November 3, 2022 | Monthly Message

Letterhead for the Superintendent with Logo

November 3, 2022


November Superintendent Message


Alamo Heights ISD Families -

I love all that November brings:  a focus on gratitude and thankfulness, time with family and friends, delicious food, and cooler temperatures!  We certainly have much to be grateful for in our school community.  The current focus of my gratitude is all about the talented people who make up our amazing staff in AHISD.   As the nation struggles with overall labor shortages and unique staffing challenges in the field of education, I am increasingly grateful for the people who choose to serve in our school district and make AHISD extraordinary.

I’ve spent time over the past couple weeks in “stay” interviews with current staff members to hear from them the reason why they choose to serve in AHISD.  I’ve heard that they feel empowered by the autonomy to teach in ways that are most responsive to their student needs. They value the trust of their administrators, and the ability to take risks in their practice.  Our employees treasure the family feel of a district where they are known personally and feel “seen” and heard.  Over and over, I heard that our people feel the incredible support of our community through parent involvement and PTO support.

Each one of you contributes to making our AHISD employees feel appreciated, respected and cherished.  I thank you for all you do to affirm the efforts of our bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, teachers, principals and all other staff members, and I encourage you this month to share ongoing gratitude with all of the people in our AHISD staff family.

Community Based Accountability Systems (CBAS)

November’s CBAS focus is Pillar III Student Wellbeing and Safety. This pillar ensures students are educated in an optimal environment that is safe, secure, and conducive to learning. This includes both physical safety as well as the social and emotional needs of each student. 

One way we measure our progress in these areas is to conduct a survey each fall of all students in grades 3-12. We ask students about School Climate, School Safety, Positive Relationships, and Sense of Belonging. The exact survey questions were posted in Monday Mail before the survey was launched, and you can read the questions at this link. The two-week survey window was October 24- November 4. The full results will be shared at the November Board Meeting and included in the November Board Book.  Initial findings from this year’s fall student survey are summarized below: 

  • School Climate scores remained stable with fair grading systems and teachers excited to teach being strength areas that contribute to a positive school climate. 
  • About 80% of students feel that the academic expectations at AHISD are “exceptionally” or “very” high. 
  • Although student perception of school belonging has increased over the past two years, students in elementary grades continue to report feeling a stronger sense of belonging than students in secondary grades. 
  • While over 70% of students report feeling “extremely” or “very” safe at school, additional communication with students is needed to understand how to make our safety drills more effective for students. 
  • 88% of all AHISD secondary students participate in at least one school activity.

Our Fall Feedback Student Survey provides us with valuable data about how students see their school and how to facilitate improvement. Results will be shared with students along with intended areas of focus and future follow up plans. We truly believe that student voice  is so important and understanding their perspective and experience is essential in our AHISD continuous improvement efforts.

Safety and Security Update

I’m excited to announce that in partnership with AHPD, we have filled one of the two open positions for Student Resource Officer (SRO) and have hired Officer Ruthilen Robles. She will be starting with us this month and will serve Howard, Cambridge, and Woodridge.  Officer Robles comes to us with over 13 years of experience as a police officer in Dallas, including six years as a community engagement officer in which she worked extensively with children in schools. 

We will continue to work with AHPD to hire an additional SRO as candidates become available.  At this point, Officer McMannis will continue to be housed at AHHS, and support AHJS as needed.  Officer Robles will support our elementary campuses. In the case of any emergency situation, both SROs will be deployed to the campus in need.

Veterans Day

Every one of our campuses will host special Veteran’s Day Celebrations on November 11th (see calendar list below). This is a wonderful time for our community and family veterans to be honored for their service to our country.  If you are a veteran, or active member of the military, I encourage you to participate in our events on your child’s campus that day.  We celebrate your dedication, courage, and the way you champion our freedom this month!

Mules up!

Dr. Dana Bashara

Twitter:  @BasharaDana

Photo of the Month:

Gratitude Luncheon for our maintenance crew, bus drivers and custodians and hosted by our AHISD Administrative Team and Trustees

Reminders:

-Chats with Cat:  Cat Widder, District Wellness Coordinator, is hosting “Chat with Cat.” She will discuss topics of interest at your home or a location of your choice. You select the date and time and invite participants to attend. Email Cat for more information [email protected] and check out the November Wellness link for more details. 

