School Matters

October 2022

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
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No school/staff development Oct. 31 and Nov. 1

As a reminder there will be no school on Monday, October 31 and Tuesday, November 1 for staff development. Classes will resume Wednesday, November 2. Be sure to stay up to date with major districtwide events listed in our 2022-2023 Instructional Calendar:

Lake Travis High School Band advances to state UIL marching band competition

For the third consecutive year, the Lake Travis High School marching band advances to the UIL 6A State Marching Contest after finishing fourth in the Area H competition on October 29.

The LTHS Cav Band will perform in the state competition at 12:15 p.m. on November 7 in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The Lake Travis High School Cav Band is under the direction of Richard Hicks and assistant directors Brittany Baptista, Jordan Reddicks, Taylor Treviño, and Benjamine Zein. The LTHS Colorguard is directed by Michael Fairbrother.

Early voting for the November 8 election is open through November 4. Registered voters who reside within Lake Travis ISD will have an opportunity to decide the outcome of three propositions affecting our District. If you have not done so already, please take a moment to review the materials posted on our Bond 2022 website.

There are three polling locations within Lake Travis ISD:

Have you seen our community presentation? Click on the video below to get the details about the upcoming election:

Lake Travis ISD Bond Election 2022 Presentation
Bond 2022 Frequently Asked Questions

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are intended to inform voters about the election.

Second episode of "Lake Travis ISD Matters" podcast focuses on Bond 2022

Lake Travis ISD has published the second episode of its podcast, Lake Travis ISD Matters. Listen to the full episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Player FM, and Stitcher. A video version is also listed below.

In this episode, we talk to Superintendent of Schools Paul Norton and Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Pam Sanchez about the upcoming bond election.

Lake Travis ISD Matters podcast Episode 2

District improves Cavs Who Care tip line

As part of the district’s commitment to student safety and mental health, Lake Travis ISD is pleased to launch a much-improved "Cavs Who Care" anonymous reporting tip line, effective Monday, October 31.

Much like the previous tip line, the new software will allow students and parents to make anonymous reports regarding safety and wellness. However, one of the most notable improvements to the reporting tool is the ability for the tipster to engage in one-on-one communication with a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week while remaining completely anonymous, if he/she chooses to do so. Our tip line is student-focused as opposed to crime-focused, meaning it is a tool for alerting caring adults about students who need help. This is part of our continuous efforts to increase campus and student safety while providing students with a safe and completely anonymous resource to share concerns.

Concerns can continue to be reported in one of two ways:

Students can report bullying, suicide concerns, depression, threats, cutting, abuse, fights, drugs, alcohol, weapons, or any other type of dangerous situation that threatens their safety or the safety of others. Reports will be addressed by a trained team of crisis personnel, school officials, and law enforcement officers, when necessary.

"The use of anonymous reporting apps has proven to be successful in providing the tools and information needed for school officials to proactively address concerning behaviors, potential incidents of violence, and other harmful situations on campus before they develop," said Andy Michael, Lake Travis ISD Chief of Police. "We look forward to working with you and your family to continue making Lake Travis ISD a safe environment for our students, staff, parents, and visitors."

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Lake Travis Education Foundation delivers big on check days

On Friday, October 21 and Monday, October 24, Lake Travis ISD administrators and representatives from the Lake Travis Education Foundation delivered ceremonial checks districtwide.

In all, LTEF provided LTISD with a record $451,000 to fund grants and classroom projects for the 2022-2023 school year. LTEF distributes funds equally across the district based on student enrollment.

