Cougar PRIDE Families,
It’s going to be another great week at Casis! Last week, we were thrilled to welcome Mac Barnett back to Casis for our annual Author Visit event. It was such an exciting day of presentations and book-signings. And the luncheon with the staff was simply amazing. Special thanks to our Librarian, Courtney Ewing, and our Parent Volunteers, who made this event so very memorable for us all. Spring Conferences will continue through this month, as needed. As we continue our work together this second semester, there is still much to learn, to do, and to look forward to. We will also continue to focus on student learning growth and enrichment opportunities, as well as on safe and secure practices. Please see important information for the week below.
LATEST SCHOOL NEWS
SILVER ‘RAVE’ AWARD PIN FOR FEBRUARY
The RAVE (Recognizing All Valuable Employees) program exists to recognize AISD employees who take the extra steps to provide equitable and exceptional experiences for our students, families, staff, and community members. Campus Principals have been provided with ‘Silver Rave’ pins to acknowledge local staff members each month. The recipients for the month of February are three of our Special Education Teachers: Amy Morton, Alexandria Orr, and Patricia South. This team within a team are specialized educators (aka Resource Teachers) that focus on helping children with learning difficulties to develop their reading, writing, and/or math skills. Due to a change in special education laws, there have been a large number of referrals for special education evaluations this school year. These Teachers are tasked with preparing and monitoring these new individual student plans, in addition to continue servicing their current year caseload of students. As you can imagine, these circumstances present great challenges, but these teachers have taken on the added responsibilities with grace and fortitude. We do anticipate hiring an additional teacher in our special education program, in order to provide some relief to these teachers, but for now, they are facing these challenges head on, in the interest of providing the highest quality of service they can. We offer a huge thanks and deep appreciation to these stellar educators for all of their hard work and effort. Ms. Morton, Ms. Orr, and Ms. South are simply the best and so very deserving of this month’s recognition. Kudos to these very special Special Education Teachers!
SCHOOL HOLIDAY (PRESIDENTS’ DAY)
Monday, February 19, will be a School Holiday, in recognition of Presidents’ Day. Presidents’ Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February of each year to honor all people who served as presidents of the United States. Since 1879, this special day has been the federal holiday honoring George Washington, who led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolutionary War, presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and was the first U.S. President. Congress proposed a Uniformed Monday Holiday Act to offer more 3-day weekends for the nation’s workers. It’s also notable that Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is February 12, which is often highlighted on Presidents’ Day as well. Whether you will be enjoying time with family or some special retail sales during this upcoming three-day weekend, please take some time to reflect on the importance of strong and principled leadership in our city, state, country, and world. Happy Presidents’ Day!
ADMINISTRATIVE COFFEE CHAT FOR FEBRUARY
Casis Administration will host a series of meetings during the school year, to engage with parents about various school topics and happenings. During these informal meetings, Mr. Tinnon and Ms. Navickas will share school information and dialogue with parents about school topics of their choice. The goal of this platform is to build our shared knowledge and make community connections. Our next ‘Administrative Chat’ will take place on Friday, February 23 at 8:00a.m. in the Casis Community Room. Please note that this will be the last scheduled Administrative Chat this semester. We look forward to having some very authentic conversations with our learning community.
PROSPECTIVE PARENT TOUR
Prospective Parent Tours are great opportunities for families to get to learn about our school culture and programming, as well as take a tour of our new facility and amazing outdoor learning spaces. School Administration and PTA Leadership will lead these adult only tours. We look forward to sharing and showing all of the things that make Casis Elementary such a stellar educational choice for their children. The next tour of this school year will take place on Wednesday, February 28 at 9am – 10am. Can’t wait to show these potential new families our amazing school community!
NEWS FROM THE PRINCIPAL
SPRING PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES
At Casis Elementary, Elementary Parent Conferences will be scheduled between Monday, February 5 – Thursday, February 29. Conferences scheduled in the Spring may be traditional (parent-teacher), student-led, or optional, based on the grade level and student progress/performance concerns. No matter the format, Teachers will still share information about student progress/performance for all students. During this window, please know that conferences may be requested by either the Teacher or Parents. Parents can then expect the ‘3rd 9-Weeks Report Cards’ to be available in their Parent Portal by Wednesday, April 3.
STATE REPORT DOCUMENTS FOR CASIS
2022 – 2023 Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR) and Federal Report Cards for Texas Schools are now available and can be accessed online. These reports provide the most current school performance data available from the state. Along with providing information about student performance on the STAAR test, information about enrollment, class size averages, and financial expenditures are included as well. For reported information about Casis Elementary, see the following link: Casis School Report Card Documents. This link will be updated, as more reports become available from the State of Texas.