-Grand-Mule/Senior Mule Event: Calling our “Grand-Mules & Senior Mules” to visit our district and learn from Dr. Bashara, 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 learning in action. Choose to attend one of the three events that best fits your schedule: Monday, November 14, 2022, Wednesday, January 4, 2023, and Thursday, March 30, 2023.  Please email [email protected] to reserve your spot!
-School Finance and Legislative Lunch and Learn: AHISD is hosting a School Finance and Legislative Lunch and Learn on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, from 11:30-1:00 PM in the Alamo Heights High School Auditorium (6900 Broadway Street). Guests may park in visitor spaces at the High School or at the Central Office (7101 Broadway) and walk across the street. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in at the Alamo Heights High School front office with a driver's license to attain a visitor’s badge. Come learn about legislative priorities. A light lunch will be sponsored by Alamo Heights School Foundation. RSVP to Alicia Caballero at [email protected]

-Opt-In for School Text Messages: AHISD utilizes the School Messenger system to communicate important information to families through email, text, and/or phone calls. If any contact information has changed over the summer, like phone numbers or email addresses, families should contact their campus office to update in our student information system. In order to receive text messages, which the district sends only in emergencies, families must opt in to this service. Here's how to sign up for text messages. Those who have previously opted in do not have to complete again.

-If you see something, say something! We ask all AHISD families to commit to having ongoing conversations with students about safety and security and to encourage the reporting of any concerns to a trusted adult on campus.  Families can also report safety concerns on our website by clicking Students / Parents and then Safety Concerns

-Please stay connected with all things AHISD by visiting Heights Happenings and also following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Also, I invite you to follow @WeGoPublic to support this organization that promotes the amazing benefits of our Bexar County Public Schools!

November One-Month Glance:  

Below are upcoming events, throughout the district, during the month of November. 

Athletic Events

Visit Rank One for all sporting events

Master Calendar Events 

  • Monday, November 7 - Secondary Progress Reports Distributed
  • Monday, November 14 - Grand-Mules & Senior Mules Partners Meeting - 8:30-10:00 AM - Alamo Heights High School Auditorium Foyer
  • Tuesday, November 15 - Junior School Fall Performances - 7-8 PM - Junior School Little Theater
  • Wednesday, November 16 - Junior School Fall Performances - 7-8 PM - Junior School Little Theater
  • Thursday, November 17 - Regular Board Meeting - 6-9 PM - Central Office
  • Thursday, November 17 - Junior School Fall Performances - 7-8 PM - Junior School Little Theater
  • Monday-Friday, November 21-25 - Thanksgiving Break
  • Tuesday, November 29 - School Finance & Legislative Lunch & Learn - 11:30-1:00 PM - Alamo Heights High School Foyer
  • Wednesday, November 30 - Secondary Progress Reports Distributed
  • Wednesday, November 30 - Junior School Fall Performances - 7-8 PM - Junior School Little Theater

PTO Meetings

  • Tuesday, November 8 - Howard PTO General Meeting - 11:30-12:30 PM - Howard ECC
  • Tuesday, November 8 - Woodridge PTO General Meeting - 12-1 PM - Woodridge Elementary Auditorium
  • Wednesday, November 9 - Cambridge PTO General Meeting - 12-1 PM - Cambridge Elementary
  • Thursday, November 17 - Junior School PTO General Meeting - 12-1 PM - Junior School Library
  • Thursday, November 17 - High School PTO General Meeting - 12-1 PM - Alamo Heights High School Auditorium Foyer

Thanksgiving Elementary Campus Lunches (refer to your campus Monday Mail for more details)

  • Tuesday, November 15 - Howard Thanksgiving Lunch - 10:45-1:35 PM - Howard ECC
  • Thursday, November 17 - Cambridge Thanksgiving Lunch - 10:40-1:15 PM - Cambridge Elementary
  • Friday, November 18 - Woodridge Thanksgiving Lunch - 10:40-1:15 PM - Woodridge Elementary

Veteran’s Day Programming (Refer to your campus Monday Mail for more details)

  • Friday, November 11
  • Howard - 9-10 AM
  • Cambridge - 9:30-10:30 AM
  • Woodridge - 2-2:30 PM (1st-2nd grade); 2:45-3:15 PM (3rd-5th grade)
  • Junior School - 8:45-9:30 AM - 6th Grade Assembly; 9:35-10:20 AM - 7th Grade Assembly; 10:25-11:10 AM - 8th Grade Assembly
  • High School - 12-1:30 PM
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