Texas Education

Blog on Texas Education

Archive for the ‘Texas Children’ Category

Maplebrook is clear to reopen Wednesday May 6, 2009

Posted by Texas Education on May 5, 2009

Officials have cleared Maplebrook Elementary (Humble ISD) to reopen to teachers and students on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. All staff and students should report to school as usual.

Advertisements

Posted in bizzare, H1N1 virus, learning, say what???, swine flu, teachers, Texas Children, texas education, Texas schools, uncanny | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Texans Care for Children

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

Don’t know how I got on this mailing list, but I’m pleased. Check out a new organization to follow, belong to, support:

tcfc

Bill to Give New Parents a “Baby-Owner’s Manual” Set to Pass Legislature

How-to book every new parent needs available now, too—just in time for Mother’s Day

AUSTIN – Parents mystified by a new baby’s cries, habits or cues often ask, “What is this child trying to tell me?” Now, as Mother’s Day approaches, the Senate is poised to pass legislation already approved in the House that would give many Texas parents an answer to that question in a booklet one lawmaker nicknamed “the baby owner’s manual” because it provides essential child-rearing tips for any parent of a young child. Texans Care For Children’s publication, A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Children, served as inspiration for HB 1240 (Villarreal), which would provide new and expectant parents with a publication containing basic information about effective parenting, available family resources and important facts about child health and development.

“Mother’s Day is a great time to remember that there’s no more important job in Texas than being a good parent,” said Eileen Garcia-Matthews, executive director of Texans Care For Children, a nonprofit child advocacy organization. “This guide aims to empower the people who do that vital work with tools for success.”

According to recent research, parent education can bring enormous benefits for children. The New York University Child Study Center has demonstrated lower levels of child stress and aggression, reduced childhood obesity and higher standardized test scores in at-risk children whose caregivers learned parenting techniques early in their children’s lives.

In Texas, demand for parent information runs high. When earlier this year, the state Health and Human Services Commission partnered with Texans Care For Children to make hundreds of thousands of copies of A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Children available in English and Spanish, the publication sold out in a matter of weeks. Co-authored by dozens of state experts in child health and development, the 35-page publication offers parents advice from their child’s perspective and uses a wall-hanging calendar format to guide parents through each stage of their child’s first five years. Each page-spread contains space to record milestones the child reached, and the guide also features resources especially for Texas parents, such as locating nearby child care, accessing support for children with special needs and finding library story-times in local communities.  HB 1240 will mandate that low-income families in the Medicaid program receive the guide, but parents at any income level can enjoy A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Children. It is available for individual purchase online for $10, including shipping and handling, at www.texanscareforchildren.org.

###

Christine Sinatra

Communications Director

Texans Care For Children

Speaking out for Texas children at the Capitol and across the state

814 San Jacinto, Suite 201

Austin, Texas 78701
512-473-2274 (phone)
512-853-0506 (cell)
512-473-2173 (fax)


Raising awareness to make children a public priority

We know that for Texas children to reach their potential in the future, Texans first must stand up for what kids need now to be safe, healthy, and thriving. We work to keep Texans informed about what is happening with the state’s children and what Texans who care can do to help.


Pledge to Put Kids 1st!
I pledge in my decisions to make children’s well-being my first priority. I pledge to help keep Texas: strong, by supporting children’s health and development; safe, by protecting children from harm; prepared, by ensuring the next generation has the education to succeed; prosperous, by acting so today’s youth can can solve the problems of tomorrow; and whole, by giving children the love and security they need to grow. For the future of Texas, I will do my part to Put Kids 1st.”

Posted in Texas Children, texas education, Texas State Legislature | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Swine flu – a little too close to home

Posted by Texas Education on May 1, 2009

Maplebrook Elementary will closed until May 18 as a child has been diagnosed with a probable case of H1N1. Thankfully, the child is recovering and doing well. As is customary, the Center for Disease Control has directed that the probable case be treated as if it is a confirmed diagnosis. At the CDC’s direction, the school will close for 14 calendar days. Teachers will be asked to report back to work on May 11 th.

