Newsletter, Sept. 14, 2016

14 Sep

Summitt Family Night on Thursday
Our first Summitt Family Night will be on Thursday, Sept. 15 from 5-10 p.m. at Jason’s Deli, 10225 Research Blvd. Family Nights are a great opportunity to catch up with other Summitt families and support a great cause. Come by, tell them you’re with Summitt and Jason’s Deli will donate 15 percent of the sale to Summitt PTA. This applies to To-go orders, too.

Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday
Come celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday, September 16, at 6:30 pm, in the Summitt cafeteria. We will have a student talent show, games, art and crafts, lantern parade and lion dancing for entertainment. Tickets will be sold at the school front door at 6 pm on the day of the celebration. Cost is $3 per person. Food is $7 per plate including a drink. Food, drinks, pizzas and concession items will be available for purchase starting at 6 pm. There will be a free lantern and treats for children with an entry ticket. Our Mid-Autumn Festival celebration benefits the AISD Vietnamese Dual Language Program. Learn more about this festival at See you at the celebration!

Back to School Night on Tuesday
Summitt’s Back to School Night is on Tuesday, September 20. Please join your student’s teacher to learn about classroom procedures, grading policies, classroom rules and behavior consequences. It is an opportunity to listen, learn and ask questions. If possible, it is highly recommended for students to remain at home so that you as their parent/guardian can listen attentively rather than focusing on your student. This is also not a time for a one-on-one conference with your student’s teacher. This can be scheduled another day at the teacher’s conference period. Hope to see you there! Here’s the schedule:

Informational Tables
Special Areas, Technology, Library, Scouts, PTA.
5:30 PM – 7:15 PM in the Main Hallway

Pre-Kg, Kg, 1st, 2nd grades
6 PM – 6:45 PM in your Student’s Classroom

3rd, 4th, 5th grades
7 PM – 7:45 PM in your Student’s Classroom

Office help needed
Do you have an hour to spare during the week? We are looking for a parent volunteer who can answer the phones and take messages in the office from 9-10 am every Monday. This enables the office team to have the weekly meeting that helps Summitt run smoothly. Please contact Shana in the office – (512) 414-4484 – if you can take on this volunteer opportunity. Thank you!!

Summitt Business Partners in Education
Do you own your own business or know someone who does? We invite all local businesses to invest in our community by becoming a Summitt Elementary 2016-2017 Partner in Education business sponsor. All 100% of money raised through our business sponsors by the Summitt PTA goes directly to programs that benefit our students and all donations are tax deductible.

Summitt Elementary’s 2016-2017 Partners in Education will receive recognition throughout the school year. Visit for a complete list of sponsor benefits. Purchase your sponsorship online today at

Girls on the Run registration
The new season of Girls on the Run is now open for registration! Girls in 3rd-5th grade are eligible to join. Practices are Mondays and Wednesdays on campus  from 3-4:15 p.m. Go to this link:  Our first practice will be Monday, Sept 19th. Cost: $75 for the fall season. Space limited to 18. Questions? Contact

One World Newsletter
The newest edition of the One World FLEX Program Newsletter is available here. There are updates from all the One World Language teachers. Summitt students will learn Spanish, French, German, Chinese and Latin through the elementary school years.

Kona Ice update
Thank you to all of the students and parents who braved the long line on Friday for Kona Ice. We greatly appreciate your patience and appreciate your support of the PTA. The response was much larger than expected, double our best day last year. So in response to that we have booked 2 trucks for our next Kona day on Sept. 23rd. Please make sure to come out again and get yourself a delicious treat!

Summitt merchandise update
We are still taking T-shirt and merchandise orders. Thank you to everyone who have purchased Summitt gear! We only have Youth Large, Youth XL, Adult Small, Medium, Large, XL and Summitt Koozies left.

