School Matters

February 2021

Welcome to School Matters, your official source for news that matters most from the Lake Travis Independent School District Office of Communications, Media & Community Relations. Questions or concerns regarding any of the content in this publication should be addressed to

District to observe staff development days/student holiday Feb. 11-12, Feb. 15

As a reminder, Thursday, February 11, Friday, February 12 and Monday, February 15 will be observed as staff development days/student holiday. Classes will resume Tuesday, February 16.

Be sure to stay up to date with major districtwide events listed in our LTISD 2020-2021 Instructional Calendar.

District monitoring potential inclement weather for Feb. 16

Due to inclement weather, the Lake Travis ISD Administration Building and all other district offices will be closed Friday, February 12 and Monday, February 15. At this time, no decision has been made regarding any potential changes to the instructional day Tuesday, February 16. District officials will continue to monitor conditions throughout the coming days and will provide updates as needed. In the meantime, parents are encouraged to review our Bad Weather Procedures.

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District celebrates National School Counseling Week 2021

National School Counseling Week 2021

With the theme "School Counselors: All In for All Students,” the Lake Travis Independent School District proudly joins the American School Counselor Association to celebrate February 1-5 as National School Counseling Week.

From helping students cope with personal issues to assisting with college admission and financial aid applications, our school counselors make unique and lasting contributions that shape the future of education.

The following elementary and secondary school counselors provide services to approximately 11,100 students across our district:

  • Bee Cave Elementary School - Courtney Trimmer
  • Lake Pointe Elementary School - Maddie Wright
  • Lake Travis Elementary School - Laura Reed
  • Lakeway Elementary School - Michelle Monahan
  • Rough Hollow Elementary School - Karen Wager
  • Serene Hills Elementary School - Ariana Barrera
  • West Cypress Hills Elementary School - Sheila White
  • Bee Cave Middle School - JoAnna Janecek and Dana Page
  • Hudson Bend Middle School - JoAnn Bryan, Sarah Figg and Surita Scholla
  • Lake Travis Middle School - Sandy Casares and Heather Woehl
  • Lake Travis High School - Elizabeth Clark, Lisa Colley, Tara Edmondson, Susan Endendyk, Jill Mancino, Bel Portillo, Cynthia Smith and Katy Staggs
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (BCMS, LTMS and LTHS) - Lacey Branker
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Elementary Schools and HBMS) - Leslie Doctor
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Lake Travis High School recognizes the Top 10 from the Class of 2021

Lake Travis High School principal Gordon Butler is pleased to announce the top ten scholars from the Class of 2021. The top ten are scholars who have earned the highest cumulative weighted Grade Point Average over four years within their graduating class of 857 students. These students have taken the most rigorous courses available throughout all four years of their high school career in order to achieve this accomplishment. They will graduate with the Distinguished Level of Achievement which assures them automatic acceptance into any Texas public college.

The Top 10 scholars from the Lake Travis High School Class of 2021 are:

Top row (left to right): Keven Stapleton, Tin Nguyen, Julius Heitkoetter, Manoj Singireddy, Luke Lovelace and Sydney Schrader; bottom row (left to right): Megan Sundheim, Erin Fitzgerald, Swetha Ayinala and Lindsey Bowen.


Meet our Top Ten Scholars:

Manoj Singireddy, Valedictorian

  • What college will you be attending next year and what do you plan to study?
  • I plan to study Computer Science. I have been accepted to The University of Texas and Georgia Institute of Technology. I have applied to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.
  • What LTISD campuses did you attend?
  • I attended Lakeway Elementary School, Hudson Bend Middle School and Lake Travis High School.
  • What is your favorite memory at LTHS?
  • During my sophomore year at the DECA International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida, we stopped to eat at a McDonald’s the night before we came back home. While waiting in line, I met peers from across the country who are now close friends that I still talk to today.
  • Quote that defines you?
  • “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” - Confucius

Julius Heitkoetter, Salutatorian

  • What college will you be attending next year and what do you plan to study?
  • I plan to study Computer Science. I applied to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Stanford, and Boston University.
  • What LTISD campuses did you attend?
  • I attended Lake Travis Elementary School, Hudson Bend Middle School and Lake Travis High School.
  • What is your favorite memory at LTHS?
  • My favorite memory at Lake Travis High School was helping start the school's Sailing Team and being a part of its community.
  • Quote that defines you?
  • “No road is long with a good friend and a smile."

