Baldwin Blast

October 2020

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Welcome to Fall!

The weather seems to have become a bit cooler, and it is beginning to feel like a new season is finally here! Typically, when we head into October, we have all of our routines up and running and school is in full swing. This year, we are preparing for some of our students to return back to campus for the first time in six months as well as continuing remote learning! It is definitely a historic school year. I understand that these upcoming changes will affect both our in person and remote learners, and I know that this may be unsettling. We are collaborating as a staff to make decisions that support both virtual and face to face students, but this is new to everyone involved. We are fortunate to have a dedicated and talented staff working alongside our families to ensure this transition is a success for everyone. I will continue to meet with parents weekly as long as there are those interested and questions to be answered.

Teachers will begin assessments to determine learning levels of each of your children. I know it can be difficult at times to see your children struggle and our inclination is to step in and help them. Please allow them to complete these assessments on their own, even if they become frustrated, so that the teachers can learn more about your child. How your child faces challenges and problem solves gives teachers invaluable information about his/her thinking along with the content and skills they need to grow. All information that the teachers collect will be shared with you.

If you have not already joined the PTA, please consider doing so at this time. The Baldwin PTA is a partner to our school and offers additional support and opportunities to help all of our Bobcats. Your child’s teacher should have sent home a volunteer survey as well. Please consider signing up for a room parent or another way to volunteer and help support your child’s teacher. Baldwin is known for having active parental involvement, and we are very proud of that!

In closing, I would like to publicly thank our custodial staff for their hard work and dedication. This team works tirelessly to have our school looking good, helping teachers whenever possible and cleaning to prepare our school for a safe reopening. This week is National Custodial Week and we would like all of our custodians to know how much they are appreciated. Please take a moment to send a kind word to our head custodian, Mrs. Erenia Chavez who will then share with her team. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have each and every one of them at Baldwin.

Please continue to check our website for updates pertaining to returning to campus and supporting our students during this transition. As always, thank you for your support of the staff and students of Baldwin Elementary.


Jennifer Murray

Principal, Baldwin Elementary

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  • September 28-October 2: Custodial Appreciation Week
  • October 2: Asynchronous Learning Day
  • October 5-9: Pride Week
  • October 12-16: Food Workers Appreciation Week
  • October 13: Gifted/talented parent referrals due
  • October 26-30: Red Ribbon Week
  • October 28: 5th grade virtual Magnet schools presentation
  • November 3: Election Day! Student holiday

GATE Information

We are now beginning the identification process for the GATE Program. The attached letter details the process and how to nominate your child. This year the nomination window is in the fall only for grades K-5. All parent nominations are due October 13th.
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The four weeks from Oct. 5 to Oct. 30 will be a phase-in period. Families will choose if they prefer on-campus or virtual learning for this period and families who prefer on-campus learning will be phased in. We will continue to base our campus and district operations on the advice of health authorities. It is important to note: even students who choose on-campus instruction may have some days where they are still doing remote learning during this period. Families will be able to choose to go back to remote learning.

As we plan for the start of the school year, safety for all students will be our leading priority. Followed by safety, our biggest priority is having a rigorous and equitable educational experience for all students. Below I have shared information about remote learning, as well as an overview of our plans for keeping our students and staff safe during in-person learning. Please keep in mind that these plans may change to accommodate new guidelines from the state, local, or district authorities.

For in- person learning:

Health Screenings:

  • All staff will conduct a self health screen by 7:15 am, including a current temperature check.

  • All staff and students will be required to wear face masks while in the building.

  • All students will be given a temperature check and health screening prior to entering the building. This may be done at home via the Austin ISD app or upon arrival to school. We will have multiple health screening sites during arrival to facilitate students getting to classrooms as quickly as possible. Car riders will be screened at the curb inside their car and bus riders and walkers/bikers will be screened at the entrance.

  • Students who are running a fever or do not pass the screening questions will be taken to the staging room known as the “Bobcat Den” until parents can pick them up.

Once in the Building:

  • All students will report directly to their classrooms. We will have staff available to assist with our younger students and make sure they get to their classrooms safely. Parents will not be able to walk students into the building to their classrooms.

  • Visitors will not be allowed in the building at this time.

  • We are going to do everything we can to make the classroom spaces feel inviting and friendly, even with strict standards.

  • During dismissal, students will remain in their classroom and be called down and escorted individually to their car. Students will all be assigned a number that must be displayed on your dash to facilitate this system. More information will be sent home as the time draws near.

Food Service:

  • Breakfast and lunch will continue to be offered to our students BUT the cafeteria will be closed for students to eat.

  • All meals from the cafeteria will be delivered to the classrooms and eaten there.

