PSAT Day! Wishing the best of luck to everyone taking it today.

Some of you may have heard me tell this story at one of the welcome coffees or such. I always get asked “What is my favorite thing about LASA?” at those type of events. My answer is that I truly believe that the administration “gets my son and kids like him and I think he and they deserve it”.

My son’s freshman year (2 years ago), I heard Stacia talk about the upcoming PSAT. She talked about how at LASA all 9th, 10th and 11th graders take the 11th grade PSAT every year. Did you know there is a 9th grade PSAT and a 10th grade PSAT? I didn’t until that year. I asked why would the 9th and 10th graders take the 11th grade one? She said “Why not?” The 11th grade one is the only one that matters so the more the practice the better. I’m not big on standardized tests at all but when she explained it to me, she said there is big money associated with this test. This could be the difference in where kids go to college and how much their families have to pay. She said, of course she would do anything to with help. She even offers tutoring for those that are borderline after their 10th grade year. WHO DOES THAT FOR THEIR STUDENTS? LASA does.

Now, who do you think PAYS for these tests? Tests for all juniors, I *believe*, are paid for by the district. But 9th and 10th are optional so who pays for them? LASA does.

And now to the math…
# Current 11th graders: 343
# Current 10th graders: 340
# Current 9th graders: 353

PSAT cost is $16 (I think!) per student
(So, if my math is right $11,088 for 9/10th graders) $11K!!!!!

LASA Class of 2019 Numbers:
54 National Merit Commended Award
26 National Hispanic Recognition Program
32 National Merit Semi Finalist Award

LASA Class of 2018 Numbers:
89 National Merit Commended Award
21 National Hispanic Recognition Program
1 National Merit Semi Finalist Award
38 National Merit Finalists

The point being here… LASA cares and does things for all of us. They get our kids. They challenge them and they help them. With very little financial support. Please give whatever you can to help.

P.S. If you don’t know anything about National Merit, check it out. SOME colleges offer FREE RIDES for all 4 years to national merit finalists.

P.P.S. sorry for the long post…. I’m a little passionate about the fact that someone cares enough to do this for my kid and yours. I think that’s unusual.

We are an All-In Community!

Good morning!

We are in our final week of fundraising. We need your help to reach out to your friends! Please let us know if you can help send an email to your friends (email fundraising at We have a template for you to modify and send! Easy job – 5 minutes tops and will make such an impact!


Financially, we have not hit our goal yet but more importantly we are trying very hard to get more families to participate.

LASA is an all-in community!
Every dollar matters!

You know how I like math/numbers:
*** We have around 1200 students.
*** We estimate that to be around 900 families.
*** 30% of that number has donated at least $5
*** That is only 270 families that have participated, out of 900!

Would you please send an email to your friends today?

Staff Favorites!

Happy Friday!
Happy 3 day weekend! (no school Monday)

I’ve had a few questions asking about the staff favorites (must be college rec season  lol) and I’m so happy people are using it and asking about it. So I have a “present” post for you today for asking about the list…


Here is a message from Scout’s mom:
On her bed in my office playing with a purple hippo that one of our seniors gave her! He gave her that and 2 bags of treats from her likes list!

Ms. Gritte & Ms. Skaer attend the Teaching from the Archives

Today is the DAY for you to donate!!! Check that sucker off your to do list! Then you can ignore me 🙂
As you may know if you’ve been reading along (Are you reading along??), PFLASA gave grants to teachers this summer to further their education.
Ms. Gritte and Ms. Skaer went to a training together (How fun!). Here’s a note from Ms. Gritte:
Mrs. Skaer and I attended the Teaching from the Archives: Social Justice in the Archives training this summer together. We gathered materials and conducted research over Julia Alvarez’s work in creating Return to Sender, a novel about the migrant worker’s plight in America. We prepared lessons using archival material from the Harry Ransom Center at UT, acquired archival-material based lesson plans from other teachers in the training, and had the opportunity to enhance our curriculum for In the Time of the Butterflies. We will be taking what we learned in this training into our writing conferences, research paper, and content in the Fall semester of English I Pre-AP. I don’t have pictures of us at the conference, but I have attached an image that we were able to access in the archives. It’s amazing to see the research process Alvarez went through in creating her novels. Thank you so much for your help!

