Excellence Without Boundaries
February 8-12, 2016 4th Six Weeks, Week 6
BY MAY 2016, AT LEAST 80% OF ALL STAAR EXAMS TAKEN BY ARMS STUDENTS WILL MEET THE PHASE II PASSING STANDARD.
I hope everyone enjoys the many Spotlight entries, timely Marshall Memo articles, and our Good News pictures. We have so many wonderful things happening all over ARMS. I thank you all for taking the time to also highlight our students and colleagues during morning announcements!! It is a blessing that we have so much to share, as we work with phenomenal educators and have the opportunity to impact fantastic young people.
My message this week is simple: "sweat the small stuff". By this I mean in a good way, pay attention to the little things that enhance our day. Every minute, of every moment, of every day matters. When we talk about moving from being good to being exceptional, it is because we are paying attention to the smaller things, when added together, this catapults us over the top!
Have an INSPIRED Week!
Spotlight - ON TRACK 8th Graders
Thank you Ms. Rivera and ARMS Parents for working on our On Track Recognition wall!
Spotlight on Ms. Hice (GRIT)
Mr. Stephens writes:
I would like to spotlight Ms. Hice for her true GRIT! She has been one of the hardest working teachers in this building, always guiding others cross-curriculum and within the English department. Ms. Hice never lets difficulties get the best of her and continues to have a smile on her face daily. She always brings the energy and enthusiasm to 7C! Even dealing with hardships she continues to thrive and so do her students.
Spotlight on Ms. Walker (GRIT & TEAM)
Spotlight on Ms. Walker for ensuring that everyone on the 8th grade team: students, staff, and parents are informed about the dedication that is needed to be a part of the Class of 2020. Ms. Walker is leading the charge as we celebrate the excellence that is occurring in 8th grade and at the same time unrelentingly pursuing the goal of 100% of our 8th Graders ready for success in high school and beyond.
Thank you Ms. Walker for your leadership and commitment!
Spotlight on our Autism Unit Students
I have attached pictures of Autism TC Black History Illustration. Our students are enjoying the observance of Black History Month, as we explore past, and present characters from various backgrounds. We have displayed educators, social activists, politicians, athletes, and entertainers that provide positive light unto the Great Black Heritage!
Spotlight on Ms. Burns and Ms. Husband
Mr. Vakidis writes:
I would like to highlight Ms. Husband and Ms. Burns in our spotlight. Both of them have been tremendously supportive throughout this entire year. They have been the backbone of everything that I have done in my class. They have shared their experience, lessons, projects and assessments with me all year, making my first year here run much smoother. Besides helping me, I have been amazed at all of the extra work they put in here. They have put together professional developments, been POD leaders, picked up the slack when teachers are absent, and they have spent more than enough time planning the 8th grade NASA trip. Thank you both for everything that you do!
Spotlight on Mr. Seales (Growth)
Mr. Seales continues to improve his craft as a Physical Education teacher. He continuously brings relevancy to our students around being healthy and fit. Mr. Seales connects how students engage in their daily stretch routine to the muscles that will be used in the skill they learn for the day. He diligently checks for understanding and his students utilize academic vocabulary consistently in their responses.
Spotlight on Ms. Chapa (Team & Growth)
I am spotlighting Ms. Chapa for exemplifying TEAM and GROWTH by staying late with me after the Reteach PD. She demonstrated her dedication to quality lesson planning that will lead to the GROWTH of myself and my students, and TEAM by staying and helping when she did not have to.
Thank You Ms. Chapa!
Spotlight on Ms. Hasty, Ms. Tovar, Ms. Chio, Ms. Garcia, Ms. Zapata, Ms. Martinez, and Ms. Crabtree (TEAM)
Thank you, thank you, thank you for working as the ROCK STAR MAIN HALL team. Your presence during morning and hallway transition is greatly appreciated. We came up with a plan and are working the plan and seeing the benefit! Our students know that we are present and hold them accountable to moving through the main hallway with purpose!
ARMS Climate / Culture Follow Up Meeting
Please come to the "Ya'll Come" meeting (Thursday, 2/11, 4:20 - 5:00pm in Ms. Clark's room) to discuss next steps to continue to improve our climate and culture over the next several months and thinking ahead to next year. Staff members provided much feedback and this will be shared at the meeting along with brainstorming next steps
Please come be a part of the solution oriented, team centered, ARMS Culture conversation. I thank you in advance for your consideration!
ARMS Uniform Closet Make Over
We have many lightly worn uniform shirts that were donated by our students (thank you Ms. French ;-) and we desperately need to properly arrange our uniform closet. To properly set up our closet, I am asking Ranger staff members to please donate the following:
- Coat hangers (wire or plastic, whatever you have extra of :-)
- Ironing board
I would like us to be able to provide for our students who may need a uniform shirt for the day to have a clean, wrinkle free, shirt to wear. Thank you in advance and I greatly appreciate anything that you are willing to give.
