Baldwin Blast

November 2020

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Dear Parents,


Happy Fall! It finally seems that summer is officially over and the cooler weather is upon us – finally! I can feel new energy in the air as we all prepare for the upcoming season.


Thank you to everyone that has attended my weekly Principal Meetings. I hope they have been informative for you and a good way to connect to other parents. I know I really miss getting to see all of you in the mornings and afternoons and always appreciate the conversations that we have had in the past. These meetings have given me the opportunity to connect with so many of you and I would like to keep those conversations open. As we begin to have less changes, I am going to have these meetings monthly instead. Of course, if the need arises, I will schedule them more often. Please join me on Thursday, November 12th at 5:00 pm for our next meeting.


I have had several of you ask about the return to school. If you are interested in sending your child back to school, please email me your child’s name, grade and teacher. I will be in contact with you about the start date for your child. Please remember that you will need a family number, charged device, head phones, snack and bottle of water every day. The school will continue to provide a free breakfast and lunch for all who would like a lunch from the cafeteria. Remember that we are not accepting any items dropped off for students to decrease exposure for all involved.


Although volunteers may be utilized differently this year, there are still opportunities for you to support our school. Love Your School begins on Monday, November 2nd. This is a fund raiser organized through the PTA which allows you to make a donation to them without selling, participating, or purchasing anything. 100% of your donation goes to the PTA which directly supports Baldwin Elementary. Please consider supporting by visiting the PTA website.


Recess has been different this year as we can’t have so many children in one area. If you would like to consider donating to your child’s classroom or to the school, we are looking for the following donations:


  • Large Jenga games
  • Corn Hole boards
  • Jump ropes
  • Jacks
  • Hula Hoops



As a reminder, the Baldwin playground areas are closed to the public until after 6:30. Those areas are rented out by a private after school program and due to social distancing and contact tracing, no others are allowed until they have left. This includes using the track, walking the dogs or playing on the black top as well both during the day and after school. If you have neighbors that do not have students at Baldwin, please help us spread the word.


Our school values the similarities and differences of all of our families. We have put together an IDEA Committee (Diversity, Anti-racism) and would appreciate your feedback. Please consider filling out the survey to help us serve you better. The committee meets at 3:15 on the 4th Thursday of each month. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please contact Tammy Thompson at tammy.thompson@austinisd.org. Our next event will be to support the PTA at the Winter Wonderland and we would love your ideas!


For those of you that have elected to come back to school face to face, please be sure that you child is here every day. Our teachers plan based on your child showing up and we assume that they are sick if they are not in school. In the event that they are sick, you will need to work with the nurse prior to returning. Electing to stay home and complete school virtually is fine but then you will need to request a return. If that is your second request, the school may ask you to remain virtual until the next grading period. Please help us to help your child’s teacher!


As we reflect on this month of thanksgiving, I continue to see the many things I am grateful for here at Baldwin. I am grateful that you are willing to share your children with us, grateful that you support our children, and grateful that as a community we have come together to make things work. I couldn’t ask for more! I hope that the time off this month allows you to rejuvenate yourselves and prepare for this busy time of year.


Thankful,

Jennifer Murray

Principal, Baldwin Elementary School

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  • November 2: "Love your School" fundraiser begins
  • November 3: Election Day! Student holiday
  • November 4: Story time with Baldwin (7:00 on zoom)
  • November 12: Principal's Coffee (5:00 on zoom)
  • November 12: PTA meeting
  • November 16-20: Teacher Aide Appreciation Week
  • November 23-27: Thanksgiving Break
  • December 2-16: Virtual Scholastic Book Fair

Specials are beginning their ABC Rotation!

Starting Monday, November 2, specials will begin rotation on an A-B-C schedule. This means specials will change every day. For example, if your child starts with Art on Monday, they will have PE on Tuesday, Music on Wednesday, Art again on Thursday, and PE on Friday. The next week will then begin with Music. If your child is in person make sure to send them with PE appropriate attire on those days.
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Are you a 5th grade parent? Believe it or not - middle school is not that far away. In October various magnet schools shared their programming and how to apply. On Wednesday, October 28th, all fifth grade classes watched a "Virtual Magnet School Presentation" during school hours. Please look at the following link for specific information pertaining to all middle school Baldwin feeds to.

As we get closer to learning the Presidential Election results, we know there are going to be heightened emotions no matter the outcome. Please keep in mind that we have a variety of beliefs and political stances at Baldwin. Remember, you are constantly modeling for your child and they often repeat what they hear. We want to encourage you to stay positive and show students that we can respect each other no matter our differences. Below is a 30 day Emotional Health challenge. We encourage you to use these coping skills as we move forward together as a country.

Don't know what to do with that old Halloween costume? Bring it to Baldwin! We are collecting gently used costumes for students to wear next year. Please wash if possible and drop off in the front office.
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What a month October was for us! Great conversations were had with staff and students around bullying, learning differences, acceptance of others, and anti-racism. If you were not able to join in for the counselor’s lesson on anti-racism, I have linked it so that you can watch it. I have watched it twice and see something different each time. It is based on an age appropriate book dealing with this topic and is a great opportunity to have an open dialogue with your child. Click below to view it.


We are still seeking parent feedback on equity issues and working to become a more inclusive school. If you have some time, please take a moment to fill out this survey.


Looking forward to the month of November, we will have so much to celebrate-Veteran’s Day, Diwali, and Thanksgiving. It is also Native American Heritage month! In addition to acknowledging the many contributions of Native people, it is a great opportunity to educate ourselves and raise general awareness to others. I am including an article for your consideration on deconstructing stereotypes that come up while watching TV and movies with your child. I know that I will be using a more critical eye this holiday season.


The IDEA committee is partnering with PTA for their new take on “Winter Wonderland” as a “Celebration of Light” this year. No doubt many families will participate this year. We would also like to incorporate Diwali, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Hanukkah and Ramadan. If your family is interested in working with us on a display, please contact me (tammy.thompson@austinisd.org)!

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Have you had time to explore the Austin ISD Mobile App? You can see many things easily at a glance, including:


  • District calendar

  • Parent Cloud

  • Parent Self Serve

  • WheresTheBus

  • School Café

  • the School Directory

  • the latest AISD news


Click the button below for more information!

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Come one come all to the amazing, annual Texas Book Festival! Every year, the Texas Book Festival features fantastic books and authors for a variety of audiences to enjoy. This year, the Texas Book Festival will be held virtually. Children’s events will take place November 2nd through November 6th, with a bonus event available on November 11th. Check out the link in this newsletter for more information and opportunities to RSVP to author events. Events will be broadcasted live at the times shown on the schedule, but will be recorded for later viewing if your schedule doesn’t allow you to view an author’s event at their designated time.

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Mark your calendars! Coming soon to a web browser near you, our December Book Fair! This year our December Book Fair will be held virtually. Available books will be showcased in an interactive format, allowing the viewer to engage in the fair as if they were in person. Selecting various books on display will pull up videos and more information about the highlighted book. Proceeds from the book fair help support the Baldwin Library! The best part, the books will be shipped straight to your door! Gearing up for the book fair, the library will be hosting a “First Chapter Friday” every Friday in the month of November. Each showcased book is available on our MackinVIA digital library, the Austin Public Library, and for purchase on December 2nd at our virtual book fair. More information will be coming your way through BLEND as we get closer to the fair, so keep an eye out!


-Mrs. Wright

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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: https://www.austinisd.org/nutrition-food-services/applications-payments

  • Families may also deposit funds in their child's meal account at: https://www.schoolcafe.com/

Recess:

  • 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.)