Coming This January….The Answer To Our Communication Wishes!

Dear Zilker Parents,

Right now you are receiving information from our school in many different ways. Sometimes it may be confusing on where to go to look up what. Was it in the ZEN email, was it on the school website, was it sent from the classroom parent or from the teacher…. We have been searching for the best way to strengthen and simplify our communication process and have found what we believe is the best tool to do this. It’s called Living Tree.

Living Tree is a social media platform that has been compared to a Facebook for schools. Many top schools are already using it, including our Principal, Ms. Hill’s last school Doss Elementary. Everything that the PTA, Teachers and Principal send out will be in one place – from school events to homework assignments to volunteer opportunities. Plus you will be able to communicate back within your own groups, like to other parents in your kid’s class.

We will be rolling out this new communication tool in mid to late January and will be providing materials and training to help everyone in the parent community (no matter how technical you are) to adopt this new technology. And don’t worry, during the transition period we will keep the other communications going while everyone gets used to Living Tree.

More information will be coming! In the meantime, here is a link to their website and I have attached a flyer as well.

– Bobbi Jayasuriya, PTA Communications Committee Chair


Trail of Lights Parking at Austin High

If you are heading out to the Zilker Park Trail of Lights avoid the long lines and wait times and consider parking at Austin High to support the Orchestra Program!

Flyer for Trail of Lights Parking Fundraiser

Holiday Attendance

Are you planning a family trip for the holidays? As you think about your arrangements, we want to stress the importance of sending your child to school every day possible. Every year, absences spike in the weeks before and after the winter holiday as families squeeze in a few more vacation days. It’s time to break that cycle. We know that just a few missed days here and there, even if they’re excused absences, can add up to too much lost learning time and put your child behind in school. This is as true in kindergarten as it is in high school. Put simply, too many absences at any age can affect a student’s chances for academic success.

We recognize that holidays are an important time for reconnecting with families far away. The costs of plane tickets often influence when you want to travel. But keep in mind the costs to your children’s education if they miss too much school— and the message you will be sending about the importance of attendance. Even if you’ve got a homework packet from the teacher, it doesn’t make up for the interaction and learning that happens in the classroom. Our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning, right up until vacation starts and the first day back. You can help us convey that message. This holiday season, give your children the gift of an education and the habit of attendance.


Afterschool Shakespeare Begins January – Signup Now!

Dear Zilker parents:

Clayton Stromberger, former Zilker parent and director of UT’s Shakespeare at Winedale Outreach program for youth (, is once again offering his afterschool class for students who want to “brush up their Shakespeare.” This class is for students in grades 3-5 who seek a challenge and enjoy working as an ensemble. Our 10-week session will culminate in a final performance for family and friends.  No acting or Shakespeare experience required.

NOTE:  This class needs at least 10 students to “make” – so if you are interested in this class, please email Clayton at and we will see if we can make this class happen!


Classes would begin Monday, Jan. 8 and end Monday, April 2.

Time:  3:05 — 4 p.m., Mondays  

Place:  Zilker Music Room (we hope, this is where we met in the fall)

Tuition: $150 for 10 classes total; scholarship monies may be available from the PTA for low-income families (we have been able to do this in the past, if we fill out the proper forms – inquire if needed).  

To sign up:  Contact Clayton Stromberger at to sign up on a first-come, first-served basis. The class is limited to 15 students.

Holiday Lights Around The World – Thursday Night!

Hello Zilker Families,

I wanted to provide you some detailed information concerning Holiday Lights Around the World on Thursday, December 7, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 pm.

We highly encourage attendees to dress in clothing that represent countries all around the world. This is a chance to get creative and share conversations that celebrate cultural diversity. You could wear items of clothing/accessories that are made in other countries, choose the color scheme of a flag, dress as a notable person, etc.. Have fun with it and let’s represent as many countries as we can!

Gobble Gobble Food Truck (Turkey Burgers and Fries) will be on site to make dinner easy, and there will be sweet treats in the Pre-K hallway. Please bring your own water to drink!