  • Lake Travis High School - $105,066
  • Lake Travis Middle School - $26,033
  • Hudson Bend Middle School - $27,466
  • Bee Cave Middle School - $24,570
  • Lake Travis Elementary - $23,839
  • Lakeway Elementary - $16,819
  • Bee Cave Elementary - $24,541
  • Lake Pointe Elementary - $22,844
  • Serene Hills Elementary - $17,579
  • West Cypress Hills Elementary - $17,228
  • Rough Hollow Elementary - $26,881

  • Serene Hills Elementary School "Gobble Grant" - $1,000

LTEF is dedicated to supporting LTISD School's pursuit of educational excellence through empowering teachers in the Innovative Educator Grant process and funding scholarships for graduating LTISD students in their post-secondary journey. Founded in 1985, LTEF has provided over $4.7 million in funding to support Lake Travis ISD.

LTHS recognizes 64 students under 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program

Lake Travis High School principal Debbie Garinger is pleased to announce that 64 students have been recognized by the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program. These students entered the program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) as high school sophomores and 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 and College Board Recognition programs, 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 8 National Merit Semifinalists, 26 Commended Scholars, and 30 National Hispanic Scholars. View the complete listing on our website.
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District celebrates students, community at LTHS Homecoming Parade and Extravaganza

Lake Travis High School Parent Teacher Organization hosted its annual Homecoming Parade and Extravaganza on Wednesday, October 5. The event celebrated students and community and featured local food trucks, inflatables, a parade, pep rally, and homecoming court presentation.

Funds raised from the event will help support student and teacher initiatives through the LTHS PTO.

Parade float winners:

Additionally, on Friday, October 7, seniors Bennett Chudy and Brooke Davis were announced as Homecoming King and Queen for the Lake Travis High School Class of 2023. The announcement was made during halftime of the Lake Travis and Del Valle game at Cavalier Stadium. (Photo: courtesy Shelley McCannon)

Middle, high school orchestras qualify for Region 32

Congratulations to the following students have each earned a chair in the Region 32 Middle School and High School Orchestras:

LTHS grad earns national honor in business, entrepreneurship

(reprinted in part from The Daily Texan, Oct. 7, 2022, reporter Logan Dubel)

Lake Travis High School Class of 2022 graduate Arthur Blake is the recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s 2022 National Youth Award for Business and Entrepreneurship.

Arthur, a business freshman at The University of Texas at Austin, applied for the honor as a high school senior after receiving encouragement from calculus teacher Robert Huffaker. Out of more than 30,000 applicants, Arthur earned one of 300 regional awards as the gold medalist for Texas and Oklahoma. He then proceeded to the national level for consideration, receiving the top honor in his category and becoming one of 10 winners.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Arthur and his friend launched a nonprofit, Snkr Truck, designed to provide shoes to Austin residents in need. In addition to his project, Arthur excelled as a member of the LTHS DECA program throughout high school under sponsors Jill Oates and Tracey Griffith, earning international recognition for his work.

As an award recipient Arthur travelled to Washington, D.C. where he received special access to the White House grounds and enjoyed visits to the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery. The program also included opportunities for award winners to openly discuss their stories and issues important to them before an audience of prominent Hispanic White House officials. Arthur's mom, Zulay Blake—a first grade dual language teacher at Lake Travis Elementary School, accompanied him to the awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center.

“I hope to set an example for other Hispanic students in the community," Arthur told The Daily Texan. "I have a newfound passion for my Hispanic background after going to Washington to receive this award. I want to help make an impact on my Hispanic community.”

LTHS sisters earn first place in DECA national competition

After competing against 432 teams, Lake Travis High School senior Hanna Ngo and sophomore Hanny Ngo took top honors in DECA's Virtual Business Challenge for Fashion. The sisters also placed first in the southern region and in Texas, and they will compete against other national finalists in April 2023 in Orlando, FL.

The Fashion track of DECA's Virtual Business Challenge encourages members to test their skills at managing a simulated fashion business. Participants conduct trend research, design garments, promote via social media, select retail locations, and more. For each round, teams are ranked based on their fashion business' highest cumulative profit after running the simulation for two virtual fashion seasons.

Jill Oates and Tracey Griffith are sponsors of the LTHS DECA program.

