Thursday, May 29, 2014

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #66: Hui-Chin Yang

Dear families and community members,

We are onto our next employee, Mrs. Hui-Chin Yang, Food Services Assistant.

Mrs. Yang was born and raised in Taiwan. Her sister lives in Austin so she moved after her sister. Her kids attend school here as well. It is fascinating to find out that she had taught Chemistry in Taiwan for 27 years! This is her 2nd year at Spicewood. After making the move to Austin for better education and opportunities for her kids, she has worked as a waitress and cashier at restaurants. Her favorite food is Chinese. Her favorite color is green. She loves reading Chinese story books. 

Mrs. Yang loves seeing all the cute kids coming through the lunch line on a daily basis. "I think that Spicewood has the smartest teachers, students and parents," shared Mrs. Yang. She wishes that our students can enjoy their studies and be happier as learners. 

Every day Mrs. Yang works hard to assist our students in selecting healthy lunch choices. Her friendly smile always lightens the mood in the cafeteria as students make their way through the line. Her hard work and dedication is truly appreciated!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #65: Sara Power

Dear Readers,

Please meet another musical music teacher, Mrs. Sara Power!


Mrs. Power was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She met her husband in Killeen, Texas and eventually made their way down to Austin. Her husband is a Major in the Army stationed out of Fort Hood. They together have a beautiful 9-year old daughter; she's a precious ballet dancer who goes to Great Oaks ES in the district. Mrs. Power started teaching music in Killeen, Texas, then in Colorado Springs, Colorado, then in Macomb County, Michigan then finally landed in Austin, Texas and joined the district 2 years ago. She's serving two campuses at the moment- Laurel Mountain and Spicewood ES. Her favorite food is tacos and she loves color purple. Her favorite book is Vampire Academy written by Richelle Mead.

Her favorite part of her job is being able to sing to and with her students. She picked the great staff as the reason why Spicewood is such a great place to be. She'd like to tell our students the following: "don't be afraid to try something new!"

Being split between two campuses is never an easy task. She has done a wonderful job teaching our students everything about music and instilling a love for music at both campuses. She has gone above and beyond to organize a Cub Choir to provide an opportunity to participate in an after-school enrichment activity for our young singers. We truly appreciate her dedication to both of our schools!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #64: Mindy Ravines

Dear Bloggers,

Onto our next employee of the week, please take a moment to read about our wonderful PE Aide, Mrs. Mindy Ravines!


Mrs. Ravines was born in Fort Worth, Texas. She moved to Austin 15 years ago with her husband, Nick. They together have 2 amazing children; Max is 10 and Lola is 8 years old. They also raise two dogs- Hawk the Cowdog and Tucker the yellow lab. :) Prior to becoming a valuable part of Spicewood community, she was a college recruiter at Trilogy Software company, an Account Manager at SiteStuff.com and a photographer! When she came to us for an interview last summer, she shared with the committee that she student taught English at a high school and found out HS was not her thing. :) I must say elementary is definitely her thing based on her rocking contributions this year! Her favorite foods are sushi and Mexican. She loves peach color. There are too many books she loves but if she has to pick just few, it would be the Harry Potter series along with any books written by Jodi Picoult.

Mrs. Ravines chose IB as one of her favorite thing about Spicewood as it makes Spicewood fun and exciting for all stakeholders. "The families seem so friendly and the kids are great!!" stated Mrs. Ravines. She'd like to encourage our students to have warmth in their hearts!

As mentioned above, she has been a valuable addition to our school this school year. She is such an initiator and go-getter! Her positive outlook on everything- including learning the IB in and out as a specials personnel- has been more than just impressive. Kudos to Mrs. Ravines for always being so supportive and flexible as she serves our students and assists other PE teachers here at Spicewood!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #63: Kimberly Robertson

Dear families and community members,

Please meet one of our fabulous PE teachers, Mrs. Kimberly Robertson!

