Monday, March 27, 2017

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members, 

Good morning! On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, our 4th and 5th grade students will be outpouring what they have learned and mastered on the State Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR). 4th grade students will be assessed in the area of Writing while 5th grade students in Reading and Math. If you are a parent of a 4th/5th grade student, please encourage them by saying they are ready to show their knowledge on the assessment and that they'll do great! Without a doubt, I would like them to perform successfully on the state assessments; however, their well-being and healthy emotional state of mind is much more important to me as a principal. STAAR is only a portion of how student performance is measured. It is an assessment, not at all a measure of a student as a whole. Again, Spicewood WILL NOT shut down the campus to visitors. Spicewood will operate as usual. Students may have altered lunch schedules for the two testing days so please check with your child's teacher, if you're interested in eating lunch with her/him.

IB PYP 101

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

"The important thing is to not stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing" 

-Albert Einstein

As a PYP school, we pride ourselves on an approach to learning that keeps in mind what is best for students, always providing learning experiences and opportunities that coincide with a child's natural curiosity. We believe in student agency to empower students to take control over their own learning, in turn making learning here at Spicewood more meaningful for them. 

With spring underway, this provides the perfect platform for students to further investigate the world around them. At the time of year many of our grade levels are in their Sharing the Planet unit of Inquiry. Within the unit, students inquire more about resources, living things, and communities. "Step inside" a few of the classrooms below to see just some examples our students use the inquiry process on our campus. 

First grade students working on inventing something to help save one of Earth's precious resources. Using the engineering process, students are encouraged to ask questions, make mistakes, and celebrate successes!

Fourth grade students utilize our new Teaching Garden to some first hand exploration about structures and functions of living things. The Teaching Garden provides a unique space for students to investigate cycles and communities.

Students and teachers use the natural world around us to support their learning. Here, students use their prior knowledge and new observations to construct definitions and define their learning. 

Students in Kindergarten are currently investigating habitats. Here they found a caterpillar on the playground and discuss what it needs in order to survive. Students will take their observations back to their classroom to extend and make connections to their learning.

Ways you can continue to support an inquiry based approach at home:
  • Ask and model questioning! Try using sentences that start such as, "I wonder how...." , "What makes you say that?, or "What would happen if...".
  • 3 Rules to Spark Learning  
  • The importance of play and impact on learning, children, and adults
      This Week's News

      STAAR Testing Days- Tuesday, March 28 & Wednesday, March 29

      Spicewood does NOT close down campus for visitors on STAAR Testing days. The rest of the school will follow their regular instructional schedule as usual with an exception of altered lunch schedule for a few grade levels. If you wish to eat with your child on STAAR Testing days, you can do so but contact your child's teacher to refer to the adjusted lunch schedule for the two testing days. The district offers free breakfast on the days of STAAR Testing to all students (7:20-7:40AM). Per Texas Education Agency guideline, nobody, including students, teachers, staff and parents, is allowed to ask questions or hold discussions regarding STAAR with students on the day of STAAR Testing on site

      Panther Choir Concert This Thursday
      Spicewood Panther Choir will be hosting a concert this Thursday at 6PM in the cafeteria. Please come join us and enjoy their performance. 

      Effective Parent/Child Communication Workshop- FREE
      Austin Child Guidance Center is hosting a free parent workshop on Effective Parent/Child Communication. The workshop will be presented by Amy Pezzotti, LPC, RPT on Tuesday, March 28th from 6-7:30PM at Austin Child Guidance Center and is free of cost. Parents will have the chance to learn about the impact of modeling healthy communication skills with their children and skills to enhance communication with their children. Free childcare is available to children 2 years old and older. You may register by contacting Sara Walters at or 512-451-2242 (Please let Sara Walters know how many children you plan to bring when you register).

      Save the Date - Gallery Night & Final PTA General Membership Meeting
      Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 6, at 6:00pm for Spicewood Family Gallery Night as well as the final PTA General Membership Meeting of the the 2016-2017 school year. See you there!

      Save the Date - Spring Carnival

      This year the Spring Carnival will be held on Friday, April 21, from 4-8pm! Volunteers are needed for this fun family event for our kids. For more information please contact Carnival co-chairs:  Anne McWilliams ( or Manuela Haist (

      2017 CVMS Mustang Orientation for 5th grade Students & Parents
      Parents and students are invited to an informative evening regarding becoming a middle school, Mustang family. Please note this meeting is different from the meeting held in February. The purpose of that meeting was to inform parents and students of the various elective courses offered. The purpose of this meeting is to hear directly from current 6th grade students about life as a Mustang! In addition, there will be an opportunity to meet some staff, our PTA Executive Board, and tour the school building. We hope you are able to join us on Tuesday, April 11 at 6PM in our gym. 

      2017-2018 Canyon Vista PTA Board- for 5th Grade Parents
      The PTA nominating committee is in full swing looking to fill open positions for next year's PTA board. Please consider getting involved with PTA. There are several positions that are "one event and done" and several that can be managed from your home computer! We are looking to fill the Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer positions. So if you are interested in getting involved with our awesome PTA and want to work with our wonderful Principal and amazing teachers and staff than please reach out to us! Nominating Committee Chair: Kathleen King,
      Positions we are also looking to fill are:
      ·         Art Volunteers - minimum volunteer requirement
      ·         Clothes Closet - minimum volunteer requirement
      ·         Club Liaison - minimum volunteer requirement
      ·         Legislative Rep - minimum volunteer requirement
      ·         Super Days Supplies/Planners - Busy in July/August

      ·         T-shirt Coordinator - Busy in July/August/September


      Tuesday, March 28
      STAAR 4th Grade Writing
      STAAR 5th Grade Math

      Wednesday, March 29
      STAAR 5th Grade Reading 

      Thursday, March 30
      6:00PM   Panther Choir Concert

      Wednesday, April 5
      12:00PM   Early Release Day

      Thursday, April 6
      6:00PM   Family Gallery Night + Final PTA General Membership Meeting

      Tuesday, April 11
      6:00PM   CVMS 5th Grade Mustang Orientation 
      CVMS Gym (Only for current 5th grade students and parents)

      Wednesday, April 12
      5:00-8:00PM   5th Grade Spirit Night at MOD Pizza hosted by PTA

      Thursday, April 13
      6:00PM   Kindergarten Music Concert

      Friday, April 14
      Student & Staff Holiday- NO SCHOOL

      Monday, April 17- Friday, April 21
      Sharing the Planet Week
      More information TBA

      Tuesday, April 18
      10:50-11:45AM   Kinder Round-Up Event: Meet the Specials Teacher Option 1

      Wednesday, April 19
      10:50-11:45AM   Kinder Round-Up Event: Meet the Specials Teacher Option 2

      Friday, April 21
      WatchDOGS Friday

      Annual Spring Carnival
      More information TBA

      Monday, May 1- Friday, May 5
      Teacher Appreciation Week

      Friday, May 5
      WatchDOGS Friday

      Monday, May 8
      STAAR 3rd & 4th Grade Math

      Tuesday, May 9
      STAAR 3rd & 4th Grade Reading

      Wednesday, May 10
      STAAR 5th Grade Science

      Tuesday, May 16
      5:00-8:00PM   Kindergarten Spirit Night at Phil's Ice House hosted by PTA

      Wednesday, May 17
      12:45-1:45PM   Kindergarten Round-Up Event: Snack & Story Time Option 1

      Thursday, May 18
      12:45-1:45PM   Kindergarten Round-Up Event: Snack & Story Time Option 2

      Friday, May 19
      Field Day