Redbird Roundup, Vol. 4

Friday, September 6, 2019

Our Mission and Vision

Norris Middle School prepares all students for their future by providing a safe, caring, and diverse school environment that maintains high expectations, academic excellence, and respect for all. Success, achievement, respect…It’s a Redbird thing!

La Escuela Secundaria Norris prepara a todos los estudiantes para su futuro ofreciendo un entorno escolar seguro, atento y diverso que mantiene altas expectativas, excelencia académica y respeto para todos. Éxito, logro, respeto…Es una cosa de los Redbirds!

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. The weather was great, and hopefully you had time for rest and activities with friends and families.

I want to start with a huge shout-out to Sara Newman and all her hard work in getting iPads out to students. It is no small job to gather paperwork and insurance money for 1,200 kids and distribute iPads. She stayed late many nights, and was always available to answer questions and help out. Thank you so much Sara.

Also a huge shout-out to Dave Dinslage. Re-imaging 1,200 iPads, in addition to all his other duties, is also no small job. Dave and the building tech. from Marrs worked closely together this summer to have a system and helped each other out. I would say our "soft rollout" was a huge success this year.

MAP testing is upon us, with an alternate bell schedule on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Please review procedures for testing with your RBB, and encourage students to rest and eat breakfast. We want our Redbirds to rock MAP.

Fall sports are also off to a great start. Cross country had their first meet at Buffett on Wednesday, and volleyball traveled to Davis on Thursday. Please get out and support our Redbird athletes.

Please check out the calendar below for more important events coming up.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Carr

September 9-13

Monday, September 9: Faculty Workshop, after school

Tuesday, September 10: MAP Testing (Reading); Make-up Faculty Workshop for Coaches/Sponsors at 7 a.m. in room 129; Varsity VB Home vs. Hale, JV Home vs. Hale

Wednesday, September 11: MAP Testing (Math) Cross Country at McMillan

Thursday, September 12: MAP Testing (Science); Varsity VB at Davis, JV at Davis

Friday, September 13: Football home vs. McMillan

MAP Testing

We will be testing all of our students in MAP on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week. You received a testing bell schedule in your mailbox last week. We are committed to providing an effective and strong testing environment. Please review procedures with your RBB so they are prepared to do their best on MAP. I will make announcements at the beginning of each day as well. If you need anything, see me, Collington, or Tibbs.

Up Next Week in the Redbird Roundup

I do three staff introductions each week. You'll be getting an email from me with questions. Even if you have done it before, please participate and do it again! Please respond and include a picture by Thursday! I will do the first week.

Up next: Dennis Damewood, Tatiana Eskridge, and Ryann Pratt.

Mary Goltl-ESL Teacher

Name: Mary Goltl

How many years have you been teaching/in education? 24

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? The positivity and school pride

What website/app do you use most often? Twitter

What is the best thing that happened to you this week? We had our annual family golf outing.

What is the worst food you ever ate? Cilantro

Would you rather go 30 days without your phone or an entire lifetime without dessert? Phone

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? The Great British Bake Off

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home? Cuernavaca, MX

What would you sing at karaoke night? Friends in Low Places

Michaela Sullivan-Speech Language Pathologist

Name: Michaela Sullivan

How many years have you been teaching/in education? About 1 month

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? How helpful and willing the staff is to answer my questions!

What is something we would never guess about you?

I used to powerlift in high school, and I still volunteer coach there during the competition season.

What is the funniest thing you have ever seen a kid do?

A girl really didn’t want to eat her lunch, so she said she was allergic to meat. She then proceeded to “prove” it by sneezing repeatedly.

Would you rather go 30 days without your phone or an entire lifetime without dessert?

My phone! I probably shouldn’t use it so much anyway!

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time?

I am currently trying to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy, so probably that one.

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

Spain. I went as a graduation trip in 2017!

Justina Tibbs-Instructional Facilitator

Name: Justina Tibbs

How many years have you been teaching/in education? 13 years. 8 middle school and 5 elementary

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? The pride and organization that everyone has.

What website/app do you use most often? Pinterest

What is the funniest thing you have ever seen a kid do? While checking in with a student he leaned over and smelled my armpit!

Would you rather go 30 days without your phone or an entire lifetime without dessert? I am a sugar addict sooooo goodbye phone!

What would you sing at karaoke night? Since u been gone by Kelly Clarkson

Is a hot dog a sandwich? Why or why not? Technically yes! Its meat between a piece of bread. Even though I would never ask for a hot dog sandwich.

Staff Introductions

Wellness Word to the Wise

Correct your posture. Your posture affects both your physical and mental health. Work on keeping your back straight, shoulders back and head up, as if you were balancing a book on your head. Avoid slouching!

