From Council on At-Risk Youth (CARY):
"In collaboration with several local groups, the first ever CARY summer camp" that took place "at Dobie Middle School for 3 weeks in the month of June" served "80 children and their families," who all reported being "extremely satisfied with the program" providing a safe place, nutritious food, and a diverse group of collaborators offering enriching experiences to kids, informed the nonprofit, stating that it was "honored to have served the Rundberg community," and "looking forward to continue its efforts to keep the momentum of reducing juvenile crime in Austin."
Check out the below slideshow to see what the kids have been up to!
First of all, at its monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of the month (on school year months), the READ group decided to expand to the whole Rundberg area next school year.
Then, READ Beautification Committee members met with each of the "historic" READ schools about the decor they want to see on the additional trash cans to be installed along Rundberg Lane in the fall.
May 13: was CEO For A Day day at Dobie Middle School.
May 14: READ coordinated the Kids Zone activities at the Health Fair put together by Austin Family Support Services of Austin (AFSSA, ex-Saheli) and Austin Voices for Educaiton and Youth in partnership with Austin ISD for refugee families at Dobie Middle School, and had to send a special guest from Dobie Pre-K to talk the shyest kids into leaving their parents for the Kids Zone!
On this occasion, READ also brought North Austin Creatives Chair and Rundberg area artist Stuart Wallace for a mural painting.
Also on May 14: 22 teams gathered for Lanier High School first ever Fútbol Rápido community tournament. As Lanier Sports pointed out, it was a huge success.
May 20: READ kept amazing participants of the Guerrero-Thompson Elementary School Multicultural Celebration by asking them how many languages are spoken in the Rundberg area, and then revealing it's more than 40!
May 27: Austin ISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz announced an expansion of the parent engagement program initiated this year in 5 Rundberg and surrounding areas schools with support from the Kellogg Foundation.
For police officer's appreciation week, the kids working with the Council on At-Risk Youth at Barrington and Hart Elementary Schools wrote thank you cards for the police officers who mentored them, taught them how to resist enrolling into gangs, as well as leadership all along the school year.
Then it was time for the graduation parties!
Summer will be busy too in the Rundberg Educational Advancement District, with the first ever Restore Rundberg summer camp open for free from June 13 to July 14 for all area kids aged 8 to 17 (see contact info above for registration), among other summer camp offers by Gus Garcia Recreation Center, the Asian American Resource Center, the North Austin YMCA, Future All Stars...
The Rundberg area will also host the Texas Community Schools Summit from June 13 to June 15.
And READ is already getting ready for fall asking all READ community members to stock up bottle caps, and to save the date for READ's first meeting of the year 2016-2017 on September 6.]]>
This represents a considerable expansion from the six initial schools located along Rundberg Lane, between North Lamar Boulevard to Cameron Road, from Barrington and Guerrero-Thompson Elementary Schools to Dobie Middle School and Pre-K, including the two charter schools Harmony Science Academy and IDEA Rundberg.
Wooldridge and Padron Elementary, as well as Burnet Middle School, in the Lanier feeder pattern (that also includes Barrington and Guerrero-Thompson Elementary Schools, part of the initial READ perimeter), are now part of READ, as well as Walnut Creek and Hart Elementary, respectively located on Braker and Rutherford Lanes, about 3 miles apart, and the rest of schools included or feeding into the Restore Rundberg grant area (TA Brown and Graham Elementary, Webb Middle School, and Reagan High School, as well as Goodwill Central Texas' Excel Center (a charter high school for adults).
Working together on common events and beautification projects accross the Rundberg area (more on the Current projects page), those 17 schools representing thousands of students have the capacity to rebrand the Rundberg area as a vibrant group of neighborhoods focused on its strengths: its youth and families.]]>
Photo: Education Austin.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Lanier High School Family Resource Center operated by Austin Voices for Education and Youth took place this Tuesday, April 12 in presence of AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz, among others.
More on the new Family Resource Center in the September blog post announcing the opening of the facility at the beginning of the year,
and in the February blog post announcing the beginning of operations at 1111 Fairfield Drive.]]>
READ Spring Fest kicked off with egg hunts (here at Harmony Science Academy).
At Dobie Middle School, the Danza Azteca company added an artistic and festive touch to the event to the community gathering.
And while Harmony Science Academy students regrouped for a photo op before taking on Rundberg Lane with their READ T-shirts,
Danza Azteca also led the Dobie Middle School group to Gus Garcia Rec Center.
There, City Council member Greg Casar
as well as Austin Independent School District Board Trustee Ann Teich welcomed the students and their families.
