July Principal Newsletter
Dear Mountain Lion Families,
The countdown begins! Every summer, our custodians have the enormous task of ensuring that the campus is cleaned from top to bottom. Ms. Margaret and her team work seamlessly to ensure that every inch of the school gets their attention. As you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking. They move furniture, wax floors, dust, vacuum, disinfect, etc. The school is sparkling due to their hard work. Please send our custodial team a shout out of gratitude when you see them.
From the office staff, to the custodians, to teachers, administrators, and everyone in between, It truly does take a village to get a campus ready for our students. Our staff is committed to ensuring that we lay the foundation for an incredible year of learning for every incoming Mountain Lion student. That commitment means that consideration is given to every detail that contributes to a successful beginning of year launch. As John Wooden said, 'It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.'
Enjoy these amazing (albeit hot) summer days, as August 15 will be here before we know it! Around town, I've seen kids cruising on their bikes, playing in splash pads, and out to lunch with their families. On the flip side, it is equally as fun seeing excited students shopping for school supplies and new back to school gear. I've run into several Mountain Lions at Target!
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or curiosities, please reach out. We are happy to assist and support you. Feel free to call the front office beginning Monday, July 25 with any questions about the upcoming school year.
Take care and see you soon!
Joe Dan Mills, Jr. Elementary School
From the Mills PTA
Our Mills PTA is excited to welcome all Mountain Lions back to school in August. The PTA exists to foster collaboration among parents, teachers, and staff so that we can create a vibrant, successful learning community for our children. To that end, we are planning many exciting activities for the upcoming school year. In mid-August, we'll begin our membership drive and we'll start promoting upcoming events. Until then, we have a handful of opportunities for summer fun.
The PTA is hosting a handful of playdates for incoming kindergartners. This is a good chance for new students to meet potential classmates before coming to Mills in August. Please see the playdate schedule below:
* July 23rd (Saturday)- 11am at Metcalf BBQ
* August 4th (Thursday)- 9am at Mills Playground (enter near the blacktop in the back parking lot!)
* August 6th (Saturday)- 10am at Circle C Metro Park
* August 13th (Saturday)- 10am at Dick Nichols (ALSO OPEN TO INCOMING PRE-K STUDENTS!) Students will receive their class assignments prior to this play date, and we will post colors for each teacher prior to the playdate. If interested, students can wear the color assigned to their new teacher and more easily meet their new classmates.
For those of you with older Mountain Lions, come join us for Dirt Club fun on August 13th at 9am. The PTA Dirt Club helps make the Mills grounds beautiful and safe, and we rely on volunteer labor to help with landscaping. Bring the family and come help us get the school grounds ready for the first day of school. Bring gloves and water and meet us up at school from 9a to noon! (Come for any or all of that time - we appreciate any help we get.) The PTA will provide donuts and door prizes.
For more PTA info, please join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/JoeDanMillsElementary. With specific questions, reach out to Christy, our PTA president, at email@example.com We look forward to seeing you all soon!
Update on School Lunches
Below is an update shared today (7/13/22) from the Food Services department of Austin ISD. Please read and ensure your child's school lunch account is updated if you wish to purchase school meals for your child for the upcoming school year.
Beginning in June, Food Service resumed pre pandemic operations, affecting which schools and students are eligible for free meals. The Department of Agriculture pandemic-related waivers that allowed us to provide free meals for all students, as well as free summer and afterschool meals at any school, expired at the end of the 2021-22 school year.
All students will no longer automatically receive free breakfast and lunch.
Students may be determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals through a variety of ways, outlined below.
Beginning on the first day of school, students will dine using their current meal status - free, reduced-price, or paid. There is no 30-day grace period like in the past.
We encourage families to complete a meal benefit application prior to the start of school to avoid accruing any negative balances.
Students may add funds to their account by bringing cash to the cafeteria or caregivers may make online payments through their SchoolCafé account. Online payments are subject to a processing fee. https://www.schoolcafe.com/austinisd
If students exhaust their meal accounts, they may charge meals at any meal service as follows:
Students in elementary and middle school may charge up to three meals.
Once a student reaches their charge limit, if the account is not replenished, the student shall receive a courtesy meal, their choice of the available menu items for that day.
