Ram Nation News

Distance Learning Week 8


A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society


I trust everyone had a great weekend. For those who have the privilege and blessing to be called "mom" "mother" or anything related, I hope you had a great Mother's Day.

Last week, we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week; it was a time to recognize you for the impact in the lives of our Rusk Rams.

We know that education is hard work and only a few have what it takes to respond to this "calling." You are a part of this great profession and I am proud of the work done by you and our students. It is always very rewarding when we see students being focused, working and being successful.

Thank you for being a part of this journey!!!

Happy Birthday!!!

We wish you a great day!
  • Carolyn WebLee 5/8
  • Diane Bush-Wells 5/11
  • Cristina Rocha 5/14
  • Jacey Melchiorre 5/15
  • Monica Rodriguez 5/19
  • Timothy Martin 5/22
  • Ashtian Beck 5/22
  • Phylisia Rendon 5/24

Climate and Culture

Our goal for our students is to make sure they are feeling supported, continue to have a connection with our teachers and staff, and have a great learning environment still taking place. It was great to see how teachers were recognized by students, parents, and administration! Shout out to Ms. Calderon and Ms. Tucker for coordinating our efforts.

Debate Competition

Our Debate team, under Mr. Johnson's leadership, took 1st place in our debate competition. Emmanuel and Ha competed through a written argument on why all should have healthcare and basic monthly income due to COVID-19. They will be awarded some prizes.

We are excited about our students and how they were able to connect current events to make a valid argument. We are very proud of our students and Mr. Johnson!

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Motivational Message

Shout out to Ms. Eddy, Mr. Brown, Ms. Vasquez, Ms. Perez, and Ms. Guerra for their daily motivational message for our Ram Nation. It is great to see the creativity as well as to hear the stories and messages! I know our students and parents appreciate hearing from you.
Motivational Video - Ms. Perez
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Distance Learning Plan of Action

Monday - Friday - May 11 thru May 15

Teachers and Staff:

  • Teacher and staff will clock in at 9:00 a.m. by completing the Clock-In Form
  • Teachers will be accessible online through the instructional day (9:00 a.m. -12:00 noon &1:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m.). Each teacher will have an online designated platform for courses, which can be found on our school Master Directory directly.
  • Teachers will meet with their classes based on the schedule below and keeping our calendar of A/B days for electives. Students needing assistance will be reaching out the teacher directly via email, the classroom platform, or phone.
  • In order to support students with assignments and maintain a good structure, use the sample below to incorporate in your lessons as a way to provide students with a one-pager of activities for the week with the links to the lesson, site, or activities.
  • Review work completed and submitted by students, provide feedback, and assign grades. For Cycle 6, a minimum of 1 grade/week will need to be recorded in the Powerschool Gradebook. While teachers may maintain a separate student gradebook as a part of Google Classroom activities, they are required to enter grades into PowerSchool through PowerTeacher Pro.
  • SPED Inclusion teachers will follow existing schedule of classes, assist teachers, and provide support to students according to their IEP amendment.


  • Complete and review at-risk roster to determine summer school/retention eligibility. Submit Virtual Summer School List in Google Drive by May 13th.
  • Follow up with students who have academic plans to ensure they are on track with online and material access to ensure they are successful with work completion and passing grades.
  • They will provide follow up for those students reported by teachers who have not engaged with the our virtual setting. They will use the 6.4 Attendance Sheet filled out last week as a reference to help contact students. They will collaborate with Ms. Alanis, Ms. Strong, and Mr. Kelly to help contact parents/students.
  • Follow up with students who were receiving psychological as well as Youth and Family Services to provide support and guidance.
  • Counseling Services is requesting for Dallas ISD counselors to document their work by filling this link.
  • Meet with the administrative team on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at times scheduled.


  • Meet as Admin Team on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at times scheduled.
  • Coordinate and support food distribution - Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  • Support and sign out during teacher/staff EOY close out - M- Scott, T- Guerra/Cordoba, and W- Ford
  • Respond to parent and student questions and concerns via email.
  • Meet with Mr. Kastl as admin team to discuss virtual learning, academic tasks, and student work.
  • Conduct virtual PLC meetings with content teams. Deliverables: Update Syllabi and Instructional Planning Calendars for @HomeLearning.
  • Admin virtual meeting to review the week and plan next steps based on survey results, parent, student and teacher input.
  • Check calendar invites.
  • Monitor PowerSchool grades weekly and provide support as needed.
  • Participate in ARDs and 504 meetings. Use the Final ARD Script for Administrator Facilitating the Meeting
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Parent and Student Communication

Communication is key to ensure our students feel supported and are successful. Therefore, we will formally document these phone calls in our Teacher-Parent Contact log.

