Cougar Community Newsletter

Community Newsletter - March 11, 2021

A Message from Dr. Toni Hicks

Hello, Cougars!

It’s been a great week in Jarrell ISD filled with many celebrations. I’m thrilled to share that the district will save an additional 1.4 million dollars by refinancing a bond and shave two years off the life of the bond. In total, the district has saved more than 4.7 million dollars in the past few months. We thank our school board and Chief Financial Officer for being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

Softball and baseball are in full swing (pun intended) and on Monday evening had the opportunity to meet many parents of our players. I would like to thank the baseball and softball parents for allowing me to speak to them about the 2021 bond. It was wonderful to hear the parents express their passion for excellence when they speak about the programs and opportunities offered here in Jarrell ISD.

On Tuesday, it was my pleasure to visit with district leaders, parents, and business members from the district’s educational improvement committee. The discussions were engaging, uplifting, and enlightening. A Texas size Thank You to everyone who is participating in this important committee that provides additional input as we chart the future.

It was also an honor to watch our very talented theatre students who performed for the UIL competition on Wednesday. Their performance gave me chills to see the talent and excellence they demonstrated in their production. I’m proud to share they are advancing to bi-district!

And today, we had a wonderful send-off for our powerlifters who will represent us at state next week! Congratulations to Andrea Barrientos, Destiny Taylor, and Alondra Camacho. These ladies and Coach Black and Coach Terry have put in many long hours of training and attended numerous competitions to hone their skills. We are very proud of them and wish them the very best of luck.

As we look ahead, more great things are on the horizon for Jarrell ISD. I know you share in my excitement that Jarrell High School will host in-person and COVID-19 safe prom and graduation ceremonies.

We wish all of our students, families, and staff a safe and restful Spring Break, and we look forward to finishing the school year strong.

Cougar proud,

Dr. Toni Hicks


Remider: COVID-19 Safety Protocals

As a follow-up to the district’s message from last week regarding Governor Abbott’s Executive Order on masks, Jarrell ISD is continuing to review the guidance from the Texas Education Agency and Williamson County we received late Thursday regarding the order and its effect on schools.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we carefully review our protocols. At this time, Jarrell ISD will continue its current practices for masks for students and all staff members. We believe our commitment to our COVID-19 protocols has kept us as safe as possible and allowed us to stay open all these months. Before making any final decisions about possible changes, our current safety guidelines and practices must be carefully considered.

This week marks a year, a very long year, into the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s reflect on all of the good that has happened in the last year:

  • Our students have learned grit, to adapt, and to persevere. They’ve learned new ways to learn and engage in school. Jarrell ISD students have been absolutely awesome! We are so proud of how well they’ve responded to the events of the last year.

  • We’ve all gained a new appreciation for how revolutionary technology can before our students and workforce.

  • We’ve had more time with those in our immediate household. For many of us, that means more time with our precious children.

  • We’ve affirmed our commitments as a true community that cares for one another -- most recently demonstrated by the acts of kindness during last month's ice storm.

  • Some of us have longed for family and friends we haven’t been able to see for many months. Through these absences, we’ve gained a renewed appreciation for simple gestures of human connection, like a handshake or a hug.

  • And of course, our teachers and staff. The foundation of our district are the people who choose to serve the needs of our children - to shape the minds and nurture the heart of future adults. We’ve all deepened our respect and admiration for all who choose to teach.

Jarrell ISD is very grateful educators have now been included in the phased vaccine rollout. We hope more staff will now be able to receive their vaccine in the coming weeks.

Board Briefs

Board Briefs

At the March 10 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board celebrated students and staff during Cougars Roar (photos are below).

  • Igo Elementary School - Scarlett Spell (student), Kelly Henrickson (staff)

  • Jarrell Elementary School - Student Council: Vanessa Gutierrez, Sloane Holmes,

  • Brooklyn Matthews and Elizabeth Garcia; Catherine Kurten (staff)

  • Jarrell Middle School - Estephan Hernandez (student), Ashley Louder (staff)

  • Jarrell High School - Promise Simmons (student), Marie Denson (staff)

  • District Staff Group - Maintenance Department Staff - Tim Copeland, Billy Lalonde, Gary Gadison, Cade Schneider, Bryan Hunter, Dwight Culp, Chino Gonzales, and Ricky Snow.

The Board unanimously approved the consent agenda:

  • Minutes of February 24, 2021

  • Budget Amendment

  • Financial Reports

  • Check Register

  • Principal's Report

  • Enrollment Report

The following items were addressed by Dr. Hicks during Communications:

  • Wishtree - One Book One School is taking place at the elementary schools to foster conversations around the same book.