We will notify caregivers of any negative meal account balances.
All campuses will offer healthy à la carte Smart Snacks available for purchase. Students may purchase using cash or funds on their SchoolCafé account. Parents may set à la carte restrictions on a student's account by contacting their café manager.
Free Meal Eligibility:
Students at your school may receive free meals by meeting one of the following criteria:
Directly certified through state-funded benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Directly certified through foster care; migrant, homeless, or runaway programs; Head Start, or state-sponsored pre-K programs.
Determined eligible by completing a free or reduced-price meal benefits application.
Paperwork for Your School - Meal Benefit Applications:
Your school will collect meal benefit applications from any student that is not directly certified, as outlined above, to determine if they are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
We encourage online meal benefit applications for quicker and more efficient processing. Online applications will go live in July, accessible by creating an account at www.SchoolCafe.com/AustinISD.
In August, Food Service will provide paper applications to your school. Completed applications will return to the Cafe Manager, who will submit to Food Service Business Support for processing.
All schools may collect Income Verification Forms to maintain campus demographic data, this information is submitted online or returned to the AISD Office of Accountability and Assessment.
STAAR Scores Available in the Parent Portal
Students took the STAAR tests earlier this spring as one of many ways to measure student learning. The STAAR tests will help schools and teachers better understand where students may have gaps from the disruptions to learning caused by the pandemic. Teachers will use STAAR results along with other information to co-create learning plans with families to jumpstart learning next year.
- Log in to the Austin ISD Parent Portal.
- Navigate to the Frontline SIS Parent Self Service tile.
- You will be directed to log into Frontline Education using your same User ID and Password as the Austin ISD parent portal.
- Once logged in, click on the Texas Assessment Parent Portal link next to your student’s name.
- The Texas Assessment page will open and list all STAAR results, with the most recent listed at the top. These results will include detailed breakdowns in each subject, identifying your child’s strengths as well as areas where they may need additional support.
Families have told us that seeing which questions their child got incorrect has been the most useful. You will also see easy-to-use resources that can be used at home over the remainder of the summer focused on the skills your child needs the most support with.
The partnership between families and schools has never been more important. We encourage you to log in and learn more. Use this information along with your own observations from the past year and your child’s grades to create a learning plan with teachers in the fall to help your child succeed.
Read All About It- Summer Reading and Tips from Mrs. Rasmussen!
Summer Student Device Support
In order to support needs with Austin ISD devices over the summer, there will be two locations for families to bring devices in need of repair to swap for a replacement:
North Location, Gus Garcia YMLA (gymnasium)
10 am - 2 pm on July 13, 20, & 27
South Location, Cunningham Elementary (cafeteria)
10 am - 2 pm on July 14, 21, & 28
More info is available on our website: https://www.austinisd.org/technology/help. Additional family and caregiver resources can be found on our Family Technology Resources website.
Once the school year begins, our Technology support specialist, Tracie DaSilva will be available to support students and families with tech needs.
July 23: Kinder playdate, 11am Metcalf BBQ (PTA Sponsored)
July 27: Mills Summer Library, 10am-12pm
August 4: Kinder playdate, 9am Mills Playground (PTA Sponsored)
August 6: Kinder playdate, 10am Circle C Metro Park
August 10: Teacher assignments shared via email with families
August 12: Meet the Teacher (Kinder-5th) 8:30am-9:30am; 9:30am-12pm Pre-K Meet the Teacher
August 13: Mills Dirt Club Workday, 9am (PTA Sponsored)
August 13: Pre-K & Kinder Playdate, 10am Dick Nichols Park (PTA Sponsored)
August 15: First Day of School, Doors Open 7:30am
August 24: Principal Coffee (Mills Cafeteria: Time: TBD)
August 31 : Back to School Night Pre-Kinder-2nd Grade, 5:30pm-6:30pm
September 1: Back to School Night 3rd Grade-5th Grade 5:30pm-6:30pm
September 5: Student & Staff Holiday, Labor Day
September 12: Campus Advisory Council (CAC) Meeting via Zoom 3:30pm
September 21: Fall Pictures
School Supply Lists
Austin ISD School Year Calendar
Twitter: @AustinISD @MillsMtnLions
Mills PTA Website: https://millspta.org/