Friday, May 26, 2017

Austin Ed Fund Grant & Kinder Migration

Happy Memorial Day weekend!
This week we learned that Ms. Hernandez, one of our 1st grade teachers, won a grant for $8,500 from the Austin Education Fund for literacy. This money will be used to provide programs that provide phonics instruction to students in a hands-on and meaningful way.  Ms. Hernandez and a few other teachers have already been using this program in their classes and the students love it! They have learned so much! We are excited to share this wonderful program with all of K-2 students next year! Thank you so much to Ms. Hernandez and to Beth Thornton for working together to submit this grant.

On Thursday this week, we had our Kinder migration. This is always a highlight of the year as we watch our Kindergarten students migrate to the big building. They all looked so cute in their graduation caps and their butterfly wings. I think their smiles were the best part though! They were definitely excited! 


I hope you all enjoy this extra long weekend! We only have 3 more days of school, but they are packed full of activities! See you on Tuesday!

Sunday, May 7, 2017



Are you concerned that your kids spend too much time on tablets, smartphones, or other devices? Do you have fewer conversations with your kids than you’d like because of technology distractions? Do you find yourself constantly asking your kids to lower the volume on devices because you can hear the music blaring through their earbuds or headphones?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are a typical parent in the digital age. These are struggles for most of us as technology increasingly becomes central to our lives and our children’s lives.

During May, my professional association—the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)—celebrates Better Hearing & Speech Month. Given that, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the important roles that verbal communication and personal interaction—free from technology distractions—play in children’s academic and social development.

Kids today are using devices for hours every day—time that once was reserved for talking and reading, interactive and imaginative play, outdoor experiences, and other activities. Yet, the primary way young children develop their speech and language abilities is through verbal exchange—talking and reading with parents. This is a precursor for their own reading abilities and overall academic success. Children also learn from hands-on experiences. Educational apps can play a part, but they are not a replacement for what is learned through person-to-person communication. As we head into the summer months, when children no doubt will have more time to use devices, consider reserving some device-free time each day. You may be surprised by how little they (and you) miss it!

Another pressing issue related to technology use is hearing damage. Unfortunately, there has been a significant spike in hearing loss in young people in recent years. This coincides with the rise in popularity of mp3 players, tablets, and other devices. Even mild hearing loss can lead to reduced academic achievement (particularly in reading and math), poor self-concept, and feelings of social isolation, among other consequences—so, encourage your kids to keep the volume on their devices to half level and to take listening breaks. Hearing loss due to unsafe listening habits can be prevented, but once it occurs, it is irreversible. Teach (and model yourself) these good habits early.

For more information, visit

Linnett DeCarli, M.A., CCC-SLP

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Talent at OHE

OHE is full of talented individuals! I just wanted to share a few recent distinctions for some of our students with you. 

Recently, we had several of our students compete on a team at the Destination Imagination regional tournament. This is an independent team run by a parent, but three of the students are from Oak Hill. The mission of Texas Destination Imagination is to encourage and foster the development of 21st century skills: creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration; to influence development of a positive self-image; and to prepare the students to apply problem solving skills to life decisions. I am happy to report that the team won FIRST place in the regional tournament and is headed to Lubbock THIS WEEKEND to compete in the state tournament. We wish them the best of luck and know that they will do an amazing job! Here are some pictures from their recent tournament:

We also had one of our Kindergarten students place as a finalist in the Book People bookmark contest !  Her bookmark is the Gerald and Piggie one on the bottom (elephant and pig). What a cute bookmark! Congratulations to her! 
I know we have many more talented students at Oak Hill. I see it everyday! We have creative thinkers, future scientists, authors, and artists. I am amazed by their work and proud to be a part of the best school in AISD! (In my opinion) 😀

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Break

We had a great week and now the time is here for everyone to enjoy a little rest, refreshing, and relaxation. We began the week with a super fun pajama party with the Kindergarten performance. They were absolutely adorable in this program and I think they had a great time preparing for it and performing for the school and their parents, as well as their Young at Heart reading volunteers.


