Welcome Back Letter from Principal Valdez

Dear STEM Families:

It is with great pride and excitement that I write this letter of introduction to you as the newly appointed Principal of Manara STEM Academy. I am elated to bring my skills and experience as an educational leader with over 27 years of experience to Manara STEM Academy and I look forward to working with you as a partner in education to ensure your child’s success.

Along with our staff, I will work hard to continue the legacy of success established at Manara STEM Academy by building strong relationships with parents, students, staff, and community partners.

Our focus will include:

  • continuing character education initiatives,
  • fostering a nurturing and safe environment for children,
  • using data to inform instruction,
  • implementing STEM strategies fully to increase achievement, and
  • providing exciting and challenging enrichment opportunities for all students.

With these areas of focus, we anticipate a tremendous year of growth in academics, as well as social and emotional development, of all of our students at Manara STEM Academy.

In preparation for a successful year, we have been diligently working on implementing some key process and procedures to ensure a smooth transition into the 2016-17 school year. Some key information is below:


Kindergarten –Grade 2 4:00-5:00 pm

Grades 3-6 5:00-6:00 pm

* Please note that if you have students in multiple grades, you are welcome at either session.

Wednesday, Aug. 17: FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Please note the new start and end times for this year:

Instruction begins: 7:45 am (Doors open to students at 7:30 am)

Dismissal for all students: 3:30 pm

Pick up/Drop off/Parking:

The administrative team met this summer with the city of Arlington Traffic Engineer to develop a Safe Routes to School plan for entry and exit and traffic patterns. Guidelines were developed in collaboration with the city to help ensure the safety of our students and others. It is imperative for everyone to follow the plans for entry and exit of the campus in order to ensure safety for all.

  • Morning Drop off and Dismissal: Students may be dropped off or picked up in the designated zone on the NORTH end of the campus. Parents may pull into the drop off/pick up zone and supervisors will direct children to their appropriate destinations. Students MUST be dropped off or picked up in the appropriate zones; for student safety and for the safety of others, no students may be dropped off/picked up on Collins Street or Sublett Road.
  • Please see attached map for designated area for drop off and pick up zone, traffic flow, and designated entrance and exit locations for the parking lot.
  • Instruction happens from 7:45 until 3:30. To respect instructional time in our campus, please note that students may not be dismissed/picked up earlier than the 3:30 dismissal time unless it is deemed an emergency or there is a justifiable reason, approved by administration.
  • Supervision is provided starting at 7:30 a.m. Please do not bring your child to school before 7:30 am as there is no supervision. The achievement of your student is top priority, therefore, it is essential that all students arrive on campus no later than 7:40 am. Arriving by 7:40 each day allows all students to be in their classrooms and ready to begin instruction promptly at 7:45. Tardies will be tracked closely and parents will be required to meet with administration if tardies become an issue.

Uniform Expectations: Manara STEM Academy is a uniform school! No exceptions. Uniforms are adopted to build community, decrease inequalities and distractions, support safety, and many other reasons. Information about the uniforms can be found on the Manara Academy website and will be updated as needed.

Excitement is building for this year! Our CREW will be busy with professional development from August 8 until the 16th. We will be expanding our knowledge of the STEM mindset, data analysis, discipline, as well as familiarizing everyone with new campus systems and protocols. CREW will alson be spending time as grade levels, content areas, and as mulit-disciplinary teams to plan learning with rigor and value. We will have much to share and celebrate in the weeks ahead. Please make sure that you are connected with us! Make sure that if your contact information has changed that you let us know as soon as possible so that we can keep you informed. Check the Manara STEM website often for updates and important school information.

I’ll close with again expressing my gratitude for allowing your child to attend our Academy and thanking you in advance for the support and collaboration throughout the year as we work together to make our campus the best and safest learning environment for your child. During the course of the year, I know that we will work together to provide the students of the STEM Academy the best possible opportunities in preparing them to be world class citizens ready to master the challenges of the 21st Century. As Principal, my door is always open and I welcome your input. Please feel free to stop in or call to make an appointment to discuss any concerns, suggestions, or ideas to help make this the best year yet! Thank you for joining me and our STEM Staff to create a powerful learning community filled with scholars who are aspiring, creating, and expecting.


Luis A. Valdez Principal,

Manara STEM Academy

Be STRONG! (Scholars Taking Responsibility for Our Needs and Goals)

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