May 2022

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Texas Lone Star


Summer may not be the same as schools across Texas seek to address learning loss from pandemic

A Publication of the Texas Association of School Boards | Volume 40, Number 4 | May 2022

Featured Event

TASB Officers 2021-22

Ted Beard, Longview ISD, President

Debbie Gillespie, Frisco ISD, President-Elect

Armando Rodriguez, Canutillo ISD, Second Vice-President

Rolinda Schmidt, Kerrville ISD, Secretary-Treasurer

Jim Rice, Fort Bend ISD, Immediate Past President

TASB Board of Directors 2021-22

Moises Alfaro, Mathis ISD, Region 2

Jesus Amaya, Los Fresnos CISD, Region 1A

Rose Avalos, Aldine ISD, Region 4H

Carlos Bentancourt, Slaton ISD, Region 17

Kamlesh Bhikha, ESC 2, ESC Representative

Darlene Breaux, Alief ISD, Region 4B

Steve Brown, Ector County ISD, Region 18

Kevin A. Carbo, Mesquite ISD, Region 10D

Justin Chapa, Arlington ISD, Region 11C

Thomas Darden, Cooper ISD, Region 8

Jason Dohnalik, Cameron ISD, Region 6A

Karen Freeman, Northside ISD, Region 20B

Corinne French, Valley View ISD, Region 11D

Sylvia Sanchez Garza, South Texas ISD, Region 1B

Myrna Guidry, Houston ISD, Region 4D

Linda Gooch, Sunnyvale ISD, Region 10B

Mary Jane Hetrick, Dripping Springs ISD, Region 13B

Julie Hinaman, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Region 4F

Tony Hopkins, Friendswood ISD, Region 4C

Tricia Ikard, Maypearl ISD, Region 10A

Tami Keeling, Victoria ISD, Region 3

Mark Lukert, Wichita Falls ISD, Region 9

Kathy Major, Liberty Hill ISD, Region 13C

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

Dan Micciche, Dallas ISD, Region 10C

Scott Moore, Conroe ISD, Region 6B

Nicholas Phillips, Nederland ISD, Region 5

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

Tony Raymond, Sabine ISD, Region 7

Georgan Reitmeier, Klein ISD, Region 4A

Greg Schulte, Katy ISD, Region 4E

Cindy Spanel, Highland Park ISD, Region 16

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

Yasmin Wagner, Austin ISD, Region 13A

Mildred Watkins, La Vega ISD, Region 12

Greg Welch, Clyde CISD, Region 14

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

Terri Williams, North East ISD, Region 20E

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

2 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 | Calendar
MAY 2 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Nacogdoches 3 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — El Paso 4 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Alpine 4 • TASB Spring 2022 Unemployment Compensation Check-in — Virtual Event 5 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Iraan-Sheffield 10 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Abilene 10 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Huntsville 11-12 • TASB HR Services: Understanding Wage and Hour Law — Virtual Event 12 • TASB Student Solutions: It’s a Wrap: 21-22 Recap and Plans for Moving Forward — Virtual Event 17 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Commerce 18 • TASB Special Education Solutions: SHARS Billing — Virtual Event 18 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Canyon 20-21 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — South Padre Island 24 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Waco 25 • TASB 2022 Spring Workshop — Uvalde 25 • Quick Tips for New School Board Members — Virtual Event JUNE 1-2 • TASB HR Services: Managing State and Federal Leave — Virtual Event 8 • Getting Started as a Board Officer — Virtual Event 8-9 • TASB HR Services: Get a Grip on the FMLA — Virtual Event 15-18 • TASB Summer Leadership Institute — San Antonio 21-23 • TASA txedFest Summer Conference — Round Rock 29-July 2 • TASB Summer Leadership Institute — Fort Worth Correction: The April 2022 TLS issue listed the wrong date for the TASB 2022 Spring Workshop in Nacogdoches. The correct date is May 2.

8 Catching Up

2 Calendar

20 Legal News

22 Capitol Watch

24 Good Governance

26 News & Events


5 From the Top

7 Editor's Note

38 A Final Note

Texas Lone Star • Volume 40, Number 4

Texas Association of School Boards P.O. Box 400 • Austin, Texas • 78767-0400 512.467.0222 • 800.580.8272

Laura Tolley • Managing Editor

Shu-in Powell • Graphic Designer Virginia Hernandez • Photographer

360 Press Solutions • Printer

Contributors: Sylvia Wood, Dax González, Stephanie Butler, Leslie Trahan, Joan Randall, Melissa Locke Roberts, Joy Baskin, Orin Moore, Nicole G. Green and Denise Schulz

Texas Lone Star (ISSN 0749-9310) is published 10 times a year by the Texas Association of School Boards. Copyright© 2022 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 emailed to or 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. | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 3 Follow us: Features
Contents | May 2022
Summer may not be the same as schools across Texas seek to address learning loss from pandemic 12 Texas Lone Star May 2022 12 One District's Game-changing Name Rural district joins collegiate network to help students and community thrive 16 Embracing Public Comments TASB experts offer best-practice tips for school board meetings 18 Valuing Education District’s partnership with real estate agents helps educate potential buyers
Stop guessing your fuel costs. | 800.580.8272, ext. 2014 The TASB Energy Cooperative offers stability with one of the largest fixed-rate fuel programs in Texas. By locking in rates, members can plan their budgets more accurately and decrease the effects of market volatility. Get started with your free membership at

Each Student Counts

Let's provide opportunities to all children

Recently, I read a Fast Company article titled, “Why this is a critical moment for education access.” In the article, David Christopher, executive vice president of partnerships and 5G ecosystem development at AT&T, was quoted as a panelist at the FC Innovation Festival in 2021. He made two statements that should resonate for us as school trustees.

First, he said, “We have to solve the access problem so that we can get the solutions [to the] students that need it most.” This idea immediately reminded me of TASB’s Governance Camp this year.

A focus on all students

At the Galveston event, school board members heard from Student Voice scholarship recipients — a group of five outstanding Texas students whose stories, perspectives, and personal challenges touched everyone in the room. One student, Journie Graham, who had encountered homelessness, parental abandonment, and domestic violence, told trustees that her public education experience could have been made better by the idea of acceptance and being heard. As Journie and the other students were being interviewed, she gave a profound response to a question about student needs. I’m paraphrasing, but she said that while she and her peers on the panel may be considered “A” students, we should not forget about the “C” and “D” students. Her statement connected with me.

As adults, and especially as school board members, we must not overlook those students who may be considered “just average,” or who may not be performing as well or who may have opportunity and access issues. We should

provide accessible opportunities for all students. This should be a part of a school board member’s “why.”

A focus on public education

Back to the article I mentioned earlier. Christopher’s other statement is one that we as school board members should agree upon and this nation should adopt and adhere to. He said, “We’ve got to make education the foundation of what we focus on as a society and as a country.” This statement alone says it all.

reminder of what is possible when we make data-based decisions with a mindset of “all students,” especially those whose resources may be limiting.

The challenge, as Journie told us at Gov Camp, is to think of those students we may not see on the stage during these celebrations of success. Are we truly reaching all our students so that they can harness the power of a great public education to pursue their dreams?

Every child deserves the opportunity to feel heard, accepted, and encouraged

We as a country must make education, specifically public education, an important, consistent narrative with appropriate resources to address the persistent issue of achievement and opportunity gaps. We must also take steps now to deal with the issue of teacher shortages, which will only exacerbate these gaps.

As we head into the final weeks of school, we will have the opportunity to celebrate student achievement as we attend end-of-year celebrations, award ceremonies, and of course, graduation. All these milestone events serve as an excellent

by the adults in their lives. This is an essential part of our work as school trustees. We need to consistently advocate for every student and close achievement gaps wherever they exist. We also need to persistently advocate for public education as the best path to a better future for our children and our nation.H

Ted Beard, a Longview ISD trustee, is 2021-22 president of TASB. | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 5
From the Top
The challenge is to think of those students we may not see on the stage during these celebrations of success. Are we truly reaching all our students so that they can harness the power of a great public education to pursue their dreams?


June 15–18


June 29–July 2

General Session Speakers



Robyn Benincasa uses her experience as a firefighter, endurance racer, adventure racer and Eco-Challenge winner to talk about the true meaning of successful teams.


Adolph Brown will share what successful leaders and educators do based on his research as both tenured professor and CEO of The Leadership and Learning Institute.


Ravi Hutheesing is an international speaker, singersongwriter, and author who promotes a global perspective about education that encourages our students to bond across geographic and socioeconomic boundaries with the use of technology. GLOBAL

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. Visit to learn more about the general session speakers, the Wednesday night pre-conference session, and other important information about the conference.


Summertime Studies

It won't be a traditional break for some districts

The start of May signals the beginning of the end to the regular school year. Summer is just around the corner!

Thoughts of summer can spark feelings of joy in many of us as we look forward to getting some time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate — that other set of important R’s. But some Texas school district officials are looking at the summer session a little differently this year as they work on ways to address student learning losses resulting from the twoyear pandemic.

Texas school districts aren’t the only ones looking at the once-traditional summer as an opportune time to catch up. A survey this winter by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, reports that districts across the nation are planning to invest heavily in expanded summer learning efforts.

improve outcomes and close equity gaps. It was the second part of a multi-series survey planned by AASA to determine how district leaders are using ARP funds to respond to the pandemic, particularly student learning recovery.

More than three-quarters of respondents indicated they will invest funds in summer learning and enrichment programming for summer 2022.

Our cover story this month outlines some of the plans Texas school districts are implementing this summer. But as districts seek ways to help students catch up, they also are faced with another pandemic-related challenge: staffing shortages. Teachers and other staff members are tired. Many have quit or are considering it. Understandably, they want a break.

