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Welcome Back: To the Stars and Beyond

 August 2019 

Dear Wonderful Mathews Community, 

Welcome back to the new school year! The staff and I are eagerly anticipating seeing everyone at Sneak-a-Peek this afternoon and to the first day of school on the 20th. As we ring in a new year, I want to reiterate to everyone that at Mathews, 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. We look forward to partnering with you to help our students thrive. The staff and I have been busy preparing for the year and can’t wait to open the doors and have our students once again fill our hallways and bring our campus to life. 

Every year, I think about how to frame the staff work for the year. This year we are Mathews Mission Control: To the Stars and Beyond! I’ve been inspired by the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo moon landing and the extraordinary work of the women and men who toiled both in front of and behind the scenes to accomplish something amazing. The stars our students dream of reaching are different for each – whether it’s publishing a new play, making straight As (or 4s), learning a new skill, solving a problem in a different way, or even simply making a new friend. The beauty of all of these different stars is that when put together, they create extraordinary constellations and galaxies. We see our work as providing the necessary instruction and support to help our students reach their stars – both academic and social ones – and to boost them beyond! Like launching the Apollo missions, it’s going to take all of us to make that happen. 

We will continue our commitment to providing an education that is centered around authentic learning, cultural relevance, the integration Maker Ed into all contents along with creative learning strategies. We will continue to build our community through school-wide events and by connecting the work we do to the greater world through field trips and visiting speakers. I’m also thrilled to announce that we will expand on our Social Emotional Learning by adding in character lessons by the Positivity Project, with a focus on other people matter. Our school community will learn together all year – through our 4th Annual School-wide Read Aloud, STEAM Day, our new and improved House System (more details coming soon!), assemblies and special events. As a staff, we’ll be revisiting the work of Zaretta Hammond, and diving into strategies and systems designed to improve student learning across the board. I’m so excited for the new year to begin! 

As with every year, we welcome new staff members along with new students and families along with some internal shifts. Please help me in cheer on our folks who are either new to the team or taking on a new responsibility: Damien Mills is stepping in as our new assistant principal. He brings with him a wealth of experience behavior and academics. Julianna Ramirez joins the 2nd grade team. She knows our school and community well as she is Mathews alumni, having attended our school Kinder – 6th Grade! Mr. Rackowitz has shifted his focus to support and will be working with students as a teaching assistant. Ms. Plyler has moved upstairs and is now a part of the 3rd grade crew. In 4th grade, we’re joined by Andrew Seaborn, an experienced educator with a love for math. Ms. Holland also moved from 5th to 4th to complete the team. Our 5th and 6th grades are now one team (with separate grade level classes). Ms. De La Garza, Ms. Paker (formerly Ganguly), and Mr. Thomas, a dynamic group, are excited about working with our upper grade leaders! Mary McKenna is our new music teacher and her ideas for expanding the music program are amazing! We also welcome a new orchestra director, Allison Hall, and a new band director, Ricardo Mungia. Together with our returning staff, we have one incredibly talented and dedicated group of educators. 

We are all eagerly looking forward to seeing everyone at Sneak-a-Peek this afternoon and to welcoming everyone on Tuesday, the 20th, for the first day of school. Here’s to an outstanding year, helping our students reach the stars and beyond! 

All the best, 

Grace Martino-Brewster