Friday, January 31, 2014

Meet the Faces of the Spicewood #30: Janet Stading

Here goes the second employee of the week!

Please take a few minutes to read about one of exceptional our 3rd grade teachers, Mrs. Janet Stading


Mrs. Stading is our 3rd grade teacher; this is her 6th year as a teacher at Spicewood and 8th year as a parent. Mrs. Stading was born in Fort Worth, TX and moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas at Austin to receive her bachelor's degree in Music-voice. (I did not know that! Now I must go plan an occasion as an excuse to have her sing. Yes!) Once she completed her degree, she did not want to leave Austin. She worked for HEB and helped open Central Market on north Lamar and served as a checker, bookkeeper and a bulk assistant manager. After 9 years of working, she decided to go back to school to get her master's degree at Texas State University. Since then, she's taught both in private and public school setting. Mrs. Stading and her husband share a son- Niklas, a 5th grader here at SWES- and a daughter- Ingrid, a 7th grader at CVMS. Her two children always keep her busy with volleyball, football and other activities. They also love to help her with her volunteer work with Austin Junior Forum. Her favorite food is cheese. Although she loves all colors, she has special fondness for burnt orange. (Hook'em!) Her favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird written by Harper Lee. 

Mrs. Stading feels that the teachers, staff, admin, parents and students all have the same commitment to working together at Spicewood. "Watching and being part of the students taking an active role in becoming caring, global-minded citizens is my favorite thing about working at Spicewood," shared Mrs. Stading. Mrs. Stading would like to say to our students, "always give your best effort and never give up because no one can fault you for that and it is something you can be proud of."

3rd grade students have been working on the PYP Unit of How We Organize Ourselves for a few weeks; the central idea evolves around economy and how people and their lives are affected and  organized by the state of economy and/or the socioeconomic status. During the lesson, students were divided into different groups of four. Each group received 2 different letters written to the First Lady Mrs. Roosevelt in the era of Great Depression. Students, with designated roles, read the letters together, inferred the race, age and socioeconomic status of the person who wrote the letter as a group. Students then were asked to record their answers with elaboration onto a google form teacher has pre-created. I was blown away by the questions and inferential clues students were able to derive from the letters. Discussions were facilitated by Mrs. Stading to guide them to make connections and build new understanding of why people chose to behave in certain manners during the Great Depression. 
Investigating the letters

Collecting and sharing answers via technology

Evidence of learning and reflection all over the classroom
 I wish I wasn't the only one witnessing such great learning in her classroom. Mrs. Stading has created a learning environment where students feel safe to think outside of the box and soar with their creativity and inquiry. I love it when I can hear student thinking and I can tell you that's exactly what was happening in this classroom during my visit!
 

Meet the Faces of the Spicewood #29: Renee Sanders

Dear blog readers,

I'm excited to introduce one of our extraordinary 2nd grade teachers, Mrs. Renee Sanders.

Mrs. Sanders in action!
Mrs. Sanders was born in Heidelberg, Germany- how fascinating is that! Her father was in the army and once he retired from it, the entire family moved to Austin when she was 9 years old. This is her 7th year here at Spicewood and as a teacher. What did she do before she became a teacher some must wonder. Mrs. Sanders spent 21 years in retail management and the last 10 years of those 21 were spent with Victoria's Secret! Mrs. Sanders and her husband have a wonderful son together. Her favorite food is Mexican food. Her favorite color is blue and her favorite book is the famous Charlotte's Web. Mrs. Sanders shared that she loves working with children because they keep her inspired and enthusiastic. "The minute you walk into the school, you immediately sense a warm, welcoming atmosphere coming from the staff and students," stated Mrs. Sanders. She'd like to encourage our students to never ever give up on themselves!

