LVMS Weekly Staff Newsletter

Week of January 23rd


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A Message from Mr. Webb

Dear LVMS Family,

As we begin the spring semester, I want to take a moment to thank you for all that you do. From our teachers and administrators to all of our support staff, you give your best every day to bring excellence to Lago Vista Middle School to ensure that our students achieve their fullest potential.

This week, I was reminded firsthand of the passion and commitment that you put into your work each and every day. I know that transition is not always easy and I want to thank and acknowledge each of you. The teamwork, composure, and professionalism you showed this week gave our students and community the assurance they needed during a time of change.

Please be assured that your involvement and feedback will be vitally important as we move forward. In the upcoming weeks, I will be observing the school in action and will be soliciting feedback from students, staff, and parents. I am fully confident that, with your input and involvement, we will identify the strengths and needs of the campus, as well as the qualities and characteristics we would like to see in the next leader of Lago Vista Middle School. Until then, trust that we will do all that we can to support and assist you to ensure that your needs are met and that our kids continue receiving the excellent education they deserve.

Thank you again for your leadership and for your continued hard work and commitment to our students. Lago Vista Middle School makes me proud to be a Viking.


Darren Webb


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Upcoming Events

Wednesday, January 25th

Faculty Meeting at 4:10pm (Option 1)

Thursday, January 26th

Faculty Meeting at 7:45am (Option 2)

Girls’ Basketball v. Comfort (Home)

Friday, January 27th

Early Release (A Schedule)

District UIL Meet at LVMS

Thursday, February 2nd

Basketball vs. Comfort (Girls Home / Boys Away)

Saturday, February 4th

District Basketball Tournament

Friday, February 24th

Track and Field Meet at Blanco HS

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LVMS Attendance this week: 95.42%...our goal is 98%!

As you know, absences from class may result in a serious disruption of a student’s mastery of the content.

The 7th grade collaborative team has made increasing student attendance one of their goals this semester. Mrs. Spexarth visited all 7th grade math classes to chat with students about the importance of attendance and to help them use their wicked math skills to calculate attendance percentages. We ask that teachers and staff continue to remind students and parents that a student must be in attendance at least 90% of the days the class is taught in order to receive credit or a final grade in a class. We will be meeting very soon to identify students who fall below this percentage and will convene an RtI attendance committee to see what we can do to get them back on track.

As always, we appreciate staff for encouraging students and parents to make every effort to avoid unnecessary absences.

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Mrs. Gearing is in the House!

As you probably know, Mrs. Henri Gearing is on campus for the next few days as our temporary interim principal and to help with our hosting of the UIL meet next Friday. For those who are new to LVISD this year, Mrs. Gearing has a long and storied history with LVISD and retired last year after six years as our Assistant Superintendent...and we are glad she is here!

Both Mrs. Gearing and Dr. Lofton-Bullis will be on hand to assist Mrs. Spexarth and the LVMS staff to ensure that all campus operations continue to run smoothly and efficiently. They are both available through District email, as well. Mrs. Gearing may be reached via email at Please feel free to email them if you need anything!

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Faculty Meetings This Week

We will have a have a mandatory faculty meeting this week. You have the option to choose to attend one of these 2 times...don't pick a time that conflicts with your duty schedule, please!

Wednesday, January 25th at 4:10pm


Thursday, January 26th at 7:45am

Please click on the link below to let us know which faculty meeting session you will attend:

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CEIC is the Campus Educational Improvement Committee and we need four teachers (preferably one from Special Education) to serve on this committee.

This is the awesome group that looks at our campus needs and plans the Campus Improvement Plan for the upcoming year and makes recommendations involving PD, the appraisal system, and all kinds of other fun stuff!

If you would like to serve, or know someone who would, please email Dr. Lofton-Bullis at We will likely meet two times this year. Dates will be set according to what works best for those who volunteer. Thanks!

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Stay Tuned for Adjustments to the Duty Schedule

We are looking at adjustments to this semester's duty to ensure appropriate coverage so that our campus is safe and, please stay tuned for changes. And, don't worry...we'll make sure that any changes are well communicated and that you have advance notice.

You can see the current duty schedule below. Thanks for being awesome!

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Appraisal Observations

We are aware that several of you have not yet had your appraisal observation. Dr. Lofton-Bullis and Mrs. Spexarth will be meeting this week to plan out observations and appraisals for the rest of the year. We will be sure to keep you up to date on any changes and greatly appreciate your flexibility.
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Budget Requisition Process Update - Super Important!

