Thelma Richardson Elementary

Rocket Reader

Go For the GOLD!! 10/12/16

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Fireman Adopt-a-School Program

Fire Station 34B chose Thelma Richardson as the school they wanted to adopt. They said one of the reasons they chose our school was because we had the most knowledgeable custodian, Ms. Irma Hinton, than at any of the other schools that they service.

They will be coming out once a month to share with us fire safety tips and in any other capacity we want. I asked for them to come on October 18th to show Pre K students their fire engines and trucks. We will be setting up a time based on their availability. We are excited about this partnerships. If teachers would like to book them to come visit their classes, let me know so I can arrange for them to come!

For more information about the services that are available:

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Calling all Parents!!

Ms. Shipley is looking for some parents who would like to learn puppetry. No experience necessary. If you are interested see Ms. Shipley in the library.

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Club Friday

Our first Club Friday was held on October 7, 2016. Each teacher got to pick an extra-curricular activity that they would like to do with the children. The children got to make choices for the clubs that they were most interested in. Most students were able to get one of their first three choices.

The clubs that were offered were:

Tennis Club, Newsletter, Multicultural Club, American Sign Language, Rocket Power Fitness, Poetry/Rap Club, Let's move it!, Photography, Music Exploration, Computer club, Fitness Club, Science Club, Game Club, iStation Club, Art/Paint Club, Arts and Crafts Club, Dance, Cheer club, Imagination Playground, Coding, Book club, Zumba Kids, Tap dance, Cooking Club, Garden club, Golf, Honor Choir/Piano, Art Club, Spanish Writing Club, Photography, Running Club, Ukulele Club, Chess Club, Media Club, Social Group, Chess, Yoga/Meditation, Drama Club, Entrepreneurship Club, College ready club, Portuguese Club, Book club and

Yoga Club.

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AVID Elementary Foundations

Chapter 2: Inquiry

At the heart of inquiry is the creation of a learner who will think deeply about content in order to arrive at a more complete level of understanding. Inquiry within the classroom fosters an environment where students question, analyze, discuss, and construct a greater understanding of the world around them and the content being studied. A key to successfully integrating inquiry within the classroom is an understanding that questions—specifically ones that lead to deeper levels of thought—must be both teacher- and student-driven. A well-crafted question can guide students to a deeper examination of their learning so that they can approach an answer only after considering multiple perspectives and sources.

Using these resources, educators will be able to:

  • Develop a student’s ability to self-advocate and become responsible for their own learning
  • Support critical thinking about decisions, forming an opinion, and justifying claims
  • Engage students in all levels of critical thinking

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How "Clever"!

Your children have access to a wonderful online portal where they are able to utilize many helpful resources including their online textbooks, iStation, Achieve 3000, Think Through Math, Quill, Kahn Academy, and more.

Clever can be accessed at home or school. Simply go to the website below and have your child log-in using the credentials listed.

Elementary Login Information:

Username: studentid#

Password: Dsi@1617

Please note: You do not have to add the number sign (#) after the student id number.

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PTO corner

Thank you to all the teachers and staff members who have joined PTO. Our goal is to have 100% of all staff join PTO this year. We need to let them know that we appreciate their help and support them by becoming PTO members ourselves!

Staff members who have joined PTO this year:

Alejandra Alcantara

Folashade Atoyebi

Luis Baeza

Kimberly Ball

Belen Barajas

Melinda Brown

Brooke Bruton

Laticia Bryant

Rosanna Calderon

Cynthia Capetillo

Valerie Carrasco

Joshua Coats

Teresa Crawson

Petra Galvan

Marco Garcia
Mayela Garcia

Everest Goldstein

Ian Griffin

Kyndal Harrington
Tiffany Hardy

Roxanna Hays

Angel Hernandez

Sherroslyn Johnson
Brisa Juarez

Gibran Juarez

Courtney Loy

Sara Mccasland
Holly McMahan

Gloria Najera

Sura Perez

Vera Rios

Adriana Rodriguez

Carolina Shalier

Gail Shipley

Arlene Vargas

Debora Vazquez

Kristi Walton

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Beyond Zero Tolerance: Achieving a Balance in School Discipline

Disruptive behavior continues to be one of the most challenging issues that schools face today. Even one seriously incompliant student can threaten teaching and learning for the rest of the class. And though exceedingly rare given the large number of schools throughout our country, incidents of deadly violence shake our confidence in school safety.

