Parent Newsletter!

August 2, 2021

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Hello and Welcome Back!

Dear Highland Park Families,

It is with great pride and excitement as your principal, that I welcome you all back to Highland Park Elementary for the 2021-22 school year! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer. I also hope you are relaxed, recharged, and ready to start a new school year. Highland Park is such a special place to learn and grow. I am proud of our students, staff, and community!

This year marks my 18th year in education and I am very honored to be a part of PfISD, and especially Highland Park Elementary. My top priorities are to provide a high level of learning and a safe and supportive environment for our students. As your principal, I will strive to ensure that all students, staff, and families feel welcome and connected to our bulldog family.

I’m always interested in listening to you and our students about their concerns, celebrations, and feedback. My number one priority is to passionately serve our students, our staff, and our Highland Park families. I hope you have a wonderful week, and please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions at all.

Highland Park Bulldogs WOOF!

Warm Regards,

Lizbeth Ruiz


Highland Park Elementary

Meet the Teacher

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Highland Park Elementary Return to Learn in Person Procedures


  • Building will open at 7:05 a.m. for bus riders and 7:15 a.m. for car riders and walkers.

  • Students will sanitize hands upon entering school.

  • Parents/Guardians will not be allowed to walk students in.

  • Bus riders will enter the building through the 100 hallway doors adjacent to the bus loop at 7:05 a.m. Upon entering the building they will make their way to the gym where they will wait to be dismissed to class.

  • Car riders and walkers will enter the building through the front entrance at 7:15 a.m.

  • Walkers and car riders that arrive early will wait outside (back up plan for weather) - socially distanced.

  • Upon entering the building car riders, walkers and bike riders will go to the either the cafeteria or their classroom.

  • Students eating breakfast will be asked to go to the cafeteria

  • The use of protective face mask will be optional. We will have masks available for students who choose to wear one and forget it.


  • First group to be dismissed: Bus riders will be called over intercom by bus number. These students will go to the bus area and will line up in their bus line order. Once these students are in order they will board their bus.

  • Second group to be dismissed: Bike riders, walkers, parent walk- up and car riders will walk in line order and exit the building through the 200 and 400 hallways.

    • Bike riders & walkers: Students will walk in line order and be dismissed by the flagpoles. We will have staff on duty that will walk them off school grounds.

    • Parent walk up: Students whose parents park and walk up will be dismissed at the grassy area to the right of the flagpoles. We will have marked locations for parents to maintain social distancing.

    • Car riders: students will sit at the front of the campus at assigned grade level area. Students will be asked to sit and wait for parents while maintaining social distance.

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed at entrances and exits of buildings. Students will sanitize hands before exiting the building.

  • Parents picking up students during the day will be asked to call ahead so that students can be sent or accompanied to parent vehicles upon arrival. Office staff will sign the student out, documenting both the time the student left the building, as well as the time the parent requested for early dismissal.


  • Students will eat lunch in the cafeteria. Classes will be scheduled at 3 minute intervals.

  • Tables will be set up and students will sit one seat away from each other whenever feasible.

  • Students will go through the line, select their breakfast, then proceed to their grade level table.

  • Students will go through the line and select their lunch then proceed to their assigned table, and their assigned seat.

  • Tables will be cleaned as soon as a student finishes their lunch.

  • Classes will be dismissed at 3 minute staggered times.

  • Staff on duty will monitor to ensure students are social distancing.

  • Staff on duty will wipe-down, clean and disinfect tables and seats.

  • Students will use hand sanitizer/wash hands before entering cafeteria and after eating

  • Lunch visitors will not be permitted on campus.

  • Lunch will not be allowed to be delivered to the school. Students will either need to bring a lunch or eat a lunch from the cafeteria. If a student forgets their lunch at home, a warm lunch will be provided to them, and a fee (if applicable) will be placed in their account.

Symptomatic Students

  • When a student has displayed symptoms of COVID-19, (including fever, coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, etc) the school nurse will provide a clinical assessment to determine if and when a student needs to be sent home.

  • Students who are ill will be separated from their peers and should be picked up within 30 minutes and no later than 1 hour from the time the campus contacted the student’s parent/guardian.

  • Parents of students who come into contact with a person with a positive case for COVID will be contacted via email, phone, and text. (Please note, our notification system only contacts the first two parents/guardians in the student information system.) Staff will receive communication from their campus administrator.

  • Staff members displaying COVID-19 symptoms will follow district protocols including isolation from students and other staff members.

  • Students and staff who have displayed symptoms of (presumptive positive) or tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms and be fever-free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medications) and symptoms resolving before returning to campus; unless a written alternative diagnosis is received from the healthcare provider and discussed with the campus nurse prior to the student or staff member’s return.

