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.

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Linnett DeCarli, M.A., CCC-SLP