  • Please note, we will no longer accept any outside delivery of food to the campus so please make sure your child has his/her/their lunch kit and water bottle with them when they come to school unless eating from the cafeteria. If a student forgets their lunch, one will be provided from the cafeteria.

  • Families may apply for free or reduced meals here:

  • Families may also deposit funds in their child's meal account at:


  • All students will have an outdoor recess, but social distancing will be required and only a small number of students will be scheduled for play at the same time.

  • At this time the playscape equipment will be closed.

In Case of Illness:

  • We will continue to have full time nursing staff on campus.

  • If a child displays COVID-19 symptoms at school, the school nurse will be consulted and parents contacted. We have created the “Bobcat Den” for students to wait comfortably under adult supervision for pick up.

  • Should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19, we will conduct contact tracing and inform families who came into contact with that person. The district office will be notified and we will follow health protocols for quarantining. (Please see the AISD reopening guidelines for more detailed information.)

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We have met with almost all of our Baldwin Bobcats for a beginning of year check in! We know this has been a difficult time for many of our families and want to remind you that we are here to help. No problem is too small! Just fill out the student or parent request form located on the Counseling Blend home page. You can also click on the Zoom Room links and if we are available we're happy to help.

We are excited to announce that Baldwin will have access to online Vida Clinics. This is a great support for students who need outside counseling, but may be concerned about affordability and access. Click the link below for more information!

Did you miss our September video lessons and Mindful Moments? Want to watch again? Click below for our youtube channel! These videos are also located on our Counseling Blend page.
We are looking for used gardening supplies! Any old large or small plants, seeds, gloves, and water cans. We are working to build areas for students to learn responsibility and enjoy learning about nature. If you have anything available, please contact Deb Alexander at
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A key goal of the IDEA committee to involve more of our community stakeholders this year as we work towards a more inclusive environment at Baldwin. To this end, we would like to hear from you! We know not all families are able to participate as members of the committee, but your feedback is important to us. If you could take a few moments and respond to this short survey, it would be appreciated. If you would like to be a part of the committee, please contact Tammy Thompson, assistant principal for more details.
Another goal of the IDEA committee is to create experiences that include both “windows” and “mirrors” for our students. A “mirror” is a story or experience that reflects your own culture and helps you build your identity. A “window” is a resource that offers you a view into someone else’s experience. While we know most of this work will happen within the classroom, we want to ensure that our school wide platforms such as announcements, bulletin boards, social media accounts and assemblies also reflect this idea. The calendar already has many built in opportunities for us to highlight our families and students, for example we celebrated Hispanic Heritage month which began on September 15th. During announcements, we shared some aspects of the Hispanic culture along with some important contributors (Sonia Sotomayor, Roberto Clemente, Cesar Chavez and Lin-Manuel Miranda) to our country. Did you know that almost 22% of our students at Baldwin are Hispanic? We hope that our Bobcats felt recognized and honored these last few weeks. This coming October is a very busy month! This month is designated for Dyslexia Awareness. PRIDE week, and the celebrating the Bilingual Child. Stay tuned to announcements to learn more!
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Do you want your student to get more math practice without printing out worksheets? Use Dreambox! Dreambox is an adaptive program that monitors the progress of your child and targets areas for growth. Dreambox can be accessed in the student portal AND on the left sidebar in your child's BLEND class. Remember: if using Dreambox on an iPad or other mobile device, you will need the Dreambox app (the app will open on its own from the portal).

-Mrs. Hollander

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Happy October, Bobcats! I have loved getting to Zoom with so many classes during the month of September. Please make sure you are checking in with the Library BLEND Course for brand new lessons, discussions, and makerspace challenges each week. I've included a video in this newsletter that walks you through the Library BLEND Course, highlighting where our weekly activities are held.

Getting ready for a spooktacular Halloween? Check out the printable "Halloween Reading Advent Calendar" attached to this newsletter! It is also available on the Library BLEND homepage. Numbers 1-30 are hidden in this awesome coloring page, and some great suggestions of fall activities are listed along the bottom. I hope you enjoy reading your way through October!

-Mrs. Wright

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October is recognized worldwide as Dyslexia Awareness Month!

This is a time to come together to raise awareness, share resources and tell stories about dyslexia successes! The vision of the AISD Department of Dyslexia & Literacy and Baldwin is to ensure that all students experience success and be engaged in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and critical thinking by building literacy across multiple content areas and languages. We believe in fostering student's strengths and celebrating cultural diversity, language and learning differences.

-Ms. Brady

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Parent Resources:

What is Dyslexia?

Characteristics of Dyslexia

Famous People with Dyslexia:

Books for Adults:

  • Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz
  • Dyslexia Advocate by Kelli Sanman Hurley
  • Raising a Child with Dyslexia by Don Winn
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