Celebration of Life Festival at Maplewood

By Erin Magrath

Maplewood Elementary will be participating in a Celebration of Life festival the week of 10/29/17 and with CLI (Creative Learning Initiative) inspired performances on November 3rd, 2017 starting a 1 p.m. We are celebrating different cultural traditions throughout the world that celebrate an end to a natural cycle.

These traditions were created as a way to explain natural phenomena; and bringing in an SEL element, a way to honor, remember, and respect those that have died in our families and communities. Some traditions which will be studied by Maplewood students are Celtic Samhain (Halloween) with the seasonal cycle, Mexico’s Day of the Dead and the Monarch Butterfly Migration cycle, and the Hungry Ghost festival of Southeast Asia in relation to the lunar cycle.

In addition, we have a community partner, Mayra Sotelo, who will be giving a Mexican cultural read aloud in traditional Dia de los Muertos costume in our library, November 2nd in the morning. Please feel free to come and celebrate with the Maplewood community on either of these dates.

Dia de los Muertos altar at Maplewood. Photo by Elizabeth McQueen.

Photo by Elizabeth McQueen.


Garden Work Day September 16

Join Maplewood gardeners on Saturday, September 16 to refresh our school’s vegetable garden boxes and get them ready for the fall growing season! We will also do some general cleanup of the grounds. Bring your kids, gloves, and garden tools. We will have water and snacks for everyone.

Also, if you have a green thumb and want to share your love of gardening, let your child’s teacher know you can help them during the semester!

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Photos by J. Potter-Miller/Maplewood PTA


Maplewood Elementary to Celebrate Peace Sculpture Unveiling on Wednesday, September 6

Austin ISD’s Maplewood Elementary is thrilled to announce its 65th anniversary year with an unveiling celebration for a new piece of public art on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 8 a.m. Located at 3808 Maplewood Ave., the event will take place in front of the school’s entrance where the sculpture is located and will be open to the public and current and former students. Attending AISD representatives will be announced.

Maplewood is an elementary school for grades pre-K through sixth located in East Austin. Opening in 1952, the school is known for its diverse student body and its motto “Increase the Peace.” The school is rated exemplary in the areas of overall performance, the fine arts, wellness and physical education, community and parental involvement, digital learning environment, dropout prevention strategies, educational programs for gifted and talented students, its Second Language Acquisition Program and its 21st Century Workforce Development Program.

The school is celebrating its 65th year with the installation of “Peace Sculpture” by local artist Chris Levack​. The piece was donated by Maplewood parents Daniel Colimon and Jennifer Rappoport, whose son Nicolas Colimon

“The peace sculpture honors the school’s efforts to teach students to be peacemakers in our world,” said Vickie Jacobson, Maplewood Principal. “It’s exciting to think about 65 years of educating Austin’s children, and to know we are still providing the very best education for all of our students each day! I’m looking forward to celebrating our amazing 65th year!”

Each school year, Maplewood students make the “Peacemaker Pledge”  at the beginning of the year. The pledge is: “I promise to do my best to treat everyone fairly, be kind to everyone – even if they are not like me. If I see someone being hurt or bullied, I will act as an ally if I feel safe or report it to an adult. Everyone should feel safe and happy at our school.” The school’s goal is to promote peaceful, inclusive behaviors between students, parents and all members of the community, and it has earned a “No Place for Hate” distinction from the Anti-Defamation League for five consecutive years.

“Teaching core social emotional skills are the foundation of the teaching that our staff does each day,” said Kelli Kirk, Maplewood School Counselor. “We work to help students become self aware, regulate their emotions, make responsible decisions, and in turn, become more socially aware and empathetic. What could be more important than raising children who bring those skills into the world as adults?”

When asked “What does it mean to be a Peacemaker?” Maplewood first graders had this to say:

“It means helping people, helping people solve problems and helping people who are being mean to be nice to each other.” – Amelia.

“To be kind, help people and stop bullying.” – Anthony.

“To share and be thankful.” – Joseph.

Maplewood Elementary has been lauded as a beautifully diverse representation of Austin, offering dual-language learning and an incorporation of the arts into all of its classes. The school’s mission statement, “to develop the WHOLE child – one who feels valued and is successful within a cooperative, safe learning environment,” resonates in the lessons taught in and events held out of the classroom. One of the key attributes of Maplewood is the focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL), which can be seen daily in the school’s “Peacemaker” awards program where students are recognized for courageous behavior during morning assembly.

Parent’s David and Priscilla Boston’s sons attended Maplewood in the ‘90s, when the “Increase the Peace” program was first implemented. She remembers how much they valued their Peacemaker awards and said the program “was a real asset to their education. I think it really stuck. They’ve incorporated what they learned into how they interact with family, friends and coworkers.”

“Working closely with our staff and parents and the community, we strive each day to ensure that every child is confident, successful and respected,” said Vickie Jacobson, Maplewood Principal.

Maplewood also hosts a number of events throughout the year such as Fall Fest, Spring Fling, Mustang Stampede Fun Run, Parent Prom and more. It is a resource to the surrounding community, serving as an official polling location and the venue for the annual Cherrywood Art Fair, one of Austin’s most cherished holiday markets. For more information on Maplewood Elementary, please see www.maplewoodelementary.com.

Maplewood illustration by Caitlin Alexander 2017

About Chris Levack

Chris Levack is a sculptor who works primarily on large-scale outdoor artwork. Inspired by the Texas landscape, he has specialized in materials that withstand the elements such as architectural terra cotta, copper and exterior woods. He created “Pollen Grain” and “Wigwam” on the Mueller Southwest Greenway. He has two daughters who graduated from Maplewood. For more information, please see www.texassculpture.com.