Mrs. Robertson was born in Garland, Texas where her father still resides. Her father was in military growing up so moving frequently was just something that she did every couple years even as an adult. When teaching in San Antonio, a friend of hers called one day and asked if she wanted to come to Austin for an interview and the rest is history. :) Her husband, Bill Robertson, is a high school football defensive coordinator; she just loves Friday night football games! She and her husband together have two beautiful children. Her kindergarten daughter, Peyton, attends Herrington ES in the district. Her son, Walker, is only a year old! Her kids are highlight of her day as she gets excited to watch them learn and grow. Her career started as a 1st grade teacher in 1999 in Midland, Texas. She then taught 6th and 8th grade PE teacher in South San Antonio for two years. She has been girls assistant athletic coordinator and coach in various high schools for 10 years. She has also taught Health and Reading class to special education students at a high school. Her passion was always to come back to elementary to teach PE and she landed at Spicewood this school year in October as we received an additional allocation. Mexican food is her favorite. She loves pink. Her favorite book is Oh The Places You'll Go authored by Dr. Seuss; she loves reading this to her daughter. :)

"The faculty here is just amazing and our students are so kind and caring. Most favorite of all is the positive energy around here," shared Mrs. Robertson. "Everyone works together to be the best," she added. Going off from our theme this year, she'd like to tell our students to always choose kind.

Two days before school is out, our PE teachers were working fiercely with our students to get them participate in physical activities that are fun and engaging. Mrs. Robertson is a true trooper for her commitment to our children; even after a gruesome knee surgery, she came back just after a couple of days and has been working with our children on a wheel chair and on crutches. We're so very grateful for her dedication and passion; it makes a big difference here at Spicewood!


Meet the Faces of Spicewood #62: Jennifer Dower

Dear Audience,

Please take a few minutes to get to know one of our great 2nd grade teachers, Miss Jenna Dower!

Miss Dower was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. She moved to the greater Austin area with her family as a child. She actually attended Spicewood Elementary School as a child in 2nd grade! She has an older brother. Her mom and dad also reside in Austin and they both have been valuable supporters of our students as they volunteered their valuable time throughout the school year. Miss Dower loves her adorable Yorkie who is definitely worth bragging about. :) This is Miss Dower's first year at Spicewood as she joined us from Live Oak ES at the beginning of the school year. She shared that she has always wanted to be a teacher. She loves chocolate and color purple. Her favorite children's book is Chrysanthemum. She also picks Tuesdays with Morrie as one of her favorite reads.

Her favorite thing about working at Spicewood is her kids! "Everyone here cares for the children," shared Miss Dower. She'd like to tell our young minds to  love yourself and treat yourself with love!

Miss Dower was asked to join us very last minute last summer- two days before school started- due to our increased enrollment number; she, without a complaint, moved everything from Live Oak ES in a day and set up her classroom with a positive attitude. We're very thankful that her positive spirit made a difference on our campus this school year!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #61: Rick Steinburg

Dear all,

Please spend a few minutes to read about our musical music teacher, Mr. Rick Steinburg!


Mr. Steinburg was born in Chicago, Illinois. His motivation for move to Texas is quite fascinating. His grandmother was from Texas and when she passed away, he had dreamed about meeting her in Texas; she said it was the place for him! So he packed up his bags and moved down here! Mr. Steinburg is, as many of you already know, married to Mrs. Deby Steinburg, our first grade teacher. :) Mr. and Mrs. Steinburg have three daughters. The Steinburg family performs and plays music together all around this country as they're all very musically gifted and talented. This is Mr. Steinburg's 31st year here at Spicewood! He has taught 15 years of art then made his way into teaching music. His favorite food is Mexican food. If he must choose, blue is his favorite color. :) If he must choose one, the Bible is his favorite read.

Mr. Steinburg shared that he believes it's the people that make Spicewood such a great place to be. "I like working with the kids," shared Mr. Steinburg. He would like to tell our students the following advice; "look for the joy in everything, everyday. It's a beautiful world, but you have to pay attention to find the beauty." 

When I visited him today, he was with our lovely kindergarten students. Our 4th grade students were performing a musical puppet show for kindergarten students to see. Mr. Steinburg played the music throughout the show so students could sing along. Mr. Steinburg continuously tries to instill a love for music in our children. We are thankful for Mr. Steinburg's unending passion for our children!



4th Grade Students who performed the puppet musical


Meet the Faces of Spicewood #60: April Velez

Dear blog readers,
Please take a moment to meet our Intervention Educational Assistant, Mrs. April Velez!

Ms. Velez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She moved to Austin 9 years ago after getting married. She and her husband have two fabulous children together; her son (14) plays freshmen football for Rouse High School in Leander ISD and she also has a beautiful daughter at the age of 13. Ms. Velez has recently graduated from St. Edward's University and is working on obtaining her teaching certification.This is her first year at Spicewood. She loves Italian food and color purple.