All Hands on Deck- Wedensday 2/10
I thank everyone for allowing us the opportunity to be off campus and grow ourselves to be of better service to ARMS.
8th Grade Host ARMS Breakfast this month (19th)
Valentine Inspired Dance
Our dances are known all over the PG! :-), Come chaperon and have some fun on Feb. 12th
Cookie Bake Off
Love is in the air! (26th)
- 6th 10 or lower
- 7th 50 or lower
- 8th 35 or lower
Thank you again ARMS for a good week! Please remember that in addition to supporting our students on time arrival to class, it is equally important to plan for bell to bell instruction and release students when the bell rings. Instructional planning is a key component to success of our efforts.
Based on the data, please pay close attention to the periods or days where you notice the higher number of tardies. Connect with your Podmates, Pod Leaders and Administrators to discuss possible solutions or ideas to continue to reduce our tardies.
RELEASE STUDENTS ON TIME
Social Studies Team - Dallas Bar Assoc.
No One Eats Alone Initiative
What is the Marshall Memo?
In the spirit of our second "G" GROWTH, every week I will share 1 or 2 of the article summaries with ARMS staff. In hopes of sparking interest, sharing another perspective, or strategies as we all collectively work to improve teaching and learning @ ARMS. Take what works for you, leave what doesn't.
Three Key Factors That Nurture Student Resilience
In this article in Kappa Delta Pi Record, California consultant/researcher Sara Truebridge addresses the central question about resilience: Why do some children who are exposed to high-risk environments successfully adapt while others do not? Truebridge challenges the notion that resilience is a trait that students either have or don’t have. All people have the capacity for resilience, she says, and there are three factors that tap and nurture that potential: (a) caring relationships, (b) high expectations, and (c) meaningful opportunities for participation and contribution. The three factors help develop children’s social competence, problem-solving ability, sense of self and internal locus of control, and sense of purpose and optimism about the future – all of which are key to dealing successfully with adversity.
“When these protective factors exist together in any one environment – home, school, community, or peer group – the climate in that environment becomes one that is optimal for nurturing the resilience of a child, youth, or any individual,” says Truebridge. “Applying these approaches does not cost extra money, but rather requires a focus on re-culturing schools in a unified vision to create, nurture, and sustain important protective factors that provide a positive influence and buffer students from adversity, threat, stress, and risk.” Having all three factors present in a school can compensate for their absence in the family, community, or peer group. And a school with these factors can be resilient as an organization in the face of challenges and traumatic events it may face.
What do the three key factors look like in schools? Truebridge lists these specific actions and characteristics:
• Caring relationships – This is all about providing a sense of connectedness and belonging, “being there,” showing compassion and trust. Teachers get to know the life context of each student and model empathy and compassion. Principals engage students, staff, and parents in school climate surveys and have an open-door policy that makes students comfortable dropping in if they need help or just want to talk. Superintendents make regular visits to schools and sponsor “dialogue nights” where adults and youth can talk together in an atmosphere of mutual trust and safety.
• High expectations – Teachers make appropriate expectations clear and recognize progress as well as performance. They also encourage mindfulness and self-awareness of moods, thinking, and actions. Principals orchestrate a curriculum that is challenging, comprehensive, thematic, experiential, and inclusive of multiple perspectives. They also provide training in resilience and youth development, and work to change deeply held adult beliefs about students’ capacities. Superintendents question how success is defined and ensure a commitment to being culturally responsive.
• Meaningful opportunities for participation and contribution – Teachers hold daily class meetings and empower students to create classroom norms and agreements. Principals establish peer-helping/tutoring and cross-age mentoring/tutoring programs and set up peer support networks to help new students and families acclimate to the school environment. Superintendents scour the neighborhood to identify pro-youth resources, services, and facilities, and hire a community liaison officer to enhance communication, cooperation, and understanding.
Truebridge draws on her own research and that of several other researchers to make these observations about resilience in schools:
- Resilience is a process, not a trait. It’s a struggle to define oneself as healthy amidst serious challenges.
- All people have the capacity for resilience; for some it needs to be tapped.
- Several personal strengths are associated with resilience – being strong cognitively, socially, emotionally, morally, and spiritually.
- One person – a teacher, relative, friend – can make a difference in the life outcomes of an embattled student.
- Educators’ beliefs about students’ resilience are key factors in student outcomes. “If you don’t believe in the capacity of all individuals to have resilience,” says Truebridge, “then you run the risk of giving up on them.”
- Teachers and administrators who have a “growth” mindset about students’ ability to overcome adversity will get far better results than those with a “fixed” mindset.
- In classrooms, open channels of communication are essential. Nothing should inhibit, embarrass, or shame students from asking questions during a lesson.
- Coming from a high-risk environment does not determine a person’s life trajectory. “No child is destined to become a gang member,” says Truebridge.