  • COVID-19 update - Jarrell ISD staff are not yet fully vaccinated. Jarrell ISD will continue to work hard to ensure the safety of students and staff and will continue with our current safety protocols.

  • Girls powerlifting went to regionals - Rachel Harville, Sydni Garza, Crystal Collins, Carrie Clawson, Alondra Camacho, Kayley Floriano, Destiny Taylor, Giseiry Arroyo, Andrea Barrientos, and Mariana Coronel. Three will compete at state - Andrea Barrientos, Destiny Taylor, and Alondra Camacho.

The Board unanimously approved the following:

  • Policy updates as presented by Assistant Superintendent Albert Hernandez.

  • TEA Waivers as presented by Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Kathleen Crowe. These waivers allow Jarrell ISD not to have to make up missed days of school due to the ice storm.

  • An order authorizing the issuance of Jarrell Independent School District Unlimited Tax Refunding Bonds as presented by Chief Financial Officer Robert Navarro. Mr. Navarro shared that this refunding will save the district an estimated $1.4 million and reduced the bond term by two years. Over the last five months, the district has saved more than $4.7 million.

New Positions

The Board approved the hiring of Emily McClung as a new teacher at Igo Elementary.

The next regular Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Admin Annex.

Cougar Family Celebrations

Staff Spotlight - Hope Gipson

Jarrell ISD is starting a new video series called Staff Spotlight. In this first video, we meet Hope Gipson, teacher and coach at Jarrell High School. She loves teaching! Ms. Gipson has lived in Japan, loves leopard print and her great, great uncle wrote Old Yeller. We are proud to have Coach Gipson as a member of the Cougar Family!
Staff Spotlight - Hope Gipson

Board Recognitions

State-Bound Powerlifters Send-off

Jarrell ISD - State Powerlifting Send off

One Act Play Advances

Jarrell High School Theatre won “Advancing Play” at Wednesday’s UIL District One Act Play competition with their production of “And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson” by Jim Leonard, Jr. Valerie Wiatrek was awarded “Outstanding Technician” for her role as Light Technician. Heather Padilla won “Outstanding Performer” for her role as Beth Willow. Rebekah Fullmer, who played Elizabeth Willow, was awarded “All Star Cast.” “Honorable Mention All-Star Cast” awards were earned by Leo Chavez for his role as Skeeter/First Man, Colleen Dundas for her role as Judith/Second Woman, and Ben Siemens for his role as Ben Willow. The JHS Theatre company will perform again at the UIL Bi-District One Act Play competition on Wednesday, March 24 at 4 pm at Jarrell High School.
We are proud to showcase excellent students and staff. To see more, follow us on Twitter @hicksJISD ; @Jarrell_ISD; @JES_cougars; @IEScougars; @jarrell_ms; and @JarrellHS.

Got celebrations to share? Send them to Thank you!

News and Information

Bond Informational Meeting on March 23

The community is invited to attend the first in-person informational meeting regarding the 2021 Bond Election on Tuesday, March 23 at 6 p.m. at the Admin Annex (former Jarrell Intermediate Cafeteria) at 508 N. 5th Street, Jarrell, TX 76537. Masks will be required.

Government Assistance Available for February Storm Damage

If you need assistance recovering from the winter storm, information and resources are available at

Reminder: March 12 is a Student Holiday & Staff Planning Day

At the November 18 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board approved amending the 2020-21 Academic Calendar by adding two planning days for staff.

To minimize disruption to students and families, the planning days were scheduled for two dates already marked as early release - Thursday, December 17 and Friday, March 12. Students will not attend school on these days. Staff will use this time to collaborate and prepare.

Need Food Items During Spring Break?

Jarrell ISD is teaming up with Nicole’s Food Pantry, LDS Church and many others to offer sack lunches to JISD Students! When: March 15th 9:00-12:00 and 6:30-8:30p.m.

Where: Nicole’s Food Pantry 237 Miller’s Loop Jarrell, Tx.

Complete the Free- and Reduced-Price Meal Application

Hey Cougars! Have you completed your application for free- or reduced-price meals? It's not too late. Click here to complete the application:

Watch this video to learn more about this important form.

Does Your Child Need Glasses?

Does your child need glasses? For exam and glasses vouchers from VSP Global, please contact your campus nurse.


  • March 12 - Student Holiday & Staff Planning
  • March 15-19 - Spring Break
  • March 23 - Bond Informational Meeting, 6 p.m., Admin Annex
  • April 1 - Student Holiday/Staff Comp Day
  • April 2 - Student/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.