What amount should I donate?

Please donate today:

*only two weeks left in our fundraising drive, please help us reach our goal of $70,000 but ALSO more families participating

Please, please, please comment here so I know someone is reading these posts 

I get asked a lot “What is the amount I should donate?” My answer is always, whatever you feel comfortable with. There is no set amount. We don’t even look at the average or anything or even WHO donates. We look at total amount and how many families. What we NEED is more participation. This is OUR school, not mine, or theirs, but OURS and WE all should participate, not only in this fundraiser but in our LASA community. <slides soapbox under cabinet>

I hope y’all know that EVERY DOLLAR counts and no amount is too small or too big. 

Thought you might find this interesting… EVERY DOLLAR, people 

*** $20 purchases one student a multi-test discount for one AP Test
*** $30 covers the PFLASA cost of one graduating student to attend Student Salute (we don’t charge students)
*** $50 purchases breakfast for 50 students on the day of their AP Test
*** $100 purchases class material reimbursement for one teacher
*** $140 purchases one new TI89 calculator to be lent to disadvantage students for the year
*** $300 purchase one Professional Development Experience for one teacher
*** $500 purchases dinner for all our teachers on the night of Showcase

Can you help us help them all succeed?

PFLASA Supports Students!

Are you enjoying this rainy Saturday? Today is a great day to donate!

Did you know that PFLASA gives each grade money to support some sort of community building? Usually these events are organized by the STUDENTS (yay!) and of course held for the students. For example, my son’s class in 9th grade had a giant pretzel social. They did some bonding activities and then ate giant pretzels. In 10th grade, they had Jim Jim’s ice come out during lunch. Other grades have had ice cream socials, etc. For incoming freshman, the lunch at orientation was partially paid for my PFLASA. It sounds like we always buy food but it’s not only that!

My point is PFLASA uses some of our funds to directly support the community building aspect of high school.

If you have a 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grader, please consider helping us by donating today!

A message from Ms. Skaer!

Please give today:
We are at about halfway to our goal of $70K!
Every single dollar helps!

As you are well aware PFLASA funded all sorts of great Professional Development/Continuing Education for the teachers. One of the requirements for receiving these grants was to tell us about it via message, photo, or video, hence why a lot of my posts are about PD!

Ms, Skaer, a LASA English Teacher, sent us this:

I benefited from attending the Kagan Secondary English Language Arts professional development in Orlando, Florida, thanks to the kindness and generosity of PFLASA! I have since implemented many of the structures in my English classes. Students have benefited from the collaborative learning experience, especially during classroom discussions. In the past, students exhibited shyness, uncertainty, and unwillingness to participate in class discussions because they were worried about being wrong, about what others
thought, or even about engaging with others to begin with. Since grouping my students, rearranging my classroom, and implementing many of the Kagan strategies, students have immensely benefited from this collaborative classroom environment. I had fun learning with other teachers across the country and exploring the amazing city of Orlando at the same time!

Do you work for any of these companies?

Do you work for any of these companies?

Apple Inc.
Charles Schwab & Co.
Dun & Bradstreet
Expedia Group
Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
F5 Networks
Google Inc.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Indeed Inc.
Intel Corp
Johnson & Johnson
Juniper Networks Foundation Fund
Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
National Instruments
Oracle Corp
Synopsys Inc. & The Synopsys Foundation
United Health Group
VMWare Foundation

Did you know the match donations to PFLASA? THAT’S JUST FREE MONEY!!!! Please, please, please look into it or contact for more info/help!

Not sure if you company matches? See if they do, here:

Admin goes to training, too!

As you are probably well aware by now, PFLASA funds a lot of professional development for our faculty and staff. As Ms. Crescenzi mentioned in this week’s principal’s message, many of our teachers/staff have to go national conferences to find training on the level that our students need. LASA is the only magnet high school in AISD and I think in Central Texas. Who else will our faculty and staff learn and collaborate with?