Ms. Velez feels that it's the staff and students that make Spicewood such a great place to be. She'd like to share with our students the following; "work hard and do your best and you will achieve all your dreams!" 

Ms. Velez exhibits impressive instructional strategies that she utilizes when teaching our students in needs. She knows how to get to each of her student that she serves based on individual needs. We look forward to another great year with Ms. Velez!


Meet the Faces of Spicewood #59: Bill Berry

Dear audience,

Please get to know one of our fabulous PE teachers, Mr. Bill Berry!


Mr. Berry was born in Bluefield, West Virginia. He moved down to Texas to attend, which then was called, the Southwest Texas University. Mr. Berry has two awesome children; his son, Will, goes to Austin Community College and teaches diving and his daughter, Hannah, attends Blinn College in College Station, Texas. Mr. Berry has been at Spicewood for the last 27 years! Prior to becoming a Spicewood Panther in 1984, he taught physical education in Port Neches-Groves ISD from 1980-1984. Did you know that he is not only a physical education teacher but also a real estate broker since 1984? He loves Mexican food. His favorite color is blue. His favorite book is Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

"Good students, good teachers and good parents," shared Mr. Berry when asked about his favorite thing about working at Spicewood was. "Everyone gets along well and has a good attitude," he added. He'd also like to advise our students to go through life with a good attitude. 

Mr. Berry is an excellent physical education teacher that values not only the physical health of our children but also the emotional health of them by continuously enforcing words of encouragement throughout his lessons. Spicewood is glad to have such a positive physical education teacher like Coach Berry!



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #58: Amreen Ali (Rajabali)

Dear Audience,

Please meet our fantastic half-time Instructional Technology Specialist (ITS), Mrs. Amreen Ali (Rajabali)!


Mrs. Ali was born in Houston, Texas and spent her childhood in a small town in west Texas called Snyder. Her parents decided to move the family to Austin for better economic and educational opportunities for her and her 2 younger brothers when she was 10 years old. She has been married to her wonderful husband, Mohammed, for the last 6 years and they have a precious 2-year old daughter named Aria. Aria goes to a Spanish immersion school and can speak Spanish and English. She can also understand Gujarati and Hindi! Mrs. Ali started her career as a financial advisor in 2005. After 3 years, she decided to pursue my passion for teaching. She taught Pre-Kindergarten in Austin ISD for 4 years and then became a stay-at-home mom for a year and a half to raise Aria until she landed at Spicewood this school year as a half-time Instructional Technology Specialist (ITS). Her favorite food is BBQ ribs. Her favorite color is teal. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is her favorite read that she'd like to share with others.

Mrs. Ali shared, "my favorite thing about working at Spicewood is that I get to work with teachers AND students in my role as an ITS and the students are so tech savvy that I learn things from them, too!" She then continued to say, "Spicewood values diversity and expression of your culture. Everyone is encouraged to be who they are and proud of their heritage. That is the beauty of Spicewood!"  She'd like to tell our students to be kind, generous and compassionate; work hard to get a good education, not only for your future success but for the contributions that you will make to improve our world! 

Mrs. Ali was a very late hire as we were given an additional allocation in December of this school year. She came on board in January and within such a short amount of time, she has done a wonderful job getting to know students and teachers. She has planned lessons together with teachers and led numerous technology lessons with our students. She sure has been a valuable addition to our school community!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #57: Peggy Powers

Dear Bloggers,

Please take a moment to get to know one of our amazing TAG teachers, Mrs. Peggy Powers!

Mrs. Powers was born in Dixon, Illinois. She moved down to Austin after her sister, Gail, who now works for Texas State, leading research & testing department. She then ended up meeting her wonderful husband, Bruce, got married and started teaching. The couple together have two beautiful children, Corey (24) and Elysse (22). Corey now works for an advertising firm called Mosak and Elysse works for Cypress Creek Vet clinic and is a veterinary technician. She's getting married next year up in Pagosa Springs at their cabin. Oh and her fiance's name is Corey as well. :)  Her mom, sister, niece and nephew all reside in Austin and they love to get together as a family! Prior to teaching at Spicewood, she taught 3rd grade for one year in Dallas. She then taught 2nd grade for 4 years here, took a 5-year break to stay home and raise her children. Upon returning to Spicewood, she taught music for one year then 3rd for many and now TAG! Her favorite food is Italian. She loves the color purple. She couldn't pick her favorite read as there are too many to name. :)

When asked about what she loves about working at Spicewood, she shared, "the staff and community!" She'd like to give a shout out to our students, "I love our "saying" this year- if you have a choice between being honest or kind, choose kind- ALWAYS!" 