  • Based on feedback and to provide alignment with our tracking form, we will change to contact our 2nd period as "Advisory" students at least once a week. Of course, this does not mean that our 2nd period teachers will not call students; however, this helps to better align our efforts in attendance tracking. During this time, 2nd period teachers should also check on the data inputted by colleagues so that we can all keep students accountable for completing work in all subjects. Use the Check-In Script provided by our counselors. I understand that we may reach out in different ways such as, ClassDojo, Remind, e-mail, or text; however, hearing a friendly voice means a lot especially when faced in times of social distancing. This will allow students the opportunity to stay connected with the school and for the teacher to help students solve issues or concerns.
  • Our website is updated with information about At Home Learning.
  • Please adhere to technology etiquette and policy guidelines. Teachers should not be directly communicating with students or parents after 9:00 pm and before 7:00 am. We understand if you are providing feedback and do not need student responses, but we cannot expect students to respond, nor should texts and Remind 101 messages be sent after 9:00 pm or before 7:00 am.

Use this School Student Directory to have access to more students' contact information. It is listed by grade level at the bottom of the screen. You can search within each sheet the student's information you need to access.

SEL Lessons for Students - May 11 - May 14

Refer to e-mail sent by Ms. Woods:

In order to make lessons more interactive, this week we will continue to implement a Nearpod lesson. Ms. Woods uploaded it to our school library. She has uploaded the 5/11 - 5/14 lessons to our school library. The lesson are titled Rusk (Subject) SEL date.


  • Content Area - Lesson Topic

Monday - 5/11

  • Math - Humility & Selfies

Tuesday - 5/12

  • Reading - Putting a Stop to Bullying
Wednesday - 5/13
  • Science - Self-Compassion

Thursday - 5/14

  • Social Studies - What Are My Strengths?

Below you will find step by step instructions on how to place the lesson in your google classroom.

After signing in to Nearpod

  1. Click on School Library (on the left side bar)
  2. Find the lesson and click Add to my library
  3. Go to my Library
  4. Hover over the lesson and click Student Paced
  5. In the pop up, select add to google classroom

Grading Procedures

Cycle 6 (6th Six Weeks): April 14, 2020 = May 27, 2020

  • Teachers will enter 1 grade a week per course
  • All grading categories will be weighted the same. Remember to change all of your categories to Classwork/Homework.
  • No Exam (E2) grade will be entered. This cycle will remain blank.
  • Students who are missing assignments will not be given a zero. - The grade for the assignment will be blank. - The missing grade(s) will not be calculated in the final grade for the cycle.
  • Students without grades for cycle 6, will not receive a zero for the final grade. A blank grade will be entered.
  • Final grades will be available to parents/guardians and students on May 27th (ES) and June 10th (MS/HS) via Parent Portal. Parents/guardians may also request the report card be emailed. Parent/guardian identity confirmation over the phone will be required.

Resolving Missing Final Grades for Cycle 6: Blank or missing grades can be resolved through one of the following options.

  • Have the student complete a project for a final Cycle 6 grade.
  • Use the average of Cycle 4 and Cycle 5 final grades.

Share with Parents - Checking Missing Assignments

How to Check Your Students Work Google Classroom
Como ver las tareas en Google Classroom

Attendance Procedures


  • Attendance is taken only for the teacher’s “ADA” course (meets at 11:00 am.)

o On Tuesdays

o On Friday

All Teachers are required to confirm participation in at-home learning for each student.

  • Confirmation of participation at-home learning will be used to enter student attendance as “present”.
  • Confirmation of participation in at-home learning can be determined using electronic login by student (Google Classroom, Zoom, Teams, or other learning applications or platforms)
  • Confirmation of participation can be used for any of the three days prior to official attendance accounting on Tuesday and Friday.

Unexcused Absences: Students are only marked as having an Unexcused Absence if the teacher has attempted multiple times to contact parents/students and received no response at all. Confirmation of participation should begin well before the Tuesday/Friday deadline. Teachers should be encouraged to keep a log of participation so that on Tuesday and Friday, they have very few students/parents to reach out to.

Use link below to access an example for secondary campuses.

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Attendance - Work Completion Tracker

We are using the Attendance and Work Completed Tracker each week.

Teachers will still have until 4:30 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays to enter and submit student attendance for their 2nd period students.

This will allow for better alignment and communication as grade levels to ensure that our students are logging into each class and completing work. This will also allow our counselors and CIS to continue to contact students who neither are completing work nor have reported online.

