Mathews Weekly

May 25, 2020

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From Grace

Good afternoon, Wonderful Mathews Community! We've arrived at the last week of a very different kind of school year. I thought the 2017-2018 year that started with a solar eclipse and ended with a hurricane was one to remember but I must say that this year tops even that in the memory books. I don't think I'll ever forget the abrupt loss of the school experience that began the day before spring break or the way the start of the year and the lively House sorting ceremonies now feels like it took place eons ago instead of months. As is true to this great community, however, I've been so inspired by the caring and support that have come from this - from families who shared their appreciation for the difficult work the teachers were asked to do, to those of you offered technical support and ideas, to those of you who reached out to offer to help others in need, to the ways we found to stay connected and more, I am so grateful for all of you!

This final week of school is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of our students because they have definitely grown academically and socially emotionally. I can only imagine how much they have physically grown in these last two months! Each of the teachers has planned special ways to connect with our students this week and honor their work and growth. This week should be a lot of fun, sprinkled in with some sadness that we're not together in person. I take solace in the fact that we are always together in spirit! And, as a way to bring some joy and closure to the year, we are also hosting a Drive By Goodbye for our students on Thursday and Friday. We'll honor our 6th grade students with a virtual promotion ceremony and drive by goodbye on Thursday. I'm looking forward to seeing the kids, even from a distance! Then, on Friday, we'll say goodbye to the other grade levels too. :)

What does a Drive By Goodbye look like? The teachers and staff will stand on the sidewalk in front of Mathews, practicing good social distancing and wearing masks. Families who'd like to participate will load up the car and drive by so we can wave and share our love with you! Important to know: Everyone MUST stay in the car and wave or say hi from there. We want to make sure we're all being as safe as possible so please help by preparing your children that they won't be able to get out to say hi or grab a hug, as much as we all wish we could. Thank you! The times for each grade level are listed waaaay down below in the Week at a Glance section.

Speaking of celebration, the staff and I wanted to make sure each of our students know we celebrate them for who they are and put together a little video for them below:

Mathews 2020

The end of school is a bittersweet time as we always say goodbye to staff, students, and families who are moving on to new schools and adventures. For our staff, we would have hosted celebrations of their work, much like we do for the students, and allow everyone a chance to wish them well. That's just not possible this year but we plan to hold a 2019-2020 Mathews Reunion as soon as it's safe to do so. In the meantime, I want to let you know who is leaving Mathews this year and who will be joining the Mathews family. I am always sad to see any of our people go while simultaneously feeling very fortunate to have had the chance to know and work with them. I am also so pleased to be able to fill our positions with incredibly talented folks. In the Goodbye and Hello section below, we'll honor those who are moving on and share a video of the 2020-2021 staff saying hi (with the exception of one retirement that was decided after the video had been made). :)

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the Mathews Messenger. In addition to the staff news, I've also included an update on planning for next year and the summer reading options. Thank you all for being a part of our community and for the very real honor of teaching and supporting your children. To our students and families who won't be returning, know that you will take a piece of our hearts with you and you will always be a part of our Mathews family!

Please continue to stay safe and healthy over the summer months until we see you again!

*If you happen to know of a family who isn't getting these weekly email messages, please let them know they can opt in to messages on LivingTree.

Saying Goodbye

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Robin English, Counselor

Robin is retiring after a career spent supporting and serving the students at Mathews and AISD. We will miss her greeting our students at the front doors each day, her infectious laugh, and the way she cared for all of our students, families, and the staff. We wish her a happy and relaxing retirement spending time with her husband and dog, traveling, and waking up without an alarm clock!

Becky King, Kindergarten Teacher

Becky is retiring after a career spent instilling a love of learning in our young students. Under her care, our students became authors, scientists, mathematicians, gardeners, and more! We will miss the way she quietly helped students shine! We wish Becky all the best as she spends time with her family, travels, and pursues new adventures!

Steve Outlaw, PE Coach

Steve is retiring after countless International Festivals, Track and Field Days, and staff holiday celebrations and luncheons. Coach Outlaw's kindness, humor, and love for all of our students are going to be missed, along with the "Dad" jokes he loves to tell. We wish him well as he begins a new adventure, spends quality time with his family, and much less time in the car each day. We fully expect to see him hanging out at Mathews from time to time.

Margaret Herrmann, Learning Lab Teacher

Margaret is retiring after a career spent helping students grow and learn. We're going to miss her love for her students, her matter-of-fact way of telling it like it is, and her humor that kept us laughing. We wish Margaret all the best as she settles in to her new life, enjoying her family, travel, and time for reading!

Elizabeth Oyervides, PreK Teacher

Elizabeth is stepping away from Mathews to move to San Antonio where her husband's job is. We are going to miss her smile and kindness, her creativity and love for all things Mathews, and, the way she nurtured and supported our students. We wish her and her family all the best in San Antonio and will look forward to seeing her at Mathews events in the future!

Erica Lish, 1st Grade Teacher

Erica is stepping away from her first grade classroom to be able to spend more time with her beautiful son, who was born earlier this year. We're going to miss her smile and the positive attitude she displays, no matter the circumstances. She loves our students and has been truly supportive of the whole community! We wish her and her family happiness and look forward to updates on her family and to her visiting at future events!

Alex Lyons, 6th Grade Teacher

Alex is stepping away from Mathews to begin a new adventure teaching in South Korea. We're going to miss the way she built positive relationships with our students, her can-do attitude, and willingness to help anywhere she saw a need. We wish her all the best as she moves to a new country and supports students there and are looking forward to hearing all about life in South Korea!

