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Hornet Herald - September 13, 2020

posted Sep 13, 2020, 8:00 PM by KMS Hornets

Hello Hornet Families,

YAYYYYY!!!! We’ve officially made it through our first week of school. Kealing Administrators were able to visit several of our classrooms and we were amazed by the level of student engagement. We expected quiet zoom rooms as students grapple with becoming comfortable with the virtual setting. Instead we were treated to robust content discussions and students participating in the lesson activities. Kealing teachers created learning environments where our students immediately felt comfortable in their zoom rooms. Our Hornets did not miss a beat and are quickly becoming proficient in navigating the online learning setting. Even with all the positives, there were a few glitches during the first week. Several of our teachers and students experienced technical difficulties. There were internet outages due to the weather. Some students were unable to access their teacher’s zoom rooms. We are so proud of how our students reacted in, what may have been, a stressful situation. They immediately emailed their teachers. Some even visited the zoom “Support Room” to receive assistance from administrators and counselors. Moving forward, it is important to remember these situations WILL occur. As we continue with virtual learning, please communicate with your teachers and grade level administrators and counselors when these situations arise. We are here to assist.

This past week, the district emailed a survey for families to indicate their learning preference beginning October 6th. To help guide your decision, several of you reached out to inquire what on-campus learning will look during this first phase. Traditionally, middle school students transition several times a day. This approach means that students interact with hundreds of different individuals in close proximity each day. For the safety of our students, staff, and families, on-campus learning will look different until circumstances improve.

We will create learning groups of students who will remain together in one classroom for most of the school day. Instruction will be provided through BLEND and other online tools. Learning groups will be assigned a teacher or a small group of teachers for support. If conditions permit at some point, there may be limited transition for Fine Arts, Career and Technical Education, and Athletics. Breaks will be built into the day to support social and emotional learning and outdoor experiences when possible. This approach will allow students to have safe interactions with peers and rely on teachers for additional, targeted support. Of course, plans can change depending on recommendations from area health authorities and TEA. As additional information becomes available, I will be sure to communicate any updates.

I would like to thank all of our Hornet families for your continued support. I have heard from so many families in the past few weeks offering Kealing staff words of encouragement and gratitude. I cannot truly express through word how much we appreciate you and the partnerships we have with our Kealing families and community. This is what makes Kealing such an amazing place.  THANK YOU!

Be sure to check the information below this week’s additional updates.

Have a great week!

Mr. Estes

Mark Your Calendars

September 8, 2020 - First Day of (VIRTUAL) School

September 10 , 2020 - PTA Meeting 7:30 am - 8:30 am

October 12, 2020 - Student Holiday

UPDATED District of Innovation Days

Each year schools have the option of taking additional days to support professional learning. These are “no school” days for students in addition to the other “no school” days on the Austin ISD calendar. District of Innovation Days for the 2020-21 school year are:
  • Jan 5, 2021 

  • Feb 12, 2021

Elective Course Changes
Elective Change forms for 1st semester will be available starting Tuesday Sept 15th.  Announcements will be made in advisory and through BLEND for more details on how students can access.  Please note: Electives that were NOT on a student’s original Top 10 choice sheet will be eligible for a lateral change (A4 to A4).  A list of available course options by period will also be available to review.  Forms will be due by end of day Sept 18th.  Please contact your grade level counselor for specific questions. 

AISD Middle School Notes

You now have access to information pertaining to middle schools in AISD. The Middle

Schools newsletter will contain "all things" related to middle school students and

families. You can find the latest edition here

Income Verification & Meal Forms

We need your help!!!!

Income verification is needed from all families—who are not receiving state-funded benefits such as SNAP—whose students are enrolled at one of the 80 AISD schools participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program. Income verification may be submitted during the online enrollment process, electronically on the Parent Cloud or through a paper form, which will be provided to schools. 

Meal benefit applications are needed from all families—who are not receiving state-funded benefits—whose students are enrolled at schools not participating in the CEP program. Families may complete a meal benefits application at  

Kealing PTA

TWO programs, ONE school, ONE parent organization. Our PTA is committed to serving ALL Kealing students, meeting the needs of ALL Kealing Parents, and supporting ALL Kealing faculty and staff.  Our motto this year is Kealing STRONG!  Keep Kealing STRONG by joining the Kealing PTA TODAY!

Join us on Zoom for our 1st Kealing PTA Meeting on Thursday, September 10 at 7:30-8:30am to learn about the PTA and meet Interim Principal Tim Estes and Ms. Sapna Patel, Magnet Director. Mark your calendars for subsequent PTA Zoom meetings at 7:30am on the 1st Thursday of every months—10/1, 11/5, 12/3, 1/7, 2/4, 3/4, 4/1, and 5/6. The Zoom meeting can be accessed by clicking here.

iReady Diagnostic

In the coming weeks, all ELA and Math teachers will be administering (remotely) a diagnostic assessment in iReady. This online program replaces Istation assessments and assignments. The diagnostic is an adaptive assessment that adjusts its questions to suit your child’s needs. There are two diagnostics, one for reading and a separate one for math. You can learn more about how to support your student(s) with the iReady diagnostic by clicking here.

2020 Census
If you have not done so, please take a moment to complete the 2020 Census. Make sure the whole family is counted. Every adult and every child is included in the 2020 Census Count. You can respond online, by phone or mail. You can visit this website for more information.

Timbuktu Y.O.U
Timbuktu Y.O.U. is a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and photography-based virtual after-school program that touches on SEL (social and emotional learning) as well as gardening and leadership with our youth participants. Timbuktu Y.O.U. is for 6th-8th graders and is especially geared towards students of color. All kids welcome!

The program has a $50/month enrollment fee. Program dates are October 19 - December 17, 2020. Spaces are limited. Sessions will be via Zoom Rooms.

Register your child today! Registration link and instructions are here:

Fall Athletics

All rising 7th graders will need to have physicals completed with all proper signatures and online information filled out on Rank One Sport. Physicals and Rank One online information is necessary to be allowed to participate. Link for rank one is here:

All 8th graders, if their physical is dated after April 15, 2019, will be allowed to use physicals.  All athletes will still have to have online Rank one work updated in order to participate on September 8.  Link for rank one is here:

City of Austin Rental Assistance Program 


The City of Austin is accepting application for rental assistance for those needing help with up to three months’ rent. The assistance is lottery based, meaning applicants are chosen randomly. Please follow the link below for further information.

Information on Emergency Rental Assistance 

In mid-August 2020, the City of Austin and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) will launch a second the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants Assistance Program (RENT).  The program is for income-eligible Austin renters that live within the city limits and are financially impacted by COVID-19.  The program will provide direct rent relief of $12.9 million between August 2020 and January 2021. 

For more information on the RENT program, please visit the City of Austin RENT Site