Friday, October 25, 2013

Updates from the Principal- Celebrations from Last Week Included

Dear families and community, 

I'd like to start the newsletter by recognizing our wonderful Spicewood teachers and staff who have been going above and beyond with our students and families throughout the past 9 weeks. Our teachers have been holding student-led fall conferences to share student goals with parents/guardians for sometime and will be wrapping up this Wednesday afternoon during Early Release. If you have not set up a time for you and your child to meet with the teacher, please be sure to do so; it is an important opportunity for you to recognize your child's goals and discuss how we can support them to reach the goals this school year as a team. 


I am starting this week's newsletter with many celebrations from last week. I appreciate your time in reading through the newsletter each week. :) 



Celebrations from Last Week!

IB PYP Workshops in Los Angeles, CA

Ms. Marvel- our IB Coordinator- and I had a great opportunity to attend the IB PYP Workshops in LA, CA from Saturday, October 19 through Monday, October 21. We participated in a 2.5-day workshop on Inquiry Based Learning with fellow educators from all over the United States. As an administrator new to IB PYP, I gained much knowledge on what inquiry based learning looks like in classrooms. 


Spicewood Annual Fun Run
When we have such a great event like Fun Run at Spicewood, I'm constantly reminded of how lucky our school is to receive so much support from our parents and community! I'm so grateful and words cannot express how Spicewood appreciates all that parents and community members do to enrich the learning of our students. The weather was also perfect to have an outdoor Fun Run event with a combination of sun and breeze. In addition to our wonderful parent volunteers and staff members, we had 10+ business vendors that came out to promote a healthy life style to our students and families. Thanks to all who volunteered and all who participated! 



IB Parent Info. Night

Thank you, parents, for coming out and spending your evening time with us to learn more about International Baccalaureate- Primary Years Program (IB PYP) last Thursday. If anyone who was not able to make it is interested, you are more than welcome to view the presentation and the document that explains the IB PYP in detail.  
Mrs. Marvel leading a group of parents into an IB PYP conversation
Art Volunteers in the Classroom- 2nd Round
Our parents are fabulous in showing support in so many different ways- one being art volunteers in our art classrooms. Our first graders were fully engaged in rich conversations with parent teachers when I visited them Friday morning. 
Wonderful parents and our art teachers- Mrs. Deb & Mrs. Raybourn- with our 1st graders
This Week's News

Meet the Faces of Spicewood
Please be sure to take a moment to meet our wonderful staff: Mr. Martin Bottoms (4th Grade Teacher) & Miss Lora Vechan (3rd Grade Teacher). 

No Costumes/Dress-ups Allowed on Halloween
Halloween is not a celebrated holiday in the RRISD schools.No dress-ups/costumes are allowed at school on Thursday, October 31st, in our effort to minimize any distraction from learning. 

Analog Clocks at Home
Parents, I am noticing in the classrooms that many of our students are having difficulties with elapsed time and reading analog clocks- an essential skill that the state of Texas holds our children accountable for. I'd love for our parents to have at least one analog clock available and displayed at home for our children and practice how to read time and process the concept of elapsed time together. This will reinforce the learning that students receive at school. 

Drop-Off Area for Carpool Vehicles
The end of the drive way past the front entrance and the parking area is designated for carpool vehicles (4+ students/car, daycare bus, after-school vans, etc). If you're here to pick a child or two,  please adhere to the parking areas. 

Tardy Phone Calls
Parents, I will be making personal phone calls to the parents of students with excessive tardies throughout the next two weeks. Please support us in getting our students start their day in their classroom by 7:45AM every day. 


Spicewood Principals' Pride
We will be celebrating the success of our students as we invite our parents to join us at the Princpals' Pride assemblies.Today we will be celebrating with Kindergarten through 2nd grade students from 8-8:30AM in the cafeteria. On Wednesday October 30 [please note the date change], we will be recognizing 3rd through 5th grade students. We would love to have you with us! 

Coins for Coats
We're finishing up our Coins for Coats this Tuesday. Students can bring in coins, bills or checks to donate to the cause. One class each from primary (K-2) and intermediate (3rd-5th) level that raises the most money will get a flashlight reading time in the library with Mrs. Reeb. Come check out the bulletin board in the cafeteria that charts the progress of each class. 

Report Cards
Parents, you will receive your child(ren)'s first 9-week report card(s) via their Friday folder on November 8. With student report cards, we will be including the School Report Card issued by the state of Texas, informing parents of Spicewood performance as well. 