2nd grade has spent significant amount of learning time exploring poetry under the PYP unit of How We Express Ourselves. When I slipped into her classroom, the class was engaged in sharing of their research project on pertinent poets they have chosen to work on. As students shared out loud, teachers and students provided constructive feedback and comments to make viable connections to their central idea. Did you know Dr. Seuss' last name is really not Seuss? That was one of the things a student shared. :)
Students engaged in sharing and listening

There's so much evidence of student thinking and processing all around the classroom!
I thoroughly enjoy joining Mrs. Sanders' class whenever I get a chance. Some might think, "how interesting can a conversation be amongst 2nd graders" but this classroom will prove you wrong. Through rich discussions students build new understanding and expand their knowledge as Mrs. Sanders guides the conversations and student learning as an effective facilitator of learning. Mrs. Sanders is a teacher with intuition that knows how to lead learners to greater understanding.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

It is hard to believe that the month of January has already gone by so fast and furious. We're beginning to gear up for State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing and 5th grade transition to middle school. This semester will go by faster than the fall semester. Please hang tight and stay with us with your support throughout the spring semester. 

Parents of 5th grade students, please take a minute to open up and read the letter below from Principal Hagerty at Canyon Vista Middle School, outlining important dates with detailed information to ensure smooth transition of our 5th grade students to middle school.




This Week's News


Meet the Faces of Spicewood

Employee features will resume next week. 


Ms. Kim Out-of-Office Monday through Wednesday
Parents and community members, I'll be out of office Monday through Wednesday of this week at three different professional development sessions/conferences to continue learning to be a better leader. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Mrs. Page or Mrs. Torres. I'll still be responding via email. I'll surely miss all the smiles and good-mornings from students and parents I usually receive in the morning for those three days. 


Administrator Office Hours Reminder
Parents, as most of you already know, I pride myself in spending a lot of time in the classrooms with students and teachers to support instruction. For that very reason, if you happen to stop by or walk in, I would most likely be unavailable to meet with you. If a parent would like to schedule a meeting with the principal and/or assistant principal, I ask that an appointment is made with Mrs. Courtney Torres, the new principal’s secretary. Please share with her briefly the topic of discussion when scheduling an appointment so I can gather necessary information prior to our meeting. You can reach her at (512) 428-3602 or via email at Courtney_Torres@roundrockisd.org  

5th Grade Parent Info. Night - Canyon Vista MS
On Tuesday, January 28 at 6:30PM (Note that CVMS changed the time from 7PM) in the Canyon Vista MS Gymnasium, we invite all 5th grade parents and students to learn about the fine arts elective choices available, in order to make a more informed decision when choice sheets are distributed. Canyon Vista's fabulous fine arts teachers will be available to present information about their course, and answer any questions.

5th Grade Transition Letter from Principal Hagerty from CVMS
5th grade parents, please view the letter from Principal Hagerty from CVMS. The letter outlines important dates of events as we prepare our 5th grade students to transition to middle school. 

Science Fair Entries
Science Fair entries are due on Monday, January 27, 2014. All 4th and 5th grade students MUST enter the Science Fair with an experiment. K-3rd are highly encouraged to submit individual projects; parents can use the link below to register your child's Science Fair Project. Registrations will be accepted until Sunday, January 26. Kinder-3rd Spicewood Science Registration Form. Judging will take place: K-3rd Grade Entries on Monday, January 27, 2014 & 4th-5th Grade Entries on Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29, 2014. For detailed information, please visit our PTA Website. Award Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, January 29 at 6:30PM in the library. 


Spirit Night hosted by PTA
Please join us at Double Dave's Pizza on Thursday, January 30 from 5-8PM. This is a PTA hosted fundraising event. Our 2nd grade teachers, Mrs. Teal and Mrs. Raybourn will also be there for part of the night. Mrs. Hougham will be able to join the students and family at the beginning before she heads out to a grief and loss training for counselors. 

Spring Group Picture
All classes will be taking spring group pictures on Tuesday, February 4.

WatchDOGS Fridays
On Friday, February 7, we call for Dads and father figures to come volunteer at Spicewood. We loved seeing you all throughout the building during the first semester and we want to continue the great work! Please sign up online here and we look forward to seeing you all.



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Tuesday, January 28
6:30PM   5th Grade Parent Info. Night @ CVMS
CVMS Cafeteria (Please note that CVMS changed the time)

Monday, January 27- Wednesday, January 29
Science Fair 
Judging for K-3rd Grade Entries- 1/27/2014
Judging for 4th-5th Grade Entries- 1/28 & 1/29/2014
Awards & Viewing start at 6:30PM on Wednesday, January 29. 

