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Superintendent Carstarphen to AISD Community: Support for Families and Staff Affected by Flooding

Dear Colleagues:

Many of our families and school communities were devastated by last week’s severe flooding in Austin. Over the weekend, I visited affected neighborhoods, particularly in southeast Austin. I walked the streets, talked to families, and entered damaged homes. Our schools are back in operation, but many families, including at least one AISD staff member, have lost their homes and belongings.

While schools are now operating, many students who were affected by the storm have been unable to return to class. At last count, we were aware of more than 100 students who have become homeless as a result of the flooding.

Many of you have asked how you can help. For information about employee leave, how to volunteer, types of donations need, transportation assistance, and guidance and counseling, please go to this website: www.austinisd.org/announcements/resources-families-and-staff-affected-flooding.

I want to express my deepest sympathy to the families who lost so muchsome, their livesin this tragedy. Thank you to everyone who has come together to support our families and our AISD school community.

Regards,
Meria

Meria Carstarphen

Superintendent


 

 

Information and How to Support Families Affected by Flooding

Superintendent's Power of Us Blog

 

Following last weeks’ flooding in Austin, and in preparing for the potential for more weather-related challenges, I have been working closely with the City of Austin, especially Austin Police Department Chief Acevedo, to ensure a better exchange of timely information for schools and neighborhoods in the flood plains of Austin. We have encouraged the city to do more outreach to affected families with information about available services and what to expect in the days and weeks ahead. AISD is doing its part to support this effort and to keep schools operating as safe places for students and staff.
 
AISD's Police and Emergency Management Team is working closely with the City of Austin and the Austin Police Department to monitor weather for the area. Rain is expected to begin this afternoon and continue into Wednesday, and while some forecasters are predicting an additional 1 to 2 inches of rain along the IH35 corridor, others are predicting less. While we hope for the best, we need to prepare for the worst, and we have been informed that even two inches of rain in one hour can trigger flooding and, in some urban areas, even less rain can cause an area to flood.
  
We have contacted parents and caregivers of students in schools impacted by last week's flooding. In response to ongoing concerns about more rain and potential flooding, we are continuing  to inform them about what to expect if the weather causes delays or school closures. Families have asked principals for real-time communication from the district about responding to additional flooding that may occur this week and we will continue to honor that request. While families throughout the city have been impacted, the schools most affected include Blazier, Langford, Palm, Perez, and Widen elementary schools and Mendez Middle School.
 
Over the weekend, I visited affected neighborhoods, particularly in the Perez Elementary School community in southeast Austin. I walked the streets, talked to families, and entered damaged homes. These areas are devastated. We continue to track students who are homeless as a result of the flooding. At last count, we were aware of more than 100 students.
 
All AISD schools are now operating on a regular schedule.
  
We have provided families and staff with this information about resources available to them, which is described in more detail on the AISD website at this address:
http://www.austinisd.org/announcements/resources-families-and-staff-affected-flooding
 
Food, Water, Shelter, School Supplies, Transportation and Counseling
 
General Assistance: Dove Springs Recreation Center at 5801 Ainez Drive, (512) 447-5875. 
 
Between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., families may also call the Family Resource Center at Mendez Middle School at 512-841-1016. Water, bread and baby formula are available, as well as school supplies and school transportation information for AISD students who have been displaced from their homes. 
 
Families in need of transportation assistance can call the Red Cross at 512-974-0999. Capital Metro is also providing transportation assistance between the Onion Creek area and Dove Springs Recreation Center shelter. 
 
Volunteering
The Austin Disaster Relief Network and the Red Cross are still seeking volunteers to help provide relief to families affected by last week's flooding. To learn how you can help Austin Disaster Relief Network, please call 512-331-2600 or visit www.adrntx.org/index.php/central-tx-flood-news. To volunteer with the Red Cross, please call 512-928-4271 or visit http://www.redcross.org/support.
 
Donations
To make an online donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief, please visit www.redcross.org. You can also donate by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Additionally, the Family Resource Center at Mendez Middle School is seeking donations of shoes. Please call 512-841-1016 to see how you can help. 
 
On behalf of AISD, I want to express my deepest sympathy to the families who lost so much--some, their lives--in this tragedy. Thank you to everyone who has come together to support our families.