Roadrunner Rundown – Lee Olympics!

April 20, 2018

Roadrunner Families,
This Saturday is our Roadie Work Day from 9:00-12:00. We will be collaborating on a creative mural on our Art Portable, working on our student gardens and green spaces and preparing the campus for Lee Olympics. We hope you will be able to join us.

We are in the final phases of our first ever Russell Lee Elementary Yearbook. Lee father and head of our Photography Club, Stephen Hood is working on the layout and compiling photos from throughout the year. It is going to be a great way to look back at all the amazing things that happened this year. You can follow this link to purchase for delivery in the last weeks of May:

Next week, I will be holding our next Principal’s Coffee in collaboration with our counselor, Leah Gilbert. There have been a number of requests to hold a Principal’s Coffee on the topic of student safety following recent regional and national events. We will be prepared to answer questions related to student safety, but this will be an open forum coffee to address any other questions or concerns from our Lee families. The coffee will be held in the library on Thursday morning following drop off at 8:00.

On Friday, it is the event that so many of our Roadrunners have been waiting for – Lee Olympics! Coach Huff is back from another successful completion of the Boston Marathon and has been preparing our Roadrunners for our annual field day event. More detailed schedules are going out through grade level communications. There will be a wide variety of team and individual events and the weather is looking good! We hope you will be able to join us!

As we look toward the end of the school year and planning for next year, I have shared a survey in an e-mail that went out today to all Lee families. We would appreciate it if you would all take a moment to provide us with valuable feedback:

In last week’s edition of We Are Lee, we heard from our Kindergarten Team about their long history with Social Emotional Learning and how they still work to learn the latest teaching strategies on behalf of our students. Read on to learn some of their “tricks of the trade” and the enduring power of collaboration.


We Are Lee: It’s good to know you’re all in it together until the end. So I just found out recently that when the kids come in from the playground, you dump all the pebbles from the kids’ shoes into a bucket. Are there any other little techniques that we parents don’t know about?

Ms. Stanfield: Millions.

Ms. Stanfield: It’s the little things, like if there’s a knot in their shoelace, you use a paperclip to undo the knot in their shoe. Little things like that.

Ms. Stanfield: And no one ever knows how to tie their shoes.

Ms. Manning: And don’t ever put a belt on a boy.

Ms. Stanfield: Never.

Ms. Manning: Ever.

Ms. Gonzales: At least, not in kindergarten, because they wait way too long to
have to go to the bathroom. By the time they get the belt undone, it’s just all over.

Ms. Stanfield: I think it’s very difficult for the parents to transition from preschool to kindergarten. Some of them say, “This 7:45 is killing me.”

Ms. Stanfield: And the thing is, you guys live in the neighborhood. If I can get here in time, you can get here in time. And I had kids I had to tow with me from Northwest Austin, you know.

Ms. Gonzales: None of us live in the neighborhood. We all have a good commute, for sure.

We Are Lee: Really? What time do you guys get here?

Ms. Stanfield: 7:00.

Ms. Gonzales: I leave my house at 6:30.

We Are Lee: That’s a long day, you guys. You have to get up early.

Ms. Manning: 5:30.

We Are Lee: How do you guys keep your cool throughout the day? It’s a lot of stimulation. I just came for lunch today and it was like, “Whoa!” It’s so fun and stimulating for 25 minutes, but you guys are here…

Ms. Stanfield: Seven hours, 22 five-year-olds, and I’m asking them to do things that they don’t always want to do. You know, it’s fun …But it’s a lot of hard work. And the thing is, I understand that if we’re having a bad day, it’s usually on my shoulders,… I’m in charge. And sometimes, for whatever reason–physical, or my daughter is making me crazy, or whatever it is– if I come in here with a bad attitude, they’re all going to feel it, and things go down from there. I have to check myself. I realize, “Okay, I have a choice. I can do this or I can do this.”

We Are Lee: So you can FEEL a bad day?

Ms. Gonzales: Oh, for sure.

Ms. Stanfield: Oh, heavens yes.