Homeroom Parent Informational Meetings
There is another informational meeting for homeroom parents tonight, Wednesday, September 14, at 6:30 pm in the Summitt Library. If you already signed up to be a homeroom parent, or are interested in becoming a homeroom parent for your child’s classroom, please come. A homeroom parent coordinator will provide you with a small packet of information. We will go over the responsibilities of the position and the schedule of events at Summitt this year. We’ll also talk about recommendations on how best to communicate with your class families as well as organizational tips to make your school year easier. Please contact with any questions.

Save the Date – Grandparent’s Celebration Luncheon
We will celebrate Summitt’s grandparents on Wednesday, Nov. 16. They will have an opportunity to bring lunch or purchase a school lunch and eat with their grandchild.

PE News
We have had an exciting start to the school year in the Summitt Gym. Students have been playing many cooperative games and discussing our first health topic, Nutrition.

My name is Michelle Comsudi and I am the full-time PE teacher. This is my 10th year at Summitt Elementary and I’m a proud Texas Longhorn. I have a son who is in First Grade and my husband is also a Texas Ex and a PE teacher for Austin ISD. Stephen Woodward is our traveling PE teacher and this is his fourth year having Summitt as his home school. He is a Texas State Grad and his wife teaches 2nd grade in Leander ISD. Their little boy turns 1 this week! We very much enjoy teaching Physical Education

Every 9-weeks, we focus on two health topics and two skill topics. We also have numerous exciting events happening throughout the year and we will update those on the calendar as soon as we get those dates set! Below are the units we teach in PE for each 9-week period:

1st 9-weeks: Cooperative Games, Throwing and Catching, Nutrition and Cardiovascular Functions

2nd 9-weeks: Jump Rope and Rhythms, Basketball, Dangers of Tobacco, Skeletal System (Jingle Jog)

3rd 9-weeks: Gymnastics, Volleyball, Muscles and Flexibility, Stress Management (Volleyball Playday)

4th 9-weeks: Striking, Muscular Strength, Foot Dribble and Summer Safety (Field Day and CATCH Night)

We hope that your children have enjoyed their time in PE! Next week, we will begin logging miles for Marathon Kids and introducing the rewards to the students. Students will be receiving pencils and bookmarks with healthy tips this week in PE for Coordinated School Health Week and we will send out information soon about putting together our Fuel Up to Play 60 team! We hope you have a wonderful school year!

Counselors’ Corner
From Courtney Cardosa and Sandy Cumming:
We have been visiting all the classrooms to help your students settle into their classroom routines. We have also been busy working with individual students, meeting with students new to Summit, distributing school supplies, meeting with No Place for Hate, planning for our Anderson PALS, etc. Ms. Cardosa has begun classroom guidance lessons with grades 1, 3, 4, and 5. She is doing an introduction to the counselor and making sure kids understand where her office is and how to request to see her. Grades 3-5 will be working on team building next! Ms. Cumming will be scheduling lessons for Kindergarten and 2nd within the next two weeks. Pre-Kindergarten will be receiving their guidance from Ms. Cumming later this year.

Ms. Cumming has once again started the Attendance Calendars in each classroom. We are asking teachers to help encourage all students to attend every day unless they are ill. The class with the highest  attendance percentage will win an Attendance Celebration with Ms. Cumming and Ms. Standish at the end of each month. Please help us by making sure your child attends every day that they are well. We understand everyone gets ill and needs to stay home. Please try to schedule appointments outside the school day and always send a note (either from home or doctor) when your child misses school.

Mrs. Cardosa’s No Place for Hate Coalition will be making the selection for the 4th grade team members soon. Applications are due Wednesday, September 14. Many have been turned in, so we will have a great selection to choose from. The 5th grade senior members will be looking at the applications and making the selections as early as Friday of this week. We would like to let our new 4th grade members know by the end of next week.


