ARMS Legend

Excellence Without Boundaries

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February 8-12, 2016 4th Six Weeks, Week 6


Principal Message

Greetings Rangers!

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!

Ranger Pride,
F. Taylor
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TG2 Spotlight

TG2 Spotlight is an opportunity for staff members to highlight another staff member who has demonstrated Team, Grit, or Growth. Please provide the characteristic you are spotlighting them for (Team, Grit, or Growth), a brief explanation, and a picture (if you can). In your email to me, Subject line should read: RED: SPOTLIGHT: (Teacher Name).

Spotlight - ON TRACK 8th Graders

We have 294 8th graders who are "On Track" to complete 8th grade. We will continue to add to the wall as our goal is 100% of our 8th graders successfully complete their year and start off their high school career empowered by their time at ARMS.
Thank you Ms. Rivera and ARMS Parents for working on our On Track Recognition wall!
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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)

Ms. Taylor writes:
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

Ms. Baker writes:

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)

Ms. Taylor writes:
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. Quintana

Ms. Hawkins writes:

I would like to spotlight Mrs. Quintana. She consistently demonstrates a desire to perfect her craft. Mrs. Q. uses her observation and data to plan effective and engaging lessons that promote success.

Spotlight on Ms. Chapa (Team & Growth)

Ms. A. Miller writes:

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)

Ms. Taylor writes:
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!

Ranger News


ARMS Climate / Culture Follow Up Meeting

Greetings Rangers,

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 :-)
  • Iron
  • 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.

Summer School Dates & Locations

DISD Summer School: June 27 - July 28th
Monday - Thursday
Middle School - 9 am - 5pm
Locations MS- Medrano, Dade, and Comstock


All Hands on Deck- Wedensday 2/10

Leadership team is off campus this Wednesday. Please support successful hallway transition and lunches. Administrators are present daily during morning arrival, hallway transitions, lunches, and dismissal. Thank you in advance administrators, teachers, and staff to identify who will be available to support arrival, transitions, lunches, and dismissal.

I thank everyone for allowing us the opportunity to be off campus and grow ourselves to be of better service to ARMS.

STAAR Live Forum (2/10)

Wednesday, Feb. 10th @ 9:30 am in the Library. Parent viewing of STAAR information session, courtesy of DISD Office of Family and Community Engagement.

MOCK STAAR (23rd & 24th)

8th - Reading & Math
7th - Pre AP Math & Writing


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  • 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.


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Pertinent campus wide WAIP information will be posted in the weekly ARMS Legend. Please ensure that you stay informed of district updates and general information. WAIP information that is specific to a team, grade, content, will be emailed directly.

Nomination for Employee of the Year for Health Services

Please click here if you are interested in how to nominate an ARMS health service staff member for this award.

Spring ACP Viewing

Click here to register for ACP Spring Film Festival sessions.

Inclement Weather Compensation

Click here for information.

New Menu Items

Click here for more information.

Social Studies Team - Dallas Bar Assoc.

Click here to learn more about how our ARMS Rangers can become involved in contests associated with the Dallas Bar Association. One of the contest: Law Day Essay Contest.

No One Eats Alone Initiative

Click here for more information about this very important initiative ARMS will be participating in during February.

DISD United Negro College Fund Campaign

Click here for more information.

DISD Professional Development - Spring 2016

Click here for more information about the upcoming PD sessions provided/coordinated through Teaching and Learning Department.
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Marshall Memo

What is the Marshall Memo?

Kim Marshall was a teacher, principal, and central office administrator in Boston for 32 years. He currently advises and coaches new principals through the New Leaders for New Schools program. He is also the author of the Marshall Memo. He subscribes to 64 top-quality publications, and every week he sifts through them to select the most significant articles with the most potential to improve teaching and learning.

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.
As we continue to look at the concept of "grit" and growth minded perspective and developing these traits in our students, the MM article this week provides another another perspective and strategies.

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; Truebridge can be reached at

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,

ARMS Events

Weekly Events 2/8-12

Monday, February 8
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
Valentine Dance

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
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National School Counselor Week

Counselors Honored at CREST Conference Banquet

ARMS Counselors have earned the recognition on Monday for being one of the top Counseling programs in Texas Public Schools, for the last 3 years.

G.A.S 8th Grade Parent Meeting

Parents came to meeting with Ms. Walker to learn more about the goals of finishing ON TRACK and what is needed for their students to be On Track. One on one questions were answered by Ms. Walker, Mr. Hatton, and Ms. Luckey and parents left with information to better support their students success.

Ms. Zapata's Grand Baby!

Isabella came to visit her abuela!

8th Graders- Legendary "On Track"

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Our beautiful ARMS Babies!!

ARMS Japanese Club

The first of its kind @ ARMS. Thank you Mr. Babeu, Ms. Hamm, and Mr. Adams for starting this very popular after school club!
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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.