The IDRA Newsletter is published 10 times a year. Each edition focuses on issues in education, striving to provide many different perspectives on the topics covered and to define its significance in the state and national dialogue. The IDRA Newsletter can only be mailed to U.S.addresses, but pdf and web copies are available online.

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November-December 2012 Issue ~ Articles



Current Issue: November-December 2012

Focus ~ Actionable Knowledge

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Newsletter Executive Editor
María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.

ISSN 1069-5672


What Parents Want to Know about the New Texas Graduation Guidelines
The new

</place /> </state />graduation guidelines went into effect with incoming ninth grade students in the 2010-11 school year and contain critical information we must provide parents, educators, students and community members. As educators, we are obligated to inform parents and students of the consequences related to each track or program. Rogelio López del Bosque, Ed.D, provides some quick facts for schools to convey — in a language that is comprehensible for each family. The information is based on the questions parents have been asking IDRA about the new guidelines.

See our one-page graphical flier on the New Texas Graduation Programs in English and Spanish (pdf) (sharable web graphic, png) (sharable web graphic in Spanish, png)

See bilingual PowerPoint presentation: Texas High School Graduation Requirements
Tejas Requisitos de Graduación


Establishing Home-School Partnerships for Success in Science
Building strong home-school partnerships is an effective strategy for success in supporting children’s achievement in science. Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D., and Veronica Betancourt, M.A., outline teaching and learning premises undergirding the importance of parent and family engagement with references to research support for this approach. They also suggest essential competencies that reflect a positive approach in operationalizing this strategy and offer techniques for implementation. Additional resources are provided online to help in creating a culture of effective parent engagement in schools.

Professional Development in the 21st Century – Teacher Reflection and Action
</place /> </country-region />Reflective practice can be a valuable process in teacher professional development. The ability to reflect on what, why and how things are done and to adapt and refine practice is essential for successful teaching and learning.  Juanita C. García, Ph.D., reviews the concept and benefits of reflective practice and provides some guiding questions to assist the reflection process for teacher professional growth and lasting school change.

Next Generation of IDRA’s Texas School Data Portal – OurSchool Website Provides Info on College Success in Texas
IDRA’s OurSchool website has been expanded to give community, family and school leaders a new level of high quality, accessible data to see how their schools are doing and plan ways to improve them. The OurSchool website originally provided high school-level data and, with support from TG, now includes college-level information.

November-December 2012 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus 

Webinar on IDRA’s OurSchool Portal 2.0 – Quality Data to Improve Education for All
Please join IDRA for a virtual briefing to have a first-hand opportunity to take a tour of IDRA’s expanded OurSchool Portal. This bilingual (Spanish/English) data portal now provides college-readiness data for every secondary public school district in

</place /> </state />. You can also learn how school, community, and family leaders are using the portal now – and get tips and exchange ideas about how you can use the portal to strengthen education in your district. The recorded webinar is offered on multiple dates.

OurSchool data portal – see district- and high school-level data

Texas Education Agency: State Graduation Requirements website

Graduation Texas Style, Texas Transition Resource Center By Susan Rose,
</placename /> Transition
</placename /> Focus
</placename /> Center
</placetype /> </place />Coordinator

Classnotes podcasts on science instruction of English learners:

Learning Content Learning English – September 30, 2010


Science Instructional Strategies for English Learners ~ A Guide for Elementary and Secondary Grades is a practical resource with seven research-based strategies for instruction of English learners in science with teaching learning premises, research support, essential teacher competencies, and steps for strategy implementation – along with a matrix of techniques for implementation.

“Reflective Practice: The Teacher in the Mirror”
By C.R. Rayford, Theses/Dissertations/Professional Papers/Capstones, Paper 5

Engagement in Youth and Education Programming
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

“Creating Culturally Responsive Parent Engagement – Principal Shares Strategies for Success”
By Rosana Rodriguez, Ph.D., Rogelio López del Bosque, Ed.D,, and
Abelardo Villarreal
</personname />, Ph.D.

Diversity: School, Family and Community Connections, Annual Synthesis 2003
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory 

Classnotes podcasts on family engagement:

Transforming Schools through Parent Engagement – July 16, 2012

Expressions of Effective Parent and Community Engagement – January 24, 2012

The Power of Real Conversation – August 23, 2010

Using Social Media to Build Better Schools – February 26, 2010

Family Friendly at the School Door – June 9, 2009

The Power of IDRA’s Parent Leadership Model – November 10, 2006

IDRA Family Leadership in Education Center website

IDRA’s Family Leadership Principles



Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework
At a time when public education makes a world of difference to our students, communities and economic success, many are looking for strategies that will work for them and that will last. Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students.