Monday, August 31, 2015

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

Spicewood had a great first week of school! Thanks to all the parents for your support. We value your partnership in education as always. There's a lot of information on this newsletter. Please take just a few minutes to read through and stay informed. 



This Week's News



Do Not Use Hope Church Parking Lot This Wednesday
Please remember not to use the church parking lot this Wednesday, September 2, 2015.

Dismissal- Safety Concern
Parents, during dismissal, sometimes students are grabbed by parents out of class line as the class is in the process of heading outside or while teachers are tending to other students. This prevents teachers from knowing by whom students are picked up and creates much anxiety. Please wait until students arrive at the portico area and make sure to acknowledge child's teacher, either by making an eye contact or speaking with them briefly, as you pick up your student. We want to ensure safety of each child by making sure students are dismissed properly to parents/guardians, not strangers. Once you pick up your child(ren), we ask that everyone clears out of the front entrance area. We'd like to keep the front portico area circulating at all times to alleviate congestion. 

Late Student Pick-Up
Spicewood will be implementing a new system beginning today. When students are not picked up by 2:55-3:00PM, all of them will be brought into the office as last year. Parents/guardians will now need to come into the front office and physically sign out their child(ren) on a newly created form in the front office. This form will allow school to keep track of repeated late pick-ups. 

First Day Packet 

If you haven't already done so, please make sure to return all the signed forms to your child’s homeroom teacher this week.

Sidewalk & Fence along Tin Cup
After two years of trying, I'm excited to share with parents and community that the district has approved to build a sidewalk along Tin Cup Rd and a fence along the staff parking lot. It will prevent students and parents from accessing staff parking lot in the AM & PM, which was a concern of safety. We had several incidents for the last couple years where a teacher car has almost hit a student running out of the parked cars. This construction project will begin sometime in September. Meanwhile, please remember not to use staff parking lot at all times. 

Feedback Form on Spicewood Website
Parents and stakeholders are more than welcome to share any feedback by accessing "Share Feedback" form on our school website. You can choose to share feedback anonymously. 

Community Education Classes
There are over 20 Community Ed. classes scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Sept 2, 2015 at Spicewood. Online Registration instruction can be found on the Community Ed Website. This is a friendly reminder of the Before and After Class Procedures for parents/guardians. 

  • For the first two weeks, students meet in the front entrance hall; enrichment instructor escorts students to their assigned room.  Thereafter, students report directly to their assigned classrooms. 
  • At the end of class, the enrichment instructor escorts students to the front of the school for dismissal.  Instructor should remain with students until all students are picked up.
Student Arrival
This is a friendly reminder that starting on Monday, September 7, parents are asked to drop off their children at the front entrance of the school. 

Spicewood Open House
Parents, please mark your calendar! Spicewood Open House will take its place on Thursday, September 10, 2015. Please refer to the below 'Mark Your Calendar' section for a specific time frame for each grade level. 

Spicewood PTA Open Chair Positions
Spicewood PTA still has a few chair positions open for the 2015-16 school year. If you are interested in helping out and getting to know our community better, please consider volunteering for one of these roles:

Parliamentarian
Carnival Chair 
Corporate Sponsorship Chair  
One World - One Night Chair
Destination Imagination Chair 
Junior Achievement Chair  

If you would like to volunteer for any of these spots or simply want to learn more about each of the positions, please visit the Vacant PTA Positions page or contact Carole Callaghan at spicewoodpresident@gmail.com.

Parent Volunteer Training
All Spicewood volunteers must complete a brief training. You can choose between two different training sessions - Monday, September 14th, at 6:30 pm or Tuesday, September 15th, at 8:00 am. Each of the training sessions take place at Spicewood and are approximately 30 minutes each. Can't make one of these sessions? You can complete the training online on the Volunteer Page of the PTA website. Please make sure to read through the entire document and sign the Acknowledgment Form at the end of the training session. In addition, Homeroom Parents should plan to stay 30 minutes after the volunteer training session for additional information.