5th Grade Field Trip to the Outdoor School 
Our entire 5th grade will be taking a trip down to Camp Champions in Marble Falls, TX to the Outdoor School. For more information, please visit Mrs. Morley's website

Spicewood Annual Silent Auction
Please mark your calendar for our annual Silent Auction! It'll take place on Friday, November 15 at Balcones Country Club. This year's theme is "Roaring Back to the '20s." The auction raises significant funds for many programs at our school- field trips, cultural arts/enrichment, IB PYP program, technology purchases, classroom supplies and teacher training- just to name a few! Tickets are on sale for $20/person. For more information, please visit our PTA website.

5th Annual Spicewood Chess Tournament 
Registration fees will increase after this Friday, November 1 so please register now! The tournament will take place on Saturday, November 16 and is projected to be one of the largest scholastic tournaments of the year. If your child is planning to attend, please register as soon as possible. Depending on turnout, spaces may be limited. This year's tournament is open to all elementary students. There will be a special section for kinder/1st graders. Only requirement for beginner students is that they must know how to checkmate. For more information, please visit our website


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, October 28- Tuesday, October 29
Coins for Coats

Monday, October 28
8:00-8:30AM  Principals' Pride- Kindergarten, 1st Grade & 2nd Grade
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Wednesday, October 30
8:00-8:30AM  Principals' Pride- 3rd Grade, 4th Grade & 5th Grade
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Wednesday, October 30
Early Release Day for Elementary and Middle School
Last Day for Spicewood Fall Conferences

All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly. 

Friday, November 1
Author's Visit - Lucas Miller
8:00-8:45AM         2nd & 3rd Grades [Cafeteria]
9:00-9:45AM         4th & 5th Grades [Cafeteria]
10:00-10:45AM    1st Grade [Library]
11:00-11:45AM    Kindergarten [Library]

Friday, November 1 - Friday, Novembem 15
Round Rock Fall 2013 Annual Canned Food Drive
Please help our local food pantry by donating canned & non-perishable food. You can send the canned goods to school with your child(ren) starting on Friday, November 1. For more information, please view the official flyer

Wednesday, November 6- Friday, November 8
5th Grade Field Trip to the Outdoor School 
Our entire 5th grade will be taking a trip down to Camp Champions in Marble Falls, TX to the Outdoor School. For more information, please visit Mrs. Morley's website.

Friday, November 8
Report Cards Go Home

Friday, November 15
6:00-11:00PM   Spicewood Annual Silent Auction 
At Balcones Country Club

Saturday, November 16
9:00AM-5:30PM   5th Annual Spicewood Chess Tournament 

Thursday, November 21
5:30-8:30PM A Night of Pastabilities- Westwood HS Silent Auction
Westwood HS Class of 2015 would like to cordinally invite the community to "A Night of Pastabilities." It is a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to help fund the Westwood Jr/Sr Prom. For more information, please visit Westwood HS website

Wednesday, November 27- Friday, November 29
Thanksgiving Holiday
School is closed for students and staff. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #11: Lora Vechan

Dear Spicewood family,

Please spend a few minutes to get to know our 3rd grade teacher, Miss Lora Vechan.


Miss Vechan is a 3rd grade teacher, starting her 3rd year at Spicewood. She was born in Midland, TX but moved to Austin when she was three for her dad's job. She then left briefly to attend Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX where she received her college diploma. Miss Vechan ventured out to the Houston area and taught 4th grade in Humble ISD in Kingswood, TX for two years. Austin being such an an exceptional city, Miss Vechan moved back here and began teaching 4th grade at Spicewood in 2010. The following year, she made a grade level move down to 3rd grade and has been there for the last two years. If you noticed, she has the same last name as our registrar, Mrs. Cindy Vechan. This sure is not a coincidence as Mrs. Vechan is Miss Vechan's mom! Miss Vechan is the baby and only girl of three kids. Her oldest brother, Eric, is in construction in Phoenix, AZ and has 3 precious girls. Her other brother, Ryan, is attending law school in Houston. Her father is a geologist and works for a small company in Westlake. Miss Vechan feels very fortunate to work at the elementary school she attended as a child. The best part is that she gets to work with her mom, who has been a part of the Spicewood family for 15 years! Her favorite foods are cheeseburger and french fries. If you may ask her how she stays fit with the kind of favorite foods she consumes, she will tell you all about running and staying active! Her favorite color is lime green. Her favorite book is Harry Potter, a series of seven novels authored by J.K. Rolling.

