 finalists by judges who include former winners, school administrators, and university and community leaders.

Rising Star Category

The Rising Star Category recognizes teachers with less than 10 years of experience. Winners received a $5,000 check for themselves and a $5,000 grant for their school.

Rising Star Elementary: Gerardo Villegas Juarez, Charles Graebner Elementary School, San Antonio ISD

Rising Star Secondary: Laura Dunham, Clear Lake High School, Clear Creek ISD

Leadership Category

The Leadership Category honors teachers with 10 to 20 years in the classroom. Winners received a $10,000 check for themselves and a $10,000 grant for their school.

Leadership Elementary: Morgan Castillo, Woodgate Intermediate School, Midway ISD

Leadership Secondary: Porfirio Zamora, Veterans Memorial High School, Corpus Christi ISD

Lifetime Achievement Category

The Lifetime Achievement Category salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. Winners received $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for their school.

Lifetime Achievement Elementary: Diana Garcia, DeZavala Elementary School, San Marcos ISD

Lifetime Achievement Secondary: Nicole Vickerman, R.C. Clark High School, Plano ISD

School Principal Category

Winning principals received $10,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for each of their schools.

Principal Elementary: Dana Boyd, East Point Elementary School, Ysleta ISD

Principal Secondary: Carlos Phillips II, Booker T. Washington High School & the High School for the Engineering Professions, Houston ISD

Early Childhood Category

The winning early childhood facility received a $25,000 cash prize.

Early Childhood Facility: Lawson Early Childhood School, McKinney ISD

School Board Category

The winning public school board received a $25,000 cash prize.

School Board: Mission CISD

Small School District Category

The winning small school district received a $50,000 cash prize.

Small School District: Boerne ISD

Large School District Category

The winning large school district received a $100,000 cash prize.

Large School District: Dallas ISD

The H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards has given away more than $12 million in cash and grants to dedicated educators and schools across Texas since 2002. For a full list of the 2020 H-E-B Excellence in Education finalists, visit heb.com/static-page/article-template/2020-eie-award-finalists H

Selected TASB Talks episodes are now eligible for CEC on our Online Learning Center, including:

■ Student Privacy

■ Women in Leadership

■ Supporting Teachers

■ Charter Schools and Vouchers

■ Racial Imbalance in Special Education

■ Cybersecurity Visit

texaslonestaronline.org | June 2020 | Texas Lone Star 33
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How Can Trustees Help

As members of their communities, school board members can assist district leaders in preparing for the return of students and staff to the district by being the eyes and ears of the community. Often, school board members have more interactions and conversations with community members at the ground level than district leaders, and they can be an invaluable source of information as school leaders make difficult decisions for the district. Ultimately, school board members are dedicated to the goals and the mission of

the district, and they are a very important resource to the superintendent and district staff.

Now that districts are looking forward to the hopeful return of students and staff in the fall, school board members can support efforts by asking these questions:

• Does the school district have adequate resources to support students and staff as they return to the district?

• How can the school board support the district in welcoming back students and staff in the fall so there is a seamless transition as the school year begins?

• How can the school board support the fiscal needs of the district? Are there ways to allocate funding and resources to support new initiatives and training for teachers as well as new learning platforms for students?

• Does the school district have updated response plans for the possibility of another major disruption to school district operations, such as an extended closure? How can

the school board support response efforts in the time of crisis?

• What does district leadership need to successfully support all stakeholders in the district as operations return to normal?

Moving Forward

The public education system in Texas is resilient. Through time, we’ve witnessed numerous school communities conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges and rebuild their learning communities to be even better than before. Obstacles today are no different from the many difficulties facing public schools each year, but the emotional impact is far greater because of the thousands of schools affected by this current pandemic. Often, it is through great hardship that a fighting spirit evolves, and time and again we see how Texas public schools continue to be a pillar of each community by overcoming adversity and providing a quality education for all students across our great state.H

Jennifer Barton is a TASB HR and Compensation consultant.

34 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org
New Normal (from page 29)
Introducing Learn More tasb.org/student-solutions-tls studentsolutions@tasb.org 888.247.4829 Focus on what’s important. Our experienced staff can help you focus on building positive outcomes for your special populations through: • Solutions-focused review of all special populations programs • Data-based special education staffing analysis • Tailored capacity-building
Special education program operating procedures

Learn and earn credit from the comfort of your home

TASB has expanded online resources and training to assist school board members. Check out the possibilities!

The show must go on…online, that is!

