PfISD Employee Express
April 21, 2022
Upcoming Events & Holidays
Below are some important dates and a few others to spark creativity or ideas for fun with your students or family.
- April 21: National Kindergarten Day
- April 22: Earth Day
- April 27: Administrative Professionals Day
- April 28: School Bus Driver Day
- April 28: National Superhero Day
- April 29: National Historic Marker Day
- April 17-23: National Volunteer Week
- April 17-23: Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week
- April 25-29: Every Kid Healthy Week
April Month Holidays
- Autism Awareness Month: Wear blue every Thursday!
- National Poetry Month
- Distracted Driving Awareness Month
- National Move More Month
Greetings from Dr. Killian
I hope your Easter break was restful and you managed to avoid the dreaded cascarones (confetti-filled Easter eggs). If you’re new to them, you probably learned the hard way that the kids should crack the eggs in their hands first, before hitting you over the head with them. Let’s just say “concussion-like symptoms,” especially if you have a big kid, and that’s enough about that …
We recently sent out a survey to our teachers asking for their feedback on the current school year. We had a great response rate and some good notes for our leadership team to discuss and help guide us as we move forward. Thank you everyone who responded to help our district grow and improve every year.
I’d like to send some congratulations to PfISD Fine Arts again landing a NAMM Foundation Best Communities for Music Education award. The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.
Our congratulations to everyone involved in music education in the district, from the parents to the music instructors and everyone in-between.
This past Thursday we had the long overdue dedication ceremony for Jessica Carpenter Elementary School. Thanks to the staff at both JCES and at the district level that prepped for such a good event, and to the Bohls Middle cheer squad and mascot for welcoming visitors to the event. Loved the school song set to an old Carpenters song, seeing the support from Mrs. Carpenter’s former coworkers at Brookhollow Elementary and providing her family members a special moment.
The students did such an amazing job, and the campus looked great, not because of what the construction company did, but due to your work and the great design by Pfluger Architects. Thanks for your perseverance to overcome the beginning-of-the-year struggles you all faced. Oh, and thanks for not throwing tomatoes at me when I thanked JCES staff at the beginning and then somehow had a PTSD flashback to the opening at Mott Elementary.
Kudos also to Hendrickson High School Tennis, for qualifying for the UIL state championships over the weekend. Student-athletes Bella Reusch and Idara Udiok will compete in Class 5A girls doubles April 26-27 in San Antonio. Congrats to them and to Coach Teri Saunders for her work with the program there. Hawk Yeah!
This week is National Volunteer Week, so we’d like to take a moment to recognize those who take time out of their busy schedules to assist our students and staff, from the PTO members to those who read to classes. See below on how you can help recognize our volunteers.
Thursday is National Kindergarten Day so we’d also like to recognize our kinder teachers. You pour your heart into caring for some of our littlest learners, who are still needing guidance in much of what they do regularly. Thank you, PfISD Kindergarten.
Also, it’s Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, so let’s give a round of applause to our Extended Day Program staff members. While many of us head home for the day, you keep the kids smiling and safe later in the day. EDP has some great photos of their site directors at work with students, such as the one below. They’re posted to their EDP Facebook page if you’d like to give them a like and a “thank you”.
In the best interest of children,
Douglas Killian, Ph.D.
Quote of the Week
Pegasus open enrollment
We’d like to remind staff members with children that our PfISD Pegasus program is currently in open enrollment. The Pegasus Program offers a high-quality, caring, and affordable pre-kindergarten experience for children of PfISD staff or their family members while also providing preschoolers with disabilities an instructional setting in which they have the opportunity to interact with typically developing peers.
Open enrollment ends April 27. For details on Pegasus, please visit www.pfisd.net/Pegasus .
PfISD suspends opening Hidden Lake ES
As shared during recent board meetings, PfISD will suspend the opening of Hidden Lake Elementary School for the 2022-2023 school year due to budget constraints.
The cost of opening a new elementary campus is an estimated $3 million on the operations side of the district. Although we recognize the need for an elementary on the east side of the district due to increasing enrollment, PfISD is also facing budget difficulties. These difficulties stem from the low attendance rate in the current year, causing a decrease in state funding, and the failure of the Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election (VATRE) in November 2021.
All students previously zoned to attend HLES will remain at their currently zoned campus. We have portables available and some additional ones ordered to meet the growing needs at Murchison ES, Rowe Lane ES, Riojas, and Mott ES.
The district is hoping for higher attendance rates in the next school year, which will generate additional state funding. Additionally, the district is exploring the option of recommending a VATRE which would bring in extra state dollars and exempt local taxes from being recaptured by the state.