Merchant Rebate
We are ready to have another successful money-earning year! Last year Box Tops for Education, Target REDCard, Target Thanks-A-Billion Campaign, Shutterfly Classroom Connections and Community Coffee brought in a grand total of $8,379.95. We also racked up points with Labels for Education, My Coke Rewards and Tyson A+. For a complete breakdown of totals earned by each specific rebate, please visit the Merchant Rebates page. All Merchant Rebate money goes to the PTA, which funds classroom parties, field trips, teacher supplies, beautification, and group competition, among many other wonderful things for our kids and teachers! Thank you, and please keep clipping, saving and submitting your Merchant Rebates. Questions? Contact Lisa Revelett, merchantrebates@revelett.com

Digital Student Directory
The Spicewood PTA is going digital with the Student Directory! The new digital directory will provide immediate access to Spicewood family contact information online or via your smart phone. Additionally, families will have the option to print a grade level directory for personal use. In order to access the 2015-16 Spicewood directory you must first add your family's data by clicking on My School Anywhere. Please add your family data by Monday, September 14, and remember that if you do not add your information, you will not be given access to the directory. Please email Shannon Williamson with any questions (shannon.williamson@gmail.com).

Administrator Office Hours
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 the 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. Currently Mrs. Torres is out on a maternity leave and we have Mrs. JoLynn Harmonson serving as a long-term substitute in her place. Her email address is JoLynn_Harmonson@roundrockisd.org. You're always always welcome to come see me so please do not hesitate to make an appointment! 





MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Wednesday, September 2
No Parking at Hope Church

Monday, September 7
Labor Day
NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, September 8- Wednesday, September 9
No Parking at Hope Church


Thursday, September 10
Spicewood Open House
5:00-5:30PM   4th & 5th Grade
5:30-6:00PM   Kinder & 1st Grade
6:00-6:30PM   2nd and 3rd Grade

Friday, September 11
International Dot Day Celebration in Art

Monday, September 14
6:30PM   Parent Volunteer Training Option 1
Library

Tuesday, September 15
8:00AM   Parent Volunteer Training Option 2
Library

Wednesday, September 16
7:00-7:45AM   Breakfast with Dads
We call for all dads and father figures to come join us at the Breakfast with Dads. Students will be able to eat yummy breakfast with dads in the cafeteria and be released to their classrooms at 7:45AM. 

Thursday, September 17
6:00-7:00PM   IB PYP Parent Information Night + PTA General Meeting #1
Friday, September 18
International Dot Day Celebration in Art

Monday, August 24, 2015

Updates from the Principal: Back-To-School Vol.2

Dear families and community members,

It is hard to believe that it's already the beginning of a new school year! I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed the last weekend before school starts. We look forward to seeing many of you at our Meet the Teacher Event this afternoon! Please bring your school supplies on Monday when you come.


This Week's News


Update on Modular Building [New Portables]
The district and school have been working diligently to ensure the new modular building is ready for the first day of school for our students and teachers. The building has been cleared for safety but we do have things that will continue to be added and upgraded for the first month of school such as pencil sharpeners, a canopy between two buildings, access control entrance, painting of backpack hooks etc. We certainly appreciate your patience and support as we finish out the construction process to make it an amazing learning space for our intermediate students. 

Our 4th and 5th grade teachers were not allowed in their classrooms to set up until Wednesday afternoon of last week. They're working extremely hard to make the space inviting and ready to receive students as we speak. Please understand that the classrooms might take a little more time for a complete set up throughout the first week of school. 

Message from Food Services
The district has invested in a beautiful new kitchen and service line for our students, but unfortunately the remodel will not be completed for the first day of school. All appliances will be in place except the serving line for students. There is nothing to be alerted as there will be an alternative set up for students in place of the serving line. Food will be safely prepared and transported to our school from our district's Central Kitchen.  We will be serving a modified lunch menu with only two entrees until the remodel is completed in mid September.  Printed menus will be distributed prior to the start of school in your First Day Packet. An electronic copy of the menu will be uploaded on our school website as well. 

Message from Transportation
The Round Rock ISD transportation department is asking parents of school bus riding students to regularly check their route information throughout the first few weeks of school using the district’s online bus route application.
Parents can visit RoundRockISD.org/BusRoutes and use the Transfinder system to determine their student’s pick-up and drop-off times. The system requires parents to enter their home address and select their child’s school. Bus numbers will now reflect route numbers. In the event that a substitute bus is being used, the permanent bus and route number will be displayed on the placard on the side of the bus.

e-Newletter Subscription
Our system only allows one email per household to automatically receive school emails. 
For any additional recipients, they can to go RRISD e-News Community Subscription and sign up specifically for Spicewood ES. 

I do want to make a note that the additional recipients will be considered "Community members" in the system, which means, if the school chooses to send an email out just to Spicewood Parents, those community members will not receive the email. It will only be sent to the email address that we have in our system- one that you provided when you registered your child. Updates from the Principal will always be sent to ALL members- teachers, parents and community members. 