Thursday, January 30
5:00- 8:00PM  Spirit Night hosted by PTA 
Please join us for dinner at Double Dave's Pizza. 

Tuesday, February 4

Groups/Spring Pictures
We'll be taking class pictures. 

Wednesday, February 5
12:45PM   Early Release
All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly in advance. 

Thursday, February 6
6:30-7:30PM   PTA General Membership Meeting
Library

Monday, January 20, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

I hope everyone has enjoyed a long and relaxing weekend as we honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day as well. I've decided to send out the newsletter this afternoon so that our children can dress up tomorrow to join the Upstander Week activities and celebrations. Please be sure to note the dress up theme for each day for the rest of this week down below. 



This Week's News


Meet the Faces of Spicewood

Please be sure to take a moment to meet our wonderful staff: Ms. Jennifer Norman (School Nurse) & Mrs. Lisa Walton (Interventionist)

Administrator Office Hours Reminder
Parents, as most of you already know, I pride myself in spending a lot of time in the classrooms with students and teachers to support instruction. For that very reason, if you happen to stop by or walk in, I would most likely be unavailable to meet with you. If a parent would like to schedule a meeting with the principal and/or assistant principal, I ask that an appointment is made with Mrs. Courtney Torres, the new principal’s secretary. Please share with her briefly the topic of discussion when scheduling an appointment so I can gather necessary information prior to our meeting. You can reach her at (512) 428-3602 or via email at Courtney_Torres@roundrockisd.org  


Hope Church Parking Lot Usage
We're very grateful that we get to use the Hope Church parking lot every day. We have been shared with some concerns that cars are speeding out of the parking lot during the day when they still have pre-k students around. Please keep in mind that there are children at the church throughout the day and that we need to drive with caution in and out of the parking lot at all times. Thank you for your support in this matter. 

Upstander Week- Message from Mrs. Hougham (Counselor)

Our No Place for Hate Coalition (5th grade students who have elected to give up their recess weekly to do good for others) has been working to create activities for a UPSTANDER WEEK, January 21-24, 2014. What better time to have Upstander Week than the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, one of our nations most upstanding citizens. Activities for this week will include:


**Dress Up Days**
Tuesday: Be unique and stand up for who you are by wearing mix matched clothes.
Wednesday: Sock it to mean behavior by standing up and wearing crazy socks.
Thursday: STOP mean behavior by wearing red.
Friday: Be someone's superhero by being an upstander and dressing up like a superhero.

Upstander Posters: Students will be encouraged to create a poster about standing up for others (which would be completed at home). If they complete a poster, they may turn it in to me and I will have the No Place for Hate Coalition post it at the front of the school.


Be an Upstander Bulletin Board: There will be a bulletin board at the front of the school with a situation having to do with standing up for others. Students will be encouraged to write what they would do in the situation directly on the bulletin board.


Upstander Read Alouds: Our No Place for Hate Coalition kids will be reading aloud from books about standing up for others and ourselves to 1st-4th grade classes who've signed up on the google doc. Read alouds will be approximately 15 minutes.


Kindergarten Lessons: A group of students has planned a lesson especially for our kindergarten classes including a read aloud and brief skit. An email has been sent from this group asking for teachers to sign up if they would like a lesson within the next few weeks (not all lessons will fit during Upstander Week).



Components of Upstander Week were brainstormed and executed by our No Place For Hate Coalition - they are a great bunch of kids! For more information, please visit Mrs. Hougham's blog

Poetry Alive!

In our efforts to get our students excited about literacy and making connections across the curriculum, we've invited Poetry Alive!- an organization that supports 21st Century learners with critical thinking activities, in-depth analysis, and communication skills. It partners with educators to prepare students to thrive in the interconnected and diverse world community. Our students will be able to participate in their presentation this Friday in the cafeteria. For detailed timeline, please refer to Mark Your Calendar section below. 

Skating 101 for 3rd-5th Grade Parents- Message from PE Teachers

Parents we are in need of volunteers to ensure our in line skating unit is safe and effective.  We still need volunteers from January 21th -27th.   You may sign up for any time slot or more than one time slot based on your availability.  You are not expected to skate just helping to get them  suited up to participate. Please sing up to volunteer here! We appreciate your support and involvement. 