Miss Vechan shared, "my favorite thing about working at Spicewood is the everlasting relationships I build with the students and parents." She believes that the students and their desire to learn is what makes Spicewood so great.

"I would tell my students to never give up on their hopes and dreams because hard work pays off," stated Miss Vechan.

As our campus continues to move forward with integration of technology in classrooms, Miss Vechan was caught in the action of utilizing technology as a tool of learning and teaching this week. Students have been learning about how to write a friendly letter and the value of such. Netbooks were in use by students when I visited; students were making connections between what they have discussed/learned and application of knowledge to generate a friendly letter with teacher guidance.

Utilizing technology in classroom

Students engaged in generating a friendly letter

safe learning environment for our 3rd graders
I saw a few of our 3rd graders writing a friendly letter to their parents while some wrote to their best friends or cousins. Within the discussion of what a friendly letter should look like and sound like, students and Miss Vechan talked about punctuation rules, capitalization rules, the purpose of the letter and much more! Thanks to Miss Vechan for allowing our students to use technology in their learning! Spicewood truly appreciates the extra mile Miss Vechan runs to bring quality instruction to our students.

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #10: Martin Bottoms

Dear families and community members,

It's that time again- to meet one of our wonderful staff. I'd like for you to get to know one of our few male teachers on our campus, Mr. Martin Bottoms.


Mr. Bottoms is one of our 4th grade teachers and this is his 22nd year here at Spicewood! Mr. Bottoms was born in Port Arthur, TX then went away to Colorado for 10 years in his adulthood. He decided to move back to Texas as he desired to assist his aging dad who lived near Austin at the time. He is happily married to his wife and they have two beautiful daughters together along with two fabulous grand kids. It is no wonder that he is such a great teacher because he shared that he has over 25 relatives that have been teachers in his extended family-a family full of dedicated people! Prior to starting his teaching career, he worked in construction for 4 years then in hotel/restaurant industry for 15 years. After he retires from teaching, he wishes to have a career in health and fitness field. His favorite food is seafood. His favorite color is blue. His favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee in the 60s. I also have a fond memory of reading this book back in 7th grade, but in Korean. :) I then read it in English in high school after our family moved to the states. Ok, enough about me and back to Mr. Bottoms.

Mr. Bottoms stated in his interview, "I enjoy working with a great staff, teaching so many wonderful children. Spicewood has such a positive atmosphere."

He'd like to give a shout-out to students at Spicewood, "read everything you can but read quality books. Never stop learning!" 

I visited Mr. Bottoms' classroom sometime this week and witnessed our 4th graders working collaboratively and cooperatively in groups. Students were building different arrays using math tools, making observations, producing a table to closely look at patterns and relationships of numbers. Can we say rigor here?

Students working in groups and Mr. Bottoms tending to student needs

Student recording in a table format and making observations and connections
Essential agreements the class devised together and signed:::Reading center
Student work in writing::: IB attitudes 
Mr. Bottoms is so easy going and builds wonderful rapports with his students, all staff and parents. He also has a sense of humor that lightens our day by making us chuckle. :) Please say hello when you run into him here at school!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community, 

We're getting close to the end of the first 9-week learning period. Please continue supporting the learning of our children at home so we can wrap up our first learning period successfully. I'm excited to start this week's newsletter with celebrations from last week. 


I understand my letter can get lengthy but I would very much appreciate your time to read through all the way. We have many fun events coming up so be sure to mark your calendar as well! :) 


Celebrations from Last Week!

Art Volunteers in the Classroom
I caught parents volunteering in our art classroom this past Friday. I love seeing parents in action and our students love it, too! We have another round of Art Volunteers in the Classroom next Friday, October 25 as well. I can't wait to see more parents in action!


Two of our parents teaching an art lesson to 2nd graders in Mrs. Raybourn's classroom

WatchDOGS Friday
We had three dads that joined us this Friday to provide us support and assistance! 
I caught two of the dads in action helping our teachers get their stability balls pumped with air then another dad getting a tool to fix student desks in a 2nd grade classroom. 

We would love to see more dads every first and third Fridays of each month!
WatchDOGS' visibility & support is truly appreciated!
Mr. Mason & Mr. Neves in action!
Mr. Seamon on his way to fix desks


Meet the Faces of Spicewood
Please be sure to take a moment to meet our wonderful staff: Ms. Doriane Marvel (IB Coordinator/Instructional Tech. Specialist) & Mrs. Melissa James (4th Grade Teacher). 

