Thelma Richardson Elementary

Friday Focus: April 29, 2016


Stampede to the STAAR

Thank you to all of the teachers who volunteered to help out with our last two weeks before all of our scholars take the STAAR test.

  • Ms. Metcalf will be working with our third graders to help them with Reading.
  • Ms. Taylor is helping with third grade math
  • Ms. Bruton is giving up her planning period to support the third grade math program,
  • Ms. Vargas is working with our 5th grade bilingual students,
  • Mrs. McMahan is working with our fifth grade reading.
  • Ms. Jones is helping with third grade math and reading.
  • Ms. Calderon is helping with fourth grade reading and math through science and writing.
  • Ms. Ball is helping with fourth grade reading and math through science and writing..

The extra help each teacher gives to the students who are taking STAAR affects everyone. One of the components of TEI is how the school does on these high stakes tests. The better our school does, the better ratings teachers have to be DTR eligible or for our DTR teachers to be rated higher.

It's awesome to be a part of a team that will go above and beyond for the children to do whatever it takes to help them be successful!


Staff Spotlight

Name? Kyndal Harrington

Birthday? Jul 23, 1993

Hometown? Memphis, TN, Austin, TX

Current Richardson position? 4th grade reading teacher

Where did you attend College and what is your degree(s)? Texas State University, EC-6 Education

Who was your favorite teacher and why? 1st grade teacher- Ms. Rime. She truly cared about her students.

Do you have children? no

Do you have pets? Yes, 2 dogs

Do you have a favorite Quote or Saying?

Where is the farthest place you have ever traveled? Mexico

Favorite food? Chicken

What is your favorite thing about Thelma Richardson? What do you like best about your job? It is nice to be a part of a new school and be able to create traditions and grow with the school.

What is your educational/teaching philosophy? Every child can learn and be successful. It is the teacher’s job to set the expectations and be a good example for the students.


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If It's Free, It's For ME!!!

You are invited to a very special FREE ITEM GIVEAWAY of unused museum educational materials. This giveaway is located at the museum’s Fair Park Campus – Nature Building, 3535 Grand Ave, Dallas TX 75210 (a.k.a. the former Dallas Museum of Natural History). The giveaway will take place on Saturday, May 7th between 10 am – 3 pm. There will be no moving services provided, plan to take what you can carry and drive away in your vehicle.

Free parking is available in the Fair Park lots by the old museum, and they will coordinate a select group of large furniture items to be loaded into vehicles that can pull up to the ramp.

(This information was provided by The Perot Museum. Please contact The Perot Museum with any questions regarding the event.)


Junior League Grants

Need Some Ideas for Your Grant???

Please consider applying for this grant. If you are unsure of what kinds of things that may be considered, please check this list of previously funded projects. Your school and students can most certainly benefit from some of these creative projects!!

Grants for Innovative Teaching is a Signature Project of the Junior League of Dallas. Its purpose is to encourage and support excellence in teaching by awarding grants up to $2,000 to Dallas ISD teachers for special and innovative projects that otherwise would not be provided for in school budgets.

Since its creation in the 1991-1992 year, Grants for Innovative Teaching has awarded over one million dollars to Dallas ISD teachers.

The 2016-2017 grant deadline is May 16, 2016 at 5:00pm.

Click here for the grant application and additional resources.

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Efficient and Effective Feedback to Students

(Originally titled “The 2 Es”)

In this Educational Leadership article, Heidi Kroog, Kristin King Hess, and Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo (University of Colorado/Denver) describe their research on classroom math assessments. Very few teachers, the researchers found, give assignments that make students’ thinking explicit and reveal misconceptions, misapplications, or common mathematical errors. Instead, most teachers spend time grading practice work (little value-added) or end-of-unit assessments (too late to be helpful). The authors also found that almost three-quarters of teachers’ comments were too general (“Good”) or too prescriptive to improve the work. They suggest three ways to give feedback that’s more effective and takes less time:

Develop high-quality questions. Ideally they’re “planned in advance, designed to gather information from all students in the class at the same time, and intended to move students forward by providing feedback or instructional adjustments,” say the authors. “A few well-designed questions are better than many superficial ones.” Students should have to explain answers, elaborate on responses, or provide information on their thought process. Examples:

  • 2 1/9 x 11/16 (this asks students to convert a mixed number to a fraction, multiply two-digit numbers, and know what to do with an improper fraction).

  • Draw two shapes, one rectangle and one square, each with a perimeter of 12 units.

  • Why does ______? How would you _______? Could you explain _______? Why is _______ an example of _______?

    Quickly follow up with students. The sooner teachers can see and act on students’ strengths and weaknesses, the better. If several students are making a particular error, speak directly to them about the nature of the error and how to avoid it – for example, “Before you add your numbers, remember to align the numbers by the decimal point.” Alternatively, the teacher might pair students who got a problem wrong with those who got it right, setting up peer tutoring.

    • Make written comments informative. Comments should be concrete, specific, and useful and “should lead students to judge the quality of their work and to monitor themselves as they produce new work,” say the authors. Examples: “Good explanation. You are providing data as evidence to support your claim” and “Do you have a claim? Where is your evidence? Provide some justification that supports your claim.”

    Don’t repeatedly write the same comment if lots of students are making the same error. This is a poor use of teachers’ time, say the authors. Better to spend that time planning how to reteach the skill the next day. It’s also helpful to tell a class the percentage of students who got the right answer to each question and specific areas that need improvement – for example, “Most of your reports missed a description of the control variable. Why is that so important?”

“The 2 Es” by Heidi Kroog, Kristin King Hess, and Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo in Educational Leadership, April 2016 (Vol. 73, #7, p. 22-25),; the authors can be reached at,, and


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IStation Testing Next Week

Please remember that the window opens on Monday for the istation test. Please make sure your students are tested next week so we have time to retest if needed. You can do this in your room or in computer lab, but they need to be closely monitored. Please let them know that even though this test is on the computer it is very important.

Also 2nd grade - PLEASE make sure that the bilingual classes only take the test in Spanish. Let your children know they are not to go on the English part of the I Station.

Let Ms. McMahan know if you have questions or need anything.


Next Year's Bell Schedule Update

The district found out that adding minutes to schedules to have early release days is not possible. Therefore, we will continue with the current bell schedule next year:

Elementary – 7:55-2:55


Thelma Richardson Cinco de Mayo Parade Participant Information

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  • Thank you Ms. Ball for organizing the staff talent dance! This is going to be a lot of fun for the participants and the students!! If you haven't signed up yet, there is a sign up sheet by the time clock.
  • Thank you to the PTO and Ms. Esquivel for organizing Dia Del Nino!
  • Ms. Hays and Ms. Crawson are amazing administrative assistants. We appreciate you both every day, but especially during Administrative Assistant's Week!!
  • Thelma Richardson cafeteria staff do an amazing job every day and I appreciate them having snacks available for the tutoring and after school program. They always have a smile on their face!!
  • Ms. Robertson and Ms. Bryant do an outstanding job of being thorough and fair with all of our student discipline and emotional needs. They go above and beyond so that all children have a voice that is heard!


Upcoming Events:

3/2/16: Teacher Appreciation Week, iStation Testing Begins

3/3/16: Tutoring
3/4/16: PLC
3/5/16: Grade Level meetings, Tutoring, Lesson Plans Due

3/6/16: Jeans Day with Spirit Shirts

3/7/16: 3 - 5 tutoring, Teacher Job Fair, Cinco De Mayo Parade


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Thelma Richardson Rockets

Every child. Every chance. Every day.