Tiger Time News
News from the O.C. Taylor Principal, Lisa Young
Young@Heart, August 19, 2018
Dear O.C. Taylor Parents,
- WELCOME: Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! Last year's theme at O.C. Taylor, "Exploring Our Future," paved the way for a more narrow focus of this year's theme, "Navigating Our Future!" Two years ago, we had a dedicated Vision Committee who revised our OCT Vision and Mission. In order to see our vision and mission to fruition, we offer Future Explorations. Last year was the inaugural implementation of our Future Explorations. For those of you new to O.C. Taylor, click here to read more about this. This year our students will be selecting three pathways or career clusters they would like to experience. We believe the students at O.C. Taylor are our leaders of tomorrow. We want to give them all of the tools we can to develop, prepare, and inspire them.
- NEW SAFETY PROCEDURES: In the next few weeks, we will be communicating more about our safety and emergency management. This year all visitors to campus will need to bring and present their driver's license to be scanned in our Raptor system in order to be admitted onto the campus. Also, our door to the office will be locked, and Ms. Gene or Ms. Betty will be conducting a visual check before unlocking the door. Click here to read more about safety on our district website.
- CURRICULUM NIGHTS: Please make arrangements to attend our grade level Curriculum Nights from 5:00-6:30 p.m. on the following designated days: 8/23 = PreK, K, and 1st grade, 8/29 = 2nd and 3rd grades, and 8/30 = 4th and 5th grades. This is a very important time for you to get an overview of our curriculum, classroom management plans, learning philosophies, and student/parent expectations. If you are unable to get a babysitter, you may bring your child if you let your teacher know in advance.
- PTA: Please join and get involved with our PTA! Our OCT Parent-Teacher Association provides many extras for our school and for your child. It takes all of us getting involved to have the BEST school like we do! You can donate your time, talents, and/or treasure to OCT. THANK YOU, parents, for all you do! Be sure to read the last portion of the Tiger Time News for OCT PTA Updates.
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Please look below for all of our social media accounts. Signing up for our Principal "Remind" text notifications may help to remind you of important school events and tasks. We know how busy you are and want to assist in any way possible.
Finally, I end my communications with "To the best of days." Elementary school is a very short time in your child's life. I would argue it is the best of years. I beg you to savor, revel, and cherish this wonderful time. Grab on to these years, as they are going to FLY by, and we are here to support you. Make the most of each and every sad, happy, tearful, gleeful moment. You will miss them one day.
See you at the BooHoo/Yahoo Breakfast!
To the BEST of days,
Stay Connected at O. C. Taylor Elementary School
We have a number of ways to keep in touch with our school. Be sure to read, subscribe to and join these resources to get all the latest news.
Website: The school’s website has the latest news, updates, and calendars, as well as general information about the school, resources for parents, volunteer opportunity information, event information and ways to donate.
Twitter: We regularly post events and upcoming news on Twitter. Follow me on Twitter: @OCTYoung and follow our hashtag #OCT4U.
OCT Vision: To empower our children today to create a better tomorrow.
OCT Mission: To create life-long learners and develop servant leaders through authentic, real-world experiences.
We miss you! The OCT Faculty and Staff are anxiously awaiting your return.
Back To School Events
Monday, August 20
7:40 a.m. First Day of School
7:40 a.m. OCT PTA BooHoo/ Yahoo Breakfast in the Learning Commons
Tuesday, August 21
8:30 a.m. Fire Drill
Wednesday, August 22
Thursday, August 23
5:00-6:30 p.m. PreK Curriculum Night
5:00-6:30 p.m. Kinder and 1st Grade Curriculum Night (This has changed since last week's Tiger Time News publication. Please note the change to Thursday.)
2:00 p.m. Shelter in Place Drill
Friday, August 24
Tuesday, August 28
2:30 p.m. Evacuation Drill
Wednesday, August 29
5:00-6:30 p.m. 2nd and 3rd Grades, Curriculum Night
7:00 p.m. OCT Dads' Club Social at The Londoner Colleyville
Thursday, August 30
8:30 Lockdown Drill
2:55 - 4:00 p.m. First Choir Rehearsal
5:00-6:30 p.m. 4th and 5th Grades, Curriculum Night
Friday, August, 31
Monday, September 3
LABOR DAY... NO SCHOOL
OCT and GCISD Updates
O. C. Taylor Procedures and Routines
- COMMUNICATION: We have a new GCISD administrative regulation governing our electronic communication with students. At O.C. Taylor, we are implementing a new practice with our OCT parents by requesting If you or your child need to communicate with your teacher, please use email, place a phone call to the school, or talk face-to-face. The teachers have been instructed to not share their personal cell phone numbers. This is to protect all parties involved.
