David G. Burnet Elementary

Shining Stars Gazette - September 28th - October 2nd

Excellence Will Lead to Success!

6th Week of the 1st Six Weeks

Notes from your principal

This will be the best year ever at Burnet, home of the All Stars! Not only are we celebrating Burnet's 60th year, we are also celebrating school culture, instruction, data-driven and team effectiveness.

From Marshall Memo 604. Teach valuable knowledge and skills and spiral important TEKS, especially Readiness Standards, on grade-level. Ensure that you are using feedback from PLC to concentrates on alignment of on grade-level TEKS that all students must be introduced to, guided on and have the opportunity to do and master independently.

What Kind of Smarts Should Schools Be Developing?

Intelligence has two components, says Daniel Willingham (University of Virginia) in this article in The Atlantic. The first is mental horsepower – how many pieces of information we can keep in mind simultaneously and how efficiently we can crunch them. One way of measuring this is to ask someone to recite a list of digits backwards. For years, many parents and teachers have seen the mind as an all-purpose muscle that gets stronger when it’s pushed to perform difficult tasks. “Traditionally, some educators subscribed to the notion that it doesn’t much matter what students study, as long as it’s hard and they don’t like it,” says Willingham. “Through the early 20th century, educational theorists believed students should study Latin not because it was a useful language, but because studying it trained the brain to think logically.” That approach is widely disdained these days – schooling should be relevant and engaging! – but there is a 21st-century version of the mental horsepower theory: schools should be in the business of developing students’ thinking skills.

The second component of intelligence is like a database – the knowledge we’ve absorbed (vocabulary, science, history, literature) and the skills we’ve acquired (reading, writing, calculating, problem-solving). Memorizing large amounts of information was once considered a major goal of schooling, but with ready access to all sorts of knowledge on the Internet, learning a bunch of facts is widely regarded as passé.

Willingham disagrees. He cites recent research showing that schooling has very little effect on mental horsepower, even for those who are educated for many years and attend the most effective schools. “Instead,” says Willingham, “schooling makes students smarter largely by increasing what they know, both factual knowledge and specific mental skills like analyzing historical documents and learning procedures in mathematics.”

This research has two implications. First, says Willingham, we need to make sure the curriculum – the knowledge and skills being taught – will be valuable to students in the future. Downstream relevance isn’t always obvious – for example, a student who grows up to become an English teacher may not be called upon to use plane geometry, solid geometry, or trigonometry, but having learned them may help with visualizing spatial relationships among objects – an important life skill.

The second implication is that schools need to go beyond coverage and orchestrate spiral review of the most important information to make sure it’s retained. “Revisiting subjects can protect against forgetting,” says Willingham, “and sustained study over several years can help make certain knowledge permanent.”

“When Knowledge Is Unforgettable” by Daniel Willingham in The Atlantic, August 12, 2015,

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/08/the-power-of-curriculum/400976/; Willingham can be reached at willingham@virginia.edu.

Keys to Increasing Classroom Rigor

In this American School Board Journal article, editor Del Stover suggests some ways to ensure academic rigor at the classroom level:

Increase the number of challenging courses. “Research shows that most students rise to the challenge of higher expectations,” says Stover, “so offering more academically rigorous courses is likely to produce results.” The Houston Independent School District has made a point of boosting the number of AP courses in all schools, with a requirement that students take the exams. (HISD has also increased the number of International Baccalaureate programs.) Over the last six years, there’s been a 64 percent increase in Houston students passing AP exams.

Introduce academic rigor at an early age. “Waiting until high school to get tough is only going to backfire with students who are behind grade level in English and math,” says Stover. This means backwards-mapping from high-school exit standards at a college-and-career level all the way back to preschool.

Make sure everyone understands what on-grade-level instruction looks like. “Academic rigor is determined not just by what is taught, but how it is taught and how it is assessed,” says a report from the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media. Hamilton County, Tennessee, clarified academic rigor by describing grade-level expectations and what students should be doing to be on track for success.

Provide supports. It’s commonly believed that increasing rigor will lead to many students being frustrated, disengaging, and failing. But that will happen only if there’s a sink-or-swim philosophy of learning, says Stover. Effective schools assess frequently and, when difficulties are revealed, intervene quickly with targeted and efficient interventions.

Ensure equity. In de facto segregated, high-poverty schools, differentiation can be a proxy for lowering expectations, says Stover. If economic integration isn’t possible, educators need to be sure that all students are aiming at standards-based grade-level expectations.

“Up to the Challenge: Are You Doing All You Can to Provide Academic Rigor for Your Students?” by Del Stover in American School Board Journal, October 2015 (Vol. 202, #5, p. 42-43), http://bit.ly/1KujiCn; Stover can be reached at dstover@nsba.org.

Spot Observation continues! Great things are happening at Burnet in teaching and learning. Remember, spot observation will provide feedback with actionable steps that you can implement immediately to enhance your teaching and the learning. Spot observations focus on 5 areas of the classroom:

2.1 Establishes clear and rigorous lesson objective (s) (LO)

2.2 Measures student mastery through a Demonstration of Learning (DOL)

2.3 Clearly presents instructional material (Purposeful Instruction)

2.5 Engages students at all learning levels in rigorous work (Engagement & rigor)

3.1 Maximizes instructional time (Classroom Culture & Use of Time)


Ms. Loskot, Proud Principal of All Stars!



Providing excellence in the physical, emotional, social and academic growth of every child to ensure all student achieve their maximum potential.


Teachers will create strong classroom cultures, build relationships with students, and implement instructional practices that engage all students.

Key Action 1: Promote a positive climate and culture that ensures student achievement by establishing a common vision. (Philosophy)

Key Action 2: Strengthen the instructional program and data system by providing differentiated professional development. (Process)

Key Action 3: Promote student achievement by implementing and monitoring a system of data and feedback on instruction. (Implementation)

One School, One Vision, Together We Are On A Mission

Week At-A-Glance

Monday, September 28th, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 25)
  • Faculty Meeting - Lync 3:30-4:30 bring charged laptops
  • Final draft of SLO due on Schoolnet
  • 5th & GT PTO Night
  • Ms. Kish (my Teaching Trust Coach) to observe classrooms from 8-9 to view alignment of intro to new material, guided and instructional practice. She will assist Ms. Seaton and I on observing classroom and providing actionable feedback.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 26)

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 27)
  • Grade Level Meeting at 3:15
  • Evaluators will approve SLO

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 28)
  • PLC in grade level chair's room during planning
  • Tacky Box K & 1 at 1p.m and 2nd & 3rd at 1:45 p.m.
  • Thursday Folder goes home
  • Remind 3rd and 5th grade students to wear college t-shirts tomorrow

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 29)
  • 1st Six Weeks End
  • Leveling Completed
  • Send Kudos to Ms. Loskot by 2:00 p.m.

Quote of the Week

Think BIG

Keep Calm and Shine On!

Action Items

Action Items

September 18th - October 1st - Teacher rebuttal window in oracle for TEI evaluation scorecards

September 28th - 5th & GT PTO Night

September 28th - Final Draft of SLO Due to evaluator

September 30th - Complete all compliance videos and turn in to Ms. Lupe