Redbird Roundup, Vol. 25

Friday, April 5, 2019

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!


A great, busy week in the books. I am definitely getting that end of year excitement feeling, and with the weather getting nicer I think the kids are too! There are lots of exciting things coming up.


I saw some awesome stuff in classrooms this week, and highlighted below. We have also had a ton of activities happening, so I have tried to capture those too.


Next week is a short week with students, so let's make it a great one.


Have a great weekend!


Dr. Carr

We need you here!

Thank you for perfect attendance on March 26 and 27! It was so incredible to have everyone here to make the first round of testing run smoothly.


Coming up:

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.

April 8-12

Monday, April 8: 7th Grade Play Performance during 3/4; New Student Registration 4-8; MTSS-B Vision Team meeting after school

Tuesday, April 9: Security Audit by NDE-AM; 6th Grade Play Performance during 1/2, 8th Grade Play Performance during 3/4; Boys Soccer home vs. L/C; Girls Soccer at L/C

Wednesday, April 10: Spring Play, 7 p.m.; Track home vs. L/C

Thursday, April 11: 7:30, Redbird Pride Breakfast, 8-11 VILS, 1 p.m. CSI Rollout Meeting

Friday, April 12: Full Day Teacher Planning and Prep; Lesson Plans due by end of day for those on appraisal

Staff Introductions

This week we will meet Joetta Alexander and Blake Heybrock.

Joetta Alexander


Name: Joetta Alexander

How many years have you been teaching? 28 yrs (20 full-time)

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? I love how the staff comes to support each other in times of need.


1. What is one of your favorite quotes? “The finest steel must go through the hottest fire.” –Richard M. Nixon Sometimes it seems I am forever being forged. By the end of this adventure called life, I should be able to withstand re-entry from outer space with nary a scratch.

2. What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? My favorite outdoor activity is vegetable gardening.

3. What chore do you absolutely hate doing? I absolutely hate folding laundry.

4. When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? When I find 30 minutes free time, I read or play Text Twist or Boggle on my tablet.

5. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? If I ever win the lottery, the first thing I would do is take my mother car shopping.

Blake Heybrock

Name: Blake Heybrock

How long have you been at Norris? Six years

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? My favorite thing about Norris are the kids and their passion along with how much the staff backs each other up and cares for each other.


What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

- Being in the backyard/garage with some power tools and a stack of lumber… let’s build something.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

- Cleaning the bathroom, that stuff is for the birds!

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

- 28 was a good year

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

- Get a lawyer, set up trust funds, buy an acreage & peace out

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

- This old house/Ask this old house/Grand Tour

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

- Volkswagens

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

- SWEET! Gimme that dark chocolate.

Powerful Practices

Creating Choice Boards

Mrs. Newman presented on creating choice boards at our VILS PD on Tuesday. Choice boards are a great compilation of activities for any part of the lesson, and engage students with choice and technology. Teams started thinking of some sample choice boards, and I am hoping to incorporate them into our PD!

Group Project/Challenge

This is one of my favorite activities! Ms. Reid and Ms. Hardt incorporate a group challenge activity with their reading of "Between Shades of Gray." Students work in "families" and have to trade items to help their survival. This activity is super engaging and relevant for students as they read! Check it out if you can!

Reading Olympics

Mrs. White rewards her students with medals and a treat for reaching certain marks in their Reading Olympics activity they did before state testing. I saw so many students wearing their medals proudly in the cafeteria, I had to go check it out!

Maximizing Station Use

Mrs. Carver utilizes stations in her 7th grade ELA classes as students recap The Story of the Triangle Factory Fire. Students work in independent stations, and then she and Mrs. Sitting Eagle work with small groups to discuss the story, draw conclusions, and provide descriptive feedback. Students worked amazingly in their groups and independently, and it is easy to tell that these stations have been very thoughtfully set up. Groups are determined by Mrs. Carver, and students spend around 20 minutes in each station. Awesome work Mrs. Carver and Mrs. Sitting Eagle!

Location, Location, Location

Sometimes a change of location makes a big difference. Ms. Wright and Ms. Lescewicz's students are creating posters for a story from their Collections book (The Story of the Triangle Factory Fire), and were able to really spread out and engage in the project in the hallway outside the class. I am a big proponent of changing location, so don't hesitate to try something new!

Presentations on States

Our ACP students are finishing up class presentations on the states after doing some research in class. They really rocked their presentations!

iPad Site Visits

Mrs. Newman and several teachers visited the Bellevue Schools on Wednesday to see their implementation of their iPad Academy. They rolled out class sets of iPads in 2013, and we were able to see them in action. The app they used that I hadn't seen was called Classkick, and Newman already rolled it out :) It was great affirmation that we are doing all the right things, and moving along so quickly. We have done a ton in just five months.

Faculty Workshop Presentations

We have so many talented staff here and such great resources to share. The faculty workshop share fairs have become a great way to provide choice on PD and engage our amazing staff in presenting. This last week we had Ms. Partridge presenting on Functions of Behavior, our counseling staff talking about Social Emotional Learning, Ms. Hansen on Nearpod, Ms. Rossell on Writing Across the Curriculum, and Ms. Newman in a viewing of "The Mind Inside." Truly amazing. I wanted to be in all of them! Thank you to our presenters!

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Redbird Posse Performance at Liberty

Our Redbird Posse took their show on the road to our feeder school, Liberty Elementary, to pump students up for NSCAS. Per usual, they were amazing, and rocked the gym. It was also fun to see the current Norris students who were former Liberty students! Way to go representing Norris Redbird Posse!

UNO Trip

Our counselors took another group of students to UNO to see the campus. Research tells us that the more our kids are exposed to college campuses, the more it makes the idea of college real to them. We are doing as much as we can to get our kids college access! Thank you to our counselors for organizing this!

Norris GSA Hosts South GSA

Our Redbird GSA hosted a panel of students from the South High GSA and their sponsors to learn about the high school GSA experience. There were even a few former Redbirds on the panel. It was a great way to give our group some ideas, as well as prepare our 8th graders for high school!

Celebrating our 6th Graders

Our 6th graders were truly amazing during our 7th and 8th grade NSCAS. They moved between blocks quietly and respectfully, and held each other accountable for keeping our testing environment quiet. Mrs. Denning thanked them on Thursday with cookies, and also reminded them that their NSCAS testing is just around the corner. Our Redbirds will continue to rock NSCAS!

New Student Registration

We invited our new students from our feeder schools to Norris for registration on April 4, and we'll do it again on April 8. In the past, the counselors have gone out to the elementary schools to register kids, but we thought it would be more beneficial for the kids to see their new school! Several staff members helped out, and several students too! Thank you to all who helped!

HOPE Awards

We honored more than 200 Redbirds who were recipients of the HOPE Awards (Honoring Outstanding Performers in Education) last Sunday at South. These students have maintained a 3.0 GPA and are recognized by the Latino Center of the Midlands. We are very proud of them!

Final Thought

Movement is huge in keeping our students engaged. Movement is huge in keeping our staff engaged. There is a reason we utilize stations during our faculty workshop PD. There are lots of ways you can incorporate movement, and this article provides some great resources. Check it out!

https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/movement/