Mrs. Powers is hands-down the expert of asking higher order thinking questions and providing specific academic feedback to her students in the moment; two of the most important aspects of quality teaching. The way she engages our students in higher level thinking that produces intriguing conversations and student-created products is absolutely amazing! We're very lucky to have her as one of our TAG teachers!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Updates from the Principal-Celebrations Included

Dear families and community members,


I hope everyone is spending some time to honor those who served and are serving our country today. It is hard to believe that we are on our final week of school for the year. It has been a great first year for me as I have gotten to know all of my teachers, students and many of parents. I count it as a blessing that my journey has led me to Spicewood. Thank you for the feedback you provided via parent survey; Spicewood will use it to plan for next school year. Thank you for being an amazing support system and let us finish the year strong!


Celebrations

3rd Grade Living Museum
Third Grade Living Museum was well visited by many parents, students and staff members. I was personally blown away by all the knowledge and understanding of the historic figure that each student took on. It is always impressive to see our students always going beyond the facts of the research as they take time to dig deeper about what impacts they have made in this world. Great job, 3rd graders! Kudos to teachers who have guided their learning!







Family Gallery Night
Every child at Spicewood has a piece of art work displayed in the school building. Last Thursday night, students and parents were invited to share a moment to enjoy all the art work displayed around the school. Kudos to all the teachers that helped getting the art work hung on the walls or displayed in the halls! A big thank-you goes to Mrs. Raybourn and Mrs. Deb, our fabulous art teachers, for making this happen! 





This Week's News


Meet the Faces of Spicewood: We have quite a few that I'd like you to get to know this week :) Mrs. Joan Stein (3rd Grade Teacher); Mrs. April Morley (5th Grade Teacher); Mrs. Lynn Martinez (2nd Grade Teacher); Mrs. Julie Jacobs (2nd Grade Teacher); Mrs. Elise Harris (2nd Grade Teacher); Ms. Helen Hansen (2nd Grade Teacher); Mrs. Nina Moser (5th Grade Teacher)

New Student Registration

Parents, if you know anyone around the neighborhood who has not registered their child(ren) for next school year, please encourage them to come and register them this week! This includes incoming kindergarten students and/or any new students moving into the area. This will give us a clearer picture of our enrollment for next school year. 

School Supplies for Next Year
If you'd like to order school supplies, please refer to the Online Order Information placed in our eFolder. 

5th Grade Flyer from Food Services
Please be sure to read the letter from Food Services to our 5th grade students on "What To Expect Next Year in the Cafeteria." It's an informative document that guides students and parents through the transition process from elementary to middle school. 

End of Year Meal Balances- Message from Food Services
Beginning May 19th, students will not be able to go into the negative on the food service meal account.  Students may still use the account, but must have sufficient funds to purchase their meal.  Payments can be made through the online payment system www.paypams.com or through your cafeteria manager.   If a student does not have sufficient funds for their meal they will be offered a cheese sandwich and milk.   

Campus-wide PJ Day: PTA Membership Reward
Spicewood will celebrate the success of platinum level of PTA membership status campus-wide on Thursday, May 29. All students can participate by wearing their PJ to school next Thursday, May 29. 

5th Grade Promotion Ceremony
On Friday, May 30, 5th Grade Promotion Ceremony will take place. Please adhere to the schedule below. 

7:45 Walk the School Halls
8:00 School Song
8:02 Welcome Remark by Mrs. Kim
8:05 Introduction by Mr. Ortiz
8:06 Skip Hobbie, Guest Speaker
8:17 Present certificates
8:35 Presentation of Class Gift
8:40 Slide Show
9:00 Closing Remark by Mrs. Page 

Abatement of Asbestos
There will be an abatement of asbestos taking place in the 100s wing (1st and 2nd grade classrooms as well as the art room) this summer. The work will start as soon as the teachers are out of session for the summer. YMCA Summer Program has been moved to Jollyville ES this summer.

Spicewood Summer Office Hours
The four-day office hours will begin June 9 and continue through August 7. School will shut down completely from June 13-July 6. Business hours will be 7:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday from June 9- July 24.  Business hours will be 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday from July 28- August 7. The Security System will be on over the summer when the custodians are not on duty. They do not work on Fridays. 

