Thursday, October 18, 2012

BOOK a Reading Adventure!

Our Cardinal scholars are all about reading, learning, and having fun!  Thanks to our Clayton Library and our wonderful Librarian, Mrs. Tuttle, Clayton students are   "Book"ing a Reading Adventure!!  Students in Grades 1-5 set goals for their independent reading and use the PTA supported Accelerated Reader program to delve into great stories and take assessments to gather points for their reading and learning.  Each month, starting this October, we have special visitors at assembly who join Mrs. Tuttle and me in recognizing our great readers.  This year, special guests, Rothie and Texanelli, have stopped over at Clayton (in between some of their amazing jet setting and reading adventures) to celebrate a love of books with the students and our entire Clayton community.  All 1st-5th grade students have reading passports available to them to complete and fill out when they stop by the library.  Once they reach certain levels for reading set for each grade level, these students can be recognized at a special assembly, they have a special lunch time in the library, and their pictures are taken and posted outside the library doors.  Take a peek and look for the posted "tour bus" photos in the hallway.  Ms. Beachum and I are thrilled to work with families and Cardinals who enjoy a real reading culture here at Clayton.  Reading is so cool, and from the looks of these silly photos, a whole lot of fun. 
Thanks to our wonderful Mrs. Tuttle and the library team for keeping this going each month for our kiddos.  I can't wait to learn about the other adventures we have in store! :)

Have a great week!

Dr. Robinett

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Red Carpet Royalty--Cardinal Style! :)

 A couple Saturdays ago, I was invited to attend the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) Gala because we had not one, but two Clayton Cardinals who were selected and photographed for their annual DSACT Share the Passion Calendar.  This was quite an honor for these children and our campus.  Proceeds from the calendar support programs for DSACT throughout the year, and the children (models) selected for each month are generally accompanied by local or national celebrities in their photo shoots.  At the gala, these Cardinals did not disappoint.  They arrived with their families in limousines, walked the red carpet, and had a great time dancing and celebrating with so many other families and children.  Even Elvis was there!  I was so proud of them and honored to be their principal.  Attending the event with me were both Mrs. Beachum, our Assistant Principal, and Ms. Netherland, one of our wonderful teachers and our Clayton Teacher of the Year for 2012.  We were all starstruck by the children and so excited to be a part of this fun and worthwhile event.  Needless to say, we were totally welcomed with open arms, smiles, and a whole lot of boogie fever! :)  You know, we have so many wonderful children and families that make Clayton Elementary the special place to be -- These students are no exception.

If you get a chance, take a look at our Cardinal Superstars Jane and Bryan who are included in the calendar with Kyle Chandler and Reckless Kelly, respectively.  Plus, enjoy a few photos of them and our Clayton team, including cafeteria monitor, Ms. Kristin, who was also in attendance with her friends and team from Marbridge. 

Congratulations, Bryan and Jane, and the Clayton community. 

Yours in learning and leading a community where every-birdie is welcome,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Every Day is Spirit Day! (A Peek Into Our First Two Weeks!)

We all know that Fridays are our "official" spirit days at Clayton Elementary.  On Fridays, our cool new t-shirts show that we are ready for "Learning On the High 'Cs' ", retro Cardinal shirts from previous years, the Fun Run, or other events are out in full force, and a sea of red covers everyone else.  We celebrate classes who have a high number of students showing their Clayton spirit.  Classes are given certificates and are included in a drawing to keep the Big Fluffy Red Cardinal in their classroom for a week. 

Even though Fridays are the "official" spirit days at Clayton, everyday seems like a spirit day to me.  This first two weeks back with Cardinals has done nothing less that lift my spirits every single day.  I dare anyone to come into this building and see our kiddos huddled together over a book, showing off their great thinking in math, or gleefully flying high on the swingset and not feel a positive hit of that Cardinal spirit!   Teachers and students have been doing an awesome job these first two weeks back, and I can't explain how much pleasure and joy it gives us to help these Cardinals, our young scholars, soar and grow.  We have already gotten into a groove with things, and students are rising to the challenges and opportunities that they are facing each day in their classes.  In addition, our young Cardinals are demonstrating kindness and friendship to one another, they are patient and hard-working, and they are curious as learners.   Just take a peek below at a couple classes and friends who are officially showing their excitement and Clayton spirit for the camera.  Excited kids, excited teachers, and excited parents make me a very excited (and spirited) principal. :)  I know these first couple weeks have seemed like a whirlwhind and getting back into routines is something we are all working on.  Here at Clayton, you should be pleased and impressed with your Cardinals as they have already taken off on a great learning adventure in just 9 short school days.  Let's keep our enthusiasm, our generosity, and our spirits up as we continue on through this schoolyear.  Everyday can be spirit day at Clayton Elementary!  Welcome back.