It’s a continuing balancing act for districts as they stay focused on providing

Superintendent Oscar Aguero said he was working on a plan to hold a limited backto-school session in August for students in third-eighth grades that will focus on student needs and an introduction to upcoming major topics.

Aguero noted that during the regular school year, the district of fewer than 300 students has used reading and math interventionists and other staff members to work on closing learning gaps, allowing classroom teachers to focus on their regular courses.

The back-to-school session will probably be three or four weeks, not all summer. His staff needs a break.

“We’ve had a rough couple of years,” Aguero said.

However, there will be the annual Summer Shake-up, a free, monthlong summer program in June for students in grades K-8. The world-renowned Chinati Foundation in Marfa and other arts organizations offer a variety of artistic activities around town Monday-Thursday. Students will also get breakfast and lunch back at school.

The kids need some fun activities this summer, as do teachers. Here’s hoping they both can do so, even as they work to catch up.H

The survey sought information about two key spending questions: How districts plan to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to address unfinished learning this summer and in the 2022-23 school year, and what systemic improvements districts plan to make because of ARP funding over the next three years to

the best education they can for their students while addressing staff needs. Each district seems to have a unique summer plan. I was recently out in Marfa, a far West Texas arts community near Big Bend National Park. (Well, the park is about 100 miles away, but that’s not considered that far out there!) Marfa ISD | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 7
Editor’s Note
Laura Tolley is managing editor of Texas Lone Star.
But as districts seek ways to help students catch up, they also are faced with another pandemicrelated challenge: staffing shortages. Teachers and other staff members are tired. Many have quit or are considering it. Understandably, they want a break.
Laura Tolley


Summer may not be the same as schools across Texas seek to address learning loss from pandemic

8 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |

For students and teachers alike, summer is typically a time of rest and renewal. But after more than two years of living in a pandemic that triggered school closings, virtual learning, and staff shortages, this summer won’t offer much of a break.

A national survey conducted in January 2022 by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, reveals that there is an intense focus on academic recovery at schools across the country. More than three-quarters of the districts that responded said they would be using federal funds obtained last year on summer learning and enrichment programs in 2022.

The challenge for districts across the state is designing summer learning programs that appeal to students, teachers, and auxiliary staff as they struggle with absenteeism, employee shortages, pandemic fatigue, and mental health concerns.

Amid those obstacles, there’s consensus that strong summer school programs are essential to dealing with the learning loss related to the pandemic. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) estimated more than a year ago that students had lost roughly 3.2 months of instructional time due to the pandemic. This deficit was in addition to the standard summer slide — or the 2.5 months of learning loss that students typically experience every year during summer vacation.

Across the state, administrators are considering different strategies to address this learning loss by tapping into Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds authorized by Congress to mitigate the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, Texas received $1.3 billion in ESSER I funding, an additional $5.5 billion in ESSER II, and $12.4 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds (also referred to as ESSER III).

For the most part, districts have latitude in how to spend these funds, but federal guidelines require districts to spend at least 20% on addressing the impact of lost instructional time during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope is that some of that catching up will happen this summer.

Summer program plans

In Laredo ISD, that means expanding summer learning opportunities beyond a traditional summer school program. It also includes addressing the needs of families in a district

where 97% of students are economically disadvantaged. Some of the district’s ESSER funds, for example, have been used to help ensure basic access to laptops, tablets, and the internet.

This summer will mark the second year that LISD implements its Jump Start Program, which is open to all students — not just those needing academic interventions in summer school. Jump Start kicks off in late July, two weeks before the Aug. 11 start of school. The goal is to generate excitement and help students prepare for the new school year with a program that includes fine arts, physical education, and STEM programming, in addition to more traditional academics.

“One of the things that we required was that it is not just about academics,” LISD Superintendent Sylvia Rios said. “It had to renew that sense of fun, so we integrated swimming, we integrated fine arts into the program, so that when you’re coming back, you’re coming back as a full student.”

Jump Start is only one piece of Laredo’s approach to combatting learning loss, an effort that spans the entire year with expanded after-school programs and Saturday tutoring. Rios said keeping Jump Start open to all students in the district, rather than restricting it to those in need of academic remediation, has been essential.

“The intent of ESSER is to catch up, so we understand that the first and second years [of the funding] really have to be about implementing strategies, programs, and initiatives that will help our kids get back into those normal routines,” said Rios. | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 9
“The goal is to generate excitement and help students prepare for the new school year with a program that includes fine arts, physical education, and STEM programming, in addition to more traditional academics.”

Staffing concerns

In Arlington ISD, summer programming is also focused on enrichment, but because of staffing issues, the district has decided to open its summer school slots to those students with the greatest needs.

“We’re trying to really focus in on small-group instruction and not just have a max capacity of 24 kids in a classroom because we couldn’t hire another teacher,” said Alison Larance, director of AISD’s Innovations and Operations Department. “We’re hiring teachers first and then looking at the kids. We group them by campus and look at the kids with the biggest gaps in ELAR [English Language Arts and Reading] and math to really focus in and invite those kids first.”

Like many districts, AISD is using ESSER III funds to boost the pay of summer school teachers in hopes of encouraging more to sign up. But the district is also looking at other ways to attract educators, including more flexibility and independence.

“Money is a motivator for some people but not for all,” Larance said. “We try to take a lot of the stress and planning and say, ‘Please come teach summer school. Here’s what we will provide you. You don’t have to do anything. You just have to show up and have fun.’”

They are also hoping that finalizing summer school locations and administrators will draw staff to these assignments as well. “[We say], ‘It’s going to be on your campus. You don’t have to change classes. You can stay here.’ So that’s an incentive sometimes,” she said. “It’s just location and knowing who your admin is going to be.”

A balancing act

Abilene ISD is also trying to support students this summer while ensuring it has enough teachers and staff to do so.

“We want to make sure that every kid has the opportunity to be enriched and fall in love with school, and we have plenty of talented people to do those things,” said Joseph Waldron, the district’s chief financial officer. “One of the big concerns is can we get the talented people to continue working over the summer because they likely need a break, too. It’s a giant balancing act, and I’m not sure how it’s going to go.”

A priority for Abilene has been to add learning loss aides to its classrooms to help support teachers and expand capacity for small-group interventions. The district has also hired middle school teachers to help staff a bridge program to support students with the greatest needs.

A holistic approach

Yet it’s essential that districts look beyond just the academic needs of their students, according to Duncan Klussmann, a clinical assistant professor in education leadership and policy studies at the University of Houston.

“To address the learning loss, we first have to address the disruption in [students’] lives. If we’re totally focused on the academic side, we’re missing so much,” Klussmann said. “The academic side will come along if we take the opportunity to focus on the human side of what’s going on.”

He agreed that focusing on enrichment is key to helping students get back on track. Summer programs, said Klussmann, should “give students time to develop their socialization skills and be able to process what they’ve lived through over the last two years.”

Timelines and deadlines

As districts plan for summer school this year, there is also the understanding that it’s going to take years, not months, to make up for what was lost during the pandemic. A provision of the ESSER III funds requires that districts spend their full allotments by September 2024. Administrators are already worried about what happens after that money dries up.

“There will likely be things on the list that we would like to keep going but can’t because the money has run out,” said Waldron. “This year we like to say that cost is no object — whatever the kids need — but eventually cost will be an object. It is hard to think through that.”

Klussmann would like to see districts given more flexibility in the timeline for spending ESSER funds, especially as they figure out what works best in addressing learning loss.

“We need to acknowledge that that three-year time period when those funds are released is not going to be a long enough time to do the work we need with the kids,” he said. “If you have until year four or five to spend those dollars, then you can add additional dollars in as long as you can prove it’s effective.”

In LISD, Rios is preparing to address learning loss in her students — not just this summer, but for the next five years.

“I think it will take a lot of dedication, not just from our kids but from our parents and staff. I think it’s going to have to involve the whole community,” said Rios. “We can’t say now you’re going to be forever five years behind. We have to be able to provide what is necessary to catch up.”H

Leslie Trahan is a staff writer for Texas Lone Star.
“To address the learning loss, we first have to address the disruption in students’ lives. If we’re totally focused on the academic side, we’re missing so much.”

One District's Game-changing Name

Floydada becomes Collegiate ISD to help rural students and the community thrive

12 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |

Exactly how little Floydada, Texas, got its name isn’t crystal clear.

The original Floyd City name was unacceptable after the town got a post office because Floyd, Texas, already existed. Floydalia may have been the next choice, but as the Handbook of Texas recounts, the name may have been garbled in a transmission to Washington. The Floyd County town was established in 1890 on land donated by James B. and Caroline Price, and his mother was named Ada. Caroline’s mother was also named Ada, and her dad was Floyd. Thus, Floydada!

No such mystery surrounds a more recent name change in this northwest Texas farming community of cotton, pumpkin, and wheat growers, among other crops. School trustees voted earlier this year to officially call the school district Floydada Collegiate ISD (FCISD) to reflect its membership in the Collegiate Edu-Nation (CEN), a nonprofit organization working with high-performing rural schools to better prepare students for college and skilled career paths in their own communities.

FCISD is still in the planning stages of this new educational program, but school administrators decided to go ahead with parts of the initiative, including the new name.

“With CEN, we kind of dove in headfirst. We’re not real patient. If it’s good for the kids, we want to do it,” said FCISD Superintendent Gilbert Trevino. “The hope is that through this process, we are able to develop our rural community. We’re trying to address the (student and workforce) needs of our community.”

What Trevino and others value in the CEN concept is a nontraditional approach involving free dual-credit courses, focused staff support, structured learning paths, apprenticeships, internships, and other opportunities that can benefit all students, but especially those who may have few opportunities once they walk the graduation stage.

