Ram Nation News
Week of December 10, 2018
At Thomas J. Rusk Middle School, our mission is to empower our students to become
college and career ready by providing them a culture of excellence through challenging
opportunities, powerful relationships, and strong community partnerships.
This week, our students will begin taking their ACPs, let's be very intentional to provide a great learning and testing environment for our kids. Let's be very purposeful and have a laser focus as we work on having double digit gains across all subjects in all buckets and reach number 1!!! ACPs results will not only measure our school’s progress from last year’s fall ACP, it will also provide feedback as to whether all that we have implemented has been effective. I want to thank all of you for not slowing down in our efforts to make our vision come true, I know that we continue strong #OnANewLevel!
Remember, a great deal of student achievement lays on the level of motivation students have. A discouraged or unmotivated student will not put forth the effort required to perform above the average. Students can have access to great books, teachers, lessons, and technology, but it will not get students excited about learning, nor will it make students be willing to work hard. Motivation is key in the success of students. Teachers play a very important role in encouraging and motivating students. MOTIVATE our students to do their very best so that they would not miss the opportunity to be and feel successful.
- Let's ensure that we are following the testing procedures shared by Mrs. Mooty. We need to be constantly monitoring students so that they are on task actively working on their test; if they are not, please communicate with Mrs. Mooty, Ms. Guerra, Ms. Woods, Ms. Davis, Ms. Tucker, Ms. Wells, or Mr. Cordoba in a timely manner.
- Be familiar with and implement the accommodations that our Special Education, 504, and sheltered students have during testing; if you don't know, please ask!!!
- Let’s continue to give our students that last push for excellence and relevant learning. Let’s incorporate engagement strategies to motivate students. As we review for ACPs, continue to make sure that you are addressing, What students are learning, Why it is important, What mastery looks like, and How to connect it to prior knowledge and their own lives.
- Continue to use the ACP blueprint to narrow your focus and reflect on the data of your daily checks to see how much students are learning and retaining to make the last few adjustments. Continue to make this learning relevant and incorporate engagement strategies to motivate students and make them active participants during the lesson cycle. Include review sessions that incorporate game format such as, Jeopardy or Kahoot and keep sending homework and study guides for students to practice and use.
Let's maximize every instructional minute available to us; bell-to-bell instruction is the key. If our scholars are focused and we engage them from the moment they enter our classrooms to the moment they leave, they will be the beneficiaries of learning.
The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 12/03 - 12/07:
- 6th Grade - 96.11% - Awesome job 6th grade team. You continue to be in the lead after 10 weeks
- 7th Grade - 94.95%
- 8th Grade - 94.43%
Let's continue to encourage our students to be present and on time on a daily basis. It really makes a huge difference when our students are present learning
- Mr. Salazar, Ms. Winton, and Mr. Rivera for their dedication and leadership with our soccer teams. Both girls and boys teams won their games. We have been able to see students' hard work and improvement; we are very proud of our coaches for their impact in the lives of our kids!
- Mr. Thornton for his dedication and leadership with our boys' basketball teams this week. Both A and B Teams won their games; we are very proud of the work done by our students and coaches.
- Ms Wilson for her commitment and support as she works with some of our students needing the most love. We really appreciate you!
While learning how to properly execute a free throw shot, as well as, learn the significance of accurate free throw shooting in basketball games, students in Coach Addison’s PE classes applied math concepts by completing 5 free throw shots each and performed math skills such as: estimates, ratios, fractions, percentages, and decimals. This is a perfect example of cross-curricular activities!
"Speed Dating" SS Review
Ms. Akin provides an opportunity to students to rotate in a format of "speed dating" during concept review as students prepare for ACP. This is a great way to be focused, have cumulative review, and change the pace of the class. Students seemed very engaged in the content!
Skype around the world
Mr. Patel and Ms. Ingram collaborated to connect 6th graders with speakers from Spain, Russia, Ukraine, and Germany. This is a great way to learn different points of view and learn from other cultures.
"Speed Dating" SS Review
Climate and Culture
Climate and Culture
REMINDERS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK OF SCHOOL
- Teachers have to acknowledge in Cornerstone for a submitted spot to be marked complete and show up as complete on our tracker; if you have not acknowledged previous SPOTs, please do so to ensure accuracy and plan accordingly. (TEI 4.2)
- Submit attendance on time. We have had too many unsubmitted attendance.
- Our Remarkable Rams will begin testing on Thursday and will continue testing through December 19, 2018. Remember to incorporate the testing message/script you prepared for your students. During testing, we should be intentional as we actively monitor and provide accommodations to identified students. Please refer to the handout provided during PLC - Testing Expectations.
- As we work on documenting the progress our students are making, remember our policy regarding failure rates and the various opportunities needed to ensure our students are successful. EIA (Regulation) (TEI 2.2, 4.2, 4.5)
- It is critical to be prepared with lessons and materials to avoid having issues with students. When we are not prepared, our students can tell and will find their own way of entertainment.
- We must have 100% presence in the hallway during transition times. Our students notice when there is a lack of adult presence in the hallways and will take advantage of it.
