Kiker Comments January 11, 2022

A Joint Newsletter from the Bernice Kiker Admin Team & PTA

In This Edition...

  • Upcoming Events
  • Attendance Notes
  • Covid Updates
  • Covid Positive and Close Contact Scenarios Explained
  • No Name Calling Week
  • Counselor's Corner
  • After School Programs
  • 5th Grade Family News
  • Drop Off and Pick Up Reminders
  • PTA News
  • PTA Principal Coffee Talk
  • Get Involved With the PTA
  • Workroom Volunteers
  • Get to Know the Staff
  • January Staff Birthdays
  • AISD News -Recruiting Substitutes and Crossing Guards
  • Repeated Information (from previous newsletters)
  • Kiker Keynotes Choir On Hold
  • Covid Testing Hub Information
  • All the Links to Everything You Need
  • Lunch Menu

Upcoming Events

January 2022

10-18 - Map Growth Testing for Grades K-5th Students

17 - Staff and Student Holiday in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

18-21 - No Name Calling Week - Dress Up Days Below

25 - Class Pictures AND Individual RETAKES from the Fall

28 - 5th Grade Field Trip to GMS for Tour and Choice Sheets


1 - Lockdown Drill

4 - NAEP Testing for Select 4th Graders

21 - Parent Teacher Conference Day - No School for Students

Attendance Notes

Please send all attendance notes to the front office or email to


Covid Cases

As we shared in our letter over the weekend, we are so appreciative of the efforts of our community to stay home when symptomatic or while waiting for COVID test results. The percentage of students and staff who tested positive who were never on campus is a great indicator of how cautious our community is. Thank you! We also understand that some people are testing positive who are asymptomatic and had no indication that they should have stayed home.

While our goal is to keep you updated in real time, the information we must gather for each case takes time to collect, and, with the increased volume in cases, it takes longer to stay caught up. Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this.

To help us expedite the process, we have included the information needed for each positive case:

  • Date symptoms began or why tested
  • What symptoms and severity
  • Date of Covid test and results
  • Vaccination status of your child with the date of most recent vaccination (if applicable)
  • Other than the students they sit with in class, any other students we should notify for close contact

The expectations for staff/students who test positive and the expectations/choices for those who are considered a close contact individual are included below. We read through AISD protocols regularly, so feel free to contact the front office or admin with any questions.

Changes to Quarantine Procedures - Various Scenarios Explained

AISD recently updated its Covid protocol again.

1) A Kiker Comet (staff/student) tests positive:

- Notify the front office or admin team and provide the answers to the questions above (or we will call you to collect that information).

- Stay home and isolate from people in the home to the best of your ability.

- Stay home for five days, if the Comet is asymptomatic on Day 6 (Day of positive result = Day 0) without the use of fever reducing medication, he/she may return to school.

-Comets must be home for at least 5 days AND be asymptomatic for 24 hours to return to school.

2) A Kiker Comet (staff/student), regardless of vaccination status, is a close contact

AND has symptoms. The following is necessary to return to school:

-Option 1 - Negative PCR test AND improved symptoms

-Option 2 - Note from a physician with an alternate diagnosis

-Option 3 - 5 day isolation and asymptomatic to return

3) A Kiker Comet (staff/student) is a close contact AND is fully vaccinated (2 weeks past the 2nd shot) AND is asymptomatic:

-Monitor symptoms.

-Test if you develop any symptoms or choose peace of mind testing.

-Staying home is not required, fully vaccinated and asymptomatic Comets may attend school daily

4) A Kiker Comet (staff /student) is a close contact AND is either not vaccinated or partially vaccinated AND is asymptomatic. (Day of close contact = Day 0.)

There are 3 options.

- Option 1 - Quarantine for 5 days and return on Day 6 if asymptomatic.

- Option 2 - Quarantine for 4 days and test on day 5 if asymptomatic, if negative, attend school, if positive, go home and see positive section above.