We wanted to provide this information as soon as possible to give proper planning time for our elementary families. We apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment this causes our families; we also anticipated welcoming students to our newest campus.
Retirement Notices & Banquet
As preparations are underway to honor our teachers and humanitarians of the year along with our retirees at the upcoming Employee Recognition Banquet, if you plan to retire and have not submitted paperwork with the district, please do so at your earliest convenience.
The Human Resources Department needs time to process the paperwork and then relay the list of retirees to Community Relations, who will send official invites to retirees. This is important in order to have an accurate headcount for the banquet and dinner service.
Next week (April 17-23) is National Volunteer week. We know we have not been able to have as many volunteers on our campus this year as we typically do. However, we still want to highlight those volunteers who come into our schools and make a difference.
If you have any photos of volunteers on your campus (PTO, those who work in the staff lounge, those who read to classes, etc.), please send them to the SocialMedia@pfisd.net account and we will share them on our district social media. Thank you!
Just a reminder that STAAR testing takes place next month. Testing begins May 10 with End of Course Algebra I, U.S. History and Biology at the high schools. Students will take one state assessment per day. No visitors are allowed on campus during testing dates.
Testing continues the rest of that week, as well as May 16-20, with make-ups on May 13 and 20.
In an effort to reduce stress that is specific to assessments, a few resources have been compiled for campus use. The resources include several books that may be appropriate for read-alouds. It may be appropriate to plan some lessons for particular students if there is a significant need.
Best of luck to everyone involved in STAAR testing. For more information on STAAR testing, visit our website at www.pfisd.net/STAAR .
We recently hosted the District 18-5A track and field meet on April 12-13 at Weiss High School. First- through fourth-place finishers advance to the Area meet, and Hendrickson girls and Weiss boys were named district champion teams. We have about 70 athletes competing in the area stage. Congrats to all our track and field athletes.
We also had two Weiss coaches, girls soccer coach Kelsey Hill and boys basketball coach Daniel Miller, being named 2022 Coach of the Year in their respective sports. Congratulations to both of you and thank you for all your hard work and long hours put in.
We had some high school golfers who advanced to the regional round this week in Montgomery. Students were still on the greens at the time of this so hopefully we’ll have some good news to report next week.
This late in the year, and our softball and baseball programs are rounding third toward the playoffs. As of Tuesday morning, PHS was in first place in softball at an outstanding 11-1, with Weiss in third and aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in its history.
In baseball, we have Hendrickson in first place, but Connally took a big win Tuesday over the Hawks. Weiss and PHS were tied at second, with less than a week of play left in the season.
If you can, catch a softball or baseball game this week before the ping of the bat can be heard no more on campus this year. If soccer is your thing, our middle schools can still be found playing as well.
Hendrickson High School FFA Floral
Four HHS FFA Floral Team students have qualified for state competition after the FFA Area 12 Floral Design Area Competition that took place earlier this month at Texas A&M. This team has worked so hard for the past 3 YEARS to make it to this point. Last year we were 2 spots away from advancing. Their individual placings are out of 108 individuals:
- Amanda Burgess – placing 9th individual (3 years on the team)
- Skyler Vickers – 7th place individual (3 years on the team)
- Amanda Nelson – 22nd individual (2 years on the team)
- Chloe Cox – 25th individual (2 years on the team)
Hendrickson HS FFA Floral Design Team
Pflugerville High School FFA
The PHS FFA Dairy Cattle Judging team competed at Area contest on April 13, placing fourth, and qualified for state contest on April 28.
Team members are:
- Anna Lanford (4th high point individual)
- Mel McKinney
- Elisabeth Ziegler
- Katelynn Litchfield
PfISD Carpentry students compete
(Photos are in this Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1OkV1HVKSuLYLxHAbP4b7GvgHtpPQkAPM?usp=sharing)
On Saturday, April 9, seven teams of Carpentry students from CHS, HHS, PHS and PACE convened at the PACE campus to have an intra-district Carpentry competition. This was an extensive six-hour framing competition where students followed a set of provided blueprints to build a structure with no help from their high school teachers.
During their lunch break, Robert Polanco, City of Pflugerville building official, talked with each group and made suggestions on how to better perfect their builds. Mid-afternoon, the students reached their maximum build time, they quit building, and the judging began.
