November 3, 2023“I know things will get better”, – “Fast Car” Tracy Chapman (or Luke Combs)Welcome to the weekend!
This week delivered colder weather and very dark mornings. It also brought heavy traffic to the front of our building. As a reminder, the front parking lot is not a car drop-off lane. Whether you are delivering students, bikes, or both for families who are delivering bikes for students to ride home at the end of the day, you will need to park your vehicle in a lined spot and walk your student (and/or their bike) to the sidewalk. Thank you for using our dedicated carline for drop-offs. Our buses are getting caught in congestion and making later deliveries and pick-ups beyond SSE. Most importantly, when navigating the parking lot, slow down. Being tardy is much preferred than an accident. Several students and staff members had close calls this week with vehicles driving through a dark parking lot faster than they should have. Hopefully, a week away from late nights due to Halloween and the World Series combined with lighter mornings (time change) can help return calm to our morning routines.
We have some big news to share. SSE has been recognized as a 2023 Lighthouse Academic Honor Roll school! The Lighthouse Academic Honor Roll is determined through the data analysis of an independent nonprofit—Schooldigger.com.com
—a website focused on empowering families with reliable data about the performance of their children’s school. The Schooldigger.com algorithm scores on a percentile ranking, comparing like schools across the state. To meet the academic proficiency standard, a school must be at or above the 85th percentile for the state’s combined proficiency standards. To meet the academic growth standard, the school must be at or above the 50th percentile and have shown a 5 percent growth from the previous year’s percentile ranking. The percentile ranking for Sycamore Springs Elementary was 93% in your state, showing exemplary academic proficiency. We're proud of our students and staff for their hard work and recognition. Speaking of all things Leader in Me, next Thursday evening please join us for our annual Habit Hunt. SSE will be open from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. as our students lead their families through our hallways and share our Habits. Each grade level will have an activity associated with a habit, students will complete bingo cards to exchange for Leader Loot on Friday. Please make plans to join us for a fun evening at school.
Lastly, as you may know, with the recent bond passing construction at SSMS will take place. I will keep you informed of changes that will affect us as they are made available. At this time, I wanted to make you aware of future traffic studies headed our way. Shortly, you may see cameras, staff, and even drones taking pictures/videos/counts of our traffic. They are looking at traffic flow, peak times, percentages of turns, etc all to improve our campuses. I wanted to let you all know ahead of time, as to avoid any concerns.
Have a great weekend!Cody SpraberryProud PrincipalSycamore Springs Elementary
October 27, 2023“Clear blue skies, not too much to ask for” - “Clear Blue Skies”, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
What a night! The sky cleared right when we needed it, and we had an amazing Block Party. We had a great turnout, with so many of our families and staff coming up to eat, play, and catch a good old-fashioned rock show put on by DS Rock. Way to show up and show out fellas. Thank you, Laura Villa for the extraordinary efforts put into the planning and coordination to pull it off. Additional appreciation to the SSE PTA, our middle/high school volunteers, and our parent volunteers involved in working the booths, set-up, and take-down. You braved tornado warnings and flash floods to make yesterday happen. You’re the best, and job well done.
Before we head into the long weekend (no school on Monday and Tuesday), I wanted to brag about our students. This week, our students have shown kindness and empathy throughout the building. With our book fair in full effect this week, every dollar means a little more and could go towards that book, that invisible ink pen, or that must-have poster. Despite that pressure, we had demonstrations of exceptional honesty when a 4th grader found a five-dollar bill in the PK/K hallway and turned it in at the office. Another student used their book fair money to buy a student lunch when they saw they were without. Many donated to “All for Books” so that others can share in the joy of reading. I can tell you, in elementary school, that making those decisions in the face of the book fair is a BIG DEAL. Your children are displaying honesty, integrity, empathy, and kindness every day.
