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From GES PTA President, Stephanie Jackson Turner

Welcome to our first GES PTA Digital Newsletter! We are excited to switch to a digital edition to have more frequent newsletters and save valuable PTA dollars and paper!
The PTA newsletter allows us to update GES Parents on upcoming events, showcase some of our successes and allow us to provide you with valuable information .
We hope you enjoy our first newsletter!

What a wonderful start to the school year we are having! I am so proud to represent Grapevine Elementary again this year as the 2015-2016 PTA President. My name is Stephanie Turner, and my children are Natalee, fourth grade, and Jack, second grade. My husband, Will, and I have been Grapevine residents since 1999. I have been involved in this community since making it our home and have been an active Realtor for over eleven years.

So why join PTA? Together, we can work to fill in the gaps of budget cuts, teacher and staff support, and to foster our sense of community by ensuring that every child has a voice. Did you know that last year alone, GES PTA gave back over $43,300 in capital improvements and programs for our campus and district? These improvements or donations include a hands-on nature center that is being incorporated in our classroom lesson plans, hosting various events like our annual Carnival of the Stars, Dads’ Club crawfish boil, Diversity Night, a talent show, and even brought in a special guest from the North Pole! PTA also sponsors scholarships for two graduating former GES students, plus contributes to the GCISD Education Foundation which in turn awards scholarships as well. Reflections, Starbright Express and Destination Imagination are also PTA-funded programs in which our students can express their creativity and compete on a district and state level.

We also support our teachers and staff in numerous ways: each teacher receives a reimbursement for some classroom expenses; we purchased a Writer’s Workshop program, a Mathematics Resource library for all grade levels; and provide Staff lunches and goodies throughout the year.

We do so many wonderful things for our GES students, staff and families; which is not be possible without your support. We have so many wonderful things to look forward to this year, and I am honored to serve with you in this exciting 21st year of Grapevine Elementary School’s history!

Stephanie Turner

Like GES PTA on Facebook to see photos from our events and reminders of upcoming PTA initiatives!

2015 GES CARNIVAL OF STARS Saturday, November 7, 2PM-5PM

Make plans with your family now to attend the most fun event of the school year!

Look for communication from your homeroom parent regarding your class basket and booth assignment!

We will have carnival favorites, such as:

  • Carnival games
  • Bounce houses, dodgeball, bungee run, obstacle course, laser tag and a climbing wall!
  • Cake/Book walk
  • Silent auction

Back this year is the Chili Cook Off. Do you or someone in your family make great chili? Sign up to participate! Sign Up sheets has been sent home, or you can contact Megan Holladay for sign up information. (

Your homeroom parent will reach out to you for help with the carnival.

You can help by:

  • Donating an item for your class basket (due Wednesday, October 26th).
  • Volunteer for your class carnival booth (see 'sign-up genius' link below)
  • Making the class poster/sign for the booth (due Monday, November 2nd.)
  • Donating cake, 2-liter bottle of soda and book (due Friday, November 6th.)
  • Finally and most importantly, reaching out to local business and asking for Auction donations (contact Auction Chair for the letter).

We also need baskets and containers to hold the silent auctions items! If you have any that you would like to donate, please call or email your address to the Carnival Chair, Diana Greene. Simply leave them on your front porch, and we will take them off your hands. Containers for the silent auction items may include: wicker baskets, small laundry baskets, picnic baskets, mesh sports bags, clean 5-gallon paint buckets, magazine racks, craft storage boxes and small or medium coolers.

A large part of our Carnival fundraising comes from the Silent Auction Baskets. The more donations we have the more money we can raise!

If you have any questions, please contact:

---Carnival Chair: Diana Greene,, (831-325-6290)

--- Auction Chairs and Homeroom Coordinator: Mandy, (214-282-6726)

Heidi Doty, (214-766-1805)

To sign up for 1/2 an hour at your class booth:

From our Principal, Ms. Liz Hilcher

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year at Grapevine Elementary School! I am thrilled to join such a wonderful learning community this year. I feel blessed to be your principal and appreciate the warm welcome you and your children have shown me. It promises to be an exciting year full of new experiences for us all!