Your Partner in Learning,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Shoemaker's Elves at Work!

This week I can sense the excitement and enthusiasm of our faculty and staff.  We are so ready to welcome back our Cardinals!  When you come up to school for the Meet the Teacher Event or on the first day, you will see that we have been very busy people up here.:)  In addition to our wonderful faculty and staff preparing our classrooms for engaged student learning, other folks have worked in front of and behind the scenes to improve our school even more.  A special thanks to our custodial team for all of their hard work cleaning, waxing floors, touching up paint, and even more!  A big thank you to Marybeth Gordon and Nancy Hallmark who, with the help of many middle and high school volunteers (some of whom were Clayton alumni), painted sections of our school as a part of our district wide Play60 grant.  All around the Kinder playground and on the covered playslab, kids will be moving and grooving while also learning about nutrition and healthy habits.  Please see below.  Love it!!

Also, most of you will notice that the Early Childhood and Kindergarten playground has been enhanced with some additional shade sails.  Thanks so much to the help of a parent volunteer and the financial support of the campus and PTA, we were able to make some additions in that area that will keep our Cardinals cooler when they go to play outside!  I sincerely appreciate the help of Dave Robinett who spent time working on this project as well.  Kids will be running around and having a great time in no time.

We're looking forward to seeing you soon!  Enjoy the last couple days of summer.  We're ready for a GREAT year! :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nothing Like the Green, Green Grass of School!

Hello there, Cardinals!

We've sure been missing you this summer.  The school is never the same without the smiles and laughter of children.  While you have been away, our custodial team has been cleaning everything inside the building, and many of our teachers have been coming back to set things up for an awesome year.  I always love the excitement that a new school year brings.  One thing I am also very excited about is the help we have received from the Clayton PTA and our AISD Grounds team to address the long-term challenges on our Clayton field.  Since we opened in 2006, we have battled the issue of trying to grow grass on the field.  It's a dry and rocky place, and our resourceful kiddos have figured out ways to run around and have lots of fun in the dirt, dust, and mud regardless of what's out there :).  Some of you may remember that we spent some time and put in some effort seeding the field a few years back and keeping students off of the field for several months.  We even set up a rotation schedule for the kids to play on the field by grade level during different weeks once we reopened the area in order to give it some time to rest and grow.  Needless to say, our efforts were not successful with almost 2000 little feet running in one spot every day.  Dust and dirt are all that remained on the field, and it seemed every year people brought up suggestions about addressing the space.

After hearing the same requests many times over, this summer, for one final shot, our campus, the Clayton PTA, and AISD Grounds teamed up to finance and install a strong (sod) growth base on the field.  This is our one and final best shot to try to get something to grow there for the campus (even weeds would be nice).  Below are photos documenting the big transformation.  Of course, we loved having the big rains in early July, and everything has been looking great since there are no students running around.  While I'm not sure how long we can keep it alive for the long term, this final "best shot" effort along with the watering variance we got to regularly sprinkle the area will show us once and for all if we can have some designated green space on the Clayton field. 

Check out the photos below and recognize that we need everyone's help and support to keep the field alive once the school year starts.  We will have loads of kids running on it each day, and we hope to give it a rest at least in the afternoons and on weekends.  AISD Grounds will hand mow the field and keep it fairly high for a while so that it can be better sustained.   Certainly this is not an investment that we can make annually, as we have many additional campus instructional needs.  Hopefully, we will be successful in maintaining this little slice of greenspace in addition to the other great outdoor spaces that our campus offers. 

Please join me in giving a huge thank you to Russ McElrath with AISD Grounds, Dave Downing with Austin ISD, and our PTA for joining with us to fund this project!  Beautiful!!

 I'll check back in with you later.  We look forward to seeing you back at the Cardinal nest very soon!