Parent Newsletter!

September 03, 2021

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.


Please click on this link to access PfISD Covid -19 Dashboard

PfISD Pfamily Pflyer

Please click here to access PFISD Weekly Communication

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School Hours - 7:35 a.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Front Doors Open at 7:15 a.m.

Dear Highland Park Families,

Our students had a wonderful week full of learning! It’s been exciting getting to know them and building those key relationships! My favorite part of the day is when I welcome our students to our campus at the front door in the mornings and seeing how excited they are to come to school! Thank you for entrusting your child to us as we strive to passionately serve their needs and yours. Please let me know how we can support you.

Please continue to remind your child to socially distance as much as possible, wash their hands, and wear a mask.

I hope you have a wonderful three-day break with your little ones! Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions at all.

Highland Park Bulldogs WOOF!

Warm Regards,

Lizbeth Ruiz


Highland Park Elementary


We are seeing a high number of student tardies in the mornings. Keep in mind that traffic is heavy during morning drop off and plan accordingly. The best time to drop students off is between 7:15-7:25 as there is less traffic at this time. Please help us by getting the students to school on time.


This week our students started taking the beginning of the year assessments. These assessments are not for a grade. They are used to help teachers best instruct your child throughout the school year. It is important that your child does the best they can, without help, so that the teacher can plan lessons for your child. Teachers will share testing results during Parent Conference Day.

Please see open testing windows below:

08/23-09/22- Math Assessment for Kinder & Reading Assessment for Grades Kinder - 2

08/12-10/05- PK Assessment


While we at HPES try to minimize fundraising, there are worthwhile opportunities we like to pursue periodically that are not covered in the ordinary budget and require additional funding. These opportunities are rewarding, educationally beneficial, and fun for our students. Please help us raise funds by participating in our Big Kahuna Fall Fundraiser!
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  • HPES is following PfISD Covid 19 safety protocols and guidance.
  • We are asking all students and staff to wear a mask while at school.
  • If a student forgets their mask, they will be provided one upon entering the campus.
  • We thank you for your support, as we continue to have the student's health and safety at the forefront.
  • Information on our current protocols and practices is available on our Return to Learn plan at: HPES Return to Learn Guidelines


  • Please send your child with at least 2 clean masks (they can wear one, and keep one in their backpack in case they lose it, or something happens to the one they are wearing) We will have extras but we know children feel more comfortable with their own.

  • Please send your child with a water bottle. Students cannot drink directly from the water fountains. They will be using the water filter system and water fountains to refill their water bottle as needed.


Free Breakfast & Lunch for ALL students!

Sept 2021 Breakfast & Lunch Menu


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

  • 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.


  • Students may wear a college shirt on Wednesdays and a school spirit shirt on Fridays
  • Tardy bell rings at 7:35, with announcements starting promptly at 7:35.


Here are a few ways to stay informed. Follow us on Facebook @HighlandParkES and on Twitter @HighlandPark_ES. School communications will also be sent out through Peach Jar via email. Please, open emails from Peach Jar to stay informed of campus and district information. On Tuesdays, an HPES folder will be sent home with flyers and information. Please be sure to look out for the folder on Tuesdays. Additionally, please sign-up for our mailing list at You will receive a monthly campus newsletter through the mailing list. You can also find a copy of a newsletter like this one on our campus webpage under “Principal’s blog”


We are lucky to have such a wonderful PTO at our school who helps us in so many ways! Please consider joining this wonderful group of parents and join HPES Team!

Next PTO Meeting:

Date: Septemeber 9, 2021

Time 6:30-7:30p.m.

Location: Via Zoom (login information will be shared by classroom teachers)

Stay connected with the HPES PTO!



Instagram: @hpes.pto

Text at @HPESPTO to 81010 to get event info via text!


Our Let's Talk platform is designed for parents to ask questions or submit comments. It has a submission for questions on the following topics: Payroll, Food Services/Meals, Technology, HR/Benefits/Leaves, Online Learning, Google Classroom, and General Coronavirus Questions. Additionally, there is a section for each campus to direct any questions or comments directly to the principal and the senior administrative associate a the campus. Click here to learn more about the system.


Have a staff member who really matters and whom you want to recognize? Let’s recognize our HPES Bulldogs, no kudos is too big or too small!

Campus Kudos

  • Yolanda Reyes: Yolanda is a shining example of naturally lifting up students and staff through restorative practices. She has such a good heart and cares for us all!