Mary McKenna, Music and Journalism Teacher

Mary is stepping away from Mathews to move to Houston where she'll continue to teach students to love music. We will miss her positive energy, her support of our school and willingness to try new things, and the ways she gave our choir so many opportunities to grow and share their talents. I'm so glad the students in Houston will benefit from her guidance and care. We wish her all the best as she starts a new chapter in her life.

Saying Hello!

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Please help me in welcoming the educators who will join our Mathews family next year!

  • Stephanie Reyna, Counselor
  • Casey Pence, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Vincent Vermillion, Learning Lab Teacher
  • Erica Mathews, 1st Grade Teacher
  • Sarah Halbach, 4th Grade Teacher
  • Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) Shira, 5th Grade Teacher
  • Micaela Campos, Music Teacher (and Mathews alumni!)
Hello, Mathews!

Important Information

Planning for the 2020-2021 School Year

The district is actively working on plans for the 2020-2021 school year, including multiple scenarios for re-opening schools. In addition, the wonderful staff at Mathews has been working on our own plans to ensure that we're providing the best possible education to our students, regardless of how and where that learning takes place. Our focus is on:

  • the learner experience
  • acceleration and enrichment (WIN - What I Need)
  • positive behavior supports and social emotional learning
  • celebrating and connecting our community.

Each of these working groups is looking through the lens of Cultural Relevancy, MakerEd, and the Whole Child. They are considering what school would look like in a traditional model (all students in school), a virtual model, and a hybrid model (some students in the building, some virtual), which are the same scenarios the district is planning for as well.

In all of the district and school scenarios, safety is the top priority and consideration for our students and staff. We are looking at transportation, social distancing, school supplies, special areas, bathrooms, furniture and more. While we do not know what the 2020-2021 school year will look like just yet, we're anticipating more information towards the end of June that will hopefully allow us to finalize critical details. As of right now, the district is using the already adopted school calendar for next year; this calendar looks almost identical to the 2019-2020 school calendar and has us starting late August and ending in May. What school looks like for our students may be very different than it has in the past but we're committed to making the experience a positive and enriching one for all.

As with everything right now, things may change between now and August. I'm sure the district will be communicating new information and I will also make sure to keep our community informed as I get updates for the new school year.

AISD Summer Reading Options

It's almost time for summer reading! We want children to experience the joy of reading just for fun! All of our students are encouraged to participate in the 5 Book Dive project. Mackin Via is your one stop platform to fine ebooks, audio books, comics (6th grade +) and more! AISD has also partnered with the Austin Public Library so all students can sign up for an APL card which can be used to check out books and access their online resource.

To find out more about the 5 Book Dive, please open the flyer below or use this link to get information, recommended book lists, and more:

Re-imagining School at Mathews

On top of the lessons our teachers have been preparing during distance learning, our teachers and staff have also been taking this opportunity to re-imagine how school should be as it relates to time, people, and resources. The teams are looking at the learner experience, enrichment and intervention, diversity and connections, and social emotional learning and positive behavior support.

Our families are an important part of our school community and we would love to have your input on what is important to you as we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year. Thank you to those of you who have already shared your thoughts. If you haven't please take a minute to capture your ideas here: Re-Imagining School at Mathews Thank you!

Kindergarten Orientation

Our Kindergarten Orientation moved online this year. To view the presentation or access the FAQ page or to ask a question, please use the links below:

It's Registration Time!

Wondering what to do while staying at home? Now is the time to register your students for the fall! Registration takes place each year and it is very important for us to know who will attend Mathews in the fall. AISD uses our online registration numbers to determine staffing allocations so it's essential to our planning for the 2020-2021 school year.

Please go online to and register your child(ren) today. If you have any questions please contact the office. If you need assistance with registration, call the parent helpline at (512)414-9187.

Wednesday Folders

Every Wednesday, we'll update our Electronic Wednesday Folder on the school website.

You can find uploaded information on our fantastic website here:

Camp Zilla is Cancelled for Summer 2020

Because of the uncertainty with the COVID-19 crisis, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Zilla Camp for the summer of 2020.

Easy Way to Support our School with Amazon

Did you know that you can support Mathews while you shop on Amazon?

An easy way to contribute to the school without spending any extra funds is through our Amazon Program. When you use the link on our website, Amazon gifts our PTA a percentage of the sales, more than we would get with even their Smile program. So, if you're buying from Amazon already, using this link will help support our school - it's a win, win! :)

The Week at a Glance

Monday, May 25th

  • Memorial Day Holiday for students and staff

Tuesday, May 26th

  • Final Week of School - Reflection and Celebration

Thursday, May 28th

  • Last Official Day of School!
  • Virtual Promotion Ceremony for 6th Grade at 10:00 am on Zoom
  • Drive By Goodbye for 6th Grade Students at 1:00 pm in front of Mathews :)

Friday, May 29th

  • Drive By Goodbyes for 3rd Grade at 8:30 am
  • Drive By Goodbye for 4th Grade at 9:00 am
  • Drive By Goodbye for 1st Grade at 10:00 am
  • Drive By Goodbye for PreK at 11:00 am
  • Drive By Goodbye for 2nd Grade at 1:00 pm
  • Drive By Goodbye for 5th Grade at 2:00 pm
  • Drive By Goodbye for Kindergarten at 3:00 pm
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