There are two non-mandatory performance opportunities that are presented in four identical, thirty minute sets to provide flexibility to roam as you please. I will be leading world folk songs with the help of Zilker students on stage in the cafeteria and my husband, Mr. Hughes, will be leading percussion pieces in the gym. Ms. Wohlfort and I have been teaching the set lists to all K-5 music students so they can have a sense of familiarity. Once again, there are no pre-determined grade levels expected to perform at any particular time. This is a flexible schedule to come and go as you please.

You are welcome to stay in any area as long as you like, however, please limit to one set of each for playing instruments/standing on stage in order to allow as many students an opportunity to play/sing throughout the evening.

Folk Songs in the Cafeteria with Mrs. Hughes

Set 1 6:00-6:30 pm

Set 2 6:30-7:00 pm

Set 3 7:00-7:30 pm

Set 4 7:30-8:00 pm

Fun with Drums in the Gym with Mr. Hughes

Set 1 6:00-6:30 pm

Set 2 6:30-7:00 pm

Set 3 7:00-7:30 pm

Set 4 7:30-8:00 pm

If you have any more questions regarding the musical performances and/or would like to volunteer for this event, please contact me.

Thank you,

Daniella Hughes

Zilker Elementary Music & Choir

Zilker Dyslexia Parent Group Meeting Details

Plesae join us for our next Zilker Dyslexia Parent Group meeting on December 7th at 7:45 AM in Ms. Kuhn’s room.


Season of Giving Holiday Program

Zilker’s Season of Giving Program

Zilker Elementary will have our annual Season of Giving bulletin board displayed next to the office.  This bulletin board helps families in the community during the holiday season.

Here’s how it works:

  1. If you would like to participate in the Season of Giving, take a winter shape off of the bulletin board. (board will be up near the office on Friday, November 17th)
  2. Each shape on the bulletin board represents one wish list item, or one gift for a child or adult.  The shape will have the family number, age, gender, and item.
  3. If you would like to purchase 1 gift for a child, take 1 shape. 3 gifts? Take 3 shapes…
  4. Next, buy and wrap the item(s) and secure the winter shape on the outside of the wrapped item.
  5. Bring the wrapped gifts to Mrs. Vreeland’s room by Wednesday, December 13th.
  6. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Elizabeth Vreeland, the school counselor.

Thank you so much for helping children in the community!


Mark Your Calendars For Our New Musical Event on December 7th!

We are looking for some more volunteers for this event. If you are attending, please consider helping out! Here is the volunteer signup sheet:

Giving Tuesday Is This Week!

After Black Friday comes Giving Tuesday, the national day where people  across the nation give back to the causes and organizations they care most about.  We would ask, that you give our wonderful school,  Zilker consideration on that special day. After all, if our children deserve it and our community expects it why wouldn’t we work together to continue making Zilker a great placed for kids!

Plus every dollar you donate will be matched up to $5,000, thanks to the generosity of  Vincent & Lindsey Ip, Zilker parents and owners of SMILE 360.   So please make a donation this Tuesday!

Give to the “Make Zilker Great” Fund:


SMILE 360 Offers our Zilker Elementary a Matching Campaign!


Donate to the Zilker Fund between now and December 31st and your donation to Zilker will be matched!  Vincent & Lindsey Ip, Zilker parents and owners of SMILE 360 have generously created a $5,000 match goal, for the Zilker Community.  Every dollar raised between now and the end of the year will be matched, dollar for dollar up to $5,000.  So, make your donation today! It will be doubled: $5 is now $10 / $50 is now $100 / $100 is now $200. Every amount helps Zilker Elementary School provide its students with innovative programs like STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math).

Want to know more about how your gift will help our children?  Take a look at our  Zilker Fund video, featuring so many of our wonderful panthers.  We hope you’ll give today! TOGETHER, we all make Zilker a great place for OUR kids!