Excessive Tardies and Absences Phone Calls
Phone calls have been made. Please be sure that our students are here to learn at 7:45AM in their classrooms. Thank you for your support.  

Scholastic Chess Tournament at Patsy Sommer Elementary
The Patsy Sommer Tournament will occur this Saturday, January 25. Format is the same as the Spicewood tournament. USCF registration is required. If your child attended the Spicewood Tournament, they do not have to register again with the USCF. If you child (4th grade and above) has not attended a tournament, or registered with USCF they must register prior to registering for the tournament. USCF:  https://secure2.uschess.org/webstore/member.php
Patsy Sommer Online registration closes on Friday, January 24. For more information, please visit http://www.austinchesstournaments.com/events/451

5th Grade Parent Info. Night - Canyon Vista MS
On Tuesday, January 28 at 6:30PM (Note that CVMS changed the time from 7PM) in the Canyon Vista MS Gymnasium, we invite all 5th grade parents and students to learn about the fine arts elective choices available, in order to make a more informed decision when choice sheets are distributed. Canyon Vista's fabulous fine arts teachers will be available to present information about their course, and answer any questions.

Science Fair Entries
Science Fair entries are due on Monday, January 27, 2014. All 4th and 5th grade students MUST enter the Science Fair with an experiment. K-3rd are highly encouraged to submit individual projects; parents can use the link below to register your child's Science Fair Project. Registrations will be accepted until Sunday, January 26. Kinder-3rd Spicewood Science Registration Form. Judging will take place: K-3rd Grade Entries on Monday, January 27, 2014 & 4th-5th Grade Entries on Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29, 2014. For detailed information, please visit our PTA Website


Spirit Night hosted by PTA
Please join us at Double Dave's Pizza on Thursday, January 30 from 5-8PM. This is a PTA hosted fundraising event. Our 2nd grade teachers, Mrs. Teal and Mrs. Raybourn will also be there for part of the night. Mrs. Hougham will be able to join the students and family at the beginning before she heads out to a grief and loss training for counselors. 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Friday, January 24
Poetry Alive! in Cafeteria
8-8:30 Kinder, 1st, & 2nd grades
9-9:45 3rd, 4th & 5th

Saturday, January 25
Scholastic Chess Tournament at Patsy Sommer Elementary

Sunday, January 26
Kinder- 3rd Grade Science Fair Registration Deadline
Please register your student here

Tuesday, January 28
6:30PM   5th Grade Parent Info. Night @ CVMS
CVMS Cafeteria (Please note that CVMS changed the time)

Monday, January 27- Wednesday, January 29
Science Fair 
Judging for K-3rd Grade Entries- 1/27/2014
Judging for 4th-5th Grade Entries- 1/28 & 1/29/2014
Awards & Viewing start at 6:30PM on Wednesday, January 29. 

Thursday, January 30
5:00- 8:00PM  Spirit Night hosted by PTA 
Please join us for dinner at Double Dave's Pizza. 

Tuesday, February 4

Groups/Spring Pictures
We'll be taking class pictures. 

Wednesday, February 5
12:45PM   Early Release
All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly in advance. 
  


Meet the Faces of Spicewood #28: Lisa Walton

Dear families and community members,

Here comes the second employee of the week.
Please meet Mrs. Lisa Walton, one of our interventionists.


Mrs. Walton was born in Portland, Oregon but was raised in Lubbock, Texas. She and her husband have 2 high achieving sons together- one at Baylor University and the other at Baylor College of Medicine. Prior to moving to Austin with her husband who transferred with Motorola at the time, she taught and lived in various places across the country. I was super envious of her to find out that she taught kindergarten in Hawaii! Mrs. Walton also taught 2nd grade in Lubbock, Texas, prior to serving as an interventionist in our school district at various campuses such as Great Oaks, Brushy Creek and Fern Bluff. She is currently shared between Spicewood and Fern Bluff Elementary School. Mrs. Walton's favorite food is Italian. Her favorite color is green and her favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee.

Mrs. Walton excitedly stated that her favorite thing about working at Spicewood is the students that she shares her afternoon with every weekday. "I also love the diverse student population and the parental support," said Mrs. Walton. She'd like to tell our students to aim high! "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time." 