While urban and suburban school districts have long touted dual-credit and internship programs, these academic options can be limited, even nonexistent, in rural areas. Young men and women who’ve grown up on farms and ranches feel compelled to leave their hometowns after graduation for better opportunities. If they stay, the academic and workforce training possibilities are few. Both the students and the rural communities suffer.

CEN’s main goal is to help K-12 public schools, post-secondary education institutions, and the business community work together to improve the available economic and educational options.

“A lot of the time in rural areas, we have a lot of untapped resources,” said Shauna Lane, dean of academic affairs at FCISD, where about 75% of its estimated 700-student population is considered economically disadvantaged. “But just because we are a rural community doesn’t mean our students shouldn’t have those (additional) opportunities.”

How it started

The CEN seeds were sown more than two decades ago in Roscoe, about 130 miles south of Floydada. CEN Founder and

President Kim Alexander was working as principal of Roscoe High School, where he saw that his rural students often did well academically but had trouble moving forward after graduation.

“Our disadvantaged students would do well in school, but then once they crossed the graduation stage, it was like they were walking off a cliff. The best part of their lives was behind them,” Alexander said.

In 2001, Roscoe (now Collegiate) ISD partnered with West Texas College in Snyder to begin a dual-credit program, and in 2009 it became the first Early College High School (ECHS) in rural Texas. In 2017, it became the first rural school-wide Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) academy.

According to Alexander, Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath approached him in 2019 about using the district’s model to establish a nonprofit that could help other rural schools implement similar programs, and CEN became a reality.

Startup funding for CEN schools comes from the TEA School Action Fund and P-TECH grants, which are designed to give students least likely to attend college an opportunity to receive a high school diploma and a credential and/or an associate degree.

Ongoing funding comes from additional Career and Technical Education (CTE) and College, Career, or Military Readiness (CCMR) student outcome bonuses authorized by Texas House Bill 3 in 2019. That bill sought to incentivize public schools to increase post-secondary credential attainment.

Overall, the CEN network serves more than 4,000 students in eight rural school districts in Texas, and several more are scheduled to join next year. The potential for additional growth is great: The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reports that Texas has more rural schools than any other state in the nation, with more than 20% of campuses located in rural areas. | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 13
Floydada Houston Austin Dallas

Alexander said in addition to few opportunities and economic hardships, rural students often don’t have a strong support system to help them succeed.

“All students, regardless of their background, can be extremely successful if they have a strong support system,” Alexander said, adding that has tended to mean parents with money. “We’re trying to level the playing field, so it doesn’t matter where students come from — [it matters] where they want to go.”

One early CEN success

Veronica Cuellar, a lifelong resident of Roscoe, has defied the odds. She earned her bachelor’s degree, is debt-free, and is now working at RCISD, where she’s a CTE teacher.

Cuellar, now 21, and several other students were the first students in RCISD’s CEN program to obtain their bachelor’s degrees. Without the support of CEN, she said she would not have had the financial means for college.

“I’m very thankful for this opportunity,” she said. “I’m the first student to get a bachelor’s degree in my family. It was a struggle, but I did it.”

Cuellar wants to continue her career — and life — in her hometown, where her family still lives.

“I have no plans on leaving at all. I love Roscoe. I also like the opportunity to help others … I want to let students know there are opportunities out there,” she said. “There’s lots of support at school. And not just the school, the whole community. If you need help, they try to pitch in. We always figure something out here in Roscoe.”

Floydada program taking shape

FCISD is in year two of the CEN program, and already has chalked up several accomplishments besides the name change.

At the heart of FCISD’s program — and

14 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |
Ninth-grade students at Floydada Collegiate High School meet virtually with a South Plains College professor in preparation for the start of a dual-credit course called Educational Strategies. Photos courtesy of Floydada ISD Floydada Collegiate High School students gather for an orientation session on dual-credit courses offered through South Plains College in Levelland.

other school districts in the CEN network — is helping high school students obtain an associate degree and an industry certification upon graduation by offering dual-credit hours at no cost to the student, including books. The savings can amount to $150 per class, excluding the cost of books, which varies.

“To take cost out of the equation, we feel we’ve leveled the playing field for all students in Floydada,” Trevino said. “To not have to pay for 30 hours (of college), that’s a game-changer for a lot of families here.”

Last fall, the district officially launched its planning year for its P-TECH program. However, some students started taking virtual dual-credit courses as early as the fall of 2020 in partnership with South Plains College in Levelland, located about 85 miles southwest of Floydada. The 2023 freshman class will be the program’s first true cohort.

Ryan Fitzgerald, dean for dual enrollment and distance education at South Plains, said that while the college does offer course discounts, the no-cost aspect being used by FCISD can make a big difference for many students in a region where “post-secondary opportunities don’t abound.”

FCISD’s overall goal is to have 90% of each class graduate with both an associate and industry-based certificate. That means that graduates will have a debt-free jumpstart on college or a pathway into a meaningful career. P-TECH pathways will include education, law enforcement, business, renewable energy, and health care therapeutics.

Another facet of CEN that FCISD is still developing will provide students with local apprenticeships and internships. The district also is planning a program where graduates can continue their college education in the community and complete a virtual bachelor’s degree from home in some fields. And if a high school student needs a little extra time to complete the online associate degree, they could use those two extra years at home to do so.

The hometown factor is big. Moving away to attend college can be difficult financially, if not impossible, for many students. But leaving family and community can also be challenging.

“It can be scary. Being from family is tough for those who have never been away from them before,” said Lane.

The early results at FCISD are impressive. In spring 2020, about 21% of high school students took a dual-credit course, but that jumped to about 51% in spring of 2021 once the free classes were offered. Last fall, about 65% of students were taking dual-credit courses through the partnership with South Plains.

There have been some challenges as students adjust to the pressures of the increased workload and the online courses, said Kristie Rehkopf, FCISD counselor/academic adviser.

“We’ve learned every semester how to make the next semester better,” she said.

Lane and Rehkopf said the extra workload can be difficult for some students, but that’s where extra support from teachers and staff can help. CEN also provides mentoring and other support services for teachers and staff, including assistance in applying for grants.

“We’re learning as we go,” Lane said. “We’re creating high expectations, but we’re setting up our students for success.”

FCISD freshman Katelynn Ramirez, 14, is taking a business computer information systems course this year and plans to take advantage of the free dual-credit courses throughout high school.

“It’s been a little difficult with the work, but I think I can manage it,” she said, adding she gets a lot of support. “Having them [offered for] free really does help. If they weren’t free, I probably would not have been able to participate. I always planned on going to college, but I knew it would be hard financially.”

The FCISD website features an infographic about collegiate schools and the district’s P-20 journey at H | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 15
Laura Tolley is managing editor of Texas Lone Star Floydada Collegiate High School seniors and juniors attend an ACT Prep Workshop in Anton.

Embracing Public Comments

TASB experts offer best-practice tips for school board meetings

Alot of the most contentious issues facing public education these days are being tried in the court of public opinion — via social media, blogs, newspapers, TV news, and during the public comment portion of school board meetings.

With a more engaged public, understanding the legal requirements of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) as it relates to conducting school business isn’t always enough, especially as more people turn out to school board meetings to discuss everything from mask mandates to critical race theory.

Learning how to embrace public comments, from both a legal and a public relations perspective, is increasingly important to avoid both litigation and negative headlines, as well as to build a strong relationship with the community.

To help trustees navigate potential pitfalls, two TASB experts teamed up recently in Galveston at TASB’s annual Governance Camp to discuss ways to ensure a smooth meeting with a formula based on both legal requirements and best practices for community engagement.

Here are the key takeaways from that presentation by Joy Baskin, TASB education counsel and associate executive director for Policy and Legal Services, and Tiffany DunneOldfield, TASB associate executive director of Communications and Marketing. Their tips reflect the most recent and relevant updates made to the OMA by Texas lawmakers.

Post meeting agendas in advance

School boards need to post their meeting agendas

72 hours in advance and publish the date and time of the meeting so interested members of the public can attend.

“If you know you’re going to have a large turnout, make sure you have enough space and seating,” Baskin said. “Although you may need to move your board meeting to a bigger room across the hall on the night of the meeting, you cannot change the physical address of where the meeting is being held after the agenda has been posted. Plan ahead.”

If the usual meeting location is changed to a different building because a large turnout is expected, inform the public about the change in as many ways as possible — not just on the posted agenda.

“Legally, it’s enough to put the new location on the posted agenda, but we also encourage districts to share that change widely on social media and the district website,” said Dunne-Oldfield. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re not being transparent.”

16 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |

Each person is allowed to speak

School boards must allow “each member of the public” to speak on any agenda item.

That means school boards can no longer ask groups of people speaking out on the same topic from the same viewpoint to designate a spokesperson, Baskin said.

“If you have a hundred people in the room who want to speak, you need to give them each the opportunity,” she said. School boards, however, can limit the amount of time given to each speaker, she said. “We don’t recommend anything less than at least one minute.”

School boards may require anyone who wants to speak to sign up before the meeting by an established deadline — for example, 10:30 a.m. the day of the meeting. That gives district officials the opportunity to review the list and contact scheduled speakers before the meeting to discuss their concerns in more detail. “Sometimes the issue can be addressed and resolved ahead of the meeting, which is a win-win for everyone,” Dunne-Oldfield said.

Regardless, Dunne-Oldfield recommended that districts clearly outline the process for signing up to speak at a board meeting on their website so there’s no confusion.

When to allow public comment

School boards must allow public comment on an agenda item at the meeting before or during the consideration of the item.

This provision of the OMA is intended to keep boards from debating or voting on an item before allowing the public to comment on it. Although boards have much flexibility on how they order business at a meeting, the goal is to ensure that members of the public are able to express their views on an issue before a vote is taken, Baskin said.