Ms. Manning: Instantaneously. Full moons, drop in the pressure, storms coming on, windy days … Windy days make them, just, frantic.

Ms. Gonzales: Yeah, you can see it on the playground. It will look like you’ve kicked an ant pile. It’s just this crazy energy going around. We’ll be like, what’s going on? Look up, “Oh, full moon.”

We Are Lee: Are there any things you would like parents to know?

Ms. Manning: Read everything we send home. If we take the time to write a note, to type a note, to stick it in your folder, please read it.

Ms. Stanfield: And then if you have any questions, talk to us.

Ms. Gonzales: Exactly. The source, please. Because we are more than happy to talk about it. I think, for me, the thing that I think is the most important thing is to realize, one, we’re all moms. Even though there’s 1,000 different ways to be a mom, we understand the heart of a mom. Everything that we say to you about your child or that we do with your child, is because we love what we do. We didn’t go into education for money and fame. So if we have a concern, if we have a question, if we’re trying to work with you on something, it’s out of a love and desire for your child to be successful, and it’s not-

Ms. Stanfield: A gotcha moment.

Ms. Gonzales: It’s not a gotcha. It’s not that we are judging you as being a bad parent. Our whole purpose in life is to have your child be as successful as they can be, and if we’re not working as team, if we’re not doing this together, and it’s you against us, we aren’t going to get very far. As the foundation of school, I think the most important thing is that your kid sees that parents and the teacher are working together for the betterment of the child. Their social health, their emotional health, and their physical health, and their education.
I’m always, if we tell you something that is a struggle with your child, we don’t get bonus points for that. It’s hard to confront parents about things that are touchy and scary.

Ms. Stanfield: And we’re the frontline.

Ms. Gonzales: And so, because we’re the first real schoolteacher, a lot of times we have to bring up a lot of things … You know, if that’s the only kid you’ve ever had, and it’s your first one in school, you don’t know where your kid’s supposed to be. You don’t have anything to compare it to. I just want parents to realize that we are working as their partner and that we’re never trying to be ugly or make anybody feel bad or judge. It’s that we’re trying to help your kid be as successful as they can.

Ms. Manning: If a mom and dad’s heart is hurting, ours is too.

Ms. Stanfield: We would hope that they would trust. We have raised thousands of children.

Ms. Gonzales: John figured it was over 2,000.

Ms. Stanfield: Yeah, thousands of children. And when I say “raised”, you invest your heart into this child. We have raised so many kids, so we probably have a pretty good understanding of, developmentally, what a five-year-old is like. Hopefully, they would trust us.

Ms. Manning: My children have learning issues, and I’ve been there. I understand what that looks like. If we’re in a meeting and I’m saying that, I do get it. We feel it.

Ms. Manning: We don’t want to share that kind of news, either. I’ve lost a lot of sleep just wondering about what’s the right way to say something.

Ms. Gonzales: But we also think about the integrity of the job. Like I said, it wouldn’t be right to go, “Oh yeah, that kid’s fine. They’ll be fine. Somebody will take care of it later.” That’s not the right thing to do. We want everybody to be noticed, and everybody to be taken care of, and sometimes that means you’ve got to deliver news that’s not so good.

Ms. Gonzales: I’ve had parents, in my time, come back when their kids were in 3rd, 4th, 7th, 10th grade, and say, “I gave you a really hard time about that, and come to find out, this, that was true. I realized you were just trying to warn us, to help us, to get us through, and I didn’t react the right way.” I just want that level of trust that we are looking out for your kids in the only way that we know how.

Ms. Manning: But yet, we want to have a face-to-face conversation, because we can’t put that kind of information on a Facebook post or even in an email.

Ms. Gonzales: You’ve got to trust and talk, eyes to eyes.

Ms. Stanfield: There’s a box of Kleenex right here.

Next week we will share the final installment of our We Are Lee conversation with our Kindergarten Team.

Have a wonderful weekend,

John Hewlett
Proud Principal
Russell Lee Elementary School