Spotlight Texas


How a South Texas School District Spurred a Massive Turnaround

After five years of landing on the state's list of low-performing schools, a tiny South Texas district that drew national headlines for cutting its sports program to ward off closure is now meeting state academic standards.

In addition to overwhelming community buy-in, Eric Ramos, the interim superintendent for the Premont Independent School District, says a unique partnership with Texas A&M University-Kingsville was key to a successful turnaround, resulting in hefty grant dollars and rigorous teacher training and support.


In Dallas ISD, School Year Will Start With Fewer Tests

Hate tests? The Dallas school district has some good news for you. This summer, the district announced it’s going to nix one-third of its assessments.

Administrators say teachers will get to focus more on teaching. The district's decision won’t end the debate over testing.


The States That Spend the Most (and the Least) on Education

Public school spending varies dramatically from one part of the country to another. New York is the biggest spender, doling out more than $20,000 per student each year, counting teacher salaries, support services and all the other costs associated with public schools. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Idaho and Utah spend only about one-third as much.


Texas Seeks Temporary Block of Rules for Transgender Students

With the first day of school looming, Texas will go to court on Friday and begin pressing its argument that the Obama administration strayed outside the law by ordering public schools to accommodate transgender students.

In a case expected to come down to the distinction between sex and gender identity, the state's lawsuit against the federal government is set for its first hearing Friday morning in Fort Worth, where U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor will hear arguments over Texas' request for a preliminary injunction. Texas, joined by 10 other states, in May sued the Department of Education over the guidelines, which instruct schools not to discriminate against transgender students.


Frisco ISD Still Fastest-Growing District in Texas, New Numbers Show

Frisco ISD added more students last school year than any other district in the state, according to new numbers released to the school board this week.

And if new student registration during two weeks in July is any indication, the growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.


Experts to Lawmakers: Fund Schools Less to See How Creative They Get

Depending on whose measure you’re using, Texas is somewhere between 38th and 49th in the nation when it comes to per-student funding. Instead of wallowing in our poor luck, or paying something closer to the national average, Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor convened a hearing Tuesday that considered a more sanguine response: A big round of applause for forcing schools to do so much with so little.


San Angelo Summit Previews Legislature's Fight Over Public School Funding in 2017

Public school finance was at the top of the agenda at the 13th annual West Texas Legislative Summit held by the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Texas public schools are funded by property taxes with supplements from the state. About 60 percent of the state expenses are for public education.


Family of "Clock Boy" Ahmed Mohamed Files Lawsuit Against Former School

Nearly one year after 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a “suspicious-looking” homemade clock to class, his family has filed suit against his former Texas school district, the principal of the high school and the city of Irving.

The lawsuit filed Monday claims that Ahmed’s civil rights were violated in the incident that made the 9th grader go viral last September.


Austin ISD Considering 30 Minutes of Daily Recess for Every Child

A dose of recess is something most children used to get on a daily basis, but times have changed.

KXAN News has learned not every campus in the Austin Independent School District is created equal when it comes to the amount of free time students get outside.


 

 

Classroom Tools


When Teachers Take A Breath, Students Can Bloom

Garrison Institute looks a little like Hogwarts. The retreat center is housed in a former monastery amid tranquil green hills overlooking the Hudson River, 60 miles north and a world away from New York City.

Inside the airy chapel on a recent summer afternoon, about 35 educators from the U.S. and at least five foreign countries are seated quietly, shoes off.


Paraphrasing Is Key to Deeper Comprehension

If you are trying to decide what to teach in the first few weeks of school, I have some advice: No matter what grade or subject you teach, make sure your students know how to paraphrase.

Paraphrasing is the first step on what I like to call The Comprehension Process Staircase.


Student Video Contest


On the Very First Day (Be the Best You Can Be)

On the first day of middle school, I would position myself in the main corridor of my building as the last bell rang and ask students about their first day back.

Smiles would precede mentions of seeing their friends again, but frowns would accompany that dreaded six-letter word middle level teachers cringe at hearing: “BORING!!!”


Caution Flags For Tech In Classrooms

A group of recent studies on technology in education, across a wide range of real-world settings, have come up far short of a ringing endorsement.

The studies include research on K-12 schools and higher ed, both blended learning and online, and show results ranging from mixed to negative. A deeper look into these reports gives a sense that, even as computers become ubiquitous in classrooms, there's a lot we still don't know — or at least that we're not doing to make them effective tools for learning.


6 Non-Teaching Books Every Teacher Should Read

A book promises the chance to escape the noise and busyness of our daily lives. In its pages we are never alone, yet we are also shut off, shut off from the thousand decisions and distractions that attack us at any moment. When we open ourselves up to a book we are embedded in the preciousness of ideas, growth, and mindful stimulation.


