Region 15 Education Service Center
Weekly Newsletter - March 23, 2020
Please know we are here to help in any way. See you on our conference calls at 9 am every weekday morning until no longer needed.
Casey Callahan, Ed.D.
Business and Finance
Here is a link to TASB information on Personnel Issues During Epidemics and School Closings :
If your district is interested in a TRE in the future, you will need to read this report:
House Bill 3 Efficiency Audit Guidelines - http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/Policy_Report/6365_HB3_Efficiency_Audit_Guidelines.pdf
Update to TEA Summary of Finance for 19-20: Property Values & Tax Collections: In the TEA Summary of Finance, the property values will reflect the preliminary results of the property value study (January) and the updated M & O tax collections will use the Fall PEIMS budget data submitted this year. These updates are to both the LPE and DPE side of the SOF calculations. They will affect payments beginning this March (for those districts that are scheduled to receive payments in March). I strongly recommend you check your district’s payments to see if you were impacted greatly. To do so, click here and go to Foundation Payment Schedule. https://tealprod.tea.state.tx.us/fsp/Reports/ReportSelection.aspx
According to TASBO, these updates reduced state cost by approximately $674 million and increased the amount of funding going out through the transition grants to approximately $615 million.
Full Day PreK Waiver deadline has been extended until April 6 - https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/news-and-multimedia/correspondence/taa-letters/house-bill-3-hb-3-implementation-extension
Dyslexia - MOE relation - TEA posted a letter concerning the overlap of PIC 37 (dyslexia) and IDEA MOE. Note: TEA is asking you to track the special education portion of PIC 37 separately using a local code.
**March 25, 2020 - rescheduled to May 20,2020 - FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT Training. This is a TASBO sponsored workshop and registration is through TASBO. Recommended for any personnel that works with payroll and/or approves timesheets - HR Directors, payroll staff, secretaries, principals, business managers, superintendents.
Financial Management for Child Nutrition Program April 28, 2020 Session #035847 - Scott Wilkerson from Region 16 will be presenting. Recommended for Cafeteria Managers and any Business Office personnel that work with the Child Nutrition program.
Public Funds Investment Training - TASBO - April 29, 2020 - In San Angelo - registration is through TASBO.
Curriculum and Instruction
Our staff has been working to compile a list of resources to help the transition to remote teaching and learning.
Please see the calendar below for Zoom Q&A meetings being held by Curriculum and Instruction consultants. Meetings will continue to be added, so please share with your staff and check back for up-to-date meeting availability.
For your curriculum and instruction needs, please contact
2020-2021 CTE Perkins Reserve – Due April 8, 2020
The purpose of the Perkins Reserve grant is to assist applicants in:
- Fostering innovation through the identification and promotion of promising and proven CTE programs, practices, and strategies that prepare individuals for non-traditional fields, and Promoting the development, implementation, and adoption of programs of study or career pathways aligned with state identified high skill, high wage, in-demand occupations or industries.
- Focus Areas 1 and 2: Eligible applicants are cross-sector regional teams that must include at least one intermediary, three school districts, one public institution of higher education, and at least two employers in the region. Regions are defined by the Texas Workforce Commission Workforce Development Areas, and priority points will be awarded to regional teams that include a workforce development board. LEAs, IHEs, and ESCs may serve as fiscal agents for the grant.
More information can be found at TEA Grant Opportunities. Contact Traci Terrill if you are interested in applying for this grant opportunity.
Addressing Student Social and Emotional Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Gregory Hickey, LPC, Mental Health Specialist at Region 15 ESC
On March 20th, Region 15 counselor support staff awoke to the worst news an educator could hear – a student in Region 11 had died by suicide. Region 11, fortunately, has the support of a competent ESC staff who are working hard to address this horrific trauma with their educators, students, and families.
While we as a society have done the best job possible to address means to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus (frequent and thorough handwashing, limiting exposure to large crowds, etc.), there have been far fewer discussions about the social, emotional, and financial fallout for students and families.
For many students, their school is more than a place to learn; it’s their only place for social and emotional connection with others. It’s the only place where they are guaranteed a nutritious meal. And, unfortunately for some, it can be their only escape from a tumultuous home life. School represents many things for students: structure, a sense of belonging, personal achievement, and a brighter future. We must remain cognizant during these difficult times that school closures may represent the removal of these protective factors, even if only for a brief period of time. We, as the adults in the room, know that COVID-19 will wreak its havoc, but eventually pass. Students, especially those struggling with mental health concerns and overwhelming stressors at home, may see this problem as unsolvable and permanent.
