Mathews Weekly

March 30, 2020

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From Grace

Good afternoon, Wonderful Mathews Community! My hope is that each of you remain healthy and safe as we enter week two of school closure. I know many in our Mathews family are working to keep all of Austin healthy as first responders, doctors and nurses, and others are working to keep grocery stores and other essential businesses open, and more. I don't have adequate words to say thank you to all of you who are working so hard to keep the whole community safe - please know that you are my heroes! Others of us, I know, are worried about loss of income for self or loved ones, health, family and more. We are with you.

You probably noted the picture I've added to the top of our Messenger. This shot was taken at our 100th Birthday Celebration in September 2016 and I love the message it sends. It reminds me that Mathews has been standing strong for over 100 years. Our school survived the flu pandemic in 1918 and we will continue to thrive through the COVID-19 pandemic and after. I love that we are together, as a diverse community, supporting each other and celebrating everyone. We're going to need to continue to help each other and share our love for all during these next weeks, months, and more. And, while we continue to be separated physically, we are together in spirit and remain connected to one another.

Last week, the staff returned to work and learned how to connect with each other and with our students virtually. It truly warms my heart to see the many ways our classes are staying in touch. We miss our students so much!! The staff also began the difficult work of thinking about what distance learning will mean for our students and how we can ensure the opportunities are meaningful and do-able for all. Our staff theme of Mathews Mission Control seems particularly relevant right now and I am so proud of how all have accepted the, "Houston, we have a problem," challenge and are working together to get learning to our students when our students can't come to us.

So when will this new learning happen? As you know, the school building remains closed through April 13th. I would not be surprised if this closure gets extended again, possibly for the remainder of the semester. While the building is not open, we fully expect distance learning opportunities for our students to begin on April 6th, the week after this one. Your teachers and I will be sharing more about what that looks like later this week. Some details, like grades, progress monitoring, etc... we're still ironing out and will have more details after the board votes on Monday. We do anticipate that there will be time for both synchronous learning, where students have the opportunity to work live with their teacher, and asynchronous, where students are able to access materials and learn when it makes sense for them and their families. I thank you for your patience and understanding as we will, inevitably, make some mistakes as we put distance learning in place. We promise to keep improving!

This week's Messenger is about connecting. In the Enrichment section below, you'll find many links. The first is to my new weekly challenge for the students. Let's stay connected and have fun together! Robin has also put together a fantastic gratitude wall for all - I love seeing the posts on it - and our special areas team has some enrichment lessons for you as well. It's wrapped up with a story time with me. I miss reading to our students! I'm also keeping the links to the Vida Clinic and other AISD resources below. Good to know - you can pick up physical work packets at any of the locations for food delivery and we're working on getting a packet drop off location at one of the schools in the Austin High VT; I'll keep you posted.

The Vida Clinic:

Austin ISD's school-based mental health partner, Vida Clinic, is now offering teletherapy services to the entire Austin ISD community. These services will allow adults and students to access quality mental health services right from their own homes. To schedule an appointment, visit or contact our Vida Clinic Care Team at 512-518-2209 or by email at

El centro de salud mental en la escuela de Austin ISD, Vida Clinic, ofrecerá servicios de teleterapia a toda la comunidad de Austin ISD. Estos servicios permitirán a adultos y estudiantes acceder a servicios de salud mental con alta calidad desde sus propios hogares. Para programar una cita, visite o comuníquese con nuestro Equipo de atención de Vida Clinic al 512-518-2209 o por correo electrónico a

A Guide to Well-Being:

As many of you know, I appreciate the work of Greater Good from the University of California, Berkeley. They've put together a resource for families and educators during the COVID-19 outbreak: A Guide For Well-Being I'm also including a handout from the National Association of School Psychologists on talking with children about COVID-19 directly below this section.

Austin ISD's Learning from Home Site:

While schools work to formalize distance learning, the district has provided some enrichment activities for every grade level (yay!). Please find more at this link:

Meals During School Closure:

If your children or children you know need food during school closures, please use this link to find information about where to get meals for students and their caregivers:

Austin ISD's Coronavirus Update Site:

For all district information regarding the coronavirus, please use this link:

Questions or Ideas for AISD:

The top concern of the Austin Independent School District during this time is the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. Although AISD has canceled classes through April 13, 2020, District operations will continue. We appreciate your email and are available to respond during normal business hours. If you need further assistance, please connect with us through our Let’s Talk system found here

Please continue to read district and school communications so you can have the most up-to date information. Stay safe and healthy, everyone! We are together!

*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.

Enrichment Corner

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Our Challenge Padlet

Post your challenge pics here! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. :)

From Ms. English

Please add to our Mathews' Wall of Gratitude and comment on others' posts! This is a virtual space for 'Zillas of all ages to share gratitude and connect with each other.

From Coach Outlaw

Check out Coach Outlaw's helpful stay-at home tips for health and fitness! :)

From Ms. Jennifer

Keep calm, and blind contour on, everyone!

From Ms. McKenna - Music!

Hi everyone! Ms. McKenna here :) I hope that you’ve all been doing well and making lots of happy music from the safety of your homes. Here is an enrichment lesson about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You may recall that the music in “The Magic Flute” opera, which we studied in the fall, was composed by Mozart. In the links below, you will find information and activities that you can do at home with music by this great composer.

Additional note for 3rd-6th graders: Attached is the music packet with the recorder songs that we have been working on in class! These songs can be played on other instruments too. If you are in 6th grade playing a clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, or tuba, you will need to transpose the notes into the key of "C". Feel free to reach out to Mr. Jurgens if you have questions about that.

I would like to remind everyone to please use the instrument practice etiquette that we have talked about. We should be making beautiful sounds only. For recorders, blow soft air, be sure to cover the holes completely, and do not cover the window while playing.

You can always practice by putting down the finger patterns only and not blowing any air, like we do in class sometimes. If you are in 3rd grade or are a 4th-6th grader who does not have a recorder at home, you can use your imagination to create a pretend recorder and still practice the finger patterns! If your parent/guardian would like to order a recorder for home practice, I've attached an example of an Amazon order for a baroque soprano recorder that they can place (please know that this is completely optional). You will need to be patient though, as many Amazon deliveries are pretty backed up right now. Please let Ms. McKenna know if you have any other questions about recorders-- thanks!

From Ms. McKenna - Journalism!

Hello 6th grade journalism students! Ms. McKenna here. I hope that you’ve all been doing well and reading/writing lots of great articles from the safety of your homes. Here is an enrichment lesson about how to write enticing journalism headlines and leads.

Storytime with Ms.Brewster - Leo the Late Bloomer

Important Information

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.

Positivity Project - P2

This week our focus is on humor, something we could all use during this time. This means that you have the ability to smile and laugh which can help boost morale. I've included a one-page character trait card below to reference if you'd like to have discussions with your child about this trait.

Camp Zilla Registration is Now Open! - May be subject to cancellation!

Registration for our 3rd Annual Camp Zilla is now open. Please use the links below to see what sessions are being offered and to register. :)

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:

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

March 23rd - April 3rd, 2020

  • Classes cancelled - No School for Students

Please note that all remaining events are subject to cancellation/change.

  • Upcoming Events
    • April 14th - Current return to school
    • April 20th - CAC Meeting
    • April 30th - PTA Meeting
    • May 14th - SALUTE!
    • May 18th - Human Sexuality Curriculum Week
    • May 18th - CAC Meeting
    • May 28th - 6th Grade Promotion Ceremony
    • May 28th - Last Day of School!