The Physics of Olympic Sports

The 2016 Olympics got underway over the weekend. I was thrilled to see the U.S. men win a second consecutive silver medal in archery on Saturday afternoon. Speaking of archery, CK-12 has a great set of physics simulations about archery and eleven other Olympic sports. The simulations are available to view in your web browser or in the free CK-12 Android and iOS apps.


What It's Like To Be College-Bound And Worried About Your Immigration Status

Mayte Lara Ibarra and Larissa Martinez had just finished their senior year of high school when they each decided to go public with their immigration status. Both Texas students came to the U.S. illegally, and they didn't want to keep that fact a secret any longer.

Ibarra identified herself on Twitter as one of the 65,000 undocumented youth who graduate high school in the U.S. Martinez revealed her status in the commencement speech she delivered at graduation.


Lowe's Charitable And Education Foundation Accepting Applications for Toolbox for Education Grants

The Lowe's Charitable and Education Foundation has announced the opening of its Fall 2016 Toolbox for Education, which supports projects that encourage parent involvement in local schools and build stronger community spirit.

One-year grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to projects with the potential to have a permanent impact on a school community, such as facility enhancement (indoor or outdoor) or landscaping/clean-up projects. In addition, Toolbox grants can be used as part of a large-scale project like a playground, as long as the grant will be used to complete a phase of the project that can be completed within twelve months of the award.


 

Breakroom


The Bittersweet Life Story of a Captive Orangutan

There are more than 4,000 great apes (gorillas, chimps, orangutans, and bonobos) in zoos worldwide. But, unlike the wild primates that naturalists like Jane Goodall or David Attenborough have turned into global media superstars, these captive apes have largely been forgotten, as though their lives behind bars make them less worthy of our attention.

But for Chris Herzfeld, author of Wattana: An Orangutan in Paris, captive great apes lead lives every bit as interesting as their wild cousins—in some ways, more so. By interacting with their human keepers, they learn skills that wild apes can never master—like the elaborate and beautiful knots that Wattana, a female orangutan, ties.


Lemongrass Beef Salad Rolls

I’m reliving that camp life every time I look through our camp photos. I miss cooking in the great outdoors! We’re definitely going to camp s’more this summer, we just need to get out butts in gear. I made these lemongrass beef salad rolls way back in May, when the sun came out after two days of camping in the rain.


NASA Is Painting Rocket and Plane Models Hot Pink ... for Science

To see how new rocket and aircraft designs perform under pressure, NASA's aeronautical innovators are painting model prototypes an eye-searing hot pink for wind tunnel tests in California and Virginia.

The wild paint job isn't just for looks. NASA engineers are using a pressure-sensitive paint (PSP) that can show — with a dazzling glow — how the surface of a rocket or aircraft model responds to pressure. NASA is conducting the tests in wind tunnels at the agency's Ames Research Center in California and Langley Research Center in Virginia.


5 Gazpachos to Make if You Don't Like Tomatoes

When most of us hear gazpacho, we think tomato. But there's more than one way to make a refreshing summer soup. Here, five delicious summer gazpachos that are tomato-free.


How to Explore the Pantanal

The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland, pooling over 81,000 square miles (210,000 square kilometers)—an area nearly the size of Kansas—in the center of South America, mostly in central-western Brazil and straddling the borders of Paraguay and Bolivia. Often overshadowed by the Amazon to the north, the Pantanal quietly harbors the highest concentration of wildlife in South America.


Crispy Avocado Egg Rolls

I’m the kind of person that gets food traumatized pretty easily. I once had an incident with injera bread and I haven’t touched it since. So really, my continuing love of avocados is kind of a testament, considering our bloody history. It’s a not-so-long story that ended with trip to urgent care – I will forever had the scar on my hand to remind me about the time I filleted (the doctor’s words) myself while opening up an avocado.


Gaze at Supernova Remains and Saturn's Six-Sided Storm

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe with our pick of the most awe-inspiring space pictures.

This week, astronauts train on the ocean floor, red ribbons of gas reveal a long-ago supernova, and Saturn's rings star in an optical illusion.


The Secret Code to Unleashing the World's Most Amazing Flavors

My first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, had an open kitchen. This wasn’t by choice—I didn’t have enough money or space to put it farther away from the diners. But cooking in front of my customers changed the way I look at food. In the early years, around 2004, we were improvising new recipes every day, and I could instantly tell what was working and what wasn’t by watching people eat. A great dish hits you like a Whip-It: There’s momentary elation, a brief ripple of pure pleasure in the spacetime continuum. That’s what I was chasing, that split second when someone tastes something so delicious that their conversation suddenly derails and they blurt out something guttural like they stubbed their toe.


 

 


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