Drop-Off Area for Carpool Vehicles
The end of the drive way past the front entrance and the parking area is designated for carpool vehicles (4+ students/car, daycare bus, after-school vans, etc). If you're here to pick a child or two,  please adhere to the parking areas. 

PTA - Reflections 
Started in 1969, Reflections has encouraged millions of students to express themselves by giving positive recognition for their artistic efforts. Students in PreK-12 may create and submit works of art in 6 categories: dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography, and visual arts. Spicewood PTA is sponsoring Reflections on our campus. Please review the guidelines here and begin the process by filling out the form in our eFolder. I would love to have many of our students participate and represent Spicewood as they get to express themselves in different forms of arts. 

School Starts at 7:45AM
It is so very important that our students are in the classroom by 7:45AM each morning. There is a lot that teachers do with our students between 7:45AM-8:00AM in order to maximize learning opportunities. Please make sure students arrive at school early enough to be in their learning environment before the tardy bell at 7:45AM. After first 9-week, I plan to generate a report with student names with excessive tardies and make a personal phone call home. 


Red Ribbon Week 2013: October 21-25th
Spicewood is focused on healthy and safe choices during Red Ribbon Week 2013, October 21-25th. Please mark your calendars for Spicewood Red Ribbon Week events- don't forget to join in the fun with your Red Ribbon Week pride! 

  • Monday, October 21- Be PRINCIPLED and Rally in Red Against Drugs- Wear as much red as you can
  • Tuesday, October 22- Be KNOWLEDGEABLE and Turn your BACK on Drugs- Wear shirts backwards
  • Wednesday, October 23- Be a THINKER thinking your Future is So Bright with Drugs Out of Sight- Wear neon colors
  • Thursday, October 24Be a COMMUNICATOR sharing You Can Be Anything You Want to Be If You’re Drug Free- Dress as your favorite career
  • Friday, October 25- Live a BALANCED life and Tip Your Hat to a Healthy You- Wear a hat to school
Fall Fun Run & Healthy Lifestyles Fair
Wear your favorite hero shirt and join the Fall Fun Run & Healthy Lifestyles Fair at Spicewood ES this Tuesday, October 22! Ride your bike on over and lace up your super hero shoes! There will be obstacle course, bike safety, wellness booth, fitness demos, healthy snacks, prizes, music and much more! Entry fee is 1 canned good per participant. For more information, please view the official flyer.

Coins for Coats
Once again, we're helping the Round Rock Serving Center by promoting Coins for Coats. From today through Tuesday, October 29, students can bring in coins, bills or checks to donate to the cause. One class each from primary (K-2) and intermediate (3rd-5th) level that raises the most money will get a flashlight reading time in the library with Mrs. Reeb. Come check out the bulletin board in the cafeteria that charts the progress of each class. 

What Is an IB Education- IB Parent Information Night
All parents are encouraged to attend the IB Parent Information Night on Thursday, October 24 at 6:00PM in the library. It'll be a 30-minute information session right before the PTA Membership Meeting. Our IB Coordinator, Ms. Marvel, will share information on IB Primary Years Program in general, including learner profile, action cycle and IB continuum. See the invitation in the Friday eFolder. 

Spicewood Principals' Pride
We will be celebrating the success of our students as we invite our parents to join us at the Princpals' Pride. On Monday, October 28, we will be celebrating with Kindergarten through 2nd grade students from 8-8:30AM in the cafeteria. On Wednesday October 30 [please note the date change], we will be recognizing 3rd through 5th grade students. You will receive a prior written notice from your child(ren)'s teacher(s). We would love to have you with us! 

Spicewood Annual Silent Auction
Please mark your calendar for our annual Silent Auction! It'll take place on Friday, November 15 at Balcones Country Club. This year's theme is "Roaring Back to the '20s." The auction raises significant funds for many programs at our school- field trips, cultural arts/enrichment, IB PYP program, technology purchases, classroom supplies and teacher training- just to name a few! Tickets are on sale for $20/person. For more information, please visit our PTA website.

5th Annual Spicewood Chess Tournament 
Registration is now open! The tournament will take place on Saturday, November 16 and is projected to be one of the largest scholastic tournaments of the year. If your child is planning to attend, please register as soon as possible. Depending on turnout, spaces may be limited. This year's tournament is open to all elementary students. There will be a special section for kinder/1st graders. Only requirement for beginner students is that they must know how to checkmate. For more information, please visit our website


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, October 21- Tuesday, October 29
Coins for Coats

Tuesday, October 22
3:00-5:00PM   Fall Fun Run & Healthy Lifestyles Fair

Thursday, October 24
6:00-6:30PM   What Is an IB Education- IB Parent Information Night
6:30- TBA        PTA Membership Meeting

Please join us in the library.