AISD has a great support program called Family and School Support Team (FASST). They provide assistance, information, training and resources to families with in the Austin School District. They offer training on Special Education topics and also provide information to all parents and staff. Below is a list of some of the events through October 2016:


9/14/16  Morning Coffee with the FASST Connect Team & Family and School Support at St. Elmo, 8:00AM

9/28/16  Connecting with Community Resources @ Travis High School 9:30-11:30 AM

9/29/16 The Whole Brain Child Book Study@ Covington Middle School 8:00-9:30 AM (limited space, so please call 512-414-5834 if you would like to attend)

October 2016

10/4/16  ADHD Series-this is a 4 part servies at Pillow Elementary School 8:00-9:30AM ( Please call 512-414-5834 to register)

10/5/16  Grandparents and Guardians Support Group @ Covington Middle School 9:00-10:30 AM

10/7/16  AISD Dyslexia Conference 7:45-3:30 PM

GT Testing Information
Information about Gifted and Talented Testing: Each year parents and teachers are invited to nominate students who exhibit exceptional abilities in math, science, language arts, and/or social studies to be screened for the Gifted and Talented Program (GT). The nomination period, or window, is usually 2-3 weeks long at the beginning of each semester, but precedes a much longer testing window of 6 – 8 weeks. Traditionally, students in kinder through 5th grade can be nominated in either semester’s window, but this year we are piloting a new way of handling our GT nominations and tests.

We will be testing students in grades 3-5 in the Fall 2016 Semester and students in grades K-2 in the Spring 2017 Semester. This change will allow younger students to have an opportunity to adjust to the new school year before the students participate in the lengthy GT Screening Process. The GT Screening Process does include online testing which is timed and the gathering of student work samples for the Student GT Portfolio. By separating students into two groups for testing, the campus will be able to test students in smaller groups and provide teachers with more time to collect student work samples and other screening data for younger students.

As the GT Advocate for Summitt Elementary, I am available by phone (512-414-4249), email (, or appointment for any questions or concerns you may have.  I will also host several parent information sessions for this Fall 2016 screening on the following dates/times:

  • Friday, September 16, 2016 at 7:45am – 8:15am

  • Monday, September 19, 2016 at 2:30 – 3:00pm

  • Back-to-School Night, Tuesday, September 20 at 5 – 5:30pm

Below I have also tried to answer some Frequently Asked Questions.

What does GT mean?
GT stands for “gifted and talented.”  This designation is different in different districts. Some people recognize it as TAG or GATE. AISD uses the moniker GT to designate students with high abilities in one or more of the 4 core academic areas, language arts, math, science, and social studies. The AISD GT screening process is limited in its utility for recognizing artistic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and/or kinestic gifts and talents. Additionally, it is in no way a limitation to a student’s future pursuit of honors or AP courses at the middle or high school level.

What grades can be tested for GT?
Kinder through 12th grades

Can my student be tested anytime?
AISD offers testing at the elementary level twice a year. Due to the lengthy process, students must be nominated within the given window to allow for enough time to order materials, and collect work samples. The Fall nomination window is September 12 – 23, 2016.

How do I nominate my child?
Parents are encouraged to talk with their child’s teacher about possible GT testing. A parent survey can be found online in English or Spanish at : Additionally, we have paper copies as well as Vietnamese translations in the office. This form must be filled out, SIGNED, and turned in via email or the office by 5pm Friday, September 23.

What happens after I nominate my student?
A portfolio of work is compiled and surveys and observational checklists are completed. Regular and perhaps, specially designated, assignments in their classrooms are added to their portfolios. These are selected by the teacher and student. Additionally, teachers will observe their skills and abilities closely as well as confer with previous teachers. The students also complete a student survey and  take the CogAT sometime in October. The test is completed over several sessions during the school day, with each session to last 30-45 minutes. This usually takes several tests days so as not to induce test fatigue.

What is the CogAT?
The CogAT is a cognitive abilities test. It is not a test over accumulated knowledge so much as a test over one’s fluency and flexibility with regards to verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal concepts.

What happens after the test?
After testing is complete, and portfolios are submitted, the GT committee will deliberate over the results. We will use the test results, the parent survey, the teacher survey and observational checklists, as well as the students’ surveys , on which to base our decisions. Announcements and test scores will be sent home via sealed envelope addressed to parents in your child’s folder.