You will also enter the best working number you have for the students in your 2nd period; (if someone is blank and you have a working number please enter it) however, the information for all students in your caseload needs to be entered to better support you.

Teacher Remote Lesson Design and Online Delivery

Click link to access site. While there is information on using PowerSchool Learning, as a campus, we have agreed to use Google Classroom to ensure consistency for our students

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Check out the Archived Webinars with many options to continue to implement with our students:

  • Flipgrid
  • Self-paced lessons using Google Slides
  • Screencastify

As we prepare for next year, the Authors' Series are opportunities for our administrative team. However, if you are interested, please let me know so that we can try to include you in this learning opportunity.

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Instructional Resources

Instructional Resources List

Choice Board

See presentation in this link and video showing you the power of choice boards.

  • A graphic organizer that allows students different ways to demonstrate their learning of a concept. Choice boards are aligned to TEKS and learning goals.
  • Activities that appeal to different learning styles to build student interests
  • Increases students ownership of learning and provides teachers opportunities to differentiate. Content is the priority, but choice boards help build students capacity for decision- making.
  • Very important: Directions for completing choice boards should be clear, but leave room for students to choose activities to demonstrate learning.
  • Define how and when student will submit work.

For more ideas on how to create choice boards visit:

Hickmann Mills ISD- Flexible Learning (Great resource with sample lessons)

Quitman ISD- Life Skills Challenge

Wellness Choice Boards from Caitlyn Tucker: (SEL options)

For Teachers

For Students

Choice Board Template

Choice Boards May 3, 2020 5 34 PM


Make any video your lesson: Choose a video, give it your magic touch and track your students' comprehension.

Engage students: Introduce students to self-paced learning with interactive video lessons. It's easy to add your own voice narration and questions!

Reinforce accountability: Check if students are watching your videos, how many times they're watching each section, and if they're understanding the content.

Special Populations: Guidelines during School Closure

These are the guidelines for teachers serving students receiving Advanced Academics, Bilingual/ESL, Section 504/Dyslexia, and Special Education services as each of these groups has compliance requirements that remain in place during this time.

These are the guidelines for our teachers that serve students receiving Advanced Academics, Bilingual/ESL, Section 504/Dyslexia, and Special Education services as each of these groups has compliance requirements that remain in place during the district closure. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional information as it becomes available.

Important to note, all ARD and Section 504 committee meetings will be conducted virtually through Microsoft Teams. Principals in collaboration with Special Education Case Managers will coordinate these meetings where applicable.

Procedures for Recording a Virtual ARD during COVID-19 School Closures

Teacher Report & Input -ARD Meetings / IEP Development

In order to provide our students with the best possible IEP plan, your input and report is very important. Use this link to access the teacher report so that our inclusion teachers can plan and prepare for ARD meetings and develop IEPs.

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Counseling Corner

Request for Counseling Services

  • Request for Counseling Services
  • Request for Counseling Services (Spanish) This form is for current Dallas Independent School District students, parents/guardians, or staff who would like to request counseling services for a student from a professional school counselor. Once completed, a member of the counseling team associated with the identified school will contact you regarding your concerns.

One-on-One Counseling Support through Bookings

Through Outlook our counselors have the capability to use Bookings which allows them to chat with students virtually similar to Skype. Students and parents can visit our counselors' booking page whenever they want, book the time and service they need, get a confirmation email and calendar invitation, and reschedule or cancel if they must.

Students may schedule an appointment with our counselors using the Rusk Counseling Booking Link.

Social-Emotional Learning

  • Mindfulness and Emotions: To help find a sense of calm and focus on the present, we encourage both adults and students to practice mindfulness and regulate our emotions. Each of us can build our skills by pausing to breathe deeply, focusing on the present, and allowing emotions to come and go rather than being swept up in one particular train of thought or heightened emotion.
  • Remember to visit Dallas ISD's At-Home Learning for SEL resources for students (available in both English and Spanish). If you feel students need support from our counselors, please refer them to one of our counseling queens team members.
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District Extended Emergency Leave

During an Extended Emergency Leave, some employees (this applies to all of us) may be required to perform limited duties remotely/work from home to maintain key functions of the District (i.e.: activities such as instruction, lesson development, curriculum development, staff supports and business office functions). An employee must be available during normal work hours.

If an employee is unwilling or unable to fulfill their assigned duties on a given day or are not available due to a trip, vacation, surgery etc. they should utilize PTO.

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CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Prevention

Site is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Click on the button and it will take you to the website.