Spicewood's Final Spirit Night at Round Rock Express!
Our final Spirit Night will take its place at the Round Rock Express on Sunday, June 1. Click here for the official flyer. Deadline to order discounted tickets is Monday, May 19. This will be a great family event to close out the school year with fellow Spicewood families and friends. 



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, May 26
Memorial Day
No School Today

Thursday, May 29
Campus PJ Day

Friday, May 30
8:00-9:00AM   5th Grade Promotion Ceremony
Last Day of School for Students

Sunday, June 1
Final Spicewood Spirit Night at Round Rock Express

Monday, August 25
Meet the Teachers 
2:00-2:45PM   Kindergarten
2:30-3:15PM   1st-5th Grade

Tuesday, August 26
First Day of School for Students





Sunday, May 25, 2014

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #56: Nina Moser

Dear bloggers,

It just keeps coming, right? :)
Please take a moment to read about our fabulous 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Nina Moser.


Mrs. Moser was born in Louisville, Kentucky; she has never lived anywhere more than 5 years until now as she's on her 6th year in Texas. She and her husband, Steve, both attended Iowa State University and National Instruments recruited Mr. Moser as a technical writer at the university career fair so they packed up their bags and moved down to Texas. They together have a precious boy and a beautiful girl together; Miles is almost 2 years old and now working on talking. The family was joined by a beautiful baby girl, Josey Jean Moser on March 27 of this year! Mrs. Moser also has 2 brothers and a sister. Her younger brother, Paul, lives in Utah and is an Extreme Skier while her older brother, Daniel, lives in MA and is an engineering manager. Her sister lives in VA and is a professor. Her career history is very diverse as she has been a strolling Dickens' character, a lifeguard at cub scout camp, a dietary aide at a nursing home, and a waitress at Pizza Hut. She has also worked with a PISD & YMCA collaborative summer school enrichment program prior to joining the Spicewood crew five years ago as a teacher. She loves chocolate and color purple. Her favorite read is the Pillars of the Earth written by Ken Follett.

Mrs. Moser shared that her favorite thing about working at Spicewood is her fabulous students and team! "There's definitely the atmosphere of caring and love," continued Mrs. Moser. She would like to tell our students to choose to be kind. You never know whose life you're changing.

Mrs. Moser has been a valuable asset to our school and specifically to our 5th grade students and team. She knows how to meet her students' needs at where they are as she's very keen on individual talent as well as their areas of improvement. We are excited to have her back for next school year!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #55: Helen Hansen

Dear audience,

Here's another fantastic 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Helen Hansen! Please take a moment to read through her story. :)


Ms. Hansen was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. Her parents moved to Corpus Christi when she was in second grade then retired in Austin so all her sisters relocated to Austin as well. She has three children; Randy (29) is married and has a 6-month old, Marley Rose. Steven (26) works for Wells Fargo while Callie (20) serves our country in the US Army, stationed in South Korea. What a proud mom she is! Her career history started at working in accounting initially. She then decided to become a teacher and pursued an education degree at St. Edward's University. She started teaching in 1999 at Walnut Creek Elementary School in Austin ISD. 5 years later she came to Spicewood and been enjoying every minute for the last 10 years. Her favorite food is cheesecake. Her favorite color is purple. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is her favorite read.

When asked to share her thoughts on what make Spicewood such a great place to be, she shared, "the fabulous staff as they're incredibly talented and the parent support as well as the great students."She tells our students to keep trying and learning! 

When I visited Ms. Hansen's classroom, teacher and students were spending time reflecting on their unit of inquiry, How the World Works. They were in the middle of great class discussion to review the materials first as a class. They then were given an opportunity to think aloud their reflection with a friend. Ms. Hansen is an expert in guiding student discussions to allow critical thinking that become relevant in the lives of her students. Her classroom is surrounded by student work; you can walk in there and look around then you'll easily find out all the great things students have been working on. kudos to Mrs. Hansen for creating such a safe and rich environment for student centered learning!



Meet the Faces of Spicewood #54: Elise Harris

Dear bloggers,

Please take a moment to get to know another fabulous 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Elise Harris.