  • Kathryn Vagalatos: Kathryn makes BLS so rewarding for our students. Last year my students couldn't WAIT until BLS with Ms. V and they just soared! Other students were asking how they could sign up for her class--lol!!! This year my students are already asking when she's going to come--they just love her so much. Kathryn is such a team player and makes sure to touch base with teachers and parents about the goals our students are reaching. Three cheers for Kathryn!

  • Karen Lowther: Karen is always looking to help anyone in any way she can. She is positive and encouraging in even the most difficult situations. She goes the extra mile and takes the time to check on everyone around her. She is the true definition of kindness.

  • Miranda Barcena: Miranda, our ARD facilitator, for seeming to know absolutely EVERYTHING but never making you feel bad for asking a question. You're great!

  • Betsy Kinsey: Betsy patiently helped 10 or more of us lined up in her room last week with Canvas issues and other tech questions. Betsy is an awesome resource and always helps in a kind, patient way without making anyone feel tech challenged!

  • Emily Pleasanton: Emily single-handedly cleaned and organized our science lab on Saturday--certainly not an easy task by any means. Yay, Emily! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Gina Lochner, Daniel McMinn Reyna, Marsha Munoz: Thank you Gina, Daniel, and Marsha for answering scads of questions and troubleshooting for us as we navigate TPRI/Tango. You guys are awesome!!!!

If you have any kudos you’d like to share, you can submit them through two different avenues:

Superintendents Mid-Week Message Kudos or HPES Bulldog Weekly News Kudos

Remember, one small positive thought or compliment can change a person's entire day. :)


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

Sept. 06 - No School- Labor Day

Sept. 07- Wear Red, White, and Blue in Honor of Labor Day

Sept. 09- PTO Meeting, 6:30-7:30 p.m. ( via zoom, login info. will be shared soon)

Sept. 15-Oct. 15 National Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 16- Wear Hispanic Heritage Attire

Sept. 16- Progress report goes home to parents

Sept. 29 - CAAC Meeting

Oct. 8- No School for kids, parent conference day for staff

Oct. 11- No School- Columbus Day

Oct. 12- 2nd 9 weeks begin

Oct. 14- 1st 9 weeks report card goes home

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As a reminder, all breakfast and lunch meals are free this year, to all PfISD students. This does not include ala carte items.

Despite the complimentary meals, it is imperative for households to complete and submit a free and reduced application for school accountability purposes. Fill out the form here


Clarification regarding approved visitors on campus:

We are still honoring what was shared at the beginning of the school year:

If a visitor is on campus for educational purposes:

  • Tutor

  • Mentor

  • Reading Buddy

  • Private Lesson Teacher

  • Counselor/Social Worker

  • Social Services

  • Individual Educational Supports

  • Providing direct educational services to students...

If they fit the description above, then, yes, they can still be on campus. A volunteer to be on campus for cutting materials, laminating, etc., are not there for direct student learning impact. They will not be allowed on campus.

We are not allowing parents/guests on campus to eat with their children, walk their children to class, etc. If you have any questions, please make sure you reach out. Any approved visitor on campus must honor our social distancing and masking expectations.


Dear Families –

To say the last school year was challenging is an understatement, but our teachers and staff did an amazing job navigating through some incredibly difficult circumstances. Our PTO Team, who is also a small group of volunteers, tried their best to continue engaging and supporting our school as best as possible. However, we regret to inform you that we could not put together a yearbook filled with wonderful photos due to limited on-site access and sourcing enough photos to put together a complete yearbook. To that end, after reviewing many options, we will be refunding all monies for purchased yearbooks and advertisements. We know that this may be difficult news to hear (especially if your child was a 5th grader), and it certainly isn’t what we would have liked to happen, but we feel it is the best option at this time. Thank you for understanding.


Please make sure to review this as there are significant changes.


If you did not see PfISD communications over the weekend, we have updated our protocols regarding masks on all our campuses and facilities. PfISD now requires masks to be worn by all students, staff, and visitors. Many of you have voiced your opinion at Monday night’s Board meeting via email or social media. Your opinions are heard and valued. PfISD will keep its mask mandate in place at this time, as it is a matter of reducing the opportunities for COVID-19 to spread among our community. The number of cases continues to rise, with the Delta variant gaining a stronger foothold in some areas. Masking can help limit the spread and keep our hospitals and ICUs from being overrun.


Please make sure to review our dismissal updates and map below.

Beginning Monday, August 23rd, the bus loop will be used for BUSSES & DAYCARE ONLY. We are asking parents to please not drive or park in the bus loop area.