Bus Permit- Message from Our Registrar
Transportation will continue on with the Bus Permit Request procedure this school year. Any student who will ride a bus that he/she does not normally ride or will get off their bus at a different stop will need to have a Bus Permit completed and submitted to the Spicewood office. You can find the Bus Permit as a link on our school website. The permit MUST be submitted in order to add/change bus transportation for your child. If you have any further questions, please contact our registrar at Cindy_Vechan@roundrockisd.org. 

Student Arrival
School doors open at 7:20AM when staff members are on duty. If students are not in their classroom, students will be counted as tardy starting at 7:45AM. 

For the first 2 weeks of school (August 25-September 4), parents are allowed to walk their child(ren) all the way to their classrooms. Starting on Monday, September 7, parents are asked to drop off their children at the front entrance of the school. 

Student Dismissal
Students should know whether they will be riding a school bus, going to after-school daycare, staying at YMCA in the cafeteria, walking home, or a parent pick-up. Parents will have an opportunity to share this information with homeroom teacher at the Meet the Teacher event or share the information via parent note to teacher on the first day of school. Kindergarten students will be out in the portico at 2:40PM with their homeroom teachers. All other students will be exiting to the portico area starting at 2:45PM. It is very helpful when parents have student's name(s) written/printed on a piece of paper placed on the dashboard of their car during dismissal. 

Drop-Off & Pick-Up Traffic
No cars should be parked in the circle drive at all times during the drop-off & pick-up time. It is only for drive through drop-off. Part of Olson Drive is also available for Stop-and-Go Drop-off. Hope Church is always very gracious in allowing us to use their Northeast parking lot. Please avoid using their circle drive (as shown below) at all times as the church wishes to reserve the usage only for their church members. There's also some street parking available on Tin Cup Dr. and Swan Dr. I respectfully ask that all drivers please drive slow and alerted at all times during the drop-off & pick-up time. [See the attached picture]



Lunch Account- Message from Food Services
You can visit your school cafeteria or give the money to your student to pay with either cash or check.  The cafeteria staff will apply the funds provided directly into your students meal fund account.  If paying by check, please make it payable to RRISD Food Service, include your driver’s license number, phone number and add your student’s name and school ID number to the memo field of the check.

Or you can pay online with a credit card, debit card or draft from your checking account via   payment transaction service.  A transaction fee of $1.95 per transaction will be applied.  Visit MySchoolBucks.com online or download their app on your smart phone.

Accounts through MySchoolBucks are free.  There is only a fee to perform an online money transaction. Transactions made through the school cafeteria are free of charge and will be able to be managed at no cost through MySchoolBucks.  Other features such as low balance notifications, access to your student’s cafeteria meal history and managing accounts for multiple students are free. 

For returning students, parents can access the online payment system, MySchoolBucks   and use student ID# to make sure students have sufficient amount prior to the first day of school. 

For new students (including kindergarten students), parents will receive a packet on the first day of school which will include student registration form with their student ID#. Using the student ID#, parents can set up an account (very easy!) using the online payment system stated above. 

Free, Reduced Meal Application
Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing households of the availability of free and reduced price meals for their children.  Applications also are available at the administrative office in each school and at the Food Service office located at 16255 Great Oaks Drive, Suite 100 in Round Rock.  To apply for free and reduced price meals, households must fill out an online application at https://roundrockisd.org/departments/food-services/freereduced-price-meals/ or a paper application and return it to the school or Food Services office.  Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year.  The information households provide on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verification of data.  Applications may be verified by the school officials at any time during the school year.

Breakfast Available in the Cafeteria
Breakfast will be available for purchase for $1.35 this school year. Breakfast line is open from 7:25-7:40AM in the cafeteria. Students who qualify to receive Free/Reduced Meals will be able to eat breakfast at no cost. 


Administrator Office Hours
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 the 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. Currently Mrs. Torres is out on a maternity leave and we have Mrs. JoLynn Harmonson serving as a long-term substitute in her place. Her email address is JoLynn_Harmonson@roundrockisd.org. You're always always welcome to come see me so please do not hesitate to make an appointment! 




MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, August 24
Meet the Teachers 
2:00-2:45PM   Kindergarten [Cafeteria]
2:30-3:15PM   1st-5th Grade [Classrooms]

Tuesday, August 25
First Day of School for Students
8:00-8:30AM    Kinder Kleenex
Kindergarten parents are encouraged to join the leadership in the library.  

