Cougar Community Newsletter

Community Newsletter - January 21, 2021

A Message from Dr. Toni Hicks

At the January 20, 2021 Board Meeting, Jarrell ISD campuses shared their appreciation to our trustees for their service to the district. We appreciate all they do to support our students and staff. Please join us in celebrating Crystal Phalen, Board President; Jenny Arnold, Vice President; Bruce Epstein, Secretary; Troy Clawson; Kenneth Leverett; Tamara Dozier; and Rebecca Kirby all month long!

Here are highlights from last night’s meeting:

Public Hearing on the TAPR

Kathleen Crowe, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, gave an overview of the 2019-20 Texas Academic Performance Report. This annual report from TEA provides information such as student performance, accountability, attendance, and career, college, and military readiness. It is available to view at

Jarrell ISD is proud to celebrate the following students and staff at the January 20 Board meeting:

Students of the Month

Igo Elementary School - Kaylin Lillie

Jarrell Elementary School - Holly Armstrong

Jarrell Middle School - Chrystal Yager

Jarrell High School - Carrie Clawson, Elizabeth Lind and Jasmine Benavidez

Staff of the Month

Igo Elementary School Staff - Dora Reyes

Jarrell Elementary School Staff - Jackie Puska

Jarrell Middle School Staff - Traci Tomlinson

Jarrell High School Staff - Charli Gick

District Staff Recognitions - Jennifer Nachtwey, Bridget Jarrett, Alison Martone, Mary Jane McClendon

The Board Approved the Consent Agenda

Minutes from the Dec. 2, 7, 10 and 16 meetings

Budget Amendment

Financial Reports

Check Registrar

Principal’s Report

Enrollment Report

Communication and Informational Items

Jarrell ISD leveraged a very low interest rate of 1.95 percent saving taxpayers $3.4 million of interest savings on its bond debt. This is great news for taxpayers!

The new legislative session has begun, and we will share information about its impact on schools as it becomes available. We are working with county officials to advocate for educators to be moved up on the priority list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Facilities Planning Committee
Community representatives updated the Board on the work of the Facilities Planning Committee. The Facilities Planning Committee recommends that the Board of Trustees call for a bond election that totals $113,367,197 with no tax rate increase. The bond includes construction, renovation and equipment of school facilities, the purchase of land, school buses, technology, and athletic improvements. The Board will vote on whether to call a bond election based on the committee's recommendation at a later meeting.

Resolution Regarding Extension Emergency Paid Sick Leave
The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a resolution to extend Emergency Paid Sick Leave to employees through the end of the school year for circumstances relating to COVID-19.

District-wide LED Lighting Proposal

The Board approved a proposal to transition to district-wide LED lights, which would save the district approximately $1.2 million dollars over the system’s life.

Course Selection Guide

The Board approved the middle school and high school course selection guide. The guide was developed through a collaborative process that gathered input from students and staff.

New Positions Approved. The Board of Trustees approved additional teaching positions at both Jarrell Elementary and Igo Elementary. Since August, the Board has responded to our growth by adding five teaching positions across the district, bringing the total to seven. To provide better support, recruitment and retention of our employees, the Board approved the position of Executive Director of Human Resources, and in an effort to increase the alignment of services and reduce the costs of contracted services, the Board approved the position of Director of State and Federal Programs.


Celebrating staff and students at Board meetings is the best part of our meeting. The descriptive words shared about each person speaks to the hard work, perseverance and dedication throughout our district. These events are wonderful ways to showcase the heart and soul of the district. I look forward to hearing more of your stories and celebrations as we move into the spring semester.

Go Cougars!