Monday, October 28
8:00-8:30AM  Principals' Pride- Kindergarten, 1st Grade & 2nd Grade
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Wednesday, October 30
8:00-8:30AM  Principals' Pride- 3rd Grade, 4th Grade & 5th Grade
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Wednesday, October 30
Early Release Day for Elementary and Middle School
Last Day for Spicewood Fall Conferences

All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly. 

Friday, November 1
Author's Visit - Lucas Miller
8:00-8:45AM         2nd & 3rd Grades [Cafeteria]
9:00-9:45AM         4th & 5th Grades [Cafeteria]
10:00-10:45AM    1st Grade [Library]
11:00-11:45AM    Kindergarten [Library]

Friday, November 1 - Friday, Novembem 15
Round Rock Fall 2013 Annual Canned Food Drive
Please help our local food pantry by donating canned & non-perishable food. You can send the canned goods to school with your child(ren) starting on Friday, November 1. For more information, please view the official flyer

Friday, November 15
6:00-11:00PM   Spicewood Annual Silent Auction 
At Balcones Country Club

Saturday, November 16
9:00AM-5:30PM   5th Annual Spicewood Chess Tournament 

Thursday, November 21
5:30-8:30PM A Night of Pastabilities- Westwood HS Silent Auction
Westwood HS Class of 2015 would like to cordinally invite the community to "A Night of Pastabilities." It is a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to help fund the Westwood Jr/Sr Prom. For more information, please visit Westwood HS website. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #9: Melissa James

Dear families and community,

As you enjoy the chilly weekend and sip on a cup of coffee or tea, please take just a few minutes to get to know our wonderful 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Melissa James.

Mrs. James was born in Kingsville, TX and moved to Austin to attend the best university ever, the University of Texas at Austin, then never left! Mrs. James and her husband, Donnie, have a daughter named Heather that is also a Longhorn who now teaches 5th grade at Cactus Ranch Elementary School in our district. Mrs. James held management positions across various business sectors ranging from financial services to tech start-ups prior to finding her passion to teaching career. Mrs. James has taught kindergarten for the last two years and made a jump to brighten the young minds of 4th graders. Her favorite food is tex-mex. Her favorite color is turquoise. Her favorite book, also one of mine, is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Mrs. James shared that her favorite thing about working at Spicewood is that she gets to spend her days surrounded by sweet spirited students. She believes that the Spicewood Team- students, faculty, administrators, entire support staff and parents- makes our school such a wonderful place to be!

"Learning and education can help you change the word! Never stop learning!" shares Mrs. James with our students.

When I visited Mrs. James' learning community this week, our students were engaged in the writing process.
They were brain storming and organizing their thoughts as they plan to expand them into their own personal narratives. Mrs. James were conferring with students to assist in their writing process.

Engaged in writing process

Mrs. James conferring around with students

I love Mrs. James' Class Mission Statement! 
It is always a great feeling to walk out of a classroom knowing our students are in a learning environment where they are encouraged to engage in active learning and have ownership of their own learning process. It is exciting to see Mrs. James in action with our 4th graders!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #8: Doriane Marvel

Dear wonderful families and community of Spicewood,

It's time for everyone to meet Ms. Doriane Marvel, our IB PYP Coordinator & Instructional Technology Specialist (ITS).


Ms. Marvel was born and raised in a tiny town called Whitefish, Montana. I would suggest that you look up this small town to see where it is located at. I sure had to do that. :) When you get a chance, make sure to ask her about her childhood stories about living on a ranch; they are fascinating. As she starts her 15th year in education, she shared her adventurous career history with me- a classroom teacher for 9 years in many different places such as Anchorage, San Francisco and International School of Belgrade in Serbia then specifically a kindergarten teacher here at Spicewood. This is her 6th year serving as an IB PYP Coordinator/ITS. I have always wondered how she settled in Austin after living the life of adventure. There were multiple factors that influenced her decision, it sounds like, such as weather, open space, a mixture of fresh air and lakes like Montana, and culture and technology like Serbia. She and her husband, whom she met while teaching in Serbia, now have two beautiful daughters- Beatrice & Ruby- together. Her favorite food is the Vietnamese noodle soup, Pho. Her favorite color is orange, not burnt orange as she kindly pointed out. Her favorite book is Tell the Wolves I'm Home, authored by Carol Brunt.