With her experiences, Mrs. Walton has brought in a wealth of knowledge to our campus and contributed greatly to enhance the effectiveness and quality of our intervention program and procedures.
Mrs. Walton conducting Mid-Of-Year Universal Screening with a kindergarten student

I'm a firm believer of everything happens for a reason; when I found out that we needed a half-time interventionist, everything fell into places as if it were meant to be. Mrs. Walton has been a valuable part of our school community ever since.

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #27: Jennifer Norman

Dear bloggers,

I hope you're enjoying the long weekend with your children.

I am going to introduce to you a vital person in our school, Ms. Jennifer Norman, the school nurse.


Ms. Norman was born in San Antonio, Texas. She's a mom to 4 girls; three girls are grown and the youngest is now almost 16, driving. She is taking all AP classes and plays volleyball with a 4.6 GPA at Vista Ridge HS. What a proud mom she is! :) This is Ms. Norman's 3rd year at Spicewood ES and before working with our children, she worked as a fire inspector with Palm Beach Co., in Florida for 18 years and retired. She then made a bold move to attend a nursing school here back in Texas. Ms. Norman built experiences as a nurse working at an acute care and for Dr. Peters before happily becoming a school nurse. Ms. Norman loves Tex-Mex. Her favorite color is blue. She loves any books written by Judith McNaught.

"The kids are my favorite thing about working at Spicewood. The staff- they have grown to be a true family to me as well," stated Ms. Norman. She'd like to tell our students to "eat lots of fruit and veggies, drink water and wash those little hands often!"

Ms. Norman is truly a vital part of our school community; she directly deals with our children in highest needs day in and day out. Our children are at the most vulnerable state of mind when they come see Ms. Norman and I must say that our kids are in great hands when they are in her office. We're so very thankful for her dedication and service to our students and staff!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

I want to start this week's newsletter with giving kudos to our wonderful teachers and staff at Spicewood. Each and every day I feel honored to serve our students and family with such an amazing and passionate staff. I am so very fortunate as a leader to have such a positive team of people at Spicewood.    


I have much to share as usual so please read on. :) 

Celebrations from Last Week

New Principal's Secretary On Board
We have a new principal's secretary who came on board last Friday. Her name is Courtney Torres and I've featured her on my blog so please take a minute to get to know her. 




This Week's News


Meet the Faces of Spicewood

Please be sure to take a moment to meet our wonderful staff: Deby Steinburg (1st Grade Teacher) & Courtney Torres (New Principal's Secretary)

Ms. Kim Out-of-Office this Thursday and Friday
Parents and community members, I'll be out of office this Thursday and Friday at a professional development session to continue learning to be a better leader. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Mrs. Page or Mrs. Torres. I'll still be responding via email. I'll surely miss all the smiles and good-mornings from students and parents I usually receive in the morning for those two days. 

WatchDOGS Fridays Are Back On! Sign up for this Friday!
This Friday, January 17 we call for Dads and father figures to come volunteer here at Spicewood ES. We loved seeing you all throughout the building during the first semester and we want to continue the great work! Please sign up online here and we look forward to seeing you all. 

Skating 101 for 3rd-5th Grade Parents- Message from PE Teachers
Parents we are in need of volunteers to ensure our in line skating unit is safe and effective.  We need volunteers from January 13th -27th.   You may sign up for any time slot or more than one time slot based on your availability.  You are not expected to skate just helping to get them  suited up to participate. Please sing up to volunteer here! We appreciate your support and involvement. 


Science Fair Display Boards on Sale
If you have not had a chance to pre-order/buy a science fair display board, a parent volunteer, Mrs. Katie Hagen, will be selling them this Tuesday after school in the area outside of the library. There's only a limited number of boards available and it's first-come-first-serve. If you have young students (K-2) they will probably need extra help taking the boards home so parents might want to come up to the school to get them. Same applies for students in all grades that ordered multiple boards.

Wellness Wednesday
Wellness Wednesday will start back up this Wednesday, January 15, 2014. Please meet Mrs. Martinez at the main entrance at 7AM. This is a great way to get some free, fun and valuable workout done. 

