Highlights from 2018, things to note in 2019 from Eanes, Lake Travis and Leander ISDs, private schools

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School districts and some private schools in the Lake Travis-Westlake area shared achievements from last year and 2019 plans with Community Impact Newspaper for the Annual Community Guide. See highlights here:

Eanes ISD

District news

EISD launched a large community building effort in 2018, bringing together hundreds of community members, parents, staff and students in at least six committees working on specific initiatives: Bond Advisory Committee, Community Leadership Group, Digital Learning Task Force, Envision Eanes, Inclusive Culture Group, Legislative Priorities Group and more.

Research site Niche ranked EISD No. 1 in the state and No. 8 in the nation in 2018. Westlake High School is No. 5 in the state. Niche is a platform for researching U.S. schools. The rankings are established through analysis from 83,542 public schools, 3,903 private schools and 10,758 school districts nationwide.

The Westlake High Class of 2018 notched the highest average American College Test (ACT) score in the school’s history, surpassing state and national averages. Westlake students marked a 27.8 average compared to the state average of 20.6.

Schools

Barton Creek Elementary

The school introduced Spanish immersion to kindergarten and added a buzz-in system to secure the campus’s main entrance.

Bridge Point Elementary

The school expanded Spanish immersion to K-1 and added a buzz-in system to secure the campus’s main entrance.

Cedar Creek Elementary

The school was named an Apple Distinguished School and expanded Spanish immersion to K-1. It also welcomed a new principal, Susan Fambrough, added a buzz-in system to secure the campus’s main entrance and replaced portable classrooms with learning studios.

Eanes Elementary

The school introduced Spanish immersion to kindergarten, added a buzz-in system to secure the campus’s main entrance and was home of the 2018-19 District Educator of the Year, Maci Shannon.

Forest Trail Elementary

The school was named an Apple Distinguished School, added a child development center for ages 3-4 to campus and added a buzz-in system to secure the campus’s main entrance.

Hill Country Middle School

West Ridge Middle School

Both middle schools were named Apple Distinguished Schools, a new principal, Dianne Carter of West Ridge, was welcomed and buzz-in systems to secure both campuses’ main entrances were added.

Valley View Elementary

The school added perimeter fencing to secure the playground entrance on campus and added a buzz-in system to secure the campus’s main entrance.

Westlake High School

The National Merit Scholarship Program recognized 110 Westlake High students, with 28 semifinalists, 59 commended and 28 Hispanic scholars. Five students received the commended and Hispanic designations.

Lake Travis ISD

District news

LTISD was one of 49 charter and public school districts to receive a five-star rating and be named a TXSmartSchool for its success in combining cost-effective spending with the achievement of measurable student academic progress compared with fiscal peers. Five stars reflects the strongest relative progress combined with the lowest relative spending.

Andy Michael assumed the duties and responsibilities of the district’s safety and security coordinator, a new position designed to add focus, emphasis and support to safety processes and security systems districtwide.

LTISD was one of 373 school districts in the U.S. and Canada honored by the College Board with placement on the 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll. The designation recognizes school districts for increasing access to advanced placement coursework while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.

Schools

Bee Cave Middle School

Officials broke ground on Bee Cave Middle School, the $76.2 million facility located off Hwy. 71 and Vail Divide. The 240,000-square-foot campus will accommodate 1,200 students in two-story, grade-level houses with Hill Country views. It will feature outdoor science and art areas, an outdoor gathering space, abundant natural light and multipurpose breakout areas that allow for flexibility and collaboration. The school is scheduled to open its doors in August of this year.

Lake Pointe Elementary School

Lake Travis Elementary School

Lake Travis Middle School

All three campuses were named an honor roll school for the 2017-2018 Texas Honor Roll presented by the Educational Results Partnership and the Institute for Productivity in Education. The honor roll recognizes public elementary, middle and high schools that demonstrate consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time and reduction-in-achievement gaps.

Lake Travis High School

English and art history teacher Megan Holden was among six state finalists for  2019 Texas Teacher of the Year. Holden has taught for 21 years and most recently began the school’s Fight Club, an organization that helps teachers support students in crisis. She also co-founded the Cavalier Lounge, a resource center that provides food, clothing and personal care items to students in need.

Leander ISD

District news

LISD was one of 373 school districts in the U.S. and Canada honored by the College Board with placement on the 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll. To be included on the honor roll, LISD had to increase the number of students participating in advanced placement coursework since 2016 while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher.

Elected trustees Elexis Grimes and Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia took office as the newest LISD board members in November. Gonzales-Dholakia and Grimes replaced Don Hisle and Will Streit.

After adding the most students in the Austin area over the past decade, LISD is poised to add approximately 1,000 new students each year into the foreseeable future, making it No. 9 in Texas for school district growth.

Schools

Vandegrift High School

A total of 68 students were recognized as National Merit Scholars. There were 43 commended scholars, 11 national Hispanic scholars and 14 national merit semifinalists.

Private Schools

Schools

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School

On Dec. 5 the St. Stephen’s Model United Nations Security Council met and took up the topics of cybersecurity, family-planning and refugee displacement. More than 70 students participated in the meeting, which concluded with an attempt to resolve a crisis spiraling toward war between the U.S. and China in the Horn of Africa.

Trinity Episcopal School

Trinity won first place at the Private Schools Interscholastic Association One Act Play Regional Competition in 2018. Kate K. and Ford C. earned Best All-Star Actress and Actor awards. The annual competition allows students to draw upon a wide range of skills as they work together to perform an original or published drama under time and set limitations. Trinity students performed “Dear Chuck,” a coming-of-age drama.

St. Michael’s Catholic Academy

Six freshmen students from the school’s Cities in Space club went to The University of Texas to compete in an annual conference and event at the New Worlds Institute and won second place. The students—Jake Cameron, Bennet Eichorst, Neil Flores, Brendan Gilyan, Emiliano Macias and Daniel Pinzon—worked for two months designing a 1,000-person colony that could hypothetically survive the harsh environment of Mars.

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Sally Grace Holtgrieve
Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019.
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