Ms. Marvel's favorite thing about working at Spicewood is the wonderful staff and that community feels so welcoming and friendly. (I second that wholeheartedly) She proceeded to mention that everyone at Spicewood is committed to doing what needs to be done and the PYP makes what we do more relevant, engaging and meaningful for our kids.

She'd like to advise our students to "go see the world!"

 Her job is split between planning/delivering professional development to our staff and providing instructional technology support in the classroom to enhance the overall learning experience of our students.

Ms. Marvel leading the staff into a intentional discussion of IB this past Monday
Staff learning and working hard while students resting at home on Columbus Day :)
She's the queen of technology in combination with IB- what a perfect combo for Spicewood!
Leading the 2nd grade PYP team meeting in IB conference room

2nd grade team reflecting and planning forward

Spicewood is so very thankful for her wealth of knowledge and expertise that she shares with our staff as we continue to grow as an IB World campus. She is, without a doubt, a vital part of our school community.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community, 

It feels quite unusual to start the Monday morning without greeting my children and waving at parents outside with a cup of coffee in my left hand. I hope all children and families are enjoying the long weekend although I secretly wish that students are missing their teachers and the fun they experience via learning at Spicewood. :) Meanwhile, all staff are spending the day without children to continue our life long journey of improving ourselves as educators. 

There is a wealth of information I've outlined below. Please be sure to spend just a few minutes to read through and mark important dates/events on your calendar because we LOVE seeing you all at Spicewood!


Meet the Faces of Spicewood
Please be sure to take a moment to meet our wonderful staff: Mrs. Devan Moline (3rd Grade Teacher); Mrs. Debbie Copeland (Office Specialist); and Mrs. Michelle Sacksteder (1st Grade Teacher). I will feature two more employees this week so STAY TUNED! :) 

Join the SPICEWOOD PTA
We're calling all parents and community members to join the Spicewood Parent Teacher Association (PTA). We have reached approximately 550 members for this year, including 100% participation from our wonderful staff. In order for us to be considered to have reached 100% participation for the school, we need about 200 more members. Though we love every PTA member to volunteer, it is certainly not required of members to volunteer upon acquiring the membership. Membership invitation extends to not just one adult per household but to both parents, grandparents and community members for $7.50 per person. Please visit our PTA Website and scroll down to PTA Membership portion to join our PTA online. You can also download the Membership Form here to fill out and turn it into your child's teacher with a check payable to Spicewood PTA. Partnership between parents and teachers is a critical component that impacts all children's learning at Spicewood ES. Involved parents and community understand the challenges schools face and become part of the solution. We need your support! 

School Starts at 7:45AM
It is so very important that our students are in the classroom by 7:45AM each morning. There is a lot that teachers do with our students between 7:45AM-8:00AM in order to maximize learning opportunities. Please make sure students arrive at school early enough to be in their learning environment before the tardy bell at 7:45AM. After first 9-week, I plan to generate a report with student names with excessive tardies and make a personal phone call home. 

WatchDOGS Friday
This Friday, October 18th is a designated WatchDOGS Friday. Please be sure to sign up to volunteer throughout the day. We appreciate your time devoted to helping our children and staff at Spicewood. Sign-up sheets are available on our WatchDOGS website

Peer Mediation
Peer Mediation is now available at Spicewood! Students have the opportunity to work to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way with the help of trained fifth grade Peer Mediators. If a student requests a mediation, our Peer Mediators use a scripted, structured process to end disputes by allowing students in conflict to come up with an agreement in which both students win. Spicewood uses the Peers Making Peace program which is a research-based, educator created program that has been utilized at Spicewood for several years. Peer Mediation has been shown to help make schools a safer place to learn, increase academic performance, and reduce disciplinary referrals. Please view the official flyer in the eFolder for more information. 

STARS Mentor
Are you interested in making a positive difference in the life of a child at Spicewood ES? If so, you may be interested in becoming a STARS Mentor at Spicewood. If you're interested in volunteering as a Spicewood mentor, please contact Tracy Boler at 512-464-6177. You can also sign up for mentor training or find more information about the STARS Mentor program by visiting the STAR Mentor information page found at this linkAfter you've signed up for the training, please contact Sara Hougham, 512-428-3609 or sara_hougham@roundrockisd.org to let us know you've volunteered! For more information, please view  the official flyer located in the   eFolder.

