KINDERGARTEN ORIENTATION!

If you have a child who will be in kindergarten here at Zilker for the 2017-18 school year, please join us for KINDERGARTEN ORIENTATION on Tuesday, April 4, at 9 a.m. in the school library.  This is really a time for adults to complete and submit registration materials, and you’ll also find out about our kindergarten program.  While children really won’t be that interested, and there won’t be anything especially planned for them, do feel free to bring them if that is the only way you can attend.  We will have our “Kinder Kamp” one morning later in May–date TBD–when you and your children may return for a campus tour and fun time together.  Stay tuned for more information.  We hope to see you on April 4!

When you come on April 4 for orientation, be sure to bring with you two copies of each of the following:

* Proof of address (house contract, lease agreement, or electric/gas bill)

* Child’s birth certificate

* Child’s social security card

* Child’s immunization record

* Photo IDs for parents (driver license or other government-issued ID)

 

Teacher Assignments for 2017 – 2018

We will have a few changes among our faculty for the coming school year, and we wanted you to know about them.  Families will have an opportunity to provide input regarding their children’s class placement the week after spring break.

1) Steve Wagner, special education/PPCD teacher at the kindergarten level, has announced his retirement.  He is ready for whatever the next chapter in life brings his way, and we wish him all the best.  Congratulations, Mr. Wagner!

2) Jan McLendon, current 1st grade teacher, will move to the open PPCD position due to Mr. Wagner’s retirement.  Mrs. McLendon requested this change and is ready for a new challenge!  She has served as a special education teacher in the past.

3) Alison Balic, current 2nd grade teacher, will move to the open 1st grade position due to Mrs. McLendon’s move to PPCD.  We are losing one 2nd grade teacher–from five to four–due to projected 2nd grade enrollment based on current 1st grade enrollment, so one 2nd grade teacher needed to change grade levels.

4) Emily Peters, current 4th grade teacher and Mrs. Lugo’s successor, will move to 5th grade.  We are gaining a 5th grade teacher–from three to four–so Ms. Peters is needed there.  Our 5th grade teachers are planning to “team teach,” so our 5th-graders will have each teacher for one academic subject each.

5) We will be hiring a new bilingual 4th grade teacher to take Ms. Peters’ position since she is not bilingually certified, and we always have one bilingual class at each grade level to serve our English language learners.

While we may have other openings due to unanticipated changes in other teachers’ plans, these are the only changes at this time.  We will have only one teaching position vacant that needs to be filled (4th grade bilingual).  We will keep you apprised of any additional changes as they may occur.  We are very fortunate at Zilker to attract a large number of applicants and then to retain our teachers–very little mobility among our faculty/staff!

 

ZILKER TEACHER OF THE YEAR!

Congratulations to MS. ELDA GARCIA, music teacher, for being selected by her peers as the 2017 Zilker Teacher of the Year!  Each year our district sponsors this endeavor, and teachers and other school employees throughout AISD choose a teacher to represent them at the district level.  Ms. Garcia is this year’s recipient of this honor and distinction!

We at Zilker are so very fortunate to have excellent teachers who want to be at our school and who want to stay.  This decision, therefore, is always a difficult one because we have so many outstanding candidates for this recognition.  Our other finalists this year were:  Ms. Ashley Cohn, PE teacher; and Mrs. Judi Thompson, 5th grade teacher.

Thank you, Ms. Garcia, for your many contributions to our school and community.  We appreciate you!

 

Texas Education Agency’s New “Grading” System Begins in August 2018

January 2017

Dear Zilker Families:

Starting in the 2018–19 school year, a new A–F rating system will be implemented in Texas schools. As a preliminary review of schools and districts, the Texas Education Agency just released “what if” ratings.  These are not official ratings and do not replace the TEA rating that Zilker and other schools received earlier this year.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath issued this statement about the A–F “what if” results:

“It is important to note that the Met Standard/Improvement Required ratings issued in August 2016 and updated in November 2016 are the official academic accountability ratings for the 2015–16 school year. A similar process will be used for the 2016–17 school year.

The A–F ratings are for informational purposes to meet a legislative requirement and represent work-in-progress models that are likely to change before A–F ratings become effective in August 2018. No inferences about official district or campus performance in the 2015–16 school year should be drawn from these ratings, and these ratings should not be considered predictors of future district or campus performance ratings.”

In summary, the A–F data released does not take away from any of the accomplishments at Zilker and other schools. In fact, Zilker was awarded an academic distinction designation by TEA this year. We will continue to focus on student achievement, high-quality programming, and building a great school community together.

Thank you for your support as we navigate this new system.

Sincerely,

Randall W. Thomson, Principal

 

 

2015-16 SCHOOL REPORT CARD from the TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY

Please see the attached report regarding Zilker’s annual “Report Card” for the 2015-16 school year from the Texas Education Agency.  Feel free to contact the school office if you have questions or comments.

TEA School Report Card for Zilker–2015-16

AISD Facility Master Plan–Community Engagement Series

Dear Zilker Families:

As the new year approaches, we look forward to working with you to shape our #AISDFuture by updating our Facility Master Plan to modernize campuses during the next two decades.