Excessive Tardies and Absences Phone Calls
Parents, I'll be making phone calls to parents of students who have excessive tardies and also to parents of those who have excessive absences from 1st semester, throughout this week. It is imperative that we develop good habits and high expectation on importance of education for our students. We need your support from home as partners in education, and that we communicate the same expectation to our students about the importance of coming to school and learning all that we can. 

Report Cards
You will receive your child(ren)'s second 9-week report card(s) via their Friday folder this Friday. 

5th Grade Parent Info. Night - Canyon Vista MS
On Tuesday, January 28 at 6:30PM (Note that CVMS changed the time from 7PM) in the Canyon Vista MS Gymnasium, we invite all 5th grade parents and students to learn about the fine arts elective choices available, in order to make a more informed decision when choice sheets are distributed. Canyon Vista's fabulous fine arts teachers will be available to present information about their course, and answer any questions.

Science Fair Entries
Science Fair entries are due on Monday, January 27, 2014. All 4th and 5th grade students MUST enter the Science Fair with an experiment. K-3rd are highly encouraged to submit individual projects; parents can use the link below to register your child's Science Fair Project. Registrations will be accepted until Sunday, January 26. Kinder-3rd Spicewood Science Registration Form. Judging will take place: K-3rd Grade Entries on Monday, January 27, 2014 & 4th-5th Grade Entries on Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29, 2014. For detailed information, please visit our PTA Website



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Tuesday, January 14
2:45PM   Science Fair Display Boards Sale
Outside of the Library

Wednesday, January 15
7:00AM   Wellness Wednesday Starts Again

Friday, January 17
WatchDOGS Friday
Report Cards Go Out

Monday, January 20
Martin Luther King Day
No School- Student & Staff Holiday
Please plan accordingly in advance. 

Sunday, January 26
Kinder- 3rd Grade Science Fair Registration Deadline
Please register your student here

Tuesday, January 28
6:30PM   5th Grade Parent Info. Night @ CVMS
CVMS Cafeteria (Please note that CVMS changed the time)

Monday, January 27- Wednesday, January 29
Science Fair 
Judging for K-3rd Grade Entries- 1/27/2014
Judging for 4th-5th Grade Entries- 1/28 & 1/29/2014
Awards & Viewing start at 6:30PM on Wednesday, January 29. 

Thursday, January 30
5:00- 8:00PM  Spirit Night hosted by PTA 
Please join us for dinner at Double Dave's Pizza. 

Wednesday, February 5
12:45PM   Early Release
All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly in advance. 
  



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #26: Courtney Torres

Are we ready for the second employee of the week? :)

This person is the newest addition to our staff as her first official day was just this past Friday. 
Please meet the new principal's secretary, Mrs. Courtney Torres


Mrs. Torres is a true Austinite as she was born and raised in the greater Austin area her entire life. She graduated from Leander High School and went to college to play volleyball at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. She still coaches volleyball outside of work as she's very passionate about it! As soon as he found out about this, Mr. Berry, our PE teacher, has already recruited her for our staff volleyball team. ;) Mrs. Torres met her husband in college and got married in 2011; they now have a 2-year old son, Colter. Prior to coming to Spicewood, she worked at Primrose School as the director's assistant for 3 years then worked at Texas Department of Public Safety for 3 months as an assistant to Program Supervisor. Mrs. Torres was one of many applicants that applied for this position and one of 4 candidates that our interview committee offered interviews to.  The committee feels that we have made the best decision to offer the job to Mrs. Torres for various reasons and we're excited that she's accepted to become a part of Spicewood community. Mrs. Torres loves any food. Her favorite colors are pink and yellow. Her favorite book is Eat, Pray and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. 

"Everyone is so warm and welcoming," shared Mrs. Torres. She's extremely happy that she's found a place where she can feel like she's part of a family already. She'd like to encourage our students with the following quote; "Nothing is impossible; the word it self says I'M POSSIBLE!- Unknown"

I have the utmost confidence that Mrs. Torres will be a great addition to Spicewood community. When you run into her, please take a minute to introduce yourself and welcome her to the family. :) 

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #25: Deby Steinburg

Greetings, everyone!

I hope you've enjoyed the gorgeous weekend! 
I'd like you to take a moment to read about one of our wonderful 1st grade teachers, Mrs. Deby Steinburg.


