Stafford Spotlight

Stafford Middle School Newsletter - October 2013

Administrative Corner

Dear Stafford Students and Families:

It is hard to believe that we have already completed our first 6 weeks of the school year! This next grading period will be a short one, just 5 weeks.

Monday, Oct. 14, is a student holiday but our teachers will be here, hard at work, to conduct Student Led Conferences. In an effort to streamline the process for conferences, all sign-up is online this year. An email was sent October 1st with all the information you need to schedule a conference online (if you no longer have the email, you can go to and access the sign-up sheet). If you are not currently scheduled for a conference, but would like to schedule one, you can check available time slots online.

At Stafford, we embrace technology to teach our kids in the ways in which they learn best. You can join us by checking grades on HAC regularly and joining your child’s Edmodo page, if you have not already done so. In addition, all of our grade reports will now be accessed online only (no hard copies will be sent home).

We welcome you to come out and support our athletic and fine arts programs. Many games and events are already underway, so come and support your Stafford Spartans! Please keep in mind that students have to be passing to attend, as their grades come first!

If you Tweet, follow us on Twitter — We are also on Facebook—


The Stafford Administration Team

Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Duffey, Mr. Westby, and Mrs. Birdwell

Upcoming Events

October 14th: Parent Conference Day

October 21st - 25th: Red Ribbon Week

November 8th: End of Second Six Weeks

November 8th & 9th: Fall Play- Beauty and the Beast

November 14th: Veteran’s Dinner and Curriculum Night

Counselor's Corner

We hope all the students are transitioning well and you have received resources if you needed anything!

College Week:

The students really enjoyed College Week and the activities we planned to help them make decisions about college for the future!

College Education:

During the months of September and October we will be talking to all the 7th graders in regards to college education and the importance of college.

Watch Dogs:

We had Watch Dogs Pizza Night on September 19th. If you missed being here for the evening, you can still volunteer to be a Watch D.O.G. Please call the front office or pick up a Watch Dogs volunteer form.

Red Ribbon Week:

Red Ribbon Week is October 21st-25th. This is a fun week filled with activities each day for students to become aware of the dangers of drug use. Please check the Stafford counseling website for the events of the week and for upcoming events.

The Stafford Library Buzz

The library has been a very busy place for the past two months. Students are using the library for studying, reading, using the computers, and research. I have also been meeting with a few classes for science fair.

Here are a few notes:

• Right after the book fair, the first round of overdue slips will be going out.

• My blog,, is a great place for students to get ideas for books. Another great site to get ideas from is

• For other Stafford Library information, please visit


Mrs. Lassley

Front Office News

Dear Parents,

The cold and flu season has arrived, and I greatly appreciate all those notes coming in! Here is a quick reminder of our note policy:

For ILLNESS: You can use a parent note to excuse 3 consecutive days of illness. It is coded as EP – excused parent. Parent phone calls are recorded, but the absence is not excused until a note or email is received.

When a student’s absences exceed four days a doctor note is required to excuse the absences. This means starting the 4th day, I will require a doctor’s note to excuse the absence(s). Parent notes are recorded, but do not excuse the absences at this point.

For APPOINTMENTS: If the absence is for an appointment, a dentist or doctor note will be required to excuse the absence. Parent notes are recorded, but do not excuse the absence when an appointment occurs. Parent notes notifying the office of an appointment are coded as UP - unexcused with parent notification.

You have 3 days from the date of the absence(s) to turn in the doctor’s note. Doctor’s notes may be turned in to the front office or faxed to 469-633-5110.

Thanks again for your diligence in keeping us informed!


Kristen Hudson

Counseling Secretary/Attendance

Notes from the Nurse

Important Notice for 7th grade and new to the district students and parents-

The 7th grade hearing and vision screening will be on November 20th through history. Students new to the district will also be screened. If your student wears glasses or contacts, please remind him/her to bring them that day. Students who fail a screening will be re-screened in December. If the student fails the re-screen, a referral will be sent home with the student. Please return the referral form signed by the doctor.

Gentle Reminder-

Please remember that if your child has a fever, do not send him or her to school. If a student has a fever, he or she must stay home until fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of medication (such as Tylenol or Motrin).