- Option 3 (called Test to Stay) - Continue attending school/work and required to test on Day 5 by AISD staff or testing partner. If negative on Day 5, Comet will continue as usual. If positive on Day 5, Comet required to start the 5 day isolation at that time.

5) A Kiker Comet (staff/student) is a close contact in the home and is NOT able to isolate in the home AND is asymptomatic

-Comet will quarantine for 5 days from the date of the family member’s positive test result. (Day of positive result = Day 0)

-In the event that an additional family member becomes positive, the date of the new test result will reset the 5 day quarantine period.

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No Name Calling Week

No Name - Calling Week Theme Days

Tuesday : Crazy About Being Kind - Crazy Socks

Wednesday: Team Up Against Teasing - Team Jersey/Team Shirt

Thursday: Put a Cap On Hate - Wear a Hat or Headband

Friday: It's No "Sweat" to be a Friend to Someone - Wear Sweats

Counselors' Corner

The Kiker Comet Counselors are so honored to be the recipient of a generous PTA Grant this year. We are creating a Peace Corner in the new counseling office, and the money will go to this project. Thank you, Kiker PTA!

The counseling team is also constructing an awesome Brain Lab in their office as well. This was funded by Ms. Melanie Buck from Austin through the Donors Choose program. Ms. Buck donated the full amount for the Brain Lab at Kiker!

We are so appreciative to have such a supportive community who is eager to help us create these safe spaces for our Comets.

What Does a School Counselor Do?

Guidance Lessons

Counselors meet with students in their classrooms on a regular basis to help develop academic, personal, and social abilities. Examples of topics are conflict resolution, test anxiety, equality, cultural competence, team building, healthy study habits, mindfulness, anti – bullying, and self-regulation strategies.

Individual and Group Services

Counselors are available to help students when a concern arises that is affecting their social or emotional wellbeing. If several students share a need, small group responsive services can be implemented.

We also can assist with goal settings, transition to middle school, transitioning to school from virtual learning, and we offer resources for parents/guardians to help with student needs.

Parent and counselor consultations are available. Please call or email to set up a time (email & phone listed below).

Breathing Techniques

When students have big feelings, many like to do deep breathing exercises to calm themselves. Below is a clip of an example of a deep breathing exercise that you can practice at home! Thank you for extending what they are learning at Kiker and implementing it at home.

You Tube: Candle and Flower Breathing

Mr. Macias and I have enjoyed getting to know the students at Kiker, and we look forward to an amazing spring semester!

With Care,

Jennifer Wendtland-Salinas & Vicente Macias

(512) 841 - 3582

After School Programs

After School Enrichment

Did you know our Comets have a variety of after school activities in which to participate? This fall, after school activities will include coding, art, cooking, Spanish, and more. For a full listing, please visit the after school enrichment page on our website to learn more and see the wonderful variety of classes and programs offered!

What's New?

Register now for...

Mighty Kids Chess Club

Coding for Kids

Wicked Workshop Youth Architecture Program

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5th Grade Family News

Gorzycki MS Visit

Each year, all 5th grade students, whether they plan to attend Gorzycki Middle School or not, take a field trip to GMS for a tour and to work on their choice sheets (signing up for the classes for next year).

This year, a bus will be provided on January 28 for our 5th graders to head over for a short visit.

Please see the graphic below for more information.

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Drop off and Pick up Reminders

Please follow these procedures to help us run our drop off and pick up more efficiently. We appreciate your help.

  • Refrain from parking in the staff lot on Dahlgreen. This is for buses and staff only.
  • To the greatest extent possible, stay in your car if you are in the drop off circle drive. Staff are available to help your child exit the car. When parents/caregivers exit the car, it can cause significant delays in our line. If you need additional time to exit, consider parking on LaCrosse and walking up.
  • Use crosswalks any time you are crossing the street. Little eyes are watching and learning by example.
  • When turning from LaCrosse into the circle drive, alternate one car from the eastbound side, one car from the westbound side.