- BRING A DRIVER'S LICENSE EACH TIME YOU VISIT: This school year all visitors will need to bring their driver's license to scan each time they come to visit the school. If you have anyone you are bringing with you to O.C. Taylor, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., please inform them to bring their driver's license. The front office staff will assist visitors with the scanning in our Raptor system.
- CHECKING OUT A STUDENT EARLY: If you decide to come to school to check out your child before the 2:55 p.m. GCISD elementary dismissal time, please allow us plenty of time to locate your child. It takes a while to locate students in a building as they are not always in their classroom. If you send a note requesting an early dismissal with your student in the morning, you will help eliminate time spent waiting for us to locate your student. Also, we kindly ask if you need to pick up a child before our 2:55 p.m. dismissal, please do so before 2:30 p.m.
- CHANGE IN DISMISSAL OR PICK UP: If you find your child must go home a different way than planned, please notify the office by a phone call by at least 2:00 p.m. Teachers and our front office staff do not always have access to email or are busy teaching or helping others. A phone call is required. Sometimes we have only one person in the front office, so we want to provide ample time to be able to meet your needs.
- CONVEY TO YOUR CHILD THE DAILY PICK UP PLAN: Now is a good time to establish the morning routine of telling your child how he/she will be going home at the end of the school day. Please do not instruct your child to call you after school. Our teachers and front office staff are responsible for many children and are required to be at an after-school duty. They are unable to assist your child with phone calls.
- FORGET ME NOT: If you find your child has left an item at home that needs to be at school, we have "Forget Me Not Tables" in the front vestibule where you can place the items. Come in the building, drop off the forgotten item in the appropriate grade level basket, and write your students name on the dry erase board. You may want to send an email to the teacher as well. This excludes iPads, Chromebooks, or eyeglasses; these items need to be brought into the office.
- DOORS: All visitors must report to the front office at any time, even after school has been dismissed. All staff and students have been directed to not let anyone in the building at any time.
- CAFETERIA: If you plan to bring food up to school for your child, you must only bring food for just your child. Do not bring food for any other children. We love visitors at OCT. If you plan to eat lunch with your child, we have special designated Parent/Visitor Tables. Your child is allowed to invite one other child to sit with him/her at the parent tables. Please make sure your child only invites one friend. Also, we kindly ask for you and your child to dispose of trash and food at the end of the lunch period. Mr. Jose, our custodian, is busy cleaning all of the tables, floors, and emptying trash cans. While I know he does not mind helping, he does not have time to pick up your trash and complete all of the other required custodian duties during the short time. We appreciate you helping us by modeling for your child how to clean up trash. We expect the students to pick up their own trash and pick up food they may have dropped.
State Accountability Ratings: An Open Letter from Dr. Robin Ryan
When I speak to groups in the community, I often ask the audience: “What makes a good school?” The responses range from great teachers to involved parents to happy, well-adjusted students, to good citizens. Not once in eight years has anyone responded: “good standardized test scores.”
This past week, the State has released its A-F ratings for school districts. These ratings are supposed to be a simple way to tell if a school is doing well. The A-F rating system is an attempt to inform us about something as complex as school quality by reducing it to a single letter grade, and that is where it falls short. As accountability expert John Tanner often states: “Simple is good unless it is wrong.” Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and explain the metrics behind the “simple” ratings. This article would become a book the size of an encyclopedia. The State’s A-F ratings will be neither simple, nor comprehensive. School accountability is important and with all we know about teaching and learning in 2018, there has to be a better way to design a more accurate accountability system.
Testing is important, for sure, but using tests as the sole indicator to label and form statistical conclusions about students, teachers and schools will be mostly inaccurate. These tests do not measure skills that many employers repeatedly describe as necessary in today’s workforce: creativity, grit, teamwork, empathy, artistic ability, endurance or compassion. In GCISD, we will examine our results and make appropriate adjustments as we continue doing what is best for students.
Standardized tests have been used to judge schools for almost two decades. Parents and students have been increasingly frustrated that high stakes testing actually hijacks the curriculum and decreases the quality of a student’s educational experience. The 2015 National Superintendent of the Year Dr. Philip Lanoue called it the “fool’s gold” of accountability. Parents have higher expectations for our schools to do more than simply mold students into successful test takers. Our goal is to make sure that every student who crosses the stage is equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to participate fully in their chosen career path and the future of our republic. That takes much more than performing well on one test. Rather than relying on a tired, recycled accountability system, as a district, state and nation, we need to adjust our views on accountability.
As part of developing LEAD 2.0, the next phase of the district’s strategic framework, we are going to develop a robust Community Based Accountability System. The whole premise behind this system is two questions: for what should we be accountable? And to whom should we be accountable? We say all the time that our students and staff are not defined by scores on standardized tests, but we also know that we need to have robust accountability that actually reflects the values and expectations of our community, along with the educational standards of the State. I am all for accountability, but it needs to be based on more than just a snapshot of how our students perform on one day. This Community Based Accountability System will provide an opportunity for our parents, community, staff and students to determine the standards that are important in this community, determine how best to meet those standards and be transparent in reporting out on those metrics.
