Principal's Blog

Kindergarten Kickoff Jamboree

Hello New Incoming Kindergarten families!

The Austin T. Levy School PTF would like to welcome you to our family.  Beginning school can be a very exciting time but also a bit confusing.   We were in your shoes last year!  To make things a little easier, we now have our Annual Kindergarten Kickoff Jamboree.  We are thrilled to invite you!

This event will be an informational cookout for new families coming into the school.  We will be inviting companies and organizations that have age-appropriate activities i.e. dance studios, ice skating, scouts, etc.  There will be demonstrations from some of the organizations and lots of things for the kids to do while you’re walking around.  You’ll also have a chance to connect with the families of children who will be in your child’s Kindergarten class.  Your kiddos will be able to meet some classmates before the big day!  The event will be held Thursday, August 24th from 5-8 p.m. in the side field at Austin T. Levy School.  Please RSVP to Veronica Pearson @ by August 16th and let us know you’ll be there!

Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

posted Feb 28, 2016, 12:45 PM by Julie Mayhew

Parent-Teacher Conference Night is coming soon, on March 17th from 5-8 pm. We are looking forward to sharing 
your child’s progress with you! Because appointment times are short, a little advance preparation can help you 
and your child’s teacher make the most of every moment! 

Start by talking to your child—let your child know that you are meeting with the teacher and ask how things are 
going in school. Ask if there is anything your child wants you to talk about with the teacher. Then, before the conference, think about
  • Any questions about the school’s programs
  • Things you can share with the teacher about your child and his/her life at home 
  • Questions about your child’s progress 
Some parents find it helpful to make a list of things they would like to discuss and questions they have.
During the conference, consider asking these questions:

  • What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses? 
  • How does my child get along with classmates? 
  • Is my child doing his/her best work? Where could s/he use improvement? 
  • What can we do at home to support what you are doing in the classroom? 

The teacher will most likely show you examples of your child’s work, which is the best way for you to see what 
your child is doing.

Remember that Parent-Teacher Conference night is just one opportunity to talk about your child’s school 
experience. If you have any ongoing questions or concerns, or if you feel that you need more time than is 
available on our busy conference night, feel free to ask your child’s teacher for another appointment. And, 
as always, if there is any way in which I may be of help, please do not hesitate to see me on Parent-Teacher 
Conference Night, or call/email at any time!

Julie Mayhew

The Power of Mistakes

posted Feb 28, 2016, 12:25 PM by Julie Mayhew   [ updated Feb 28, 2016, 12:32 PM ]

I heard a great story not so long ago. It seems that an executive for an international company was in charge of a
project that turned out to be an abysmal failure. When the numbers came in, he learned that his error in judgment
had cost the company almost five million dollars. He went immediately to the CEO and handed in a letter of
resignation. The CEO said, “Why would I let you resign? I just invested five million dollars in your education!”

I don’t know if the story is true, but I love it. It says so much about the power of mistakes. Anyone who has ever 
tried and failed at snowboarding, or baking a cheesecake, or assembling a piece of electronic equipment knows that there is so much to be learned from mistakes...far more than we learn by reading about it, or being told how to do 
it, or having it done for us.

Often in our world we hear mistakes referred to as something bad, and something to be avoided. How unfortunate!
We significantly limit our learning if we are afraid to risk a mistake—and how boring life would be if we only did
whatwe already knew we could do, just so we didn’t make a mistake! As parents and teachers, we have many
opportunities to teach our children about the value of mistakes and to model perseverance. At Levy, we embrace
mistakes as proof that we are trying, and weview them not as failures, but as important steps on the journey to
deeper understanding and greater success. The only “failure” in a mistake is not learning from it and trying again.

After all, in the words of the great French post-Impressionist Paul Gaugin, “Between the failure and the 
masterpiece, the distance is one millimeter.”

Julie Mayhew

Illnesses, Absences and Tardiness

posted Jan 3, 2016, 6:46 AM by Julie Mayhew

You can help us to make Levy a healthy school this winter by keeping sick children at homeNot only can sick children spread their illnesses at school, but they can pick up other illnesses more easily.  

Sick children will recover better and more quickly at home.  Sometimes it’s hard to judge whether a children should come to school or not, so we offer these guidelines. Please keep children home if they have any of the following:

*A temperature above 100 degrees in the past 24 hours (or need medication to stay under 100 F)

*Vomiting or persistent diarrhea in the past 24 hours

*Severe head cold: sore throat, congestion and runny nose

*Frequent uncontrolled coughing

*Unexplained rash 

If your child has other symptoms or you are unsure about whether to keep him/her home, please feel free to call our school nurse, Mrs. Linda Allard. In general, if your child has a typical cold or mild symptoms, you can feel comfortable sending him/her to school - we will watch carefully during the day and contact you if the symptoms worsen.

