Wildcat Weekly

Week of November 16, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Mark Marshall – Nov. 17th

Fred Sanders – Nov. 18th

Gwen Dean – Nov. 19th

Stephanie Ferguson – Nov. 21st

Minions Sing Happy Birthday

Holiday Luncheon and Contests!

December 1 is the Holiday Luncheon. We will have an extended lunch to celebrate together. Be sure to deck yourself in your finest holiday sweater, hat, and/or full regalia. Prizes will be donated by the various booster clubs.

Here's the schedule:


0 8:00 - 8:50

1 9:00 - 9:45

2 9:50 - 10:35

3 10:40 - 11:25

4 *A Lunch 11:25 - 12:35 - Lunch/12:35 - 1:45 -Class

*B Lunch 1:30 - 12:40 - Class/12:40 - 1:45 -Lunch

5 1:48 - 2:33

6 2:39 - 3:24

7 3:30 - 4:15

*Lunch is based on the class you are in 4th period.


Teachers as Tutors

Please remind your staff of the following information outlined in DBD Regulation:

· A teacher may not privately tutor his/her own students for pay, and he/she may not use the school facilities for that purpose.

· District resources and materials may not be utilized for private tutoring.

· A tutor is not allowed to request assignments or any other information from the student’s teacher without written parent consent. The policy recommends that the information be shared directly with the parents, who can communicate that information to the tutor.

More information can be found at: http://pol.tasb.org/Policy/Download/312?filename=DBD(REGULATION).pdf

Final Exam Waiver Rules

Please print and post for next semester: http://inside.pisd/campus/campus_services/documents/S4-ExamWaiverGuidelines2015.pdf

Upcoming Events!

Be aware of the following events that will affect much of the campus:

Grade Check:

The week we return from Thanksgiving will be the week for the UIL 3-week grade check. Any student who is currently ineligible needs to see Ms. Fry in the Student Activities office in building B to fill out a 3-week grade check for their grades to be reviewed to regain eligibility.

Financial Aid Workshop

PSHS will be hosting a Financial Aid Workshop – focus will be toward parents of Seniors

Tuesday, December 1

6:30-7:30 PSHS Cafeteria

(PTSA meeting before)

Saturday, December 5th:

Region Band Auditions at Plano Senior. The band will need the entire campus that day minus the gym. Jason will be sending out information soon.

Saturday, December 5th:

Orchestra Cluster Concerts in the Gym

3:00 PM will feature Plano Senior, Vines, Haggard, and Wilson

5:00 PM features Plano Senior, Clark, Hendrick, and Schimelpfenig

Admission is a canned food item (not required)

Plano Santas

Once again, Plano ISD is partnering with the Assistance Center of Collin County (ACCC) to provide food and toys to children living at or below the federal poverty guidelines in the Plano Independent School District (PISD) and their families. Last year, Plano ISD provided holiday gifts and food for 73 families. Since its inception in 1995, the ACCC has served over 8,500 local families with children.

Some of these children and their families have never experienced the joy of the holidays. If you would like to impact a child and family during this special time of year, opportunities are available to adopt a family, volunteer with distribution and delivery, or help fund the program.

· If you would like to adopt a family you will received a wish list for the family you have adopted. Let me know the size family you would like to adopt. Families were encouraged to list as many options as they like to give adopters flexibility in what they choose to shop for. Please note that it is for your convenience to use as a guide—you are not required nor expected to purchase all of the items listed. However, we would like to ensure every child gets at least two gifts. You may feel free to call the family you have chosen to get additional information. If you have funds left over, a gift card to Walmart, Target, restaurants, movie theaters, bowling, etc. is an added plus. You have the option to deliver to your family directly or have Plano Santas deliver the gifts to your family. As families are adopted, I am required to get a cell number(for emergency contact only).

· If you would like to volunteer for deliveries, you can sign up for the 19th or 20th on the sign up genius site-http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409094faaae2ba02-plano1/ (it still says food sorting but it is for deliveries). If slots fill, you can still show up the delivery weekend and we will utilize anyone who shows up. No one under 18 or still in high school can deliver to families.