Frost Bank (represented by Associate Vice-President Robert Shipman, center) was recognized for their generous donation, enabling READ to finance T-shirts for all participants in the Spring Fest.
While adults focused on the speeches, kids started getting busy at the crafts table made available by the North Austin YMCA.
The Y also had activities for adults.
East Austin "artist Ethan Azarian together with students at McBee Elementary School will transform an old retaining wall at McBee Elementary on Braker Lane in North Austin into a beautiful public art work," announced the muralist when launching his Amplify Austin fundraising campaign for this 200 feet long mural. He has until March 8 to reach his goal of raising $2,500 for the project. People supporting the idea can do so at AmplifyATX.ILiveHereIGiveHere.org/bluecowstudio.]]>
Picture of the event posted on Dobie Middle School Facebook page.
"Over 1,400 University of Texas students, staff members, and alumni worked from 10am-5pm at 90 different sites in the Rundberg area" on Saturday, announced The Project, "the University of Texas' largest day of service", on its Facebook page, linking to a Statesman story on the topic.
The Love North Austin blog details how the event impacted Rundberg area schools. Read the full post at LoveNorthAustin.com.]]>
In Austin, three walk-ins were organized at Hart Elementary School (see pictures below), Burnet and Webb Middle Schools by the teachers union Education Austin, in partnership with the Austin Independent School District, that "embraces the Community School approach," and the nonprofit Austin Voices for Education and the Youth making this community schools model a reality in and near the Rundberg area, with the Reagan High School feeder pattern community school project and its four Family Resource Centers at Dobie Middle School, Webb Middle School, Lanier High School, and Burnet Middle School (not to mention the work done in the Eastside Memorial Vertical Team)
"Hundreds walked in to support the schools all our children deserve, bands played, kids spoke, and parents signed up to volunteer," summed up Austin Voices on its Facebook page, describing the action as a "great time to support fully-funded community schools".
Parents, educators, children and community members gathered in front of Hart Elementary at 7:15am as part of this national day of action also taking place at Burnet and Webb Middle Schools.
The group then proceeded to walk into the school.
And with Hart Parent Support Specialist Veronica Salazar facilitating the conversation, the participants discussed their motivations to support a community school and ways to take the work done so far to the next level.]]>
Arabic-speaking families gathered in Dobie Middle School cafeteria, where a breakfast was offered prior to the meeting, from 10:30am on Saturday. Volunteer University of Texas Arabic language students translated to and from Arabic for each group of parents.
Childcare was provided by Austin Voices for Education and the Youth, an advocate for community schools managing the North Austin Family Resource Center (among others) and a partner of the event that provided the breakfast as well as a halal lunch.
An Austin Independent School District staff member captured all feedback received from parents during the event in order to take it into account when planning for more and better parents engagement at schools with high refugee populations like the ones in the Rundberg Educational Advancement District.
Different speakers concluded the event. Here, Dobie Middle School principal Maggie Raujo (right) translated by English/Arabic Austin ISD Parent Support Coordinator Ban Al-Baghdadi (center).
"We heard mostly about the need to help those families navigate the school system, that is totally new to them, since most of them are recent refugees, as well as need for housing, food, and transportation support," summed up Tona Vasquez from the Austin School District Parent Support Office, explaining that this feedback was sought as part of the first phase of a grant that would enable the School District to plan for more and better parents engagement in schools with high refugee populations like the ones in the Rundberg Educational Advancement District, where dozens of languages are spoken.]]>
Lanier High School new Family Resource Center staff: Jocelyn Cornell, Director and Community School Coordinator; Louise Hanks, Social Worker; and Yeraldin Yordi, administrative assistant, fluent in English and Spanish, but also arabic.
The new Family Resource Center at Lanier High School began operating at the beginning of the year, as planned, but while the portable destined to host the FRC is being installed, it's out of the Council on At-Risk Youth office at this school.
The three persons team operating the new FRC (employed by the nonprofit Austin Voices for Education and the Youth) is now about to move into its own portable, that families from the whole Lanier area (high school students' parents, but also parents of kids attending the schools feeding into Lanier, and other neighbors from the 78758, 78757 and 78753 zipcodes) will be able to access directly from Fairfield Drive (no need to visit the school's office in order to access the Family Resource Center), and will soon be in full swing, since the FRC social worker already started meeting with families identified through a survey distributed at the beginning of the school year, and partnering organizations will soon have office hours giving access to more social services, as well as classes.