English as a Second Language

Ms. Walker and Ms. Palomo

Did you know that English Language Learners make up 10% of all public schools? The Stafford English Language Learners have been busy working on personal narratives during the first six weeks. We worked through the writing process of pre-writing, drafting, revising, and publishing. Each week we learn new Academic Vocabulary words and test our knowledge on Tuesdays. We have also been increasing our vocabulary by reading chapter books at school and home.

6th Grade News

6th Grade ILA

On-Level: Ms. Basham, Ms. Stephens, and Ms. Green

6th Grade ILA is off to a great start! We have been working hard on root words, parts of speech and the parts of a story. The students love the stories in SpringBoard! We will soon be writing our first piece, which will be a personal narrative, and we are excited to see what wonderful changes have happened in our students' lives. We are already looking ahead to next six weeks where we will be discussing "Changes in Our World," reviewing plot, and writing a short story. It is great to be in sixth grade!

Pre-AP: Mr. Kazanski and Ms. Rios

Students finished activities relating to their summer novel, My Life in Dog Years. We studied point of view, vocabulary, and characterization. Currently, students are studying Greek and Latin roots and prefixes and reviewing parts of speech. Finally, students are just completing their first essay, a Personal Narrative about a change in their lives.

6th Grade Math

Ms. Young, Ms. Foster, and Ms. Overstreet

Wow! What a fabulous start to the 2013-14 year! Our 1st unit covered probability, graphs and statistics. Our current unit covers integers, divisibility rules, prime factorization, GCF, LCM, fractions and decimals. We are enjoying getting to know your student and look forward to watching their minds grow mathematically! Remind your student to attend tutorials for additional support.

6th Grade Science

Mrs. Harvey, Ms.Koenig, and Ms. Postrigan

During our first unit, Mrs. Harvey, Mrs.Koenig, and Mrs. Postrigan created a solid foundation of safety and metric measurement with our science labs. Unit 2 will work through “Exploring Energy and Energy Transformations." The teachers even have some songs and marble races to help teach this unit. Once we complete our energy sources, we hope your sixth grader will show a decrease in your electricity bill! Students will be asked to view their home use and how their family can save energy! Who knew science could be such fun – and save money!

6th Grade World Culture

Coach Jackson, Ms. Nickeson, Ms. McKinnis, and Mr. Sutton

This six weeks World Cultures students have been learning about the foundations of geography and how to be geographers. At the end of our second unit, students will be prepared for our study of the different world regions and cultures! Currently, students are applying their learning by creating a "Cultural Pizza" that explores the various elements of their own culture - bon appetite!

7th Grade News

7th Grade ILA

On-Level: Ms. Hawkins, Ms. Green, and Ms. Dovidas

7th grade ILA rocks! Our students began our year exploring the concept of choice. They read many wonderful stories and poems that dealt with choice. To prepare for their first Embedded Assessment, students read some excellent personal narratives and discussed what elements made them outstanding. After the students wrote their personal narratives about choices that changes their lives, they used revising and editing strategies to make them the best they could be. Next six weeks the students will be learning about mythology and will have great fun writing their own myths!

Pre-AP: Ms. Phillips, Ms. Zieminski, and Ms. Baxter

We have had a wonderful start to the school year! We began the year discussing our summer reading novel, Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie. We continued the six weeks by reviewing the elements of fiction, writing Biopoems and learning strategies to become better writers. We wrapped up the six weeks with a Personal Narrative and our first CBAP. The students are looking forward to starting mythology!

7th Grade Math

Ms. Allen, Ms. Copling, and Ms. Maynard

Wow! It’s hard to believe we are 1/6 or .166… of the way through school already. During the first five weeks of school we discussed integers, order of operations, and the coordinate plane. First we modeled with counters and number lines, then we developed the algorithm or rules for working with the integers. We stepped up the rigor with extra problem solving and projects, and we plan to continue to challenge our students in the second six weeks. Next up is decimals and fractions. Before you know it, we’ll be 1/3 or .33… of the way through school! Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Copling, and Mrs. Maynard are really enjoying this group of math students!

7th Grade Science

Ms. Caton, Ms. Miller, and Mr. Brown

Wow! We can’t believe we are already to our second grading period! Time is flying by so fast! We just concluded our first unit covering measurement, lab tools and safety and are on to the world of Biology. Second six weeks, we will be exploring biomes, ecosystems and breaking down the relationships within! We will focus on adaptations and the breakdown of food webs / energy flow in an ecosystem. Students will have an opportunity to show their creativity by putting together an original representation of the biome of their choice. We are extremely excited to see all of the awesome projects to come!