We’ve watched as Texas students have moved to virtual classrooms, and now it’s our turn to try it out.

An online version of SLI, TASB’s premier training event, is set for June 24–26. Hear inspiring general session speakers, earn credit while learning critical information, and network virtually.

Registration is open now! Visit tasb.org/SLI for program and registration information.

Additional online training and resources for trustees

Virtual Spring Workshops

Available through onlinelearning.tasb.org at no charge to Texas trustees until June 14. Topics include:

• Legal and personnel issues, governance, and instructional delivery in the age of COVID-19

• What board members need to know about sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and other maltreatment of children

• TEA Commissioner Mike Morath on emerging issues affecting governance and education requirements

TASB Online Learning Center (OLC)

Take advantage of the OLC—anytime, anywhere. Check out our current courses:

• Virtual Spring Workshops (10 workshops, see above)

• NEW Texas Open Meetings Act

• A Journey to Excellence: School Board Officers’ Academy Remote Coaching

Visit onlinelearning.tasb.org

Remote Consulting

A TASB consultant can meet with your team online to explore a topic of your choice:

• XG Board Development

• Team Building (including SB 1566 training EISO)

• Planning Facilitation

• Customized Training to Meet Your Team’s Needs

• Meeting Observation and Feedback

• Board Officer Coaching

Visit XG.tasb.org

NEW TASB Talks Podcast: Leadership during COVID-19

Learn how Texas trustees are leading during these unprecedented times—and earn credit! Visit tasbtalks.org

NEW The Board Update

An e-newsletter designed to give school boards timely information they need to make better decisions. Watch your inbox for the next issue!

For information on any of these offerings: 800.580.8272, ext. 2453 • board.dev@tasb.org

Bulletin Board

TASB’s Baskin Named COSA Chair-Elect

TASB Legal Services Director Joy Baskin was recently named 2020-21 chair-elect of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of School Attorneys (COSA), the national network of attorneys representing K-12 public school districts.

Other COSA Board of Directors officers named for 2020-21 are Chair Jim Keith, attorney for the Mississippi School Boards Association; Vice-Chair Joe Scholler, head of government services for Frost Brown Todd of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Secretary Debra Silk, general counsel for the Montana School Boards Association.

COSA supports school attorneys and provides leadership in legal advocacy for public schools. Its 22-member Board of Directors oversees its continuing legal education programming and working groups for its more than 3,100 members across the United States and Canada.

“Advocating for public education is a prime focus for NSBA,” said Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., NSBA chief legal officer. “COSA’s new slate of officers and directors, passionate and experienced law practitioners from across the country, will strengthen and expand our legal advocacy efforts in the coming year.”

Texans Appointed to COVID-19 Task Force

Two local school administrative leaders from Texas have been appointed to a 27-member national COVID-19 advisory panel recently launched by AASA, the national school superintendents’ organization. Texas superintendents named to the advisory panel, which will provide assistance to district leaders as they grapple with COVID-19 challenges, are Mansfield ISD Superintendent Kimberley Cantu and Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.

“As the nation continues to navigate the conditions brought before us by the pandemic, we at AASA want to do all we can to assist superintendents and other administrators in any way possible,” said AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech. “The members of this task force are all outstanding leaders of public education. Their help will be immeasurable as we as a nation deal with the myriad issues right now and those lying ahead.”

TEA Posts FIRST FAQs

In response to school district questions regarding requirements of the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has posted a list of FIRST FAQs at tea.texas.gov/ sites/default/files/FIRST%20FAQ%20March%2030%202020.pdf

TEA noted in the FAQ posting that it will not waive the requirement in Texas Education Code (TEC) §44.004 that districts must adopt a budget before starting the next fiscal year (July 1 or September 1): “The requirements for adopting a budget are still in place, and TEA does not expect them to be waived. A district or charter school cannot spend funds for the new fiscal year until a budget is adopted. Pursuant to TEC §44.006, the board may amend the budget or adopt an emergency supplementary budget. TEA has provided guidance regarding remote board meetings on the COVID-19 webpage.”

NEA Poll: Strong Parent Approval of Educators

Results of a recent national poll by the National Education Association (NEA) show that parents and guardians express extremely positive views of educators— more than 80 percent of parents and guardians view public school teachers “very favorably.” Additionally, poll results show that 88 percent of parents approve of how their children’s teachers are handling the coronavirus pandemic. This is significantly higher than their approval ratings of how other officials have responded, including their governor (71 percent) and their mayor or local government (73 percent).

