School Matters

October 2021

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

District updates protocols for visitors and volunteers on campus

Lake Travis ISD is pleased to announce that visitors and volunteers may enter our campuses districtwide, effective Monday, October 18. This update to our protocols is the result of a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases and the decision by Austin-Travis County to re-enter Stage 3 of the area's COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines.

"We understand that many of you are eager to visit your child’s campus and/or start volunteering, and we are excited to welcome you," said Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools. "Accordingly, our school principals will share specific criteria and expectations for visitors and volunteers via individual campus newsletters within the next few days. Please note, criteria may vary by campus."

Despite the downgrade in stages, all visitors and volunteers on district facilities should remain vigilant as per local health officials. The district will continue to encourage all staff, students and families to wear a mask while inside and on campus in an effort to mitigate community spread of the virus. In accordance with LTISD safety protocols, visitors and students should stay home if sick with any COVID-related symptoms.

"Rest assured, the safety of our staff and students is our highest priority," added Mr. Norton. "We will continue to re-evaluate and update our protocols as needed following each change in our current stage. We appreciate your understanding of and compliance with these changes and look forward to welcoming you into our schools."

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Exercise your right to vote in our VATRE

2021 VATRE Explainer Video

District launches "Lake Travis ISD Matters" podcast

Lake Travis ISD is proud to launch its first podcast, Lake Travis ISD Matters.

"The purpose of the podcast is to take a deeper dive into matters that are important to our school community," said Marco Alvarado, Executive Director of Communications & Community Relations and host of the podcast. "Because if it's one thing we can all agree on, Lake Travis ISD matters!"

In our forthcoming first episode, we talk to Superintendent of Schools Paul Norton and Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Pam Sanchez about our upcoming Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE).

Listen to our promotional teaser here.

District to use Skyward Family Access for COVID notifications

In an effort to streamline notifications and reduce the amount of emails parent receive pertaining to COVID-positive individuals, Lake Travis ISD will transition its communication to Skyward Family Access, effective October 25. Should parents need to update their communication preferences within Skyward Family Access, please follow the steps highlighted in the corresponding link:

Please be advised you may still receive communication from individual programs including after school care, athletics, fine arts and transportation. We appreciate your patience during this transition.

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APH to launch COVID-19 vaccine survey for parents of children ages 5-11

Austin Public Health (APH) is launching a COVID-19 vaccine survey for parents and caregivers of children 5-11 years old, and local districts have been asked to help distribute the survey to families.

According to APH, the goals of the survey are to:

  • Get a sense of the demand for the vaccine for children 5-11 years of age,

  • Find out where parents and caregivers would like their child to receive the vaccine, and

  • Learn what concerns and questions parents and caregivers have about the vaccine for children.

If you are a parent or caregiver of a child (or children) ages 5-11, please complete the survey linked here by November 5, 2021. Please note, the survey is optional and only intended to capture information for APH’s planning purposes; personal information will not be shared.

District to provide notification on student attendance via Skyward Family Access

Regular attendance at school is essential to ensuring high levels of achievement for our students. As we enter the second nine-week grading period, you may notice new letters and notifications in Skyward Family Access. Soon we will begin sending attendance letters for students with excessive absences on a regular basis. Traditionally, these letters are sent when students have three (3), six (6) or nine (9) unexcused absences. Additional letters are sent to families when a student has missed 10% and 25% of an academic year with total combined excused and unexcused absences.

Sample attendance letters are pictured below:

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Communication between school and home is critical. Therefore, should you need to update your communication preferences within Skyward Family Access, please follow the steps highlighted in the corresponding link:

More information about attendance requirements can be found in school board policies FEC (LEGAL), FEC (LOCAL), and FED (LEGAL). We value our partnership with you and appreciate your attention to this matter as we work together to help our students succeed.

LTHS recognizes 71 seniors under National Merit Scholarship Program

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Lake Travis High School interim principal Debbie Garinger is pleased to announce that a school-record 71 seniors have been recognized by the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. These students entered the program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) as high school juniors. They were chosen from more than 1.5 million program entrants and represent less than one percent of each state’s high school seniors. According to the National Merit Scholarship Program, these students are the top scorers from each state and show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Lake Travis High School proudly recognizes eight National Merit Semifinalists, 35 Commended Scholars, 28 National Hispanic Scholars, and four National Indigenous Scholars. View the complete listing of scholars on our website.

