October 3, 2022 | Monthly Message

Letterhead for the Superintendent with Logo

October 3, 2022

October Superintendent Message

Alamo Heights ISD Families - 

There’s no place like AHISD in October as our Blue and Gold spirit is vibrant all around as we celebrate our Homecoming activities! Whether it’s your first Howdy Week or you’ve been part of this tradition for years, I know you’ll be filled with pride as we come together for a festive, fun, and family-filled week of events. Please see the community events highlighted in the month at a glance at the conclusion of this communication.  I appreciate the efforts of our PTSO, AHHS Student Council Members,  and MulePushers in coordinating these memorable activities.  Did you know that our school colors were decided back in 1910 and the school song, Blue and Gold, was written in 1929 by Gene Sarli, our first band director at AHHS?   Here’s a link to hear our school song, Blue and Gold!

Community Based Accountability

This month, we are highlighting our work around Pillar 7 of our Community Based Accountability System - Fiscal and Operational Systems.  As part of our presentation to the board in October we will highlight our district budget overview,  our superior FIRST rating, as well as the way we are implementing State and Federal Grants.  Some points to note:

  • 88% of AHISD budget is allocated for payroll to support our staff - the approval of our VATRE last fall provided an estimated $1.4 to staff salary raises in 2021 and 2022.
  • AHISD will send $36 million local tax dollars back to the state for Robin Hood recapture which is up from $34.5 from last year.  To date, since the start of Robin Hood in 1994, AHISD has sent over $600 million to the state in recapture payments.
  • AHISD earned a superior rating in the  state's school financial accountability rating (FIRST) system this past year.

Texas received $15.367 billion in federal ESSER Funds for COVID relief.  The funding for local school districts was based on the percentage of students identified as economically disadvantaged.  Across Texas, school districts received an average of $708 per pupil in ESSER funds. Because of the lower percentage of students identified as economically disadvantaged, AHISD only received $187 per pupil and prioritized the funds to meet learning gaps and student wellness needs. 

  • Expanded  academic support through summer school 
  • Provided additional before and after school tutoring
  • Hired secondary intervention staff
  • Purchased supplemental  instructional and intervention resources
  • Provided additional mental health resources
  • Reimbursed prior COVID expenses related to reopening schools
We welcome community input into how to allocate our remaining ESSER funds for the 2022-2023 school year. Please complete this brief survey to better help us understand community priorities. 

Security Updates

We continue to work to strengthen our safety and security measures in AHISD. We are partnering with a company called Centegix to purchase CrisisAlert buttons for all staff members. These wearable badges allow for instant notification and response in case of an emergency situation on any of our campuses that requires law enforcement or administrator support. As we move forward with installation of this system and training for staff, I will keep you updated. I am grateful to our Alamo Heights School Foundation for funding this additional layer of safety that I know will bring comfort to you as parents as well as additional confidence to our staff members. 

Our campuses will continue to conduct emergency drills throughout the year.  These drills are followed  by notification from a campus administrator to families that reminds everyone about our protocols.  I ask for your continued partnership in helping us promote these effective protocols.   Schools have been challenged recently with false threats called into law enforcement which requires safety action and investigation.  In some of these cases, we’ve seen communities responding in alarming ways that distracts school administrators and law enforcement officials from effectively securing the buildings.  

In the event of an actual emergency, it is important for parents to refrain from coming to our campuses and to follow the directions in the emergency communication. This is essential to ensure that our staff is able to follow through with our protocols. If you haven’t already, please opt in to receive emergency texts from the District (see below for details).  We are committed to providing on-going communication throughout actual emergencies and will notify families about any reunification plans, and with updated information as we are able. 

I also want to update you on our efforts to hire additional School Resource Officers (SROs).  Alamo Heights Police Department has worked these past few weeks to do a comprehensive screening of viable candidates.  Our AHISD team has interviewed several applicants and has identified one SRO candidate at this time to recommend for hire to the Board of Trustees this month.  Once approved, we will share information about this candidate with our community through social media and our campus newsletters. I am hopeful that this candidate will be able to complete the final training through AHPD this month and start with us at the beginning of November. We will continue to partner with AHPD to find the best qualified officer for the other approved position.  

Community Engagement - Grand Mule/ Senior Mule Partner Event

In an effort to engage all members of the Alamo Heights ISD community in the efforts of our schools,  we are starting a new group for our Grand(parent) and Senior(Citizen)Mules! We will offer our first Grand Mule/ Senior Mule event on Nov. 14 at 8:30 a.m. at Alamo Heights HS auditorium. This is an opportunity to learn all about our schools by hearing directly from students and staff and we will end our time together with a tour through a few of our classrooms to see learning in action!

