These past few weeks, TSD has shown how strong, resilient, and dedicated we are to continue to educate and achieve. This edition of Good News highlights the many amazing things our teachers and staff do to continue the school's mission. Thank you!
As we transition to eLearning, TSD staff and students of all ages are exploring new ways to connect with each other. Even our littles in PIP have been able to have virtual meet ups! We long for the days when life returns to "normal" and we can have classes in person once again, but until then, we appreciate the accessibility that online platforms such as Zoom, Google Classroom, and FlipGrid can provide!
Thanks to a generous grant from the TSD Foundation, our fabulous ECE team has been able to host quarterly family storytelling events since last year. These events serve as an opportunity for families to connect and engage in literacy activities with their children. Additionally, parents/guardians participate in information-sharing sessions where they learn ways to support their children’s literacy development and how to implement various strategies that are used at school. Participating families get to bring home a copy of the children’s book that was shared during the event as well as other goodies that they can use to replicate the activities at home.
TSD appreciates the commitment and talents shared by the ECE team, including Ally Johnson, Marlene Etkie, Tracy Wilson, Amy Bachtel, Andrea Brown-Thompson, Bethany Borsotti, Kelli Mills, Kate Sweet, Jennifer Fields, and Librarian, Leslie Hussey. We are so grateful for the partnership opportunities with our families; together, we can help foster a love of reading in our students! Thank you again to the TSD Foundation for making these events possible; their support of our school family and educational programs is appreciated!
TSD made history as being the first school for the Deaf to participate in Read to Them’s One School, One Book initiative. All of the students and staff in the Elementary Department received their own copy of “A Boy Called Bat”, and families were encouraged to read designated sections each week. Over the course of a month, the staff hosted different activities and special events related to the book. It was a great way for everyone to connect and celebrate their love of reading.
To help kick-off the program, Librarian Leslie Hussey and Coordinator of Equity + Inclusion, Malibu Barron, provided information-sharing sessions for families and residential educators in order to help them feel confident about about how to engage their children with our shared book.
The students enjoyed various weekly activities that had special connections with the book, including yoga with Lilli Erin Beese, a Deaf yoga instructor, a presentation from the Austin Wildlife Rescue Center, some STEM challenges, and a mix-it-up lunch where the entire elementary student body gathered for a special meal.
A grant from the TSD Foundation made this dream a reality, and the staff in Elementary are already beginning to plan for another department-wide book launch in spring 2021.
This initiative coincided with PTSO's annual Read-A-Thon. We had record-breaking participation this year, with our students reading over 55,000 minutes collectively. They raised over $4300 that our PTSO will use to purchase non-fiction books for our beloved library.
TSD's International Studies students were scheduled to travel to Vietnam in March; however, the trip was canceled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. They resolved their disappointment of not traveling to Vietnam by being creative; they made a mini-trip to Pho Please on Riverside Drive in Austin.
The National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association (NDIAA) named the wrestling team at TSD as Team of the Year. The NDIAA also named Brian Laird as Coach of the Year.
TSD's Lady Rangers were selected Team of the Year by DeafDigest. Brian Sipek was also named DeafDigest Sports Coach of the Year.
In March, TSD was invited to the 2nd annual NRSC VRC (NTID Regional STEM Center VEX Robotics Competition) National Tournament for the D/HH held at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. 27 teams from 14 different schools (both schools from the Deaf and mainstream programs) attended. The vast majority of them sent teams of high school students, with only TSD and North Carolina School for the Deaf also sending middle school teams. TSD was well-represented, as we had four middle school teams in attendance: SoCoRo (19991A), JoeMama (19991B), #CALI (19991C), and SuperHands (19991D). Although the teams had strong standings at the end of the qualifying matches, it was SuperHands who walked home with 3 awards: Tournament Champions, Skills Champions, and Think Award!
TSD's Sign Choir celebrated Texas Independence Day at the State Capitol on March 2nd. Celebrate Texas! commemorates the history of the Lone Star State and Texas' independence from Mexico in 1836. CLICK HERE to watch their performance of "God Bless Texas" by Little Texas.
During Capitol Hill Advocacy Day in February, TSD students meet with aides and staff of U.S. Congressmen Lloyd Doggett, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Roger Williams, and Chip Roy and U.S. Senator John Cornyn. The students talked about TSD, asked for an increase in funding to support teacher preparation for Deaf, blind, and Deafblind students, and the importance of the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act (HR 4822), which ensures students receive the education they deserve.
Abilene news station, KTAB/KRBC, highlighted TSD's Lisa Cochran and the statewide outreach center's (ERCOD) ASL Storytelling class. Watch the news report (cc available) HERE.