As educators, our job is to champion the more than 5.4 million students receiving a public education in the State of Texas. More specifically, we must champion the almost 14,000 students in GCISD. One definition of a champion is “a winner of first prize or first place in a competition.” We are very fortunate to win a lot of championships in GCISD, and while the hardware that comes along with it is nice, the characteristics of a champion are more important. Focus, courage, motivation, perseverance, and integrity are a few commonly recognized traits of a champion and none of these are measured by the new A-F Accountability System.
The State’s A-F system tells a story, but it is an incomplete and limited one because almost everything that happens at school is not captured in a letter grade determined by a standardized test. It cannot capture the hopes, dreams, and aspirations a community has for its children. It will not tell the complete GCISD story. We can do better and we are committed to improving moving forward. Done well, an accountability system should be accurate, credible and used by all stakeholders to improve our schools. We will use the A-F information as one of many data points on our quest to provide an excellent education for every student who walks through our doors in order to continue to Build Excellent Schools Together.
Sign Up for Text Updates from Principal
Parents, we need your input!
Beginning September 4, GCISD will be hosting three scheduled parent input sessions right here on our campus. These sessions will be 45-50 minutes long and we will be capping each session at 10 people. These sessions are first come first served. If you are interested in sharing your experience with the GCISD, please sign up using this google form. Please make sure you are selecting a time slot for your respective campus.
For the 2018 – 2019 school year, the USDA has approved automatic free meal eligibility for ALL STUDENTS ATTENDING STATE-FUNDED PREKINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS operated under the administration of the Texas Education Agency Early Childhood Program.
Non-eligible prekindergarten students enrolled in a public prekindergarten (locally or tuition-based)
GCISD is Now Hiring! Join the GCISD TEAM!
Many opportunities are available in our auxiliary departments:
- Nutrition Specialists -PT w/ benefits – work while your students are in school!
- Kidzu Site Aide – PT w/benefits – this schedule works well for local college students!
- Night Custodians
- Bus Drivers & Monitors
- Maintenance Engineers
Apply online at: www.gcisd-k12.org
School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)
GCISD - Building Excellent Schools Together
GCISD LEAD 2021- BUILDING EXCELLENT SCHOOLS TOGETHER!
The mission of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD is to be THE BEST and through the district’s strategic plan, called LEAD 2021, we continue building on the foundation started in 2011-2012. LEAD stands for Leading Excellence – Action Driven. For more information about LEAD 2021, please visit the district website. We are excited about the new LEAD 2.0 and hearing from all parents! There are some exciting educational experiences going on in GCISD!
Redefining Education because your future matters today!
GCISD’s Portrait of a Graduate
Skilled Problem Solvers
We think your kids are..... G-G-G-G-reat!
Boo Hoo/Yahoo Reception
Parents, please join us on the first day of school for the...BOO HOO/YAHOO RECEPTION on August 20, from 7:40-8:30 a.m. in the OCT Learning Commons.
Light refreshments will be served and we will be joined by our fabulous Principal and Assistant Principal!
OCT Dads' Club
Dads, come join us for another exciting year!
Important Dates for Dads Club:
Wednesday, August 29 7:00 p.m., - Dads Club Meeting and Social at The Londoner in Colleyville
Saturday, September 29th - Dads Club Golf Tournament.
Homeroom Parents Needed
Be on the lookout for the homeroom parent form going home on Monday. This is a wonderful way to support our students, teachers and school. Homeroom parents help run our holiday parties, assist with Fall Festival, communicate with class parents about PTA-related events, and assist teachers with special projects as needed. Applications for Homeroom Parent must be turned in by Wednesday, September 5th.
Got Questions? Contact me! Allison Wendler, Homeroom Parent Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Box Tops and Amazon Smile
This year, we will be increasing donations to the OC Taylor PTA thru Box Tops for Education and Amazon Smile! It's a simple way to donate to our school! Here's how you can help:
#1 - Clip out Box Tops for Education and place them on the Box Top collection sheet or in a Ziploc bag. Be sure to place your child's grade level on the bag or collection sheet! We will be counting box tops for our Racing to Recess Challenge. The grade level with the highest level of Box Tops each semester will earn an extra recess and popsicle party!
#2 - Be sure to shop smileamazon.com. .5% of all your purchases will go to the OC Taylor PTA. Log on to smileamazon.com and select PTA Texas Congress 1610 O C Taylor Elementary as your preferred charity. It's an amazoningly easy way to earn money for our school!! Remember, you must log on to smileamazon.com every time you shop to ensure your purchases earn money for our school!