NEW ENROLLMENT SYSTEM NOW OPEN
AISD has moved to a new unified enrollment system for families interested in their neighborhood school, transfer schools, application-based programs, or Pre-Kindergarten. The move to this new “Enroll Austin” system is meant to make enrollment more accessible and equitable by providing a more streamlined platform all in one place. Registration will be split into two periods: (1) Priority Registration Period (Nov. 8, 2023 – Feb. 6, 2024) and (2) General Registration Period (April, 2024 – Summer, 2024). Visit www.austinisd.org/enroll to access the enrollment application or go to portal.austinisd.org and find the “Enroll Austin” tile. If families have questions, please go to the Find Your Seat Call Center at (512) 414-SEAT (7328) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the weekday. Want to learn more? Please explore the Enroll Austin FAQs.
LOST & FOUND REMINDER
As the winter months are upon us, we anticipate a higher loss of winter items at school, like coats, gloves, hats, and other layer apparel. Families should be sure that all student items are labeled, labeled, labeled (First & Last Name), so that it is much easier to reunite those items with the students. Students should be encouraged to regularly check the Lost & Found Bins that are located in the front and back of our school. During morning drop-offs or lunch-visits, Parents are encouraged to regularly check for lost items as well. Casis Parents, Michele Karp, Morgan Gaddis and Mary Polan, are our ‘Lost & Found Coordinators’ and we truly appreciate their support and leadership in this area. Thanks in advance to everyone for your cooperation and vigilance.
FAMILY LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS
AISD’s Special Education, Section 504, and Dyslexia Departments are sponsoring Empower Hour Sessions for families throughout the 2023 – 2024 school year. These one-hour sessions are designed to provide valuable information, resources, and support to families on various topics. Both virtual and in-person sessions are available. We hope that families will avail themselves of these community learning and engagement opportunities.
SEL & EQUITY PRACTICES
In Austin ISD and at Casis Elementary, we believe that Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is at the heart of equity-centered systems and structures. Our goal is to use and grow our social and emotional skills, while creating brave, respectful, collaborative spaces that support all students, staff, families and communities throughout our district and in our learning community. Throughout the school year, we will teach specific skills-building strategies to our students, in order to develop important character traits, like respect, empathy, compassion, and friendships. Mindfulness strategies and principles will also be a common core of this instruction as well. Administration, Teachers, and Support Staff will all be working with students throughout the school year to develop a strong social/emotional foundation, that includes building a lens of fairness and equity for all, no matter the differences among us.
The SEL word for the month of February is Conflict Resolution. Conflict Resolution is when two or more people work together to peacefully solve a problem. Some common steps to solving a problem include (1) naming the problem, (2) thinking of solutions, (3) exploring what might happen with different solutions, and then (4) picking the best solution together.
The Equity word for the month of February is Upstanding. Upstanding means what it sounds like – STANDING UP. An upstander speaks up when they see someone being attacked and bullied. They work to promote justice and fairness everywhere they go. They recognize and interrupt stereotypes in their community and even in their friend group.
Following is a resources sheet for the month of February that will help support these two important concepts, both at school and at home. FEBRUARY RESOURCES SHEET
- February – National African American Heritage Month
- February – Career and Technical Education Month
- Thurs., Feb. 15 – PTA General Meeting at 6:00pm (Community Room)
- Mon., Feb. 19 – School Holiday (Presidents’ Day)
- Fri., Feb. 23 – Administrative Coffee Chat at 8:00am (Community Room)
- Mon., Feb. 26 – Fri., Mar. 1 – AISD Food Service Workers Appreciation Week
- Wed., Feb. 28 – Prospective Parent Tour at 9am
TRAFFIC SAFETY PROCEDURES
Please adhere to the guidelines in your particular arrival/dismissal area (Front Circle Drive or North Parking Lot). See Arrival & Dismissal Plan here. We continually ask for your patience and cooperation in exercising safe practices in your area.
Additionally, please see the following reminders/updates:
- Walkers should use crosswalks at all times.
- Bikers should park bikes at bike racks and walk bikes through crosswalks.
- Drivers should ALWAYS be aware of our foot and bike traffic.
- Drivers should consider TURNING OFF ENGINES when not moving forward.
- Avoid Parking in the Casis Village, if conducting school business.
- Front Circle Drive & Hillview areavailable for parent parking during the day.
- The North Parking Lot is designated for staff parking only.
- Vehicles using the North Parking Lot during arrival and dismissal (3rd – 5th) should be aware of all walkers who are using the parking lot crosswalks.
- Vehicles cued on Northwood for Circle Drive afternoon pick-up should remain in one moving line to avoid double-parking.
- Vehicles who need to enter the North Parking Lot for morning/afternoon drop-offs/pick-ups of 3rd – 5th graders may safely by-pass the ‘Circle Drive’ vehicles to enter the parking lot.
We ask that everyone exercise extra caution and patience. Adherence will help to maintain safety for all. We truly appreciate everyone’s compliance with the above requests.