Austin ISD PK3 Newsletter

April 2016

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From the Director

Change is in the Air

Jacquie Porter

I am not a big fan of change. I eat the same thing for lunch each day, go to bed and wake up at the same times each day and I even bought a car that looks EXACTLY like the car I had before this one. Yup, not fond of change. I have put off writing this article because it involves a big change. Brian Mowry is leaving AISD Early Childhood. Brian will be leaving to finish his doctorate and work for a publishing company. While we will greatly miss him, this opportunity affords Brian the ability to impact many more children across this state and nation. Brian is an incredible co-worker, excellent educator and amazing friend. His leaving will be a big loss to our department and district.

Brian has done so much for our district, we certainly want to tell him goodbye. One goodbye is not enough. We will be saying goodbye at each team leader meeting in April, so even if you are not the team leader, you are invited to come to say goodbye to Brian. We will be at Lucy Read on April 6 for kindergarten, Uphaus on April 13 for kindergarten, Brian can not be at Lucy Read on April 20 for prekindergarten, but will be at Uphaus on April 27 for prekindergarten from 3:30 – 5:30. You are welcome to attend whatever meeting meets your schedule, regardless of grade level. We want to wish Brian the best in his new adventure.

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News & Information

Birth Certificate Information

With Kindergarten Roundup approaching, asks your help to remind parents that they can go directly to and order a certified birth certificate for $22, the same price as a walk-in or mail order. This online service, offered in English and Spanish, provides parents with a straightforward, secure option for ordering their child's birth certificate . The orders are fulfilled by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Attached are flyers, in English and Spanish, with more information and a link to a helpful video demonstration found on the YouTube channel on how to order a birth certificate online. We encourage you to share this information with your parents, Thank you!


Timeline for Prekindergarten registration and Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Orientation

* Online Registration opens March 31 and parents can utilize that method after April 1 for prekindergarten.

* Prekindergarten registration will begin April 4, 2016

* Optional Prekindergarten Orientation will be held April 5, 2016

Prekindergarten Registration SY17 Update

Prekindergarten registration will take place beginning April 4, 2016, on every AISD prekindergarten campus. The yellow pre-K applications will arrive on your campus no later than March 4, 2016. The pre-K registration packet will be sent to your email March 4, 2016. You will not need lunch applications for prekindergarten students for SY17.

Pre-K teachers can be paid to register students beginning April 4, 2016. A stipend is available through the Early Childhood office for pre-K teachers who choose to assist specifically with registration and testing of potential pre-K students. Each teacher is eligible to work a total of eight hours (8 hours @ $25 = $200) to complete the identification process for eligible students and contact parents. In order to be paid, teachers must:

1. Have completed AISD 2016-2017 registration training either online or in person (March 1, 2016 at Sanchez Elementary in the library) and provide the completion certificate from HCP. This training is different from 2015-2016 training as new processes have been defined.

2. Login to Workforce on the day they are working. All time MUST be logged into Workforce. The routing ID for prekindergarten registration is 814. Comments should read "Pre-K Registration 2016-2017". All work must be logged between April 4 and April 29, 2016. Failing to login to Workforce could risk you not being paid by the next pay period for the work done.

3. HCP certificates for all who worked and the 2016-2017 registration payment spreadsheet must be turned into the Department of Early Childhood, CAC, Box 155, ATTN: Diane Smith.

The registration payment spreadsheet will be attached to the April newsletter. Please be sure the amount of work on the spreadsheet matches the number of hours allotted to each campus. Each campus has an allotment of eight hours per prekindergarten teacher for registration. If a teacher chooses not to work the eight hours, another prekindergarten teacher(s) on campus may work those hours.

LPAC for New Prekindergarten Students

An LPAC meeting for all ELL qualifying students that register in April must be held before they attend school in August.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

or 512-414-4740.

Special Event!

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Summer Professional Development

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AAEYC Week of the Young Child: Celebrating our Youngest Learners Texas Style

AAEYC's Week of the Young Child is April 9-16, 2016.

Click the link below for more information and activity ideas for the week.

AAEYC Week of the Young Child 2015

Check out this article about one of our very own AISD PK teachers, James Butler!

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Upcoming Themes

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Reduce Reuse Recycle
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Jacquie Porter

Last month I received an email from Amazing Pre-k Teacher, James Butler. James is leading the district implementation of mindfulness in our classrooms. The email that James sent asked that for just a moment, the email reader should sit calmly and be mindful of the sounds around them. As I sat at my computer, I heard my neighbors lawn mower, another neighbor playing on the swing set in their back yard and the sound of my golden retriever snoring under the computer. It occurred to me that I had been working for over 2 hours and could use a mindfulness break. My husband and my two dogs agreed and soon we were out for a walk. With the trees and flowers in bloom, it was a great time. I was thrilled to be out in the neighborhood looking at nature and breathing fresh air. With Earth Day coming up, it may be a great time to take a walk with your class. I found a wonderful printable at the SoFestive! Website. It is a free printable and would be great fun for the children to use as they take a walk or to inspire them to make their own checklist!