This holds true for our wonderful administration and counseling staff, too. This picture is from 2 years ago when our admin and counseling staff were fortunate to go to NCSSS for special training! Fun, eh?

Please donate today, if you have a moment. Thank you!

8 Languages?

Please donate today:

Don’t you want to check this off your to do list?

Do y’all remember when you/your student were first looking at LASA as a potential place to go? Do you remember hearing about/researching the language choices at LASA? I still get impressed when I list the choices to prospective families. I think we are at 8 (Spanish, French, Latin, German, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, ASL). THAT IS CRAZY!

Ms. Zhong is a Chinese Teacher at LASA. PFLASA gave her a grant for Continuing Education this summer.

Here is what she said: “I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to PFLASA for supporting our teachers’ continuing education. You all are so awesome!”

We could definitely use your financial support to continue to support our LOTE programs!

Coffeehouse is awesome!

Please donate today:

In the spirit of ACL (you know there are 5 ACL wristbands up for bid right now here, right? ), I want to talk about Coffeehouse.

For all of you that are new to LASA or maybe never have gone to Coffeehouse, PUT THIS DATE ON YOUR CALENDAR NOW – Friday, May 17th, 2019).

What is Coffeehouse? It is a mini-ACL-like event sponsored by PFLASA.
Who is the talent, you ask? Our kids! They audition, then organize, they perform and OMG are they talented.
Who is the audience? EVERYONE – Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents, Family, Friends….
Where? American Legion by Lady Bird Lake (mopac and lake austin blvd-ish)

PFLASA sells tickets at a VERY reduced rate basically to recoup some of the costs; We rent out the venue, lighting, sound, stage, etc. One of teachers takes care of the auditions, etc. It’s such an amazing JOINT effort – parents, students, faculty!

Don’t miss it. It is one of the BEST LASA traditions. Oh, did I mention it is on the last day of AP Testing so it’s really a party for all?

Don’t you want to donate to help us support our “advanced academic” kids by helping them have fun in a non-academic way?

Donate today, we would love it.

LAST CALL for Healthy Supplies!

Last call for the healthy supplies drive! Thanks to everyone that has helped with this! 


AMAZON WISHLIST:…/1TK53C1UF6I8S/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws…

LASA Healthy Supplies Drive – Now thru October 1st!

If you would like to help our faculty and staff supply their classrooms with Kleenex/Tissues, Hand Sanitizer and/or Clorox Wipes, that would be great! We are trying to get each classroom ready for the inevitable cold season!

Here’s what you can do:
1. Send any of these basic items in with your student and ask them to drop off in the LASA Main Office on the 2nd floor
2. Can’t do this but still want to help? Buy them off our Amazon wish list and have them shipped directly to LASA (address already selected to go to LASA).

Be sure to select and direct your charity to PFLASA. Win-win 
Here is LASA’s Amazon wishlist: brand and quantities listed are merely suggestions!…/1TK53C1UF6I8S/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws…


Today, let’s talk about Physiographs. SAY WHAT?

Please donate today:

Today, let’s talk about Physiographs. SAY WHAT?

Remember how I told y’all about the money we raised 2 years ago for the sci tech labs’ computers? Well, after all that we had some money left over because of your generous donations AND corporate matching. Those funds were earmarked for technology.

Enter Mr. Journeay, LASA Anatomy & Physiology and Pathophysiology (and probably some other science-y classes) teacher. In the past, he has saved money and resources to buy a PHYSIOGRAPH whenever he had the money to do so… Think every 3 years or so, he would get ONE machine because they are SUPER expensive. Then enter PFLASA. Thanks to the generous donations above our goal we had that one year, we were able to purchase THREE more machines last Spring for Mr. Journeay’s classes. Now, no student is waiting and everyone can learn and science together.

