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Exciting partnerships, program expansions and registration - July 9, 2018
07/09/2018
Dear SAISD Staff,
 
We have rolled out a couple of exciting partnerships this summer, and I want to share the news with you. 
 
In June, cohorts of our child nutrition managers began participating in weeklong training with the Culinary Institute of America at San Antonio. The CIA created a chef-led program designed specifically for our District, which follows strict federal, school meal requirements while also providing flavorful menus. By the time school starts in August, all child nutrition managers will have participated in hands-on sessions with CIA chefs, a one-of-a-kind opportunity among school districts. 
 
By the conclusion of the two-year program, 500 child nutrition employees will have received components of the training from their managers. The transformation these participants will take back to their school kitchens will have a lasting impact on students.
 
Today, we are kicking off a cybersecurity and marketing internship experience for 21 high school seniors and recent graduates as the result of a collaboration that has multiple partners, including San Antonio City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, Trustee Debra Guerrero, SA Works and Jungle Disk.
 
The four-week, paid internship opportunity with tech company Jungle Disk gives participants job experience and daily mentoring, as well as teaches them the responsibility of a paycheck – including banking, saving and filing taxes. This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students, and is being hosted by the Engineering Institute at Highlands High School. I appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work and advocacy to make it happen!
 
This summer, 200 of our Top ranked juniors and seniors participated in the College and Career Readiness IVY+STEM pre-college, scholarship program. Juniors attended a one-week academic enrichment program at Sam Houston High School and received certificates of completion from the Yale Club of South Texas. Seniors participated in a two-week program at Burbank High School and were presented certificates of completion from the Harvard Club of San Antonio – by one of our own, Fox Tech alumnus, Dr. Sofia Bahena, who is the president of the Harvard Club’s local chapter. At the conclusion of their experience, scholars and their parents traveled out-of-town to visit top-tier college institutions.
 
We have other developments in the works, too, which will come to fruition in the coming school year. 
 
We are significantly expanding our dual language programs, which not only provide students with a second language, but also develops their native language. The District is more than tripling the number of dual language programs it is providing to neighborhood schools and academies, bringing this opportunity to a total of 45 campuses. This includes, for the first time, a dual language option at the high school level, as part of a pilot early-college dual language program at Brackenridge High School for native Spanish speakers. 
 
The expansion also includes Democracy Prep at Stewart Elementary, which in August will begin providing a dual language education to its pre-kindergarten through second-grade students. Students in third through fifth grades will benefit from bilingual education. Democracy Prep has hired a bilingual teacher to teach in every grade level, as well as a dedicated instructional coach exclusively for bilingual and dual language. 
 
Although originally planned for the 2019-20 school year, Democracy Prep is a year ahead of schedule in launching its dual language program, responding to the needs of the community and desires of families.   
 
Additionally, since the extracurricular programs of fine arts, athletics and JROTC/LOTC are beneficial to students, the District is continuing its efforts to increase opportunities for more students to be involved. For example, starting in the fall, visual arts classes taught by certified art teachers will be offered to 100 percent of our students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
 
Another initiative that we will begin implementing this year is the Dynamic Innovation for Young Children program, in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. The program will expand a process that has been in place at Carroll Early Childhood Education Center and has shown promising results.
 
Over the next five years, cohorts of teachers and principals will engage in a professional learning model to create equitable, dynamic and high-quality learning experiences for children, ages three through third grade. The initiative is not part of a pre-packaged program, but rather a true partnership with the university and its researchers to redesign our early childhood education program, and to build educator capacity.
 
Our goal with this first-of-its-kind model is to take the preschool gains we’re seeing at Carroll to other campuses.
 
Everything we are doing this summer is gearing us up for our first day back in the classroom on Aug. 13. 
 
Our Office of Access and Enrollment Services continues to work to get all of our students registered for the upcoming school year. To avoid having families line up to register on the first day, please help us spread the word that parents may enroll their children using the method that works best for them – either online, by telephone or in-person, by appointment, at any SAISD campus or the Pickett Parent Center. 
 
Because this is the first year we’ve offered online registration, we are helping families transition to the new system, and I thank you for your support with this. 
 
Sincerely,
Pedro

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