What Is an IB Education- IB Parent Information Night
All parents are encouraged to attend the IB Parent Information Night on Thursday, October 24 at 6:00PM in the library. It'll be a 30-minute information session right before the PTA Membership Meeting. Our IB Coordinator, Ms. Marvel, will share information on IB Primary Years Program in general, including learner profile, action cycle and IB continuum. See the invitation in the Friday eFolder. 

Red Ribbon Week 2013: October 21-25th
Spicewood is focused on healthy and safe choices during Red Ribbon Week 2013, October 21-25th. Please mark your calendars for Spicewood Red Ribbon Week events- don't forget to join in the fun with your Red Ribbon Week pride! 

  • Monday, October 21- Be PRINCIPLED and Rally in Red Against Drugs- Wear as much red as you can
  • Tuesday, October 22- Be KNOWLEDGEABLE and Turn your BACK on Drugs- Wear shirts backwards
  • Wednesday, October 23- Be a THINKER thinking your Future is So Bright with Drugs Out of Sight- Wear neon colors
  • Thursday, October 24Be a COMMUNICATOR sharing You Can Be Anything You Want to Be If You’re Drug Free- Dress as your favorite career
  • Friday, October 25- Live a BALANCED life and Tip Your Hat to a Healthy You- Wear a hat to school

Spicewood Principals' Pride
We will be celebrating the success of our students as we invite our parents to join us at the Princpals' Pride. On Monday, October 28, we will be celebrating with Kindergarten through 2nd grade students from 8-8:30AM in the cafeteria. On Tuesday, October 29, we will be recognizing 3rd through 5th grade students. You will receive a prior written notice from your child(ren)'s teacher(s). We would love to have you with us! 

Spicewood Annual Silent Auction
Please mark your calendar for our annual Silent Auction! It'll take place on Friday, November 15 at Balcones Country Club. This year's theme is "Roaring Back to the '20s." The auction raises significant funds for many programs at our school- field trips, cultural arts/enrichment, IB PYP program, technology purchases, classroom supplies and teacher training- just to name a few! Tickets are on sale for $20/person. For more information, please visit our PTA website.

5th Annual Spicewood Chess Tournament 
Registration is now open! The tournament will take place on Saturday, November 16 and is projected to be one of the largest scholastic tournaments of the year. If your child is planning to attend, please register as soon as possible. Depending on turnout, spaces may be limited. This year's tournament is open to all elementary students. There will be a special section for kinder/1st graders. Only requirement for beginner students is that they must know how to checkmate. For more information, please visit our website


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Tuesday, October 22
3:00-5:00PM   Fall Fun Run & Healthy Lifestyles Fair
Wear your favorite hero shirt and join the Fall Fun Run & Healthy Lifestyles Fair at Spicewood ES! Ride your bike on over and lace up your super hero shoes! There will be obstacle course, bike safety, wellness booth, fitness demos, healthy snacks, prizes, music and much more! Entry fee is 1 canned good per participant. For more information, please view the official flyer.

Thursday, October 24
6:00-6:30PM   What Is an IB Education- IB Parent Information Night
6:30- TBA        PTA Membership Meeting

Please join us in the library.

Monday, October 28
8:00-8:30AM  Principals' Pride- Kindergarten, 1st Grade & 2nd Grade
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Tuesday, October 29
8:00-8:30AM  Principals' Pride- 3rd Grade, 4th Grade & 5th Grade
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Wednesday, October 30
Early Release Day for Elementary and Middle School
Last Day for Spicewood Fall Conferences

All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly. 

Friday, November 1 - Friday, Novembem 15
Round Rock Fall 2013 Annual Canned Food Drive
Please help our local food pantry by donating canned & non-perishable food. You can send the canned goods to school with your child(ren) starting on Friday, November 1. For more information, please view the official flyer

Friday, November 15
6:00-11:00PM   Spicewood Annual Silent Auction 
At Balcones Country Club

Saturday, November 16
9:00AM-5:30PM   5th Annual Spicewood Chess Tournament 

Thursday, November 21
5:30-8:30PM A Night of Pastabilities- Westwood HS Silent Auction
Westwood HS Class of 2015 would like to cordinally invite the community to "A Night of Pastabilities." It is a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to help fund the Westwood Jr/Sr Prom. For more information, please visit Westwood HS website. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #7: Michelle Sacksteder

Dear families and community of Spicewood,

As I promised to play catch-up, I am closing out the week by featuring a 3rd employee. Please get to know Mrs. Michelle Sacksteder, our 1st grade teacher!