Dr. Toni Hicks


Jarrell ISD

Celebrating Cougar Champions

Shout Out! Jarrell ISD Thanks Softball Field Volunteers

A group of players and parents came out on Saturday to help prepare the fields as softball season gears up. Thanks to Coach Gipson, Coach Fitzner, Jacqueline Danek, Elizabeth Berumen, Robert Chapman, Tommy Chase, Ty Chase, Danielle Ischy, Trenton Hernandez, Rhea Hernandez, Slade Hernandez, Brad Phalen, Crystal Phalen, Karina Salas, Gabby Dunham, Jenna Danek, Paige Phalen, Bailey Chapman, Lexi Leatherwood, Cassidy Goode, Mollie Beruman, Sydni Garza and Jasmine Benavides!
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Athletic Trainers Earn All-State

Congratulations! Danna Verastegui and Melissa Tschoerner received the Texas State Athletic Trainers Association academic all-state award. Tschoerner also earned the Texas High School Coaches Association academic all-state award. We are proud of you!

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Above: The Board of Trustees honored the district librarians for their contributions to student learning: Jennifer Nachtwey, Bridget Jarrett, Alison Martone and Mary Jane McClendon. We appreciate these hard working staff members!
We are proud to showcase excellent students and staff. To see more, follow us on Twitter @hicksJISD ; @Jarrell_ISD; @JES_campus; @IEScougars; @jarrell_ms; and @JarrellHS.

Got celebrations to share? Send them to Thank you!

Jarrell ISD Bond Refunding Saves Taxpayers $3.4 Million

Jarrell ISD leveraged a very low interest rate of 1.95 percent saving taxpayers $3.4 million of interest savings on its bond debt. Read more about this exciting news.

JEF Grant Window Open Through Feb. 26

The Jarrell Education Foundation teacher grant application window is open! Completed applications must be submitted to Vanessa Ashcraft by Friday, Feb. 26 by 4:30 p.m. Learn more. Grants will be awarded later this spring.

Support the Education Foundation Through AmazonSmile

One quick and simple way to support the Jarrell Education Foundation is to use AmazonSmile every time you shop online through Amazon. Simply select the Jarrell Education Foundation as your charity of choice through AmazonSmile. More information about using AmazonSmile.

Long-Range Planning Committee Seeking Volunteers

The district is seeking volunteers for our long-range planning committee. This committee will develop the vision that will guide our future bond planning process. The first meeting is Jan. 28. Email if you are interested.

Jarrell ISD is Hiring!

Jarrell ISD is hiring crossing guards (earn $100 a week!), bus drivers, substitutes, kitchen and cafeteria employees and more! Apply today!

Candidates interested in food services should contact Maria Manzo at 512-746-2124 x 4410.

Mask Up, Cougars!

Mask up, Cougars! Williamson County is in the Red Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic. To help prevent the spread of the disease, Jarrell ISD is reminding families that students must wear masks while on the bus. Masks must cover the nose and mouth. Drivers will be enforcing this requirement. Thank you for your cooperation!
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Board Passes Resolution to Extend Emergency Paid Sick Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA ) provided employees with paid sick leave (Emergency Paid Sick Leave) and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. While the law expired December 31, 2020, at its January 20 meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution that continues the current protections of EPSL through the end of the school year.

We appreciate the Board recognizing the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on staff and responding by continuing Emergency Paid Sick Leave.

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Community Coffee Chat

The community is invited to meet and visit with Dr. Hicks at the upcoming Community Coffee Chat, Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Social Grounds Food Trailer at 110 West Ave. L in Jarrell.

  • January - Board Appreciation Month
  • Jan. 20 - Meeting of the Board of Trustees, 6:30 p.m., Admin Annex
  • Jan. 27 - Community Coffee Chat, 8:30 a.m., Social Grounds Food Trailer
  • Jan. 28 - Long-range Planning Committee meeting 6-7:30 p.m., Admin Annex
  • February - Black History Month
  • Feb. 11 - Long-range Planning Committee meeting, 6-7:30 p.m., Admin Annex
  • Feb. 15 - Presidents Day/Student and Staff Holiday

About Jarrell ISD

Jarrell ISD is located in northern Williamson County. The mascot is The Cougars. It has four campuses: Jarrell High School, Jarrell Middle School, Igo Elementary School and Jarrell Elementary. The district is home to more than 2,300 students. Enrollment is projected to double in the next 10 years.