Mrs. Harris was born in Houston, Texas and moved to Austin to spend her college career at the University of Texas-Austin. (Yes, I love all these longhorns!) Her husband, Mr. Harvey Harris, is a chef at one of the famous italian restaurants in Austin, called the Siena Ristorante Toscana. They have two beautiful daughters together; Maxie graduated from Texas State while Chelsea is still in college at Texas State University. Her career history is quite fascinating. Using her direct quote, "a long, long time ago" she was a party/wedding planner! Then she became an AmeriCorp member and worked with teen parents at Crocket High School in Austin ISD. After that, she worked at LifeWorks, teaching social skills to preK-5th graders. She loved it and realized she wanted to become a school counselor. She went through the alternative certification program at Region 13 and became a teacher. Now, (finally!) she's in graduate school and will finish with her masters in School Counseling this December! Mexican food is her favorite and also the color purple. Her favorite book is the Time Traveler's Wife as well as too many children's books to mention. :)

"Everyone is very supportive- we truly care about each other. My students and my co-workers are my favorite things about working at Spicewood!" stated Mrs. Harris. "Be kind- be caring- be the change you want to see in the world and make a difference!" Mrs. Harris gave a shout out to our students.

Mrs. Harris' classroom environment is so caring and respectful as she models those constantly in her daily interaction with her students. It is very obvious that her students feel safe to take risks in their learning environment and take ownership. She has been a fabulous teacher; seeing her in action, she truly is a natural born school counselor and I have no doubt that she'll be an amazing counselor!



Meet the Faces of Spicewood #53: Julie Jacobs

Dear fabulous audience,

Here's our next employee of the week, Mrs. Julie Jacobs, another super 2nd grade teacher!


Mrs. Jacobs was born in Moline, Illinois. She moved to Texas because her father, an Army officer, was stationed at Fort Hood when she was in high school. She actually graduated from Killeen High School and then came to Austin to go to the University of Texas-Austin. Her husband, Matt, works at National instruments. They together had two boys; Cameron graduated from Texas A&M, receiving a Bachelors in Science in Zoology and is getting masters in Biomedical Science and plans to apply to Veterinarian school soon. Devin is a junior at Westwood HS down the street from us. Mrs. Jacob's dad, Al, also lives in the house with the family. Prior to coming Spicewood 25 years ago (yes! 25!), Mrs. Jacobs taught 2 years in small private school in Kailua, Hawaii because her husband was stationed on the island of Oahu. Her family then moved back to Austin and been at Spicewood for 25 years since! Her favorite food is pizza. She loves the color yellow. Her favorite book is called A Thousand Splendid Suns written by Khaled Hosseini.

"The love and commitment our staff has for this school and the children is my favorite thing about Spicewood. Our school is the best around because of this." She continued on to share, "I love this neighborhood and all the people that live here and go to our school. It's such an amazing community with great families!" She tells our students to follow their dreams! "Find out what you love to do and don't give up until you're doing it."

Our students were being introduced to our summer online eReader program, MyON Reading, when I visited them in the classroom. Every student had a laptop with a headphone set and under Mrs. Jacobs' guidance, students were able to set up their account by taking individualized student interest inventory and a quick reading level assessment. Whenever I visit Mrs. Jacobs' class, I always get blown away by the level of depth in students' thinking and problem solving. If anyone flips through Mrs. Jacobs' 2nd graders' academic journals- math, science, etc- you'll know exactly what I am talking about and you'll also be blown away! What is so great about Spicewood is that we have teachers like Mrs. Jacobs who have poured their passion and dedication in teaching excellence for a long steady period of time!




Meet the Faces of Spicewood #52: Lynn Martinez

Dear amazing readers,

Please meet the third employee of this week, Mrs. Lynn Martinez, our super 2nd grade teacher.


Mrs. Martinez was born in Danbury, Connecticut. Mrs. Martinez went to University of Wyoming then received an offer to teach in Odessa, Texas in 1989. She got married in 20002 and her husband, who is a veteran served in Irag, finished his army stint in Killeen and eventually moved and settled in Austin, TX. They together adopted their son from Russia. As briefly mentioned above, Mrs. Martinez began her teaching career in Odessa, Texas where she taught 3rd grade for 15 years. While her husband was in the army, they lived in Colorado for a short period of time where she substituted as well. Once moved back to Texas, she taught 2nd grade in Killeen for a year till she landed at Spicewood where she's taught 6 years in 1st grade; this is her first year teaching 2nd grade here at Spicewood, doing a fabulous job so far! Outside of teaching, she has coached elementary girls basketball, boys pitch baseball and helped coach 4th grade football in the past. Mrs. Martinez's favorite foods are burgers, steak and italian. Blue is her favorite color. She loves reading historical fictions and anything about sports.

