Monday, October 12, 2015

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

The weather is cooling down and it finally feels like fall. I hope this adds to the joy of having a long weekend with your child(ren) at home. This week we have our 5th grade students performing a concert for all stakeholders so we hope to see you Thursday evening.  


Book Fair - Final Numbers
The Book Fair results are in and it was another record-breaking year!  We grossed over $35,000, of which the Spicewood Library will receive 25% cash back from Scholastic (after-taxes).  Our grand total, including money from our Raffle Baskets, is $8,498.11.  Ms. Reeb uses Book Fair proceeds to pay for things such as author visits, storytellers, online resources (TumbleBooks, PebbleGo, and e-books), and of course, BOOKS.  Additionally, the Book Fair’s donation drive, sponsored by Brownie Troop #644, received 148 new books which will be delivered to the Book Spring organization for Austin children in need.  Lastly, congratulations to our Raffle Basket winners, Connor M. and Lanier H.  Thank you again to everyone who helped make this year’s Book Fair a HUGE success!

National Walk to School Day
Spicewood students, parents and teachers proudly celebrated the National Walk to School Day last Wednesday, October 7, 2015! Thank you for being an amazing community of people! 

Westwood wins the Sock and Underwear Drive benefitting the RRISD Clothes Closet [Message from Principal Arterbury]Thanks to the entire Westwood community, including all our elementary and middle schools, who contributed to this great cause.  

Congratulations WESTWOOD for winning the 6th annual Sock/Underwear Drive!  Between the two high schools and all of the feeder schools, a record setting total of 8396 pairs socks and underwear were collected benefiting the Round Rock Clothes Closet!  Westwood's community contributed 5,021!  Go Wood! 

But we all agree, the true winner here is the Round Rock Clothes Closet!  A big thank you to all who participated in such a worthy cause!  We’ll do it again next year!  

Here is McNeil's Principal, Mrs. Acosta, wearing Westwood orange at the game last week. Go Wood!

IB PYP 101

This portion of Mrs. Kim's letter is contributed by Mrs. Vance, our PYP Coordinator.
“Heroes are made by ordinary people like you, and me, decide to be extra ordinary”— Kid President
"How can a fourth grader change the world?"
While in one of the fourth grade classrooms this week students were generating questions related to their new unit of inquiry, How We Express Ourselves. It’s always such an interesting time to sit back and watch the questions unfold, assessing where the students are in their thinking, in addition to tuning in and seeing where their questions may take us within the inquiry unit. The fourth graders were FULL of some interesting questions, however, one of them particularly stood out to me this time.

This stood out to me because of last week’s post and also made me question how we can continue to spread the message to our students that they CAN take ACTION. Action is of course something that we want to be authentically initiated by students due to learning that takes place inside of the classroom. And while we are working to add to our Spicewood Action bulletin board this year, I thought that Kid President sends a great message to us all about action, changing the world and what it means to be a hero.

Action is already happening on our campus because of the conversations and learning experiences that are occurring in the classroom as well as at home! Big or small, PYP philosophy believes that every student, every year, has the right to have the opportunity to be involved in action (Remember action is saying, being, thinking, doing, or feeling something differently). We’ll update you as our Action bulletin board fills up this year. Also, be sure to use the hashtag #spicewoodaction if you post student action on Twitter!

Want to be more involved? How can you support your child at home?Be sure to keep up with our keep up with all things IB related at our PYP Spicewood Blog

This Week's News

No Dogs Allowed on School Premise At All Times
Parents and community members, we love our furry animals; however, we have heard quite a bit of concerns from various stakeholders (parents and teachers) that allowing dogs on school premise is beginning to scare our young children. Please do not bring your dog when you're dropping off/picking up your child(ren) to ensure safety of all children at Spicewood. 