Every day that a child is absent from school creates a gap in his or her learning—and there is a lot of learning going on at Levy! It is critical for all our students to be here every single day, unless they are ill (see above) or there is an emergency. 

Likewise, late arrival at school causes children to miss out on the morning conversations and activities that frame their days and support their success. Please make every effort to schedule routine appointments outside school hours, and to be sure that children are at school no later than 8:45 every morning. Children may be dropped off at school as early as 8:30.

Absences are only excused when accompanied by a doctor's note. Over the course of an entire school year,the typical child should have no more than 10 unexcused absences. 10 or more unexcused absences, and/or frequent tardiness, may result in a truancy referral. 

 If your child is going to be absent, please call the office in the morning to let us know - and if there are special circumstances surrounding your child's absences or tardiness, please contact me so that we can work together to ensure that your child's educational experience is as productive as possible this year! 

Thank you!

Julie Mayhew


Be Good for Goodness’ Sake!

posted Dec 6, 2015, 11:36 AM by Julie Mayhew   [ updated Dec 11, 2015, 11:46 AM ]

I can remember so vividly as a little girl trying to be “extra” good during the holiday season in the 

hopes of making up for any naughtiness over the previous 11 months. I can also remember my parents 

lamenting that it sure was a shame my brother and I couldn’t figure out how to do our chores, eat our 

vegetables, and not fight for the rest of the year!

It seems that there’s a lot of “extra” good behavior in December, when many children are aware of 

Santa’s watchful eyes, and we love to see that here at school. But the great coach John Wooden once 

said that the true test of our character is what we do when no one is watching. No matter  which 

December holidays we celebrate, we share common themes of peace, kindness, generosity, and 

selflessness. All those themes tie right in with the 3 R’s we are teaching throughout the year here at 

ATL, the foundations of good character.  This is the perfect time of year to show children how the 

values that their family  cherishes can be lived all year long—at home, at school, and out in the world.

Let’s take the time to remind our children, and show them by our example, what it means to be 

people of go that “extra” step or be “extra” nice just because we can, even when no 

one is watching. Think of the possibilities if the beautiful and positive themes of the December 

holidays could spill over into the rest of our year!

I wish you and all your loved ones a wonderful holiday season, and much happiness in the  coming 


Julie Mayhew


Sleep...why is it important?

posted Nov 16, 2015, 12:47 PM by Julie Mayhew

Many thanks to preschool teacher Ms. Jerilyn Caya for writing this short article about the importance of sleep in young children!

The National Sleep Foundation ( reports that sleep helps us solidify and consolidate memories (pieces of information are transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory), restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.

Preschoolers (3-5 years) typically sleep 11-13 hours each night.  Most children after five years of age no longer nap.  Difficulty falling asleep,  waking up during the night, nighttime fears and nightmares are common for preschool children.  Sleepwalking and sleep terrors also peak during preschool years.  

Ways to help your preschooler sleep:

  • Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.

  • Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark – and without a TV.

School-aged children (6-13 years) need 9-11 hours of sleep.  They become more interested in media such as television and computers, as well as caffeine products which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, and disruptions to their sleep.

Ways to help your school-aged child sleep:

  • Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits.

  • Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.

  • Make child's bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.

  • Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.

  • Avoid caffeine.

Building a Growth Mindset

posted Nov 15, 2015, 12:18 PM by Julie Mayhew   [ updated Nov 15, 2015, 12:19 PM ]

Many of us were raised to believe that a person is either born smart, or not...but we have learned a lot about the brain in recent years, and some of those old beliefs are changing.

If you remember your school years, probably you were in a class where, when the teacher asked a question, the “smart” kids raised their hands and everyone else waited.

But researchers have discovered (as we probably all knew back then!) that those “smart” kids would never raise their hands if they weren’t sure of the answer...and the reason is that if “smart” is how you define yourself, and you’re not really sure why or how you got “smart,” you are unlikely to risk making a mistake or doing something wrong—because then you won’t be “smart” any more!

What we now know is that the brain has an incredible capacity for learning—and the way we learn best is by making mistakes, thinking them through and trying again. None of us know everything, so in order to be learners we must be willing to risk the wrong answer and keep working until we get it right. Intelligence is not something that is fixed in place. The way that we get “smart” - and continue to get smarter! - is through hard work and perseverance.

Every day at Levy we are going to be asking your children to do things that are new and challenging for them—and we are going to encourage them to take risks, think things through, solve problems, and persevere when it is difficult. Success in school, and in life, hinges on those abilities—that is what “smart” is really all about! It’s great to get the right answer, and we do expect children to meet specific benchmarks and acquire certain skills, but the journey is far more valuable to learning than the destination.

You  are going to see this mindset shift reflected in the teaching and learning at Levy school, and we hope that you will support us at home by praising your children for their hard work and perseverance. Together we are going to be amazed by how truly “smart” all our children are!


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