In the 1990s, amidst similar circumstances and fears, schools adopted "get tough" philosophies of discipline: increased suspensions, expulsions, school arrests and zero tolerance. By cracking down on all transgressions, school leaders hoped to send a message to students that misbehaviors would not be tolerated, and also make classrooms safer for learners that remained.

Disparities in How African American Students are Disciplined

Throughout the nation, the zero tolerance doctrine dramatically increased suspensions and expulsions. Disparities for students of color, especially African American students, continue to grow. While Black students were suspended twice as often as Caucasians in the early 1970s according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education, today they are suspended three and a half times as often -- a disproportion that cannot be accounted for by poverty or by rates of student disruption.

Zero Tolerance is Ineffective

After 15 years, extensive reviews of the literature by researchers and professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association have found no evidence that increasing suspensions and expulsions improves student behavior or guarantees school safety. In fact, schools that employ more suspensions and expulsions have poorer ratings of school climate and school safety, higher rates of racial disparity in discipline, and lower scores on academic achievement tests.

Exclusionary discipline also creates serious risks for students. According to a groundbreaking report by the Council for State Governments, being suspended or expelled significantly increases the risk of school dropout and contact with the juvenile justice system. These risks, often termed the school-to-prison pipeline, are magnified for students of color. A report by the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly argued that out-of-school suspension and expulsion should be used only as a last resort.

Fixing School Discipline

In response, districts across the nation have begun to reform their disciplinary codes, emphasizing strategies that build a positive school climate and minimize the use of school suspension and expulsion. States such as California, Texas, Connecticut and Maryland have begun to make changes in statewide policy regarding school discipline. At the federal level, the Departments of Education and Justice have joined together in the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, providing guidance on where the government will intervene to reduce racial disparities, and identifying promising alternatives to suspension and expulsion.

Some fear that removing suspension or expulsion as tools for maintaining order and discipline in our schools will allow disruptive students to run wild. But the point of disciplinary reform is not to deprive schools of strategies so much as to find the right tools -- those that are most effective in promoting safe, orderly and healthy learning environments.

Schools across the country have effectively reduced rates of disciplinary exclusion, implementing strategies that change behavior and improve school climate by teaching students appropriate and positive behavior. The Denver Public Schools implemented restorative conferences in schools throughout the district to rebuild relationships and repair the harm done by violence and disruption. Denver is among a growing number of districts working with an Educator's Toolkit to Fix School Discipline that describes how to facilitate a "conflict circle" and includes links to resources for implementing change at the classroom level.

By implementing social emotional learning and planning teams around school discipline, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District increased attendance while reducing suspensions by over 50 percent. In districts throughout the nation, schools are using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports to shift disciplinary systems toward a system of shared values, recognition and rewards for students who act in accord with those values.

9 Alternative Approaches to Classroom Discipline

Zero tolerance is a failed experiment. Moreover, the accumulation of data across the nation is beginning to show that, by expanding our options and focusing on teaching behavior rather than simply punishing misbehavior, we can maintain safety and order in our schools without removing the opportunity to learn.

Change starts in the classroom, and the following list of discipline practices can serve to counter the school-to-prison pipeline:

  1. Talk to the student about the harm that his or her behavior has caused, rather than about the rules that were violated.
  2. As a consequence of misbehavior, make students responsible for repairing the damage.
  3. Use a non-threatening tone in private talks with the misbehaving student.
  4. Build relationships with disruptive students by asking about their out-of-school interests and what things they like to do in school.
  5. If bullying causes disruptions, watch Dr. Michele Borba's 20-minute video, "Six R's that Reduce Bullying."
  6. Provide students with specific feedback about their behaviors and social skills.
  7. Find out what resources your state has for fostering Dignity in Schools.
  8. Because misbehavior occurs in instances where students are bored or overwhelmed, differentiate instruction so that students feel appropriately challenged.
  9. Teach students peer mediation so that they can constructively manage their own conflicts.