Final results of the competition are:
- 1st place – CHS “Team A”
- Jonathon Bonilla, Brayan Barrera, Alejandro Moreno, and Jason Esquivel-Moreno
- 2nd place – HHS “Team B”
- 3rd place – PHS “Team A”
- 4th place – PACE Team
- 5th place – HHS “Team A”
- 6th place – CHS “Team B”
- 7th place – PHS “Team B”
- Dylan Dance – Pre-construction manager at Buffalo Framing & Truss
- Ray Lorio & Doug Hain – both building construction instructors at ACC
- John Smith – ICCS Academy
Junior Achievement Field Trip
This event is designed to help female students hear from professional women discussing behavioral finance, the benefits of entrepreneurial thinking, the power of the female founder, their access to venture capital, and more. The students were accompanied by Weiss CTE Business teacher, Stephanie Matula.
Student Intradistrict Transfer Windows & Updates
Beginning with the 2022-23 school year transfer process, for the first time, PreK and Kindergarten students will be eligible to apply for transfers. PreK transfer applicants must submit the Pre-K Eligibility Screener before applying for a transfer request via the Student Affairs application. Submitting a PK eligibility screener and transfer application is not a guarantee of transfer approval.
The application window is from March 21 through April 29. Please visit our Student Transfer Information page for more: https://www.pfisd.net/Page/7316
Substitute Teachers Needed
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, PfISD needs more substitute teachers than ever. Beginning substitutes earn $120 per day, and this can go up based on certification and the number of days worked. To qualify to serve as a substitute in the Pflugerville Independent School District, you must be at least 21 years of age and have a high school diploma. All applicants must complete the online substitute application and attend a Guest Educator orientation.
Each week I like to recognize some of our staff members who have made a positive impact. If you know someone who deserves to be recognized for the passionate service they provide to their coworkers, students or any other member of our community, you may nominate them.
Please use the link below and bookmark it for future use if you happen to know lots of worthy Pfamily members and plan to submit Kudos every week.
Now on to this week's Kudos!
Grayson Martorell and EDP directors (via anonymous): “I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to Grayson for working hard to get a grant that has not only helped EDP but also the entire district. Also, a shout out to the EDP directors for all the work they did to be TRS Certified! Keep up the awesome work EDP!”
Terrance Summers of Provan Opportunity Center (via Sabia Williams): “He is a hard worker.”
Elsa Rosas of Provan Opportunity Center (via Sabia Williams): “Elsa is a hard worker and she always keeps a beautiful smile while fulfilling her duties.”
Nadia Ramirez and Yadira Guzman Torres of Parmer Lane Elementary and Westview Middle (via Lauren Wright of Parmer Lane): “Our 5th graders have worked so hard in our fundraiser and our profit is way over our goal and even beyond our expectations. Because of this, we wanted to use some of the profits to buy our kids tickets for the Spring Fling at Westview, but we didn't know if that was going to be possible. Thanks to Nadia and Yadira, they were able to figure out a way that we can make that happen for our students. They are going to be so excited to hear the news! Thank you for going the extra mile for our kids!”
Panther Learning Center tutors Mary Pennington, Marissa Stewart, Michael Putnam, Jacqueline Jacobs, Ryann Morgan, Elijah Ramos, LaShonda Moore, Michaela Lyons and Leilah Wesley (via Autumn Hendrickson): “These wonderful, amazing teachers have done so much to help PHS students. Thank you for helping me launch the Panther Learning Center and make it successful. Because of your efforts, we have been able to expand and help more students meet their academic goals.”
Cara Schwartz of Special Programs (via anonymous): “So many times our leaders are in thankless positions and never hear the words ‘thank you’ often enough. We want to take some time to thank Cara for the work she does. Not only has she taken on many other duties this year, she still makes time for her team and models positive leadership every single day even through the tough situations. Thank you for being the amazing leader that you are Cara. We see you, we appreciate you, we value you and we are so thankful to have you.”
Riojas, Highland Park, Northwest, Murchison and Dessau Elementary office staffs (via anonymous): “I want to thank them for making me feel so welcomed as a substitute. They are all wonderful. After working with the district for 15 years in an office and now subbing in the office I was sort of nervous but they make me feel at home. I no longer have a favorite school; they are all the best and all hard workers! From the principals to the APs, secretaries receptionists, registrars, nurses and 504 people … what great teams! I saw many happy parents leaving the schools and laughs and that starts with the front office staff! Feels great to be a sub when you have great people!”
This school year, we will continue to find learning opportunities and activities to prepare our students for success in and out of the classroom.
Together this Pfamily can do anything, and through the challenges, we are #MovingPforward.
In the best interest of children,
Dr. Douglas Killian
PfISD Superintendent of Schools