  • The only exception is if you have a handicap tag and are handicapped parking is available in this area.
  • If you are needing to park and pick up your child, you may park at the front of the school parking area, or on Kingston Lacy.
  • If you are parked at the bus loop, one of our staff members will be asking you to move your vehicle.
  • If you are driving through the bus loop, one of our staff members will be asking you to turn around and exit the bus loop.
  • This is to ensure the safety of students as they are dismissed through the 100 & 300 hallways.
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Every time we fail to follow procedures, we are less safe. With increased student enrollment is imperative that we follow procedures. Please continue being consistent with bringing/showing us your child's dismissal tag when picking them up after school. Remember the parent dismissal tag, must match the child’s tag. This goes for car riders also, please ensure that you have a tag displayed on the windshield when picking your child up through the car lane. If you are missing a tag, please let your child's teacher know or call the front office so we can provide you with one.

PfISD Mask Guidance: Non- Compliance with Travis County Mask Mandate

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PfISD is currently in need of more substitutes and guest educators, and we strive to provide the best possible qualified substitutes to ensure the quality of educators our students have. If you enjoy working with kids and can work on an on-call basis, being a substitute teacher may be for you.

To qualify to serve as a substitute in PfISD, you must be at least 21 years of age and have a high school diploma. If you hold a valid teaching certificate, are bilingual in Spanish or Vietnamese or have extensive skills/background in a high-need area, your qualification consideration is accelerated.

Applicants must complete an application online here.


All staff will be on duty to support students and assisting them in locating their classrooms. Grades PK-2nd should arrive with a label to indicate their name and teacher.

7:10 a.m Bus students arrive on campus

7:15 a.m Front Doors open for car riders, walkers, and bike riders

7:20 a.m. Teachers will welcome students into their classrooms

7:35 a.m. First Bell- Students dismissed from the cafeteria if eating breakfast

7:40 a.m. Tardy Bell- Students arriving after this time report directly to the office

  • The building will open at 7:10 a.m. for bus riders and 7:15 a.m. for car riders and walkers.

  • 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 7:10 a.m. If they are eating breakfast they will go directly to the cafeteria, if they are not eating breakfast they will go to the gym and wait. The bus riders in the gym will be sent to class at 7:15.

  • 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.

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

  • We are asking all students to wear a face mask. We will have masks available and will offer these to students who forget one.


With over 700 students learning on campus we have noticed morning traffic is heavier than usual. Please remember the tardy bell rings at 7:35, instruction begins promptly, and every minute counts. We need your help with a few key things that we think will help with morning drop-off.

  • When dropping off your child please make sure they have everything ready, backpack, lunch bag, water bottle, and face mask. Students should exit on the right side of the vehicle as the left side has passing vehicles.
  • If you are needing to help your child out of the car or getting their things ready, please pull into our parking lot and park. You will need to then walk your child across the crosswalk to the front door.
  • Please do not park and send your child alone across the parking lot, there are many moving vehicles and this is very unsafe.
  • When exiting the campus parking lot, please note that there is a "DO NOT TURN LEFT" sign below the stop sign. As you exit, please turn right towards Heatherwilde and not towards the neighborhood. Turning left holds up the drop-off line, may cause students to be late, upset parents behind you, and unnecessary stress to students getting dropped off.
  • Finally please be kind to our staff on duty. These staff members are outside at 7:15 a.m. every day to help get our students in the building. We understand at times stress is high, but we need to work together, provide each other grace, and support one another.
  • Please know that our number one priority is student safety. We love our students and want to welcome everyone in a happy and safe environment.

We are hoping the key actions above will help everyone get to their destination safely and on time. As always, we thank you for your help and support!


All staff will be on duty to support students and ensure social distancing during dismissal. Please make sure to inform your child's teacher how your child will need to go home.

Students will be dismissed in the following order:

  • Pre K /Pegasus

  • 100 Hallway

  • 200 Hallway

  • 300 Hallway

  • 400 Hallway

  • First group to be dismissed: Bus riders will be called over the 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 the 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 the assigned grade level area. Students will be asked to sit and wait for their parents while maintaining social distance.

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


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 campus information.

Registrar: Miriam Ruvalcaba –

Student records, registration, residency questions, attendance, transfers, withdrawal, and student records.

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 curriculum.

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!


Please check your email for an important message regarding a password reset for your child's district account, a temporary password & instructions on how to change their password.



School Supply Lists

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

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.

Highland Park Elementary Return to Learn in Person Reminders