LTISD Counseling Services offers Parenting Series

LTISD mental health professionals are offering a parenting video series on a variety of topic throughout the school year. You can watch a recording of the first Parenting Video Series below which focuses on anxiety and depression.

There will be three more videos offered in the series on the following topics:

  • Suicidality and Self Harm
  • Substance Use and Abuse
  • Tech and Online Safety

For more information, visit our Health & Social Emotional Learning webpage.

Anxiety & Depression 101

Students try new fruits and vegetables at farmers markets

Students at Lake Travis, Lakeway, and Serene Hills elementary schools recently walked into their cafeteria at lunch time for a tasty surprise... a display of fresh fruits and vegetables reminiscent of a farmer's market stand. Students were excited to see and taste a variety of produce. Some local, some exotic, and some that they may find in their own lunch boxes. All students had the opportunity to try fruit and veggie samples including local Texas Gala apples, sugar snap peas, mini sweet peppers, kumquats, goji berries, and kiwano melons. The farmers markets were co-hosted by LTISD Food and Nutrition Services and Labatt Food Service.

Looking for a new packable snack? The kumquats and mini sweet peppers were student favorites!

LTISD use of fresh local produce featured in video campaign

Lake Travis ISD participated in the “For the Love of Taste” campaign which features local, pesticide-free lettuce grown by True Harvest Farms. This video, produced by True Harvest Farms, is part of a series featuring True Harvest produce.
For the Love of Taste by True Harvest Farms

LTISD students place at Teen Read Week Art Exhibit, artwork displayed

The Lake Travis Community Library hosted a competition for teens where they could submit original artwork inspired by their personal reading experiences. During November and December, the library will display the six award-winning entries and five honorable mentions in its meeting room.

The following Lake Travis ISD students placed or earned honorable mentions in the Lake Travis Community Library's Teen Read Week Art Exhibit:

Lake Travis High School

  • 1st Place: Ridley Dent, 12th grade – “Piece of Dust” (photographed, right)
  • Honorable Mention: Spring Berryhill, 12th grade – “Old Man and the Sea”

Hudson Bend Middle School

  • 1st Place: Sara Wright, 8th grade – “Hunting Kaz” (photographed, left)
  • 2nd Place: Sadie Brecheen, 8th grade – “The Silent Patient”
  • 3rd place: Henry David Roberts, 6th grade – "The Bone House"
  • Honorable Mention: Scarlett Uvilla, 6th grade – “Buddies”
  • Honorable Mention: Olivia Pineda, 6th grade – "The Night Crawler"

Bee Cave Middle School

  • Honorable Mention: Jiya Kiechler, 7th grade –"Two Girls, the Ugly and the Pretty"

LTHS students place 1st in TX STEM Competition, visit COTA for F1 race

Team Shockwave, comprised of Lake Travis High School students Greg Alves, Noah Belman, and Luka Vukmuricia, won 1st place in the Best in TX STEM Competition. The competition is affiliated with the F1 Aramco United States Grand Prix held October 21-23 at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

The LTHS Manufacturing class, taught by Eric Fogle, was divided into 3 teams, and each designed race car components which included a nose cone, suspension system, and gearbox. Team Shockwave's winning project is a unique suspension system specifically designed for F1 race cars. The team participated in a celebration event Friday, October 21 at the Circuit of The Americas racetrack. Additionally, Team Shockwave was invited to attend the Formula 1 race where the students met with engineers, as well as watched the race practice and qualifying session.
TSStem manufacturing

LWE student wins Lakeway MUD essay contest

Lakeway Elementary fifth grade student Elizabeth Hughes is the elementary-level winner of Lakeway Municipal Utility District's (MUD) essay contest, "Imagine a Day Without Water." Elizabeth was presented with a trophy and special gift on Thursday, October 20 which is designated annually as "Imagine A Day Without Water." Lakeway MUD received a total of 66 entries.