Mrs. Steinburg was born and raised in Marlin, Texas. She grew up visiting Austin a lot because her grandmother had a boys' boarding school house at UT-Austin. She remembers hearing the UT football games from her grandmother's house as a young girl. Mrs. Steinburg, although she does not look it AT ALL, has been in teaching for 30 years so far! I was purely amazed and my jaw dropped when she told me how old she was because I had guessed her to be about 15 years younger than her age. It is very hard to picture this but Mrs. Steinburg actually started teaching at a high school then gradually moved down to the elementary level, which she and I both agree that it is where she was meant to be. :) To add to the amazement, this is her 26th year here at Spicewood. Mrs. Steinburg is married to our wonderful music teacher, Mr. Rick Steignburg; they have 3 daughters and 3 dog daughters together. They have played music as a family and toured during the summer for the last 13 years performing in various places. Mr. Steinburg has taught the family the importance and value of being creative through music, art and writing over the years. The family frequently performs at local coffee shops and various venues so ask them about their performance schedule! :) Mrs. Steinburg loves Tex-Mex. She loves all bright colors. Mrs. Steinburg loves books written by Patricia Polacco and the Narnia series. (My Narnia favorite is the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

"I love that we all care deeply for our students. I also love the laughter. This school has been a blessing for our family; I met my husband here and all 3 of our daughters went to school here," shared Mrs. Steinburg. She believes that it's the combination of kids, parents, staff and the laughter that makes Spicewood such a great place to be. "Always try to do your best and follow the Golden Rule," said Mrs. Steinburg to all students at Spicewood.

Last Friday I had  a chance to visit Mrs. Steinburg's classroom. I was blown away by all the thinking, sharing, and writing that was happening in the classroom. It was so very evident that all of her students were well versed in how writing workshop should look and sound like. At the moment, students were learning about writing a Teaching Book. Students had brainstormed all sorts of ideas to teach someone else about what they're passionate about. Mrs. Steinburg met with individual students to meet the diverse needs that exist in the classroom. 


Mrs. Steinburg conferring with individual students throughout the writing workshop

Writing away!

Writing Workshop always ends with students sharing their writing with the class

Awesome learning environment!
 Mrs. Steinburg is someone that treats everyone- students, parents and staff- with love and a genuine heart. Her encouraging and kind words always motivate our students and staff to want to do better in all that they do. She exemplifies what it means to be a person that deeply cares about others like our vision states. I'm so glad she chose to be at Spicewood!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Updates from the Principal- Happy New Year!

Dear families and community members,

Happy new year! 

I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing holiday break. I certainly enjoyed the time off with family and friends and feel rejuvenated to start the second half of the school year. As I reflected back on the first half over the break, I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to have such great support from teachers, staff, parents and community members. I am confident that we will press on and soar for continued success throughout the second semester. 

There's a lot that I want to share this week. I always appreciate your time spent reading through the newsletter.  



Celebrations from Last Week of School in December


Clothes Closet Demin Drive Update
Wow! Spicewood really showed up for the denim drive. As a school, we donated over 200 pairs of jeans. We should be very proud of helping many RRISD students have quality clothes they can wear to school. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

PTA Room Spring Cleaning
I would like to recognize three parents who volunteered their precious time to clean out the PTA room: Mrs. Lori Poppe, Mrs. Karen Imperato and Mrs. Laura Watts. The room looks amazing!! Thank you so much! 

Look at how organized and clean the room looks! Thank you!
5th Grade Phenomenon Project Meets Technology
Our 5th grade students are exploring how natural and/or man-made phenomena impact our societies. This How the World Works PYP unit has our students researching different phenomena and its history as well as the different perspectives on it by different people, and over time. They are evaluating the phenomena's impact on its society (the Pyramids on Giza, Cairo and Egypt etc.) and then presenting their learning to the school using a QR code and a 3D model. I'm sure many of our parents have seen our 5th grade students walking into school with their projects in their hands during the last week of school before the break. 

During their research, students used their Google account to conduct and organize their research, share it with their teachers and get feedback. They are learning to cite their sources using the Google research tool and are creating a Google Draw to present their information, which includes images, links and their synthesized research.

Students are then generating QR codes that can be read by devices in the library. They are on display this week in the library and in the hallways so please come with your device and be amazed by impressive work of our students! 