Our mission in GCISD is to be the B.E.S.T. and we define that as Building Excellent Schools Together! Our long range ten year strategic plan, LEAD 2021, is in its 5th year and has brought about innovative thinking and increased dedication to our students in all departments. We are redefining education because your child’s future matters TODAY! As a new member of the GES family, I have made a few important observations about our campus. First, we take pride in developing our students socially, emotionally and academically. Our teachers and staff look constantly look for ways to best meet the needs of our students. We are practicing new approaches to designing engaging and relevant work for our students and share our successes with the community.

My second observation is that at GES we have a high level of parental involvement and support. This level of participation is unmatched and our students definitely benefit from it. Teachers and parents working together provides a unique learning environment that fosters each student learning something new each day! I hope you will follow along as we tell our story on Twitter this year. Be sure to follow @GESStars and our hashtag #GESshineon to gain a better understanding of our work and how we are redefining education at Grapevine Elementary!

My door is always open and I encourage you to stop by and share your child’s successes and ask any questions you may have about the many programs we have here at GES. Feel free to call or email me if I can be of any assistance. Thank you for supporting our school and most importantly, for entrusting us with educating your precious children each day!

Liz Hilcher


Link to Homeroom Parents for 2015-2016

Please send your email address to your homeroom parent so they can easily contact you about all of our upcoming events!


This year we are excited to be partnering with a fun, free, and truly easy fundraiser called Shoparoo! Schools nationwide are already earning hundreds and even thousands every year through Shoparoo and it’s a great opportunity for us to really make a difference this year!

Shoparoo is school fundraising made easy: the free app turns pictures of your everyday shopping receipts into cash donations and sweepstakes entries for our school! Yep, it’s that simple. All you have to do is shop as you normally do, snap pictures of your receipts with the app, and voila Just shop, snap, earn!

Get started today:

1. Download the free Shoparoo app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store

2. Select 'Grapevine Elementary' from the list and start taking pictures of your receipts - shop anywhere, buy anything!

3. The first 20 supporters at our school will earn an extra $1 donation from Shoparoo for their first receipt!

4. Earn even more Roo Points, or cash donations, by inviting others to join using your personal referral code

5. You can even select a grade to support and have fun with grade competitions!

There’s no limit to how much money we can raise with Shoparoo - the more supporters, the more we will raise for our school. Schools with just 40 supporters are earning an average of $1,000 every year. That’s free, easy money that we could be fundraising too. Check out to learn more about this awesome app!

Thank you for your support!

"World of Wonder" News

Have you seen the beautiful new signs in our school garden? We want to give a big thanks to Kathy Ho, Chelly Beck, and all the students who helped paint them. They look super!

Over the summer, Dustan Compton installed a rain barrel which will catch rainfall off the storage shed roof and help teach students about water conservation. Thank you, Dustan!

Keep Grapevine Beautiful helped us secure many large boulders for the Monarch Waystation and soon-to-be Herb and Sensory Garden. These rocks not only add beauty and natural seating, but also provide places for butterflies and lizards to bask in the sun. The boulders were excavated from right here in Grapevine where the Gaylord Texan was built. Some contain interesting fossils as well.

Monarch butterfly caterpillars are now chomping away on the milkweed in the Monarch Waystation! Be sure to take a look but please don’t touch because they are quite fragile. Fourth grade is raising a few in captivity so that they can tag and release them to help scientists better understand the Monarch’s fall migration. See for more details.

We’re off to wonderful start this year with our vegetable beds. Last week, the Kindergarten classes planted carrots, radishes, lettuce and broccoli. First graders prepared their bed for planting while studying about soil. Third, fourth and fifth graders also learned about states of matter while turning a nitrogen-fixing cover crop into their raised beds.

Bear Cub scouts and parents from Den 4 of Pack 817 also created a new flower bed along the main sidewalk in the garden. They planted hardy, native perennials that will provide beautiful blossoms as well as food and habitat for beneficial insects to help our vegetable garden thrive.

Finally, thank you to all our incredible volunteers who help maintain the garden and support our teachers in taking the kids outside for hands-on learning! We have fun in the garden and many new projects in the works!

Please contact the PTA Environmental Committee if you would like to help. We could especially use help from our second grade parents in planting the new Herb and Sensory Garden.

Happy Fall!