PTA News

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Let’s Talk…On Thursday

The PTA invites you to our first Principal’s Coffee Talk for 2022 on Thursday, January 13 at 8:00 am. This is a virtual event. Have a question for the PTA or for Mrs. Matheny? You may ask questions during the Coffee Talk, or you may submit questions here:

Zoom link

meeting ID: 811 4134 2188

password: BKE

Ways to get involved with PTA

We have a place for you!

If you are new to our school or just looking for a place to make a difference, please visit our website to find out about volunteer opportunities. You can also contact, Lauren Elizondo and Megan Hoenig, our volunteer coordinators at

Come Hang Out in the Teacher Workroom!

Come Hang Out in the Teacher Workroom!

Come help in the teacher workroom and make copies, laminate, and set up classroom projects. Sign up below.

Get to know the staff

Each week will will feature a few staff members.
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January Birthdays

1- Danilo Bigornia

9 - Stephanie Toman

16 - Marcelina Ibanez

21 - Kaitlynn Perch Youins

22 - Jan Squyres

AISD News - Recruiting Substitutes and Crossing Guards

Substitutes Needed

All across the country schools are experiencing a shortage of substitutes. This is true for the schools in AISD, including Kiker. If you have the time and inclination, we encourage parents/guardians/grandparents to sign up with AISD to be a substitute. You can work every day or you can choose the days that work best for you. You can go to many different campuses or you can only work when assignments come up at particular campuses. You can even decide the content areas/grade level where you are willing to pick up jobs. If you or someone you know is interested you can apply at
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Repeated Information

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Kiker Keynotes - On Hold

4th and 5th Grade Kiker Keynotes *Postponed*

Kiker Keynotes will be postponed until further notice. Please keep a look out in the Kiker Comments for further information. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Machado.

Thank you for supporting our choir.

Tiffany Cortez-Machado

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Free Covid Testing for Staff and Students - 8:00-2:00 Daily With Completed Consent (QR Code Above)

Starting Nov. 1, students and staff will have access to a free rapid antigen testing program through a new partnership with Concentric by Ginkgo. Kiker is a hub and has Concentric Staff on site in Portable 6B daily. (FYI - there is no classroom on the 6A side of the portable.). The direct line is 512-841-7857, appointments are not accepted. This is a first come, first served process or, until they run out of tests for the day.

Why it matters: Research shows that the more people get tested, the safer everyone is from the spread of COVID-19. You’ll be able to access rapid antigen or PCR tests (when available) at 11 sites across Austin.

  • Students and staff can get a test at will for any reason, whether you’ve been exposed or are just looking for peace of mind.
  • Sites include: Travis, Northeast Akins, Norman-Sims, Pillow, Kiker, Eastside, Cunningham, Navarro, Blazier, McCallum .
  • Testing will run 8 a.m. -2 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Yes, but: Only students with completed consent forms can get a test. Consent form via QR code above.

  • This is an opt-in program, so no one will participate if they don’t want to.

Completing the consent form takes about five minutes on a computer or smartphone.

  • When completing the consent form, use this code: AISDTEST
  • If you have more than one child, please complete the form for each one.

Dive deeper: For more information, visit Concentric by Ginkgo’s website, reach out to our Let’s Talk portal or send a text to 512-886-6434.

Printable Lunch Menu - January

Library Volunteers: View Openings by Clicking Here

Email to sign up

A Message From the Cafeteria

At AISD Food Service, our top priority is to ensure all students have access to healthy, tasty meals. The country is dealing with a nationwide food service worker shortage, directly impacting AISD; we currently have over 100 open positions, in addition to managing COVID-19 protocols. Because of this, changes in school meal operations and menus may occur. Please note, any menu changes will not be reflected on or on printed menus.

Bernice Kiker Elementary Administration Team

Cory Matheny - Principal

Alma Chapa Moore - Assistant Principal

Kelly Meyer - Assistant Principal