Our community’s feedback has helped refine our approach to modernization to include:

* State-of-the-art technology in all schools

* Flexible learning spaces in all schools and

* Community spaces. Community members on the trustee-appointed Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee continue to examine the consultants’ preliminary options, which have been reviewed with every school’s leadership. They will review community comments and bring recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

As we continue to plan, shape and build our #AISDFuture, we need your input.

Join us at the next series of community engagement conversations to share your feedback about the FMP update and the options identified to date with FABPAC. The meetings are:

* Jan. 24 – 6 to 8 p.m. at McCallum High School

* Jan. 25 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Crockett High School

* Jan. 26 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy

* Jan. 31 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Martin Middle School

* Feb. 1 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Burnet Middle School

* Feb. 2 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Gorzycki Middle School

Food and refreshments will be provided. Interpretation services will be available upon request. To request modifications or interpretation services, please call 512-414-9595 or email future@austinisd.org.

AISD will offer childcare with Maker Kids Lab, a district partner that offers fun projects that inspire kids to explore their interests in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. Arrive early as there will be limited space for children to participate in the small group activity.

To learn more about the FMP process, visit AISD’s website (English and Spanish) and watch and share the FMP video (English and Spanish).

We look forward to hearing from you. Please contact us at future@austinisd.org or 512-414-9595.

 

Sincerely,

Nicole Conley

Chief Financial Officer

 

Community Meetings re: Facility Master Plan, etc.

Austin ISD Partners,

Thank you for everything you do throughout the year to support AISD and our 130 school communities.

As the new year approaches, we look forward to working with you to shape our #AISDFuture by updating our Facility Master Plan to modernize campuses during the next two decades.

Our community’s feedback has helped refine our approach to modernization to include:
State-of-the-art technology in all schools
Flexible learning spaces in all schools and
Community spaces.

Community members on the trustee-appointed Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee continue to examine the consultants’ preliminary options, which have been reviewed with every school’s leadership. They will review community comments and bring recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

As we continue to plan, shape and build our #AISDFuture, we need your input.

Community Engagement Series Jan. 24-Feb.1

All stakeholders are invited to join us at the next series of community engagement conversations to share feedback about the FMP update and the options identified to date with FABPAC. The meetings are:

Jan. 24 – 6 to 8 p.m. at McCallum High School
Jan. 25 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Crockett High School
Jan. 26 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy
Jan. 31 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Martin Middle School
Feb. 1 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Burnet Middle School and
Feb. 2 – 6 to 8 p.m. at Gorzycki Middle School.

Food and refreshments will be provided. Interpretation services will be available upon request. To request interpretation services, please call 512-414-9595 or email future@austinisd.org.

AISD will offer childcare with Maker Kids Lab, a district partner that offers fun projects that inspire kids to explore their interests in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. Arrive early as there will be limited space for children to participate in the small group activity.

To learn more about the FMP process, visit AISD’s website (English and Spanish) and watch and share the FMP video (English and Spanish).

We look forward to hearing from you. Please contact us at future@austinisd.org or 512-414-9595.
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ZILKER IS FROZEN TO NEW TRANSFERS FOR 2017 – 2018

What does this mean?

According to AISD Board Policy, Zilker will not be accepting any new transfers for K – 5th * for the 2017-18 school year.  This means priority transfers (sibling and majority-to-minority) will not be approved, nor will any other general transfers at these grades.  Students already attending Zilker on an approved transfer for the current school year will be allowed to remain at Zilker through the 5th grade.

Why are we frozen?

AISD Student Services and associate superintendents (and others?) studied all schools’ enrollment and capacity.  At the elementary level, any school that was over 115% capacity at the end of the first six weeks was placed on the frozen list.  Zilker was at 122% capacity at that time.  This policy is part of the AISD Board of Trustees’ attempt to address overcrowding issues at schools throughout the district.

If families wish to go ahead and apply for transfers, they may do so.  Upon denial of these transfers, families may follow the regular appeal process.

* NOTE:  Pre-kindergarten transfers are not part of this policy and will be handled differently in collaboration with the Office of Early Childhood Education.

Congratulations to Mrs. Lugo!

Eydie Lugo, our bilingually certified 4th grade teacher, will soon become the assistant principal at Plum Creek Elementary School in Lockhart, Texas.  Mrs. Lugo worked for the past 1 1/2 years on her administrative certification coursework and was just appointed to this new position on Monday, December 12.  While we are sorry to see Mrs. Lugo leave Zilkerland, we also want to congratulate her and wish her only the best in her new position and adventure.  Tuesday, December 20, will be her last day at Zilker.  Our position has been posted by AISD’s Department of Human Resources, and we hope to begin the interview process in the first few days after the holidays.  If you know any outstanding bilingually certified teachers who might be interested, send them our way!  Mrs. Lugo’s class will have a substitute teacher for several days in January as we work to find the perfect teacher to take over.

Good luck, Mrs. Lugo, and thank you for the many years of dedicated service to so many students and families at Zilker!

 

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Vreeland!

Some exciting news!  Our counselor, Elizabeth Vreeland, and her husband, Taylor, have a new baby girl!  Senna Guevara Vreeland was born on Wednesday, December 14, at 1:40 p.m., weighing 7 pounds and 10 ounces.  We’re guessing that she will be a Zilker Panther one day!  We’re sure that Cash, Zilker’s therapy dog and Mrs. Vreeland’s pet, is excited to be a “big brother,” too!  Welcome to the world, Senna!