Betsy Marsh and Mikaela Rood – Environmental Committee Co-Chairs

(For volunteering, email

From GES Vice-Principal, Ms. Kim Ray

An important part of success in school depends on how well kids perform after the school bell rings. That's right: homework. Homework not only reinforces concepts and skills taught in school, it also helps children develop habits of mind that will serve them well as they move through school and life. Specifically, homework helps children learn how to plan and organize tasks, manage time, make choices, and problem solve, all skills that contribute to effective functioning in the adult world of work and families. Here are a few tips on how best to support your child’s learning at home:

Establish daily routines for homework. There are essentially five times to start homework: right after school, after a 30-minute break, before dinner, after dinner, and right before bedtime. Most elementary age students need down time after school or when they return from their extra-curricular activities; about 30 minutes is usually sufficient. This is when homework should start. Although each day might be different due to sports, lessons and other activities, the routine of starting 30 minutes after returning should not change.

Find a location in the house where homework will be done. The right location will depend on your child and the culture of your family. Some children do best at a desk in their bedroom. It is a quiet location, away from the hubbub of family noise. Other children become too distracted by the things they keep in their bedroom and do better at a place removed from those distractions, like the dining room table. Some children need to work by themselves. Others need to have parents nearby to help keep them on task and to answer questions when problems arise. Ask your child where the best place is to work. Both you and your child need to discuss pros and cons of different settings to arrive at a mutually agreed upon location.

Set up a homework center. Once you and your child have identified a location, fix it up as a home office/homework center. Be sure there is a clear workspace large enough to set out all the materials necessary for completing assignments. Equip the homework center with the kinds of supplies your child is most likely to need, such as pencils, colored pencils, rulers, scissors, a dictionary and/or thesaurus, construction paper, glue and tape, lined paper, and, possibly a computer or laptop. If the homework center is a place that will be used for other things (such as the dining room table), then your child can keep the supplies in a portable crate or bin. If possible, the homework center should include a bulletin board that can hold a monthly calendar on which your child can keep track of long-term assignments.

Knowing how much to help your child with schoolwork. With young children (K-2) there's a little more “handholding” when completing homework. As students grow older the rule of thumb is to get them started, watch them do the first few problems to be sure they understand the material, then walk away. On the other hand, knowing when to provide support is equally as important. When you see your child struggling, by all means, intervene. Work with him until he's able to understand the content and then let him work on his own. When it comes to schoolwork, independence is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child.

Finally, remember, praise is a powerful tool. Research shows that by simply praising effort rather than intelligence, kids will develop greater motivation to keep trying, even when the going gets tough. Some examples of how to praise your child’s accomplishments while also encouraging a “growth mind-set”:

  • “I like the way you used different strategies on that math problem until you got it. You really put a lot of thought into that question.”
  • “You went back to check your work - that extra step was a great idea.”
  • “Those extra practice problems you did really made a difference!”
  • “The ideas you thought of are really unique! Where did you learn about that?”

    At Grapevine Elementary, our students are our number one priority. We appreciate your continued partnership in preparing our students for the future and look forward to celebrating your child’s many accomplishments with you. To those students and families that are new to GES, we extend an especially warm welcome. We hope you will quickly feel at home and become involved in the activities of our school through PTA and your child’s classroom program.


    Kim Ray

    Assistant Principal

    Rachel's Challenge Activities

    GCISD Takes a Stand Against Bullying in October

    In an effort to continue the work of Rachel’s Challenge, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD planned three district-wide activities during the month of October aimed at promoting kindness, respect and compassion for others.

    This past Monday, October 5th, students, teachers and staff wore a blue shirt as part of the STOMP Out Bullying Program. The Blue Shirt Day is a worldwide initiative to bring awareness and educate students, parents and school employees about the issue of bullying. GES has two additional days coming up:

    • Unity Day on October 21
    • Mix It Up at Lunch Day on October 27

    On Unity Day, Wednesday, October 21st, we encourage everyone in the community to wear orange to show that GCISD communities are united against bullying and working together for kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

    On Tuesday, October 27, students are encouraged to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new on Mix It Up at Lunch Day. Last year, more than 6,000 schools and more than three million students participated nationwide.

    As part of GCISD’s strategic plan, LEAD 2021, the promotion of good citizenship and demonstration of mutual respect are strategic objectives that are focused on district-wide. Rachel’s Challenge, with the addition of these three opportunities in October, provide students and staff the opportunity to make a difference not only in their schools, but also in the community.

    Questions about GES Spirit T-shirts?

    Contact Shellee Walker at GESSPIRITSHIRT@GMAIL.COM