See the brief video of some students using the physiograph in class including some pics of the actual machine. Video credit: Mr. Journeay



Helping defray the cost of multiple AP exams

Please donate today:

Today’s post is about AP Exams! Ok, so maybe I’m still stuck in the talking about numbers thing.

AP exams are administered the first two full weeks of May, as defined by College Board. Anyway, each test is $94 (price based on 2018 prices).

Before I start… yes, taking AP Exams is completely optional.

The bare minimum number of AP exams a typical LASA student takes is 1 in 10th grade, 2 in 11th and 4 in 12th grade. So, in 10th grade, we parents would pay $94. In 11th grade, we would $188 and in 12th grade, we would pay $376.

PFLASA helps subsidize these exams each year. So, the first test is $94 (yes, full price). If you student takes TWO, you would pay $168, and FOUR, would be $316. Here is the chart – AGAIN.. last year’s prices:…/advan…/ap-exam-registration

And these numbers are crazy: # of AP exams administered at LASA in:
MAY 2017: 2421
MAY 2018: 2536

I can’t even comprehend TWO THOUSAND TESTS being handed out. Can you?

Help us subsidize these tests to help ALL of our students. Please donate today. Thank you 

Let’s talk numbers…

Please give today:

The engineer in me is coming out in this post. I’ve been looking at numbers today. Trying to figure out how we can make our goal for this very important fundraiser. PFLASA does so much for LASA students and faculty. I hope you have enjoyed watching the videos and stories that I have shared in attempts to get you to donate . But today is about numbers…

Currently, we are at $24,000. Our goal is $70,000. Our student population is close to 1200 students, which we estimate to be about 900 families. About 130 families have donated.

Then, I started to think about what a fantastic education my son is getting. What some say is like a “Private school education.” I don’t really know what that means since we are a public school family. But I did research what private high schools in Austin cost this year because I was curious. WOW! I had no idea. LASA is a bargain!!!!!

In case you didn’t know, 2018-19 tuition (for one year only of high school):
Regents: $17,353
St. Michael’s: $21,00
Hyde Park: $17,600
St. Stephen’s: $28,390
St. Andrew’s: $29,187

Please consider donating to PFLASA. 100% of your donation stays at LASA and we put it to really good use. 

LASA Faculty/Staff love our kids

Please donate today:

Imagine this:
It’s Friday and your day starts at 5:30am. You get yourself ready for work, your kids’ up and ready and their lunches packed and get them out the door just barely making the bus. You drive at least 40 minutes in Austin traffic to get to work. Then hit construction on 183. It’s raining. It’s supposed to rain all day. Today’s work schedule is not normal. It’s a pep rally day and you have to figure out how to get your job done with a shorten schedule. It’s still raining and your thoughts are for what lies after your work ends today. It’s the weekend! And you signed up to stay after work for a late “meeting”. The meeting might get pushed back because of weather. WHAT? Oh. And by the way, you don’t get paid any extra for this. In fact, you get paid very little as it is. But you love your job so it’s ok. But mostly you love the kids you teach. And you are doing this late meeting for them. Especially and only for them. Who cares that you need to dance at this “meeting” in front of the whole school? You love the kids. You do it for them.

I love LASA. I love it for the faculty and staff and for WHAT THEY DO FOR MY KID. If you feel like I do, please give so we can help them do incredible things for our kids. Please.

Post the staff members you can recognize below 

Video credit: Shannon Bennett (THANK YOU SO MUCH!)

LBJ and LASA Staff/Faculty dance with the First Ladies at the LBJ Football game (that we won!) 9.14.2018

Ms. Moore and welding

It’s Friday… know what would make me super happy? If you would 1) donate  2) share 3) comment 4) like so I know you are seeing these posts. Are you there? Can you hear me now?

And in today’s installment of PFLASA spends money on…

WHO: Ms. Amy Moore, SciTech and Engineering Design Teacher

Here is her message:
This past summer, thanks to your grant, I was able to take a welding course from ACC. During the course, I learned how to arc weld, MIG weld, TIG weld, and oxy-fuel weld. Now with these skills, I will be able to incorporate welding into my Engineering Design course. For my final project, I made a yard art pinwheel. Thank you for your support.