Learn more about our top ten scholars.

LTISD board elections set for May 1, 2021

In Texas, local school board members are elected by the registered voters within specific school district boundaries. The Lake Travis Independent School District is one of approximately 1,040 public school systems in Texas and its board members are elected at-large. This means each board member, or trustee, represents the entire school district rather than single-member positions that represent a sub-portion of the district. Each trustee is elected to serve without compensation for overlapping terms of three years each.

Current terms for Place 1 and Place 2 on the Lake Travis ISD Board of Trustees will expire in May 2021. For more information including candidacy requirements and timeline, visit our Board of Trustees webpage.

Four Lake Travis High School student musicians earn all state honors

The musical talents of four Lake Travis High School students have earned each of them a place on the 2021 All State Band, Orchestra and Choir as determined by the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA).

According to TMEA, All State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive. Approximately 1,860 students were selected through a process that began in the fall of 2020 with over 50,000 students from around the state vying for the honor to perform in one of 15 ensembles (band, orchestra and choir).

The following students from Lake Travis High School have been selected as All State musicians:

  • Sikander Ahmed - Eb Clarinet (band), junior
  • Aubrey Williamson - Viola (orchestra), junior
  • Rebekah Freeland - 1st Soprano 2 (choir), junior
  • Jade Leung - 5th Soprano 2 (choir), senior

Celebrating its centennial, TMEA is an association of more than 13,500 school music educators dedicated to promoting excellence in music education. Each year, TMEA hosts its annual clinic and convention in San Antonio where music students and educators gather to learn, perform and network. However, due to the pandemic, this year’s clinic will be held virtually February 11-13.

Richard Hicks, Ana Macias and Adam Poynor direct the Lake Travis High School band, orchestra and choir programs, respectively. Charles Aguillon serves as the Director of Fine Arts.

Middle school Chromebook distribution to begin Feb. 22

In order to best support the long-term stability of technology resources for all learners, we are excited to announce the acceleration of our device replacement program for secondary students. Supported by the District’s 2018 bond, our school board recently approved the purchase of more than $2.4 million in Chromebooks. The acquisition of these larger, more powerful devices will allow for a 1:1 distribution at our secondary schools starting which began with Lake Travis High School in January. Previously-issued devices to high school students have been reclaimed, updated, and cleaned to be redistributed to middle school students beginning on February 22, 2021 as indicated in the table below:

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  • All onsite in-person students must present their physical student ID badge in order to receive a device; no exceptions will be made.

  • Remote learning students will have an opportunity to receive their ID badge in the pick-up line up during the device deployment process. Remote students do not have to be present for device pickup.

  • Any student who previously checked out a Chromebook from the District will need to return it at the time of new device checkout. New Chromebooks will not be released until previously checked out devices are returned, if applicable.

  • All students must accept a new, District-provided Chromebook and it should be brought to school fully charged every day. Students who bring personal devices to school may continue to do so.

It is important to note that the new District-provided Chromebooks will have the highest priority in terms of support and network access. Furthermore, teachers will prepare lesson plans and assignments with these devices in mind, and students will be expected to use their Chromebook for all online assessments.

We appreciate your support and are excited about the opportunities our 1:1 device program will create for our students. To further assist you during this process, a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available on our website. Questions or concerns should be addressed via email to the LTISD HelpDesk.

Instructional Change Form due Fri. Feb. 26

To prepare for the next grading period which begins Monday, March 22, 2021, we ask our parents and guardians to make the appropriate learning option for your student(s) using the Instructional Status Change Form before Friday, February 26, 2021.

Students currently in remote learning at home may switch to in-person learning at school only at the beginning of each grading period. A student who is currently at school for in-person learning on campus may revert to remote learning at home at any time. If you will not be making a change to your child’s current instructional status, no action is required.

A listing of Frequently Asked Questions and other resources regarding our learning options are available on the School Year 2020-2021: Learning. Transformed section of our website. As a reminder, this is a constantly evolving process; conditions and plans are subject to change. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and flexibility.

