September 6, 2022 | Monthly Message

Letterhead for the Superintendent with Logo

September 6, 2022




September Superintendent Message


Alamo Heights ISD Families - 

Now that September is upon us, we’re all feeling more settled into our back to school schedules and routines.  I love Tuesdays, because those are the days I am out on all of our campuses coaching with our principals and getting a first-hand view of the great teaching and learning taking place all around us.  I wish each of you could see the snapshots of great experiences that take place daily in our classrooms on each of our campuses. 


With that being said, 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 either attend Thursday, October 13, 2022, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM or Thursday, November 10, 2022 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM.  If you are interested, please take a minute to fill out the following form: Partners for the Profile Parent Sign Up.


In the upcoming September board meeting, we will present our work around our Community Based Accountability System (CBAS) Pillar I (Student Academic Progress) and Pillar II (Student Readiness).  The findings and considerations will then be publicly posted on our CBAS website. As part of the presentation, we’ll share the good news we received recently from the National Merit Scholarship Awards that we have the highest number of Semi-Finalist and Commended student accolades since 2013. AHISD also earned a record high number of students distinguished for their academic merit by the College Board through exemplary college-level achievement on the Advanced Placement exams:  

 

ADVANCED PLACEMENT SCHOLARS

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

AP Scholar

Granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams.

86

67

77

82

90

90

AP Scholar with Honor

Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.

32

29

42

37

31

41

AP Scholar with Distinction

Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

64

61

64

71

68

79

TOTAL

182

157

183

190

189

210

 

As part of our work around Pillar I and Pillar II, we are committed to a comprehensive academic screening process to assess student progress in reading and math. AHISD is changing to one consistent academic screening tool for math and reading from grades 4-12 to better communicate with parents and track student progress over multiple years. We will be using NWEA Map Growth to evaluate student progress three times a year in math and reading beginning in September 2022. Parents can expect score reports to be shared by mid-October. There will be scheduled Zoom parent meetings to explain how to read and understand the new screening reports. The dates and links for these parent meetings will be shared in the upcoming campus Monday Mail. 

In addition to universal reading screening, students in kindergarten and first grade are specifically screened for characteristics of dyslexia through mCLASS or the Spanish companion assessment Lectura. Kindergarten is screened at the end of the year, and first graders are screened in January. Parents are notified of the results of the screening in writing. In addition to dyslexia universal screening in K/1, parents/guardians always have the right to request a referral for a dyslexia evaluation at any time. This request should be made in writing to the campus principal.

In the fourth week of school we see our students actively engaged not only in their coursework, but also in their extracurricular endeavors.  Our students are utilizing our beautiful new AHISD facilities for early morning practices, games, and events into the evening.  This past Friday night, we hosted a field dedication at Harry B. Orem Stadium to honor a beloved student we lost way too soon.  Our community came together to celebrate his life, to continue to heal from a profound tragedy, and to name the Traylor Azar Field in his honor. These events shine a spotlight on the many ways our district is the heart of the community.

 

I close by acknowledging that the great start to the school year was overshadowed these past few weeks with negative media attention due to the misconduct of some of our athletes. Mistreatment of students is not tolerated by the district, nor should it be tolerated by our community. Our leadership team is working to take steps to ensure that this kind of experience is never repeated, and I ask that our community join us in these efforts.  I also recognize that the frustration and disappointment around this event is exacerbated by our district’s limitation to provide details due to student privacy laws.  This law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), is very important in protecting our children, but it also limits the district’s ability to clarify misinformation when it occurs. It is important to know that the district has been as forthcoming and transparent as the law allows.

 

Although it is difficult to hear about this behavior especially when sensationalized by rumor and the media,  this  situation does not define us as a school or a community, nor does it have to define the students involved as they choose to learn from this difficult lesson.  Immediate actions to ensure that we avoid situations like this in the future will include increased training and education around mistreatment and misconduct for our student athletes and all students in all extracurricular activities. Our district mission calls us to develop our students into confident, compassionate citizens with impeccable character, and we continue to be diligent about this important charge. We will  focus on turning this challenging time into a time of opportunity for better programming, higher expectations, and a community calling for partnership that begins in the home. 

 

Let’s remember that what makes Alamo Heights an exceptional community is the people who choose to live, work, and attend school here.  Alamo Heights ISD is the heart of our community whose passion is excellence.  That excellence permeates all that we do, and, when we fall short of our expectations, we hold each other accountable, learn from our actions, and grow together as a community.  