Lastly, thank you to Mrs. Thornton and her army of front office help that assisted in getting our guests badged in and in place for our Vocabulary Parade this morning. The students understood the assignment and did not disappoint. A new route allowed for more viewing opportunities, and our dance party started the day off right! Thank you to Ms. Saygar, Ms. Galloway, and the DSMS Drumline for leading the way, and we appreciate everyone who attended to cheer us on.Have a great weekend, and a safe Halloween!Kindly,Cody Spraberry
Proud PrincipalSycamore Springs Elementary
October 20, 2023
“Thank you, driver for getting me here” – “Magic Bus”, The Who
Field trip season is upon us, and as more and more grades begin learning experiences away from campus, and in conjunction with School Bus Safety Week, Whether your child rides the bus daily or only on school trips, I wanted to pass along these tips from the DSISD Transportation Department you some talking points to help support our teachers for the most successful trips possible.
1) Always be on time for the bus stop and wait in a safe place where the driver and other cars can see you. Always be at the bus stop early, and NEVER chase after the bus. Wait for the bus to stop with red lights flashing before you try to get on the bus.
2) Use the handrail when getting on and off the bus so you won't fall. When you get on the bus, go straight to your seat. Please do not block the aisle way. Keep your things in your backpack.
3) While on the bus, always stay seated on your bottom facing the front. Always use a quiet voice on the bus so the driver will not be distracted. Never throw anything on the bus, and keep your hands to yourself.
4) If there is an emergency, always listen to the driver and follow instructions. Look for the emergency exits on your bus so you know where they are. Do not play with the exits.
5) After exiting the bus, walk five giant steps away from the bus door. Stay away from the wheels on the bus and the sides of the bus. If you need to cross, stop and look at the driver to be sure it is safe, and always look both ways. Never run across the street without looking. If you forget or drop something, NEVER go back to get it! The driver may not see you.
As previously mentioned, next week has some big goings on. The SSE Book Fair is all week long, our SSE Block Party is Thursday evening, and our Vocabulary Parade occurs Friday. We learned lessons from last year's parade and have made plans for this year's route to extend to our playground. If you wish to join us, here are some things to know/expect.
Date: Friday, October 27
Time: 8:00 am
Where: SSE Playground
Details: Visitors are required to badge in to access our halls/playground. Have your ID ready, and be prepared for possible lines to access the building. The route will travel through our building, and pick up students as it travels. Last year, aside from very crowded hallways, we learned that the youngest of our students were not walking very long, and parents may have missed seeing them in action. This year, the parade will start indoors and end outside and make two laps around the playground so that all are seen in their linguistic glory.
Lastly, SSE is in need of a lunchroom monitor. We would love to talk to you about joining the team if you are interested.
Have a great weekend!
Sycamore Springs Elementary
October 16, 2023
“Ahoy, it’s pirates on parade” - Pirates, David Byrne
Pirates, inflatable animals, famous athletes, and many other personifications of verbs, puns, and SAT words will be parading our hallways soon. Next Friday, October 27, 2023) we invite our students and staff to dress up in fun costumes for school. The catch? Students/Staff who suit up connect their fit with big-time, academic vocabulary words. If your kiddo wishes to participate, please remember that while this is practice for the big night, we are still at school and have some expectations of those dressing up.
- A student's face is not to be covered.
- Please be conscious of the Essential Areas schedule - closed-toed shoes for those students going to PE.
- Keep it natural; no face painting.
- Keep it clean; no costumes depicting guts or gore.
- Keep it positive; nothing offensive.
- Keep it simple; no accessories, attachments, weapons, etc..
- Keep it manageable; students should be able to manage their costumes without adult assistance.
Our Vocabulary Parade is only one of the big events next week. October 23 - 27 is Healthy Habits Week. We’re celebrating students while encouraging them to keep their minds, bodies, and hearts healthy. Our Better Together Counseling Crew collaborated and assigned theme days each day next week. We can't wait to see it in action!
- Monday - Dress Your Best, To Feel Your Best - wear fancy clothes
- Tuesday - Don’t Get Tied Up in Unhealthy Choices - wear tye dye
- Wednesday - Good Old Fashion Red Ribbon Day - wear red
- Thursday - Keep Dreaming of a Healthy Lifestyle - wear PJs and bring a stuffed animal
- Friday - Say Boo to Unhealthy Choices - vocabulary parade
But wait, there’s more! Next week is also Book Fair Week! One of the highlights of any school year is the magic of the book fair. You're invited to come and get nostalgic and shop at family night during our Block Party. If you can’t make it that night, your child will also be able to attend during the school day.