- Most individuals exposed to adversity – between 50 and 70 percent – do meet developmental milestones and lead productive and independent lives.
- Bad behavior doesn’t equate to being a bad person. “What the student did was display poor judgment and, as a result, the student needs to be responsible for those actions,” says Truebridge. “However, a person who displays bad judgment is not ‘forever’ a bad person.”
- To help others, educators need to take care of themselves. An analogy: on an airplane, people need to have their own oxygen masks in place before they can help others.
- Challenging life experiences and events are opportunities for growth, development, and change. “Quite often,” says Truebridge, “our perseverance through tough times builds our confidence and makes us stronger.”
“Resilience: It Begins With Beliefs” by Sara Truebridge in Kappa Delta Pi Record, January-March, 2016 (Vol. 52, #1, p. 22-27), available for purchase at http://bit.ly/1nArKuR; Truebridge can be reached at resilienceST@gmail.com.
Effective Use of Exit Tickets
In this Edutopia article, educators at Hampton High School in Pennsylvania describe
how they use exit tickets to assess student understanding at the end of lessons and follow up with differentiated help. “A good exit ticket can tell whether students have a superficial or in-depth understanding of the material,” they write. “Teachers can then use this data for adapting instruction to meet students’ needs the very next day… Exit tickets allow teachers to see where the gaps in knowledge are, what they need to fix, what students have mastered, and what can be enriched in the classroom… Perhaps one group will get more direct instruction around the basic concept, while another group will work independently. Perhaps only one or two students need some additional help, and you’ll plan accordingly. The key to differentiation is that you have high expectations for all students and a clear objective. If you know what you want students to master, differentiation allows you to use different strategies to help all students get there.”
In terms of length, 3-5 short questions make a good exit ticket, say the authors. They recommend multiple-choice or short-answer questions linked to the lesson objective and focused on key skills or concepts that students should have grasped. Students should be able to complete the exit ticket in a few minutes at the end of a class period. Exit tickets can be pencil-and-paper, but technology makes collection and analysis quicker and easier – Poll Everywhere, Google Forms, clickers, and other apps.
The authors advise against questions that are too general (Do you understand?) and questions that can be answered Yes or No. They provide these examples of effective questions:
- Name one important thing you learned in class today.
- What did you think was accomplished by the small-group activity we did today?
- Write one question about today’s content – something that has left you puzzled.
- Today’s lesson had three objectives. Which of the three do you think was most successfully reached? Explain. Which was not attained? Why do you think it wasn’t?
- Read this problem and tell me what your first step would be in solving it.
- One of the goals of this class is to have all participants contribute to the seminar. How well do you think this was achieved today?
- Do you have any suggestions for how today’s class could have been improved?
- I used the blackboard extensively today. Was its organization and content helpful to you in learning? Why or why not?
- Which of the readings you did for class today was most helpful in preparing you for the lesson? Why?
- We did a concept map activity in class today. Was this a useful learning activity for you? Why or why not?
“Exit Tickets: Checking for Understanding” by teachers at Hampton High School, Allison Park, Pennsylvania in Edutopia, June 23, 2015, http://edut.to/23FtBj3
Weekly Events 2/8-12
Trailblazer Meeting - 4:30-5:45 - Conference room 127
Wednesday, February 10
Executive Ed. Team Training
STAAR Live Forum, Library @ 9:30 - 10:30 am
Thursday, February 11
Empower Team meeting - 7:30 parent conference room
Climate /Culture follow Up meeting, @ 4:20 in Ms. Clark's room (7th grade hall)
Friday, February 12
$1 Jean Day
On The Horizon....
Monday, February 15
Presidents' Day Holiday
Wednesday, February 17
7th Grade Free Dress Day
Coffee with the principal - 8:45-9:20 - Library
Thursday, February 18
POD Action (AP)
Ignite Academy 4:30-5:30 p.m. - Library
Friday, February 19
End of the 4th Six Weeks
Saturday, February 20
Reading & Math Saturday School
Monday, February 22
Trailblazer Meeting 4:30-5:30
Tuesday, February 23
Staff Meeting/TELPAS 4:30 - Library
Thursday, February 25
Free Dress - Highest CA Average
Empower Team Meeting - 7:30 - Parent Conference Center
Friday, February 26
Cookie Bake Off
Core Meeting 9;30-10:00 - Conference room 127
Saturday, February 27
Science Saturday School
National School Counselor Week
Counselors Honored at CREST Conference Banquet
G.A.S 8th Grade Parent Meeting
8th Graders- Legendary "On Track"
Our beautiful ARMS Babies!!
ARMS Japanese Club
The Most Important Work of our Time! Always remember YOUR IMPACT!
Ann Richards Middle School
At Ann Richards MS, our vision is to be a flagship middle school at the hub of the community, nurturing diverse leaders, and empowering intelligent trailblazers.