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One month into our school year - Sept. 7, 2021
Dear SAISD Staff:

I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. While this holiday gives us a three-day break for well-deserved relaxation, I also want you to know it was a time for me to reflect on how much I value your contributions and achievements. I am proud of our SAISD family and thankful you are a part of it. 

We are one month into our new school year, and we already have so many highlights to share. Accolades are in order for Herff Elementary School who won a $5,000 grant from the Choose Kindness Foundation. The grant honors the commitment to kindness Herff already has made over the past three years, and funding will underwrite additional projects this school year to continue to engage students in showing compassion, friendliness, and appreciation.

Additionally, our own SAISD Foundation has been actively visiting campuses in August and September to surprise 25 educators with more than $100,000 in innovation grants. I want to thank the SAISD Foundation for their deep dedication to our teachers and students, and I applaud the many teachers who inspired this funding through their initiatives to spark learning and passion in their classrooms. 

In addition to teacher grants, the SAISD Foundation provides emergency resources to college-bound seniors, invests in STEM programs in our schools, and helps us invest in fine arts that grow students’ creative expression. Please keep the SAISD Foundation and all other area health and human care agencies in mind as we kick off the districtwide 2021 United Way campaign today. As a district, we hope to raise $207,000 to support children, individuals and families in San Antonio and Bexar County.

The SAISD Foundation is not the only organization to recognize the talents and gifts of our teachers. Please join me in congratulating Estrada Achievement Center math teacher James Ybarra for being acknowledged on News 4. He was nominated for an on-air teacher appreciation shout-out for leveraging his childhood experiences to tailor teaching math concepts in ways his students learn best. 

I also want to give another shout-out to the Young Men’s Leadership Academy. Their new football team won their first-ever home game last week in our historic Alamo Stadium. So many cherished memories have been made in that venue over the past 80 years, and this adds another celebration to the history books. Come June, YMLA will mark another first in that venue as their inaugural senior class graduates!  

We are off to a strong start this year despite another alarming surge in cases, and our collective efforts to keep safe and stay healthy will keep us going strong over the coming months. 

The Texas Tribune recently took a statewide view of the number of COVID-19 cases districts were experiencing in their classrooms just as schools were opening. It was noted that the rise in children’s cases was the highest than at any other time since the pandemic started with entire classrooms and campuses being quarantined. While we would have liked to have seen even fewer case counts, our numbers were relatively lower because of our strict mask and vaccine protocols.

As we have made clear from the onset of this pandemic, we are a district that will lead by example. Each of you have stepped up to help lead us forward through a very difficult time, and I truly appreciate each of you as you model our safety protocols day in and day out. 

These simple steps, especially becoming vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, will be the way out of this pandemic. Soon vaccine boosters will come into play, and we will coordinate with health providers to make these accessible to all of our employees, just like we did last spring when the first shots became available.

Know that together we can do what is needed to keep us all as safe as possible. This year that started so strong will end just strong, as long as we follow the science.


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