Ram Nation News

Week of January 28, 2019


A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society
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We continue to make great strides toward our vision of creating catalyst of change, life-long learners, and competitors in a global society as we are racing OnANewLevel.

As we continue to visit classrooms, we have seen small group interventions in action, teachers aggressively monitoring, students annotating either their text, questions, or showing their work, and departments who come together to support each other recognizing the urgency of ensuring student learning.

As you know, our goal is to accelerate transformation and ensure our kids have access to quality education . As I read an article this weekend, I came across the following quote from John Dewey, “[The teacher’s role is] to keep alive the sacred spark of wonder and to fan the flame that already glows… to protect the spirit of inquiry, to keep it from becoming blasé from overexcitement, wooden from routine, fossilized through dogmatic instruction, or dissipated by random exercise upon trivial things.” Each one of you plays a critical role in shaping the lives of our kids as you are that beacon of hope for our students. In order to be the best, we must perfect our various practices and adapt to change.

Thank you to everyone who continue to support our students in their efforts to be ready for the next grade level and to succeed in the upcoming STAAR assessments.

Let's make sure that we

  • stay focus on the high leverage TEKS, implement action plans, and use data to drive our instruction.
  • actively participate in our PLC sessions. Collaborate with our teams; we know that success in education is powered by effective teams and effective practices.
  • prepare and plan our lessons so that teaching is purposeful and we are able to maximize instructional time.
  • challenge students through academic rigor. Let’s make students use reasoning beyond initial thinking. Let’s ignite in them the desire to know more and apply new

  • leverage the positive relationships we have built so that students trust teachers, teachers trust teachers, and teachers trust administrators

Attendance Review

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn.

The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 1/21 - 1/25:

  • 6th Grade - 95.14%
  • 7th Grade - 95.67% an increase of 0.89% and takes the lead!
  • 8th Grade - 94.70%

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.


  • 7th and 8th grade math teams for the support and flexibility as some classes had to be collapsed and distributed to other members of the team to ensure students receive the quality of instruction they deserve. Your commitment to making a difference in the lives of kids is appreciated!
  • Ms. Rocha and Ms. Molla for taking extra students and more responsibility as one of our RLA teachers resigned. Also, Ms. Sheldon and Ms. Morgan for their support and flexibility for the last 3 weeks as they led 2nd and 4th period respectively. We know that team work makes the dream work.
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Debate Team

Under Mr. Johnson's leadership, our students continue to represent Rusk in the best way possible and they look very sharp. Our debate team did tremendous! Look forward to hearing about the placement once the results are posted. I am very proud of everything our team has accomplished and of the commitment displayed by Mr. Johnson.


  • Aggressive Monitoring should be done at least with students' independent practice and DOL. Remember it checks for understanding where no Ram is left behind. You announce your laps, create the pathway and provide feedback to students in the moment using the Coding System your team has agreed on. Students should receive written and verbal feedback. If you see an error or misconception clear it up immediately using show call (TEI 2.2 and 2.3).
  • 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)
  • 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. (TEI 3.1)
  • 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, January 28-

  • A - Day
  • We will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action! Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:45 - 5:45 Monday Staff Meeting - Dyslexia and Special Education Updates as well as Climate Survey Analysis.
  • Girls’ basketball game at 7:30 p.m. at Loos Fieldhouse against Cary MS. Our girls have a great chance to go to the playoffs if they win this game. Come on out and support our girls!

Tuesday, January 29-
  • B-Day.
  • Pre-AP, Athletics, and Fine Arts recommendations for the 2019-2020 school year DUE. Please, see e-mail sent by Ms. Guerra. Use the link below to access Google Sheets for recommendations.
  • 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 Medrano ES and Obadiah Knight ES will visit to learn about expectations, programs, and fill out choice sheets.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.

  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. As shared before, 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. As a reminder, students do not have the option to opt out; if you need assistance with parents, please let anyone from the leadership team know.

  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school

Wednesday, January 30-
  • A-Day.
  • Calibration Walks - We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring. Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:30 After school program continues - Let's be very purposeful in our lessons and our recruitment of students.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 31-

  • B-Day.
  • Weekly PLC
  • Commit will visit our school again in the spring as this organization supports our district and wants to bring another group of potential donors to learn about the great things taking place at Rusk.
  • 4:30 After school program continues.
  • Boys’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Loos Fieldhouse against Cary MS.
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.
  • 4:00 - 7:30 p.m. - Job Fair at Conrad HS - Selected Members

Friday, February 1 -

  • A - Day
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 10:00 -12:00 Maple Lawn ES will visit to learn about expectations, programs, and fill out choice sheets.

Saturday, February 2 -

  • Saturday School Begins - Adults 8:30 - 1:00; Students 8:45 light breakfast 9:00 - 12:30

Upcoming Events

February 15

  • Professional Development Day - Survey for input forthcoming

Week of February 19

  • Common Assessment Window
Student Recommendations - PreAP, Athletics, Fine Arts

See email sent from Ms. Guerra, Subject: Student Recommendations. The deadline for this task is EOD 1/29/19, on that day all editing functions will be switched to 'view only' and the list will be printed for the counselors to begin choice sheets.

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Eduphoria TEKSBank

Many of you have asked for more resources for your DOLs and CDOLs. While these are only a few examples of the use for Eduphoria TEKSBANK, you can use it as you see fit.

We are excited to announce we now have access to the Eduphoria TEKSBANK bank of test questions as a resource for you!

  • You will login with your email address and the password "welcome2017". Then you will be asked to change the password. If this password does not work for you, use the "forgot password" hyperlink, input your e-mail address, and you will receive a link to reset your password.
  • The website for the program is dallasisd.schoolobjects.com. No www.

Hope this helps you and your team as you continue to align your lessons to the level of rigor expected of our kids.

Open Transfer

The Open Transfer application will be available starting March 4, 2019. Eligible employees must apply via the open transfer application online at https://www.dallasisd.org/careers within the time frame established. Principals will have an opportunity to submit open transfer recommendations no later than March 29, 2019. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notification will be completed by April 12, 2019. I will be sending a form where you will have an opportunity to let me know of your plans for next year; however, if you know that you are planning to transfer or leaving the district, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can plan accordingly.

Welcome to Rusk Middle School!

Please, take some time to greet and get to know the following personnel as you make them feel welcome to our school:

Ms. Shelly Kannada - 7th Grade Science

Mrs. Laura Carreras - Teacher Assistant

Mr. De'Angelo Smith - Hall Monitor


We want to join in congratulating Mr. King and his family in the arrival of Baby Caleb. He was born on Friday and weighted a little over 7 Lb.


Ms. Akin - 1/3

Ms. Eddy - 1/13

Mr. Willis - 1/21

Mr. Thornton - 1/24

Ms. Minter - 1/26