"My favorite thing is how everyone works together and caring abounds. It's a great place because kids are challenged to stretch their minds and staff strives for excellence," shared Mrs. Martinez. She'd like to tell our students the following; it does not matter how much you know. It matters that you strive to do your best and grow.

Students were working on how cars are now vs. how will they look in the future when I visited them. Our students are always encouraged to stretch their thinking from what it would look like in the future to what impact it will bring in the future under the unit of inquiry. Mrs. Martinez and students were holding valuable discussions around this idea. Their discussions and work truly reflect how much potential our young minds carry! Thanks to Mrs. Martinez for being the beacon of their journey of learning.




Meet the Faces of Spicewood #51: April Morley

Dear Bloggers,

Please meet the second employee of this week; Mrs. April Morley, one of our fabulous 5th grade teachers!


Mrs. Morley was born in Bellvue, Nebraska but only lived their for 2 years. She came to Austin to attend the University of Texas at Austin. Although Mrs. Morley and her husband had moved away to live in Germany for a short period of time when he was active duty Army, they've returned and resided in Austin for the most part. Mrs. Morley's husband, Major Eric Morley is in the Texas Army National Guard. They have two children together; Erin Rose is a junior at Westwood and Evan is a freshmen at Baylor University. Mrs. Morley's mom, Beryl Kerwick, lives with the family and she's a fabulous artist who painted the Aesop's Fable paintings in our Spicewood library! Mrs. Morley taught 6 years in AISD prior to joining the Spicewood family as an assistant principal 15 years ago. After 7 years of working as an assistant principal, she decided to go back into the classroom and was asked to stay as a 5th grade teacher by Mrs. June, our former principal. Her favorite foods are pasta and chocolate. She loves the color purple. Her favorite book is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling.

"I love working with students and parents who care about education and want to make sure Spicewood is the best. We're like one big family!" shared Mrs. Morley. "Learn as much as you can but have fun doing it!" gives a shout out to our students.

Mrs. Morley's student picked one 6th grade science TEKS that students have not done so well historically and was working on a collaborative project. Their goal was to study the topic and be able to teach it to others in the classroom so everyone can be a little ahead of the game for next school year. :)
Mrs. Morley as a facilitator of learning made sure to guide their learning and understanding. It is always so impressive to see what our students can produce and achieve under such a great teacher like Mrs. Morley!




Meet the Faces of Spicewood #50: Joan Stein

Dear blog audience,

I'd like you to spend a moment to get to know one of our fantastic 3rd grade teachers, Mrs. Joan Stein.



Mrs. Stein was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved down to Texas area when her family was stationed at Fort Hood. Mrs. Stein and her husband together have 3 beautiful daughters: Jacque (25) is currently in a nursing school; Anna (21) is in Music Theory; her youngest, Christine is in love with performing arts and has been part of Les Miserable Production in the past. They must be proud parents! Mrs. Stein has taught kindergarten and 1st grade for 11 years, 2nd grade for 3 years and 3rd grade for 9 years. Her first five years of teaching experience was in Chicago while she spent 3 years in Fort Hood prior to joining the district 15 years ago. Mrs. Stein's favorite food is italian seafood. She loves green and vivid purple colors. Her favorite book is Island of the Blue Dolphins written by Scott O'Dell.

Mrs. Stein shared that her favorite thing about working at Spicewood is the students and the dedication and collaboration of the teachers. "It makes it such a great place to be because of the genuine concerns that exist about the welfare of the community personally, academically and professionally," stated Mrs. Stein. She gives a shout-out to our students, "pursue your dreams and learn about the things you find fascinating!"

Students were working on solar system informational flip books when I visited their learning environment this past week. Mrs. Stein was busy going from a student to another monitoring student understanding and asking guiding questions to scaffold their learning. Mrs. Stein's classroom is always surrounded by products of student work and it is a strong evidence that our students are constantly challenged to think critically to build new learning. Kudos to Mrs. Stein and her students for all the hard work!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Updates from the Principal- Celebration Included

Dear families and community members,

We have 9 school days left in the school year. Before the school year ends, our children will set up an account on MyON Reading; it's an online eReader program where children can access up to 4,000 eBooks on their tablet, phones and computers to promote love of reading over the summer break. I'll be sending out more detailed communication to parents once our students are set up with their own account. Meanwhile, within next 9 days, we still have quality instruction occurring in classrooms so please be sure to send our children on time every day! :) 
Celebrations

Math League Competition Winners
Three of our 4th graders have participated in the Math League State Competition on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Andy Jiang, Eric Gao, and Aman Tewari all have earned the qualification to move forward to the National Competition on June 7 in Houston, TX. Congratulations to all three of them! We're so very proud of you!