Wednesday, September 2
No Parking at Hope Church

Monday, September 7
Labor Day
NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, September 8- Wednesday, September 9
No Parking at Hope Church


Thursday, September 10
Spicewood Open House
5:00-5:30PM   4th & 5th Grade
5:30-6:00PM   Kinder & 1st Grade
6:00-6:30PM   2nd and 3rd Grade

Wednesday, September 16
7:00-7:45AM   Breakfast with Dads
We call for all dads and father figures to come join us at the Breakfast with Dads. Students will be able to eat yummy breakfast with dads in the library and be released to their classrooms at 7:45AM. 

Thursday, September 17
IB PYP Parent Information Night + PTA General Meeting #1
More information TBA


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Updates from the Principal: Back-To-School Information

Dear families and community members,

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer! I am including helpful information that will answer some of the questions you might have about the new school year. I can't wait to see everyone in a week! 
Celebrations

Spicewood Earns Distinction in All Categories
Spicewood along with four other elementary schools in the district has earned distinction designations in all of the campus achievement categories set by Texas Education Agency for the last school year. Our school joined 400 across the state in earning all eligible distinctions, placing us in the top five percent of the 8,574 schools in Texas! Kudos to our students, parents and teachers for all the amazing work! Congratulations to Spicewood community! 



This Week's News
Meet the Teacher Event
In preparation of Meet the Teacher event [see Mark Your Calendar section for specific times], I'm sharing the 2015-2016 Campus Map so it's easier for everyone to maneuver their way around the school to find classrooms. Campus Map is posted on our school website under Parent Resource.

Class Assignment
Students will receive a postcard from their teacher during the week of August 17. Our teachers report back on Monday, August 17, and will be mailing them the afternoon of August 17. Class lists will also be posted on the front glass door, sorted by student last names in an alphabetical order by grade level on Friday, August 21 by 3PM. 

e-Newletter Subscription
Our system only allows one email per household to automatically receive school emails. 
For any additional recipients, they can to go RRISD e-News Community Subscription and sign up specifically for Spicewood ES. 

I do want to make a note that the additional recipients will be considered "Community members" in the system, which means, if the school chooses to send an email out just to Spicewood Parents, those community members will not receive the email. It will only be sent to the email address that we have in our system- one that you provided when you registered your child. Updates from the Principal will always be sent to ALL members- teachers, parents and community members. 

Bus Permit- Message from Our Registrar
Transportation will continue on with the Bus Permit Request procedure this school year. Any student who will ride a bus that he/she does not normally ride or will get off their bus at a different stop will need to have a Bus Permit completed and submitted to the Spicewood office. You can find the Bus Permit as a link on our school website. The permit MUST be submitted in order to add/change bus transportation for your child. If you have any further questions, please contact our registrar at Cindy_Vechan@roundrockisd.org. 

After School Care Options

If you're wondering which day care programs are in partnership with Spicewood, please refer to the "After School Care Options" document posted on our school website under Parent Resource.

School Supplies
Please bring your child(ren)'s school supplies to our Meet the Teacher event on Monday, August 24 so you can drop them off in their homerooms. If you cannot attend the event, you may bring them on the first day of school on Tuesday, August 26. School supplies list is available on our school website as well. 

Student Arrival
School doors open at 7:20AM when staff members are on duty. If students are not in their classroom, students will be counted as tardy starting at 7:45AM. 

For the first 2 weeks of school (August 25-September 4), parents are allowed to walk their child(ren) all the way to their classrooms. Starting on Monday, September 7, parents are asked to drop off their children at the front entrance of the school. 

Student Dismissal
Students should know whether they will be riding a school bus, going to after-school daycare, staying at YMCA in the cafeteria, walking home, or a parent pick-up. Parents will have an opportunity to share this information with homeroom teacher at the Meet the Teacher event or share the information via parent note to teacher on the first day of school. Kindergarten students will be out in the portico at 2:40PM with their homeroom teachers. All other students will be exiting to the portico area starting at 2:45PM. It is very helpful when parents have student's name(s) written/printed on a piece of paper placed on the dashboard of their car during dismissal. 