If you are a team leader or activity sponsor, Dr. Lofton-Bullis will be approving all purchase orders and requisitions. Please scan all Department Purchase Order Forms (with quote) to her email, which is Remember: Please do not send them to her directly from the copier. Instead, please send it to yourself and forward it with the subject line "Purchase Order Request"...she gets a lot of emails and a lot of scanned documents, so this will keep it at the top of her "to do" list!

If you need help remembering the requisition process, or need the form, here’s the link:

Also, Dr. Lofton-Bullis will be providing departments with their remaining budget amounts next week. As we approach testing and prepare for the summer, please remember to plan ahead for what you need (i.e., lab supplies, summer reading novels, calculator batteries, etc.).

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Absence Request Process Update - Also Super Important!

Dr. Lofton-Bullis will also approving all requests in Aesop. You don't need to do anything different when putting in an absence in Aesop (SWEET!).

If you're submitting a request to use discretionary leave (i.e., not sick leave), you must do so at least 48 hours in advance. PLEASE be sure to also email Jayme Spexarth to let her know you requested an absence.

Last minute requests due to sickness or emergencies must be put in Aesop and followed up with a phone call to the campus substitute coordinator (Sue Kunze) and Jayme Spexarth. If you don't get an answer, please leave a message. Thanks!

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Gifted and Talented Student Referrals

Just a reminder that we are approaching our spring G/T referral deadline of February 1st. Please remember that kindergarten students with parent permission are automatically screened in the spring, so referrals are only accepted for students in grades 1-12.

Referrals must be signed by the parent and should be submitted to the front office by Wednesday, February 1st. Here is a link to the referral:

If you have any questions, please contact Randenne Kelley. Thanks!

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Anchor Time - UIL Practice Continues

We will run an Anchor Time schedule this Tuesday and Wednesday and students will again use the time for UIL practice. This is our last chance to sharpen the axe prior to competition so we can bring home another Viking championship!!!

Students who participate on more than one UIL team may attend a different team practice each day. Students who are not on a UIL team will report to the upper gym for silent sustained reading. If you are a teacher who is not coaching a team you will also report to the upper gym to supervise students. If you are a UIL coach who still needs a few students for your team, I suggest you "shop around" in the gym and pick up a few participants!

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PLC This Week

Core teachers - Get with your team and identify a day that Jayme can meet you to discuss student data. Get ready to DIG! Team leads, let Jayme know what day works for your team.
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Quarterly Self-Assessment Forms are Overdue!

If you have not already done so, please complete your 2nd nine weeks quarterly self-assessment form through Eduphoria Appraise know who you are. ;)
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Fundraiser Process - Make SURE You Follow The Steps to Get Them Approved in Advance (THIS INCLUDES FUNDRAISING WEBSITE PAGES)!

Our CFO, Melissa Lafferty, sent out an email about this last week, but here's a recap (just in case!). Remember that a Lago Vista ISD fundraising form must be completed, approved by the campus principal, and approved by the Superintendent in advance of ALL fundraising activities...this includes opening an account on a donor website (such as GoFundMe and other crowdfunding online fundraiser sites).

You can find all the forms you need here:

For now, please submit all fundraising forms to Dr. Lofton-Bullis. And, of course, let us know if you have any questions!

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Early Release on Friday, January 27th for UIL Competition

As a reminder, this will take place starting at 12:30 on January 27th. We are in the process of assigning judges, graders, chaperones etc. for our UIL meet. This is an "all hands on deck" kind of day, so everyone will be assigned a job of some kind. We appreciate everyone's help in making sure this event goes smoothly!

Friday is going to be VERY busy, so if you have any questions about the UIL event you are helping with, please contact Henri Gearing. And, of course, good luck to all our participants and coaches!

Finally, here is the bell schedule for our early release day on January 27th:

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Got GRIT??

What it is, why it’s important, and how to help your child get it. Grit is defined as having perseverance and passion for long-term goals and working hard toward challenges, even when failure and adversity presents itself. Grit is a “non-cognitive” skill, similar to self-control, resiliency, and curiosity. Researchers now realize that grit is as important, if not more, than academic skills! We know that teaching literacy and math skills are important for a student’s long-term success. But what happens when the math gets a little tricky? Or when the reading is “boring”? What keeps a student from giving up? G R I T! That’s what! And, grit can be taught.