This is what is on the Humble Website. I got a call from a teacher friend at the school, and an email from my support group. A sibling of a student does in fact have the swine flu. All the siblings have symptoms, but do not have their results back.

I’m a bit numb from this as it all seemed so surreal hearing about it, now I’m so close to it. I don’t know who the student is, but I’m sure he/she has been in my class.

Please pray for us, I’m very scared.

Posted in swine flu, Texas Children, Texas schools | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Swine Flu Information and Precautions

Posted by Texas Education on May 1, 2009

From the Texas PTA – tips on how to prepare yourself during this outbreak. I found this information to be very concise.

Swine Flu: What You Can Do
The outbreak of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) continues to grow. As PTA leaders, you can help disseminate factual information to the parents at your school through your newsletters and websites. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has prepared a series of questions and answers entitled Swine Influenza and You at www.cdc.gov/swineflu that you can forward to parents.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you keep your children home from school if they are sick. The symptoms of swine flu include:
  • Fever (greater than 100°F)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Headache and body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
The CDC recommends the following to help you and your family stay healthy:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Develop a family emergency plan as a precaution. This should include storing a supply of food, medicines, facemasks, alcohol-based hand rubs and other essential supplies.
  • Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information.
Swine Influenza and You
What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.
Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S.?
In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. Other U.S. states have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans and cases have been reported internationally as well. An updated case count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm. CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.
Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try to not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).
How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
How long can viruses live outside the body?
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.
What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water. or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. We recommend that when you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.
What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact your health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

Posted in H1N1 virus, In-the-news, swine flu, Texas Children, Texas PTA, Texas schools | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Update on Legislative Committee 4/29/09

Posted by Texas Education on April 29, 2009

A memo from Dr. Sconzo:

Both the State Senate and House have approved appropriations bills for the biennium and both bills have new additional funds for public education ranging form 2.3 to nearly 3 billion. HOWEVER, those funds are contingent on passage of a new funding mechanism bill (ie. SB 982 – HB 1550) and neither of those bills have been voted out of committee yet! SO, we continue to write and visit with Senate and House Education Committee members and your doing likewise in support of SB 982 and HB 1500 would be of SIGNIFICANT help!

It is important to note that there are two other funding mechanism bills that were introduced…in the Senate Education Committee there is SB 2392 introduced by Chairwoman Shapiro and in the House Education Committee there is HB 3646 introduced by Rep. Hochberg. These are not companion bills and they provide insufficient information to know whether or not they would be good for us!

So, we need to stay the course on loud and repetitive support for SB 982 and HB 1550!

One other bill we are getting busy voicing our support for is SB 2374. This bill would raise the funding availability to school districts for the “Existing Debt Allotment.” This is the state funding provided to pay down bond debt. Its funding that has not been increased in a number of years and to us, this bill is the equivalent of 7 cents on our debt tax rate! SO, absent this essential increase, state legislators would cause the need for an increase in local property taxes to just keep pace in paying off bond debt! PLEASE send messages to state elected officials that SB 2374, in effect, means property tax relief!

Thanks Dr. Sconzo for all your hard work!

Posted in Texas Children, texas education, Texas schools, Texas State Legislature | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

House bill 2476 is a critical bill for children

Posted by Texas Education on April 28, 2009

This in from Children at Risk:

House bill 2476, by Representative Dora Olivo, will be heard TODAY in the House Public Education committee. We urge you to contact members of the House Public Education Committee, and in particular Chairman Rob Eissler, to express your support of this bill immediately!  Specifically request that they vote the bill favorably from committee.  By doing so, the bill will more quickly make its way to the House Floor.

House bill 2476 is a critical bill for children this 81st Texas Legislative Session because it improves discipline strategies in public schools by mandating staff development in effective discipline strategies.  Such training will empower teachers with conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, classroom management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.  The bill also requires that data be reported on how many students each school refers to disciplinary alternative education program.  Collecting this information will allow districts to idenitfy where staff training is most needed.