Should my child study?
No. You do not need to do any test prep with your child. Rather, please take a few minutes to talk with your student about this testing, and perhaps why you have chosen to have them tested. I’ve been asked to stay away from the word, “test,” so more than likely I will use language a little more vague such as screening, series of questions and puzzles, and, of course, I let them know that this is not for a grade.

Will my child need to retest each year?
Children who are designated as GT do not need to test again to retain their GT status.

What happens if my child is really only gifted in one subject?
It is not uncommon to designate a student GT in one area only. In fact, it is more rare for a child to receive a GT designation in all subject areas.

My student did not qualify for GT? Now what?
Parents are eligible for renominating/testing students each year. However, AISD requires a minimum of 12 months between tests. Or, nothing. There is a lot of research that indicates GT testing is flawed. And, very little evidence that indicates these tests are future indicators of a child’s adult success. Rather, inspiration and motivation to work hard and pursue their interests over time is a better indicator. So, celebrate your child for where they are in their learning journey, and praise them for their efforts and courage to keep trying.

Where can I find more information?
Please visit the AISD parents Corner to learn more about GT students.

On behalf of me and the teachers that make up the GT Committee, thank you for all your support. As always, I welcome any and all feedback, questions, and concerns. Again, I can be reached by phone at (512) 414-4249 or by email at


Anderson Spirit Fest on Saturday
This is THE back‐to‐school event that builds unity and school spirit within the Anderson community. Join us for food and fun on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 4-7 p.m. You will have the opportunity to purchase all kinds of spirit gear and enjoy several activities. The event will conclude with a Pep Rally at 6:30 pm. Be ready to do a shout‐out for your school with your Principal! Rain or shine – the Spirit Fest will go on! We look forward to seeing you! Questions? Email the TSF16 Committee at

Adelphi Acre Plant Sale
It’s Fall Planting Time! Stock up at the Adelphi Acre Community Garden Fall Plant Sale & Learn about Organic Fall Gardening. Proceeds from the sale go directly to the garden. It’s on Saturday, October 1 at 9 am – noon at AACG located on corner of Amherst & Adelphi. There will be a wide variety of Certified Organic plants from local Gabriel Valley Farms Nursery.  Vegetables will cost $2 per plant, Herbs $3, CASH ONLY PLEASE. There will also be a Fall Organic Gardening 101 class starting at 10:30 am.

Anderson Belle Poinsettia Sale
The Anderson High School Trojan Belles would like to ask for your support in the annual Trojan Belle Poinsettia sale. As you know, it’s a tradition for the Anderson Trojan Belles to take pre-orders on these gorgeous plants now, for delivery in early December. They come in two sizes as follows:

Small:  (6 ½” pot) for $12.50 (colors: Red, Pink, or White)

Large:  (10” pot for $35.50 (colors: Red Pink or White)
(If you want to order pink or white, please indicate on the form, if it’s OK to substitute red, just in case pink or white are unavailable.)

These poinsettias make great décor for your home or business during the holiday season, and they make wonderful gifts! We will DELIVER your poinsettias to your home or business on December 1stth or 2nd. An order form is here for your convenience. Please note that all orders must be placed by September 27th and all checks must be dated between September 12th and September 25th. Payments should be made to AHS  (with Trojan Belles in the memo line), and can  we can pick up your payment. Thank you for considering supporting the Trojan Belles. If you are already committed to another Trojan Belle, thank you for supporting this team. Please contact Angie Doucet at or 512-590-9773 for more information.

Parents Night Out with Anderson Robotics
Enjoy a Parents Night Out while your kids (K-5th grade) enjoy an evening of fun and all things robot. Night of the Robots with the Anderson High School Robotics Team will be on Friday, September 23, 5:30-9pm, at the new Applied Technology Building, Anderson HS. Your child(ren) will see VEX and humanoid robots in action, build with legos, eat pizza, make robot crafts and watch the movie Inside Out. It’s $33/child. Register at: or contact for more information.