Hispanic Heritage Art Contest Winner
We're proud to announce that Sophia De La Torre (3rd grade) has participated in the Hispanic Heritage Art Contest this year and placed 1st in 3rd-5th Grade Category! Sophia was recognized at the RRISD Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Congratulations and we're so proud of you!





KLRU Writers Contest Winner
We just have so many awesome students who participate in various contests! :) We're once again proud to announce that Jose Carlos Fernandez has participated in the KLRU Writers Contest hosted by PBS and won 2nd place in 1st grade level! Jose's story, "The Magic Castle", is featured on their website. Congratulations and we're so proud of you!


This Week's News


Hope Church Parking- DO NOT USE
Parents, the church has asked that we do not use the church parking lot this Thursday, May 22 and Friday, May 23. They have been a great partner and been gracious this school year. It'd be wonderful if we can honor their request by not using the parking lot this Thursday and Friday. 

Principals' Pride Award Ceremony
We'd like to celebrate success of our students. Please join us in the cafeteria at Principals' Pride Award Ceremony. We'll celebrate success of our kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students on today from 8-8:30AM. We will then celebrate with our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students on Tuesday, May 20 from 8-8:30AM. 

Third Grade Invites You to Living Museum
Our 3rd grade students have been working hard on their Living Museum Research & Presentation under the PYP Unit of Where We Are In Place and Time. Students have been keeping in mind of the central idea: People past and present make a difference. Please join our 3rd graders as they present their project this Wednesday, May 21 from 8:00-9:15AM. 

End of Year Meal Balances- Message from Food Services
Beginning May 19th, students will not be able to go into the negative on the food service meal account.  Students may still use the account, but must have sufficient funds to purchase their meal.  Payments can be made through the online payment system www.paypams.com or through your cafeteria manager.   If a student does not have sufficient funds for their meal they will be offered a cheese sandwich and milk.   

Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast
We call for all volunteers! Anyone who has volunteered this school year at Spicewood is invited to join us at the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast on Tuesday, May 20 from 8:30-9:00AM in the library, immediately after Principals' Pride. We want to honor YOU, our hardworking and dedicated volunteers. Please come and mingle with us and enjoy breakfast goodies in appreciation of your continuous time and support. Click here for the official invitation

No School on Memorial Day
Parents, there will be no school for students and staff on Monday, May 26. Please plan accordingly in advance. 

Campus-wide PJ Day: PTA Membership Reward
Spicewood will celebrate the success of platinum level of PTA membership status campus-wide on Thursday, May 29. All students can participate by wearing their PJ to school next Thursday, May 29. 

5th Grade Promotion Ceremony
On Friday, May 30, 5th Grade Promotion Ceremony will take place. Please adhere to the schedule below. 

7:45 Walk the School Halls
8:00 School Song
8:02 Welcome Remark by Mrs. Kim
8:05 Introduction by Mr. Ortiz
8:17 Present certificates
8:35 Presentation of Class Gift
8:40 Slide Show
9:00 Closing Remark by Mrs. Page 

Spicewood's Final Spirit Night at Round Rock Express!
Our final Spirit Night will take its place at the Round Rock Express on Sunday, June 1. Click here for the official flyer. Deadline to order discounted tickets is Monday, May 19. This will be a great family event to close out the school year with fellow Spicewood families and friends. 



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Monday, May 19
8:00-8:30AM   Principals' Pride Kinder-2nd Grade

Tuesday, May 20
8:00-8:30AM   Principals' Pride 3rd-5th Grade
Please join us in the cafeteria

8:30-9:00AM   Volunteer Breakfast
Please join us in the library

Wednesday, May 21
8:00-9:15AM   3rd Grade Living Museum

Thursday, May 22
6:00-6:30PM   PTA General Member Meeting
6:30-8:00PM   Family Gallery Night 

Monday, May 26
No School - Memorial Day

Thursday, May 29
Campus PJ Day

Friday, May 30
8:00-9:00AM   5th Grade Promotion Ceremony
Last Day of School for Students

Sunday, June 1
Final Spicewood Spirit Night at Round Rock Express

Thank you for your strong support!