And that’s not all! Thursday, October 26th is the SSE Block Party! Join us from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM for food trucks, inflatables, music, trunk or treat, Mad Science, arts and crafts, bid on teacher experiences, and games galore! We hope to see you out!
Despite my not wishing you well Friday evening, I hope you still had a great weekend and the week is off to a great start.
Kindly,Cody SpraberryProud PrincipalSycamore Springs Elementary
October 6, 2023
“Back to the same old place” - “Sweet Home Chicago”, The Blues Brothers
Here’s to a busy three-day weekend of HoCo, Rangers, Cowboys, Horns, and ACL! Whatever you are getting into this weekend, I hope you enjoy doing it with the cooler temps.
Speaking of HoCo, it was great to see so many of our families out at the parade last night! Thank you to The Schultz and Wommack families for coordinating the float. Additionally, thanks to the Tigers that represented us on the float and walking alongside it. Being so far back in line makes for a long parade. You were amazing, and the planning is already under way for our next one!
Over the weekend, please take a moment to bookmark our SSE PTA site. It’s a one-stop shop for supporting SSE, and staying informed about all the big things they have planned. One of which is our PTA Reflections Program. This program provides students an opportunity to be recognized for their creativity in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography, and visual arts. This year’s theme is “I am hopeful because…” and student creativity can take it from there.
I wanted to remind everyone once again of these campus-wide events happening this month:
Oct. 9 Student & Staff Holiday
Oct. 12 PTA General Meeting
Oct. 23-27 Healthy Habits/Red Ribbon Week
Oct. 23-27 Book Fair
Oct. 23 Fire Safety: Firefighters in Gym
Oct. 26 PTA Block Party, 6-8 pm
Oct. 27 Vocab Parade, 8am
Oct. 30-31 Staff PD / Student Holiday (conferences)
It is likely you've already scheduled your time. I wanted to share a few strategies for making the most of your time with your child's teacher. Prior to meeting with your teacher, talk to your child(ren) about it. While this conference is for adults, your child can still (and should be) very much included in the process. After all, you're going to be talking about them! Your kiddo should understand "why" the conversation is taking place. Believe it or not, conferences can be a stressor for some kids, and students are oftentimes curious when meetings occur; is there a problem? Is this a routine meeting held for all parents or just mine? You can help by reassuring your child that you are there to learn about their day, to learn more about what they are working on, and that you are finding new ways to support them at home. You can also involve them in the process by asking what they think you will hear. Get your child's input by asking them if they have any specific concerns or questions that you might voice for them. Our conferences are so valuable, and we appreciate your partnership with us.
Sycamore Springs Elementary
September 29, 2023
"I'm on my way, just set me free..." - Home Sweet Home, Motley Crüe
As you may have noticed from the quicker car lines, we're missing some of our kiddos. ("Missing" in the best way possible) On Wednesday, our fifth-graders departed for our annual trip to Camp Champions. This two-night, three-day tradition is one of the most anticipated occasions of the year for many of our students. I want to thank our teachers and staff who attended the trip. Not only do they wear their teacher caps while there, but they inherit the roles of being a parent, a nurse, and a counselor for a few days and nights (mostly nights). Having seen it in action, they do it all with exceptional grace and are still finding ways to have so much fun alongside the kids. A special thanks to the chaperones as well. This trip would not be possible without you. Thank you for giving your time, vehicles, and support to make the trip and be there for our students. Welcome home to everyone, and I hope you have a comfortable weekend at home with air conditioning and your own beds.
Next week is Homecoming Week for DSISD, and we will celebrate "Drip City Limits"! DSHS has big games against Akins as Volleyball and Football take over Friday night. SSE was invited to participate in next week's theme days to partner with the high school, and we look forward to seeing students and staff in their favorite jerseys, holidays, concert shirts, pajamas, and maroon!
