February 1, 2023 | Monthly Message

Letterhead for the Superintendent with Logo

February 1, 2023

AHISD Families, Staff,  and Neighbors-

I hope everyone is staying warm and safe and that you all enjoyed the opportunity this week’s wintery weather gave us to push “pause” on normal routines with two days at home.  Neither of these days will need to be made up since we are still able to meet our required  minutes of instruction.  If we have another bad weather day in the future, we will have to consider the best way to make up those instructional minutes.  

February is a month that focuses our attention on all that brings joy to the heart.  I can’t help but share that my heart is full of so much pride and joy for the students in AHISD, our exceptional staff, and the community support that sets us apart from all other districts!  I’ll also share that my heart is full seeing the joy our teachers share with our students through engaging learning experiences in our classrooms.  I’d encourage you to follow our district as well as our staff members on Twitter to get a glimpse of the way our educators share their hearts with our students each and every day.

Over the past few months, we’ve worked to engage our families and community members on our campuses through two programs, Partners for the Profile and Grand-Mule/ Senior Mule Partners.  As a result of our conversations with program participants, we are sharing this monthly message with a larger group than just our current employees and parents.  Now, these messages will be distributed through the Alamo Heights School Foundation database as well as our internal list of program participants that include AHISD neighbors who aren’t necessarily parents. If you are receiving my monthly Superintendent message for the first time, you can access previous monthly messages by accessing my page on the website and clicking on Superintendent’s messages

February Feedback

  • In Alamo Heights we value our Community-Based Accountability System as a way to measure growth and identify areas of improvement. Community surveys are used as one way to include stakeholder voices and get substantial feedback from our parents/guardians, students, and staff. Your survey input helps to hone priorities and advance our district goal to actualize the AHISD Profile of a Learner.

In October, AHISD surveyed all students in grades 3-12 about rigorous expectations, sense of belonging, school climate and school safety. Key findings are summarized below and you can read more details HERE

  • 96% of students report feeling safe in AHISD schools
  • 95% of students feel they are held to high expectations in AHISD schools

In December, AHISD launched our first survey of recent AHHS graduates to ask for feedback about how well our programs prepare students for post-graduation life. This first survey of recent graduates was a success and revealed some helpful insights. You can read more about the findings HERE.

  • 94% of recent graduates report they were offered a quality education at AHISD. 
  • 87% of recent graduates feel expectations at AHISD prepared them for life after graduation.

This February, our community-wide survey, called February Feedback, will launch on February 20. Parents will be asked about school climate, school safety, academic expectations, program effectiveness, and educating the whole child. Teachers will be asked about job satisfaction, school climate, relationships with administrators and parents, and professional learning. Students will be asked to provide direct feedback for each individual teacher they work with.  Parents will receive an email with a link to the survey on Feb. 20. The survey will also be available directly from campus home web pages. 


We appreciate your thoughtful participation and look forward to putting your feedback into action.

Safety and Security 

I’m excited to share that installation of the Centegix Crisis Alert system, funded by the Alamo Heights School Foundation, was completed by the end of last month. We are working to plan for training for responders and for AHISD faculty and staff this month.  Drills will be scheduled to test the system and to ensure coordination with our local law enforcement agencies.

Just as a review, Crisis Alert will provide each staff member with an individual badge to “click” to signal the need for administrative support on campus or to initiate a lockdown for an emergency situation.

We’ll come to you in a future On Location episode to showcase this new security tool!

Legislative Update

The 88th Legislative session kicked off on January 10, 2023. You can access our AHISD Legislative Priorities on our School Board website. Once again this session, we will be advocating for our legislators to provide an increase to the basic allotment, and for a reduction of the negative impacts of recapture (Robin Hood Legislation) on our budget.

Do you know that AHISD sends around 47% of our property tax revenue back to the State in recapture payments?  This year, we sent our third largest payment - a little over $34 million - and to date, we have sent $660 million of AHISD taxpayer money back to increase the state’s funding surplus.  

I’m sharing three resources published by the Texas School Coalition, an organization that represents recapture districts across the state.  These flyers share important information about issues that will surface this session and are written clearly to depict a broad understanding about school finance, as well as the challenges of the current system of recapture for districts like AHISD. Please stay informed and connected throughout this session.

The Shell Game 

Per-Student Funding and Inflation

Issues In Recapture

Culture Night- A Look Ahead

Our AHISD annual Culture Night at Heights celebrates the cultures and traditions of our community. This year, our event  is scheduled for Monday, March 27 at AHHS from 5 to 7 p.m. We invite you to participate by either hosting a table to share your cultural traditions or signing up to do a 3 to 5 minute cultural performance. 


By March 3, 2023, please fill out the following form if you would like to participate.

2023 Culture Night Google Form 

I’m grateful for the privilege to serve  this community as your  Superintendent and look forward to all that February has in store for our students.

Mules up!