Mr. Castro thanks PFLASA

Please donate today (just a couple more weeks of our No Hassle Fundraiser):

In today’s edition of “Where do PFLASA donations get used”, I bring to you another teacher’s message from his continuing education grant. Mr. Scotty Castro, a new LASA English teacher but not new LASA Faculty & Staff had this to say:

“During my foray from the professional world back into education, I’ve been fortunate to serve LASA both as a substitute teacher and, most recently, as library clerk. My year and a half in the library met me with opportunities to become better in tune with the needs of students and the community. I continuously sought ways to create an inviting, imaginative setting, including offering several special lectures throughout the year. When an English teacher position became available, I was happy to pursue the opportunity, and was ultimately offered the job. With the support of PFLASA, I was able to supplement the cost of my teacher certification program in order to be where I am today. PFLASA is one of the best networks of support I’ve seen in any setting. The LASA community operates through open collaboration, and there is a sense here that PFLASA always has your back. Likewise, their input and impact are immeasurably valued. I look forward to many years teaching LASA students, and I’m glad parents and friends can be along for the ride.”

Thanks, Mr. Castro. We are excited to have you teach our kids and we do indeed have your back!

Mr. Ramirez goes to Spain

Please donate today:

No selling stuff, just 100% of your donation goes directly to our awesome school. PFLASA is currently at about 12% of it’s goal of $70,000.

Also, be sure to check if your workplace matches! I hear Apple is matching at 2:1! Email if you have questions!

Remember my post a couple of days about about “continuing education” for teachers… Well, check out Mr. Ramirez’s (one of LASA’s Spanish teachers) awesome video…

PFLASA purchased Sci Tech Computers!

Please consider donating today:

Every student at LASA takes Sci-Tech, a freshman level signature course. While this video is two years old, the computers purchased from that donation year are brand new!

If you didn’t know, Sci Tech had computers so old that the updated CAD design software they use wouldn’t run on them. So, THANKS to generous donations like yours, PFLASA was able to replace all the sci-tech computers last year. Check out this COOL video from alum parent, Deb Lewis Legge, about our sci tech program. And please donate today!

Mr. Walker – Classes on Bird Biology, etc.

Please give to PFLASA:

DID YOU KNOW? Keep reading… it’s worth it to see how dedicated our LASA teachers are.

Every year, PFLASA raises money to support LASA students and faculty. All funds raised above our goal amount are used for something specific. Last year’s above goal funds were used for Continuing Education for the faculty. Continuing education, differs from Professional Development, in that it was actual coursework in the teacher’s field of study that furthered their education.

All LASA students take Planet Earth, a sophomore Signature Course. David Walker is one of the Planet Earth teachers at LASA.

Here is what he had to say about his continuing education support:

Thank you so much for sponsoring my summer continuing education in bird biology and identification. I was able to take 4 online courses through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In the Planet Earth course at LASA, students frequently choose to pursue bird field studies. The main introductory field exercise for these students is a trip to Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory.

For the first 7 years of my career at LASA, Tim Fennell was the main leader on these trips. Tim is one of the most knowledgeable and skilled birders in Texas, and these trips were an amazing educational experience for the students as a result. Tim would 1) be able to readily identify every bird seen or heard during the day, 2) illustrate to students very effective techniques for correct bird identification, and 3) discuss not only field marks, but also habitat, nesting behavior, feeding behavior, mating behavior, and different varieties of vocalizations. Students came out of the workshop with all the tools they needed to effectively carry out an identification-based field survey over the rest of the semester.

Upon Tim’s retirement, I assumed the lead on these field trips. This has been a worthy challenge for me, as I am nowhere near as adept with birds. These courses were instrumental in helping me develop my skills in bird identification and knowledge of bird biodiversity and behavior. This will surely benefit the students who pursue bird projects in Planet Earth in allowing me to create a more interesting and comprehensive field trip.

I’ve included some photos of past birding field trips at Hornsby Bend to give you an idea of what these trips are like.