Tiger Time News
News from the O.C. Taylor Principal, Lisa Pedevilla
April 5-9, 2021
Dear O.C. Taylor Families,
Happy Sunday! Happy Easter to those who celebrate Easter! As we enter the home stretch of the 2020-2021 school year, there are some modifications in health and safety protocols that were approved at the GCISD Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, March 29.
Mustang Panther Stadium COVID-19 Testing Center Open for All GCISD Students
GCISD has been participating in a statewide program funded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) offering rapid COVID-19 antigen tests for staff. The District is pleased to share that it will be expanding this resource to all GCISD students. Beginning today, March 30, GCISD students will be able to utilize the GCISD Mustang Panther Stadium rapid antigen COVID-19 Testing Center. Visit www.GCISD.net/COVIDTesting for more information on the testing center and how to schedule an appointment.
The Centers for Disease Control published guidance on how to reduce quarantine for close contacts of COVID-19. Under this option, an individual may end quarantine after Day 7 provided that they have had no symptoms during their daily monitoring and there is a negative COVID diagnostic test. As we will now be offering rapid antigen COVID testing for all GCISD students, we are going to make this option available for quarantined students beginning today, March 30. For more information, visit our Spring 2021 Guide.
Additional Updates to Spring 2021 Guide
The following updates have also been made to GCISD’s health and safety protocols and can be found in the Spring 2021 Guide. Thank you for your continued efforts throughout the spring to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Elementary Plexiglass Dividers
The use of plexiglass dividers in elementary classrooms is now voluntary, however, it is recommended that plexiglass dividers still be used during lunch due to the inability to social distance. If you would like for your child to still use a plexiglass divider while in class, please email your teacher to let her know.
Visitors and Special Events
Campuses can now provide limited opportunities for visitors and volunteers to come on campus to assist. We are starting with our Dads' Club morning greeters and some copy help.
Additionally, there may now be limited opportunities for specially designed outdoor events during the final nine-week grading period. For these events, there will be specific COVID-19 guidelines and criteria that are communicated ahead of the event.
For spectators at UIL sporting events, masks are required when moving throughout the venue, however, masks may now be removed when individuals are seated and socially distanced from others.
As we have said in the past, we want your child to have the best ending possible to this difficult school year. Our children, and all of the adults as well, have overcome so many hurdles and obstacles. That alone is worth celebrating! We are resilient, strong, and flexible!
To the BEST of days,
Our last nine-week grading period started March 22. Please read the full updated GCISD Spring Guide 2021.
To the BEST of days,
OCT Vision: To empower our children today to create a better tomorrow.
OCT Mission: To create life-long learners and develop servant leaders through authentic, real-world experiences.
April 2 - Bad Weather Make Up Day (No School)
April 6 - STAAR Testing - Grade 4 (Writing)
Closed Campus to Visitors
April 9 - Talent Show Submissions DUE
April 13 - PTA Spirit Night at Torchy's (see below)
April 20 - Game On 6 - 8 pm
April 22 - Earth Day (wear jeans/OCT shirt)
April 30 - Bad Weather Make Up Day (No School),
April 30 - Virtual Talent Show (Link Goes Live at 7pm)
May 11 - STAAR Testing for In-Person - Grades 3 - 5 (Math)
May 12 - STAAR Testing for In-Person - Grades 3-5 (Reading), School Nurse Day
May 13 - STAAR Testing for In-Person - Grade 5 (Science)
May 17 - STAAR Testing for Remote - Grades 3 - 5 (Math)
May 18 - STAAR Testing for Remote - Grades 3-5 (Reading)
May 19 - STAAR Testing for Remote - Grade 5 (Science)
May 27 - Last Day of School, Early Dismissal 11:45
Assistant Principal Points from Mrs. Bailey
As we enter our spring testing season, here are a few important notes:
As we begin making the transition to online testing in 2022-2023 (per TEA guidelines and the State Board of Education), we remain committed to making assessment decisions that are in the best interests of our students. We strive to provide assessment practices that mirror our daily instruction. Below is our OCT Campus STAAR Schedule for both In-Person and Remote learners. Please review and note the scheduled testing dates for your child.
We are continuing to adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols daily, including all testing environments. Students follow mask-wearing guidelines, keep a 6 ft distance when feasible, and use plexiglass dividers at lunch. All staff will ensure that students continue all of these protocols. For our Remote learners who are scheduled to attend STAAR testing on campus, we will have students located in a separate location/classroom from their in-person peers.
We care about the safety and well-being of ALL of our Tigers!! Please reach out with any questions or concerns during these last nine weeks.
Assistant Principal Bailey
STAAR Parent Letter and OCT Campus STAAR Schedule
3rd-5th Grade Parents
Update on Safety Protocol
Our district has stated that the use of classroom plastic dividers is optional while the child is seated at their desk. We will still use the dividers at lunch.