Here’s how to help your child develop grit:

1. Praise the effort, not the grade.

When you praise the “stick-to-it-ness” of your child’s efforts, they will be more determined to continue working hard. Praising your child’s hard work will encourage them not to give up.

2. Let them struggle.

As hard as it is to see your child struggle, they need to learn how to work through frustration and failure. If you swoop in and save them before they fail, they will never learn how to deal with failure, which is a part of life. While they’re struggling, praise their effort!

3. Create and talk about your own goals.

If your goal is to clean the basement, repaint the bedroom, or run that half-marathon, talk about it as a family. Share what small steps you are taking along the way to meet your goal, and talk about your own struggles and how you plan to get past them.

4. Keep and model an open mindset.

An open mindset is believing that things can change, that we can improve our skills and knowledge, and that we can get past challenges. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this!” you can say, “I can’t do this….yet.”

5. Find ways to challenge your child.

Encourage your child to try new things, even if they aren’t sure they’re any good at it. Trying new things is how we learn from our mistakes. Give them age appropriate chores at home. Find new hobbies and involve your child. Praise their effort along the way!

For more information about grit, check out the UPenn website, with work by Psychologist Angela Duckworth:

Credit to: Kayla Marston M.Ed.

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Girl's Basketball

The Lady Vikings hosted Blanco this week at home.

The 8th grade B team fought hard and it was a low scoring, very close game. At the half, the score was tied 2-2. In the second half, we executed our press defense the Lady Panthers could not handle the pressure and they turned the ball over several times. The Lady Vikings pushed the ball hard up the floor at every opportunity, but we struggled converting those opportunities into baskets. With a minute left in the game, the Lady Vikings were behind by 2 points. However, we kept fighting and took a great shot to tie the game. We played smart defense and Blanco turned the ball over once giving the Lady Vikings the ball with 30 seconds left. As the clock was winding down we worked hard to get an offensive rebound to take the lead and win the game, 8-6. Avery Nichols contributed 4 points and Hailee Cosgrove, Dakota Hutchins had 2 points. A well earned victory for the Lady Vikings!

The 8th grade A team played an excellent game against the Lady Panthers. Blanco played a zone defense, but the Lady Vikings were able to find the scoring opportunities and convert those into baskets. At the end of the 1st quarter the Lady Vikings were leading 6-0. Once the Lady Vikings settled into their press and man to man defense, the Lady Panthers turned the ball over several times. At the half, the score was 18-4, Lago Vista. Blanco came out strong in the 3rd quarter holding the Lady Vikings to only 4 points and them scoring 10 more points, putting the score 22-14. In the last quarter the Lady Vikings relentless pressure defense kept Blanco from scoring any more points and we racked up another 8. The final score was 30-14, Lago Vista. Jade Press led the scoring with an impressive 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks, Esther Long contributed 8 points, one being a 3 pointer, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Heather Power scored 6 points and added 1 rebound. Lastly, Grace Rhone had 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Way to go Lady Vikings!

The 7th grade 'B' team game was a success, in that the Lady Vikings scored their first game in the double digits! It was a hard fought battle with lots of lead changes. Lago Vista stayed point for point with Blanco until the last 2 minutes of the game, when Blanco went up by 4 points. A score from the Vikings put the score at 14-16 and a steal by the Vikings almost gave them a chance to tie, but time ran out before the shot. The leading scorer of the game was Morgan Moreland with 8 points. Makayla Ward had over 5 rebounds and Reese Raley had 3 steals.

The 7th grade 'A' team game was much more of a battle that the first time they played Blanco. The press was easily broken, forcing us to abandon it and rely strictly on our offensive ability to score. The score at the end of the 1st quarter was 8-8. The Vikings took the lead in the 2nd quarter and never looked back, ending the half at 14-10. Lots of great cuts and shots from the Vikings put them up 22-16 at the end of the 3rd, and then a few more points from both sides left the final score at 26-20, Lady Vikings win. The leading scorers for the night were Emma Vincent, who made 6 of 7 shots for 12 points, and Gina Chiappone with 8 points. The leading rebounder for the night was Bella Zaleski with 8.

The Lady Vikings host Florence at home again next week at 5:00pm.

Boy's Basketball

The boys basketball team traveled to Blanco on Thursday evening.