October is National Principals Month

Now more than ever, so much is expected of our school principals. They are instructional leaders, assessment experts, disciplinarians, campus safety coordinators, community builders, budget analysts, and guardians of policy mandates and initiatives. And they do this while navigating the constantly-changing landscape created by the pandemic.

For these and many other reasons, we join the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals in recognizing October as National Principals Month across Lake Travis ISD:

  • Kim Kellner, Bee Cave Elementary School
  • Kelly Freed, Lake Pointe Elementary School
  • Pam Schaeffer, Lake Travis Elementary School
  • Sam Hicks, Lakeway Elementary School
  • Angela Frankhouser, Rough Hollow Elementary School
  • Keegan Luedecke, Serene Hills Elementary School
  • Melanie Beninga, West Cypress Hills Elementary School
  • Amanda Prehn, Bee Cave Middle School
  • Julie Nederveld, Hudson Bend Middle School
  • Lester Wolff, Lake Travis Middle School
  • Debbie Garinger, Lake Travis High School
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We are proud to recognize these men and women for their commitment to our staff, students and families. Follow Lake Travis ISD on social media throughout October as we feature each of our outstanding campus leaders who serve more than 11,300 students districtwide. To date, we have featured the following principals:

Homecoming Parade and Extravaganza returns to LTHS

After a brief hiatus due to COVID, the Lake Travis High School Homecoming Parade and Extravaganza was back and stronger than ever on Wednesday, October 13. The community event celebrated students and community featured local food trucks, inflatables, a parade, pep rally and homecoming court presentation.

Parade judges were Christy Black, Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce; GW Byers, Lake Travis ISD Communications & Community Relations; Katie Kauffmann, Lake Travis Education Foundation; Tom Kilgore, City of Lakeway Mayor; and Kara King, City of Bee Cave Mayor.

The event raised funds to support student and teacher initiatives through the LTHS Parent Teacher Organization.

On Friday, October 15, seniors Adam Muscariello and Anna Williams were announced as Homecoming King and Queen for the Lake Travis High School Class of 2021 during halftime of the varsity football game at Cavalier Stadium (photo courtesy of Lake Travis High School photography student Alayna Christensen).

Later that evening, the Cavs beat the Del Valle Cardinals 52-17.

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District recognizes video board sponsors

Since 2013, our Video Display Board has enhanced the stadium experience by showcasing the success of our students, staff and programs during events at Cavalier Stadium. Not only has the Video Display Board resulted in revenue-generating partnerships between Lake Travis ISD and the business community that benefit student programs across the district, perhaps more importantly, this initiative has had a direct and lasting impact on our students. By using our own high school students to operate the Video Display Board, students have been provided hands-on, real-world experience in the areas of radio, TV and film production, graphic and digital arts, and other high-tech skills.

The following Video Display Board partners were recognized on the field prior to the Lake Travis High School homecoming game on October 15:




Joining our Video Display Board sponsors were Lake Travis ISD Superintendent of Schools, Paul Norton; Assistant Superintendent for Employee & Community Relations, Evalene Murphy; and Director of Development and Corporate Relations, Katie Kauffman. District officials also extend special thanks and appreciation to Joe Baker of ESPN/Longhorns Network and Jon DaSilva of Roadrunner Pictures for their volunteer support.

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October 18-22 is National School Bus Safety Week 2021

With the theme “Be Safe - Know the Danger Zone," Lake Travis ISD joins the National Association for Pupil Transportation to observe October 18-22, 2021 as National School Bus Safety Week. This is an excellent opportunity for students, parents, teachers, motorists, school bus operators and school administrators to recognize the importance of school bus safety.

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"Now more than ever, transportation students safely is a big task and an even bigger responsibility," said Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools. "Taking into consideration the significant challenges prompted by COVID-19 which continue to impact our operations—including a nationwide shortage of drivers—we thank the dedicated men and women in our transportation department for their unwavering service to students and applaud our staff for the critical roles they perform."
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LTEF to host 5th Annual Hill Country Turkey Trot

Lake Travis Education Foundation (LTEF) will host The Hill Country Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk and 1-mile Puffin’ for Stuffin’ Run/Walk at 8:30 am, Thursday, November 25 at The Hills Golf Club in Lakeway.

The Hill Country Turkey Trot is family-friendly and includes a 1-mile Puffin’ for Stuffin’ walk, along with a turkey costume contest. The event is stroller-friendly and welcomes dogs on leashes. The festivities on Thanksgiving morning will also include plenty of free food and drinks, entertainment, and medals. Register at

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October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

In recognition and support of October as Dyslexia Awareness Month, Lake Travis ISD and the International Dyslexia Association share a vision of a world where students with dyslexia are understood and have the tools to succeed.