  • Students or staff who may have come into close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual will be notified. As per Austin Public Health Guidance, "Individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should be advised to quarantine, except for those who:

    • are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have no symptoms or
    • have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months, recovered, and have no symptoms."
  • For students who decide to self-quarantine, it will be counted as an excused absence. If close contacts choose not to quarantine, we highly encourage them to wear a mask, wash their hands and increase their social distancing to provide for their safety and the safety of others.
  • The CDC defines close contact to include anyone who came within 6 feet of an infected individual for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness/symptom onset until the time the patient is isolated. Close contact occurs in this situation regardless of whether the individuals wear face coverings.
  • Persons who have been confirmed to be vaccinated by the campus nurse and/or HR will not be required to quarantine.


  • Only visitors with essential official school business will be allowed on campus. These visitors should seek prior approval before coming to campus.

  • If a student is leaving for the day - an office staff member will walk student out to the car and have the parent show proper ID and sign out student

  • If a student forgets an item at home, the parent will be asked to hold it until the following day. (exception would be medication with nurse)

  • All campus meetings will be done virtually. If a parent is needing to meet in person, this will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

  • Parents and family members will not be allowed to enter the building, walk down the hallways, etc.

  • The front office will be staffed, office phones will be answered, and emails will be responded to.

  • Our front office doors will be locked at all times.

Birthday Celebrations/Campus Celebrations

For the safety of all our students, the following changes will go into effect this school year:

  • Effective August 12, 2021, Parents may only bring non-food goodie bags for student birthdays. We will no longer be able to accept food items for whole-class birthday treats. As always, you are welcome to send special birthday treats for your own student to enjoy for lunch or snack. We will continue to announce and celebrate students birthdays over morning announcements as well as sing Happy Birthday in the classroom.

  • For classroom food activities such as party days or food-related learning activities, parents will need to complete an allergy permission form stating which foods their student is allowed to eat or handle. If this form is not returned prior to the event, the student will not be able to participate in the activity.

  • We appreciate the care and time that the teachers and allergy committee members have given to this very important matter. We are dedicated to keeping our kids safe here at HPES and believe that this will help achieve that for all our students.

Highland Park Elementary Return to Learn 2021-2022

Please click on this link to see our campus detailed Return to Learn procedures. This presentation will cover specific information about safety protocols that will be followed at Highland Park Elementary this school year.

School Supply Lists

Please click on this link to view our school supply list.

Communication Guide

Every summer, there are staffing changes. Staff members move on to other opportunities, and new staff members join the campus. Before emailing a staff member from last school year, it would be wise to check with our front office staff. It is also a good idea to consider which staff member is your first point of contact for questions before you send your email. You may also call the front office at 512-594-6800 and ask for the person you need to speak with. I hope this information is helpful!

Senior Admin. Associate: Mima Oiesen –

General questions regarding scheduling, procedures, teacher information, leave requests, substitutes, purchase orders (for your classroom/students), monthly and bi-weekly payroll, supplemental pay, staff travel, events, field trips, website updates, FB page, maintenance orders, after-hours events, fundraisers (any collection of money), Picture days, etc.

Registrar: Miriam Ruvalcaba –

Student records, registration, residency questions, attendance, transfers, withdrawal, cumulative records, and folders, grade-book, etc.

Student Support Clerical Support: Anita Moreno-

Schedule LPAC and 504 meetings, and gather student grades, relevant classroom, and health data.

Nurse: Christina Henderson –

Shot records, allergy information, distribution of medication, general student health, Section 504, and SpEd as related to health, etc.

Instructional Coach: Gina Lochner –

General questions regarding master scheduling, campus procedures, curriculum, resources, SWAT, professional development, mentoring, lesson modeling, and virtually anything teachers need regarding curriculum and instruction.

Counselor: Anna Vazquez –

Student care and concerns, parent and student support, Credit by Exam, Gifted and Talented information, assessment, and Section 504

Assistant Principal: Jesus Olivas –

Primary contact regarding discipline, LPAC, and SpEd. Additionally, virtually everything you would contact Ms. Ruiz for. It is a good idea to copy Mr. Olivas on emails sent to Ms. Ruiz because both of them are able to respond to questions or concerns.

Principal: Lizbeth Ruiz –

Any and all topics not covered by the staff members listed above.

Please feel free to email or call us if you are needing support. We look forward to passionately serving the families of Highland Park Elementary!

Upcoming Events

Link to the 2021-2022 School Year Calendar 2021-2022 District Calendar

Aug.10 - Meet the Teacher Day- 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Aug.12 - Students First Day of School

Aug. 12- 1st 9 weeks begins

Sept. 6- Labor Day, no classes

Highland Park Elementary School

For questions, please click on the "Let's Talk" link: or reply to this newsletter on the upper right hand corner.