Roadrunner Families, Our annual Geography Day was a big hit and it was great to see our Roadrunners have so much fun while learning about different cultures. This year’s Geography Day featured Tibet, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Tunisia, Ireland, and Japan. There were so many special guests who brought their knowledge and experience to share with our students and I want to thanks everyone who participated and helped to make Geography Day so great. Of all the great things that happen on this day, my favorite is getting to see the friendships that are formed between Roadrunners of all grade levels. They might all attend the same school, but it’s the connections they make through activities like Geography Day that can last forever.
On Monday morning, we will hold our Veteran’s Day Ceremony in the front of the school at 8:30. All are invited to attend; and we would like to extend a special invitation to all members of the extended Lee family who have served in any of our armed forces. Tuesday morning, we will have our monthly PTA meeting in the library immediately after morning announcements. Then on Thursday, we will have our Thanksgiving Lunch in the cafeteria. All are welcome to join us for this festive meal. Please remember that the following week is Thanksgiving break and our students will not have school from November 19th through the 23rd.
This year the directors of the Fulmore and Kealing magnet programs and the principals of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy have developed a schedule in which they will combine their presentations to provide the most efficient way for our fifth and sixth graders to hear about the offerings these programs provide. At the conclusion of these back to back presentations, our very own Alex Hubbard and Julie Brown will present about the 6th Grade Leadership Institute to all 5th graders. Families are welcome to join us for these presentations, which will take place at 8:00 am on Monday November 26th in our cafeteria. We will also be hosting a Counselor’s Coffee on December 4th to share information about the middle school options for our Roadrunners.
Have a wonderful weekend,
John Hewlett Principal – Russell Lee Elementary School 512-414-1117 @LeeRoadrunners
Lee is hosting the second “How to Talk to Your Kids about Race” panel discussion in the library on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 6:30 p.m. This is a gathering designed to help parents and loved ones speak to children about racial diversity in a manner that is developmentally appropriate, compassionate, and affirming for the identity of children of all backgrounds. The PTA will provide pizza and childcare. Check out the links on the panelists lined up—they are looking forward to returning to Lee:
Lamiyah Bahrainwala, Visiting Assistant Professor, Southwestern University, Georgetown (moderator)
Dr. Richard Reddick, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Texas, Austin
…from the McCallum Fine Arts Academy Facebook page that the Academy is facing potential budget cuts that could fundamentally alter our students’ educations. Over the last couple of days, a lot of confusion and misinformation has been circulating. A group of parents, including the parent coordinators from the MAC fine arts departments, have gotten together to collect information and coordinate next steps. This email is meant to clarify the situation and focus our efforts on the actions that will make the biggest differences. Please scroll down to see how you can help, but first, here is some important contextual information.
Like other large school districts in Texas, Austin ISD is facing significant budget shortfalls due to the failure of the Texas Legislature to address the state’s broken school finance system. In AISD’s 2018-19 budget of $1.6 billion, there was a $30 million dollar shortfall that was pulled from reserve funds. This annual shortfall is expected to increase in future years. The Budget Stabilization Task Force is working to pave the way for best outcomes by dealing with the budget deficit responsibly. There are about 100 items up for review by the Task Force, and included on that list is the MAC Fine Arts Academy, along with other AISD magnet and application programs. They are on the table for potential significant reductions in budgeting support. The AISD Board of Trustees make the final decision. While the Task Force will make recommendations, the choice ultimately rests with AISD trustees.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please note students can and are encouraged to participate in any of the following. Students speaking powerfully and respectfully at these meetings can have an enormous impact.
Email or Call the Trustees. You can email all the Trustees at firstname.lastname@example.orgWe feel the most powerful approach is simply sharing your love for the Fine Arts Program and what it has provided for your family. If your student lives outside the McCallum attendance zone, please indicate in your email which trustee district you live in. The list of the board members and their contact information is located here: https://www.austinisd.org/board/members
Attend the final Task Force meeting on November 14 at the Martin Middle School Library.
Attend the Board of Trustees Meeting on Monday, November 26. This might be the most important. Board meetings are held at the Carruth Administration Center, 1111 W. Sixth St., Room B100, Austin, Texas, 78703. Instructions for signing up are below.
The McCallum Campus Advisory Council will meet Monday, November 5, 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM, in the McCallum library. The CAC has been involved in the budget stabilization process and will be drafting a recommendation for the BSTF.
Thank you everyone for your support and thoughtfulness in this issue. Below is a growing list of signers to the longer letter online.
Janis Bookout, parent of a 9th Grade Band Student and Executive Director of Earth Day Austin
Sarah Evascu, parent of a 9th Grade Visual Arts Student
Sabrina Wallace, parent of 10th grade student (McCallum FAA) and Co-President McCallum Royale Theatre Society
Susan Moffat, McCallum Campus Advisory Community Representative, Parent of 2010 graduate
Maura Brown, Co-Vice President, MacBand Boosters
Alison Alter, McCallum Fine Arts parent, Council Member, and member of the Joint City, AISD, County Committee
Tracy Wolfe, parent of a 10th grade McCallum student
Becca Hemenway, parent of 10th grade FAA student and Vice-President of McCallum Choir Boosters
Claire Milam, parent of McCallum 10 and 12 grade students, BSTF tri-chair, MACares Committee
Amy Leftwich, Parent of an 11th Grade Dance Student, and Co-President of McCallum Dance Guild
Several other parents have participated and will be adding their names to the online letter soon.
John Hewlett email@example.com
Sara Bircher, President firstname.lastname@example.org