Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thanks for the Memories!

As I leave AISD today, I want to thank the Austin community for your support and friendship over the past five years.  It has been a privilege working side by side with thousands of committed, hardworking, passionate individuals who care about our district, not just one child or a few children, but all of our students and families.

Our work is working: we have become a national model, drawing attention for our efforts to meet students where they are, while working to ensure they have a fighting chance to get to where they want to be—to achieve their greatest potential.

As a school district, we have come together to support and help each other amid dwindling resources to serve our growing and incredibly diverse student body.

This work hasn’t always been easy, but I leave Austin grateful for the many friendships I have formed and enriched by the journey, in all its parts.

Thank you, and my best wishes to you for the future.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Don't Miss the Youth Art Month Show

Each year, more than 1,500 works of art by students from elementary, middle and high schools throughout the district is displayed in the lobby at One Congress Plaza, 111 Congress Avenue. This year, the Youth Art Month Show continues through Monday, April 14. There is no charge for admission, and the exhibit is open from 7 AM- 7 PM Mon.-Fri and 9:00 AM- 1:00 PM Saturday. Thanks to Thomas Properties Group, an AISD Art Program sponsor, for donating space for this annual art show.

Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy the great work of our district's talented artists.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Celebrating Youth Art Month with a Billboard Signing

Fortunately, Julia Lund has experience with billboard signing.
To celebrate Youth Art Month, today Bowie High School student artist Julia Lund signed a billboard at 1614 Montopolis that displays her winning art work. This is the second time Julia's work has been selected to display on billboards throughout the city. We are so proud of her and impressed with her talent. Julia, her art teacher, Carlye Brookshire, and I were lifted into the air in the bucket of a fire truck to reach the billboard. Thanks to the Austin Fire Department for their support in giving our students this great exposure.

Julia's grandmother, family and fellow students watched her sign the billboard.
Thanks to the Austin Fire Department for supporting our students again this year.
Bowie High School art students came out to support their fellow artist.
Billboards, sponsored by A+ Federal Credit Union and Reagan National Advertising, Inc., are located all over town at these addresses:

6850 Airport Boulevard
10615 Burnet Road
1614 Montopolis Road
5419 Congress Ave.
Howard Lane
13009 Dessau Road
US 183 North
2800 US 183 South
2005 1st St.
2401 E. Cesar Chavez St.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thanks for Supporting the Rosedale Ride

Thanks so much to TEAM AISD and the entire Austin community for supporting the Rosedale Ride and the Silent Auction on Saturday, March 22! 1,250 cyclists participated in this year's Ride, bringing in over $50,000 in registration fees, as well as another $50,000 in corporate donations. I want to especially thank these major sponsors: Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Polycom, Pride of Austin Capital Partners, and Whittington and Company, for their ongoing support.

Proceeds from this race are used to help Rosedale School continue to provide additional resources, including new IPads our students are using to communicate with their teachers and friends, additional training for teachers, and extra field trips. 

For a moving tribute to our great Rosedale staff and students, view the documentary by Arrowhead Films that was presented at this year's Silent Auction:

Rosedale teacher Brian Miller serves as the emcee and kazoo player at the starting line.
Rosedale Principal Elizabeth Dickey on the road.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tack Tack Packs for Our Kids

Last night, as part of a teambuilding exercise, our school board members and I assembled Tack Tack Packs that will be donated to students at the Children's Shelter. 

What's a Tack Tack Pack? It's a rolled blanket filled with notebooks, pencils, pens, Frisbees, band aids, granola bars, crayons, rulers and hygiene products.

Today, a big shipment of Tack Tack Packs were delivered to Mathews Elementary and O. Henry Middle School.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SXSWedu Showcases AISD Students and Programs

It's a wrap! SXSWedu ends today, after a shivery but productive three days at the Austin Convention Center. I was so proud of our students and staff for representing our district so well as panelists, participants, and planners. More than 1,000 students attended the SXSWedu Expo,which featured information on changes to graduation plans, including endorsement areas, as well as student performances and demonstrations, and information on AISD career opportunities.and the district's Social Emotional Learning initiative.

Students journalists from Anderson, Bowie, Crockett, LASA, Reagan and Travis covered SXSWedu for their schools’ student newspapers and the district’s website, social media channels and event blog.

I joined UT Austin Assistant Professor of Psychology David Scott Yeager and Rosalind Wiseman, author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” which was the basis of the movie “Mean Girls,” in a panel discussion “Moving Beyond the "id" in Kid: Why Teaching Social Emotional Learning Will Change the World.” The panel was moderated by Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Board of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.

Thanks to all of the students and staff who were such great ambassadors for our district.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I Pledge to Read to Put Smarts in My Head

Today is Read Across America Day and schools across the country are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss by reading his books and wearing funny hats! I participated in the first-ever Read Across America event at our district's newest school, Guerrero-Thompson Elementary, with 35 AISD staff members and friends who volunteered to read. Other schools in our district also held special events for Read Across America Day.

We all recited the Readers Oath:

I promise to read
Each day and each night.
I know it’s the key
To growing up right.
I’ll read to myself,
I’ll read to a crowd.
It makes no difference,
If silent or loud.
I’ll read at my desk,
At home and at school,
On my bean bag or bed,
By the fire or pool.
Each book that I read
Puts smarts in my head
‘Cause brains grow more thoughts
The more they are fed.
So I take this oath
To make reading my way
Of feeding my brain
What it needs every day.

Thanks to all of the students and staff at Guerrero-Thompson Elementary for being such great readers and hosting this event today!
District 3 Trustee Ann Teich leads a class in reading the oath.
AISD Chief of Staff Mel Waxler...
...State Trooper Gilbert Villarreal....
...former AISD administrator Anita Uphaus..
...and Principal La Kesha Drinks, left, with students Genado Ugarte (above) and Jonas Arias (below).
The front office staff, plus the bear, are wearing funny hats for Read Across America Day.