Davis, located on Duval Road in the northwestern part of Austin, Texas, is named for retired Austin attorney and State Board of Education member Will Davis. It was built in 1992.
Our test scores are strong. Davis is rated an Exemplary school by the TEA. It’s the relationship between the parents and administration that makes our school special. We listen to one another and work to make the school better than the year before – all for the children.
Will Davis Elementary families represent more than two dozen countries and a wide variety of income levels and family situations. All have high expectations for their children’s education. We work to meet those expectations.
We are fortunate to have extremely active and supportive parents who are involved in every aspect of school operations. Some 300 families are members of the PTA. The PTA helps pay for myriad activities and programs, including the computer lab, support for the teachers, landscaping and school-wide study units on the world and the ocean. Volunteers are seen in all aspects of school life. They’re teaching Spanish, math, working in the office, volunteering in the library, organizing recycling, even writing grants.
New teachers at Davis often comment that they have never worked in a school where parents provide so much support, both on a daily basis and for major school events. Similarly, many parents are pleasantly surprised to find that Principal Jenny Daniels and her staff truly welcome parents’ ideas, contributions and comments.
Students’ artwork and reports are displayed throughout the year, giving Davis its warm, child-centered environment. Students, with the art teacher, created the Davis Dolphin mural outside. In the fall, kindergartners and their parents prepare and plant the wildflower garden in front of the main building.
Later in the fall, during the school-wide study unit One World, the students learn about cultures, foods, and celebrations of other countries. The second-graders create and display dioramas of the different African environments; other grades write compositions, reports and create artwork from the different continents. The kindergartners perform in a Chinese dragon parade with dragon headpieces they create.
In the spring, all students study the Ocean Week unit. With the art teachers’ help, the students make artwork rich in oranges, blues and greens of giant sharks, turtles, and other sea creatures; they write reports about the sea creatures; and they create projects like dioramas. Under the guidance of the music teachers, the children put on a music program of ocean-based songs; and the fifth-grades dissect squid in the Science Lab. The fifth-grade hall resonates with whale songs, and a ‘kelp forest’ hangs in the fourth-grade hall. The Ocean Week unit has been adopted by other elementary schools in the Austin school district. One Ocean, One World bring the school alive with color and activity, and the collective efforts of the students, teachers and parents make it happen.
Davis attracts skilled and enthusiastic teachers who are by nature trailblazers. These teachers break the mold when looking for ways to communicate learning. The kindergarten teachers are always looking for a way to incorporate a parade into their curriculum – the children march as butterflies (with apple juice for nectar), ladybugs and, of course, as Chinese dragons. In first grade, students build with hammers, nails and other tools. In second grade, they make and paint spears from cardboard tubes, learning about their One World study unit on Africa.
The pride adults take in Davis is important, but the ultimate test is how children view their school. At Davis, children are excited and engaged learners who look forward to what tomorrow may bring. That point was vividly reinforced when a parent reported that her daughter went to sleep by saying, “I can’t wait until I wake up so I can go to school tomorrow!”