Bullying in Young Children

Becky Flynn, Social and Emotional Learning Specialist

These tips were taken from a High Scope Extensions Curriculum Newsletter - Volume 25, No 3 on how to help teachers address “bullying” with pre-school children. In addition to the tips, I included a few steps for helping teachers resolve conflicts.

Strategies for Preventing Bullying by Young Children

  1. Understand the difference between a pattern of bullying and predictable preschool behaviors.
  2. Problem-solve when there are conflicts or harmful comments.
  3. Set limits on any intimidating behaviors and follow up with positive interactions.
  4. Recognize hurtful behaviors that are intense and repeated as a possible red flag that children need more attention to the reasons behind their behaviors and support as they learn to express their feelings constructively.
  5. Eliminate bullying by adults: examine adult behaviors for the use of yelling, shaming, threatening, and/ or punishing in interactions with children.

Steps in Resolving Conflicts

1. Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions.

  • Place yourself between the children, on their level.
  • Use a calm voice and gentle touch
  • Remain neutral rather than take sides.
2. Acknowledge children’s feelings.
  • “You look really upset.”
  • Let children know you need to hold any object in question.
3. Gather information
  • “What’s the problem?”
4. Restate the problem.
  • “So the problem is…”
5. Ask for ideas for solutions and choose together.
  • “What can we do to solve the problem?”
  • Encourage children to think of a solution.
6. Be prepared to give follow-up support.
  • “You solved the problem.”
  • Stay near the children.
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Sensory Play!

Sensory play allows children to use the scientific process while having lots of fun. While playing in the sensory bin, children are formulating questions and using the materials to experiment and find answers to those questions. By pouring, measuring, smelling, touching and manipulating materials they are collecting data to help them in their investigations. Now that Spring has sprung, adding some spring time fun to your sensory bin will keep your students excited and eager to explore.
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Gail's Gardening Gazette

April is Earth Month: Thinking Beyond April 22!

It is so hard to realize that teaching children to care for the earth on Earth Day each year is enough to impact their lives and the lives of others. Consider the month of April and beyond the start of something special for your students by implementing some of the following activities:

  • Begin recycling every bit of paper trash in your classroom
  • When going outside, take a trash bag with you and have the students pick up anything that is considered litter (wear disposable gloves), get back to the classroom, predict what kind of litter they found the most of, then sort it to check predictions, and finally make a litter pizza with the size of the slices being proportionate to the amount of litter – paper, aluminum, glass, plastic, other
  • Start a worm bin – vermicomposting can be great fun. The PK wiki has a ppt with directions and pictures on starting a worm bin
  • Weed a garden, plant a garden
  • Go on a plant and animal identification walk by the creek – the students could take their science journal and record their observations
  • Find a rainbow growing outside – red leaves, flowers, orange flowers, etc.
  • Write poetry about the earth Poetry
  • Make recycled paper with your students
  • Talk about how everyone can make a difference in caring for the earth
  • Do some Earth art – using recycled materials
  • Sing some Earth songs
  • Set up a discover/science center in your room with books and bits of nature
  • Make some birdhouses for the big trees along the creek
  • Make a classroom book about caring for the earth – each student could illustrate and write a page
  • Go on a sensory walk outside or around the classroom – smells of wonder – flowers, herbs, spices, baking; sounds of wonder – humming/buzzing of bees, laughter, voices, birds, silence, mood music; touch of wonder – mud, rocks, sand, clay, fragile things, hugs; Sights of wonder – smiles, looks of intense concentration, living things; tastes of wonder – think of all of the things that children can experience by eating and tasting

What ever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Chief Seattle

This month's gardening tips are in the form of a vegetable, flower, and herb gardening article put out by The Natural Gardener. Enjoy!

Classroom Spotlight

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Professional Development

PK3 Professional Learning Community: Exploring Creative Art in PK3

Tuesday, April 12th, 3:30-5:30pm

73 San Marcos Street

Austin, TX

Location: Sanchez Elementary, Portable 5

Register on HCP: Section #80243

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About Us

Jacquie Porter, Director

Debra Caldwell, Administrative Assistant

Diane Smith, Data Processing Assistant

Marlene Beldin, Clerk

Irene Campos, EC TLI Specialist

Brian Mowry, EC Specialist

Robbie Polan, Childcare Liaison

Melinda Servantez, EC Specialist

Sylina Valdez, Administrative Supervisor

Liana Young, EC TLI Specialist