Public Notice: EDU Tidbits

Plenty of school news, even though school’s out for now

Public Notice: EDU Tidbits

State Rep. Gina Hinojosa used to be president of the AISD school board and has retained an intense interest in the district, and a growing concern over the way things have been going there over the past year. She just announced new research on Texas school districts by her office finding "that AISD is the most economically segregated school district in Texas, and one of the most racially segregated" as well. See the report at www.ginaforaustin.com/texas-school-segregation-report, or join a Facebook Live Community Conversa­tion at 5:15pm today, Thu., June 18, "to consider the implications of these findings and our responsibility to ensure equity in our public schools" – with Hinojosa, AISD Chief Equity Officer Dr. Stephanie Hawley, and three UT profs who are experts on education and racial equity. See ginaforaustin.com/texas-school-segregation-panel for info, and to attend the panel.


AISD released a preliminary report this week on the reopening "conversation circles" they hosted recently for students, parents, teachers, and staff to discuss their issues with the district's evolving plan for partial school reopenings in the fall. The three-page Feedback Summary lists questions, concerns, and suggestions from each group, plus a focus on the extremely thorny issue of Special Education, and a "Have y'all thought about..." section (... offering day, evening, and Saturday sessions at campuses? ... shifting "summer break" to "winter break" to reduce contact during flu season? ... recording live classrooms for students who are at-home learning?). See the summary at www.austinisd.org/covid19/communications/reopening.


Congratulations to Armin Salek of Akins High School, this year's winner of the Rather Prize for the best idea to improve education in Texas – announced this week in an online SXSWedu panel. Salek's big idea was to create the Akins High Legal Eagles, the nation's first high school student-staffed legal aid clinic. With a number of attorneys donating their time, Akins' Law Practicum teaches students the basics of legal research and coaches them to provide free legal advice and services for fellow students, their families, and others in the 90% minority, largely economically disadvantaged community – it's the only high school in the country where students work on real cases (see a short video at RatherPrize.org). But it won't be the only one for long: Legal Eagles has spun off into an organization called Youth Justice Alliance, which intends to "develop legal curriculum and introduce it at schools across Texas," and Salek (also recently named AISD's High School Teacher of the Year) hopes to have it running in Navarro and Eastside Highs by the 2022-23 school year.


Mobile testing and a nursing hotline are the latest additions to Austin Public Health's arsenal of testing options available at AustinTexas.gov/COVID19. See the mobile schedule there, or housebound folks now can call 512/972-5560 to schedule a home test.

Send gossip, dirt, innuendo, rumors, and other useful grist to nbarbaro@austinchronicle.com.

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