· If someone would simply like to donate to the program, you can make a check out to the Assistance Center of Collin County and mail to them or donate via PayPal on their Web site- http://www.assistancecenter.org/?page_id=79 . However, there is no way on that form to designate your funds for the holiday program, so it will end up going to their general fund. My recommendation would be for them to purchase gift cards to Walmart or Target in $25 increments as an alternative and easy way to donate. They use these for teen gifts when they are running low on other teenage type items. You can drop off the gift cards or mail them to:

Assistance Center of Collin County

900 18th Street

Plano, TX 75074

Attn: Natalie Evans

WICR from Craig McKinney

I Dare You: Formatively Assessing the Teacher

Formative assessment is all the rage now, and rightly so. It's important for teachers to check on their students throughout the learning process to see how they're doing, to take steps to correct any misunderstandings, to strengthen any weaknesses, and to avoid a costly "gotcha" at the end when the grade counts. Teachers who use formative assessments are in a constant state of troubleshooting; they're adjusting course at every turn to steer their students onto the road to success.

As reflective practitioners, many teachers solicit feedback from their students. The end-of-course evaluation was a staple in my college classes but not so much in the earlier stages of my education. Sometimes--time and self-esteem permitting--I polled my own students with a feedback form at the end of the school year, asking them to tell me what went well and how they thought I could make the class better. I vividly remember the elation when students said kind things and being a bit hurt when they were frank about their dislikes. Occasionally, a particularly negative comment gnawed away at me for weeks into the summer.

The feedback I received, overall, was extremely helpful, and I would compile a list of things I wanted to make sure I did differently the following year.

This was helpful for next year's students, but it did little good for the ones who were giving me the helpful feedback. They moved on to someone else's class while I changed for the better.

Why is it, I now wonder, that I never thought of the idea of having my students evaluate me in the middle of the year so I could actually do something about it? A formative assessment in December would give me some insight about how I'm doing as a teacher, and I could return in January ready to announce any changes that resulted from the students' feedback.

Imagine how awesome it would be for a student to know they had a teacher who asked for their opinions, considered what they had to say, and then did something about it. What a great way to model the way I hope they'd respond to the feedback I give them on essays and assignments!

This would, of course, necessitate having a thick skin. Asking for honest feedback from kids runs the risk of unveiling some answers I don't want to hear. But if I can dish out the comments on students' papers, shouldn't I be willing to hear some of their remarks about me?

I'd also have to carefully consider the questions I ask. No amount of student complaining is going to convince me that writing and reading are unnecessary components of my classroom instruction. And I'm not likely to install a vending machine in back of my classroom, no matter how vehemently the students argue that having snacks would help them learn.

Here's a list of the things I'd ask in a mid-year survey:


Answer the following on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 = definitely yes; 3 = sometimes; 5 = never) 1. Does Mr. McKinney treat you and other students with respect and fairness?

2. Do you enjoy the class?

3. Do you feel like you are growing as a learner in this class?

4. Do you receive feedback about your assignments in a timely manner?

5. Do you know what to do if you want to improve in this class?

6. Is Mr. McKinney available and approachable if you need help?

7. Is the classroom environment suitable for learning?

8. Are the homework assignments useful and meaningful?

9. Is Mr. McKinney prepared for class on a daily basis?

10. Do you feel successful in this class?

11. Do you have enough opportunity to interact with your classmates as you are learning?

12. Does Mr. McKinney communicate his expectations clearly?

13. Does Mr. McKinney use class time effectively to help you learn?

14. Does the use of technology help you learn in this class?

15. Do you understand what you are supposed to be learning each day?

16. Do you have the opportunity to show what you are learning in multiple ways in this class?

17. Do you think this class is challenging enough?

Respond in the space provided:

18. Outside of class time, how much time do you spend preparing for this class (homework and studying) in an average week?

19. What could Mr. McKinney do to help you be more successful in this class?

20. What else do you want Mr. McKinney to know about you or about this class at this point in the school year?


Being a bit of a technophile, I'd probably create a Google Form for the survey and allow my students to respond electronically so I could compile the data online easily. I could, however, also conduct my survey on paper the old-fashioned way.

Here's the catch. Since I'm not in the classroom anymore, I don't have a class of students to take this survey. So I'm daring you to make yourself vulnerable and conduct a similar survey in your own class in the next two months (You’re welcome to use my questions, but you probably want to change my name to yours to avoid confusing your students). The responses will give you a clearer picture of how you're doing, you'll have the opportunity to fix some issues in the middle of the year to help your students succeed, and you can even follow up at the end of the year with another survey to see how you've improved. And, perhaps most importantly, you will create a classroom community that honors student voice and will model a growth mindset--something all students can benefit from witnessing in action.

If you take me up on the dare, shoot me an e-mail to let me know how it goes. I'm excited to hear about it!

Craig McKinney

Secondary English Language Arts Instructional Specialist Plano ISD

(469) 752-8084