Monday, February 29, 2016

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community,

Our Annual One Night, One World event is finally happening this Tuesday! We are super excited to celebrate cultures and traditions around the world right in our own cafeteria with our stakeholders. Please come join us! We look forward to seeing everyone! It's also an Early Release Day this Wednesday so please plan accordingly in advance. 


Austin Regional Science Fair 
Spicewood students did an amazing job at the Austin Regional Science Fair. Congratulations to all the students on their achievement! We are so proud!

Chess Tournament 
The Spicewood chess club students did great at the Casis Elementary chess tournament winning two 1st place and three 2nd place team trophies. 48 Spicewood students participated in the tournament that had a total attendance of over 400 students. Individual awards were given to 11 students who won trophies and 16 students who won medals
for their performances. We had quite a few new students do well who have only been playing chess since September. The students worked really hard the last few months and it paid off. Great job Spicewood students! 

IB PYP 101
This portion of Mrs. Kim's letter is contributed by Mrs. Vance, our PYP Coordinator.

We've talked a lot about inquiry so far this year, outlining how classrooms use the inquiry cycle model to drive the learning in the classrooms. With this model, we put students in the driver's seat (with the teacher as a guide), giving them more ownership in the process that unfolds throughout the year.One way our our teachers do this is by giving student ownership of the current unit of inquiry bulletin board. These bulletin board usually display the transdisciplinary theme, central idea (or unit focus), student questions, and lines of inquiry (different ways that the class will focus their inquiry to break down and make sense of the central idea).
In Ms. Singh's classroom she clearly displays all of these elements, but notice how her lines of inquiry (for their Sharing the Planet unit the fourth grade is focusing on the following lines of inquiry: economic, social, cultural, political and religions differences cause conflict; personal, local, and global conflict resolution; conflict resolution) and questions (on orange sticky notes) are written BY the students. You can see the students have creatively illustrated the three lines of inquiry, choosing specific design and illustrations to fit that focus. Although this may seem like a small detail, giving students ownership over their inquiry board validates the students thoughts and questions. Ms. Singh will use the questions to guide her planning and instruction to best meet the needs of her students, all the while involving the students with each step of the inquiry the process.

Interested in learning more about student-driven learning? Check out this short Ted Talk about the power of student driven learning!

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

One World, One Night
The "One World, One Night" celebration on Tuesday, March 1 (5:30pm-8:00pm), gives our students and their families a passport to different cultures around the world! At the festival you will find tables hosted by fellow Spicewood parents sharing their cultures by exhibiting artifacts, traditional clothing, teaching crafts and providing culinary samples. This year we will also have a special guest, Eve Panzer, the Barefoot Librarian. The Panther and Cub Choir will also be joining us at our event! 

The following countries will be represented at our event: Phillipines, France, India, Mexico, Peru, Italy, China, Ethiopia, Bahamas, Korea, Venezuela, Panama, Servia, and Israel. Each year the number of countries grow and we encourage all cultures at Spicewood Elementary to consider participating in the One World, One Night event.  We also have a link for volunteers who would like to lead or partner with another family to represent a country.  It's not too late, please visit and sign up today! 

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

2nd Grade Concert
Our 2nd grade students will be putting on a performance this Thursday, March 3 at 6PM in the cafeteria. Please come join us and enjoy the music brought to you by Spicewood's 2nd graders! 

Spicewood's Education Go Get It (EGGI) Week is March 7-11, 20160 
EGGI Week is a week to focus on exploring and learning about the wide variety of post-secondary opportunities and career choices available in the future for our students. It's never to early to start thinking about the future! Below is a list of spirit days and campus activities your child can choose to participate in during EGGI Week:

EGGI Week Spirit Days: The Progression of a Career
Monday: Team Shirt Day—We know teamwork will be important throughout our entire career—elementary through adulthood.

Tuesday: Spicewood School Shirt Day—At Spicewood Elementary we work to build a strong educational foundation in preparation for our bright futures!

Wednesday: College/Military/Training Program T-Shirt Day—You have to get the education and skills before you get the job you want! Show your spirit for higher education and training opportunities to build our education and skills!

Thursday: Dress for Success Day—It’s interview time—dress to impress in the career world (dress in “interview” attire - you have to look the part to get the job!)

Friday: My Future Career Day—You’ve finally landed your dream job—dress up in your future career gear!

Campus Activities
“What I Want to Be (Including IB!)” Paper Dolls:  Paper dolls will go home in Friday folders—students are invited to design and turn in the paper doll decorated as themselves in their future career to display around the school (this is optional). Students are also challenged to decide which IB Learner Profile they may exhibit in their future career.

Careers A to Z: Students will have the chance to add new careers to the Career Word Wall and learn new and unique careers they may have never before heard of! At the elementary level we’re all about career exploration and learning the amazing options out there; brainstorm as a family: can you research and find some interesting new careers?

Graduation Role Models: Charts and graphs about staff college choices will be displayed for students to may even sneak a peek photos of some of our staff members from their graduation days! Our Westwood PROS who attended Spicewood will also share their college plans and how Spicewood helped them get there.

College/Career Guidance Lessons: Mrs. Hougham will teach guidance lessons to help students think about higher education options and’s never too early to start thinking (and of course it’s okay to change our minds!)