That said, what, as educators, do we do about this? I want to encourage everyone – principals, superintendents, school counselors, and teachers – to make social and emotional resiliency a part of your connection with students while face-to-face contact is limited. What to do:
- Know the signs that a student may be struggling:
o Excessive crying or irritation
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Difficulty adapting to changes in school curriculum delivery
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
If you know of a student at high risk, I urge someone at the school to routinely check on them while the school is closed; preferably a staff member with good rapport with the student. During this check-in:
- Take time to talk with the student about COVID-19. Answer questions and share fact-based information about COVID-19 in a way that they can understand.
- Ask the student if they feel safe. Let them know it is okay to feel upset. Collaborate with them on some ideas for reducing stress – What works for them? What works for you? What are others doing that seems to help and might that also work for them?
- Encourage taking a break from social media and the news. Though informative, these can also be unnecessarily distressing and prone to the dissemination of misinformation.
- If you suspect a student may be struggling with thoughts of suicide and self-harm, or if they’ve struggled with these before, ask about them directly (e.g., Are you having thoughts of suicide? Are you having thoughts of cutting?) If the answer is “yes,” it becomes imperative that the student be guided to a resource for help.
Know that there are resources for help:
- Region 15’s online resource catalog (virtual learning and mental health):
- Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale for teachers, a brief evidence-based suicide assessment:
- Texas Counseling Association guidance on telehealth during COVID-19:
- TEA COVID-19 information:
- Gregory Hickey, Region 15 ESC Mental Health Specialist
Available for consultation and local resourcing
(325) 658-6571 ext. 2113
For Federal Programs assistance, please contact
March 2020 Monthly Reminders
Accountability and Assessment
Administration and Leadership
Check TEA/ESC website for update(s) on any changes resulting from the 86th Legislative Session
Develop recommendations for teacher contracts
*SBDM Committees develop campus performance objectives
Review Graduation Program FMH (TASB - LEGAL & LOCAL) on Student Expression/Prayer (TASB - FNA LEGAL & LOCAL)
Principal surveys to evaluate educator preparation program opens to HR staff
Update Ask TED
Charter Amendments close April 1st
Request for an Indirect Cost Rate for Charter Schools for 2020-2021 survey due to TEA around the end of March
Federal and State Programs
Schedule planning meetings with campus staff regarding grant activities for current and next year’s applications, CNA and CIP
Review professional development participation for Title II, Part A compliance report
Review/implement district/campus improvement plans in accordance with district planning process (TEC§11.251)
Review student attendance figures as compared to prior year and budget projections
Continue budget process including proposed salary schedule
SHARS Cost Control Report due April 1st
Post metered amounts of electricity, water and gas consumption for which the district is required to pay and aggregate amounts of those services (Government Code, §2265.001(b), House Bill 3693, 80th Legislature, Regular Session)
Food and Nutrition
Child Nutrition USDA Commodity Food Survey closes on March 15th
Child Nutrition Community Eligibility Program Data Submission Deadline is March 20th
Distribute Migrant Survey to all students
*Order of Trustee election and post required notice for May election
Prepare report Trustee training hours prior to May elections with postings as required (TEC§11.159) – April Board meeting
*Adopt district goals
*Adopt school calendar
*Ratify Textbook Committee recommendations (19 TAC 66.104(a); TEC§31.101)
Discuss preliminary budget/budget workshops
Board candidate workshop
*Approve waivers as needed
Notify ESC Field Service Agents of newly appointed/elected trustees
Review Trustee training requirements including 86th Legislative Session additions
Perform self-analysis of FY19 MOE (Maintenance of Effort) compliance, using final expenditure data from TSDS PEIMS 2019-2020 Mid-Year reports; gather documentation for exceptions/adjustment, if applicable
FY19 MOE (Maintenance of Effort) Preliminary Compliance Review released by TEA; Respond to TEA with documentation of exceptions/adjustment for decline in fiscal effort, if applicable
2019-2020 Excess Cost Final Calculation based on final, audited 2018-2019 expenditures should be completed (kept locally)
2019-2020 High Cost Fund Eligibility Application (Optional fund source) opens
Monitor special education expenditures from the general fund to ensure on track for MOE (Maintenance of Effort) compliance
Texas Student Data System/PEIMS
Mid-Year data available to customers on March 5th
Classroom Roster winter submission due on March 19th
*Requires Board action/approval