From a community engagement perspective, boards should not push those items that may draw a lot of speakers to the end of an agenda as a long wait to speak may escalate potential tensions. “It’s just being aware that most people want to be able to speak as quickly as possible and then go home,” Dunne-Oldfield said. “Waiting hours to speak at lengthy board meetings, especially for parents who have brought their kids with them, is not going to go over well.”

Critical remarks are protected

School boards should not shut down critical remarks or stop comments just because they are disagreeable.

As school board meetings attract larger crowds, it’s important to remember that the OMA protects public criticism. This means that trustees should not try to interrupt or stop speakers who are openly disparaging or being critical about the district, its programs, or even its staff.

“It’s OK to refer people to the grievance process if they have specific complaints about an employee, but it’s important not to restrict speakers who may be rude or disagreeable,” Baskin said. “You don’t want to open the door to litigation because someone felt they were inappropriately shut down at a public meeting.”

If school board trustees have specific concerns, Baskin said, they should consult their district’s school attorney for guidance. Even amid a contentious meeting with lots of public comments, Dunne-Oldfield said, trustees can help mitigate potential problems by being courteous, respectful, and fair with each speaker, regardless of their opinions and comments. It is important for trustees to:

• Keep a neutral facial expression.

• Pay attention and put down the phone.

• Focus on the speaker.

• Thank each speaker for their input.

In planning for the public comment portion of a meeting, there is much a district can do to ensure a smooth experience for everyone. District staff must remember to:

• Make sure meeting procedures are available on the district’s website. These can also be printed out and given to attendees when they arrive.

• Enlist a staff member to help keep time.

• Prepare a script for the presiding officer to remind attendees about policies and procedures for the meeting.

• Have the presiding officer use the same consistent tone with everyone.

“Public comments are a legal obligation for a school board meeting, but trustees and district staff have the opportunity to build trust with their communities and families by taking extra steps to ensure the process not only complies with the law but also makes people feel welcome and respected,” Dunne-Oldfield said. “People will definitely remember how they were received at a board meeting, regardless of the issue that brought them out to speak.”H

More information about the OMA

• TASB's School Law eSource,, lists several OMA resources in one place for your convenience.

• The TASB Online Learning Center,, offers online training customized for board members.

• In-person TASB events often offer OMA training. Check the TASB calendar at | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 17
Sylvia Wood is a staff writer for Texas Lone Star.



In suburban Houston, Clear Creek ISD is appealing to prospective families via a new partnership with an unexpected source — local real estate agents.

Like most of Texas, League City, home of CCISD, has seen tremendous growth over the past decade. According to the 2020 Census, the city’s population has increased by more than 34% since 2010. Texas, one of the fastest growing states in the country, has seen a 10-year jump in population of 15.9%, or nearly 4 million people.

Amid this growth, CCISD has developed a way to attract prospective families — leveraging the city’s real estate agents to serve as frontline ambassadors to help promote the district. This is accomplished through a six-hour training course that covers everything from special education and specialty program options to attendance boundaries.

“Every school has something unique about it, and in the program for the Realtors, they were able to showcase where you can find those programs,” said Jonathan Cottrell, a CCISD board member and local real estate agent. “If your child is into engineering, or maybe you work at NASA and you’re getting relocated here and you want your children to be given that skillset or education, you know what schools are going to have those programs.”

Having real estate agents in the area who are informed about the local school district is beneficial for both agents and parents, said Cottrell. It is also helpful for CCISD, which seeks to define itself amid growing competition from charter and private schools, as well as nearby districts.

As a top-rated school district that enjoys a partnership with the NASA Johnson Space Center, CCISD has a lot to offer potential buyers in League City.

“People see that home values will go up when you’re in a good school district. You’ve got the personal side of the

children — you want to live in a home within a good school district to get a top-quality education,” said Cottrell. “The personal is first, but people also see the correlation between rising home values being in better school districts.”

Educating the community

Eva deCardenas, CCISD’s assistant director of marketing, said the city's growth created a natural alignment between area real estate agents and the district, which serves more than 41,000 students and spans 103 square miles.

When the program began in April 2021, she said the goal was to ensure that real estate agents have all the information they need when talking to families, who often have specific school questions or concerns. The certification course is now being offered once a semester.

“We wanted to be their direct connection as a communications office for any questions they have or uncertainty about a program or a boundary,” said deCardenas. “We learned that there was a desire to take this to another level, so they can get to know the school district, their neighborhood school, and amenities and be more informed with their clients.”

One aspect of the six-hour class is giving real estate agents an actual tour of CCISD schools so they can see how public education has changed and progressed. “Many haven’t been in a school in many years,” said deCardenas. “They tour the CTE [Career and Technical Education] program, meet students, and actually see the real work that’s going on. There is nothing like seeing it.”

A win-win situation

Real estate agents who complete the course are given a USB drive loaded with comprehensive resources about the district, including information on the programs offered at

18 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |

each school. They are also listed as a certified residential specialist on the district’s site and are provided with a certificate and a digital emblem they can use on their promotional materials.

Penny Brockway, a former teacher who now works as a real estate agent in League City, worked with deCardenas to develop the training. She said the course and district certification have been a boon for real estate agents in the area.

“When I hang up a sign in the yard, it has my CCISD seal on it,” Brockway said. “That was a big deal, and Realtors really pushed to get into it. We could only take 50 at a time, so they just wait to get into this class. It’s an impressive seal and a very prestigious certificate to have.”

Given the popularity of the certification in CCISD, deCardenas would love to see the program grow. The district is working on creating a more generic curriculum for the course so that it can be provided as continuing education credit for real estate agents through the Texas Real Estate Commission.

DeCardenas said she believes expanding the course could have ripple effects for public education in the state of Texas.

“If we are all speaking this common language and have this common course, it’s an effort to not only inform our Realtor community, but also they become advocates for public education,” she said. “Many of them are very influential and well known in their communities.”

Considering the influx of new residents into Texas and the demand for housing, Cottrell is a proponent of ongoing collaboration between CCISD and the local real estate community. In League City, bidding wars and multiple offers are common as the housing inventory struggles to keep up.

“Our home values, like everywhere else across the United States, are going through the roof,” he said. “I’ve got two houses under contract right now and they’re both over a million dollars, and both of them were bidding wars. There’s so much demand and so little inventory, so there’s the economic factor of it that has also created the rise in home values.”

According to Adam Perdue, a research economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M, this trend

isn’t likely to end any time soon. “The factors that have been driving the growth of Texas relative to the rest of the country are persistent, and we don’t see that changing,” said Perdue. “Texas is younger than the country as a whole and has been growing faster than the country as a whole consistently since the ‘90s.”

Though fair housing laws prevent real estate agents from steering clients toward or against a particular neighborhood, Cottrell said having the facts about the district helps empower buyers by giving them accurate information.

“We can’t tell somebody, ‘This is a good neighborhood, this is a bad neighborhood,’ or ‘This is a good school, this is a bad school,’” said Cottrell. “You can definitely put that information in front of them and say, ‘This campus has this program’ and let them decide, ‘Yes I want my child to be involved in that program, so we need to live within those boundaries.’”H | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 19 Austin
Leslie Trahan is a staff writer for Texas Lone Star
Dallas Clear Creek

Student Speakers

What control does a district have over student speech?

When students take the microphone at graduation, are they speaking as representatives of the school district? The answer is crucial to determining whether school officials can, or must, control the content of the speech.

First Amendment background

Free speech: Student speech falls into three categories: government, school sponsored, or private.

Government speech means speech that the government controls.1 For example, a principal speaking at a school assembly is pure government speech.2 Depending on the circumstances, a student’s speech at a school event may be characterized as government speech. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment does not apply to pure government speech.3

School-sponsored speech means student expression that “may fairly be

characterized as part of the curriculum.”4 School officials may regulate such speech based on “legitimate pedagogical concerns.”5

Student speech may be considered school sponsored if it could reasonably be understood to bear the school’s imprimatur (approval). Relevant considerations include: (1) where and when the speech occurred; (2) to whom the speech was directed and whether recipients were a captive audience; (3) whether the speech occurred during an event or activity organized by the school, conducted pursuant to official guidelines, or supervised by school officials; and (4) whether the event or activity was designed to impart some knowledge or skills to students.6

Religious concerns: When a student speaks as a school representative (either government speech or school-sponsored speech), the speech must not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by endorsing, promoting, or

coercing religion. In Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a school district’s policy permitting a student to provide an invocation before football games violated the Establishment Clause. The Court held that the school district’s policy was invalid because it encouraged prayer at important school events.7 At least one federal court in Texas has opined that the Court’s reasoning in Santa Fe applies equally to student-led prayer at graduation.8

When student speech is private, a district may not restrict the content of the speech absent a compelling interest. In this case, courts often look at the context. If the speech took place in a nonpublic forum, meaning a forum that is not designated for public expression, then districts have a compelling interest in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation by limiting religious content. In a more open context, such as a limited public forum, students have greater individual rights.9 In one case, a Texas court of appeals determined that cheerleaders holding runthrough banners with religious messages at football games were engaging in private speech, because the cheerleaders made the banners with little district involvement and a reasonable viewer would not attribute the banners to the school.10

Anti-Discrimination Act

Texas school officials must also consider the Religious Viewpoint Anti-Discrimination Act (RVAA), which requires treating student expression of religious viewpoints on an otherwise permissible topic the same way as student expression of secular viewpoints. The

20 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 | Legal News

RVAA requires districts to adopt a policy establishing a limited public forum for student speakers at all school events at which a student will publicly speak.11 See TASB Policy FNA(LOCAL).

