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Texas Community Schools Summit
Monday, June 3 - Tuesday, June 4
Webb Middle School, Austin, TX

May 2019 Newsletter
Austin Voices for Education and Youth creates community collaboration to strengthen families, support kids and improve schools. It has been a busy year, with AVEY working with 18 campuses in Austin, Dallas and Houston. 
Join us at the Community Schools Summit June 3-4!
Sign up now for the 4th annual Texas Community Schools Summit. This year's event will be at Webb Middle School in Austin, starting at 9 am on Monday, June 3 and Tuesday, June 4. The summit is focused on hands-on learning and planning days for campus teams and individuals from Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. A second summit will be held in Houston on June 11-13. The Austin event is $35 per person (free for AISD staff and parents), including meals and materials. Childcare and Spanish interpretation are available. Be ready for a fun, engaging two days that will prepare you to advance your community school effort! For more information and to register,    click here.

Building Community Through Festivals
This year, Austin Voices brought over 12,500 people and hundreds of partners together for community celebrations and resources fairs at 11 Austin ISD and Dallas ISD campuses. These gatherings strengthen bonds between campus and community, while providing important resources for families. HopeFest, in its 13th year at Reagan High School, had over 4,000 attendees in October. Our newest event occurred on May 18 at Burleson Elementary in Dallas ISD, where "Owl Fest" brought over 400 together for fun and resources. Other Spring events have included Futbol RĂ¡pido at Lanier HS, Burnet MS Fiesta, the Unity Walk/Unity in the Community Festival at Reagan HS and STEAM Fest at Martin MS. 

Community School Planning
How do people have a voice in making their school better? Austin Voices uses many ways, including community planning dinners, monthly partner meetings, student leadership teams, community walks and more, bringing together over 1,500 people. In just the past six weeks, parents, teachers and students have gathered at Burnet MS, Cook ES, Dobie MS, Lanier HS, Webb MS, and Wooldridge ES.  Over 100 parents, teachers and students got together for dinner at Dobie MS in April to talk in small groups about how to support and improve their school.  They identified strengths, like the music program, caring teachers and supports for families, talked about challenges like technology that doesn't match other schools across town, and new ideas such as increasing college visits and mentoring by career professionals. A small team takes these ideas, along with other input, and crafts strategies that will land in Dobie's community school plan. It's a way of steadily listening, strategizing and implementing that produces steady improvement and honors the voice of the whole community.

1,100 Families Helped through Food Pantries
With rising housing costs in Austin, many AISD families find supplying the basics a struggle. AVEY's four FRC food pantry locations (Burnet, Dobie, Webb and our new Lanier FRC food pantry), in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank, help make the difference. In the 2018-19 school year, AVEY has distributed over 100,000 pounds of food to 1,100 families, including fresh produce, eggs and milk.  AVEY also collaborates with CTFB to support their St. John Mobile Food Pantry each month.

Family Resource Centers Make a Difference!
What does a campus do when 10% of its families are homeless, or when families are struggling with keeping the lights on or chronic health needs? Over the past 12 years, AVEY's Family Resource Centers have developed supports and systems to make sure that AISD's most needy campuses have what they need to support families.  Already this year, 1,959 families have been served at AVEY's eight FRCs (not including adult education and events), with over 400 receiving intensive case management from licensed bilingual social workers. What are the results? Reduced student mobility, increased attendance and 20%+ gains in family stability over time.

Other Quick Updates . . .

-AVEY is working with two Dallas ISD campuses (Dade Middle School and Burleson Elementary) on developing community partnerships and parent engagement.

-Over 400 marched in AVEY-sponsored 15th annual "Unity Walk" on April 27th, followed by the "Unity in the Community Festival" at Reagan HS.

-AVEY is facilitating "deep dive" planning processes this summer for teams at Burnet and Webb Middle Schools to assist in developing new programming. Teams include teachers, staff, parents, students, and community members.

-The Lanier Family Resource Center had its grand opening of a new food pantry in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank

-AVEY will be out in the community this summer with a series of apartment-based "block parties" to hear more from parents about their ideas for neighborhood schools.

Support the Work of Austin Voices!