Doggy Dash
Doggy Dash is coming up this Saturday, February 27th from 9 am to noon! This event is hosted by RRISD High Schools at Purple Sage Elementary! The event includes live entertainment from all the RRISD high schools, a relaxing walk on a nature trail, and a doggy fashion show! There will be a $2 admission fee for each person (dogs are free!), and donations will be greatly appreciated. Linked below is a document which has a list of all of the items we need. All proceeds go to the United Sates War Dogs Association! Please register here

Westwood High School Taste of Asia Fundraiser March 4th
Taste of Asia is a fundraising event showcasing the Asian diversity of the Westwood high school (WHS) community.  The event will be on Friday, March 4th, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at the Westwood HS cafeteria. There will be dance and musical performances; Asian Fashion show, food from 30+ restaurants, henna tattoos, calligraphy, photo booth, face painting, silent auction, cultural and vendor booths.  All proceeds from Taste of Asia will benefit Westwood HS Project Graduation 2016. We will be selling entrance tickets for Taste of Asia from February 29th to March 3rd (and possibly March 4th) at Grisham MS, Canyon Vista MS and Westwood HS during lunch hours.  Entrance tickets are $5 advance purchase, or $7 at the door.  We accept cash or checks written payable to WHS Project Graduation (with driver’s license number and phone number).Tickets for food and crafts can be purchased on the night of event at WHS. Please contact Jayanthy Kapistalam ( or Anu Ramanathan ( ) with regards to ticket sales. Please visit our event page ( ) and invite your friends.  We look forward to seeing you on Friday, March 4th.

RRISD Kindergarten Round-Up 
Do you have a child who will be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2016? If so, it’s time to start getting ready for Kindergarten! Spicewood will be hosting a Kinder Round-Up registration day for incoming kindergartners on Monday, March 7, from 9AM to 2PM. Parents/guardians must bring the following documents: 1) Child's official birth certificate; 2) Child's immunization record; 3) Child's social security card (preferred but not required); 4) Proof of residence within the school attendance zone (contract on house, lease agreement, actual title to house, current RRISD tax statement, or current utility bill indicating the address and the adult's name.) You should still come to registration even if you do not have all of the above information. Parents will be given notice of when these items are due. For more information, regarding RRISD registration policies, please visit the RRISD Kinder Round-Up page.

Spicewood Kinder Round-Up Events
Sending your little one off to Kindergarten is an exciting and somewhat overwhelming time. Spicewood is committed to help make this transition into elementary school as smooth as possible. Spicewood Kinder Round-Up Events are designed to provide opportunities for parents/guardians and children to become acquainted with Spicewood as well as with future classmates. Every month, beginning in March and culminating in August, we will be hosting events for you and your child to attend together. Please visit the Spicewood Kinder Round-Up Events page for a list of events and to RSVP. We look forward to seeing you.

CVMS 5th Grade Parent/Student Orientation hosted by PTA
PTA Meeting 5th to 6th Grade Orientation on Tuesday, March 22 at 7 pm at Canyon Vista - 5th grade parents and students are invited to an informative evening regarding becoming a middle school, Mustang family.

Spicewood’s Spring Twilight Carnival
Who wants to enjoy a family evening of fun-filled games & activities, local entertainment, terrific raffle prizes, food and more? Then join us at Spicewood’s Spring Twilight Carnival on Friday, April 15th! Mark your calendars and plan to bring your family and others in our community who may be interested. This is a Spicewood school fundraiser and all profits will directly impact our current programs, and if we are lucky, broaden them as we purchase needed items for the school.  

All Carnival committees have leadership but we are still interested in growing our volunteer base especially in certain areas. If you would like to help with Carnival please attend a volunteer meeting on either Tuesday, March 1, from 8-9pm at Balcones Country Club OR Thursday, March 3, from 8-9am in the Spicewood library. Hope to see you there! 
Sandy Parent ( and Stephanie Engels (

We are also looking for local businesses that are interested in sponsoring Carnival, either with a cash donation or raffle basket prize. If you would like a unique opportunity to market your business to the local community while supporting Spicewood, please contact Amy Coplen ( to discuss ways you can help. Thanks!

Need a Spicewood T-Shirt?
Our PTA still has a few Spicewood T-shirts left - Youth XL and Ladies V-Neck (Large and 2 Medium). If your kids will be attending any field trips or will be participating in the choir performance next Thursday for One World One Night, they may need a school t-shirt. They also have a few Zip Up Hoodies, mainly Youth Sizes. Both the T-shirts and Hoodies will be on display in the hallway near the library. T-shirts are $10 and Hoodies are $28. Please visit the PTA Store or contact for more info.

Free Summer Camp
 The Austin YMBL Sunshine Camps has opened a world of possibilities to the youth of Central Texas by providing free week long summer camps to low-income families. Note that campers must qualify for the Texas public school free and reduced lunch program to be eligible to attend summer camp.The Zilker Park camp is located inside Zilker Park near Barton Springs Pool; it serves campers 7 – 11 years of age. The camp program, under the supervision of experienced counselors, offers activities such as swimming in Barton Springs or Deep Eddy pool, fishing, canoeing, handicrafts, nature study, hikes, games, and a ropes course with a variety of elements including a team wall, and trust fall. Transportation to camp and three meals a day is included.



Tuesday, March 1
5:30-8:00PM  One World, One Night
Located in the Cafeteria

Wednesday, March 2
Early Release
All students are released at 12:45. Please plan accordingly in advance.

Thursday, March 3
6:00PM   2nd Grade "Yo Leonardo" Music Performance 
In the cafeteria

Friday, March 4
WatchDOGS Friday
Civil War Day -5th Grade

Saturday, March 5
FYI: Explore UT

Monday, March 7- Friday, March 11
Education Go Get It Week (EGGI Week)

Monday, March 7
9:00AM-2:00PM   Kindergarten Round-Up

Friday, March 11

Monday, March 14- Friday, March 18
Spring Break

Monday, March 21
8:00AM   K-2 Principals' Pride

Tuesday, March 22
8:00AM   3rd-5th Principals' Pride