IF you DO NOT want your child to stop using the divider while in class, please let your teacher know by Wednesday, April 7. If you do not mind them taking them down while seated in the classroom, you do not need to let your teacher know.
Please know, we are still trying to maintain distance between the desks and if they work in the hallway.
Enrolling for 2021-22 School Year If Not Currently Enrolled
Do you plan to attend GCISD schools next year but are NOT currently enrolled? Let us know you are coming! As GCISD prepares for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, it is vital that the District have accurate enrollment predictions in order to properly staff for the number of students that will be attending school.
If you have children who are not enrolled in GCISD for 2020-2021, but will be enrolling for 2021-2022, we ask that you complete this Intent to Enroll form prior to March 12.
You DO need to complete the form if your child(ren)...
- Did not attend GCISD in 2020-2021 (for any reason), but will attend in 2021-2022
- Is entering Pre-K in GCISD in August 2021
- Is entering Kindergarten in GCISD in August 2021 AND did NOT attend Pre-K in GCISD
Please DO NOT complete the form if your child(ren)...
- Attended GCISD for the 2020-2021 school year, including Pre-K students
This form in no way obligates families to attend school in GCISD in 2021-2022, and it is also not a formal registration. Information regarding registration will be shared in the coming months.
If you know a family that may need to complete the form, please share this information with them. Thank you for your assistance in preparing for the 2021-2022 school year.
GCISD’s Tuition Based Pre-K Program: Spots Still Available
There are a few more spots available in GCISD’s Tuition Based Pre-K program for the 2021-2022 school year! You can find information regarding tuition, campus availability and more on the GCISD Pre-K Website.
Students that may qualify for state-based pre-k will be able to begin registration for the upcoming school year in April 2021.
Math Telescoping Exams
Testing opportunities for telescoping in math for the 2021-2022 school year are available in JUNE and JULY , 2021 for GCISD students who are completing Grades K - 7.
The Math Telescoping Information Packet will be available on the district website under the For Parents and Students Directory by selecting the link for Acceleration Exams, Math Telescoping, Grades K - 7. You can also view the Acceleration Testing Calendar for 2020-2021 on the website. Parents will find information about the requirements to qualify for Math Telescoping and instructions about the Online Registration Process and the newly required Payment Online Process. View the TEKS on the TEA website, and download Study Guides for the exams purchased from UT-Austin.
There is a fee of $30.00 for each “PAPER” (required for grades 1 & 2, optional for grades 3-7) Math Telescoping exam and $40.00 for each “Online Proctorio” exam (grades 3-7 only) ordered from UT-Austin.
ALL payments are to be made online at the end of the registration form. A link for the online payment will be provided.
Exams for 1st and 2nd grade must be given orally. These Paper exams will be administered at the GCISD location. Proctors will read the questions and students will mark their answers in the test booklet. Proctors will transcribe their answers to a computer graded answer sheet for scoring by the UT-Austin Testing Center.
The online registration form will go live on March 22, 2021 for the June test administration dates.
The online registration form will go live on June 14, 2021 for the July test administration dates.
The exam dates, registration and online payment deadlines for each exam date are listed below:
JUNE Exam Dates: Online Proctorio: June 7-17, 2021 (to be taken from home computer)
Paper (In-Person): June 7-10, 2021 (9:00 am & 1:00 pm Colleyville Middle School)
Online Registration Opens: March 22, 2021
Online Registration & Exam Fee/Payment (Online payments only) Deadline: April 2, 2021 midnight
JULY Exam Dates: Online Proctorio: July 19-29, 2021 (to be taken from home computer)
Paper (In-Person): July 19-22, 2021 (9:00 am & 1:00 pm Colleyville Middle School)
Online Registration Opens: June 14, 2021
Online Registration & Exam Fee/Payment (Online payments only) Deadline: June 23, 2021 midnight
Updates from the Clinic, Nurse Katy
Vision and Hearing Referrals: If your student failed their first vision and/or hearing screening back in January, I have re-screened them per our district policy. If your student failed the second screening, I have sent referral letters home with them. Please take these referral letters with you to any appointments and email me any paperwork/information you receive from the visit. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
DAILY EXPECTATIONS: We have been handing out a lot of masks and snacks, Please make sure the following items are in your student's backpack every day.