Norris Walking Club

Ms. Kidder is getting our Norris Walking Club up and running again. Students and staff can participate, and it's a great way to get your fitness on! The group walks on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-7:30.

Powerful Practices

Our Library=Amazing

Ms. Wakefield has really worked to make our library a welcoming space for all. In addition to re-arranging the genres this summer, she has added some activity spaces for our students. Our goal is to get as many kids going through the library and having access to books as possible. Thanks Wake for such an awesome space!

Learning Goals

We have been focusing on moving from implementation to institutionalization in the area of learning goals for these first several weeks of school. On Tuesday during our Team PD teachers shared ideas with one another on how they unpack their learning goals, as well as played a round of Gimkit to practice higher levels of verbs. We will continue to focus on learning goals until we hit October. Keep up the great work!

More Learning Goals

Mrs. Walentine color-codes her learning goals to align with her content standards/indicators for Science. After students write the goal in their agenda, she asks the class, "What are we going to do today? What does that mean in your own words?" Students re-stating learning goals is a great way to give them the foundation for learning and help them know where the lesson is headed. She then leads into her bellwork question. Students write on their own, then move into a round robin activity where they share their responses with others using sentence stems (great strategy for ELL students!). Way to go Mrs. Walentine!

MAP Training

All teachers with a Redbird Block will be administering our assessments this year. This is a change, and really involves every person in this school in the assessment of our students. Mrs. Collington trained teachers on administering the MAP assessment on Tuesday, and is always available to help if teachers have questions! Remember, we test next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday!

Positive Recognition Through Redbird Bucks

Ms. Jacobberger runs our Nest and stocks it regularly with the coolest things. She has even started to have it open over lunch, which provides even more access to our students. Thanks Ms. Jacobberger for all you do!

Each team has also developed their Redbird Bucks reward list. I'm featuring 8A's list below, including some additions Mr. Smith has made for his room. Very cool!

Procedures and Routines

As a building we have color-coded restroom passes/lanyards. Each team works to standardize their restroom procedures with their students. I have seen several teams use the example below where they keep track of the number of passes on a clipboard by the RR passes. This helps students not overuse their restroom passes. Mrs. Jensen also uses the red/green sign below, so students know when is an appropriate time to ask to use the restroom. Awesome strategies!

Career Paths

Senator Mike McDonnell spoke to our students last Friday on different career paths that are available if students pursue a trade such as electrician, plumbing, welding, etc. He emphasized that many trades people "get paid to learn" meaning they do apprenticeships and earn money while they are mastering the trade. Our students had great questions for him. He ultimately emphasized that students should follow their dream, and find something that makes them happy.

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Norris Video

We filmed the majority of our Norris promotional video on Friday, August 30. While Jacobberger is putting the final touches on, here are a few images from the day. The final product will be amazing!

Have van, will travel

Our after school program, RASA, is under the umbrella of Completely Kids. CK serves so many students in the Omaha area with after school and summer programming. Their numbers at Norris are over 100, and they have programs at many of our feeder schools. They utilize vans during their program time to get kids to activities, field trips etc, as well as to provide transportation when the weather is bad. Sadly, their van has broken down, and they are raising funds for a new van. I have included a link where you can donate if you choose to this worthy cause. We can speak specifically to the value of RASA/CK in our school, and I have no doubt the impact on our community is just as valuable. Thank you for taking the time to read!


Let's Play Football!

Our football team will have a solid few weeks of practice before their first game next Friday, September 13. The varsity team is coached by Mr. Langabee and Mr. Plank, and JV by Mr. Bernard and Mr. Cobelens. They have some great numbers for their teams and are getting to work on skills and game play.

Redbird Posse

Our famous Redbird Posse held tryouts this week for poms, dance, and drumline. This group is one of the great stars of Norris, and represents us and our school community in so many wonderful ways. Their sponsors are Mr. Walker and Mrs. Borjon (drums), Ms. Hansen and Ms. Eskridge (poms), Mrs. Burse and Ms. Miranda (dance), and Mrs. Jensen (flags).


Our 7A team continued the teambuilding activities by heading to Taco Co. in Benson on Wednesday of this week. This is a great way for our teams to get to know one another and cut loose a little. I'll be following the trend as I am hosting the NLT at my house this weekend for a get together. We are lucky to be able to laugh and have fun with our colleagues!

Final Thought

How do we maintain that first day excitement?

Check out this article by one of my favorites, George Couros, on maintaining the excitement of the first day of school.

The first day and the last day of school for each year are the ones that are often most celebrated, but the days in between are the ones that often matter most.