Implications for student addresses

Student speeches at assemblies, graduation ceremonies, and other school events cannot contain sectarian or proselytizing language if the speeches are properly characterized as government speech or school-sponsored speech. If student speech might reasonably be perceived as bearing the imprimatur of the school (i.e., school-approved), then administrators may regulate the style and content.12 Editorial control may be necessary to eliminate religious expression that would violate the Establishment Clause. For example, a California court permitted a school district to edit sectarian content in commencement addresses.13

Federal guidance

The RVAA was designed to indicate in state law and local policies that school districts do not sponsor student speech, including prayer, at events such as grad-

uation.14 In this respect, the RVAA echoes the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools. The guidance provides that when student speakers are selected based on genuinely neutral criteria, and when student speakers retain primary control over the content of their expression, such student speech is not attributable to the school and may not be restricted for its religious or anti-religious content. To receive federal funds, school districts must certify that their local policies do not prevent or deny participation in constitutionally protected prayer as set forth in the DOE guidance.

Both the RVAA and DOE guidance rely on disclaimers and local policies to declare that student speech is not school sponsored. If, however, a legal challenge arises, the existence of the disclaimer may not protect the district from an Establishment Clause violation.15

The bottom line

Unfortunately, there are no risk-free options. Taking action to censor religious speech raises the risk of a free speech

challenge. But failing to prevent religious speech raises the risk of an Establishment Clause challenge. School districts should work with their attorneys before graduation to manage these risks.

Remember, districts can always restrict student speech that is vulgar, lewd, or profane. TASB-recommended policy language prohibits categories of content that have been determined to be inappropriate in a school setting, including vulgarity, threats, promotion of illegal drugs, harm to rights of others, and defamation.H

This article is provided for educational purposes only and contains information to facilitate a general understanding of the law. It is not an exhaustive treatment of the law on the subject, nor is it intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney. Consult with your attorneys to apply these legal principles to specific fact situations.

For more information on this and other school law topics, visit TASB School Law eSource at

(See Student Speakers, page 35.)

Policy On Line


is getting an upgrade to make policy work easier.

This year, Policy On Line will roll out new features, including:

l Ability to add links to district resources

l Integrated tools for tracking policies pending board action

l Better management of Local Manual Updates

l Ability to publish adoption dates to your Policy On Line manual | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 21
Policy Service
More information coming soon! Watch for details.

Legislative Advocacy

End of school year tips for school board members

Being a school board member in Texas means being an advocate for your district. Although the next legislative session doesn’t start until January 2023, discussions about issues affecting public education have already begun. You want to be part of the conversation. Here are a few activities you can do as we wrap up another school year:

(1) Communicate with legislators now about potential legislation and other issues that will impact your district.

With the legislative session still months away, this is a good time to start communicating with your local legislators about possible issues that may impact your district during the next legislative session. Make sure you are talking about issues such as:

• What remediation efforts your district is undertaking to get students back up to speed after the pandemic.

• How the pandemic has affected your students and your district’s student enrollment.

• How the pandemic has affected your staff, including teachers, bus drivers, and other employees.

• How your district spent its share of federal pandemic recovery funds.

(2) Communicate to your parents, taxpayers, and others about how new laws have been impacting your district this past school year.

The State of Texas enacted several new laws that directly impact public schools. Share with your communities — parents, taxpayers, business owners, etc. — how those laws are impacting your students and schools. TASB has produced legislative summaries that may be helpful. Visit and search for 2021 Legislative Summary for TASB members.

(3) Start making plans for a “Back to School” event.

Now is the time to make plans to hold a “Back to School” event in August or September. Such events are a great time to invite parents, taxpayers, legislators, candidates, and the media to visit one or more of your district’s campuses. Have key district officials deliver presentations on different aspects of your district, such as the district’s mission, goals, challenges, changes in

student and teacher demographics, accountability ratings, the district’s budget, etc.

Staff can also explain how parents are invited to participate in their children’s education, how changes in state funding affect services within your district, how your district is addressing student needs, and what others can do to help.

Too often relationships begin (usually badly) when a problem is at hand. Giving policymakers, the media, and the community an opportunity to meet district officials in a friendly atmosphere at the beginning of the school year helps foster positive relationships. Taxpayers will have a better understanding of why districts must make difficult choices regarding the budget, parents will learn what the district is doing to improve accountability ratings, and legislators can see firsthand how the laws they pass in Austin are impacting your district.

More information

TASB Governmental Relations staff is available to answer any questions you may have regarding advocacy, the Texas Legislature, or the TASB Advocacy Agenda. You may also call or email Dax González with TASB Governmental Relations (dax. or 800.580.4885) for more information.H

22 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 | Capitol Watch
Dax González is division director of TASB Governmental Relations.


Through specialized schools; Head Start early childhood education; afterschool programs; school-based therapy services; and a scholastic art and writing awards program, HCDE makes a BIG impact on Harris County communities.


Handling Turnover

Use proactive approach to board changes

Many governance teams will experience turnover in the upcoming months as incumbent board members decide not to seek reelection or lose seats to new board members. Whatever the nature of your team’s turnover, a proactive approach can help maintain your team’s performance.

Welcoming new board members

Board members — and even communities — might feel a sense of loss after sitting board members lose their seats or do not seek reelection. On the other side of the matter, board members and communities must consider how the incoming board member feels about replacing the trustee.

The incoming trustee might feel a burden to meet expectations outside of their personality or character. The board needs to recognize this as an opportunity to welcome a new perspective to the work of guiding the district and affirm

the new trustee’s position on the board. To create and maintain high expectations for board performance, every new trustee should receive the same professional, supportive welcome from the leadership team. After all, every member on the team was once the new board member.

If your board does not have a formal welcoming protocol outlined in its operating procedures, consider developing a protocol before the next election cycle. Invite the newly elected members to help create the protocol as they navigate their own introduction to board work. They can offer input on what is helpful and what is not.

Informing new board members

In addition to guiding your new trustee through required new board member training, educate the new trustee on how their presence on the board should benefit students. There is more information available now than ever before about board

behaviors and practices that can improve student performance. Making new board members aware of these practices is the board’s ethical and legal responsibility and can also help teams move forward after losing experienced members.

Another helpful tip is to ensure that new board members gain a thorough understanding of current initiatives and goals of the district. If the new board members are expected to play a meaningful role in guiding the district, they will need a clear understanding of how district goals meet current and trending needs, while moving the district toward the vision. Provide a narrative and supporting documentation that clearly show the connection between the district’s needs assessment and the goals aimed at meeting those needs.

Above all, be available for questions as new trustees settle into their roles. School business is complicated, and there is no such thing as a normal year. This means your new team member will be navigating constantly emerging challenges while learning the basic roles and responsibilities. As a visionary body, boards should be accustomed to planning and being proactive. Take advantage of the experience your team has gained as a strategic, visionary body as you work to position new trustees for success.

You can email TASB’s Board Development Services at to request information regarding the board’s role in student achievement.H

24 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |
Good Governance
Orin Moore is a board consultant for TASB Board Development Services. | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 25 TEXAS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL May 2 Nacogdoches May 3 El Paso May 4 Alpine May 5 Iraan-Sheffield May 10 Huntsville May 10 Abilene May 17 Commerce May 18 .................................... Canyon May 20-21 ........................ South Padre May 24 ....................................... Waco May 25 ..................................... Uvalde The 2022 Spring Workshops are coming to you! Our training sessions are offered in locations across the state. Visit for more information. For 30 years, participants in the Lone Star Investment Pool have known... Expertise Matters For all Lone Star participants, our expertise comes in the form of skill, experience, and qualifications in the public investment sector. When you are looking for the right place to invest your district’s funds, look to the expertise of Lone Star. FIRST PUBLIC IS A SUBSIDIARY OF DISTRIBUTED BY Lone Star Investment Pool — Helping school districts succeed for 30 years. 800.558.8875

Leadership TASB

Trustees learn new skills through program

Where does the road to expanded leadership begin?

For Texas school board members, the journey often starts with the Leadership TASB (LTASB) program, which is accepting applications May 1–July 1.

Since 1993, LTASB has offered school trustees the opportunity to become part of a network of school board leaders who learn and work together to enhance school governance in Texas.

For alumni like Audrey Young, a Master Trustee who serves on the LTASB Alumni Association Board, LTASB served as the foundation in a long career involving leadership roles. Young is currently a member of the State Board of Education, representing District 8.

“In my experience, the collective knowledge gained and relationships built have been prosperous, informative, and self-sustaining,” she said of LTASB. “I've been blessed to utilize my leadership training at the local and state level, and the benefits of LTASB continue with me through each endeavor.”

Young believes the program challenges and encourages trustees to reach their potential.

“LTASB provides the conduit for trustees to intimately define the aspects of their lawful duty, realize their position as part of the team, hone important skill sets, deeply understand community values, and learn the necessity of shared decision-making,” she said. “It’s an excellent opportunity to share, between participating districts, the crucial role that trustees play in fostering the conditions that facilitate successful student growth and a safe, collaborative environment.”

Kay Douglas agrees. Douglas, a senior consultant for TASB Board Development Services, is the program manager for LTASB. A former school trustee, she was in the LTASB Class of 1998.

“What it did for me was to expand my understanding of the education of children throughout the state, the programs provided by school districts, and the problems they are facing,” she said.

After completing the program, Douglas was tapped to serve on the TASB Risk Management Fund Board and was elected by fellow board members to serve on the Legislative Advisory Council and the Legislative Committee. Her 18-year career at TASB has centered on training school board members to be more effective leaders.

Learning with extended benefits

The yearlong program usually consists of five weekend sessions lasting two to three days each. Nationally known speakers and experts in education and business address themes like teamwork, equity, diversity, and visionary leadership. Sessions rotate among different Texas cities and include visits to successful schools and innovative programs.

What exactly do participants learn?

The list is long. LTASB graduates gain skills that help them perform activities such as:

• Serve as mentors for new trustees and lead training sessions for board candidates and trustees.

• Build community coalitions with citizens, community groups, and local businesses to support public education.

• Speak to citizens and community groups about education issues.