Drop-Off & Pick-Up Traffic
No cars should be parked in the circle drive at all times during the drop-off & pick-up time. It is only for drive through drop-off. Part of Olson Drive is also available for Stop-and-Go Drop-off. Hope Church is always very gracious in allowing us to use their Northeast parking lot. Please avoid using their circle drive (as shown below) at all times as the church wishes to reserve the usage only for their church members. There's also some street parking available on Tin Cup Dr. and Swan Dr. I respectfully ask that all drivers please drive slow and alerted at all times during the drop-off & pick-up time. [See the attached picture]




Lunch Account- Message from Food Services
You can visit your school cafeteria or give the money to your student to pay with either cash or check.  The cafeteria staff will apply the funds provided directly into your students meal fund account.  If paying by check, please make it payable to RRISD Food Service, include your driver’s license number, phone number and add your student’s name and school ID number to the memo field of the check.

Or you can pay online with a credit card, debit card or draft from your checking account via   payment transaction service.  A transaction fee of $1.95 per transaction will be applied.  Visit MySchoolBucks.com online or download their app on your smart phone.


Accounts through MySchoolBucks are free.  There is only a fee to perform an online money transaction. Transactions made through the school cafeteria are free of charge and will be able to be managed at no cost through MySchoolBucks.  Other features such as low balance notifications, access to your student’s cafeteria meal history and managing accounts for multiple students are free. 

For returning students, parents can access the online payment system, MySchoolBucks   and use student ID# to make sure students have sufficient amount prior to the first day of school. 

For new students (including kindergarten students), parents will receive a packet on the first day of school which will include student registration form with their student ID#. Using the student ID#, parents can set up an account (very easy!) using the online payment system stated above. 

Free, Reduced Meal Application
Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing households of the availability of free and reduced price meals for their children.  Applications also are available at the administrative office in each school and at the Food Service office located at 16255 Great Oaks Drive, Suite 100 in Round Rock.  To apply for free and reduced price meals, households must fill out an online application at https://roundrockisd.org/departments/food-services/freereduced-price-meals/ or a paper application and return it to the school or Food Services office.  Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year.  The information households provide on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verification of data.  Applications may be verified by the school officials at any time during the school year.

Breakfast Available in the Cafeteria
Breakfast will be available for purchase for $1.35 this school year. Breakfast line is open from 7:25-7:40AM in the cafeteria. Students who qualify to receive Free/Reduced Meals will be able to eat breakfast at no cost. 


Administrator Office Hours
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 the 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. Currently Mrs. Torres is out on a maternity leave and we have Mrs. JoLynn Harmonson serving as a long-term substitute in her place. Her email address is JoLynn_Harmonson@roundrockisd.org. You're always always welcome to come see me so please do not hesitate to make an appointment! 




MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Week of August 17
Students will receive a postcard from their teacher in mail. 

Friday, August 21
3:00PM Class List will be posted at the main entrance.

Monday, August 24
Meet the Teachers 
2:00-2:45PM   Kindergarten [Cafeteria]
2:30-3:15PM   1st-5th Grade [Classrooms]

Tuesday, August 25
First Day of School for Students
8:00-8:30AM    Kinder Kleenex
Kindergarten parents are encouraged to join the leadership in the library.  

Wednesday, September 2
No Parking at Hope Church

Monday, September 7
Labor Day
NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, September 8- Wednesday, September 9
No Parking at Hope Church


Thursday, September 10
Spicewood Open House
More detailed information to be announced. 

Wednesday, September 16
7:00-7:45AM   Breakfast with Dads
We call for all dads and father figures to come join us at the Breakfast with Dads. Students will be able to eat yummy breakfast with dads in the library and be released to their classrooms at 7:45AM. 

Thursday, September 17
IB PYP Parent Information Night + PTA General Meeting #1
More information TBA



Friday, August 14, 2015

Welcome to the 2015-2016 School Year!

Dear Parents and Families of Spicewood,

Greetings!

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year! Spicewood is ready to embark on another school year full of fun, rigorous learning and community building! I would like to start the letter by thanking parents and community members for their continuous support as partners in education. I am also excited to share that the Texas Education Agency released the 2015 state accountability ratings for schools in the state of Texas on Friday, August 7, 2015. Spicewood ES is proud to announce that we're one of the 5 elementary schools out of 33 in the district to earn all 5 Distinction designations! Spicewood will continue to be a team of dedicated educators and professionals committed to high achievement and success beyond academics for all students.

We have had a few of our teachers leave Spicewood due to various reasons such as family reasons, relocation and new professional opportunities. We say farewell to Miss Lindsey Carson (Kinder), Mrs. Michelle Sacksteder (1st Grade), Mrs. Harris (2nd Grade), Mrs. Devan Moline (3rd Grade), Mrs. Sarah Power (Music 0.5), and Ms. Doriane Marvel (IB Coordinator). We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

I would like to welcome and introduce our newly joined staff members for the new school year.