Mrs. Kim's Leave of Absence Plan
As many of you're aware, I will be out on a maternity leave starting the end of this month. If all goes as planned, my leave will be from November 2, 2015- February 12, 2016 with a returning date of February 15, 2016. Mrs. Marilane Dusterhoff ( will be at Spicewood to long-term substitute in my absence. Mrs. Dusterhoff is a retired administrator from RRISD and is very familiar with the district procedures and expectations. Majority of school maintenance and operation will be handled by my Leadership Team that is consisted of Assistant Principal (Teyan Page), IB Coordinator (Jessica Vance), Counselor (Sara Hougham) and ITS (Julie Haney) in collaboration with Mrs. Dusterhoff. The Monday Updates from the Principal you have been receiving will be handled by Mrs. Page with help of Mrs. Vance and Mrs. Haney. Please feel free to contact Mrs. Dusterhoff as well as Mrs. Page in my absence. If you'd like to schedule a meeting with either one, please contact the principal's secretary, Mrs. Courtney Torres at as you have in the past. I will not be able to check or respond to any work related emails per FMLA policy while I am out on a leave. Lastly, I want to thank you for your overwhelming congratulations and warm wishes for my baby and my family :) 

Halloween Costume Policy
Round Rock ISD schools, including Spicewood ES, do not celebrate or allow halloween costumes at school to minimize instructional disruption. I wanted to get this communication out in advance so we're all aware. Please do not send your child to school in a costume. If they do come to school with one on, you'll be contacted by the school personnel for a change of clothes. 

5th Grade Concert This Thursday
5th grade students will perform a concert this Thursday at 6PM in the cafeteria under the direction of our new music teachers, Miss Tess & Mary McKenna. Please come join us to hear an amazing group of students sing!

Spicewood PTA Auction- Tickets Go on Sale This Thursday!
On November 13th, the Spicewood PTA will be hosting “Masquerade Under the Stars Gala”. The annual silent and live auction is one of the Spicewood PTA’s largest fundraisers of the year dedicated to raising money for Spicewood Elementary. “Masquerade Under the Stars” will be an incredible night for dancing under the stars, waging bets in the casino area, wonderful food, and of course the silent and live auctions. Guests are encouraged to wear a mask, and masks will be for sale at the event if you forget your own.

Tickets for this popular event will go on sale this Thursday, October 15th at 6 AM and will be available for purchase in the PTA store.  THERE WILL NOT BE ANY TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE DOOR THE NIGHT OF THE AUCTION and tickets sell out quickly. 

Types of Tickets Available:
Table for 10: $500
Limited Couples Ticket: $50 (there are very limited number available to encourage early purchases)
General Admission Tickets: $30

Math Pentathlon Club
Math Pentathlon Club student online registration will start on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at noon and end on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at noon. For more details about the club, please visit the Math Pentathlon page on the PTA website.

REFLECTIONS Creativity Contest
This PTA-sponsored program allows your child to come up with her/his own way to express this year’s theme: Let Your Imagination Fly. Children can enter as many pieces as they’d like across six categories (literature, visual arts, photography, film production, dance choreography, and musical composition). Your child does not have to be an accomplished artist or expert writer to enter. It’s all about a child’s interpretation and expression of the theme. The deadline for submitting entries is Friday, 11/6. For more information, including rules and entry forms, check out the Spicewood PTA Reflections website. Please email Thea Woodruff with any questions,  

Crossing Guard Needed at SWES
The City of Austin Child Safety Program is hiring for an open Crossing Guard position at Spicewood ES. For more information, please call Esperanza Schiele, Child Safety Supervisor at (512) 565-5623. 


Monday, October 12
No School for Students

Thursday, October 15
6:00-6:30PM   5th Grade Concert

Friday, October 16
WatchDOGS Friday

Monday, October 19- Friday, October 23
Digital Citizenship Week

Monday, October 26- Friday, October 30
Red Ribbon Week

Thursday, October 29
6:00-7:00PM   Panther/Cub Choir Performance + PTA General Member Meeting #2

Wednesday, November 4- Friday, November 6
5th Grade Outdoor School

Friday, November 6
WatchDOGS Friday
Reflections Entries Due