Speaking of HoCo, SSE will once again have a float in this year's parade. Thank you to those involved in the logistics and coordinating of resources. Please click here for opportunities to join in on the fun, or assist with candy donations.
As the calendar flips to October, please keep these dates in mind:
Oct. 9 - Student/Staff Holiday
Oct. 12 - PTA General Meeting
Oct. 23 - 27 - Healthy Habits Week
Oct. 23 - 27 - Book Fair
Oct. 23 - Fire Safety Lessons in the Gym
Oct. 26 - PTA Block Party 6-8 pm
Oct. 27 - Vocabulary Parade 8 am
Oct. 30 - Staff Development (Student Holiday)
Oct. 31 - Parent/Teacher Conferences (Student Holiday)
Have a great weekend!
Sycamore Springs Elementary
September 22, 2023
"Do you remember the 21st night of…?" - "September," Earth, Wind, and Fire
Despite a minor discrepancy between the song lyrics and the calendar, this classic tune has been stuck in my head all day, and I couldn't resist sharing the earworm with all of you. You're welcome!
On a more school-related note, as you may have seen on social media, SSE hosted several DSISD Trustees and VIPs from the DSISD Central Office. Our students warmly welcomed our guests to campus bright and early, where they actively participated in various morning meetings. Stripes, our ever-enthusiastic mascot, was also there to offer high-fives before guiding them on a tour of our facilities. During their visit, they had the opportunity to learn about UIL from our students who are actively competing in several events. Our students made us proud with their dedication, engagement, and impressive speaking skills. And let's not forget, it was also picture day, so our students were dressed to the nines, showcasing their best smiles!
Speaking of picture day, I want to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to the many volunteers who played a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow of the entire process. Your efforts were indispensable, and we all appreciate your dedication to keeping us ahead of schedule.
Now, onto some important health-related matters. Dripping Springs ISD follows the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) mandates that all children must be screened or have a professional examination for possible vision, hearing, Acanthosis Nigricans, and spinal curvature problems. Here is what you need to know:
On October 16-19 the DSISD screening team, consisting of two registered nurse substitutes, along with our campus nurse, will be conducting state-mandated health screenings at Sycamore Springs Elementary.
For Vision and Hearing:
DSISD screens all PreK, Kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th-grade students. This is also true for any student new to DSISD; regardless of grade. State Vision and Hearing Rules
For Spinal Screenings:
DSISD screens female students in 5th and 7th grades and male students in 8th grade. Female students must wear a sports bra or undergarment that allows for the back/spine to be visualized by the nurses screening your student. Any student not wearing the proper undergarments will not be screened, and a follow-up with their healthcare provider will be warranted. State Spinal Screening Rules
For Acanthosis Nigricans:
DSISD screens all 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th-grade students for skin markers on the neck that signal high insulin levels associated with Type 2 Diabetes and other chronic health conditions. For this screening, the nurse will visualize the student's neck. If the skin marker (Acanthosis nigricans) is detected, the nurse will also measure your student's blood pressure x 2, height, and weight & BMI will be calculated. Referral letters with screening results will be mailed home.
AN Screening Information
For those that said do not screen my student on the annual enrollment verification, a professional examination must be properly conducted during the grade year in which the screening is required and submitted to the school nurse by January 30 of the current year. Current year documentation that has not been provided by this date will result in your student being screened before the school year ends.
Click here to learn more about these requirements.
Have a great weekend!
Sycamore Springs Elementary
September 15, 2023
“I wanna know…” - “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”, CCR
This weather has been amazing, and the rain is very much appreciated. My family has a few soccer games in store, but I would be okay if those games got canceled if it meant a few soggy days watching football. I’ll be the one to make that sacrifice if it means our lakes are getting much-needed water.
At SSE, we understand that every child is unique, and their educational journey is a dynamic and ever-evolving process. We are committed to ensuring that each student receives personalized attention and tailored support to nurture their growth and development. We also understand that if a student comes to us with a heavy heart or busy mind, that process could be more difficult.