Austin-Travis County moves back to Stage 4 of Risk-Based Guidelines

On February 9, City of Austin and Travis County leaders announced a move to Stage 4 of the Austin Public Health (APH) COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines. Nevertheless, it remains imperative that residents continue to practice all necessary precautions to further reduce the COVID-19 positivity rate.

Stage 4 recommendations include the following:

  • Higher-risk individuals (those over the age of 65 and those who have chronic medical conditions) should stay home, except for essential trips such as buying groceries or seeking medical care.
  • Lower-risk individuals should avoid social gatherings, any gatherings greater than 10 people, and non-essential travel.
  • Businesses and restaurants voluntarily operate at a reduced capacity of 25-50%.
  • Schools voluntarily limit attendance at sporting events to players, coaches, and parents.

The Risk-Based Guidelines are not changes to local Orders and Rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of risk of exposure in the community. The risk level recommendations are different for those who are at higher risk for severe complications and death from COVID-19.

City and County health leaders moved Austin-Travis County to Stage 5 for the first time during the pandemic on Dec. 23, 2020. People gathering over the holidays played a significant role in the case surge, and consequently an increase in severe illness and death. APH is constantly monitoring how major events impact COVID-19 cases in the community and should be able to observe how the Super Bowl impacted our area in the next 14 days.

Given the presence of a more contagious variant in our community, APH would like individuals to continue to take protective actions. Austin-Travis County has been successful because of the choices the community has made to be safe and follow the data-driven risk guidelines. For the latest information and updates, visit

(Source: City of Austin Public Health Department)

COVID symptoms and seasonal allergies: students should stay home either way

Are your children exhibiting a cough, shortness or breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, headache, sore throat, congestion or a runny nose? According to information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these are symptoms common of both COVID-19 and seasonal allergies and should be taken seriously. In fact, Lake Travis ISD health and wellness protocols stipulate students who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, including those common to both COVID-19 and seasonal allergies as depicted below, should be kept home.

Recently, students across our District who have been sent home with common symptoms have tested positive for COVID-19. If your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19, including those common of both COVID-19 and season allergies, please keep him or her home. Furthermore, I urge everyone to continue the consistent practice of personal hygiene and social distancing so that we can keep our school safe and operational.

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Friday Facebook Live with Paul Norton

Hosted by Superintendent Paul Norton, Friday Facebook Live is a new monthly feature highlighting campus activities and district programs.

In December, Mr. Norton visited West Cypress Hills Elementary and in January he joined cast members on the stage of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Lake Travis High School Performing Arts Center. Recordings of the live streams can be viewed on our Facebook page at

Join Mr. Norton for the next Friday Facebook Live at 10:00 a.m., February 19 from Lake Travis Middle School.

Board adopts legislative priorities for 87th session

The Lake Travis school board recently approved the District’s Legislative Priorities for the 87th Regular Session. The document is designed to serve as the basis for the District’s legislative work during the session that began January 12.

During the session, members of the school board and senior staff will visit with state legislators and other interest groups to provide data, insight, and feedback on topics such as funding, accountability and elections impacting public schools.

LTHS student-athletes sign letters of intent

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On National Signing Day, February 3, eight Lake Travis High School student-athletes signed letters of intent to play football at the collegiate level.

Congratulations to our student-athletes:

  • Marcelo Alanis - University of Chicago
  • Raleigh Erwin - Columbia University
  • Wesley Erwin - Air Force Academy
  • Gary Gordon - Baker University
  • Judge Niland - Columbia University
  • Aden Nava - University of Chicago
  • Lucas Rudich - University of Alberta
  • Austin Spille - Saint Anselm University

The event was live streamed by the Lake Travis High School football program on Facebook. The recording is linked above.

LTEF accepting applications for senior scholarships

The Lake Travis Education Foundation is currently accepting scholarship applications from Lake Travis High School seniors.

Last year, LTEF awarded scholarships to 19 LTHS seniors. There are several new scholarship opportunities this year, and the process is completely virtual.

For more information, and to apply, please visit the Scholarships page of the LTEF website.

Lake Travis Independent School District

The Lake Travis Independent School District is a 6A district located about 25 minutes west of Austin, Texas. Established in 1981, Lake Travis ISD is a fast growth district comprised of 11 campuses serving more than 11,000 students.