The 8th grade boys 'B' team had an exciting game that went into overtime. The boys came out a little flat against Blanco to begin the game and found themselves down by 8 points at the half. The boys dominated the action in the second half with a much more focused effort. Regulation ended with a 17-17 tie. The teams played a one-minute overtime and the Vikings were able to hit a basket and a free throw to win by 3. Hunter Phillips and Anson Eleuterius played very well at the end of regulation and overtime. Adrian Hernandez also played a strong defensive game for the Vikings.

The 8th grade boys 'A' team came out of the gate strong in their game. Blaze Seely was the focal point of the offense. Blaze went to the free throw line 8 times and sank 7 of them. That is 87.5%, for those of you who like math. The rest of the first half, the boys had control of the game with the Vikings up by 9 at halftime. The second half, Blanco starting making some deep threes and slowly cut into the lead. With the game tied at 34 with 45 seconds to go, Blanco came down and hit a 22-foot shot to go up by three. The Vikings were unable to respond and ended up losing 34-40. Overall, the Vikings were led by Josh Alexander, Blaze Seely, and David Rague. All three players were all over the floor and played with great intensity.

In the 7th grade 'B' team game Thursday night versus Blanco, the Vikings came out on top. In the first half, we played an amazing defense led by Malcolm Lockhart, Colby Croxton, Scott Shepherd, and Jase Chapa. By the end of the 2nd quarter, the Vikings were up by 24 points. In the second half, rebounding was led by Jaden Hester and Jordan Johnston. Leading scorers for the team where Scott Shepherd and Jordan Johnston. Leading the team in assists were Colby Croxton and Raul D'Lorm. At the end of the game, the Vikings were victorious with a 42-13 win. It was a great win for our 7th grade 'B' team...great job guys!

Our 7th grade 'A' team had a rough game against Blanco on Thursday night. After many costly turnovers and missed shots, the Vikings were held to one point in the first half. After half-time, the boys came out with a very different attitude. We had kids diving on the floor multiple times, such as Logan Parsons and Hayden Hardy. We continued to press and play amazing defense in the second half and held Blanco's team to only two points. Mikey Dean Ambrose and Arthur Munoz led the team in steals. Bryce Jackson and Ryder Phillips led the team in assists. All of our kids played very hard in the second half. They scrapped and fought every second they could, but it was just too big of a gap from the first half. Though it was a hard fought game, the Vikings fell 22-11 to Blanco.

The Viking boys are off next week before they travel to Comfort on February 2nd.

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Quarterly Self-Assessment Forms

Remember: Quarterly Self-Assessment Forms are due on the last day of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Nine Weeks in Eduphoria Appraise. If you are a new staff member, or have any trouble logging into Eduphoria, please contact Holly Jackson at

Do Your Duty!

Your presence at your duty station is crucial, so please plan ahead. If you cannot attend your duty, you are responsible for finding someone to cover you. If you do not get your duty covered, assume students will be unattended and unsafe in your area.

Here's the link to the current duty schedule. Again, if you are scheduled to be off campus during your scheduled duty time, please make sure that you find someone to cover you. Thanks!

Remember to Be in the Hallways During Passing Periods

In order to keep our hallways orderly during transitions, please make sure to stand at your door in between periods. We totally get people needing to use the restroom or grab something from the copier, but a glance down the hallway during passing periods should have more teachers than empty doors. Again, we appreciate you SO much for helping to keep our students safe!

Exchange Hours are Due April 3rd

All folks are required to have 12 hours of staff development on non-contract time prior to April 3. These hours will be exchanged for 2 days (June 1st and June 2nd) that you don't have to come to work!

You must submit these through Eduphoria (Workshop). The steps are listed below, but please make sure that you request Exchange Hour credit (and NOT compliance video credit).

Grading Guidelines - Please Make Sure You Know Them AND Follow Them!

The LVISD Grading Guidelines outline the expectations for grading in our District. The purpose of grades is to provide students and parents with feedback on mastery of content and to document academic progress. So, please remember that teachers’ grades are expected to be a reflection of a student’s mastery of the state standards. We are also required by policy and statute to provide reteach/retest opportunities, which is outlined in the LVISD Grading Guidelines.

Here is a link to the LVISD Grading Guidelines for your reference:

Curriculum Expectations and Information

This information is provided to revisit instructions and clarify expectations for curriculum documents, especially for our new staff members. Please let Dr. Lofton-Bullis know if you have any questions.

