Austin ISD PK4 Newsletter

June 2016

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From the Director

Happy Summer!

Hooray! You made it. Summer is here. I know this time of year is bittersweet. We are so sad to see our children leave, but so ready for summer! I hope this newsletter finds you in great spirits!

The newsletter this month contains items about summer training and things you need to know for next year. So if you want to read it later in June, it will be fine.

I want to say THANK YOU for all of the things, large and small, that you have done for our district, your campus, your class and your parents this year. When I think about the impact that you are making, one child at a time, I am so proud to work with you! Thanks for allowing us to support you.

We will send you another newsletter to mark the beginning of the year in August, but until then, be safe, take great care of yourself and have a great summer!

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News & Information

House Bill 4

We have been talking about HB4 for about two years now. We are excited that the Texas Legislature has set aside funding for high quality prekindergarten programs. AISD applied for these grant funds in May and will find out in July if we received funding.

If we receive funding:

1. All prekindergarten teachers would be required to take 30 additional professional development hours during 2016-2017. This is very exciting. We are looking forward to 4 separate trainings that will be done during school time. (You will have choices of dates.) The training will help us to solidify best practice within AISD and will count for your 30 professional development hours.

2. We will also be doing some work around engaging families. This will change the way your family visits will look during staggered start. It will be important that all prekindergarten families get a separate family visit and not just an open house event.

3. Want to know more about HB4? You can go online to the TEA website to read their FAQ.

Summer Professional Development

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Summer Institute Information

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CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System CHANGES!!

PK4 teachers will still be using the Engage platform to assess students on the CIRCLE PMS. However, next year the testing windows will only be 3 weeks instead of 5 weeks. For this reason, we have omitted several of the tests that you are required to assess. This is the direction we have received from the state at this point. If anything changes between now and the beginning of school, we will let you know.

See below for the list of assessments that are required for next year.

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ATTN: Team Leaders! Team List

Last month we asked for you to fill out the form below letting us know the names of all the teachers on your team. If you did not fill out the form back in May, you can still fill it out today.

If you've had changes to your team since May, go ahead and fill out a new form.

Click the button to fill out the form.

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New Teachers

Teacher Induction Program (TIP)

We know campuses hire teachers over the summer. If you know of a new teacher joining on your team, please send us their name so we can add them to our email list and send them information about TIP.

If you know of a teacher moving from another grade level to PK4, please let us know. We would like to invite them to our TIP cohort days.

Send new teacher information to

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Teachers of the Year!

We could not close out the year without congratulating our PK and PPCD teachers who were named "Teacher of the Year" for their campus. You must be #AISDProud!
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Teacher Wellbeing: How to mentally prepare for a new school year

Becky Flynn, AISD SEL Specialist

To help you get ready for a new school year, psychologist Gail Kinman, offers advice on how to prepare and how to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Gail writes for The Gaurdian.

A couple of weeks before a new school year:

  • Ask yourself how you feel - Some people dread going back to work, while others are excited. Asking yourself how you feel about the job will help you decide whether you need to take action and, if so, what that action should be. If you feel dread, what stresses you out and what can you do about it?

  • Reflect on the way you work -If you usually do lesson preparation late at night and miss out on social life or sleep, think about whether there are ways of managing your workload. Perhaps, take the opportunity to talk to your administrator about it.

  • Listen to your body - Recover before the school year starts by spending time listening to your body and what it needs. Go and see friends and family, exercise, eat your favorite foods or read - whatever activities work for you.

  • Try mindfulness techniques - A great way to relax and prepare for the next school year is through mindfulness techniques.

  • Build up your emotional resilience - Resilience is essential for teachers. Teaching can be stressful. One of the best ways to build resilience and avoid stress is to get support from other people. Spend time with friends and family.

  • Get your work-life balance right - Start thinking about ways that you can divide your work life and home life because teachers commonly work a lot at home. Make sure that you allow yourself time to relax after work as this is essential to maintain long-term physical and psychological health. There is evidence that if teachers go straight to bed after working at night, they don’t sleep as well, which impacts on their health and job performance.

  • Do a bit of work (yes, really) - Doing some preparation can help you feel in control and less panicky.

  • Rehearse saying no - Rehearsing what you would do in challenging situations can be helpful. If you go over how a situation could pan out in your mind then you are more likely to feel in control when it arises.

  • Get to know yourself and how you feel - If you are not sure about how you feel about your job then write down some specific “emotion words” that come to mind when you think about work. If they are stress-related, then how can you make things better? Feeling very negative about returning to work after the summer rather than rejuvenated may indicate that you need a job change.

Enjoy your summer off!

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Summer Reading


The Power of Guidance: Teaching Social-Emotional Skills In the Early Childhood Classroom is a collection of well-received writings on how to use guidance in early childhood classrooms. The material teaches strategies for developing an encouraging classroom and for working with children, particularly boys, who have moderate and serious conflicts. It also presents non-punitive approaches to classroom management. Those who will find the most value in this compilation of material on guidance are practitioners in the field, including Head Start teachers, childcare teachers and preschool and primary grade teachers and assistants.
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Looking Ahead!

Field Trips

Shared by Gilberto Ferrer, Bilingual PK Teacher at Winn Elementary

Not getting enough Field Trips for your class? How about having access to virtual field trips? This resource is FREE with a standard account and comes supported with lesson plans, take home letters and even assessments in English and Spanish. It could be a great resource to compliment your Social Studies curriculum or as an onset/follow-up to an actual field trip. It also has a teacher subscription for an accessible annual fee, and over 60 field trips to choose from. Sign up here:
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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