I'm so very excited to have an opportunity to introduce another fabulous teacher here at Spicewood. Mrs. Sacksteder was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. Spokane being a small rural city, she has always desired to live in a bigger city that would also come with more sunshine so she made a bold move down to Austin and pursued a college degree at Texas State University. Mrs. Sacksteder has been married to her husband, Mr. Colin Sacksteder, for about a year- yes, newly married! Mr. Sacksteder is in law enforcement and serves as a police officer in Pflugerville ISD. Her mom, dad and brother still live in Washington. She was thrilled to share that her brother was recently married! Before coming to Spicewood, she was a pre-school teacher at a Waldorf inspired school in Leander, a tutor for the Boys and Girls Club of America and a student teacher at Dessau Elementary School in Pflugerville ISD. Her favorite food is strawberries. Her favorite color is purple. Her favorite book is the Chronicles of Narnia series, written by C.S. Lewis. 

Mrs. Sacksteder was asked to name one favorite thing about working at Spicewood. Her answer was the people as she loves how close everyone in this community is. She is grateful that everyone has welcomed her with open arms. She is also amazed at how much everyone supports each other and how it is truly wonderful to be surrounded by such caring people. 

She'd like to say to our young minds, "do not be afraid to make mistakes; they are just a sign that you're learning. The trick is to try and not make the same one twice!" 

When I visited Mrs. Sacksteder's classroom, I was truly blown away by her ability to bring high level thinking and rigor to her 1st graders. While teaching the concept of place value, she continued to make connections relevant to her students' lives to ensure better understanding.
Students so engaged!
Mrs. Sacksteder oriented her behavior expectation around IB PYP Learner Profile and Attitudes

Just a glimpse of what great learning has been occurring in the classroom
Ms. Sacksteder went from a child to another to ensure student understanding and reinforce skills and newly learned concept. 

One of the learning activities students participated in was an independent gallery walk, consisted of 10 different place value problems that students had to answer on their own. It's certainly a great way to assess student learning. 
Mrs. Sacksteder is a first year teacher with the skills of someone with several years of teaching experience; she is truly one of those born-to-be teachers that come with intuition of what good teaching requires. I am so thrilled that she has decided to become part of the Spicewood family this year! I sure hope that she stays with us for years to come. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #6: Debbie Copeland

Dear families and community,

Here comes the second employee of the week to introduce to you all. Please take a moment to get to know Mrs. Debbie Copeland, our office specialist.

As she starts her 4th year at Spicewood and 17th in the district, she has assumed a brand new role as an Office Specialist this school year. For the last 3 years, we were extremely fortunate to have her serve our students as an Educational Assistant in intervention.

Mrs. Copeland was born in Temple, Texas and moved to Georgetown as a little girl when her father began a career in law enforcement as a Williamson County sheriff. She shared with me that she wanted to become a police officer just like her father. Anyone that has met Mrs. Copeland would agree with me to say she's way too nice to be a police officer. ;) She has five members in her family: 2 sons, a daughter-in-law and her husband. Mr. and Mrs. Copeland have been happily married for 33 years! Her youngest son works for Blizzard Entertainment, a renown video game company. Her oldest son works for Farmers Insurance. Growing up, both of her sons participated in JROTC Air Force at McNeil HS. (Go Mavericks! Yes, I'm biased since it's also my own alma mater) Mrs. Copeland likes anything sweet. Her favorite colors are burgundy and sage green. Her favorite book is the Shack and Nights in Rodanthe.

Her career history explains why she's such a welcoming and well-rounded professional as she worked in various roles such as tour guide, pre-school teacher, receptionist, roadway planner for TxDOT and an educational assistant.

Mrs. Copeland loves greeting the parents and getting to know them and their students. She also loves the office staff and being part of such a wonderful team! When I asked for her thought on what makes Spicewood such a great place to be, she shared, "the wonderful parents, students and staff that fill the hallways each and every day!" 

She'd like to advise our students to never give up on their dreams or desires. The wait and outcome is so worth the end result because all good things come to those who wait. 

Mrs. Copeland is one of the first people that you'll be greeted by when you visit Spicewood. Her love and passion for our school and community transpires through her service to all.
She's a tremendous source of help and support in the front office area.

She's at where she's needed. Covering for Mrs. Norman, our nurse during lunch.

It's always busy in the front office area and you can always count on her. 
Please be sure to introduce yourself when you walk into our office. It will make her beam that you recognize her passion and love for our school.