• Share knowledge of innovative programs around the state with educators.

• Write editorials about education.

• Testify before the Legislature and State Board of Education.

• Assume leadership roles in area school board associations or with TASB.

• Serve as advisors for statewide education initiatives.

The rewards are not only for the individual, but for the entire educational system.

“Public school systems make a wise investment when they cultivate trustees who will influence measurable change within complex systems,” said Young. “There are a number of interconnected factors that argue for the necessity of trustees who understand data-analysis, budget, long-range plans, and that will listen actively, properly facilitate meetings, keep a discussion on track, decide

26 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 | News & Events
LTASB Class of 2022 en route to King Ranch / Santa Gertrudis

on a course of action, and monitor progress.”

A new class begins soon

Interested in beginning the journey?

Douglas says that any trustee would benefit from participating in LTASB, but those who benefit most are the ones who have amassed enough training and experience as trustees to be able to take what they learn and use it to improve their district.

Applications for the upcoming year’s class will be available May 1 and must be returned to TASB by July 1. The first session happens in September, during the TASA | TASB Convention. Enrollment is limited, and applicants must meet certain continuing education qualifications. Find out more about qualifications, the selection process, and how to apply at Read about the current LTASB class on page 28.H | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 27
Melissa Locke Roberts is a staff writer for Texas Lone Star Gertrudis ISD.
Let TASB Executive Search Services do the heavy lifting! Many districts across the state are seeking strong, stable, forward-thinking, community-focused district leaders, and we are equipped to
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Leadership TASB Visits South Texas

Third session offers insights into two different school districts


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 yearlong program. Leadership TASB columns, written by class members, track the progress and share the experience of each year’s class throughout the year.

This February, the Leadership TASB Class of 2022 went to the beautiful city of Corpus Christi for the third session of the yearlong Master Trustee training program. Feeling the cold breeze from the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the class started the first morning with a drive to Santa Gertrudis ISD’s (SGISD) pre-K to second-grade campus, located at the historic King Ranch in Kingsville.

SGISD has a diverse 765-student body, but only 65 students are residents of the district. We were welcomed to the elementary campus by the superintendent, Dr. Veronica Alfaro, and the pre-K class, which performed a dance for us. The kids were excited to perform, and they did it with great confidence.

The district has two additional schools: the thirdthrough eighth-grade campus and the Academy High School, located at Texas A&M University – Kingsville inside an old dorm building. The campus, which opened in 1994, offers its students two specialized programs. The Advanced Studies program includes the option to take up to 27 college courses at the Kingsville campus. The second program, Pathways in Technologies Early College High School (P-TECH), is a partnership between the district, Del Mar College, and the CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital. At the end of the program, students can receive certifications in CPR/First Aid, AED, Patient Care, EKG, and Phlebotomy.

COVID-19 hit the district particularly hard in early 2021, as they did not participate in a 1:1 student device program when the pandemic started. They also had no hot spots. When the district started to receive its orders of Chromebooks, it could only afford to provide one device per family.

The highlight of the trip was a tour of King Ranch. Our guide described the spectacular views of the ranch and its history with such passion, it transported us to the times of Capt. Richard King and his wife, Henrietta. The ranch is home to the Santa Gertrudis breed and some of America’s more notable thoroughbreds, including the 1946 Triple Crown winner, Assault.

Day two took the class to Gregory-Portland ISD, a district

with six schools and 4,700 students. The population in the district is just over 22,000 residents, and it is located eight miles north of Corpus Christi. The district’s mission is to “educate, inspire, and empower students to succeed in life and become the next generation of leaders.” Dr. Michelle Cavazos, the superintendent, is an enthusiastic leader. In July 2020, she replaced Dr. Paul Clore, who had led G-PISD for almost two decades before his retirement.

The G-PISD student body is 58% Hispanic, 36% white, and 2% Asian. All activities in the district are based on four priorities: (1) exceptional student performance, (2) a high-performing and engaged workforce, (3) quality service and impactful community engagement, and (4) efficient and effective operations.

28 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |
A teacher at Gregory-Portland ISD gives a P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) health science demonstration. LTASB members at Santa Gertrudis ISD listen to Superintendent Veronica Alfaro. Photos by TASB staffer Nicole G. Green

We visited Gregory-Portland Middle School, where we enjoyed lunch and the popular strawberry cupcakes from the high school culinary arts class. We also had a chance to visit Gregory-Portland High School and its impressive career tech health science lab.

After returning to our hotel, the class finished the day with a scavenger hunt on the way to dinner at a local seafood restaurant. During our walk, we had a chance to visit the Selena Memorial Statue, which honors the local Tejano singer who was killed in 1995.

We completed our session on day three with a discussion of the book A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Toughest Questions in K-12 Education, by Frederick Hess and Pedro Noguera. The book’s authors, a Republican and a Democrat, try to demonstrate how individuals with completely different political views can have cordial differences but still find areas of agreement for the benefit of our public school students. It is definitely a book that all school board members in the nation should read.

During our three days of training, we enjoyed the hometown news from trustees of Lewisville, Eanes, Allen, Lumberton, San Angelo, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City, Springtown, Round Rock, Waxahachie, and Grapevine-Colleyville ISDs.

It was an amazing trip, where over 30 trustees had an opportunity to learn from each other, visit two outstanding but very different districts, and work together as we continue our mission to improve public schools in our great state of Texas. Thank you, Corpus!H

Jorge Rodriguez, board president of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, is a member of Leadership TASB, which will meet a total of five times before the group’s graduation in July. Applications for the next Leadership TASB Class open in May. Read more about the program on page 26. | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 29
LTASB members at an elementary class coding activity at Santa Gertrudis ISD. The pre-K class at Santa Gertrudis ISD welcomes LTASB members. LTASB Class of 2022 group photo outside the Santa Gertrudis Academy High School.

What to Expect at Summer Leadership Institute 2022

Thousands of volunteer school board members are expected to gather in San Antonio and Fort Worth this summer to participate in four days of learning, growth, and networking at TASB’s Summer Leadership Institute (SLI).

Back for the first full in-person events since 2019, the flagship conference is guaranteed to keep you and your school board team informed and inspired.

SLI in its current format began in 1990 and attracts about 3,500 trustees and administrators between the two locations. The same conference is held in San Antonio and Fort Worth each year to accommodate summer schedules and to make travel easier for attendees. Strategically scheduled for the month following the May elections, SLI is the best place for new board members and new board officers to get a jump start on preparing for their roles. With more than 100 sessions covering six different learning tracks, it’s easy for any trustee to pursue their interests, learn something new, and earn required continuing education credit.

“We consider it a learning laboratory, where board members can create their own learning journey,” said Kathy Dundee, the event organizer.

Dundee said she loves seeing so many of the same board members and administrators each year. “For many school boards, it’s a yearly tradition for them to attend and introduce their newbies to TASB and to other school board members from around the state. It’s easy to meet people and network, and I enjoy watching that interaction take place.”

What you’ll learn

Whether you’re a new or experienced trustee, SLI offers you the information you need to successfully lead and advocate for your students and community. You’ll return to your district with new ideas to present and implement.

General session speakers

Robyn Benincasa

Benincasa has made an art form out of extreme performance by competing and winning at the highest levels of sport and business. As a 20+ year veteran San Diego firefighter, a World Champion Adventure Racer, a 2014 CNN Hero, a Guinness World Record Endurance Kayaker, a best-selling author, and founder of The Project Athena Foundation, Benincasa works to create human synergy, or as she puts it, “that magic that allows groups of ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things together.” Don’t miss this inspiring session that will leave you feeling motivated and ready to tackle your biggest challenges.

Adolph Brown

For more than 30 years, Brown has researched, field tested, and implemented a set of concrete strategies used to support and enhance schools and businesses around the world. As an American businessman, investor, author, urban and rural school educator, research scientist, and keynote speaker, he’s admired for his simple and direct “Real Talk,” and powerful, universal, and timeless teachings.

Ravi Hutheesing

Hutheesing is the founder of Ravi Unites Schools — a network of international K-12 schools with classes that participate in peerto-peer, real-time, audio-video interactions. He’s also author of PIVOT: Empowering Students Today

to Succeed in an Unpredictable Tomorrow. Ravi's journey has seen him take on the roles of musician, aviator, cultural diplomat for the U.S. Department of State, and keynote speaker — an inspiring example of how to pivot and succeed in an ever-changing world.

Breakout sessions

Around 100 different breakout sessions are offered each year. Choose from sessions in the following categories:

• District Culture: Human resources, professional development, collaboration, safety, shared leadership

• Engagement and Advocacy: Building partnerships and engaging community, parents, businesses, and governmental leaders in school improvement efforts

• Fiscal Responsibility: Finance/ budgeting, facilities, bonds, energy issues, risk management

• Policy and Legal: School law, employment law, policy, ethics, transparency

• Student Achievement: Student learning, outcomes, accountability, and instructional programs

• Visionary Team: Roles and responsibilities, teamwork, collaboration, and shared vision of board-superintendent teams

30 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |
Attend SLI Registration and housing for SLI opened April 26. Visit to learn more about the conference.H
June 15–18 FORT WORTH June
Stephanie Butler is a staff writer for Texas Lone Star

TASBO RISE Award Honors School Employees

Seven school business professionals from districts across the state have been recognized by the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) as recipients of the organization’s RISE Award. The awards were presented during the 2022 TASBO Engage Conference in early March.

The RISE Award recognizes the rising stars among TASBO membership — those whose early accomplishments, within their career and within TASBO, distinguish them as future leaders in the school business community. The Texas Association of School Boards serves as sponsor of the award program.