Every morning, your child is welcomed at the door with a fist bump, high five, or similar greeting. Not only does this provide an instant connection and a smile, but it also provides our teachers a temperature check for the day. Students who give over-the-top high-fives with heads held high share one story. A student who refuses to give a high-five or comes in with their head down mumbling “good morning” shares one too. In either case, that teacher now has a conversation point and becomes aware of any follow-ups/check ins.
As you know, kids are also good actors and can often muster up an emphatic fist bump if it means they can go on about their day unbothered and free from an adult asking how they are.
Here is where we can use your help.
Overwhelmingly, our students come to us with great attitudes, no worries, and ready to learn. However, life happens to kids too. Should there be a significant event within your family or child possibly weighing on them, we would love the heads up, as we would love to provide additional support at school. If your child is coming to school after a difficult night, morning, or weekend, please let your teacher know via email with the subject line “Handle With Care”. Should you decide to write an actual email, the degree of details provided will be left to your comfort level, but the subject line alone will let us know that your child may need some extra encouragement, patience, time, or help throughout the day.
As always, thanks for your partnership, and have a great weekend!
Sycamore Springs Elementary
September 8, 2023
Whether last weekend found you at a lease, in the stands, on the sidelines, or with family and friends, I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend. I know we did, and the 4-day week has me thinking we should look into more of these things. I am looking forward to a big sports weekend and am hopeful the Longhorns and Cowboys will make up for a Rangers collapse.
As the "new" has worn off of the school year and morning routines have been established, our traffic/parking lot has become a little hectic in the mornings. Please remember to be watchful of your speed and stay off your phone while on school grounds.
Car Rider Traffic:
As a reminder, we have two lanes feeding into our car line as you enter by the football field. Cars entering from the Hwy 290 / Belterra side should turn into the left lane, and those coming from the Darden Hill / Highpointe side should turn into the right lane. Thank you for utilizing both lanes of the entrance driveway and avoid crossing those lanes when traffic is heavy. This reduces backups on Sawyer Ranch, it's also just the kind thing to do.
Parent Park and Drop Off:
If you use our main parking lot for parking in order to let your child out of the car to walk to our building, we remind you to escort your child to the sidewalk. There are an increasing number of students walking across the parking lot unaccompanied.
Side Lot Drop Off:
This mini parking lot is the one nearest our bike racks. It is intended for staff parking but can also be used as a park and drop-off location. (Usually, I am stationed there and have an eye on walkers.) Please note that this is not open to traffic. We have coned off one end to prevent vehicles from driving through, as bikers, walkers, and students on scooters are not expecting a vehicle to be coming toward them. Should you park and release your kids here, do not pull forward into the lane nearest the curb.
There are a few important dates coming up for you to be aware of:
September 14: Grade Level Orientation Nights
- Grades 1 & 2: 5:00 - 5:45
- Grades 4 & 5: 6:00 - 6:45
September 20th and 21st: Picture Day!
Have a great weekend!
Sycamore Springs Elementary
September 1, 2023
Hello Tiger Families,
Fridays are an exciting day for all of us, and they hold different reasons for celebration. One of the highlights is our traditional Friday assembly. As your children return home today, some may mention attending today's assembly, while others might have a different story to share.
We want to inform you that while we will still hold our assembly, we've made some adjustments this year. Instead of having one large assembly every week, we are introducing a pilot program with two smaller biweekly assemblies. Today, we met with grades 3-5 in the cafeteria, and next Friday, students in PK - 2 will have theirs in the gym. Essentially, we will continue to have an assembly every week, but different grade levels will take turns.
One of the main reasons for this change is the physical space. As you can imagine, areas can get crowded with over 700 students and staff sharing the same space. In the mornings, our students gather in their respective assembly locations daily, making for a smooth transition into the Friday assemblies. We've also found the split opens up more opportunities for student leadership, and our Student Assembly Leader Team has expanded to accommodate both events and allows more student participation. Furthermore, this pilot program creates opportunities for parents to receive invitations to attend and celebrate when their child is being recognized or presented. Some aspects will look different, but many will remain the same. We'll still have our fantastic Student Spirit Squad cheer. Our beloved mascot, Stripes, will continue to make appearances. Classes will still recognize Tiger Leaders of the Week.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend. See you next Tuesday!