For Pre-AP students, science fair has begun. With science fair in full swing, students have now submitted research plans and are eager to begin their data collection phase of science fair. We are extremely excited to see all of the awesome projects to come!

7th Grade Texas History

Ms. Countryman, Ms. Howard/Ms.Weiss, and Mr. Rutherford

The last few weeks we finished up our study of the regions of Texas and the native people of this area. We are now in the study of the European explorers that came to this region. Next week we will begin our study of the Spanish Mission system.

8th Grade News

8th Grade ILA

On-Level: Ms. Baxter, Ms. Beasley, and Ms. Browning

We have had a great first six weeks! 8th grade ILA students have been very busy using different methods of writing to explore the topic of heroism. The students recently completed a definition essay on heroes for their first Embedded Assessment and an expository essay for their first CBA Prompt. We just started our class novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry. This is a fantastic novel that we are sure the students will all enjoy!

Pre-AP: Ms. Weisheit and Ms. Vestal

Pre-AP ILA 8th graders have had a superb start to the year. Ms. Weisheit and Mrs. Vestal were impressed with student interpretations of our summer novel, Messenger! Heroism was the focus of the last marking period, and students defined the concept in their first expository essay of the year. We also have our first CBA Prompt completed, with revision opportunities coming soon. Look for your student to be reading The Giver often outside of class, as we will do extension activities in class with SpringBoard. We look forward to increasing reading independence and writing sophistication as the year continues.

8th Grade Science

Ms. Wilson, Mr. Blanton, and Ms. Postigran

The 8th grade Science students have been studying the characteristics of the Universe, which include stars, galaxies, comets and nebulae. They were also exploring the reason for the seasons, the Lunar Cycle and Tides. The Pre-AP students also began their search for Science Fair Project ideas and turned in their proposals as well as their Research Plans. In our next unit we will explore Ocean and Weather systems.

8th Grade Math

Ms. Rogers and Ms. Shelden

We had a great first six weeks in eighth grade math! We wrapped up Unit 1 of studying Rational Numbers and their appropriate operations, scientific notation and coordinate grids. We have begun Unit 2-Proportional Relationships, this unit covers different representations of data (tables, graphs, equations) as well as changes in dimension and how they affect linear, area and volume measures. As we move forward, please continue to help your child at home by monitoring their progress on weekly bell-ringers and practice packets. We are looking forward to another great six weeks! Please feel free to contact us any time if you have any questions or concerns.


Ms. Tutt

Our Algebra students have been hard at work, building their foundational knowledge of functions, both linear and quadratic. We have been exploring functional relationships, setting parameters with domain and range, and even solving a huge problem for NASA that would’ve helped them avoid the Challenger disaster with a simple scatter plot! They have a busy road ahead of them; we will learn how to solve complicated equations using inverse operations and watch how certain manipulations can change the graphs of these linear equations. Algebra is so ahh-mazing!!

8th Grade American History

Mr. Washington, Mr. Drain, and Coach Jackson

This year in US History the students started off learning about key physical and political geography of the United States. Next, we discussed the motives for exploration and how it set off a global exchange of goods and services which led to the desire for colonization. Eventually, we were able to understand and analyze the political, social, economic, and geographic aspects of the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies. We have been analyzing colonial conflict with Britain and identifying the leaders that emerged prior to the American Revolution. The student will be able to analyze the ideals and grievances outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the people involved in the process. They will also identify and explain people, events, and outcomes of the American Revolution.

Fine Arts

Stafford Sound Machine

Mr. Holzer, Mr. Kelly, Ms. Wilson, Mr. Sundberg, and Mr. Coltman

The Sound Machine has some exciting news to share. Last year's Honor Band recording of "Joy Revisited" won 1st place in the STATE at the ATTSB Outstanding Performance Series Competition. The same group was also selected as a National WindBand Honors Winner. This are both AMAZING accomplishments and we are extremely proud of both former and present students involved in these accomplishments. We truly have one of, if not the, BEST band in the state of Texas!! Mr. Holzer sends out a weekly email every Monday morning. Please contact him at to get on the list and get informed. Mr. Holzer, Mr. Kelly, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. Sundberg, and Mr. Coltman are all excited to begin our 6th year with the Sound Machine!


