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TCTA congratulates the six teachers recently named as finalists in TASA's Texas Teacher of the Year program. 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.

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 Tony has already missed several classes this year, and is becoming socially withdrawn.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?

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.

Your district took advantage of the “days-to-minutes” switch to implement longer school days and cut the number of instructional days. So why do you still have to work 187 contract days? You don’t — at least not under state law. 

Recent legislation (HB 3906) eliminated the stand-alone STAAR writing assessments in grades 4 and 7 beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. But educators will begin to see some changes as TEA transitions to its new Reading Language Arts assessment over the next couple of years.

The Texas Education Agency on Aug. 15 released its 2019 state accountability ratings for about 1,200 school districts and charter schools. Districts and charters once again received A-F ratings, but new this year are A-F ratings for individual schools. Statewide, hundreds of districts and schools improved their overall rating from 2018, TEA said in a news release. 

Current law recognizes the need for teachers to remove students from the classroom when the student’s behavior interferes with the teacher’s ability to teach, but too often the campus administration is not supportive. TCTA responded by working with legislators to pass a bill this session to ensure that teachers are better supported in these situations.

One of TCTA’s major accomplishments of the last legislative session was the passage of SB 2432. The bill was filed in the Senate by Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor and sponsored in the House by Rep. Scott Sanford (with considerable assistance from House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty during contentious floor debate).

In addition to approving the fall 2019 bonus check for retirees, the TRS Board of Trustees discussed a handful of health insurance enhancements, including expansion of Teladoc services in TRS-Care and ActiveCare to include behavioral health support and support for caregivers’ care recipients, and a waiver of the $500 deductible for primary care visits for enrollees in the Medicare Advantage plan.

During its July 19 meeting, the TRS Board of Trustees voted unanimously to authorize a one-time supplemental payment to eligible members who retired on or before Dec. 31, 2018. The retirees will receive a payment in either the amount of their monthly annuity or $2,000, whichever is less. Retired teachers should receive their checks in late September or early October, according to TRS.