You can help ensure that HB 2476 makes it to the House Floor, by contacting members of the committee in support of this important bill.  This is a critical step in the legislative process, and we need your help to ensure HB 2476 gets passed this session!

Talking Points: I support HB 2476 because it it improves discipline strategies in public schools by require staff development in effective discipline strategies.
Students referred to alternative disciplinary settings have five times the dropout rate of mainstream schools and one in three juveniles sent to the Texas Youth Commission are school dropouts.This bill will encourage the commissioner to develop and make available age-appropriate disciplinary management training for teachers at all grade levels that includes: conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, class management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.By equipping teachers and school administrators with training in areas that focus on how to identify the causes of and potential solutions to behavioral problems, as well as how to effectively communicate with students and their parents, the likelihood of behavior escalating to referable offenses may be decreased. In improving its approach to disciplinary management, Texas can increase the chances that its students will graduate from high school and succeed in life.

Take Action!
Instructions: Click the icon below to take action on this issue:

Tell-A-Friend: Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this. Tell-a-Friend! What’s At Stake: Zero tolerance policies in Texas schools have caused thousands of juveniles to be removed from their classrooms and sent to alternative disciplinary settings. As a result of these alternative placements, many students fall behind their peers academically and are led to the criminal justice system.

FACTS:

  • Texas pays approximately $164 more per person to support a dropout each year than to educate them while that child was in school.
  • Among “risk factors” commonly associated with future involvement in the juvenile justice system, the most important predictor is a history of school disciplinary referrals.

HB 2476 is consistent with CHILDREN AT RISK’s recommended policy changes to:

  • Require staff development programs to include training in discipline strategies, including classroom management, district discipline policies, and the student code of conduct.
  • Encourage the commissioner to develop and make available age-appropriate disciplinary management training for teachers at all grade levels that includes: conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, class management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.
  • Improve data collection of discipline management stategies.

Campaign Expiration Date: May 1, 2009

Posted in Texas Children, texas education | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Udate from Children @ Risk

Posted by Texas Education on March 18, 2009

Uninsured Children Urgently Need Your Help!

Tomorrow, March 19, several critical child health bills will be heard in the House Human Services Committee and we need your support now!. The bills include proposals to provide 12-month eligibility for Medicaid and a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) buy-in option for families earning above 200 percent of the federal poverty level. These bills could help insure hundreds of thousands of children in Texas!

Contact the Human Services Committee today and urge them to pass these bills favorably on to the House Floor.

More about CHIP

Uninsured children are more likely than their insured counterparts to forego or delay treatment for acute illnesses or injuries, to go without needed treatment for chronic conditions or illnesses.  Uninsured patients create higher health care costs for all. A study by Families USA in 2005 found that employer-sponsored family coverage in Texas costs $1,551 more annually as a result of the uninsured.

When children do not have health insurance, their families are more likely to rely on publicly-supported emergency rooms (ERs) for non-urgent health care. Without the benefit of the federal CHIP or Medicaid matching dollars, local taxpayers end up paying the full costs of caring for uninsured children.

Making sure children have twelve months of continuous coverage saves money. A study by Texas Children’s Health Plan found that the longer a child is enrolled in CHIP, the lower the cost of care per child, since children with chronic conditions are better managed and do not rely on the ER.

Small employers, which are struggling to offer affordable health insurance to their employees, often are unable to offer dependent coverage. CHIP gives parents an affordable option for insuring their children. Keeping kids healthy contributes to higher work productivity because parents do not have to leave work to stay home with a sick child.

CHIP also benefits large employers by reducing cost-shifting resulting from high rates of uncompensated care by hospitals and physicians. All employers, large and small, benefit from promoting a healthy future workforce.

Nearly every state in the country is taking bold steps to reduce the uninsured, starting with children. If Texas is to remain a competitive place to do business, it too must be a leader in increasing affordable health insurance for children. CHIP and children’s Medicaid are a good buy for the state.

Posted in CHIP, FYI, Texas Children | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »