October 2, 2023 Monthly Message

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October 2, 2023

AHISD Parents and Families-

I feel like we blinked and found ourselves in October! I continue to celebrate a very successful opening of the school year this year and am so appreciative of the level of community engagement we experienced through all our back to school and meet the teacher events. Our staff continues to inspire and amaze me with the dedication I see every time I visit campuses and classrooms. I’m certainly entering October as an incredibly proud and grateful Superintendent!

Academic Rigor- Target Area Focus

Our administrative team worked with our Trustees to determine five target areas of focus for our work this year that compliments our commitment to Community Based Accountability. Each of these Target Areas has corresponding goal outcomes for our work. The five target areas are: Academic Rigor, College, Career & Military Readiness, Hiring and Recruitment of High Quality Staff, Technology Integration, and Bond-Construction Planning. You can read more about these target areas on the Board of Trustees website. This month, I’d like to share some of the initial work around academic rigor with you:

Universal Academic Screeners
Our students just completed our beginning of the year universal screening in math, reading, and science. These assessments provide the data educators need to identify gaps in learning as well as areas where students have mastered content and are ready for additional academic enrichment.

Overall, we are very pleased with the beginning of the year results. Our AHISD students are outperforming national norms across all academic domains. A few of our campus distinctions are listed below.
-40% of Howard kinder students scored above the 80th national percentile in math.
-37% of Woodridge students in language programs scored above the 80th national percentile in Spanish reading.
-34% of Cambridge students scored above the 80th national percentile in reading.
-45% of Junior School students scored above the 80th national percentile in science.
-39% of High School students scored above the 80th national percentile in biology.

Families will receive either printed or emailed copies of their student’s score reports, and resources to understand score reports will be linked into Monday Mail. Please reach out to your child’s teacher with specific questions about student progress.

College Board Academic Recognitions
Each fall, our high school juniors take the PSAT exam. The PSAT is a primer for the college entrance Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). PSAT assessments provide students benefits like over $350 million in scholarship opportunities through the National Merit Scholarship Program. While the PSAT is taken during junior year, national recognitions are not announced until the following senior year. I am so proud to announce that 39 students in our senior class of 2024 are celebrated as Hispanic, African American, or Commended Scholars. That means that 1 in every 10 of our seniors achieved national academic recognition from the College Board!

Community Involvement Opportunities

We have two unique events planned to engage all members of the Alamo Heights ISD community in the efforts of our schools, Partners for the Profile and Grand (Parent)/ Senior (Citizen) Mules.

Partners for the Profile: I invite you to consider participating in our re-designed Partners for the Profile experience that will be hosted twice this first nine weeks. The newly designed program is a ½ day learning experience for community members to find out more about the way we support our AHISD Profile of a Learner in every classroom every day. Participants will be invited to tour classrooms at our HS and an elementary campus to see the way lesson design impacts student learning. You can choose to attend Thursday, October 19, 2023, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday, February 2, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or Thursday, February 22, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  If you are interested, please take a minute to fill out the following form: Parents for the Profile Parent Sign Up.

Grand-Mule/Senior Mule Event:
If you are a Grand (Parent) Mule or a Senior (Citizen) Mule in our community, I invite you to visit our district and learn from district leaders and students about our AHISD Profile of a Learner. Participants will hear about the educational experience in AHISD that highlights many of our innovative programs and practices. Those participants 65 years old and older will receive their Gold Card for free admission to all athletic and fine arts events! We’ll conclude our morning together with a tour of a few classrooms to see first hand the amazing things taking place on our campuses! Choose to attend one of the two events that best fits your schedule: Monday, November 13, 2023 (AHHS, Barbara and Alan Dreeben Auditorium Foyer) or Friday, February 9, 2023 (Woodridge, The Suzanne & Jimmy Goudge Auditorium). Please email [email protected] to reserve your spot! Please share this information with any community Senior Citizen who would like to learn more about our AHISD offerings!

Community Based Accountability Video

As promised in last month’s message we are sharing an updated video that highlights our work around Community Based Accountability. Please take a moment to watch to learn about the way AHISD is accountable to our community’s hopes and dreams for every one of our students. Last month, I shared that the Texas Education Agency accountability ratings were to arrive by the end of September, but once again, the release of the ratings (based on STAAR assessments) is delayed.

Legislative Update

Governor Abbott has announced plans to call a special legislative session about school vouchers in October. Comptroller Hagar has announced that legislators will have more money available than when they passed the state’s budget earlier this year which provides legislators an opportunity to invest more money in public schools during this same special session. This is a critical time for our community to be engaged and informed. We invite the AHISD community to attend a Legislative Update with guest speaker Dr. Brian T. Woods, from the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), and Sophie Torres from Raise Your Hand Texas on October 17th from 6 to 7 p.m. in the AHHS Oaks. Attendees will learn more about the upcoming special session and ways to be an involved citizen. As a reminder, the 2023 AHISD Legislative Priorities can be found on our Board of Trustees website. (Parking is available along Castano or in the parking lot off Castano behind the South wing. Enter through that parking lot.) Please plan to join us and invite neighbors and friends as well.

Community Invite

In closing, I share my gratitude for our AHISD families who are so supportive of our staff and our programs. It is a privilege to lead such an amazing school community.

Mules up!

Dana Bashara Signature

Dr. Dana Bashara

Photo of the Month:

Teddy Bear Picnic
Mika Brock
literally jumped for joy at the Teddy Bear Picnic at Howard ECC last month! The beloved school tradition is a celebration of family and an opportunity for students to learn about giving back to help others. This year the school collected 290 teddy bears to donate to the Children's Bereavement Center.


Howard Hay Day is a new event that replaces Howard Homecoming. It is the school's signature fundraiser that typically takes place in the fall. This year, Howard Hay Day will be on Thursday, October 12 from 4-6PM. Howard families are invited to a fun-filled afternoon of carnival games, inflatables, food and prizes! Funds raised from this event are used to purchase curriculum and enrichment materials, fund playground improvements and other important efforts that are aligned to the Howard mission statement which focuses on providing our students with a joyful learning experience centered around the needs of the whole child (socially, emotionally, physically, and academically).We can't wait to see everyone at this great event!

Howdy Night will take place on Wednesday, October 4th. We start with the Howdy Parade at 4:30 p.m. that will take place along Alamo Heights Boulevard and end up at AHHS for the Carnival from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the courtyard under the Oaks. The pep rally and bonfire start at 7 p.m. I hope to see all our AHISD families there proudly wearing your blue and gold!

Upcoming Events

Master Calendar Events (*Signifies a Homecoming event)

Wednesday, October 4 - District Professional Development - Early Release
Howard - 11:45 AM
Cambridge - 12:15 PM
Woodridge - 12:15 PM
Junior School - 12:45 PM
High School - 12:45 PM
Wednesday, October 4 - Howdy Parade*
Wednesday, October 4 - Howdy Night*
Friday, October 6 - Homecoming*
Saturday, October 7 - SAT Testing
Monday, October 9 - School Holiday
Wednesday, October 11 - 7:00 - 9:00 AM - Goal & Priorities/Committee Meetings - Location: Central Office Board Room
Wednesday, October 11 - PSAT Testing
Wednesday, October 11 - First Nine Weeks Ends
Thursday October 12 - Second Nine Weeks Begins
Friday, October 13 - 8:45 AM - 1:00 PM - Cambridge Fall Picture Retakes
Tuesday, October 17 - Secondary Report Cards Distributed
Wednesday, October 18 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM - Regular Board Meeting - Location: Central Office Board Room
Thursday, October 19 - Elementary Report Cards Distributed
Thursday, October 19 - Partners for the Profile
Monday, October 16 - Student Holiday
Friday, October 20 - Elementary Parent Conferences
Saturday, October 21 - ACT Testing
Wednesday October 25 - 5:30 - 6:30 PM - 5th Strings Fall Concert - Location: The Suzanne & Jimmy Goudge Auditorium, Woodridge Elementary
Thursday, October 26 - Junior School Lifetouch Picture Day - Location: The Suzanne & Jimmy Goudge Auditorium, Woodridge Elementary
Friday, October 27 - Woodridge Carnival

PTO General Meetings

Tuesday, October 10 - 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Woodridge PTO Meeting - Location: The Suzanne & Jimmy Goudge Auditorium, Woodridge Elementary
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