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Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…



What Schools Can Do for Immigrant Students

Quote from Article:

Karen Reyes fell in love with teaching because she wanted to help students communicate. As a teacher in the Austin Independent School District, Reyes teaches prekindergarten students who are deaf or hard of hearing the skills they need to navigate a hearing world. What she didn’t realize until she got into the classroom was how deeply the work mirrors her personal experience as an immigrant student.

“You want a child to be able to communicate with their family, their community, and it’s the same thing with immigrants,” Reyes said. “We just want to be ourselves and to be heard.”

As the Trump administration takes a hardline stance on immigration policies, these students and their families, especially those who are undocumented, face a climate of uncertainty. By gaining clarity on immigrants’ rights, as well as addressing blind spots within school policies, schools can provide support in more comprehensive ways.


Know the Laws

Although the exact number of immigrant students in any given district is unknown, an estimated 100,000 undocumented students graduate high school every year, according to the Migration Policy Institute. A 2016 analysis by Pew Research Center found that nearly 4 million K–12 students in public and private schools have at least one undocumented parent. This year, the number of families, children, and unaccompanied minors crossing the southern U.S. border hit its highest level in more than a decade, and public schools are adjusting to accommodate these new students.

By U.S. law, all children have the right to a public education, regardless of immigration status. Schools are not allowed to ask about status, and under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), they cannot share any information or records unless ordered by a court.


Flexible and Transparent Enrollment

Enrollment is one of the biggest gaps the Lawyers’ Committee sees when working with schools and immigrant families. The group’s “Let Us Learn” initiative educates parents on their rights and schools on best practices for enrollment, providing legal counsel, webinars on its YouTube channel, and in-person trainings and workshops.

Although districts need to know how old children are, schools can’t require driver’s licenses, original copies of birth certificates (a photocopy in another language or hospital records are acceptable), proof of citizenship, or social security numbers. Schools also need to be transparent and flexible about what they accept.


“Your Mind Goes Blank”

Reyes, who arrived in Texas from Mexico with her mother at age 2, grew up with many of the same worries her school’s undocumented students and mixed-status families have. She understands why many parents don’t send their children to school when they hear about ICE raids, why they don’t show up to parent-teacher conferences, and how difficult their economic struggles are without government assistance. Her own mother worked multiple jobs to get by and wasn’t often able to attend her school events.

Her catalyst for deeper activism came in 2017, after a series of ICE raids in the Austin area. Reyes wanted to tell a student’s undocumented mother that she understood her predicament and had resources, but she was too afraid to say anything.

“I thought, ‘If I’m scared and I have some sort of privilege with DACA, these parents must be terrified,'” Reyes said. “Your mind goes blank when you’re in that situation.”

In recent years, organizations across the country have mobilized resources (see box) to mitigate feelings of fear. Local teachers’ unions, educators, or leaders, in tandem with advocacy groups, can facilitate trainings to make sure all parties have what they need. Hosting these workshops at school or offering connections to local immigrant rights organizations support families without them having to disclose immigration status.


Depending on the audience, Reyes says, they might discuss basics like the status differences between DACA holders, unaccompanied minors, and Temporary Protected Status holders; pass out materials in multiple languages on what to do during an ICE raid or if someone is detained; or give out United We Dream’s educators’ toolkits (which can be downloaded in seven languages).


Trainings and Toolkits

“You have the power to do at least one thing to make students safe,” says Montserrat Garibay, the secretary-treasurer of the state labor federation Texas AFL-CIO. When she was a bilingual preK teacher, she had one student who was absent because the student’s father had been arrested and detained while driving. It wasn’t safe for the student’s mother, who was also undocumented, to retrieve the car from jail. Garibay stepped in and worked with lawyers to pick up the keys so that her student would have a ride to school.


“A lot of teachers would say, ‘I don’t want to get into immigration, I’m not a political person,'” Garibay says. “You have a child that comes to school who hasn’t eaten or has a toothache or doesn’t have glasses, you advocate for the child to have what he or she needs. If providing these resources can help them have a better situation, it’s not much of a difference.”

After years of facilitating trainings—in collaboration with school counselors, principals, and immigration lawyers—Garibay recommends having parents gather practical items and information that they or others might need if anyone gets detained: an extra set of keys and a credit card, a folder listing account numbers, children’s food allergies, and a designated neighbor or friend who can pick up the kids from school, or a list of immigration lawyers.

Separately, schools should come up with a designated space for students to wait if a parent or sibling doesn’t show up. All teachers should be briefed on the plan and reminded about students’ protected anonymity in any situation, while figuring out whom they should notify, what resources are available, and with which community organizations to partner.