 

September is a busy month for all of us in AHISD-   Please review the month at a glance calendar dates and join us on campus and at our district games and performances frequently!  


Mules up!

Dr. Dana Bashara

Twitter:  @BasharaDana

Photo of the Month:


This year we're highlighting members of our AHISD family who better our community in a special way. First, we recognized Howard custodian Mr. Ralph who keeps the school safe, clean, and colorful! You can watch the video here. Email us at [email protected] if you have suggestions on a student or staff member that should be highlighted.


Reminders:

-Last month in the Superintendent message, I shared the updated Grading Guidelines shared with our staff.  Please take a moment to review and reach out to teachers if you have any questions.  It’s almost time for progress reports to be distributed and our grading guidelines are a great resource in understanding your student’s growth.


-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.


-Free & Reduced Meal Application - This school year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is no longer providing free meals for all students. However, families may still be able to qualify for free and reduced meals depending on income qualifications. The free and reduced meals application form is available now on the AHISD Nutrition Services website. Applications can be downloaded in Spanish and English, or they can be picked up in the front office at AHISD campuses. A new application must be submitted each year. Families are encouraged to apply to determine eligibility. The website contains video instructions on how to submit the application. 


-Please stay connected with all things AHISD by visiting Heights Happenings and also following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


September One Month Glance: 

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

Back to School Nights

  • Tuesday, September 6 - Cambridge 1st & 2nd Grade Back to School Night - 5:45-7:00 PM - Location: Cambridge Elementary
  • Tuesday, September 6 - Woodridge 1st & 2nd Grade Back to School Night - 6:00-7:15 PM - Location: Woodridge Elementary
  • Wednesday, September 7 - Cambridge 3rd-5th Grade Back to School Night - 5:45-7:00 PM - Location: Cambridge Elementary
  • Wednesday, September 7 - Woodridge 3rd-5th Grade Back to School Night - 6:00-7:15 PM - Location: Woodridge Elementary
  • Thursday, September 8 - Howard Back to School Night - Pre-K & ECSE - 4:15-4:45 PM - Location: Howard E.C.C.
  • Thursday, September 8 - Howard Back to School Night - Kindergarten - 6:00-6:30 PM - Location: Howard E.C.C.
  • Tuesday, September 20 - Alamo Heights High School Back to School Night - 6:00-7:30 PM - Location: Alamo Heights High School

Master Calendar Events

  • Wednesday, September 7 - Goals & Priorities/Committee Meetings - 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM - Location: Central Office Board Room
  • Wednesday, September 7 - Secondary Progress Reports Distributed
  • Saturday, September 10 - ACT Testing - 7:30-3:00 PM - Location: Alamo Heights High School
  • Tuesday, September 13 - Dyslexia Information Session - 5:00-6:00 PM - Location: Woodridge Elementary 
  • Tuesday, September 14 - Fall Principal Coffee Chat with AHHS Parents - 8:15 AM - Location: Alamo Heights High School Auditorium Foyer
  • Friday, September 16 - Elementary Progress Reports Sent Home 
  • Friday, September 16 - 3rd & 4th Grade GT Testing
  • Monday, September 19 - Regular Board Meeting - 6:00-9:00 PM - Location: Central Office Board Room
  • Friday, September 23 - 3rd & 4th Grade GT Testing
  • Friday, September 23 - Cambridge Stay & Play with Kona Ice - 3:45-4:45 PM - Location: Cambridge Elementary
  • Monday, September 26 - Family Night - No Homework
  • Wednesday, September 28 - Secondary Progress Reports Distributed
  • Friday, September 30 - 3rd & 4th Grade GT Testing

PTO General Meetings

  • Thursday, September 8, 2022 - Junior School PTO General Meeting - 12:00-1:00 PM - Location: Junior School Library
  • Thursday, September 8, 2022 - Howard PTO Meeting - 5:30-6:00 PM - Location: Howard E.C.C.
  • Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - Woodridge PTO Meeting - 12:00-1:00 PM - Location: Woodridge Elementary Auditorium
  • Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - Cambridge PTO Meeting - 12:00-1:00 PM - Location: Cambridge Elementary
  • Thursday, September 15, 2022 - Alamo Heights High School PTO Meeting - 12:00-1:00 PM - Location: Alamo Heights High School Auditorium Foyer
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