Expectations for EACH Course

  • 1 Snapshot (in Word) - Due at the beginning of the school year
  • 1 Unit Organizer for Each Unit (in Word) - Due on the last day of each 9 weeks

Where can I find the Snapshot template?

The snapshot templates in Word are located here. If your TEKS have been updated (LOTE, for example), please be sure to update them in your snapshot. If you have an old snapshot and have uploaded a new one, please remove the old version from the Google Drive folder. If your snapshot has a year listed in the title, please delete that.

Where can I find the Unit Organizer templates?

The unit organizer templates with TEKS check boxes are located here. There are instructions on how to "lock" the forms; otherwise, you will need to double click the check boxes. Plain versions of the template without checkboxes are located here.

Where can I access existing documents?

Go to "Shared with Me" and search for "LVISD Snapshots & Unit Organizers". If you need editing rights to your folder, please request it from Dr. Lofton-Bullis.

What do I do when I'm done with my documents? How do I submit them?

Once you are done, save your document to your grade level folder on Google Drive. This is the folder appraisers will check to verify completion of these documents. Remember: no Google docs...Word only!

How should I name my documents (so we don't have 120 Unit 1s)?

Naming conventions are very easy. Yes, please put spaces in the document name, just like below:

  • Grade # Subject Snapshot - Example: Grade 6 Math Snapshot
  • Grade # Subject Unit # - Example: Grade 4 Math Unit 1

What if I did an awesome job last year and don't have any changes to make?

You should review your snapshot, make sure your priority standards are those you wish to keep, and UPDATE THE REVISED DATE. (We can see the last time it was updated and there are a few 2014-2015s out there!)

Anchor Time Expectations for Students Doing SSR (Silent Sustained Reading)

Here's a reminder of the expectations for students who are doing SSR during Anchor Time. (Thanks to Rachel Karg for putting this nifty slide together!) You guys have been doing a great job...keep it up!
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Make Sure You Know About StayALERT (...and Talk About it With Our Kiddos!)

Prevention is key! If you need a poster or window decal with this information, please email Dr. Lofton-Bullis. Here's a rundown of what StayALERT are using it to report things, so make sure to provide them with reminders that it exists!

Lago Vista ISD uses StayALERT to help keep our schools safe. StayALERT is a bilingual, confidential website, e-mail, phone and texting avenue for students, teachers, staff, parents and community members to be able to confidentially report unsafe behaviors, suspicious activities, bullying, acts of violence, harassment, and a host of other potential disruptors to school safety.

Users may anonymously report concerns 24-7-365 via the StayALERT website, an e-mail, a phone call to a recorded and monitored line, or via a text message from a cell phone. Photos and video clips pertaining to the StayALERT report may be included. No special app required! Reportable information will be forwarded in a timely manner to a pre-designated school official for review.

To make a report, use one of the methods below:


Call or Text: (206) 406-6485


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Need an LV Window Decal for Your Car?

There is a school-endorsed Etsy store selling window decals to promote school spirit for our Lago Vista Vikings. Each decal has a detailed description along with the option to personalize it.

Visit and enter "LV Flightline" in the search engine. When you get to the store, pick out the decal or decals of your choice. There are different types of payment accepted, including PayPal.

Decals are shipped locally free of charge. Thanks for your school spirit and GO VIKINGS!

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LVISD Monthly Character Traits

September – Trustworthiness
Be honest • Don’t deceive others, cheat, or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country

October – Respect
Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant and accepting of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit, or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements

November – Compassion
Care about how others feel • Do kind and thoughtful things for people in need • Put other people’s needs before your own • Volunteer your time and resources for charity • Be willing to listen

December – Caring
Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Forgive others • Help people in need

January – Citizenship
Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in your community • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment • Volunteer

February – Fairness
Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded and listen to others • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly • Treat all people fairly

March – Responsibility
Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Persevere: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes • Set a good example for others

April – Integrity
Be strong enough to do what you know is right • Do the right thing, even when it is difficult • Be your best self • Resist peer pressure • Choose words and actions that are sincere • Set high standards for yourself and stick to them

May – Gratitude
Say thank you for the things that you receive • Think about what you are thankful for and why • Show others how nice it feels to be remembered and appreciated by someone • Write thank you cards • Enjoy giving back • Understand that you are not owed things; you earn them

Lago Vista Middle School

Mission Statement: Lago Vista Middle School will provide a positive and supportive environment, which builds self-confidence, develops responsibility, and assists each student in becoming a successful life-long learner.