Worthy and Welcome

Beyond enrollment and procedural education, educators have a lot to think about to ensure that students, many of whom escape from severe trauma, have the academic and emotional support they need, says Quiroga. It’s a comprehensive system, spanning culturally sensitive curricula to bullying prevention techniques to high-quality English language instruction.

Garibay tells educators that it’s all about deciding where you feel most comfortable, whether it’s doing a training, writing a letter to a state representative, or putting up a poster in the classroom that says, “Welcome, Dreamers.” Reyes suggests creating a DREAM support group on campus and being conscious of language (avoid the use of “illegal”) or inviting any student or parent who feels comfortable to talk about their home culture with classmates. She reads books like Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh or Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney, which indirectly discuss topics immigrant students might be dealing with. She’s also careful not to perpetuate the narrative of the “perfect immigrant”—the idea that only those students who have flawless records or go to college deserve to be in the country.

“We have all types of students coming through our halls,” Reyes says. “Everyone is worthy of dignity and respect, no matter what their immigration status is.”


Know the Facts

The network of organizations dedicated to helping educators who work with immigrant students and families is vast. Training experts Karen Reyes, Natasha Quiroga, and Montserrat Garibay offer their recommendations.

United We Dream: Download research and toolkits for mental health, safety, and educator prep from an immigrant youth-led network.

First Focus: Keep up-to-date with current laws and policies.

Intercultural Development Research Association: Print 10-step guides and other strategies for schools.

Teaching Tolerance: Find a list of supports, from classroom lesson plans and posters to ELL best practices to “Know Your Rights” trainings.

Colorín Colorado: Access tools and research for teaching and parenting ELL students.

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: Watch Civil Rights webinars and YouTube videos on legal rights and processes through the “Let Us Learn” initiative.

American Federation of Teachers: Download emergency plan sheets, a deportation defense guide, an educator’s guide for school and support staff, and share-my-lesson plans for teachers.

District Deeds Synopsis:

This is a great article full of important information and links to Immigrant support resources.  We encourage all our readers to forward the link to the article to San Diego Unified Administrators and Teachers at your school and also think of ways to support immigrant Students at your schools.

What 7 Principals Wish They Knew Their First Day on the Job

Quote from Article:

Jimmy Casas, principal at Bettendorf High School in Bettendorf, IA:

“An assigned experienced mentor to work with me as I transitioned into the principalship. 


Glenn Robbins, principal at Northfield Community Middle School in Northfield, NJ:

“I was very fortunate to have a great mentor when I was an assistant principal. However, I did (wish) someone had pushed me to read Todd Whitaker’s books earlier, attend certain conferences, read up on blog posts, and gain an understanding of design thinking earlier in my career.”


Susan Kessler, executive principal at Hunters Lane High School in Nashville, TN:

“Principals operate in a fishbowl. Everybody sees everything you do. That’s really hard to deal with in the beginning, and I think people try to hide from that. The quicker you can get used to that fact and be OK with that attention and be OK with the fact that means you’re going to succeed in front of a big crowd, and you’re going to fail in front of a big crowd.


Jared Wastler, assistant principal at Liberty High School in Eldersburg, MD:

“It’s OK to admit you’re wrong. I strongly believe that new leaders feel that admitting mistakes makes you look weak. The reality is that making mistakes makes us human and people want to work with people not perfectionists.”


Derek McCoy, principal at West Rowan Middle School in Salisbury, NC:

“Build deeper and better relationships. Jimmy Casas, who wrote a book with Jeff Zoul and Todd Whitaker, has a saying that the three most important things a person can do is build relationships, build relationships, and build relationships.


Garrick Askew, principal at Litha Springs High School in Douglasville, GA:

“You learn and grow every day, and that never stops. I’m certainly an experienced principal now — it’s been 10 years that I’ve been doing it. I think the biggest thing in schools is relationships: relationships with teachers, relationships with parents, relationships with kids, and relationships with community stakeholders. 


Duncan McCulloch, principal at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, CA:

“I would have loved to know how to present my first staff meeting. If there was a lesson of what to say, how to say it and what the most important topic is when addressing a new staff would be. Staring at 85-plus teachers can be a little intimidating, almost like walking into your first class as a teacher. Having a script on ‘how to address your new staff as new principal’ would have been genius.”

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article brought back many memories of seeing new Principals struggle with getting acclimated to becoming the leader of the school site.  During one seven year period our family endured 6 permanent and temporary Principals at our school site.

With the 80% Principal turnover rate during the incompetent Elementary School Superintendent Cindy Marten tenure, we are sure the many inexperienced principals installed at the most challenging school sites could use some good ideas from fellow Principals.  Our readers are aware that ESS Marten has virually ZERO Middle School or High School managment experience so we felt the need to help those Principals in any way that we can.