- Be very consistent in the effective implementation of various practices discussed during our TEI orientation and lesson alignment conversations. With regards to Alignment (learning objective), the proficient rating states: Focuses students at the beginning and throughout the lesson, by clearly stating (TEI 2.1)
- What they are learning
- Why it is important
- What mastery looks like
- How to connect it to prior knowledge and their own lives and explaining to students
- Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (TEI 4.2)
Monday, December 10-
- SPOT observations continue
- A Day - We will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action!
Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans and follow up on the implementation of ACP action plan (address high leverage TEKS, low performing TEKS, map out TEKS to be covered in the remaining of the instructional days - ACPs begin December 13).
4:45 Grade Level Meeting - GL locations to collaborate and work on having testing folders ready by period to include, teacher made exams with students names, seating chart labeling students with designated supports, supplemental aids for students who qualify.
Lady Rams’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Medrano MS against Medrano.
Tuesday, December 11-
- B-Day. We will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action!
Weekly PLC - Testing Meeting
4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. We need to work on the recruitment of students for our after school program since it impacts student growth, our school performance, progress, and, ultimately, part of our stipends are tied to the attendance of our students to our tutoring/enrichment sessions. I have noticed that we have been a little relaxed and have given our students the impression that they can opt out; we need to bring our numbers up! (Teachers, make sure you are staying after school during the day you said you are staying because students have attendance for credit and must make up their time with the teacher for whom they have excessive absences.)
Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school
Wednesday, December 12-
- Climate Survey window ends - Currently we have 54 out of 78 (69%) staff members who have responded to the climate survey. Remember that our goal is at least 90% participation. Please, encourage each other to complete this very important component of our practices so that we can continue to improve as an organization. Thank you so much for the 54 staff members who have responded already!
- During PLC time - Work on getting classroom ready for testing (cover content materials inside and outside of the classroom.)
- 4:30 p.m. Last day of after school for the Fall Semester. After School Program Continues. We need to bring our numbers up! (see Tuesday for more details). (Teachers, make sure you are staying after school during the day you said you are staying because students have attendance for credit and must make up their time with the teacher for whom they have excessive absences.)
- Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 13-
- ACP Testing Begins full day - 1A, 3rd period, 1B
- Boys’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Medrano MS against Medrano.
Soccer games at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for the girls and boys respectively at Franklin Stadium against Tasby MS.
Christmas Dinner at 5:00 p.m. at Big Al's BBQ place
Friday, December 14 -
- ACP Testing Continues full day - 2A, 3rd period, 2B
- Snapshot for documenting student involvement in extracurricular and co-curricular activities - Ms. Baker
Saturday, December 15,
- Winter Blitz - Destination Imagination team - Ms. Vargas and Mrs. Lewis
As we prepare for the second semester, we want to take advantage of the next 3 afternoons to get ahead as much as we can. You and your team will collaborate during our early release to complete
- Create common DOLs for first 2-3 weeks of 4th six weeks
- Create exemplars for common DOLs
- Complete exemplar for 4th six weeks Common Assessment - Subjects that are available.
- Lesson Plans - you will begin this work this week and it will be due on December 20, 2018
- ACP Testing Continues half day - 3A and 3B. Students are released at 1:05 p.m.
- 2:30 p.m. PGP training and work session to complete these plans
- 2:00 p.m. Teachers who do not have to develop PGPs will work on items listed above
- ACP Testing Continues half day - 4A and 4B. Students are released at 1:05 p.m.
- 2:00 p.m. AVID Site Team meeting
- 2:00 p.m. Teachers who are not part of AVID site team will work on items listed above
- ACP Testing Continues half day - 5A and 5B. Students are released at 1:05 p.m.
- 2:00 p.m. Teachers will work on items listed above
- Teacher Work Day
Performance Matters Survey
What: School Leadership 5 Question Survey of Performance Matters Training
Who: Campus Instructional Coaches (CICs) and Teachers
Why: To gauge
a. how much training has occurred
b. amount of knowledge transfer
c. additional support needs
When: By December 21, 2018
CIC Survey http://tiny.cc/PMSurveyCIC
Teacher Survey http://tiny.cc/PMSurveyTeacher
New RLA TEKS and Instructional Materials Adoption
We are gearing up for the new RLA/SLAR TEKS next year as well as the instructional material purchase that we have to do this spring. We really want people to see this as an opportunity to support the curricular work underway, not replace it.
To that end, and to what we found to be useful last year when launching the curriculum work, we think we need to go another “roadshow.” These would be two hour sessions, one in each network (mix of K-12). We will do some deep er looks at the new TEKS and then get folks thinking about the types of instructional materials they need to support those standards and the literacy block expectations.
If you would like to attend, feel free to attend. ACE teams can join a network nearby or a date that is convenient for them.
Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers
As a Ram Nation family, it is good to support each other in times of difficulty. Please, keep the following staff members in your thoughts and prayers,
Mr. Lowry and Mrs. Brown - for a successful surgery and recovery.
Mrs. Woods - for a successful outpatient procedure and prompt recovery.
Mrs. Iresha Hayes comes back from her hardship leave and is eager to continue working with her 7th grade students. We know it is hard to leave the family behind during this difficult times and we appreciate the commitment to our school and community.