PTO Principal Update

April 13th, 2015

"At Austin Elementary, we are driven to unlock the passion and cultivate the uniqueness inherent in every learner."

4th/5th Grade iPad Rollout

Our 1-to-1 4th/5th Grade iPad Rollout last Wednesday was a huge success! The district iTeam and the Tech Dept. were on hand to walk our learners through the process. Our 4th/5th grade educators and our Austin iTeam member Mrs. Williams did an excellent job of preparing our kids.


Here are a few things I have witnessed in the past few days-

  • Learners thinking critically about which tool would best help them complete an assignment (iPad, Math Journal, or Macbook).
  • Educators using the iPad as a device to assess and get immediate feedback.
  • Kids using the iPad as a device to communicate with a teacher in another class.
  • Learners using the iPad as a resource to quickly access tools and materials.

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Learning Garden Update!

Thank you all for your interest in the Austin Garden! Here's a quick check of what has happened so far and our "next steps."


  • A school community "Planting Day" was held last Spring to build and plant the current beds. The school purchased concrete benches in honor of recently retired Austin educators.
  • Since then, several Enrichment Clusters have completed projects to enhance the area (student-built benches & student-made stepping stones).
  • Grade levels continue to replant and update their areas of the beds (see pictures below). 4th grade used the beds for some real world problem solving as the setting for a recent PBL.
  • Our "next steps" are the installment of the pergola, rain barrels, and compost bin. I met with Louis Macias (Director of Facilities) last week to get an update on the status of our city permit for the pergola. He needs an additional design/sketch that illustrate the dimensions of the garden and the pergola to submit to the city. Mrs. Cook is finishing the mock-up to submit to Louis.
  • Our Girl Scout Troop is organizing a ladybug release for Earth Day later this month.

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Legislative Update

Several bills are currently being debated that could have a huge impact on Austin Elementary and CISD. Whatever your stance on these issues, I encourage you to stay informed and contact your representative to let your voice be heard!


Here are a few of particular interest...

SB 4

This bill deals with school vouchers and will be debated by the Senate beginning tomorrow.

HB 2543

This bill relates to the roll of student performance in teacher evaluation and pay. The House Education Committee will debate it soon. Partners w/ SB 893 which has been approved by the Senate.

HB 1759

Would overhaul the current school finance system ("Robinhood"). Currently being debated in the House Education Committee.

SB 6

Would provide campuses a rating of A-F. Approved in the Senate. Will now go to the House.

Next Round of Testing

Our next round of testing is this coming week. Austin will remain closed to visitors Monday-Wednesday (April 20th-22nd).


  • Monday, April 20 - 5th Math
  • Tuesday, April 21 - 3rd/4th Math
  • Wednesday, April 22 - 3rd/4th Reading, 5th Science


You can help by making sure that your kids are well rested, here on time, and have enjoyed a healthy breakfast!