I would like to give kudos to our 5th grade teachers, Ms. Reeb, and Instructional Technology Specialist, Mrs. Marvel for providing such an intriguing and rigorous learning opportunity to our students. I'm proud of all my 5th graders who have challenged their own thinking and learning throughout the course of this awesome project!
Linking  student summary of project on Google Draw to a QR Code
Students and teachers working together to create individual QR Codes
Research writing portion of the project

An example of Summary of Project on Google Doc

Working hard to finalize the project last week of school before the break
Scan this QR Code to take a look at the project rubric! 

This Week's News


Meet the Faces of Spicewood

Please be sure to take a moment to meet our wonderful staff: Mrs. Minnie Singh (4th Grade Teacher) 

Staff Parking Lot in AM
Our staff members have expressed concerns regarding students using the staff parking lot to reach the front entrance in the morning. Staff parking lot is not the safe way for students to utilize. Students must walk across the grass area, use the crosswalk at the end of the field and walk down the sidewalk to get to the front entrance. It is extremely difficult to see any child or parent walk between the parked cars to get through the parking lot and we're very worried that someone might get hit by a car accidentally. 

WatchDOGS Fridays Are Back On!
On Friday, January 17, we call for Dads and father figures to come volunteer here at Spicewood ES. We loved seeing you all throughout the building during the first semester and we want to continue the great work! Please sign up online here and we look forward to seeing you all. 

Wellness Wednesday
Wellness Wednesday will start back up on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. Please meet Mrs. Martinez at the main entrance at 7AM. This is a great way to get some free, fun and valuable workout done. 

Updates on Home Access Center (HAC)
As of December 16, 2013, there have been 4 new links added within the Home Access Center for parents and students. They are marked with a "new" notation and contain links to: Campus e-Library Catalog, PAMS Lunchroom, Parental Portal and Student Portal. If you have any questions regarding the Campus e-Library, please contact Diane Hart, Library Services Coordinator at (512) 428-2974. If you have any questions regarding the PAMS Lunchroom, please contact the PAMS Help Desk at 1 (877) 726-7586. 

Excessive Tardies and Absences Phone Calls
Parents, I'll be making phone calls to parents of students who have excessive tardies and also to parents of those who have excessive absences from 1st semester, throughout next two weeks. It is imperative that we develop good habits and high expectation on importance of education for our students. We need your support from home as partners in education, and that we communicate the same expectation to our students about the importance of coming to school and learning all that we can. 

Report Cards
You will receive your child(ren)'s second 9-week report card(s) via their Friday folder on January 17. 

5th Grade Parent Info. Night - Canyon Vista MS
On Tuesday, January 28 at 7 pm in the Canyon Vista MS Gymnasium, we invite all 5th grade parents and students to learn about the fine arts elective choices available, in order to make a more informed decision when choice sheets are distributed. Canyon Vista's fabulous fine arts teachers will be available to present information about their course, and answer any questions.

Science Fair Entries
Science Fair entries are due on Monday, January 27, 2014. All 4th and 5th grade students MUST enter the Science Fair with an experiment. K-3rd are highly encouraged to submit individual projects. Judging will take place: K-3rd Grade Entries on Monday, January 27, 2014 & 4th-5th Grade Entries on Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29, 2014. For detailed information, please visit our PTA Website



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Tuesday, January 7
Students Return to School

Wednesday, January 15
7:00AM   Wellness Wednesday Starts Again

Friday, January 17
WatchDOGS Friday
Report Cards Go Out

Monday, January 20
Martin Luther King Day
No School- Student & Staff Holiday
Please plan accordingly in advance. 

Tuesday, January 28
7:00 PM   5th Grade Parent Info. Night @ CVMS
CVMS Cafeteria 

Monday, January 27- Wednesday, January 29
Science Fair 
Judging for K-3rd Grade Entries- 1/27/2014
Judging for 4th-5th Grade Entries- 1/28 & 1/29/2014
Awards & Viewing start at 6:30PM on Wednesday, January 29. 

Thursday, January 30
5:00- 8:00PM  Spirit Night hosted by PTA 
Please join us for dinner at Double Dave's Pizza. 

Wednesday, February 5
12:45PM   Early Release
All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly in advance.