"For many Americans, living a day without water is an unfortunate reality—not something to be imagined," said Stephanie Threinen, CPC, Public Information Liaison for Lakeway MUD. "Considering this, in our eighth year of 'Imagine A Day Without Water - National Day of Action,' we intend to make 2022 the beginning to the end of a day without water for our neighbors, our friends, and our communities."

For more information, visit

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LTISD Celebrates Unity Day October 19

In an effort to show our community we are champions against bullying, LTISD staff and students dressed in orange clothing on Wednesday, Oct. 19, better known as "Unity Day."

Sponsored by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center, the effort sends a visible message that no child should ever experience bullying and that all students deserve to be safe in school, online, and in the community.

LTISD observes October 17-20 as "National School Bus Safety Week"

With the theme “1 Bus + 1 Driver = A Big Impact on Education," Lake Travis ISD joined the National Association for Pupil Transportation to observe October 17-21, 2022 as National School Bus Safety Week.

"Now more than ever, transporting students safely is a big task and an even bigger responsibility," said LTISD Superintendent Paul Norton. "Taking into consideration the significant challenges impacting school district transportation services across the country, we thank the dedicated men and women in our LTISD Transportation Department for their unwavering service to students and applaud our staff for the critical roles they perform."

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District celebrates October 12 as "Texas Education HR Day"

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 was 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," said LTISD Superintendent Paul Norton.

Pictured below (left to right):

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

District celebrates October 10-14 as National School Lunch Week

Lake Travis ISD schools celebrated National School Lunch Week October 10-14 to encourage students to take advantage of healthy lunch choices.

The Texas Department of Agriculture's theme for the 2022 campaign was “Get Your Day in Gear with a Healthy School Lunch.” Our LT café staff took part in the creativity, decorating lunch lines and talking to students about the importance of all five food components in order to get their day in gear!

NationalSchoolLunchWeek 2022

LTISD highlights October 6 as National Instructional Coaches Day

Thursday, October 6 was designated as “National Instructional Coaches Day.”

Lake Travis ISD employs a total of 15 instructional coaches districtwide (7 elementary, 3 secondary, 1 PreK, 2 Special Education, and 2 Instructional Technology). "These hard-working individuals perform a number of critical functions to support teaching and learning," said Superintendent Paul Norton. "They not only coach teachers and provide professional development, they also write curriculum, analyze data, model lessons, review and provide instructional resources, and assist with team planning at multiple levels. These coaches are also responsible for the planning and execution of multiple districtwide conferences. They supported us through virtual learning, and they helped our teachers design and deliver our first-ever Summer Learning Academy for grades K-8."

The following staff serve LTISD as Instructional Coaches:

  • Lyndsey Ackerman - Special Education
  • Tara Ali - WCHE
  • Anna Catherine Alvis - Instructional Technology
  • Tara Banton-Foxhoven - High School Humanities
  • Jessica Barr - Middle School STEM
  • Chasity Beatty - RHE
  • Tasha Briseño - SHE
  • Megan Butler - Special Education
  • Wendy Gorfain - BCE
  • Kristin Koble - LWE
  • Jaime Nair - LTE
  • Karen Purdy - SHE, LTE, and LPE PreK
  • Haley Rivera - Instructional Technology
  • Dana Schrader - Middle School Humanities
  • Diana Williams - LPE

District celebrates Wednesday, October 5 as "World Teachers' Day"

With the theme, “The Transformation of Education Begins with Teachers,” Lake Travis ISD proudly recognized Wednesday, October 5 as “World Teachers’ Day,” a global event launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994 to share appreciation for educators and the teaching profession.

Locally, the Bee Cave and Lakeway city councils each passed resolutions in September, proclaiming October 5 as “World Teachers’ Day” in their respective communities. Together with our local municipalities, LTISD supports the #TeachersCan initiative to recognize and celebrate all educators across our Lake Travis schools. #TeachersCan is a statewide movement led by educators and supported by more than 125 partnering businesses and organizations committed to elevating the teaching profession and honoring the critical role teachers play in public education.