On Thursday, we had many famous visitors come to us in the form of the living wax museum put on by third grade. This is a culmination activity of their biography unit and it is one of my favorite events of the year. The students looked great dressed up as the person they learned about and did a great job presenting to the parents.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful spring break. Some students told me they are traveling and some told me they are staying home. Either way, I know they will have a great time! Get some rest and return to us in a week recharged and ready for the last 9 weeks of this school year!
Happy Spring Break!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Applebee's Pancake breakfast

What a delicious Saturday morning it was at the Applebee's pancake breakfast. We had a great turnout- around 322 showed up for breakfast! The pancakes were delicious and the great conversation and time with friends and family was even better!




If you weren't able to join us, we missed you and hope that you can join us next year!

Also- Thank you all for your support of OHE with voting for Ms. Hernandez, who is a top 10 finalist for the $10,000 Rather Prize! We will not know if she won until early March. This prize benefits ALL of the students at OHE. You still have time to vote today and tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

We are 100 days SMARTER!

Last week we celebrated the 100th day of school! The teachers had multiple activities for students to count to 100, count by 10's, and learn how many 100 of something is. At this age, it's a big number! They had a great time and had several yummy treats centered around 100. We also had our second grade classes dress as if they are 100 years old. It is hilarious and they are SO cute! Next year- I think I'll join in! :-) Here are several pictures from that day.  Look at how much fun they are having!



It was a busy week for our PK and Kinder students. Not only did they do numerous 100th day activities, they had a visit from Austin firefighters who brought the ladder truck. They put the ladder all the way up and wow, was it high! I love this picture of all the students looking up at it.
They got to go inside the fire truck,  they walked around and learned about many of the knobs and hoses on the fire truck and they heard a short presentation from the firefighters. I know this is always a highlight of their year! 


We also celebrated being heart healthy by wearing red on Friday. We had many students and staff who participated. I love that Oak Hill does so much to teach our students about ways to be healthy.


We hope that you will be able to join us on Saturday this weekend  or the Pancake breakfast at Applebee's from 8-10am. Tickets are $10 for all you can eat pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, fruit, coffee, and orange juice. Sounds delicious!! Tickets can be purchased online in the store or you can send in payment to the school by TOMORROW, Wed. Feb 8th.  This event helps fund many projects at OHE.

Hope you enjoy this beautiful weather! Maybe it will stick around for a bit!

Have a great Oak Hill day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy Holidays!

The last days leading up to the winter break have been packed full of exciting activities. As I walked around the building, I saw students engaged in lessons about holidays around the world, holiday traditions or working on topics from math concepts to creative writing with a winter theme. Here are some examples of this wonderful (and super cute) work.




Students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades were presenting biography reports about famous people, exploring science concepts and representing difficult number concepts in creative ways.



The teachers had a great opportunity to learn about mindfulness in the classroom and the benefits, not only for their students, but also themselves. It is a great way to start the day and get our brains calm and ready to learn, but can be used all throughout the day to help students transition from one activity to the next or to refocus their energy on the task at a hand. Here are our teachers learning about the benefits of mindful stretching.

Our fifth grade students presented a wonderful holiday treat in the form of a winter musical/ theater show. It was full of cheerful songs and winter themed jokes- what a great way to spread holiday cheer! The students did an outstanding job!


The Soaring Eagle singers also took their annual caroling trip to nearby businesses.  This is such a wonderful way to share the holiday spirit with our community. Ms. Brown and Ms. Flaherty were certainly busy little elves this December!


Last night, I attended the Austin ISD board meeting to receive recognition from the Texas Education Agency for our Academic Achievement Distinction Designations. We earned three designations in Academic Achievement: Reading/ELA, Academic Achievement: Science, and Postsecondary Readiness.  It was truly a wonderful moment to be recognized for all of the hard work that the teachers and students do every day. I was honored to accept this recognition on their behalf.

During our last assembly of 2016, we said "Happy Retirement" to one of OHE's longtime residents. Ms. Alice Wiley is retiring.  She has been at Oak Hill for 24 years-as a student teacher, a teacher, and as a teacher assistant. She plans to come back and volunteer for the school periodically, so her days here are not over and we don't have to say goodbye. We will truly miss her on the days she is not here and we will certainly miss her at morning drop off.

As we close out 2016, I wanted to take this time to say how proud I am to be the principal of Oak Hill Elementary. I am so lucky to work with the most deidcated group of teachers in all of Austin; the kindest, most amazing students; and a caring, supportive community of parents.  I wish you and your family joy and peace in the new year and hope that you have a wonderful winter break! See you in 2017!