Hilcher Herald

GES Staff Update-Week of 12/14/15

End of 2015

It's unbelievable that this is our last week of school for 2015. This semester has absolutely flown by and it's been such a joy to watch our students grow, play and learn under your guidance. Additionally, it has been a pleasure getting to know each of you and its been an honor to watch you work your magic with our students each day. Every one of you plays a special role in educating & nurturing our GES Stars. I am humbled and blessed to work alongside you, changing students' lives. Thanks for your daily efforts, for sharing your gift of teaching with kids and the extra mile you will continue to go for our students. Most importantly, thank you for calling GES your home. I wish you and your loved ones a restful and joyous holiday full of smiles and laughter! I look forward to an amazing start to 2016 with you all...

*Please read over this entire newsletter as there is a lot going on all over campus this week and many things that we will need to tend to prior to our holidays!

Principal Walk Throughs

If I haven't shared with you personally, please know that Principal Walk Throughs on December 9th went very well! Thank you so much for your hard work and for sharing your classrooms with GCISD leadership. I know it is sometimes nerve-wracking to have people from outside our campus in our classrooms. As I expected, they got a great impression of our campus. I was very proud to walk the halls with my colleagues and gain their perspective and feedback on our work. I have to tell you that one of the greatest things I took away from the day was how they described our campus: warm, welcoming and full of happy students. The smiles from each staff member they encountered and the positive vibe they felt while at GES made a lasting impression on them. That is exactly the learning environment I want for our Stars and for each one of us. I will share more specific feedback when we meet as a faculty on January 5th, but give yourself a pat on the back in the meantime for a job well done!
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Sing Along Fun!

This year we will be holding our campus wide Holiday Sing Along at 9:30 on Friday, 12/18. Students will be in their PJs and staff will, of course, be dressed in festive Elf gear! We will begin loading classes at 9:10am and will call for your grade levels. Please pay close attention the new cafeteria loading system prior to Friday and let us know if you have any questions. We are going to try to to increase how many grade levels we can load at one time and hopefully speed up our process at the same time! You will need to pay special attention to the taped off center aisle, please! We have a few new opportunities for fun during our Sing Along so be prepared to join in the holiday cheer!

I also want to let you know that we will have two very special guests join our Sing Along. At the actual conclusion of our Sing Along, you will lead your students out and will sit them in lines in the hallway outside your classrooms. This will provide a special parade route for our guests and a neat opportunity for your students. Please remind your students to stay seated when these guests make their way through the halls. High fives and waves will be welcomed, but we will unfortunately not have time for hugs.

**Please note that we WILL be using Raptor for all of our guest and visitors. We are trying a new "Fast Pass" system to check in our visitors on Friday so be sure to read the Monday Message. I also need to reiterate that students will not be checked out early from your classrooms or party locations. Any student leaving before 11:45 will need to proceed to the front office and check out the typical way. We have many students with special family situations that we want to be mindful of at all times. The safety and security of all GES students and staff are of utmost importance and the holiday party cannot be an exception to our procedures and attendance policies. Please see Kim or me if you have any questions/concerns.

I am looking forward to sharing this special Sing Along time with our entire GES family! It is definitely a rare day when the entire student body and our staff can come together!

Hour of Code

Thank you for participating in Hour of Code on Friday!! It was a huge success due to your planning and execution of this unique learning opportunity for our Stars. Your students thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they learned the art of writing code and skills that will benefit them in their futures! Even the students who worked on an app that challenged them, they persevered and found success! I love how many of your classes worked earlier in the week to Skype or Google hangout with experts in the field from actual businesses to high school students. What wonderful real world applications!

A huge shout out goes to Nancy Hale for arranging special guests to speak to many of our classes as well! GES made the front page of the district website, so be sure to check out the way they've highlighted the many ways we participated in Hour of Code. I also appreciate the many tweets you sent to 'tell our story' on Twitter on Friday. We're doing a great job sharing our day to day experiences with our Twitter followers.

After your Hour of Code, many of you commented on finding new opportunities for your students to continue to use their skills on these apps. One great idea I heard was using it as a compliment chart incentive. How great would that be?! Thanks for your efforts and for allowing your students to experience such a great opportunity!

STAR Audience Expectations

Over the last few weeks, we've had a few campus assemblies that have highlighted the need for some reminders of audience behavior expectations. When seating your students, please place students who struggle to sit still, or are a little chatty, on the ends of your line by the teachers so they can be in close proximity. If you witness any behavior that is less than ideal, even if that student is not yours, please tend to it immediately. It is perfectly acceptable to have a student move from their spot and sit closer to adults if they can't self-regulate during a performance. If a student is disruptive during an assembly, please write down their name(s) and note their behavior in their daily folder. I typically remind students to sit flat, to clap & laugh when appropriate and to show the guest we appreciate them by listening respectfully. Working together as a staff, and holding all of our students accountable, we can honor the performer's work and uphold our campus STAR behavior expectations in all settings. I will make a special announcement to students prior to the Sing Along just as a reminder. Thanks for your support!

