Dear Wonderful Mathews Community,
Welcome back to school! The staff and I are so excited to begin the next century of teaching and learning at Mathews. Here, all students and families are welcomed and supported. It is our continued goal to ensure that our beautifully diverse community is celebrated and that school is a safe and nurturing place for all. The staff and I have been busy preparing for the year, and we are so looking forward to having our students stream through the hallways and fill the classrooms with their smiles and enthusiasm.
This year, the theme for our work is centered around Mathews Superheroes. The staff and I are strengthening our skills so we can better help our students discover and grow their own super powers. We are committed to providing a rich and relevant education for our students and will continue to build on our project based learning and opportunities to Make, experiment, and travel outside our walls on field trips and build community through assemblies. Our community will read, explore and discover together all year. We’ll weave in the six core skills that have always been a part of what we do and are now embraced by all of Austin ISD: Collaboration, Communication, Connection, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Cultural Proficiency. We’ll also continue to incorporate Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in all we do in order to help our students regulate emotions, solve problems, be culturally proficient, and build strong relationships. Our focus with SEL this year is the culturally proficiency lens. As a staff, we are diving into the work of Zaretta Hammond, studying her book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, which pulls in neuroscience research to help us reach all of our students. We’re fortunate to be able to use materials created for us by Dr. Hammond for this study. I’m truly excited about this work and the application of it in our classrooms.
As with every year, there are new and talented people joining the Mathews team. Please help me in welcoming everyone to our community. Sandra Velazquez is our new librarian. Erica Lish, Chau Tran, and Amy Skoczen have come on board to teach first grade when Sharon Briceno and Suzie Plyler moved to second grade. Kelly Bach joined our third grade team when Claudia Neal moved to preK. Ashika Ganguly is our new fifth grade science and math teacher, taking over for Diana McGuire who is now on the third grade team. Jud Thomas is now teaching math and science in sixth grade, Austin Leach will be our new sixth grade orchestra teacher, and Glen Weideman, who took over last spring, is now officially our sixth grade band teacher.
We are all eagerly looking forward to school on Monday morning. Here’s to an amazing year with a super community!
All the best,