Ms. Boemer

We’re off to a great start in orchestra. Our beginning students have already had their demo concert and did a fantastic job! In the second six weeks, the beginners will continue learning how to combine the right and left hands. We’ll also be learning how to read our music on the staff! Our Symphonic students are very busy! We’re learning Fall Concert music, Veteran’s Day music, and prepping for All Region. We’re also working very hard on all of our objective pass offs. Please remember Symphonic Students and Parents that all Objective Pass Off are due by Friday, no later than 6:00 PM. All information regarding the requirements for each assignment can be found on edmodo. For all students, our Fall Concert is on October 8th! If you have any questions, check the orchestra website,, or e-mail me at


Ms. Bond

Choir students have been busy this six weeks working to improve our vocal technique, rhythm-reading, ear-training, and sight-reading skills daily. We have sold concessions, ordered T-Shirts and uniforms, collected Boxtops for Education, auditioned for Spartan Singers, and have had a blast at our first Movie Night. Additionally, twelve students are working toward All-Region Choir auditions! We just had our first Pep Rally performance on Oct. 8th during the school day and our Fall Concert on Oct. 9th. We hope you were able to attend! Contact information:, 469-633-5125,


Ms. Blocker and Ms. Knott

We have been so busy in Art this first 6 weeks! We have studied Japanese paper marbling, soda can drawings, contour lines, shading, Kandinsky skyline zentangle, amys ice cream bag, first drawings of hand, face cup, Name drawings and bubble letters, small object concentration, blind contour drawing, visual analogs, parabolic line arc designs, and morphing fantasy handscape! Coming up next is Winter Greeting card contest, 2 & 3 point perspective city, and Value study with hatch, crosshatch and stipple. Art Mania is off with a bang! We had our first meeting and made some fun collaborative drawings. We discussed possible project ideas and will meet again in early November on the 5th.


Ms. Elder and Ms. Ponsford

This has been a spectacular first six-weeks in Theatre! Theatre 1 students have created original TV commercials and learned all about how to be an outstanding audience member during live theatre performances. Theatre 2 completed duet acting scenes, reviewed improvisation and are now writing and acting out their own clan Dramas. Theatre Productions has been busy writing and performing monologues from the perspective of children’s book characters and reviewing improv. Tech Theatre recently completed their "And Then There Was One" Gameboard Floorplan/Rendering/Character and Prop Cards Projects, based on the script they read in class written by Michael Druce. Students collaborated in small groups to design a gameboard, in the style of the Parker Brothers game "Clue," along with a colored rendering of Reef Mansion, and character and props cards, taken from the script. Several Tech students have volunteered to work after school on designing the set for "Beauty and the Beast, JR," which will be performed November 7-9 in the Stafford Cafeteria. Don’t miss out on the chance to see some incredible performances and special effects!


Study Skills/Advisory

Ms. Pugh and Ms. Bond

The first six weeks of school, 6th grade students organized their lockers and binders. We also discussed the importance of good study habits and made a homework schedule to take home. Students were taught how to use their agendas to help them stay organized and had agenda checks every week for a grade. Next six weeks we are focusing on different skills to help us study, such as making flashcards, acronyms, and music to help us memorize facts. We are also continuing our speed math skills (basic multiplication tables) every other week for basic practice.

Skills for Living

Ms. Skinner
For the first six-weeks in Skills for Independent Living, we have studied personal development, self esteem, grooming, decision making and goal setting. Students just finished creating their Skills for Living board games. They all turned out great and were fun to play! We are currently talking about family relationships and will begin our Child Development unit soon. The flour baby project will begin on October 21st and end on October 25th!


Ms. Ray and Ms. Morales
We hit the ground running this year in Spanish. Students learned basic conversation skills and introductions. We have been working on perfecting our pronunciation, augmenting our vocabulary and discovering exciting and interesting things about Hispanic culture. It is important that students always maintain the skills and vocabulary they learn throughout their Spanish “career." Please encourage your student to keep all notes and resources for as long as they take Spanish.

Teen Leadership/Health

Coach Flusche and Coach Gordon
Tell me something good! Teen Leadership has started off with a bang! We are building relationships and have built Social Contracts. Now with three speeches under our belts, we are feeling good and getting better at public speaking. We are working on being positive and getting out of our comfort zones. We have began to lay down the ground work for a successful semester! In the next six weeks, we will prepare students to be independent leaders. Looking forward to the next six weeks!