About Caitlin B. Alexander

Caitlin B. Alexander is an illustrator based in East Austin with a particular love for dry-brush gouache painting. Both her life and work are heavily influenced by the aesthetics of the ‘40s, ’50s and ’60s. She fancies herself a collector of memories as much as a collector of things and enjoys bringing this sense of nostalgia to her audience. For more information, please see www.cbaillustration.com.

Media Contact

Heather Wagner Reed, Juice Consulting










Back to School Tacos and Popsicles

Students and their families were invited to practice their walk or bike ride to school and meet on the basketball court to get to know their classmates and neighbors on the Saturday before classes started. Our neighbors at Servant Church generously provided tacos and coffee, and the PTA  brought popsicles. Dozens of families came out for a relaxed morning to (re)connect before the beginning of the school year.

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Photos by Melanie Chasteen and Heather Wagner Reed


Back to School Dates and Newsletter

The first day of class at Maplewood will be Monday, August 21! This will be the school’s 65th anniversary and we are looking forward to welcoming new and returning students to campus. The PTA has published it’s first weekly newsletter with all kinds of info for families. You can find it online here. To subscribe, email maplewoodnewsletter@gmail.com. You don’t want to miss it!

Important dates

New Kid Camp – Wednesday, August 17th, 1 – 2 PM
Kinder Camp – Wednesday, August 17th, 3 – 4 PM
For families with kiddos new to Maplewood, these “camps” are an opportunity for you all to visit the Maplewood campus, have an informational session with Principal Jacobson, meet some of our faculty, and tour the classrooms. It’s also a chance to get to know other incoming families and classmates.

Meet the Teacher, Friday, August 18th, 4 – 5 PM
This is your family’s opportunity to meet your student’s new teacher and visit the student’s new classroom.

Popsicle Social Saturday, August 19th at 9:30 – 11:30 AM On the Blacktop
Maplewood PTA’s annual Popsicle social is an informal event to gather with your Maplewood community. Special thank you to our friends and neighbors from Servant Church, for providing breakfast!


Volunteer Appreciation Video and Prize

The last PTA meeting of the year was held on May 18, and a special video was screened for our community. Over the previous weeks, students, faculty and staff had participated in a project honoring volunteers for their service, and it was truly marvelous! The PTA also presented Daniel Colimon the inaugural Volunteer of the Year award. Daniel has been an integral part of the school for the entire time his son Nicolas has attended, and lent a hand everything from Wednesday Folders (he’s a page counting machine), to the front desk, tutoring and mentoring students. He’s also organized the Maplewood Food Pantry for the last few years, and helped support countless families in our community. This is his last year as a Maplewood parent and we will always be grateful for his many contributions!


Daniel Colimon, Volunteer of the Year


Spring Fling Fun

The 2017 Spring Fling took place on a beautiful sunny day, and the Maplewood community enjoyed the performances by students and the Dad Band (they’ll be invited back!), custom tattoos, a dunk tank with the obliging Ms. Magrath, adorable baby animals from the Tiny Tails petting zoo, and endless hot dogs and cookies. Thanks to the organizers and everyone who attended for a great afternoon!

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Photos by Jennifer Potter-Miller


Spring Fling is May 13

Please join us for some free family fun to celebrate Spring on the lovely grounds of Maplewood Elementary! Watch performances from Maplewood Mustangs and the epic premier of the Dad Band! Test your throwing skills at the Dunk Tank. Get your bounce on in the ‘wrecking ball’ for big kids an the bouncy house for gentle jumpers. Meet some fuzzy friends from Tiny Tails petting zoo. Get a spiffy new look at the Mustang Makeover Salon. Enjoy free hot dogs and drinks, and bring a side or individually wrapped sweet treats to share. And even more fun, including a photo booth, and a Thank-You Card station where you can make a lovely card to share with the mamas in your life! Don’t forget to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to watch the music. Hope to see you there!!

Special thanks to our sponsor Austin Vet Hospital!

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER: https://utexas.givepulse.com/event/50202-The-Maplewood-Elementary-Spring-Fling


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Maplewood Spring Fling 2014


Green Team in Action During Keep Austin Beautiful

By Amanda Braziel

The Maplewood Green Team, in conjunction with FrOG, participated in Keep Austin Beautiful‘s Clean Sweep on the lovely, cool, mosquito-free morning of April 8. About 13 volunteers, including several students from Maplewood and folks from the surrounding community, showed up to clean Upper Boggy Creek between Cherrywood Green and Lafayette Ave. We mailed letters to private property owners along the banks of the creek in advance of our event so we could do a more thorough job than when we cleaned just the public creek areas on It’s My Park Day back in March.  We filled several bags of trash and recycling and pulled out a couple of bulky items, including box springs and a massive tangle of wires that had evidently been left behind by utility crews. The most interesting piece of litter we recovered was a love note! We also moved some rocks and natural debris and removed algae overgrowths to improve the flow of water in the creek.  We even saw fish upstream from the Green! Unfortunately, we also discovered a HUGE deposit of single-use styrofoam and plastic water bottles that we did not have enough bags or volunteers to completely remove that day. We really need to get back in there to remove all of that pollution soon.

Sunshine and Emily Mathon led a group of volunteers in a KAB cleanup of Willowbrook Reach, and they picked up 5 bags’ worth of trash from creek. If you are interested in assisting with future Green Team-sponsored clean ups, please email me.

Photos by Amanda Braziel