BACK TO SCHOOL…It’s for teachers, too!
The first day of school is a favorite for schools and districts across our city and state. It is a wonderful day of excitement as we launch a year of learning and growth for our students. That same excitement and energy can also be felt a week before school starts, as teachers return to their campuses to start their new year. Alamo Heights ISD marks this occasion annually with our Convocation ceremonies. There is always fellowship and fun as colleagues reunite after a summer break. AHISD’s 2019 Convocation featured messages from Lisa Krenger, President of the AHISD Board of Trustees, Erika Guerrero, AHISD’s Teacher of the Year, and Dr. Dana Bashara, our Superintendent of Schools. Mule educators enjoyed reconnecting, hearing some inspirational messages and getting their “Game On” during a friendly round of AHISD Family Feud.
Feedback Fuels AHISD
Dr. Jimmie Walker, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction
AHISD continued our Feedback February survey tradition to gather input from parents, teachers, and students. Online surveys went out to all parents, teachers, and students in grades 3-12. Our survey questions are aligned to our Profile of a Learner and also include questions on overall school climate and safety.
The response rate was fantastic, with a 10% increase in overall survey responses and a 53% increase in open-ended responses. A total of 4,699 surveys were completed. The results of Feedback February affirm and confirm the direction and work of the district and also shine a light on some areas of needed growth.
Parent Highlights and Key Findings
- 94% of parents would highly recommend Alamo Heights ISD to a friend or colleague looking for a school district.
- Students reported a strong growth mindset belief that they have the potential to change factors that are central to their performance in school. (90th Percentile of National Norms)
- Teachers reported they experienced very positive staff-family relationships. (90th Percentile of National Norms)
- The high quality of the faculty and staff was the most frequently cited positive aspect of the district in open-ended responses.
Campus leadership teams worked over the summer to prioritize action items in response to this robust feedback. A few of the initial action items are listed below.
- Inclusion: Students and parents provided specific comments about how they feel some students are being excluded, giving faculty the insight to create more impactful systems and instruction around inclusivity and social-emotional support.
- Technology: Parents expressed questions about the role of technology in classrooms and Instruction. Campus leadership teams, in partnership with our technology department, are developing a clear message about best practices, beliefs, and screen time expectations for technology.
- Facilities: 69% of parents responded that the school or district is currently doing extremely or quite well in the area of physical facilities. There were also 66 parent comments about facilities, including parking, fencing, and athletic facilities. The comments help to guide future planning and communication efforts.
Considerable time and energy has been devoted to analyzing and understanding Feedback February results and use the data and comments as decisions are made about the best ways to serve the students.
AHISD Launches Community Based Accountability System (CBAS)
AHISD is a school system that places a priority on high standards of academic achievement for all students, and to that end, is dedicated to promoting a relentless culture of continuous improvement. AHISD embraces accountability because it is the catalyst for action for the outcomes desired for each and every student.
In AHISD, accountability is essential. They measure:
- The learner outcomes of our AHISD Profile of a Learner
- Academic growth
- Recruitment, development, and retention of high performing faculty and staff
- Supports and opportunities for students to be well-rounded and engaged
- Community engagement in our schools
- Fiscal responsibility and facility needs
AHISD is relentlessly committed to continual improvement to best meet the needs of the students. Over the past two years, with the input of school staff, leaders, students, and community members, they have designed a comprehensive local Community-Based Accountability System (CBAS) that relies on multiple data sources, authentic assessment opportunities, observations, and feedback from stakeholders that identifies the accountability that the community deserves.
AHISD CALENDAR OF EVENTS: September 2019
LABOR DAY: No school for students. Schools and offices closed.
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT: AHJS, 7th – 8th Grades, 6 – 8 p.m.
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT: Cambridge, 1st – 2nd Grades, 5:45 – 7 p.m.;
Woodridge, 1st – 2nd Grades, 6 – 7:15 p.m.
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT: Cambridge, 3rd – 5th Grades, 5:45 – 7 p.m.;
Woodridge, 3rd – 5th Grades, 6-7:15 p.m.
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT: AHHS, 9th – 12th Grades, 6 – 8 p.m.
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT: Howard, Pre-K/PPCD/ABC/BELLS, 4 -5 p.m.;
Kinder, 6 – 7 p.m.
HOWDY PARADE: Broadway, 4:30 p.m.
HOWDY NIGHT: AHHS, 5 – 7 p.m.
AHISD BOARD MEETING: AHISD Board Room, 7101 Broadway, 6 p.m.
HOMECOMING: Harry B. Orem Stadium at AHHS, 7:30 p.m.
Blue Tie Tradition
The Saint Mary’s Hall (SMH) community came together on August 23, to kick off the school year with its annual Blue Tie Parade, Convocation, and Blue Tie Ceremony. The first ceremony was held in September of 1940, when blue ties were awarded to the Class of 1941 and has become a treasured tradition.
The morning’s events included a Blue Tie Parade, where seniors and parents drove decorated floats and threw water balloons at enthusiastic underclassmen followed by a festive Convocation. The morning culminated with the Blue Tie Ceremony. Head of School Jonathan Eades bestowed blue ties and senior rings to the each of the 88 students in the Class of 2020. The tie stands as a symbol of the culmination of students’ SMH experience.
The Blue Tie speaker and SMH alumna, Erin Cusenbary (Class of 2011), inspired students by sharing her professional and personal wisdom. Cusenbary Saint Mary’s Hall as a 3-year-old Montessori student.
Blue Tie continues to be a momentous rite of passage for SMH seniors who, by the time they graduate, are well prepared for college and set on a course for achievement and fulfillment in life.