What classroom management strategies work for your students?

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Employee Policy and Compliance Acknowledgment

In compliance with state and federal laws, Dallas ISD requires that all employees, including contractors, complete an Annual Policy and Compliance Acknowledgment at the beginning of every school year.

Between Sept. 19 and Oct. 31, using their EAD username and password, employees are required to log into the Annual Policy and Compliance Acknowledgment application at to acknowledge the following:

For more time and flexibility to review these documents, employees can read them by clicking on the links above before logging into the application.

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Staff Spotlight!

Name? Sara McCasland

Birthday? November 13

Hometown? Caddo Mills, TX

Current Richardson position? 3rd Grade Teacher

Where did you attend College and what is your degree(s)?

Texas A&M University- Commerce

Bachelor’s of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies

Master’s in Education Administration

(Currently working on) Doctorate of Higher Education Leadership

Who was your favorite teacher and why? Dr. Rhonda Clark, she was amazing at balancing her work, advising, and still providing quality, rigorous lessons to students.

Do you have children? No

Do you have pets? Yes! 2 dogs!

Do you have a favorite Quote or Saying?

“The more love I can bring into this world the less room there is for hate.”

Where is the farthest place you have ever traveled?


Favorite food?

Anything gluten free!

Hobbies or Activities/organizations you are active in? Reading

Accomplishments or Honors you have achieved that you are proud of?

I am proud of my education and job at Thelma Richardson.

What is your favorite thing about Thelma Richardson? What do you like best about your job?

My favorite thing about working at Thelma Richardson is the wonderful people and students. I have met many great educators, had countless exceptional students, and continuous support.

What is your educational/teaching philosophy?

My educational/teaching philosophy is that all children deserve the greatest quality education from an educator who deeply cares and is committed to each student and their success.

What strategy or teaching method works best for you?

Differentiating instruction truly works best. Having multiple classes means that not all students and classes are going to learn the same way. Sometimes differentiating simply means trying different strategies or learning techniques to make rigorous lesson more engaging and support students to be academically successful.

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Upcoming Events:

October 12:

Districtwide Principals' Meeting
AVID coordinator meeting

Ms. Tello's birthday

October 13:

Parent Conferences, 4:00 - 7:30

October 14:

Fair Day

October 16:

Ms. Aurelia Castro's birthday

October 18:

Picture Day

5th Grade Field Trip to Symphony

Boy Scout Recruitment

October 19:

October 20:

Pre K training after school
Lesson Planning Feedback Meeting during planning period

Attendance committee meeting, 3:30

October 21:

School Spirit Day

Ms. Johnson's birthday

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Testing window Reminders

9/5 -10/28 - Estar diagnostic for students who did poorly on universal (2nd - 4th grade) MSTAR 5th grade diagnostic for students who did poorly on diagnostic

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Joke of the day!

Why did Beethoven get rid of his chickens? All they said was, “Bach, Bach, Bach …”

And his cows preferred Moo-zak.

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Board Goals

GOAL 1: All students will exhibit Satisfactory or above on performance on State assessments. Students below Satisfactory performance will

demonstrate more than one year of academic growth.

GOAL 2: Dallas ISD schools will be the primary choice for families in the district.

GOAL 3: The achievement gap by race, ethnicity, and social economic status will be no greater than 10% on all academic measures.

GOAL 4: 95% of students will graduate. Of the graduates, 90% have the qualifying scores for community college, college, military, or industry


GOAL 5: 95% of entering kindergarten students are school-ready on a multi-dimensional assessment.

GOAL 6: All students will participate in at least one extracurricular or co-curricular activity each year.

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