The 2022 RISE Award Recipients are:

• Claudia Alba, RTSBA | Pflugerville ISD

• Amanda Boles, RTSBA | Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

• Ismael Gonzalez III, Ed.D., RTSBA | Gregory-Portland ISD

• Kala Moore, RTSBA | Jacksonville ISD

• Kyle Penn, Ed.D., RTSBA | Prosper ISD

• Gisselle Rivera-Franco, RTSBA | Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD

• Lela Vela, RTSBA | Frenship ISD

“The individuals receiving the RISE Award represent some of the brightest and most dedicated members in our ranks,” said 2022-23 TASBO Board President Jennifer Land.

The award program is open to school business professionals who have been TASBO members for 10 years or less. TASBO members can submit nominations for the 2023 RISE Award at H

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

Brackett ISD. Superintendent.

Deadline: TBA

Dalhart ISD. Superintendent.

Deadline: May 2

Snook ISD. Superintendent.

Deadline: May 11

For information about vacancies or services provided by TASB’s Executive Search Services, call 800.580.8272, email, or visit | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 31 TASB HRDATASOURCE™ will help you: Create comparison reports using market data from our surveys. l Compare districts or community colleges by size, region, or individual selection.
Access reliable and current benchmark data instantly online.
Download reports in PDF or Excel format • 800.580.7782

TASB Executive Director Keeps Focus on Members at Staff Event

TASB staff members gathered for their first-ever off-site State of the Association on April 7 at Round Rock ISD’s Raymond E. Hartfield Performing Arts Center to review highlights from the past year and to set a course for the future.

The event marked the first state address for TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell and featured the theme “Together Today. Stronger Tomorrow.”

“It was great to have the staff together at one time,” Troxell said. “Having it at a school facility also helped emphasize the ‘why’ of what we do.”

Troxell applauded staff for being flexible and focused during the pandemic and urged all employees to concentrate on finding new ways to innovate and excel.

Staff members were greeted by the McNeil High School drumline and then enjoyed a performance by the school’s Musicale group, which offered a preview of its “Life in New York City” showcase, which was held later that day.

In addition to the keynote presentation by Troxell outlining TASB’s ongoing commitment to serving members, the event also featured a roll call, typical at district convocations.

All the TASB business areas competed to create the best chant, as determined by visiting judges, TASB President Ted Beard (Longview ISD) and TASB Directors Mary Jane Hetrick (Dripping Springs ISD) and Robert Westbrook (Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD).H

32 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |
Photos by TASB Media Services TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell addresses TASB staff. Students from McNeil High School’s Musicale group perform for the event. TASB staff members cheer during roll-call event. TASB President Ted Beard, a Longview ISD trustee, TASB Director Mary Jane Hetrick, a Dripping Springs ISD trustee, and TASB Director Robert Westbrook, a Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD trustee, judge the cheer competition.

Simplified BuyBoard Rebate Structure Approved

School districts that use BuyBoard when making purchases will now find it even easier to receive cash back at the end of the year after recent changes to the Cooperative’s rebate structure.

In April, the Local Government Purchasing Cooperative’s (Cooperative) Board of Trustees approved a simplified rebate structure that replaces a complex tiered structure for calculating rebate rates.

“We were very excited to present a simplified rebate structure for their approval,” said Brian Bolinger, associate executive director of TASB Business Services, which serves as administrator for the Cooperative. “It not only allows more districts to participate but also makes it more equitable — with one rebate rate, no matter the size of the organization or how much they buy.”

More members, more rebates

The Cooperative, also known as BuyBoard, has more than 2,000 members across the state, including public schools, colleges and universities, and local governmental entities. In 2020-21, BuyBoard returned its largest rebate to date — more than $10.7 million — to its members. More than $80 million has been rebated

to eligible members since 2006.

Steve Fisher, director of cooperative purchasing at TASB, said rebates continue to be a compelling reason for districts to participate in the program. “Our members have always appreciated that contracts and vendors awarded through BuyBoard have already been competitively procured, and they like the wide range of choices and the documented audit trail. Also, recent improvements to our application have made online shopping much easier. But it’s often the rebates that serve as the biggest advantage to members. There’s nothing like knowing some of your money spent may be returned at the end of the year,” he explained.

To qualify for rebates, members must indicate on purchase orders that a BuyBoard contract was used, and then they must submit the purchase orders to BuyBoard by email or through the application.

Rebates are calculated each Cooperative fiscal year based on members’ purchasing activity and associated vendor fees collected. Amounts vary, with some rebates as large as $400,000. The more a member organization procures through BuyBoard, the more rebate dollars it’s

qualified for at the end of each year. Rebate determinations for 2021-22 will be based on BuyBoard purchases reported between Sept. 1, 2021 and Aug. 31, 2022. Cooperative rebates are not guaranteed in any given year and are approved by the Cooperative’s Board of Trustees annually.

Perpetuating the purpose

The Cooperative was created in 1998 to increase the purchasing power of Texas public schools and all types of local government entities and to simplify their purchasing through a customized online purchasing system. The recent refinement to the rebate structure continues that original goal.

“Our purpose is to serve local government and public schools, and it’s always great to see money headed back in their direction,” Bolinger said.

To learn more about making purchases that qualify for rebates, visit | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 33
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TASB President Ted Beard Addresses Staff

TASB President Ted Beard talked about his childhood, his family, and his professional life during a special presentation to TASB staff this spring.

Beard, a Longview ISD trustee, captivated staff members with stories about his distinguished military service and his work on the school board.

Here are a few of his insights:

• “With my military service, my perspective is sometimes a little different than my fellow board members. I know that life is precious and can go at any time.”

• “My parents’ service showed me that it is not about you, it is about others. And you should do what’s right, rather than the easy wrong.”

• “If this nation would put education first, then we wouldn’t have

a lot of the issues we are seeing now.”

• “The biggest barrier to children achieving a high-quality education is the adults. We are the ones who have to fix it. Our values and beliefs must be student focused."

• “Experience has benefits when it comes to school board service.”

First elected to the LISD board in 1998, Beard said he didn’t have a specific agenda when he ran for the position. He “just wanted to become more involved in the education of students.”

Beard’s term as 2021-22 TASB president continues until the 2022 Delegate Assembly on September 24.H

34 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |
Ted Beard Photo by TASB Media Services
Follow us on Instagram @tasbphotos Find us on Facebook Texas Association of School Boards TASB Risk Management Fund TASB HR Services Follow us on Twitter @tasbnews @tasbrmf TASB Risk Management Fund @tasbhrs TASB HR Services @tasblegal TASB Legal Services

June 15 Deadline to Submit Advocacy Resolutions

Development of the 2022-24 TASB Advocacy Agenda kicked off with the Grassroots Meetings held January-March. Now the Legislative Advisory Council is tasked with developing the statewide Advocacy Priorities, and local school boards are turning their focus toward preparing resolutions.

Dax González, division director of TASB Governmental Relations, said that Advocacy Resolutions are an important part of the Advocacy Agenda.

“Advocacy Priorities are the key legislative goals for the Association, but Advocacy Resolutions help guide how TASB will address all the other issues that could come up during the legislative session or through other regulatory entities,” he said.

For Kevin Carbó, Mesquite ISD trustee and TASB Resolutions Committee chair, the resolutions process is an important way to highlight local issues.

“The resolutions process is a way for boards like mine to voice their opinion on TASB’s Advocacy Agenda,” Carbó said. “The resolutions that are ultimately passed tell the world what is important to TASB’s members and what we will be taking a stand on at the Capitol. It’s essential that boards speak up by submitting resolutions and sharing what issues they are passionate about right now.”

What is an Advocacy Resolution?

Resolutions are submitted by local school boards and usually address issues that are more local or regional.

“We see a wide range of concerns in resolutions. They are more specific in nature and don’t fall easily into our broader priorities,” González said.

In the 2020-22 Advocacy Agenda, resolutions address topics like charter school transparency, accountability system standards, attendance reporting, and special education.

“We tend to think about the differences among districts — urban, rural, big, and small,” said Ann Williams, president of the Alief ISD Board and president of

the Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members. “When you submit a resolution that reflects the concerns in your local district and then hundreds of delegates from across the state agree that it’s important, it’s a reminder of just how much we all have in common.”

How to submit a resolution

School boards have until 11:59 p.m. on June 15 to submit resolutions. Each resolution must be adopted by the board and submitted on the Advocacy Resolution form: advocate-district/how-to-submit-anadvocacy-resolution.aspx.

“Make sure you provide a clear explanation for why your resolution is important,” González said. “Use the Statement of Reasons section to provide details.”

The adoption process for resolutions

The TASB Resolutions Committee reviews all the submitted resolutions.

“The committee determines if any are already covered by the proposed priorities

Student Speakers (from page 21)

1 Pelts & Skins, LLC v. Landreneau, 448 F.3d 743, 743 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting Johanns v. Livestock Mktg., Assoc., 544 U.S. 550, 560-61 (2005)).

2 Fleming v. Jefferson Cnty. Sch. Dist., 298 F.3d 918 (10th Cir. 2002).

3 Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460 (2009).

4 Hazelwood Sch. Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 271 (1988).

5 Hazelwood Sch. Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 273 (1988).

6 Morgan v. Swanson, 659 F.3d 359, 376 (5th Cir. 2011).

7 Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Doe ex rel. Doe, 530 U.S. 290, 317 (2000).

8 See, e.g., Does 1-7 v. Round Rock Indep. Sch. Dist 540 F. Supp. 2d 735 (W.D. Tex. 2007) (considering the impact of Santa Fe and determining that plaintiffs who complained about a majoritarian election on graduation prayer had alleged a viable claim).

9 See, e.g., Chandler v. Siegelman, 230 F.3d 1313 (11th Cir. 2000) (interpreting Alabama statute permitting student-initiated religious speech at school-related events without school district oversight as consistent with U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Doe).

or the Cornerstone Principles. They also look for resolutions that are similar to see if they can be combined,” González said. “But most importantly, the committee considers if the resolutions are in line with the Association’s advocacy goals.”