LTISD recognizes October 2 as National Custodial Worker's Recognition Day

October 2 is a day set aside annually to show appreciation for the men and women who keep our classrooms and workplaces clean and running smoothly.

Under the direction of SSC Services for Education, our custodial workers operate behind the scenes, many of whom work evenings, weekends, and highly demanding schedules. They deliver outstanding services, and they contribute to important first impressions while continuing to meet the high expectations of our staff and parents.

"We proudly recognize our custodial staff for their contributions and commitment to clean, safe, and distraction-free learning environments across our Lake Travis schools," said Superintendent Paul Norton.

October is National Physical Therapy Month

To celebrate the impact of physical therapists, the American Physical Therapy Association has designated October as National Physical Therapy Month.

At Lake Travis ISD, school-based physical therapists (PTs) are part of a team of service providers who support a student’s ability to access his or her educational environment. As specialists in movement, PTs assist a student’s physical participation in a variety of settings throughout the school day. Using their unique expertise in movement and function, our 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
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October is National Principals Month

"Now more than ever, so much is expected of our school principals," said LTISD Superintendent Paul Norton. "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 a constantly-changing landscape."

For these and many other reasons, Lake Travis ISD joins 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
  • Karen Reich, Lake Pointe Elementary School
  • Lizeth Thompson, Lake Travis Elementary School
  • Sam Hicks, Lakeway Elementary School
  • Vanessa Randels, Rough Hollow Elementary School
  • Keegan Luedecke, Serene Hills Elementary School
  • Amy Russ, West Cypress Hills Elementary School
  • Melanie Beninga, Bee Cave Middle School
  • Laura Keogh, Hudson Bend Middle School
  • Rebecca Hudson, Lake Travis Middle School
  • Debbie Garinger, Lake Travis High School

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:

  • JD Aguirre, Lake Travis High School
  • Shannon Aguirre, Lake Travis High School
  • Michaela Buddle, Serene Hills Elementary School
  • Missy Giambruno, Bee Cave Middle School
  • Sally Hernandez, Lake Travis Elementary School
  • Alice Johnson, Lakeway Elementary School
  • Amy Ledbetter, Itinerant Elementary School
  • Sharon McMichael, Hudson Bend Middle School
  • Erin Modde, Lake Pointe Elementary School
  • Lindsey Reeves, Rough Hollow Elementary School
  • Diane Tilley, Bee Cave Elementary School
  • Monica Wommack, Lake Travis Middle School
  • Clover Yordanova, West Cypress Hills Elementary School
What is dyslexia? - Kelli Sandman-Hurley

How can parents support their children with dyslexia?

  • Discuss dyslexia - Many children are relieved once they have a name for their struggles and to know they are not alone.

  • Read aloud - Try reading alternating pages so that your child has practice reading and also gets to hear you model good reading. It’s important to choose material that your child enjoys and finds easy. Gently correct reading errors as much as possible while still keeping each session enjoyable.

  • Use audio books - Hearing text above their reading level helps children to build vocabulary and background knowledge. These are both essential for reading comprehension. All dyslexia students in LTISD have access to audio books through Learning Ally.

  • Practice spelling - Have your child first identify each sound in their word. Represent each sound with a chip, penny or count on fingers. Match the correct letters to each sound and practice writing. Skywriting (writing in the air), tracing in sand, and dry-erase markers are all great methods.

  • Try Lexia - Because this program is tailored to each child’s skill level, it is great reinforcement for skill development. A general rule of thumb is for students to complete a unit in 5-10 minutes. Consider helping your child celebrate when levels are achieved.

  • Discover and grow your child's strengths - whether this is music, crafts, or sports, your child needs time to shine!

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.