Redbird Roundup, Vol. 3

Friday, August 30, 2019

Our Mission and Vision

Norris Middle School prepares all students for their future by providing a safe, caring, and diverse school environment that maintains high expectations, academic excellence, and respect for all. Success, achievement, respect…It’s a Redbird thing!

La Escuela Secundaria Norris prepara a todos los estudiantes para su futuro ofreciendo un entorno escolar seguro, atento y diverso que mantiene altas expectativas, excelencia académica y respeto para todos. Éxito, logro, respeto…Es una cosa de los Redbirds!

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!

It has been an exciting week with lots of activities getting moving. I know we are all looking forward to the long weekend, and a chance to relax and spend time with family and friends.

The NLT has been in our coaching cycle completing instructional coaching visits and having conversations with teachers after, as well as MTSS-B classroom walk-throughs. It has been so powerful to have dialogue with teachers. We have been reinforcing powerful practices (learning goals) and encouraging enhancement to those practices (students re-stating learning goals, using strong verbs etc.). I have really valued the conversation and I hope you have too.

I have had several staff members come to me this week to share something really positive that has happened in their lives. Maybe some good news they were waiting for, or a surprise that just made their day. It absolutely brings me great joy to hear these things. Thank you for sharing them with me. And it makes me reflect: We really are a family here. We see each other more than we see our own families sometimes. We share in each other's joy, support one another, encourage one another, and also share in each other's challenges. I am so glad to call you family :)

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Carr

September 2-6

Monday, September 2: No School, Labor Day

Tuesday, September 3: Team PD Throughout Day (more info to come) on Learning Goals and MAP Testing Administration

Wednesday, September 4: Safety Team Meeting (Schnabel) Wellness Wednesday (Staff can wear wellness gear)

Thursday, September 5: Nothing Scheduled

Friday, September 6: College Gear Day; Tailgate Potluck Lunch 10:20-12:45 in library

Up Next Week in the Redbird Roundup

I do three staff introductions each week. You'll be getting an email from me with questions. Even if you have done it before, please participate and do it again! Please respond and include a picture by Thursday! I will do the first week.

Up next: Mary Goltl, Michaela Sullivan, and Justina Tibbs

Staff Introductions

Rachel Adams-Para in ACP

Name: Rachel Adams

How many years have you been teaching? 2 years as a preschool teacher and about 1 1/2 years as a para

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? Kind staff members and students

What is one of your favorite quotes? Do what you feel in your heart to be right... for you'll be criticized anyway.-Eleanor Roosevelt

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Gardening/yard work

What chore do you absolutely hate doing? Dishes

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be? 21

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Donate to a children's charity

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? The Great British Baking Show

Andrew Dickel-Counselor

Name: Andrew Dickel

How many years have you been teaching/in education? Just started lucky #13

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? The staff has been incredibly welcoming.

What website/app do you use most often? Spotify (cannot live without music)

What is the best thing that happened to you this week? My wife allowed me to play a round of golf.

Would you rather go 30 days without your phone or an entire lifetime without dessert? 30 days without my phone. I am on my phone too much anyway, could probably use a little detox, and not sure I can live without sweets.

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? The Office, Parks and Rec, Happy Endings

What would you sing at karaoke night? The Wood Brothers – Happiness Jones

Kristi Ryan-Counselor

Name: Kristi Ryan

Years as a counselor - This will be my 20th year, 10 in a public high school, 4 in K-8 private school and the rest in public middle.

My favorite thing about Norris Middle so far is that everyone seems to be solution focused and committed to helping students find success.

Something most people don't guess about me -- I love sports, both watching and playing. I grew up playing softball and played in leagues until about 7 years ago when my body decided it couldn't recover as quickly from even minor injuries. A baseball field is my happy place.

The worst food I ever ate was Steak and Kidney Pie in England. I am not a picky eater at all, but this nearly made me gag in my effort to be polite.

Farthest I have ever been from home is England. My brother and his family live there.

