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News from the Maplewood Gardens

Hello, Mustangs! Some of you may have noticed some changes outside and wondered, “What happened to our entries on Maplewood and Ashwood last Friday?”

Our very own Ms. Kirk applied with the nonprofit Austin Partners in Education for corporate-sponsored assistance with landscaping and painting improvements for our campus. Within a week, Maplewood had been chosen by Ernst & Young LLC as the recipient of a $2,000.00 grant for supplies and a team of 80 employee volunteers ready to help. After meeting with Ms. Jacobson to develop a plan, the work was completed last Friday, October 6. Ernst & Young’s wonderful team of hard-working volunteers repainted the restrooms across from the gym, installed new landscaping at the front and Ashwood entries, mulched trees, added soil and compost to classroom raised beds, and powerwashed the front exterior of the school.

With donations of time and funding, Urban Patchwork has been working with the Maplewood Gardens group to develop a sustainable master landscaping plan, and these plants were chosen with our campus needs in mind. Keep Austin Beautiful loaned us the tools needed for the job, and Organics by Gosh donated half of the mulch. Please note that all resources, time, and effort are in-kind donations from our community; no funds have been spent on this project from Maplewood PTA or the school. We are so grateful for the gifts and hope you enjoy the results!

Now it is our time, Mustangs, to nurture the gifts we’ve received! Maplewood Gardens would like to host an informal chat and watering/care planning session this Friday, Oct. 13, right after drop off at the front entry. Please join us!! If you’re interested in volunteering but can’t attend this Friday, please email Periwinkle.

A big THANK YOU to Ms. Kirk, Ms. Jacobson, Ernst & Young LLC, and the volunteer Maplewood Gardeners that made this happen!! Also, a special THANK YOU to Kristen and Cayden for repairing, repainting, and installing the Mustang blue arch in the courtyard! It is welcoming and beautiful!!

Peace and Plants,
Maplewood Garden Team

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Photos by J. Potter-Miller.
More photos on the Maplewood PTA’s Flickr page.

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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
713-208-3891

 

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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!

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New Peace Sculpture at Maplewood

The neighborhood’s newest public art, “Peace Sculpture” by Chris Levack​, was installed this summer and is ready to welcome students back to Maplewood Elementary School! The piece was created by the dad of two Maplewood alumni who lives in Delwood 2, and donated by Nicolas Colimon, Mustang Class of 2017. It honors the school’s efforts to teach students to be peacemakers. We will have an official “unveiling” on Sept. 6 @ 8 a.m., and plan to invite the community and former students.

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PTA Proposes Peace Sign Sculpture by Chris Levack for Maplewood

East Austin-based sculptor Chris Levack presented a proposal for a peace sign sculpture to welcome students, families, teachers and staff to Maplewood at the May PTA Board Meeting.  Our school is proud to teach students to be Peacemakers, and this sculpture would reinforce our community values.

Chris is the father of two recent Maplewood grads, and  specializes in large-scale outdoor artwork inspired by the Texas landscape. You can see lots of examples of his work at http://texassculpture.com, and may already be familiar with the pollen and rocket ship sculptures on the Mueller Southwest Greenbelt.

Daniel Colimon and Jennifer Rappoport have generously offered to sponsor the sculpture in honor of the six years their son Nicolas spent at Maplewood, and the entire 2017 6th grade graduating class. The board voted in favor of the proposal, and Chris will present it at the PTA General Meeting for approval on May 18th at 6 p.m.  If approved, the sculpture will be installed before the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Peace Sculpture Proposal Chris Levack

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Maplewood Applies for Grant to Install a Demonstration Food Forest on School Campus

This fall, the Maplewood Elementary PTA Landscaping and Grants committees worked with local nonprofit Urban Patchwork to make plans for a small demonstration food forest at the entrance to the school. Laurie Berman, PTA Grants Chair, submitted an application for a Bright Green Future School Grant from the City of Austin. We hope to receive the $3,000 grant to install the project in Spring 2017.

The proposal is for an edible food forest and rain garden near the main entrance to our school. Our partner on the project, Urban Patchwork, has lots of experience turning underutilized spaces into productive urban gardens and farms and educational spaces, and we were inspired by the Festival Beach Food Forest planned in East Austin.  We hope that the Maplewood forest will feed, educate, and inspire our school community and the surrounding neighborhood.

You might be asking what is a food forest? ” A food forest is a gardening technique or land management system, which mimics a woodland ecosystem by substituting edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees make up the upper level, while berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals make up the lower levels.” (source: Beacon Food Forest). The location we have identified is the triangle to the left of the school’s main entrance. This space is sufficient to host four small varieties of fruit trees as well as eight edible understory plants and lots of rainbed ground plants that will support the fruit trees and soil health, and add seasonal interest to brighten the entry to the school. There will be a focus on educational aspects of the garden with signage and seating. The food forest will provide an engaging outdoor learning space for educators to align math, science, arts, literacy learning objectives with outdoor experiences.

The Bright Green Futures grant is funded by the city’s Office of Sustainability, and is intended to “recognize and support innovative projects that will inspire students to become lifelong environmental stewards.” We hope that we receive the funds and are working on installation next spring!

Maplewood Food Forest and Rain Garden. Design by Urban Patwork.

Design by Urban Patchwork.

 

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Maplewood Moms Organize Parent Support Team

This year we are excited to bring you a new and meaningful addition to our school, the Parent Support Team.

Who we are:

Renei is mom to 3rd grader Cozbi and 1st grader Zenobia. She says “My greatest parenting challenge is feeling like I’m never doing enough.”
Camille is mom to 1st grader Bijou adn Oona, who is a future Mustang! She says “My greatest parenting challenge is getting to school on time … and learning patience.”

Parent Support bios

Our goal with this position is to:

1. Empower families with information to support their children’s learning at home;
2. Facilitate communication between staff, parents, and administrators;
3. Offer opportunities for families to participate in school planning, leadership and volunteering;
4. Connect families to in-school and community support and resources;
5. Encourage parents to get involved in the school community and decision making process;
6. Cultivate a school environment where all feel welcome and respected

We can help with things like:

• finding child care
• after school activities
• parenting classes
• language barriers
• summer camp
• parent/teacher relationships
• job search
• improving communication and leadership skills
• parenting books and resources
• study materials
• community resources
• Notary Public, and so many more.

To contact us please call 512-522-7345 or email MaplewoodParentTeam@gmail.com