Eagle Flyer

March 16-20, 2015

Principal's Message


I hope each of you had a relaxing, refreshing and revitalizing Spring Break! I can hardly believe it is spring again already! Spring is a season of renewal, rebirth of energy into our environment. Spring brings recommitment to life as the leaves return to the trees, flowers bloom, animals awake from hibernation, and bees and butterflies float through the air. I hope the promise of spring will inspire you.

As you teach this week, I hope you will embrace a recommitment to your students. We are three-fourths of the way to the finish line. You have worked all this time preparing studnets. You are using your data from the Mock STAAR and intervention plans to make final instructional adjustments. Now is the time to reinforce critical thinking strategies we want students to use on STAAR like questions. Our data tells us this is the time to focus our instruction on those objectives that need the most reinforcement with each individual student.

This week during STEM we will have our review the 5th Six weeks Common Assessment K-2, and discuss STAAR intervention plans 3-5. It is imperative that all instructional lessons are aligned and focused on the objectives being taught to mastery, that will be our focus this week during Spot Observations and Extended Observations.

This week will be a busy week we will begin TELPAS Reading Assessment for 2-5 grade students. The TELPAS Reading Schedule has been attached. Please send your students to the computer lab at the appropriate time. Should you have questions or concerns please see Ms. Hendrix or Ms. Esparza.

If you have not completed the Staff Intent Survey, please do so. This information assists us as we plan for the 2015-2016 school year.

Remember it will be you that makes the difference for all of our students showing growth in their learning. You have the tools and the resources to make that difference for each student – Recommit!

Recommit to our students being successful and soaring to their highest potential. Our success as a school depends on it.

Make it a GREAT week!


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This Week


Spot Observations/Extended Observations

8:00 SST J.H.(5th Grade Gen. Ed)

9:45 504 J.B. (Nelson, Pogue, Samuel)

12:00 504 C.A. (Walker & Evans)

Science Vertical Team Debrief for Real School Garden Meeting 3:30-4:00



Spot Observations/Extended Observations

STEM MEETING -Common Assessment Review & STAAR Interventions


Spot Observations/Extended Observations

Morris out pm -Principal Meeting

Vertical Team Meeting 3:30-4:45


Spot Observations/Extended Observations


Spot Observations/Extended Observations

Morris out am - Feeder Patter Meeting

WHES SPIRIT DAY- Wear your WHES Spirit gear!







Systematic, Schoolwide Vocabulary Instruction

In this article in Principal, Rhode Island principal Aradhana Mudambi says we used to believe that all students would acquire vocabulary through extensive reading, but now we know better. “Reading widely will not help children with weak vocabulary bases improve their vocabulary skills,” she says. And depending on this approach will widen the achievement gap, an example of the Matthew Effect – the vocabulary-rich will get richer and the vocabulary-poor will fall further behind. This realization, plus the escalating demands of the Common Core, suggest an urgent need to make direct vocabulary instruction an integral part of a school’s literacy program.

But there are three barriers to making this happen, says Mudambi. First, many teachers are skeptical about direct vocabulary instruction. Second, many don’t have an extensive toolkit in that area. And third, other urgent priorities are constantly vying for scarce classroom time. “Teaching vocabulary is complicated,” says Mudambi, “and in an environment where vocabulary instruction is only now coming back into the mainstream classroom, it requires a lot of preparation on the part of teachers.” She believes the principal has to play a major role.

One way to raise consciousness about vocabulary is to give teachers a text in an unfamiliar foreign language and ask them to read it and answer comprehension questions. “For many of our students, this is what grade-level English resembles,” says Mudambi, “– a foreign language.” Teachers should also be introduced to idea of the Matthew Effect and persuaded that if they don’t teach vocabulary more effectively, achievement gaps will continue to widen – but if they successfully teach low-performing students new words, the neediest students will do better.

The principal’s second task is leading teachers in implementing a coherent, systematic vocabulary program that teaches the right words and maximizes four key components:

Word connections – “Students must be able to relate new vocabulary words to other words, images, or ideas,” says Mudambi. “Strategies include creating semantic webs, graphic organizers, learning synonyms, and labeling pictures.” A school might identify a theme each week or month (for example, emotion), choose appropriate Tier 2 words for each grade level, and create interactive hallway bulletin boards for each grade with columns for different types of emotions.

Significance – Students need accessible, kid-friendly definitions of new words – for example, for trite, the dictionary-definition choice would be banal but that might not be helpful to many students;overused would work better. Principals might organize a competition among classes to identify vocabulary words matching new definitions and announce the winning class during morning announcements.

Context clues – Using surrounding clues to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words is a skill that requires practice, and students learn it less readily with short, decontextualized sentences. Mudambi suggests embedding vocabulary words within longer, high-interest passages, encouraging teachers to read these aloud, and using close-reading strategies to explicitly teach the skills of figuring out meaning from context clues.

A word-rich environment – This includes presenting new words in different contexts – at least six times. Mudambi suggests word walls in all classrooms and the cafeteria and regularly challenging students to use new vocabulary in sentences.

“When Old Becomes New: Bringing Vocabulary Instruction Back Into Our Schools” by Aradhana Mudambi in Principal, January/February 2015 (Vol. 94, #3, p. 14-17), http://bit.ly/1AfvqUP