LivingTree Communications Taking Over At Zilker!

This is the last Zen! All communications will now be through LivingTree.   Please contact your room parent or teacher if you are having issues registering or logging in!

Once you have logged-in, you will see that all your family and classroom information has already been entered.  If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, don’t forget to download the free LivingTree App!  Here is a Quick Guide to get you started on using this new technology. Please feel free to ask your Room Parent if you have any issues and if you log-in and can’t see your class, contact the front office for the CODE that will allow you to join Zilker.

Here are some commonly asked questions:

How do I add or change my contact information?

In your account, click on ‘Edit Profile & Preferences’. Here you’ll be able to edit your profile name, address, phone number, etc. To allow certain contact information to be visible for other LivingTree contacts, check the pertinent box(es) at the top of the page. Be sure to save your changes before you exit. Contacts will see the information you’ve selected when they click on your name in their Directory.

How do I change my notification preferences?

In your account, click ‘Edit Profile & Preferences’ Scroll down to notification settings, and select or de-select the notification options according to your preference. Be sure to save your changes before you exit.

Can I sync with Outlook/Google Calendar/iCal?

Of course! LivingTree allows you to subscribe your LivingTree Calendar to popular calendars like the Mac, iPad, and iPhone Calendar, or Google Calendar, and Outlook. Once subscribed, all of your LivingTree events will automatically flow into your other calendar application. Take a look at the Calendar guide for instructions on how to do this – It’s easy peasy!

Does LivingTree have translation capability?

YES!!  Select your preferred language by clicking on ‘Edit Profile & Preferences’ in the upper-right corner of your account. Scroll to ‘Language’ and select your preference from the dropdown. If other members of your group have a different preferred language, the translate option will show up and you can translate the conversation! Feel free to post/comment in your preferred language as others will be able to translate your post in their account as well.

Can I message with my teacher or other parents privately?

Yes. Just use LivingTree’s direct messaging found in the Inbox section of your account. This functions similarly to email within LivingTree so that you can message privately to an individual or a small group. Just type a name in, and given they are connected to you in your LivingTree network, their names will show up. Select, type, and send! More details found here.

Can I search through posts in my Conversations feed?

You can search all Conversations content (including comments) by entering a key word in the search tool. You can also filter your Conversations feed by selecting Pinned, Files, Photos, Events, or search by user.

Can I edit a post I’ve already shared?

You can use the ‘reshare’ feature to edit a post you’ve already made. Click on the reshare (right-arrow) button on the original post, and make your desired changes in the light box that appears. Click ‘post’ to reshare. Note this is a new post. You can delete the original post if you want to remove it from everyone’s Conversations stream by clicking on the ‘x’ located in the upper-right corner of your original post.

Start Using Our New Communication Tool Today!

Hello Everyone! We are very excited to bring you LivingTree: a communication and collaboration platform designed from a parent perspective, to connect all the people who work together to raise and teach our kids in one safe place.

Please register your family today at: Once you have logged-in, you will see that all your family and classroom information has already been entered.  If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, don’t forget to download the free LivingTree App!  Here is a Quick Guide to get you started on using this new technology. As well, here is a link to some commonly asked questions. Please feel free to ask your Room Parent if you have any issues.

We’re very excited to open a virtual window to the classroom and engage our community even more broadly – please register, familiarize yourself with the features, and join us in making this endeavor successful. Happy posting and engaging to us all!

PLEASE NOTE: ZEN is being discontinued at the end of this month! All information will be communicated through LivingTree, so please sign up today!

Lost and Found ***last week***

The Lost and Found is still outside the office but this is the last week!  There is sooooo much!  Please stop by to check if any belongs to you.  After this week it will be donated.  

Coming Next Week….Our New Communication Tool, LivingTree!

Next week we will be launching LivingTree, our new communication and collaboration platform! In a single place, you’ll receive school and class information and have the capability to engage in two way sharing within your class communities. LivingTree will allow us to notify one another, privately message, share photos and media, manage volunteering and more – all in a single, private place for our school.

Called Facebook for schools, here are a few of the features you will be able to use on LivingTree:

  • Conversations: Two way sharing between teachers and parents of Messages, Photos, Files, and Links (communicate to individuals or the whole class)
  • School & Class Calendars: Including RSVP, Reminders, and Notices. You may incorporate the Zilker Calendar into your personal calendar as well in Outlook, iCal, Google or Webcal
  • Volunteer management: Sign Ups, Reminders, More!
  • Communications from Zilker’s principal, teachers, classroom parents and the PTA all in one spot!
  • Besides classroom sharing, we’ll also be setting up specific groups – ie.  PTA, After School program, etc.
  • Instant translation to 100+ languages
  • Web + Native Mobile Apps (iPhone, Android)
  • Setup Instant Alerts, SMS and Push Notifications

Keep an eye out for next week’s ZEN, for your invitation to register!

Thank You Zilker Community!

The Zilker Fund ended 2017 on a high note.  Thanks to you, our amazing Zilker Community and SMILE 360, the Zilker Fund exceeded it’s goal this year!  We are excited to announce that from August-December 2017, we raised $36,000 for our school to promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education.  We’ll share more on what that means soon!

We couldn’t have done this without the generous support of our families.  Special thanks to Adam Garner, Joi Jones and Fair Aleshire for helping the Zilker Fund go above and beyond.  And a very big thank you to the Ip Family and SMILE 360 for their matching gift that bolstered our ability to support the school.

Way to go Zilker!  Congratulations!

-Rachel Elder, Zilker Fund Chair



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.


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

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!