According to IDA, dyslexia is a specific learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.

At LTISD, our campus dyslexia specialists work directly with identified students. Additionally, these professionals support their campuses to increase understanding and care for struggling readers:

  • Diane Tilley, Bee Cave Elementary School
  • Erin Modde, Lake Pointe Elementary School
  • Randi Sherrer, Lake Travis Elementary School
  • Alice Johnson, Lakeway Elementary School
  • Lindsey Reeves, Rough Hollow Elementary School
  • Michaela Buddle, Serene Hills Elementary School
  • Clover Yordanova, West Cypress Hills Elementary School
  • Angela Aaron, Itinerant Elementary School
  • Missy Giambruno, Bee Cave Middle School
  • Sharon McMichael, Hudson Bend Middle School
  • Monica Wommack, Lake Travis Middle School
  • Rachel Lindsey, Lake Travis High School
Dyslexia Awareness Month 2021

October is National Physical Therapy Month

Lake Travis ISD joins the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) to celebrate October as National Physical Therapy Month.

School-based physical therapists–or PTs–are part of a team of related service providers who support a student’s ability to access his/her educational environment. Using their unique expertise in movement and function, school-based PTs ensure a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities to prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.

The following physical therapists serve students across LTISD:

  • Heather Amitrani
  • Christine Urban

National Physical Therapy Month

October 13 is Texas Education Human Resources Day

Wednesday, October 13 has been designated as ‘Texas Education Human Resources Day’ in recognition of our human resource professionals across the state. From recruiting, selecting, resourcing, and retaining highly-qualified staff, no one does it better than our very own HR department.

Now more than ever in times of change and challenge— as they continue to provide critical resources and support for more than 1,400 employees across our district—it is important to recognize our amazing team and the critical roles each of them fill:

  • Evalene Murphy - Assistant Superintendent for Employee & Community Relations
  • Kim Heinen - Human Resource Manager
  • Valerie Lemak - Human Resource Administrative Assistant
  • Tiffany Toomey - Human Resource Specialist II
  • Myra Wright - Human Resource Staffing Specialist
  • Adrienne Murray - Human Resource Staffing Specialist
  • Shena Crawley - Human Resource Technician
  • Dolma Diaz - Human Resource /COVID Technician

October 11-15 is National School Lunch Week

LTISD schools celebrated National School Lunch Week October 12-15 to encourage students to take advantage of healthy lunch choices. The Texas Department of Agriculture's theme for the 2021 observance was “Feed Your Creativity with a Healthy School Lunch.” Our LT café staff took part in the creativity, dressing as artists and healthy foods.

September 15 - October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor the cultures and contributions of Americans who identify as Hispanic or Latino/Latina/Latinx.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, students across the district will participate in a variety of activities to learn more about the culture.

The Lake Travis School Health Advisory Council presents "Wellness Watch - Fall 2021"

Lake Travis ISD’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)—a group appointed by the school board—is comprised of parents from each campus, students from Lake Travis High School, members of the community, and employees of the district. SHACs assist districts in ensuring that local community values are reflected in health education instruction. Additionally, SHACs play an important role in strengthening the connection between health and learning.

The LTISD SHAC has published its first newsletter of the 2021-2022 school year, "Wellness Watch - Fall 2021."

LTEF Employee Giving Campaign sets new record

The annual Employee Giving Campaign set a new record this year with more than $43,000 pledged to the Lake Travis Education Foundation through payroll deductions and one-time donations.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to the entire Lake Travis ISD family for supporting our Lake Travis Education Foundation," said Paul Norton, LTISD Superintendent of Schools. "Their effort set a new record for the foundation whose goal was $35,000. This money will be invested in our schools and classrooms, and I am gratified staff chose to spend a portion of their hard-earned paychecks to support our programs. Thank you LT!”

Keeping Connected

Download the LTISD Keeping Connected PDF to learn about the various ways to receive District and campus-level news, emergency notification, and other information.

Stay in the know on the go with our District mobile app for iOS and Android. Follow LTISD on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Learn about Peachjar, the innovative flyer management system that sends District- and school-approved digital flyers directly to parents via email.

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 11,300 students. Lake Travis ISD is the area's largest employer supporting more than 1,400 staff districtwide.