Kindergarten
Elizabeth Bliven- Miss Bliven comes from an IB School in Houston ISD where she's taught kindergarten for the last two years. She interviewed against 3 other candidates and rose to the top without a doubt; committee chose her unanimously. I spoke with her principal and two assistant principals; they had nothing but amazing things to say about her and they were extremely sorry to lose her.

Laren Morrison- Ms. Morrison is the one that I proactively recruited off the Surplus List (like I did with Mrs. Owen!) She comes from Chandler Oaks with the highest recommendations from administrators and teachers. She comes with Category I training and has taught Kinder for several years as an IB teacher.

1st Grade
Ana (Mai Thao) Hoang- We met Miss Hoang at the job fair as well where she made an impression. She graduated from UT-Austin this May. Committee members all agreed that she had the best answer for readers/writers workshop with a good understanding of what inquiry based learning looks like. She rose to the top out of 4 candidates we interviewed and all others had years of teaching experiences in 1st grade. Miss Hoang already attended the Category 1: Making PYP Happen training this summer.

2nd Grade
Jessica Oates- Mrs. Oates comes from an IB school in Florida where she taught 1st grade for the last three years and 2nd grade for four years prior to that. She comes to us with extensive knowledge, training and expertise in IB PYP framework. We feel very lucky to have her join our team.

Music
Tess McKenna [Full Time]- Miss Tess completed her Masters in Music Studies at UT-Austin this May. She went through 2 different rounds of interviews to earn the position. During her 2nd round of interview, she was asked to teach a 15-minute lesson to the panel and also had to present a 5-minute mock Open House presentation as if the panel members were parents. She's enthusiastic and has background in vocal as well as instruments.

Mary McKenna [Half-Time]- Believe or not, I had no idea Miss Mary is Miss Tess’ twin sister until Laurel Mt. principal, Jan Richards, and I interviewed and decided to offer her the half-time music position. We interviewed 5 different candidates and she definitely stood out to impress the interview committee members from both campuses. Like her sister, Mary also completed her Masters in Music Studies at UT-Austin.

IB PYP Coordinator
Jessica Vance- Mrs. Vance comes from an IB School in Leander ISD. Not only did she submit the most thorough and comprehensive Written Response out of all the candidates, she gave very specific answers during the in-person interview to exhibit her experience and knowledge about the IB PYP. We are excited to have her join Spicewood as her expertise will well serve our students and staff as a full-time IB Coordinator. (Mrs. Marvel is now a full-time IB Coordinator at Grisham MS)

Ed. Assistant II- Special Education
Navneet Saini- Mrs. Saini comes from the Goddard School where she served as a lead teacher. She completed her student teaching at Fern Bluff ES in RRISD. She also has experiences in working with children with special needs.

Ed. Assistant II Intervention
Ruth Ann Gaede- We interviewed 5 candidates and she rose to the top with teaching experience in 1st grade.

Ed. Assistant II Intervention
Jodi Thiel- We interviewed 5 additional candidates for this position as well and the committee liked her willingness to learn and grow into the role.

We have some grade level changes and last name changes that occurred over the summer.

Mrs. Wendy Cain is joining the 2nd grade team this school year to expand her horizon as a teacher. Mrs. Ashli Framjee is joining the 4th grade team this school year; Mrs. Framjee had taught 4th grade for 5 years prior to joining Spicewood ES as a 1st grade teacher last year.  Miss Cortney Blumberg is happily married and has changed her name to Mrs. Cortney Sanchez. We have another teacher who got married over the summer; Miss Natasha Schulte will now be Mrs. Natasha Brzykcy.

My priorities this school year will continue to focus on 1) continuing to build relationships and partnership with all stakeholders; 2) providing a culturally responsive teaching and learning environment; 3) cultivating Growth Mindset for all students beyond academics. As our vision states, Spicewood will continue to "aspire to be a community of caring, global-minded thinkers." 

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year!
Please plan to attend our Meet the Teacher Event next Monday, August 24, 2015 [Kindergarten from 2-2:45pm in the cafeteria; 1st-5th Grade from 2:30-3:15pm in each classroom]. Otherwise, I cannot wait to see you all on Tuesday, August 25, 2015!

Respectfully,


Jiae Kim
Proud Principal