The national survey was conducted by GBAO Strategies and included a survey of 800 parents and guardians of school-aged children who attend a public school.

The poll also showed that parents and guardians believe educators are working hard to communicate with them, that educators are finding ways to connect with students who don’t have internet access, and that educators are giving their students more one-on-one assistance.

“As they always do, educators are stepping up to help America’s students in the face of this unprecedented global crisis,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “We all have seen very inspiring stories about educators who are finding creative ways to engage students and grateful parents who understand in a more profound way what it means to continuously reach, teach, and inspire, even from a distance.”

For more information about the NEA poll, visit nea.org/home/76107.htm

36 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org
If you have a short news item you would like to submit to Bulletin Board,
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Alternate Approaches Strange Times Require Creative Thinking,

Q:Is everything changing?

A: On some days it feels that way.

Throughout this COVID-19 experience, I have been hugely impressed by the amazing work in Texas school districts. Seemingly overnight, you have retooled and revised your efforts to educate and care for students. It has been nothing short of awesome.

TASB Services, Training

Following your example, TASB has been retooling and revising our service to you to adapt to these changing times. Our question to ourselves has been: How can we find ways to assist you that are respectful of your safety while providing the services and training you need to carry on?

To that end, we have stepped up our efforts to provide information you need— all kinds of information—in both the usual ways and in new ways. We’ve moved training to the virtual world so that you can learn what you need to know and get the continuing education credit you need. We’ve made sure you can reach us easily by phone and e-mail.

Summer Leadership Institute

We held out hope that we could gather in San Antonio and Fort Worth for the annual Summer Leadership Institute (SLI). We love getting together with you at those events! But as we got closer to the dates, we saw that a gathering of that size would not be possible this year. Sadly, we won’t get to see you in person this month.

Flexibility

Yet trustees still need the training they normally get at SLI. So we have retooled and revised (that seems to be the mantra this year). We have created a virtual SLI for you. I hope you will receive it as our sincere effort to serve you without jeopardizing your health. Refunds for the original SLI are being provided, and registration is open for the virtual SLI, scheduled for June 24-26. We are working hard to provide an outstanding new version of Summer Leadership Institute.

Call for Resolutions

Meanwhile, it’s resolution time, and the deadline for submissions is June 15, as we move toward the adoption of the TASB Advocacy Agenda at the Delegate Assembly in the fall.

Local school districts can ensure that their issues are heard by submitting resolutions to be a part of the discussion and guide the Association’s response to legislative issues. It’s not too late to discuss proposed resolutions with your board and send them to TASB. Given the strange circumstances we are experiencing, I would bet that you have some excellent topics for resolutions this year.

How to Submit Resolutions

The best way to begin is to review the current TASB Advocacy Agenda at tasb.org/legislative/tasb-advocacy-agenda/2018-20-agenda.aspx See current resolutions for examples at tasb.org/legislative/tasb-advocacy-agenda/2018-20-agenda/resolutions. aspx. Check to ensure your proposed resolution doesn’t duplicate a resolution or priority that already exists.

Then submit your resolution using the form found on the TASB Advocacy Agenda page. Be sure to e-mail your board’s proposed resolution(s)—by June 15—to Athena Frangeskou with TASB Governmental Relations at athena.frangeskou@tasb.org.

TASB Governmental Relations staff members are available to answer any questions you may have regarding the Association’s advocacy efforts, the Texas Legislature, or the TASB Advocacy Agenda. You may also call or e-mail TASB Governmental Relations (dax.gonzalez@ tasb.org or 800.580.4885) for more information.

Get Involved

The current Advocacy Agenda will expire following the 2020 TASB Delegate Assembly, which convenes October 3 in Dallas at the 2020 TASA/TASB Convention. The new agenda will guide TASB’s advocacy efforts during the 2021 legislative session.

Grassroots member input is the foundation upon which TASB builds and executes its Advocacy Agenda. Your participation and involvement in your Association’s advocacy efforts are crucial to TASB’s function as a truly representative organization—one that works for all school districts in Texas.

For more information, visit gr.tasb. org or contact Dax Gonzalez, division director of TASB Governmental Relations, at 800.580.4885 or dax.gonzalez@tasb. org H

Karen Strong is TASB associate executive director of Communications and Public Relations.

38 Texas Lone Star | June 2020 | texaslonestaronline.org Q & A
tasbrmf.org Helping you through the unexpected. You’re there for Texas students. The TASB Risk Management Fund is here for you. TASB RI SK FU ND

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