The committee then forwards the proposed resolutions to the TASB Board for review. Finally, the proposed resolutions are submitted to the TASB Delegate Assembly for discussion and adoption.

“The TASB Advocacy Agenda is created through a grassroots process. ‘Grassroots’ means that it comes from the local level,” González said. “And Advocacy Resolutions are your opportunity to give voice to legislative issues specific to your district and community.”

Carbó agrees. “If districts feel strongly about an issue, that should be reflected in the resolutions submitted,” he said. “That’s how we make sure that we stand up for what members care about.” H

Denise Schulz is a staff writer for Texas

Lone Star

10 Kountze Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Matthews ex rel. Matthews, No. 09-13-00251-CV, 2017 WL 45319908 (Tex. App.—Beaumont Sept. 28, 2017).

11 Tex. Educ. Code §§ 25.151-.154.

12 Hazelwood Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 108 S. Ct. 562 (1988).

13 Cole v. Oroville Union High Sch. Dist., 228 F.3d 1092 (9th Cir. 2000); see also Lassonde v. Pleasanton Unified Sch. Dist., 320 F.3d 979 (9th Cir. 2003) (upholding a school district’s decision to edit proselytizing text from a student’s graduation speech).

14 See Tex. Educ. Code §§ 25.152, .156 (requiring disclaimers in local policy).

15 See, e.g., Lassonde v. Pleasanton Unified Sch. Dist., 320 F.3d 979 (9th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 817 (2003) (“Although a disclaimer arguably distances school officials from ‘sponsoring’ the speech, it does not change the fact that proselytizing amounts to a religious practice that the school district may not coerce other students to participate in, even while looking the other way.”) | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 35
Joy Baskin is TASB’s education counsel and associate executive director for Policy and Legal Services.

Bulletin Board

Governor Appoints Muri to SBEC

Gov. Greg Abbott recently appointed Scott Muri, Ed.D., to the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) for a term set to expire on Feb. 1, 2023. The board develops certification and continuing education requirements and standards of conduct for public schoolteachers.

Muri is superintendent of schools for Ector County ISD. Previously, he served as superintendent at Spring Branch ISD and deputy superintendent of academics at Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Ga.

Muri received a Bachelor of Arts in Intermediate Education and Middle School Education from Wake Forest University, a Master of Public School Administration from Stetson University, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Wingate University.

Robert Durón Named TALAS Executive Director

The Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS) recently named Robert Durón as its new executive director. He steps into the top role after serving as a TALAS board member since 2019.

“Robert brings a deep commitment to ensuring all students have the opportunities to pursue their educational and career dreams. He’s also dedicated to increasing the representation of Latinos in school district leadership. We are confident he’s the right person to help TALAS continue to grow,” said Xavier de la Torre, Ysleta ISD superintendent and TALAS interim executive director and president.

After 10 years as TASB associate executive director of Governance Services, Durón recently moved into a new position as executive leader for member support, a part-time position in which he facilitates board and superintendent relationships and superintendent searches.

Durón said he is honored and excited to become the new executive director, especially with ongoing growth in the number of Latino learners in Texas. He said he is also committed to working on behalf of TALAS and in collaboration with other educational associations, including TASB, to advance public education for all students.

For more information about TALAS, visit the organization’s website at

TEA Annual Report Now Online

The 2021 Annual Report of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is now available on the agency’s website.

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced the report’s availability in March. He noted that the report “highlights the dedication of educators and the unwavering service of school systems throughout the state who have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of our students. From prioritizing in-person instruction to investing unprecedented levels of funding, Texas educators and policymakers shared a commitment to ensuring our state’s nearly 5.5 million public school students received the necessary support to address declines in academic proficiency induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Morath said the report also chronicles the “effective approaches and inspiring stories of districts meeting the needs of their students while also highlighting the strategic priorities of TEA.”

Areas spotlighted in the report include recruiting and retaining teachers/ principals, building foundations of reading and math, connecting high school to career and college, and improving low-performing schools.

Access the report by going to tea. and searching for 2021 annual report.

36 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 |
We want to recognize school board members’ extraordinary work in TLS! If you have received any awards or honors, please send your news and photos to
Scott Muri Photo courtesy of Ector County ISD Robert Durón Photo by TASB Media Services

Looking for board development?

Strengthen your governance team with customized training


• Shared vision

• Goal setting

• Superintendent performance goals


Team building:

• Board self-assessment

• Social contracts

• Working with new team members

Additional opportunities for convenient training

Help your board officers refine their leadership skills

• Getting Started as a Board Officer webinar, June 8

• Board Officers’ Academy at Summer Leadership Institute

◆ San Antonio, June 15-18

◆ Fort Worth, June 29-July 2

• A Journey to Excellence: Board Officers’ Academy Remote Coaching, begins the week of July 11

For more information, visit

Prepare your new board members for success with a strong foundation

• Quick Tips for New Board Members webinar, May 25

• New Board Member Launch at Summer Leadership Institute

◆ San Antonio, June 15-18

◆ Fort Worth, June 29-July 2

• Continuous on-demand learning in the Online Learning Center

For more information, visit | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 37
information on any of these offerings: 800.580.8272, ext. 2453 • •
got opportunities designed for governance teams, new board members, and board officers.
us about
customized team-building and planning services! NEW BOARD MEMBER LAUNCH

A Duty to Vote

Teacher taught us about democracy

May is a busy month for school districts, starting with Election Day on May 7, when many districts have bond and school board elections.

Whenever there is an election on the horizon, I remember my high school honors political science and history teacher, who drilled in the message that voting was our sacred duty in a democracy.

Lt. Col. Jack Renwick, or Mr. Renwick, as we called him, was one of my favorite teachers at Roosevelt High School in North East ISD in San Antonio because he tried to connect what we were learning to real-life experiences. He made sure we knew what ballots looked like, and though he never brought in a sample voting machine, he did explain — in detail — how to cast a ballot.

education and, of course, our duty to our democracy.

I registered to vote at 18 because Mr. Renwick, who died in 2015 at the age of 95, made it clear we all had to do our part — and vote. That’s why I was especially excited to hear that the League of Women Voters of Houston is piloting a new effort to encourage young people to register and vote. They are partnering with school districts in the greater Houston region, including Tomball and Klein ISDs, to distribute voter registration information when graduating seniors pick up their caps and gowns.

in the electoral process. The first is the requirement that high school principals offer students the chance to register to vote if they are 18 or will turn 18 that school year. And the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requires instruction on voting in every grade level, from elementary through high school.

I recently learned through a colleague that the state also allows young people ages 16 and older to serve as student election clerks, earning not only an hourly wage but a front-seat view of how elections are run and votes are counted. The bill that authorized student election clerks passed nearly 10 years ago, but there’s still room to raise awareness and encourage more young people to take advantage of this opportunity, especially as some county clerks struggle to find enough workers for Election Day.

His own perspective had been shaped by his military service. He was a proud WWII Army combat veteran who served in the South Pacific at a time when democracy really was at stake. When he left the Army, he took up teaching at Roosevelt, where he made an impression on me and so many others about service to others, the value of

The idea for this great collaboration with the Class of 2022 came from another league's efforts in Texas. It's a fantastic way to reach our young people who are on the brink of adulthood and should be encouraged to take part in their communities, including the essential act of voting.

Since my high school graduation decades ago, the state has taken steps to urge more young people to get involved

I do know that Mr. Renwick certainly would have encouraged us to apply for this unique experience had it been an option when he was teaching. The Texas Education Agency has determined that students who work as clerks for a primary or regular election will qualify for an excused absence, up to two days per year. Looking back, Mr. Renwick would have certainly required us to make up any missed assignments, talk about the experience in class, and probably write an essay. And as always, he would have impressed upon us that democracy requires hard work and commitment, not the least of which is voting.H

38 Texas Lone Star | May 2022 | A Final Note
Tiffany Dunne-Oldfield is TASB associate executive director of Communications and Marketing.
The League of Women Voters of Houston is piloting a new effort to encourage young people to register and vote.
Lt. Col. Jack Renwick

The Exhibit of School Architecture is a showcase of new and renovated Texas public school facilities that celebrates excellence in planning and design of learning environments. Submit your recent school project(s) to be displayed at this year’s Exhibit of School Architecture at txEDCON22 TASA | TASB Convention!

All submitted projects will also be displayed on the exhibit website

Stars of Distinction for Excellence will be awarded in a juried process in the following categories: community, planning, school transformation, design, value and innovation and will be celebrated at txEDCON22.

The juried process with also elevate projects worthy of special recognition to Caudill Class that will be announced early in 2023.


School districts interested in having their project(s) considered for Star of Distinction/ Caudill Class awards and to be displayed at txEDCON22 should contact their architectural firm. The exhibition highlights new construction and renovation projects completed within the last five years.

June 10: Agreements Due

June 24: Project Submission/Poster Due


For more information and to see previous Star of Distinction and Caudill Class winners go to

For more information on the impact of school facilities on students, check out Five Ways Your School Facilities Impact Student Achievement in the January/February 2022 issue of Texas Lone Star | May 2022 | Texas Lone Star 39
AUSTIN ISD—Doss Elementary School, 2021 Review all recent past award-winning projects at September 23–25 • San Antonio Henry B. González Convention Center

Five Reasons to Attend

Vote on the TASB Advocacy Agenda.

Elect TASB’s leadership team for 2022-23.

Get a chance to win one of 10 student scholarships!

Network with fellow trustees from your region.

Earn continuing education credit.

Student scholarships sponsored by

NONPROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID AUSTIN TEXAS PERMIT NO 1422 Texas Association of School Boards P.O. Box 400 Austin, Texas 78767-0400
TASB’s Delegate Assembly
2022 Delegate Assembly September 24 | San Antonio
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