Margarita Tovar was back at Dogan within two weeks to help students and their families recover and even deal with immigration issues at times.

HOUSTON — Dogan Elementary in Houston’s Fifth Ward has yet to welcome back to students to campus. But that doesn’t mean they’re not fully engaged.

“I can proudly say all of our scholars have technology at home, and they’re being able to enjoy and learn virtually, safely,” said principal Margarita Tovar.

Tovar and her team recruited partners like Payless to supplement what HISD provided.

And now all of the school’s more than 600 students have learning devices and WiFi hotspots.

Making sure kids are connected also means going door-to-door, on occasion, in order to pay personal visits.

“Nothing can prepare you for a crisis like this,” Tovar said. “It’s been extremely challenging.”

But it’s not the first time Tovar has tackled tough times. Her husband, Jorge, died during Hurricane Harvey while trying to save their horses. He suffered an allergic reaction due to bites from a floating colony of fire ants.

“And unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make it,” Tovar said.

She was back at Dogan within two weeks to help students and their families recover and even deal with immigration issues at times.

Tovar then helped turn around the previously failing school that was once at risk of closure.

“I just used, you know, all of my strength,” Tovar said. “And I know my husband would be proud of me, and he would not have wanted me to

A Maryland school district responded to one student’s reported use of Nazi imagery as his profile photo on Zoom earlier this week, which peers observed during a virtual art class.



a person using a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: A student in Tarpoly Creek, Australia, completes school work from home on April 5, near the onset of the new coronavirus pandemic. This week, Maryland school district officials responded to reports that one student displayed a hateful image on Zoom, the teleconferencing application many schools are using to hold classes remotely.


© Lisa Maree Williams/Getty
A student in Tarpoly Creek, Australia, completes school work from home on April 5, near the onset of the new coronavirus pandemic. This week, Maryland school district officials responded to reports that one student displayed a hateful image on Zoom, the teleconferencing application many schools are using to hold classes remotely.

The Damascus High School student who posted the avatar, described as “a cartoon image of a Nazi” by administration officials, was not identified by name. However, Kevin Yates, Damascus High School’s principal, reportedly confirmed the student will face consequences for violating the district’s code of conduct in a letter issued to families and obtained by WUSA9, a CBS-affiliated news station based in Washington, D.C.

“I am writing to share information about an incident that occurred during your child’s third-period art class today and how it is being addressed. A student posted a cartoon image of a Nazi as a Zoom avatar,” Yates wrote in the Wednesday letter sent to parents whose students are also enrolled in the class, according to WUSA9. The letter reportedly said school officials ensured the photo was removed from the student’s Zoom account “immediately” after the incident was brought to their attention, in addition to contacting both the student and his family.

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“We apologize for the hateful image that your child witnessed,” Yates’ letter continued. “The student who posted the image will receive consequences aligned with the [Montgomery County Public Schools] Student Code of Conduct. This type of behavior will not be tolerated at Damascus

BEREA, Ohio — The Berea City School District Board of Education passed in July a resolution stressing the need for diversity, equity and inclusion, and rejecting all forms of racism and discrimination. One of the first steps involves listening and respecting others’ perspectives.

At the Sept. 21 board meeting, Berea-Midpark graduates shared stories of the racism they encountered as students in the district. Their recollections were uncomfortable to hear, but Board President Ana Chapman said it is necessary “to make the positive changes we’ve needed for a long time.”

“The purpose of this resolution, and the actions surrounding it, was to make sure we are listening and all voices are being heard, especially those of the underrepresented, be it by the color of their skin, their ethnic background, their special educational needs, or their sexual orientation,” Chapman said. “The district can’t go back and change the past, but we can listen and make the future better.”

Summer Husein, a 2020 graduate, remembered being treated differently because of her Palestinian heritage and Muslim faith. She said school food choices were limited due to her religion, and she felt “so left out” when Christian holidays were discussed in class. Husein began wearing a scarf in eighth grade.

“Some students gave me weird nicknames,” Husein said. “I was a ‘terrorist.’ I was called the wife, and daughter, of Osama bin Laden. While they were harmful (statements), I was more confused than ever.

“I grew up with these people,” she continued. “Why did they now view me differently? Because I wear a scarf on my head, and my religion and ethnicity were not visible (before).”

Emily, Erica and Callie Truong, graduates from 2013, 2016 and 2017, sent a letter to Chapman, which she read aloud. They acknowledged it “was not always easy” being an

Betsy DeVos’s attempt to take CARES act money intended for public schools and direct it to private schools was knocked down by federal courts not once, not twice, but three times, with the third strike being final. But now some Pennsylvania legislators are getting ready to try a similar sleight of hand with $500 million in taxpayer funds.

House Bill 2696, the “Back on Track” bill, proposes to give a $1,000 voucher to parents for every K-12 child. This particular voucher format is the education savings account, a chunk of money set aside by the state that parents can spend on any qualifying education expenses, using an electronic transfer— a sort of educational debit card.

Parents would have to apply for the voucher, and money will be awarded on a first come first served basis. An initial period earmarks the money for families below 185% of the federal poverty level, but after November 16, any family may apply. The family can hold onto that money up until two years after the student has graduated from high school.

The allowable expenses include tuition and fees, textbooks, school uniforms, testing costs, instructional materials, computer hardware or software, counseling services, and “other valid educational expenses.” Providers are not allowed to offer kickbacks to parents.

The problem with this sort of voucher program has always been accountability. In 2018, auditors found that Arizona parents had mis-spent something like $700K in voucher money on beauty supplies, clothing and sporting goods. The Pennsylvania bill allows that the state treasurer “may provide for audits of an account” if the office determines it’s necessary. But we are talking about the possible oversight of a half million accounts, and the bill offers no additional staff or funding to make that oversight possible.

Meanwhile, there is also little accountability

MORRISTOWN, N.J., Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has been honored with the 2020 Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey’s (CIANJ) Companies that Care award for a donation made in conjunction with FirstEnergy Foundation to Lake Riviera Middle School in Brick Township. The funds allowed the school to purchase a greenhouse that is being used to grow food for the school’s culinary arts program as well as for donation to local food banks.

JCP&L Logo (PRNewsfoto/FirstEnergy Corp.)
JCP&L Logo (PRNewsfoto/FirstEnergy Corp.)

CIANJ’s Companies That Care award salutes the generosity of New Jersey businesses who demonstrate meaningful philanthropy that is impacting the communities they serve. The award was presented by CIANJ and COMMERCE Magazine at their annual Best Practices Conference held virtually on September 30.

“JCP&L continues to be a strong supporter of the local communities we serve, and we are humbled to be recognized for these efforts,” said Jim Fakult, president of JCP&L. “We applaud the students and staff at Lake Riviera Middle School for their focus on environmental education while helping to put food on the tables of local families who need it the most.”

Construction of the greenhouse is part of the school’s Green Team energy conservation project, which helps students connect to science, math, social studies and language arts as well as the practical, performing and visual arts through hands-on learning for all levels of learners.

The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy’s 10 electric operating companies and in areas where the company conducts business.

JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in the counties of Burlington