Important Updates

Friendly Reminders

  • As a reminder, we will be completing an energy shutdown checklist for the holidays. These procedures need to be completed before you leave on 12/18. IF you aren't going to be on campus on 12/18, you need to complete yours before you leave on 12/17. I will have checklists on Monday and will place them in your mailboxes asap. This time ALL electronics, lamps, printers, etc...should be UNPLUGGED from the wall. Please take home all food items as we don't want to attract any extra critters over the break.
  • Remember to please mark tardies when entering attendance in Skyward! Be sure to mark students tardy, whether they have a slip or not.
  • All student and teacher iPads can now be updated to iOS 9. Many of the glitches that you might be experiencing with Google Drive, Google Classroom, or various apps will be corrected with the update. It is recommended to do a few iPads at a time, rather than the whole class at once. Students who take home can do the update as a homework assignment.
  • Please remember to enter all student data into DMAC by Friday, December 18. This includes RtI and unit math assessments.

Upcoming Dates

Monday, 12/14 Choir (2:45-3:45pm) & GRACE Christmas Cottage items due (unwrapped)

Tuesday, 12/15 Geography Bee (8:15am)

Thursday, 12/17 PTA's Cookies & Cocoa in the Learning Commons (2:45pm) & Choir (2:45-3:45pm)

Friday, 12/18 School-wide Sing Along at 9:30am (Kids in PJs & Staff as Elves!!)

Friday, 12/18 ALL unclaimed Lost & Found items will be donated to GRACE

Friday, 12/18 Holiday parties at 10:45am & Early dismissal at 11:45am

Monday, 12/21/15-Friday 1/1/16 Winter Holidays

Monday, 1/4 Teacher Work day

Tuesday, 1/5 Welcome students back with free jeans day! (exchange day for 12/9)

Tuesday, 1/5 Faculty meeting

Wednesday, 1/6 Report Cards are posted to Skyward & Google Drive

Wednesday, 1/6 Running Club (2:45-3:30pm)

Thursday, 1/7 Choir (2:45-3:45pm)

Where We Will Be...

  • Monday, 12/14 - Nancy out at Liaison/Coaches meeting
  • Thursday, 12/17 - Heather out 11:00am-1:00pm
  • Monday, 1/4 - Gina & Heather will be out all day
  • Tuesday, 1/5 - Josh at Technology meeting
  • Wednesday, 1/6 - Liz at principal's meeting

Monday Message to Parents

The following link will take you to the parent newsletter that will be sent out Monday morning: https://www.smore.com/wnk42

Please be sure to check out the following important information:

  • Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR)
  • Fast Passes for simplified party day check-in
  • Lost & Found will be donated on 12/18


GCISD Information

Door Decorations

It's that FUN time of year - when we are filled with Christmas Cheer and want to decorate our classrooms, doors and hallways! While holiday lighting and decorations contribute to the splendor of the season, they can also significantly increase the risk of fires, electrical injuries and most of all slips, trips and falls. It is crucial that safety be our foremost concern. Attached to my email, you will find some Fire Safety guidelines, as well as a school general safety checklist, that will help as you prepare our campus. Please make a special note of the info on space heaters (a no-no), decorations and extension cords - as the weather gets chilly we sometimes need a reminder of how to safely celebrate the holiday season. This year let's be creative and SAFE!

Forth Worth Zoo Run

The 19th annual Zoo Run is a 5K and 1K race taking place Saturday, April 2, 2016. School groups are encouraged to participate in teams of 10 or more for a reduced registration of $18 per person. The registration fee comes with a Zoo Run t-shirt and an admission ticket to the Fort Worth Zoo that can be used any time in 2016. Please visit www.fortworthzoo.org for additional information.

Skyward Maintenance

On December 21st - 22nd GCISD is planning maintenance on the Skyward Student and Finance Servers that will take them down and make them unavailable. They are still working on the exact time frame, but Student will be down a full day and a half. Skyward Finance might just be down for a day. More details to come...

Construction Liaison

I need to let you know that after much deliberation, Gary Rademacher has returned to Huckabee as Principle and Architect. We will still see Gary in our district often as he will be the lead architect for GCISD along with Lowell Taylor.


The following message was shared with parents last week...but has implications for us as a staff, too! Are you interested in learning more about LEAD 2021, GCISD's long range plan? You should subscribe to the new LEAD GCISD podcast at: https://goo.gl/z3rdsp It's a new way for GCISD to communicate information and successes with the community. A new podcast will be released every Tuesday until Christmas break.

Google Links

  • Lesson plans, or links to your plans, should be saved to our Google drive folder in the GES Faculty and Staff folder:http://bit.ly/1LqQ4sg
  • Newsletters, or links to newsletters, should be saved to the Google drive folder in GES Faculty and Staff: http://bit.ly/1MAJbWP