Districts must create threat assessment teams
A student at school recently experienced some family trauma. Tony has already missed several classes this year, and is becoming socially withdrawn. He even threatened to seriously injure a classmate after an argument. How do we get Tony some help and keep the situation from escalating?

With school shootings and other potential threats to school safety on the rise, the 2019 legislature considered many bills to provide guidance on how school personnel and first responders can react in emergency situations. Some of the legislation that passed focuses on preventing situations by providing means for students in crisis to be identified and provided with help and support.

A new law requires your district to develop “threat assessment and safe and supportive teams” to support each campus. The idea is that, rather than waiting until a student like Tony commits an act of violence, students and staff at a campus have a way to report their concerns about him proactively. The team can assess the extent to which Tony might pose a threat to safety, and can work on finding resources to address any mental health issues.

SB 11, the bill that requires threat assessment teams, goes into detail on the composition of the teams and their responsibilities ( see our bill summary here) . The Texas School Safety Center offers training to help district officials begin the process of implementing the law. Check out this story to see what the threat assessment model looks like in an early adopter, Weatherford ISD.

After the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Midland/Odessa, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday issued eight executive orders designed to improve law enforcement’s response to reports of suspicious activity about potential shooters. One instructs the Department of Public Safety to work with TEA on ways to better inform schools, students, staff and families about the importance of suspicious activity reports and how to initiate that process.
Abbott touts TCTA-initiated bills in school safety update

Gov. Greg Abbott recently issued a report highlighting progress on school safety initiatives in Texas. The report mentions several bills passed during the 2019 session, including two initiated by TCTA.

Senate Bill 2432 requires a student to be removed from the classroom and placed in a DAEP, subject to mitigating factors, if the student engages in elements of the crime of harassment against a school employee, such as making threats against the employee or their family. Abbott called this bill "a positive step toward protecting teachers and students in the classroom."

SB 1451 prohibits a teacher from being marked as deficient in an appraisal solely based on disciplinary referrals made by the teacher or documentation submitted by the teacher regarding student conduct.

Court dismisses suit by parent of disabled teen

A parent sued a school district after district police officers tasered and handcuffed her 17-year-old son. The teen was diagnosed with emotional and intellectual disabilities and became upset when the officers stopped him from leaving campus. The parent's lawsuit was dismissed after the district court determined that neither the district nor the officers discriminated against the student based on his disability.

Seven TCTA members honored as Regional Teachers of the Year

TCTA congratulates the six teachers recently named as finalists in TASA's Texas Teacher of the Year program. The elementary finalists are Juliette Broussard of Pasadena ISD, Perla Lozoya of Socorro ISD and Karen Sams of Weatherford ISD. The secondary finalists are Kami Dodds of Brady ISD, Jennifer Garner of River Road ISD and Michelle Sandoval of Ysleta ISD. The state winners will be announced during a luncheon Oct. 25 in Austin.

The banquet also will recognize the 40 Regional Teacher of the Year winners. That group includes seven TCTA members:
  • Region 3 Elementary winner: Carleen Thrash of Wharton ISD
  • Region 5 Elementary winner: Blisha Swearingen of Lumberton ISD
  • Region 5 Secondary winner: Justin Lezak of East Chambers ISD
  • Region 7 Secondary winner: Tammie Evans of Carthage ISD
  • Region 9 Elementary winner: Kevin Hunter of Vernon ISD
  • Region 13 Elementary winner: Keri Swanson of Lake Travis ISD
  • Region 18 Elementary winner: Jane Bledsoe of Midland ISD

TEA seeks feedback from teachers on career choices
The Texas Education Agency is asking current teachers and students interested in education careers to provide feedback by completing its Factors Influencing Teaching Choice Survey. The FIT survey will help TEA with its Grow Your Own grant program that supports training new teachers. Responses are confidential.
Click here to complete the fall survey. (Responses are due by Oct. 1.)

TEA extends special education survey deadline

TEA also is asking classroom teachers and other instructional personnel to identify what kind of special education resources they know about that are available to parents. This information will help TEA with the Parent Resources initiative in its state Special Education Strategic Plan. Responses are being collected through Sept. 13. The survey takes 15-20 minutes and is confidential.

Enrollment open for new Texas Gateway courses

Texas Gateway has new courses now open for the 2019-2020 school year. The self-directed online professional development training courses cover a variety of topics, including instruction in the TEKS and ELPS, and strategies on providing effective instructional support for students.

TCTA also offers more than 45 CPE hours. Click here to log in and watch.
No more 'adversity scores' for SAT-takers

The College Board is dropping its plan to give SAT-takers a single score that captures a student's economic hardship after numerous complaints from university officials and parents.

Instead of an "adversity score," the College Board announced creation of a tool called Landscape, which will allow admissions counselors to view information about a student's background, such as average neighborhood income and crime rates. Click here to read more.
Renew your membership by Sept. 30 to ensure continuous coverage during the 2019-20 school year. Click here to renew online. (Log in with your email address as your username and member number as your password. Call us for assistance logging in.) Click here to renew with payroll deduction.

If you have already renewed, thank you! We look forward to serving you this year and throughout your teaching career.

You can earn $25 for every two eligible first-time active members you recruit. Click here for Take 2/Make $25 program details.
Save on tickets at the Fort Worth Zoo

TCTA members now have access to discounted tickets for admission at the Fort Worth Zoo. Save $3 on adult admission and $2 on student/senior admission.

  • The State Board of Education meets Sept. 10-13 in Austin.
  • TicketsatWork is giving TCTA members a chance to save $10 on a $100 purchase through Sept. 30. Use code welcometen at checkout. To create a TicketsatWork account, click here and sign up with company code SWTCTA.
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