Dr. Dana Bashara

Twitter: @BasharaDana 

Photo of the Month:

At our January Board Meeting, we celebrated our 2023 Campus Teachers of the Year and named our 2023 District Teacher of the Year. Benjamin Keenan from AHHS is our District Teacher of the Year and he will now represent us as the AHISD nominee for the Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Region 20 Teacher of the Year.  I’m so grateful these outstanding educators choose to share their talent with us in AHISD!

From left to right are: Dr. Bashara; Charley Gilbert, Junior School; Felicia Pendleton, Woodridge; Benjamin Keenan, AHHS; Courtney Crane, Cambridge; Michele Johnson, Howard ECC; and Board President Brian Hamilton.


-Kindergarten Registration: Kindergarten registration for the 2023-24 school year opened on January 17, 2023. To introduce parents and children to the school, Howard Early Childhood Center is hosting Kinder Preview events these next few months. Visit our website for the schedule and to register to attend a Kinder Preview. Please share with your family, friends, and neighbors who will have five-year-olds next year. 

-2023-2024 School Calendar: During the January 19, 2023, Regular Board Meeting of the AHISD Board of Trustees, the 2023-2024 School Calendar was approved. Visit the Calendars page on our website to download a copy.

-Chats with Cat:  Cat Widder, District Wellness Coordinator, is hosting “Chat with Cat.” She will discuss topics of interest at your home or a location of your choice. You select the date and time and invite participants to attend. Email Cat for more information at [email protected] and check out the February Wellness link for more details.

-Grand-Mule/Senior Mule Event: We’re calling our “Grand-Mules & Senior Mules” to visit our district and learn from district leaders and students about our AHISD Profile of a Learner. Participants will hear about the educational experience in AHISD that highlights many of our innovative programs and practices. Those participants 65 years old and older, who reside in the district boundaries, will receive their Gold Card for free admission to all athletic and fine arts events! We’ll conclude our morning together with a tour of a few classrooms to see learning in action. There is one remaining session date for Friday, March 31, 2023, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Alamo Heights High School Auditorium Foyer. Please call Alicia Caballero at 210-832-5953 or email [email protected] to reserve your spot!

-Partners for the Profile: We invite you to consider participating in our re-designed Partners for the Profile experience. The newly designed program is a half day learning experience for community members to find out more about the way we support our AHISD Profile of a Learner in every classroom every day. Participants will be invited to tour classrooms at our High School and an Elementary campus to see the way lesson design impacts student learning. Sign up to attend on Thursday, February 23, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If you are interested, please take a minute to fill out the following form: Partners for the Profile Parent Sign Up.

-Opt-In for School Text Messages: AHISD utilizes the School Messenger system to communicate important information to families through email, text, and/or phone calls. If any contact information has changed over the summer, like phone numbers or email addresses, families should contact their campus office to update our student information system. In order to receive text messages, which the district sends only in emergencies, families must opt-in to this service. Here's how to sign up for text messages. Those who have previously opted in do not have to complete it again.

-If you see something, say something! We ask all AHISD families to commit to having ongoing conversations with students about safety and security and to encourage the reporting of any concerns to a trusted adult on campus.  Families can also report safety concerns on our website by clicking Students / Parents and then Safety Concerns.

-Please stay connected with all things AHISD by visiting Heights Happenings and also following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Also, I invite you to follow @WeGoPublic to support this organization that promotes the amazing benefits of our Bexar County Public Schools!

February One-Month Glance:  

Below are upcoming events, throughout the district, during the month of February. 

Athletic Events

Visit Rank One for all sporting events

Master Calendar Events 

  • Friday, February 3 - Cambridge PTO Stay & Play - 3:45-4:45 PM at Cambridge Elementary
  • Monday, February 6 - Friday, February 10 - Counselor Appreciation Week
  • Monday, February 6 - Junior School Band Winter Concert - 7:00-8:00 PM at the Junior School Auditorium
  • Tuesday, February 7 - Junior School Pre-UIL Concert - 7:00-7:45 PM at Alamo Heights High School Auditorium
  • Wednesday, February 8 - Cambridge PTO General Meeting - 12:00-1:00 PM at Cambridge Elementary Auditorium Stage
  • Thursday, February 9 - Junior School PTO General Meeting - 12:00-1:00 PM at the Junior School Library
  • Wednesday, February 15 - Secondary Progress Reports Distributed
  • Thursday, February 16 - Regular Board Meeting - 6:00-9:00 PM at Central Office Board Room 
  • Friday, February 17 - Cambridge Bike Rodeo
  • Monday, February 20 - Student Holiday/Professional Development Day for Staff
  • Thursday, February 23 - Junior School Orchestra 5th/6th Grade Concert - 6:00-7:00 PM at the Junior School Auditorium
  • Sunday, February 26 - Reunite at Heights - 1:00-4:00 PM at Alamo Heights High School
  • Thursday, March 2 - Junior School 7th/8th Grade Orchestra Pre-UIL Concert - 6:00-7:00 PM at the Junior School Auditorium
  • Friday, March 3 - Elementary Student Holiday/Parent Conferences/Staff Workday
  • Friday, March 3 - Cambridge Spring Book Fair - 7:45 AM to 6:00 PM at Cambridge Elementary Library
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