Blue Jay Bulletin

September 14, 2017    

Barton Creek Elementary

Kinder Class of 2030



BCE 5th grade Science teacher, Pam Stryker, said: "Writing is inspiring when you have something amazing to write about."  Today, I am going to share with you the amazing experience I had yesterday.  September 13th wasn't an ordinary day for me.  In fact, it was one of the most memorable days I can recall in my career.  I woke up with the same level of excitement as I had on the first day of school as Principal of BCE.  Only this time, it was my first day of KINDERGARTEN!  Yep, that's right.  I was a Kindergarten student in Mrs. Abbott's class yesterday…ALL DAY!  I tried to make the experience as authentic as possible.  However, I'm not sure the students were all convinced.  Sample conversation: Student- "Aren't you the Principal?"  Me- "Not today.  Today I'm a kindergarten student."  Student- "Then why are you wearing lipstick and mascara?"  Well, she got me on that one. 

I'm going to take you on my journey throughout the day.  Should you wish to see a few more photos, consider following me on Twitter @PrincipalPhelps with #StudentForaDay. 

Mrs. Abbott's class welcomed me with open arms.  Fortunately, the class sent me an email on Tuesday with a list of items to remember, so I was prepared.  My classmates showed my where to hang my backpack, where to place my snacks, and where to store my lunchbox.  I was set and ready to learn. 


The day started with playdough sight words.  Who doesn't love playdough?


Quickly thereafter, it was time to go to music.  We got to sing Cindy Lauper's "True Colors" and who doesn't love a little dancing? 


Time for PE!  Good thing I wore my tennis shoes.  There were so many fun activities.  With that said, I was so glad to see Mrs. Abbott.  Being able to "stay in character" was becoming a little challenging.  I was TIRED…and it wasn't even 10 am!


Thank goodness for story time.


Feeling refreshed, we began Writer's Workshop.  Since "community" was the theme for the week, Mrs. Abbott asked us to try and write about what in our community was special to us.  This was an easy one. 


On the move again.  Phonics dance! 


Phew…the exhaustion is creeping in.  Mrs. Abbott to the rescue again.  She announced it was time for lunch.  Yay!  All this work can make a person really hungry.


Refueled and ready for recess!  Slide races, tag, swings, scary circle thing = so much fun!


Glow draw, centers, shape art, flip book, silent reading.  The imagination, discussions, and community building was unbelievable! 

I'll end with one of my favorite conversations. 

Me: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  Students: "Engineer, doctor, fire fighter…"  Me: "Does anyone want to be a teacher?" Student: "No.  They work too hard."  ---  Yes, they most certainly do, but it's worth every minute of it. 

"Student for a day" was a huge success.  I would venture to say it was the highlight of my career.  My focus has never been clearer.  BCE students are at the center of every decision I make.  I know their success is dependent on quality instruction, authentically caring teachers, and the support of this incredible community.  I don't take this responsibility lightly and I am beyond blessed to be a little part of this amazing school.  Thank you for sharing your children with me.  



Approval will lower District's total tax rate by 1.25 cents and increase amount of local tax revenue that stays in the community



Our Veterans Day Assembly is right around the corner and we need your help! We are looking for a parent volunteer who would create our Veterans Day video. If you are interested in creating the video for the assembly or know of someone who may be interested, please contact Cindy McNicholas, Veterans Day Assembly Chair.

We are looking forward to seeing all of our BCE community at the Veterans Day Assembly on Friday, November 10th at 9:00am.

Thanks so much!
BCE Veterans Day Committee
Cindy McNicholas email:


Celebrate your Blue Jay's birthday by having their name and birthday displayed on the BCE marquee for an entire week! Don't wait...marquee spots are selling out fast! Purchase your child's birthday spot for $25!

State of the District

Click the picture to learn more about Teacher Parties!


Unusual Library Reading Spot Contest

Participants will submit a picture taken while they are reading in an unusual place or in a special pose. Students might be found reading in a famous landmark, an iconic Austin site, or in their own backyard. All photos will be posted on a library bulletin board throughout the 2017-2018 school year. Five entries will be chosen to be printed on the front of a school-wide bookmark.


When: NOW until Friday, September 29th

For more information, specific directions, and the entry form...


Your BCE Counselors, Karen Wager and Amy Ashorn, are thrilled that the district has made Social Emotional Learning (SEL) a priority again this year. The district is supporting the SEL initiative by adding Second Step, an SEL curriculum, to all grade levels and classrooms.  In addition to our counselor-led classroom lessons, teachers will use the Second Step Curriculum to teach and embed SEL skills in their classrooms. We are optimistic about the growth our students will experience in 5 SEL Competencies: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making.

To further build on the SEL Competencies and Skills, all students are signing a Resolution of Respect.  The Resolution of Respect is the first step to BCE becoming a No Place for Hate® recognized school.  The No Place for Hate® initiative through the ADL provides a framework for schools to build a positive and inclusive community where respect is the norm.  Read more about: No Place for Hate 


As I read over the first couple chapters of The Gift of Failure for our upcoming Book Study at BCE, I couldn't help but think of my classic moment in my first SEL Lesson with Mrs. O'Neil's class. I had been so excited to get into the classroom again and do what I love doing- working with kids. I had the coolest lesson ready to go and I could not wait to watch them dive into it. As soon as the activity started, I realized that I had not constructed my tools for the activity in the perfect manner in order for them to "work." Instead I watched in agony as my lesson about collaboration and relationships failed on my very own watch. But wait, did it really FAIL, or was it my own expectation that failed? The kids were amazing- they kept working together, encouraging one another, discussing different strategies to accomplish their goal as a team. And then I had a moment of clarity: This was a perfect GIFT of failure. My own set goal for them was not reached yet they all worked together even harder than if everything had gone smoothly and through this challenge, they not only collaborated, but demonstrated both resiliency and grit. I was so thrilled to see their intrinsic efforts displayed and was so utterly happy that I was given this gift of failure so that I could grow along with these adorable 3rd grade blue jays. It was agonizing during the initial moments of my perfect plan not playing out right, let me tell you, but they accomplished an even greater lesson than I ever intended and so did I. :) Karen Wager .




Bingo Night


Destination Imagination




Youth Spirit




Friday - September 15, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday - September 26, 2017
All day
Wednesday - September 27, 2017
All day
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Thursday - September 28, 2017
All day

1314 Patterson Road, Austin, Texas 78746

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