As part of the Lanier community School Project, Community School Coordinators were also recently hired for Burnet Middle School as well as Cook and Wooldridge Elementaries to recruit and coordinate student and family support services.]]>
"We want to hear about the hopes and dreams you have for your children, how we can work as a team to ensure your child’s success, share opportunities with you on how you can be a leader at your child’s school," says the flyer, advising to contact AISD Parent Support Office's Administrative Assistant Tona Vasquez at firstname.lastname@example.org, North Austin School Alliance Director Jose carrasco at email@example.com, or call English/Arabic Austin ISD Parent Support Coordinator Ban Al-Baghdadi at (512) 414-0510 with questions.
"ARABIC & PASHTO Interpreters will be present" at the event, concludes the flyer.]]>
On Saturday December 5, 80 trees were planted at Barrington Elementary by the Urban Forestry program of the City of Austin and an army of volunteers mobilized by the school, but also organizations like Keep Austin Beautiful and the Rundberg Educational Advancement District.
This well-knowned muralist, also experienced in educational projects, led a three hours mural painting activity. The easels supporting the plywood sheet the kids painted were custom-made by another North Austin Creatives member, Round Rock-based artist J Jolie Tan.
Representing children playing under a rainbow, the mural was designed to send the message to keep Barrington park (that is shared with the community) beautiful. It will be hung on the school's fence in the upcoming weeks.
Tree planters and painters, everyone stayed energized thanks to Einstein Bros. bagels and Taqueria Guadalajara tacos donations sought by READ partner the Council on At-Risk youth. At the school's invitation, Blue Cross Blue Schield of Texas donated the cream cheese to spread on the bagels. The school PTA also had a drinks and snacks sale.]]>
Prior to making arrangements with other friends and the Rundberg Educational Advancement District for delivering the pianos to the schools, Nathan Felix also had thrown a home concert, Classical Music Kegger, designed to both "present classical music in settings that are not as high-brow as normal concerts" and seek donations in order to keep the pianos tuned through out the school year.
In front of the Dobie middle school orchestra class, Nathan Felix explained that "he grew up in the community" and wanted to "give back". He might repeat the operation in the future, and Dobie middle school Orchestra teacher Dallas Shreve is more eager than ever to start a piano class.
Dobie middle school Orchestra teacher Dallas Shreve played as soon as the piano destined for the school was unloaded.
Rundberg area muscian and composer Nathan Felix explained to Dobie middle school students practicing for their holiday concert that he wanted to invest in them because "they were the future".
The class gave thanks by playing for the musician an the rest of the Rundberg Educational Advancement District group.]]>
The Rundberg Educational Advancement District is proud to announce the City of Austin Urban Forestry program tree planting event planned at Barrington Elementary for Saturday December 5 from 10am to 1pm has grown into a community event thanks to the participation of different community members and continued support from READ partners.
On top of the planting of dozens of trees requiring as many volunteers:
- Lamar and Rundberg's Running Man will perform;
- Muralist Fidencio Durán will lead a mural painting activity in which children will send the message not to trash their park with inputs from Keep Austin Beautiful and the Austin Police area District Representative;
- And a free bagels and tacos breakfast will be provided.
This event is made possible by support from the City of Austin Police Region 2 District Representatives and Urban Forestry program, the Council on At-Risk Youth, Keep Austin Beautiful, North Austin Creatives, and the North Lamar contact team.
We hope many of us will join us!
RSVP on Facebook.
Sign up for volunteering on Keep Austin Beautiful's website.]]>
At last Burnet School Alliance meeting, Sarah Martinez (center) brought food donations collected by her son to start a food pantry at Burnet middle school to be managed by Chadima Abrego (left) and Sandra Chavera (right).
After attending Burnet School Alliance's October meeting and learning from Burnet Middle School Family Resource Center Director Chadima Abrego and Parent Support Specialist Sandra Chavera that the main issue experienced by Burnet students and their families was food insecurity, Travis County Underage Drinking Program Manager Sarah Martinez brought up that issue to her son, and "he decided to host a food donation drive at his school," tells this proud mom.
8th grade student Noah Hanson "found his orchestra director, and then went to talk to his principal. Both liked the idea, and the school helped promote the donation drive. But my son put the website WRMSOrchestraFoodDrive.weebly.com on his own," adds this impressed mother.
Donations collected between November 3 and 13 were more than sufficient to start Burnet middle school food pantry that will be managed by both the school's Parent Support Specialist and Family resource Center. People interested in making non-perishable food donations are invited to contact Chadima Abrego at (512) 841-8288 and Chadima.Abrego@AustinISD.org or Sandra Chavera at (512) 414-3225 and Sandra.Chavera@AustinISD.org.]]>
An organization chart in Barrington's hall helps the school community familiarize itself with its new members.