Sycamore Springs Elementary
August 18, 2023
“Back to school, back to school” – Back 2 School, Billy Madison
Week one is in the books! It has been great having our students back in the building. We started strong with excited and happy students and teachers. While the same holds today, I can share there are signs of sleepiness. The weather, early mornings, and busy days make for tired tigers. I hope everyone gets some rest this weekend. I know the Spraberry children are both worn out, and this morning was bear; but we are so thankful for routines.
Today, we hosted a “breakfast” for our new SSE families. The turnout was great, and I continue to be impressed by our community. All of these great families keep sending us great kids. Among the topics discussed were the Healthy Habits we teach our students as part of being a Leader In Me campus. I wanted to provide everyone with a “habit refresher” and a brief description of what they mean for your children. My hope is that this provides you with a shared vocabulary for continued discussions at home as the year progresses.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
This means doing what you know is right. Make choices and think through the consequences, and take the initiative.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
We speak to the importance of setting goals and making a plan to achieve those goals. Plan and think through the action steps that take you from knowing what you want and how to achieve it.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
This is all about prioritizing and taking on the big important things first, before the smaller important things.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Part of being a successful person is considering the perspective of others and where they are coming from. By thinking to win/win, you show understanding that everyone has a role to play, and you consider the value of others.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Listen first, and twice as much.
Habit 6: Synergize
Together everyone achieves more and works together for the best results.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Keeping your skills sharp, ensuring you’re taking care of yourself, and finding time to refill your bucket.
In the same way we allow student submit entries for our yearbook cover; interested students will have the opportunity to participate in a campus beautification project featuring the habits. Ideally, we would like student-generated art illustrating one of the seven habits in our hallways (one per habit). Each submitted piece of artwork is up for consideration. Ultimately we will have seven hangable pieces of artwork for our halls. If your child is interested in this, keep an eye out for future details and requirements.
I hope you have a great weekend, and try to stay cool!
Sycamore Springs Elementary
August 14, 2023
“Young hearts can go their way…” - The Time Has Come Today, The Chambers Brothers
Tomorrow is the big day!
If your house is like mine, it is full of mixed emotions these days. We’ve go excited kids one minute and nervous kids the next. We see a need for routine as parents, but the kids are not ready for them. We’ve let bedtimes go late and have done little to correct them. We also have faith that it is all gonna be ok. (it’s a good thing soccer starts tonight, and we’re counting on that to help tire them out) Big feelings aside, everyone is happy knowing tomorrow is the first day of the school year.
Here are a few last-minute reminders:
Join the PTA:
You can do so here. Your support means everything to our campus, and I thank you for your participation.
In an ongoing effort to help keep our students safe, Hays County is installing signage and additional visual cues to bring attention to the crosswalk at Sawyer Ranch and White Wash Way. By law, the operator of a vehicle must stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway. Please be on the lookout for our students who are crossing Sawyer Ranch and thank you for your compliance with all driver, pedestrian, bike rider, and bus safety laws.
We start our day at 7:45. Familiarize yourself with our traffic flow and parking plan to start your morning on the right foot. Plan for the arrival and dismissal process to take a little longer than usual for the first week or so of school while we work out the kinks. There will be more people around campus this week, and you can anticipate an early morning.
If you have students that still let you walk them to the door (consider yourself lucky; my oldest is no longer a fan) you may do so up to our doors and then hug them like crazy before sending them in. Tomorrow, Pre-K and Kindergarten students can be escorted to class by a parent after badging in. BE SURE TO BRING YOUR ID. We cannot badge you in without it.
Class is dismissed at 3:00. The front of our building is for bus traffic. Do not use this lane as a car line. If you are picking up a car rider, please be sure the car rider tag is visible with your student’s name on it. This helps speed up the dismissal process.
No matter how your child arrives or dismisses, please watch your speed in our parking lot, stay off your phone, and be aware of our walkers.
We are so excited to welcome students back to SSE!
Sycamore Springs Elementary