Redbird Roundup, Vol. 21

Friday, March 1, 2019

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!

Another week, another snow day. It was tough to get things rolling after 7ish inches of snow, but I know our kiddos are glad to be back, and I am too!

We are nearing the end of our winter sports seasons and will host the City Wrestling Tournament on Thursday and Friday of this week. City swim and basketball will take place next week.

We have some big PD events coming up next week as well. Monday our faculty workshop will feature the required NSCAS training for all staff. Wednesday's Team PD will cover our testing schedule, and some other exciting events during testing week.

Stay safe and warm this weekend!

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Carr

Mark Your Calendars!

7th and 8th grade NSCAS testing: March 27 and 28

6th grade NSCAS testing: April 16 and 17

Just as our students' attendance is important these days, so is yours. We need you here to help provide a strong testing environment so our students can do their best. And I will have a few surprises for you on these days :)

March 4-8


Monday, March 4: Meme day; Faculty Workshop After School (Testing Training-Very Important!)

Tuesday, March 5: Twin day; Make-up Faculty Workshop for Coaches and Sponsors Only, 7 a.m. in room 129

Wednesday, March 6: Woke up like this PJ day; Team PD All Day on Testing (very important!); Classroom Support Visits by Jacquie all day

Thursday, March 7: Sports day; NAEP Test for Select 8th Graders; Grading Window Opens

Friday, March 8: Redbird Spirit day; NSCAS Prep Rally (6th and 7th start at 8:40, 8th starts at 9:20); NDE Security Audit all day

March 11-15: Spring Break; Building Open 7-3.

Staff Introductions

This week we will get to know Tracy Kidder, and Megan Nyatawa.

Tracy Kidder

Name: Tracy Kidder

How many years have you been teaching? This is my 25th year!

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? My favorite thing about Norris is being on my team, 8C. They always look out for one another and have each other’s back. The team is full of humor which is needed in Middle School.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power,

but in character and goodness.” By Anne Frank

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

My favorite indoor activity is cooking. My favorite outdoor activity is bike riding.

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be? Forever 25

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

I love getting outside for a walk, it makes me feel refreshed. I crave getting time to read for pleasure so if I have 30 minutes I read. I am currently reading a great book, How Successful People Grow by John C. Maxell.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

I would book a trip to Ireland and take my mom.

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

A presentation on setting up content-based stations for all students. Though I wouldn’t mind giving a presentation on how to bake the perfect Italian Biscotti.

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category?

Salty! My favorite salty food is popcorn cooked on the stove.

Big picture

Megan Nyatawa

Name: Megan Nyatawa

How many years have you been teaching? 1.75 years

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? The staff, the students, the ample parking.

What is one of your favorite quotes? “Who wants to be ordinary, in a crazy mixed up world”-Michelle Branch

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Indoor-puzzles, outdoor-playing with my pups

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? Reading orrrrrr looking for something to watch on Netflix/HBO/Hulu but never finding anything I actually want to watch so instead the 30 minutes passes and I have done nothing at all.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Buy an acreage, build a house, rescue as many animals as possible, build another house for said rescue animals, rescue more animals.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for? Puzzling

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? The Office

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? Microsoft Excel

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category? Both-popcorn with m&m’s and a Dr. Pepper

Powerful Practices

Using Realia

(Realia: objects or activities used to relate classroom teaching to the real life especially of peoples studied.)

Mr. Pignatore gets fired up as he teaches about battle tactics, weapons, and ammunition used during the Civil War. He brings several real-life examples for students so they can fully grasp what types of technology were used during that time. His enthusiasm and passion for this content really brought it to life for his students!

Supported Co-Planning

We have prioritized supported co-planning times for our core areas. 6th grade ELA met February 22, 7th grade ELA met February 21, and 8th grade met February 26. Social Studies met on February 28. It was a fast-moving 45 minutes, but powerful conversation and collaboration, and I loved hearing staff supporting each other with ideas.


Our band and orchestra participated in their annual adjudication on Tuesday, February 26. They performed for their evaluators and received feedback and coaching. This is such a powerful experience for them to get some great feedback as they look towards their spring concerts. And they did awesome!

Scheduling Committee

Our Scheduling Committee received another great update on Wednesday, February 27. While things are still in draft form, we are nearing a great structure for our new bell schedule. Your reps on the scheduling committee will be giving you an update soon, and Mrs. Denning will be hard at work over spring break!

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Congrats to our Robotics Team!

Congrats to the following Robotics students who qualified for the regional competition on March 2. They are coached by Mr. Good:

Isaac Ferroguti

Abdias Marroquin

Edwin Salgado

Daniel Kuncl
Nora Andersen
Kadence Orellana
Khoi Tran
Keely Kurtz
Caesar Gomez ‘

High School Orientation

Our 8th graders were able to hear from their selected high school about courses and activities on Wednesday, February 27. They will be able to register for their classes next week. Students were excited to hear about activities, credits, and all the other fun stuff high school has to offer! Thank you to our counselors for their organization, and to our teachers for helping out in the classrooms!

Work in Progress

As we have finished our massive renovation, we still find things that we want to adjust now that the big work is completed. You have no doubt noticed the additional signage, and we are working on getting a new marquee out front. Additionally, some classrooms needed some other updates, including our guitar storage. Adding these hooks to the guitar storage helps keep them safe and secure so students can access them easily. Many of you have come to me with requests and we are working through them as quickly as we can. We still have a list of items we are working on with Jacobs of items we would like to see done (example-steps on south entrance to building by 8A wing) and we meet with them monthly to review this.

Boys Swim

Our boys swim team had their last home meet on Wednesday, February 27 against Monroe and Buffett. They will compete in the City Swim Finals next week! Thanks for Coach Silva and Coach Greco!

Book Blasters

Ms. Hansen took a group of students to UNO on Wednesday, February 27 for the annual Book Blasters competition. Norris walked away with some hardware, and had a great day there!

Final Thought

Words, words, words. Communication is so the key to everything. Thinking about how we talk, and how we listen, is such a huge part of our everyday life. In my year and a half here I am still learning how best to communicate with my team and my staff, knowing that everyone does it differently. I encourage you to reflect on how you communicate with students (both talking and listening). What words do you use? What tone of voice do you use? What body language do you use? How could adjusting any of those things help your students? When all else fails, take a breath and a step back and reevaluate. And try again.