There will be many more ill advised Principal changes by Marten this year so keep this article handy to pass on to YOUR new Principal!

Creating Libraries for Online Students Is Harder Than You Think

Quote from Article:

Students who take online college courses may not realize it, but they are the beneficiaries of a special bill of rights. Its goal? To ensure students can access books and other academic resources even if they’re nowhere near a campus.

The Association of College & Research Libraries maintains in its “access entitlement principle,” which functions as a sort of library bill of rights, that all students of an institution of higher education “are entitled to the library services and resources of that institution,” including access to a librarian, regardless of location.

But getting books to people spread across the world—and answering their research questions—is no simple task. Serving distance learners requires creativity and cooperation, librarians say, plus an appetite for bargaining with publishers.


Careful Course Design

It starts with the digital course design process. At Southern New Hampshire University, which has more than 90,000 online students, “eLearning Librarians” are involved in curriculum development from the outset, says Trisha Prevett, one such e-librarian for the school.

She and her colleagues work with instructional designers and faculty to incorporate library resources—newspaper stories, journal articles, films, e-books—into course materials lists and bundle them into research guides built directly into learning management systems. When courses begin, the e-librarians are available to help students access the materials.


“Having access to really good online resources isn’t effective when faculty don’t make a really good effort to show students how to use them, encourage their access and integrate them into the curriculum,” says Leah Matthews, executive director of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

For that reason, Matthews is not a fan of distance learning programs that outsource course design and accompanying library resources to online program managers, or OPMs.


Shared Services

Librarians at different institutions have long collaborated to improve their work, and that ethos of shared service remains important when it comes to helping online students.

Some universities have partnerships that allow a student enrolled online at one institution to visit the physical library at another institution closer to where that student lives. And interlibrary loan systems that pass physical books among libraries for patrons who visit in person can help distance learners access materials, too. If an online student requests a text that her institution doesn’t have, her librarian may use interlibrary loan to borrow a copy, scan relevant sections and turn them into a PDF to send to the student over email (while staying within the bounds of copyright arrangements, of course).


Digital Deals

Librarians face a few challenges in making resources readily available in digital formats for online students. Among the biggest, librarians say, are the prices publishers charge and the limitations they impose on licenses for e-books.

E-books are often more expensive for libraries to purchase than physical books, says Louise LeClaire, social media coordinator at Cheshire Public Library, who recently published a detailed blog post explaining e-book agreements. Publishers sometimes require libraries to purchase new licenses for an e-book every few years or after that book has been checked out a few dozen times.

Restrictions can go even further. Earlier this year, librarians at academic and public libraries were up in arms at the news that Macmillan Publishers planned to impose an “embargo” on its new e-books. The policy permits a library system to purchase only a single digital copy of a title for the first eight weeks it’s available—limiting the number of patrons who can check it out to one at a time. The American Library Association is protesting the move, which may disproportionately hurt people who rely on e-books for accessibility reasons and, of course, online students.


Return Stickers

For all the digital innovation happening at college libraries to serve distance learners, physical books are still part of the equation. Sometimes, the best way to get an academic resource to a student is to use a good old fashioned stamp.

“We do still have services that mail books from the library,” Munro says. “If they are remote from campus, they can do that in the catalogue. It’s really seamless.”

Such programs, sometimes called “telebook” delivery, even come with return stickers and postage to make sure books get back home safely to their shelves.

District Deeds Synopsis:

Even though this article emphasizes College online learning, District Deeds found this article particularly relevant to SDUSD Stakeholders since there has been a huge movement by the district to artificially increase its graduation rate by online credit recovery and also has a number of online college credit initiatives for students.

We were especially interested in how “eLearning Librarians” are involved in curriculum development from the outset”.  Despite the many online credit recovery and college credit classes in the SDUSD we have never heard of  “eLearning Librarians”.  In fact we have heard of numerous schools actually LOSING their librarians and othe library support personnel.

In case we missed something, we searched on the SDUSD website for “eLearning Librarians” that could help build Online learing curriculums for the many online classes currently deployed to SDUSD Students.

As usual, just like the accomplishments of incompetent ESS Cindy Marten and her Board of Education Crony “Tricky Dick” Barrera, our search “yieded no results”.

It is simple.

“No Results” and operational/financial corruption is why Administrators, Teachers and Students are leaving the Marten/Barrera SDUSD educational disaster by the thousands.

What a waste.

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“An Idea is not a Plan. A Plan is not Action. Action is not Results. Results are Results.” ― F. A. Barillas

Have a great week!!!



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