I would love to go without my phone permanently, I can't survive a day without something sweet.

TV show that I would binge watch if I had the time -- I really want to watch This is Us. I have only seen one or 2 episodes, but I have heard great things.

Wellness Word to the Wise

Go to bed 10 minutes earlier. By the end of the week, you’ll get 70 extra minutes of sleep. If you keep it up all year, you’ll have slept 60 hours more. Imagine how well-rested you’ll feel!

Wednesday, September 4 is our first Wellness Wednesday. Remember, staff can wear wellness gear on these days!

Powerful Practices

Learning Goals

We are really seeing learning goals being amped up all over the building. Teachers are finding awesome new ways to unpack learning goals, and have students re-state the learning goals in their own words. This week I'm highlighting Jenn Moore. She posts and unpacks her learning goal, and even highlights verbs and vocabulary so her students can add the learning goals to their agendas. She tops it off by having students find synonyms for the verbs. Awesome job!

More Learning Goals!

Mrs. Carver reviews her learning goal with her class. In the previous class, students had given synonyms for the verbs used in the Learning Goal. As she gets into her first class activity involving a graphic organizer for cause and effect, she is able to refer back to the learning goal so students know why they're doing what they're doing. Awesome!

And More Learning Goals! (Can you tell this is our focus for September?)

Mr. Cobelens has challenged his students to increase their reading Lexile score by 200 points through a variety of different activities in his class. As he unpacks his objective, he explains to students what a Lexile score is, how it is determined, and what activities will be done in class to help students improve. Students asked great questions like how long it will take to raise their Lexile etc. Great job!

Learning Walks

Teams practiced the Learning Walk this past Monday. They went into another colleague's classroom and spent about ten minutes observing, looking specifically for our September focus of learning goals (including unpacking and restating). Teams then got together to debrief. I followed our 6th grade team as they went into several classrooms. They shared some great ideas for beginning of class procedures, as well as some powerful practices for learning goals. I was so excited about the dialogue teachers were having with one another!


Mrs. Sorrell and Mr. Langabee take their stations to the halls to get students up and moving. Students work in groups and move between the different activities to review integers. Great way to keep kids engaged and keep the blood flowing!

Games/Cooperative Learning

Ms. Cochran and Ms. Redding engage their students in a little "Interger Football" to review this concept at the beginning of class. Students get a story problem and move their marker accordingly. This is a quick shared activity that activates prior knowledge and reinforces concepts. Great job!

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Music Everywhere!

I took a trip to our music classes on Thursday. To give you some quick facts, many of our music classes have grown over the past year. Our Band classes have anywhere between 30-50 students in them. Mr. Kress has also grown our Guitar program and he has Beginning Guitar classes with over 40 students! Chorus is jam-packed with classes in the high 30's and 40's, and Mr. Brown's strings classes have grown as well, his Beginning Strings class has doubled in size and he has seven very full Strings classes. We are so proud that our students are participating in music and can't wait to see them perform! Thanks to all of our music staff, Mrs. Borjon, Mr. Brown, Ms. Eskridge, Mr. Kress, and Mr. Walker for all they do!

Join GSA!

Our Gender Sexualities Alliance is seeking new members, and had an informational table outside the cafeteria on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. This group does an amazing job promoting understanding and helping make Norris a safe place for all.

Redbird Volleyball

Our Redbird Volleyball Team is hitting practices hard in preparation for their first match. They have been working on serving, passing, hitting, footwork, and setting. Their first match is at Bryan Middle on Tuesday, 9/5 and they are coached by Ali Parks and Keli Reid.

Final Thought

A little note goes a long ways. I am big into notes. I love drops, postcards, sticky notes, whatever there is. Just another way to communicate with someone that is more personal. As we move to really tackle our school attendance, I found this website with some great suggestions around writing personal notes to students and families. I know some teams are already adopting this. A little nudge with a personal touch means a lot in a school as large as ours. If you need postcards, I have plenty in my office :)