Technology Applications

Ms. Wiemann, Ms. Toma and Ms. Micks
We began the school year focusing on familiarizing students with saving and submitting work through the FISD Network and learned the importance of file management. Students also were introduced to application software and file extensions. We wrapped up this first 6 weeks focusing on the importance of following copyright laws and the consequences of plagiarism.


Ms. Wiemann
Last year’s book SOLD OUT! This year’s book will be the best it has ever been! We are focusing on having all students represented in the book at least 3 times. Our Fall Promotional Campaign started October 1st and ends November 1st. After November 1st, the price for the yearbook increases. You may order online at or pick up an order form from the front office.

Digital Graphics & Animation

Ms. Wiemann
We began our animated journey by exploring the development of animation from pencil to pixels. Students completed stations designed to give them an insight into how the pioneers of animation developed characters and techniques to make the still picture come alive. The second 6 weeks will have students applying the 12 Animation Principles by completing 2D animations in Flip Boom.


Ms. Micks

Broadcast students are ‘reeling’ with excitement as their first broadcast nears. Our broadcast teams rotate to provide the greatest number of viewings at a level of high quality. Each team has 5 members who dedicate their time in class as well as outside of class. Broadcast students are eager to attend school events and shoot footage of Stafford students. So whenever you see a camera and our broadcast crew-SMILE! Our first broadcast airs this month so don’t forget to ‘Keep it classy Spartans’ on KICS TV.

Gifted & Talented

6th: Ms. Toma
Our 6th grade GT ILA class was off and running from the very start of school. They have now finished discussing their summer reading, Stargirl, written a personal narrative using sensory language, vivid verbs, transitions, dialogue and a proper formal writing technique. We have discussed characterization, cause and effect, opening hooks, and point of view. They have also completed a R.A.F.T. project based on a biography of their choice. They are now working on an expository essay and dissecting what a basic, standard essay format would like like and how to outline as a pre-writing technique.

7th: Ms. Ericson
7th grade GT PAP ILA has been off to a whirlwind start this year, moving into our new “digs” out in the portables while installations were made around us as we worked! We are all moved in and have been busy with our differentiated curriculum! 7th grade has been busy exploring the 2013 list of Lone Star books and reading them as writers. Writing has been the emphasis the last few weeks, culminating in a CBAP Personal Narrative Essay. We will continue to explore our writing of personal narratives this next six weeks by writing illustrated vignettes and reading House on Mango Street.

8th: Ms. Ericson

8th grade GT has grown with the addition of four new, wonderful students. We are on The Hero’s Journey, exploring the challenges and complexities behind the concept of heroism. We have analyzed our summer novel, The Hobbit, and our Unit A’s The Scarlet Pimpernel through reading, writing, creating a graphic novel, Socratic Seminar, Divergent Problem Solving techniques, and skits. Next six weeks will be equally intriguing as we look at faith and family in Peace Like a River.


Boys' Athletics

Coach Olson, Coach Anthony, Coach Gordon, Coach Jaskson, Coach Lassley, and Coach Rutherford

Football is going great with all four teams having success. Off-season groups are working on getting faster and stronger as they prepare for the basketball season. Try-outs for the basketball team will be in early November with more information coming soon. Cross Country will start in early November as well.

Girls' Athletics

Coach Kirby, Coach Flusche, Coach Young, Coach Browning, and Coach Miller
Volleyball season is off and running! We have a great group of girls who are making good things happen on and off the court. We are definitely getting better every day. The rest of our games will be played on Thursday nights so come out and support your Lady Spartans!

The off-season program is currently working on basketball skills for the upcoming season. They have been working to condition themselves for the speed and endurance that the sport will require. They are doing a great job every day, and we are looking forward to basketball starting in November.

The Stafford PTA is coming along nicely this year. Our member totals are up from last year and we have lots of great volunteers! We have hosted a new teacher luncheon, the Watchdogs charter and kick-off, launched a new PTA website (, sold lots of spiritwear, and are looking forward to a fun Fall Dance. Thanks to all our generous and hard working volunteers. More great things to come, courtesy of your

Stafford PTA.


Melody Hoggan

PTA President, Stafford Middle School