411 on being a new Mills parent
Where to get important information
First, check the Mills Elementary website. It was not always the most informative of places, but that has changed with the upgrades provided by the district.
Second, the Parent & Student handbook is quite a read, but it’s full of all the information you need to know.
Principal's Updates are a wonderful weekly newsletter with the most valuable information on what is happening at Mills. To subscribe to the newsletter, visit the most recent Smore newsletter and look for the Follow Tab!The
PTA Website: Have some free time? Join the PTA. This group does it all. It takes a village of volunteers to help Mills run as smoothly as it does. Not only does the PTA manage tons of school events, their fundraisers help keep our campus, our admin, and our faculty going strong. Whether you have 1 hour or half a day, sign up to become a member and share a closer connection to our school and your Mountain Lion.
Sign up for the Mills Messenger, a PTA sponsored newsletter that is full of great information and e-mailed to parents every week. It is the perfect summary of all the current events at Mills! Want to be a part of the Mills Messenger? Sign up here!
The Mills Facebook Pages is where you will find all sorts of information and the answer to your questions. Why have just one Facebook page when you can have two? If you scroll through each page, you will see that they hit different areas.
Joe Dan Mills Elementary Families & Staff Austin, TX: Get up to date and pressing school news and information here. It's also a great place for questions because of the loads of helpful volunteers and staff that frequent this page.
Mills Elementary Current Families - Informal Discussions Only: Need an answer to a pertinent school question or are you just looking for a great summer camp? This is the place to be.
The Mills Community Blend Course has all sorts of information about what is going on in the classroom. Your teacher will most likely provide you a direct link to their Blend page. This Community page has access to special areas, but also school performances.
If you registered your child with Mills, you probably have a parent portal account! This web portal has access to so many wonderful things including your child's grades, absences, and other valuable information. Check your child's lunch money account! See what books are available at the Mills library! Even grades are accessible through the Frontline SIS Self-Serve tile. Below is an image of every tile you can add to your dashboard by clicking on "See All Applications." The Pre-K application, the yearly Family Survey, School Cafe, and Student Registration tile are just some of the wonderful things you can explore on the dashboard.
For new parents, pick-up and drop-off time can be daunting. Please visit the Campus Safety Committee page to view the best way to get to Mills in the morning. To avoid being counted tardy, please have your Mountain Lion in the classroom by 7:40AM. The first thing you have to decide is whether your child will be a car rider or a walker. This decision will help guide you to the right information.
Morning Car Ride Drop-Off
You can drop off your Mountain Lion by car in two different spots - the front and the side (bus lane). In the front, doors open at 7:15AM. Your child will be ushered into the cafeteria to await the morning trek to class. In the cafeteria, Mountain Lions are organized by grade level and then released to class by grade starting at 7:30AM.
The back doors are for walkers only and open at 7:30AM for students. Please do not park in the staff parking lot. Parents can drop kids off at the side bus lane, but again, the doors will not open until 7:15AM.
Morning Walker Drop-Off
For First Grade walkers, the students can enter through the side door near the first grade hall. You will usually see a large group of parents waiting near the bike rack in the morning and saying goodbye to their kids at 7:30AM when the doors open.
For Second Grade walkers, the students can enter through the Portable Gate. Again, you will usually see a large group of parents waiting there in the morning and saying goodbye to their kids at 7:30AM when the gates open.
For all other walkers, come in the front or side starting at 7:15AM. The back doors are opened at 7:30AM for students. All doors except the front doors will close right before the tardy bell at 7:40AM. After that time, students must go in the front entrance.
Dismissal is tough because there are so many students so it is good to know the procedure. If you plan to walk and meet your child, have a meet up spot where you can greet your child at the end of the day. At the Meet the Teacher event, parents will be given an official dismissal number for their student. Keep that safe if you plan to pick up your kid by car.
The official end of the school day is 3:10PM, but...
Pre-K dismissal is at 2:55PM and Kindergarten dismissal is at 3:00PM. Both are at blacktop at the back of the school. There is no parking available in the staff parking lot so you will need park on the side and walk. Please wait at the perimeter of the blacktop and hold your family's dismissal number. The teacher will then send your child over to you. If your child has an older sibling, please let both teachers know to send your older Mountain Lion to meet you at the blacktop.
For first through fifth grade, your Mountain Lion will walk out of Mills at 3:10PM, but...
They will come out earlier if you are in the car rider line. The car rider line will extend from the flagpole area at the front of the school to Lantana and beyond. Please have your student dismissal number in the passenger window of your car. A staff member will come by and text to have your student sent to you. The earlier you get there, unless your student likes to dawdle, the earlier your child will hop in your car and tell you about their wonderful day at Mills.
Second grade and fifth grade walkers will exit through the Portable Gates.
For a visual perspective, please see the image below.
Rainy Day Dismissal
The administration closely monitors all weather. Out of an abundance of caution, some days Mills may enact a rainy-day dismissal to get students home safely and efficiently. Here are the rules:
Parents/caregivers should email teachers no later than 2pm if they are changing their child’s mode of dismissal.
Siblings of Pre-K & Kindergarten students will dismiss together and exit out the back door leading to the blacktop.
2nd Grade Parents who walk home with their children can go directly to the portables to pick up their child. Gates will be open by 2:50pm.
Do not crowd the front entrance area or area near the back blacktop doors. Please clear a space so that school staff can help assist students to parents/cars.
If you do not notify school staff for your child who is a walker, the student will be dismissed at normal time.
Dismissing hundreds of students on a bad weather day means that you should expect possible delays. Thank you in advance for exercising patience. ♡
Dislike making lunches everyday? Add money to your student’s account on the School Cafe website, and enjoy those 10 extra minutes in the morning. Download the app for Apple or Android mobile device for greater convenience.
Does your kid like to deplete their lunch funds by adding 2 Cheetos or Pirate’s Booty to their lunch everyday? School Cafe allows parents to put restrictions on purchases.
Breakfast in the cafeteria is from 7:15AM until 7:40AM. Below are the costs for meal prices at Mills.
Reminders & Tips for new Parents
- Please pay your enrichment fees by October 1 on School Cash Online. The fees can be divided into two payments. These pay for special programs like our Spanish & World Cultures Program. Only two exist at AISD elementary schools, and we have one at Mills with the illustrious Señora Palomo. These fees also go towards our MakerSpace program as well as other areas like class field trips and onsite tech assistance. They are an important part of making Mills' great!
- If you ever have to write a check for school, please use blue or black ink. This is important!