Please share this news with any AHISD senior citizen you think might be interested! We will also send an email to those contacts we have on file.  Interested participants should RSVP by email to Alicia Caballero, Superintendent’s Secretary, at [email protected] or by phone to 210-832-5953. Participants will receive a Gold Card which grants free admission to regular season athletic events and free swimming in our Natatorium from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays .  I can’t wait to host these events and engage our seniors as partners with our schools!

Mules up!

Dr. Dana Bashara

Twitter:  @BasharaDana

Photo of the Month:

We're wild about Beth Murguia, KENS 5/UPS Store EXCEL Award Winner for Alamo Heights ISD! The Cambridge physical education teacher will be featured on KENS 5 Tuesday, Oct 4 at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Throwback Photos:

Throwback photos taken from One Hundred Years of Excellence The Story of the Alamo Heights Independent School District by Mary M. Fisher. 

Members of the AHHS football team riding on a firetruck in the 1981 Howdy Night Parade (Fisher, 2009). 

Ashley Satel Robertson, Kimmy Amstulz Marvel, Libby Bebinger, Haley Gaskell Beckel, Kelly Hardwick Aaron, and Stephanie Hale Matthews react to the 1998 Homecoming Queen announcement during halftime (Fisher, 2009).


-School Finance and Legislative Lunch and Learn: AHISD is hosting a School Finance and Legislative Lunch and Learn on Monday, October 24, 2022, from 11:30-1:00 PM in the Alamo Heights High School Auditorium (6900 Broadway Street). Guests may park in visitor spaces at the High School or at the Central Office (7101 Broadway) and walk across the street. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in at the Alamo Heights High School front office with a driver's license to attain a visitor’s badge. Come learn about legislative priorities. A light lunch will be sponsored by Alamo Heights School Foundation. RSVP to Alicia Caballero at [email protected]

-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 in 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 again.

-I invite you to consider participating in our re-designed Partners for the Profile experience that will be hosted twice this first nine weeks.  The newly designed program is a ½ 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 HS and an elementary campus to see the way lesson design impacts student learning.  You can choose to either attend Thursday, October 13, 2022, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM or Thursday, November 10, 2022, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM.  If you are interested, please take a minute to fill out the following form: Partners for the Profile Parent Sign Up.

-Visit our AHISD website to review our clear bag policy as well as the  approved/prohibited items, a video from Coach Rittimann, and additional information.

-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!

October One Month Glance:  

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

Athletic Events

  • Visit Rank One for all sporting events

Master Calendar Events (*Signifies a Homecoming event)

  • October 5 - District Professional Development - Early Release
  • Howard - 11:45 AM
  • Cambridge - 12:15 PM
  • Woodridge - 12:15 PM
  • The Junior School - 12:45 PM
  • High School - 12:45 PM 
  • *October 6 - Howard’s 2nd Annual Homecoming - Time: 4:00-6:00 PM - Location: Howard Early Childhood Center
  • October 10 - School Holiday 
  • October 12 - First Nine Weeks Ends
  • October 12 - PSAT Testing
  • *October 12 - Howdy Parade - Time: 4:30 PM
  • *October 12 - Howdy Night - Time: 5-7 PM - Location: Alamo Heights High School
  • October 13 - Second Nine Weeks Begins
  • October 13 - Junior School Choir Fall Concert - Time: 7-8 PM - Location: Alamo Heights High School
  • October 14 - Cambridge Fall Picture Retakes
  • *October 14 - Homecoming Game - Time: 7 PM - Location: Alamo Heights High School - Harry B. Orem Stadium 
  • October 17 - Secondary Report Cards Distributed
  • October 17 - 7th & 8th Advanced Bands Fall Festival Concert - Time: 7-8 PM - Location: Junior School Auditorium 
  • October 20 - Elementary Report Cards Distributed
  • October 20 - Regular Board Meeting - Time: 6-9 PM - Location: Central Office Board Room
  • October 21 - Elementary Student Holiday/Elementary Parent Conferences/Staff Workday
  • October 22 - ACT Testing - Time: 7:30 AM - 3:00 PM - Alamo Heights High School
  • October 24 - School Finance and Legislative Lunch and Learn - Time: 11:30 AM to 1 PM - Alamo Heights High School Auditorium Foyer
  • October 27 - The Junior School Lifetouch Picture Day - Location: Junior School Auditorium
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