There are lots of new faces at Barrington Elementary School. "We have a total of 10 new teachers," says Principal Gilma Sanchez after doing a recount. One of those new teachers is a pre-K teacher. "Because of high enrollment, a second class was opened for that level."
Parent Support Specialist Lilia Rodriguez and Communities in Schools Program Manager Nicky Johnson, both new faces to Barrington.
"And we have new PTA officers," adds Parent Support Specialist Lilia Rodriguez, who also recently joined the school and is helping the group grow its membership and getting organized.
A youth advisor from the Council for At-Risk Youth (CARY), Denisse Pinzon, also joined Barrington half time (She works at Hart Elementary the rest of the time.) to conduct the violence prevention program PeaceRox.
When it comes to academics, the school has a new math programs for the students and would like to add one for reading, in order to promote literacy within its diverse population. 53.2% students are English Language Learners.
A new English as a Second Language titled "Maestro en Casa" just started for parents.
Cesar Bobadilla is the leader of the new Boy Scouts troop.
Barrington also hopes to find new funds for after-school programming. A Boy Scouts troop has already been started and the school is interested in getting in touch with community members willing to volunteer at the school.
Previous installments of our "What's new in the Rundberg Educational District?":
Photo: IDEA Public Schools.
IDEA Public Schools latest's newsletter gives a glimpse of their Farm to School Program and contains an announcement for Central Texas schools like IDEA Rundberg: "Over the course of the next 3 years, the IDEA Farm Program plans to add 5-7 school gardens and 1-2 farms in Central Texas."
"Now more Central Texas school cafeterias will have the opportunity to serve food directly from an IDEA farm.
You can read the full newsletter online.]]>
Dobie Middle School not only changed from the outside this school year (after hundred volunteers renovated the campus on September 12th). Under a new principal (Maggie Araujo, coming from El Paso) leadership, it is also changing from the inside. "Dobie did not meet Texas Education Agency's standards for the 2014-2015 school year, so we generated a plan, as a campus, to address the needs of the entire Dobie community," explains Maggie Araujo.
"One of the goals [the school has set for itself as part of that plan] is to continue to improve the school culture." "To improve school climate, we have implemented our "3Bs" motto. Be respectful, Be Safe, Be Responsible", and "all members of the Dobie family have adopted these expectations readily," says the new principal. "On the contrary, we have a feeling that kids realize it's safe to speak."
The second major aspect of J. Frank Dobie College Prep Academy's improvement plan is to develop teaching that integrates language and content instructions for English Language Learners (that represent 42.5% of the students body of 654 students). The goal here is to increase the academic achievement of students whose mother tongue is not English. But that's far from the only academic innovation for the 2015-2016 school year at Dobie!
"We also changed the schedule to eight 90 minute periods that allow more time for student centered activities, project-based learning, intervention in reading and math, etc.," announces principal Araujo.
In line with the school's full name (J. Frank Dobie College Prep Academy), focus on college preparedness has also been increased. On top of increasing the number of students enrolled in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (or AVID) college readiness program, it is now possible for Dobie 6th graders to take Advancement Placement Spanish classes so that they can take Advancement Placement tests as 8th graders in two years and obtain college credits. Algebra college credits are also available for those ready to study hard. And through Career and Technical Education courses, students at Dobie can choose to take Automation and Robotics, Web Design or Medical Detective classes, and be able to apply to the Reagan High School engineering program, that enables students to graduate with both a High School Degree and an Associate Degree from Austin community college.
Lio de Jesus, Launchpad new Programs Director.
Additionally, new after school program to help recent immigrant students with homework and English just started. Principal Araujo will invite the main Dobie after school program, Launchpad (that has hired a new Programs Director, Lio de Jesus, and now offers drone construction, video game design and film making workshops), to participate in the newly formed Professional Learning Community "in order to reinforce what's learned in classrooms during after school activities like chess, that develop logical thinking, or reading."
There are quite a few other new staff members at Dobie, since the administrative team was almost entirely renewed. There's a new youth advisor in the Council on At-Risk Youth (or CARY) portable, and a Family Resource Center staffed with two full time employees that didn't exist a year ago (it opened in January). "A Restorative Justice position is also being filled," indicates Maggie Araujo, who regularly updates Dobie's website, JFrankDobie.tx.aim.schoolinsites.com, with the latest news.
Excitement will be in the air at the end of the month when a music, dance and trick or treating festival takes place on Friday October 30 from 5 to 8 pm. The following day, Halloween, CARY will launch a new artistic and cleanup activity in the school garden on Saturday the 31st from 10 am to 12 pm. A second dance session will takes place on Sunday the 1st of November. Dobie is definitely the place to be for many children and their families!
Previous installments of our "What's new in the Rundberg Educational District?":