- healthy snack (not messy, able to eat in classroom)
- extra mask in plastic Ziploc bag (labeled with student's name)
- weather appropriate change of clothes (especially for ECSE, PK, and Kinder)
Health Screening for Students
All of our in-person learners' parents must pre-screen their student for signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 before bringing your student to school. The signs and symptoms are to screen for are:
Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
Loss of taste or smell
Shortness of breath
Congestion or runny nose
Shaking or exaggerated shivering
Significant muscle pain or ache
Nausea or vomiting
If your child demonstrates any of the above signs or symptoms, they must stay home, and you need to report to the campus nurse the signs or symptoms your child is exhibiting. In the event that your child has a fever, they must be kept home from school until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. Please do not give fever-reducing medication and send your child to school. Additionally, please do not send your child to school if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or are test-confirmed with COVID-19.
GCISD Reads Challenge
For information about the GCISD READS Challenge and to learn more about our free e-books and audiobooks check out the Learning Commons newsletter.
We do not charge fines for late books in elementary school, so if you come across a book that seems like it’s becoming part of the family (maybe since before Covid) you can send it back without consequence.
Updates from the Counselor, Mrs. Whisman
Hello Tiger Families! Our Character Focus from PurposeFull People in March is RESPONSIBILITY. My morning messages, classroom Circle-Ups, and bi-weekly guidance lessons will reinforce the definition of Responsibility: To take action and understand how our choices affect others, ourselves, and the world.
Parents of 5th graders:
Please click here for ALL THINGS MIDDLE SCHOOL. Information will be added as I receive it.
If you would like more information about our monthly topic or for ways to get in contact with me, please click here for my newsletter.
Update from Specials, Mrs. Vencill, Mrs. Yatko and Coach Mester
A NOTE from Mrs. Vencill...
Time flies when you're having fun, and we are quickly flying towards the end of another school year. April and May are a great time for our talented Tigers to practice all they have learned during the school year. We will continue composing, reading and performing rhythm patterns and simple melodies on classroom percussion instruments, but we will also add dynamic and tempo markings. Students will use proper vocabulary words to describe dynamics (volume) and tempo (speed) in the music they hear and use music symbols to add dynamic and tempo markings to compositions. We will also connect with Seesaw/Quaver lessons to reinforce the lessons learned in the classroom.
Remote learners will continue working on bi-weekly Seesaw/Quaver lessons and are always welcome to join our weekly Music Webex meetings every Thursday during their Specials time. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support you while you continue learning from home.
I am so proud of my talented Tigers! Please let me know if you have any questions about the learning and creating we are doing in the OCT music room.
A NOTE from Mrs. Yatko...
In person O.C. Taylor artists will be working hard on portrait artworks in the month of April. Here are the specific art projects:
Kindergarten - Picasso Self Portraits
1st - 2nd Grade - Lego Self Portraits
3rd - 5th Grade - Pet/Animal Portraits
Remote learners can continue to sign onto the art webex on Tuesdays during the first 10 minutes of their special's time. Remote learners should be completing at least 2 art assignments every month.
Ms. Morgan will return from maternity leave on April 28th. Tuesday April 27th will be my last day as the long term art sub. I have loved being at O.C. Taylor teaching your scholars.
Mrs. Debbie Yatko
Physical Education News
Hi, Tiger families! We have lots of fun activities planned in PE in the month of April. It's everybody's favorite time of the year...NEWCOMB time! We will play Newcomb and work on our volleyball skills. We will also prepare for Fitnessgram testing and learn kickball rules. Let's hope the April weather cooperates so we can enjoy kickball outside. As always, stay active, stay fit and don't forget your tennis shoes!
You Art What You Eat Student Art Contest
TDA’s You Art What You Eat statewide student art contest is going on now! Students must submit their artwork by April 2, 2021! Kick off the art contest in your school by including an art assignment in lesson plans or encouraging students to participate individually. The theme of the 2021 art contest is Feed Your Creativity with a Healthy School Meal. Students will use their creativity to illustrate what healthy school meals look like to them while incorporating TDA’s imagination-inspired theme.
For more information about the contest, how to submit, or to download materials visit www.SquareMeals.org/artcontest. Thank you for your ongoing partnership and please join TDA in encouraging students to focus their artistic talents on healthy school meals by entering the You Art What You Eat statewide student art contest.
Elementary Art Showcase (Updated Information)
We are excited to announce the launch of the Elementary Art Showcase and Forum! This is a wonderful opportunity for young students to learn about the 3 branches of government and showcase how they interpret the government through their theme-based artwork. Please see the attached documents for more information and the student participation and release form. The deadline to register to participate is Friday, April 16, 2021.
To participate, please complete the following steps:
Complete the Student Participation and Release Form
Provide a completed copy to our office via mail or email
Send a photo or digital copy of your artwork (jpeg or tiff) to Rachel Garcia at Rachel.Garcia@mail.house.gov
Bring your artwork in a standing frame with or without glass to our in-person event.
Event will take place in late April/early May; more details to come.
Additional information can be found on our website at https://vanduyne.house.gov/services/elementary-art-showcase-and-forum.
Join the GCISD Team!
Great opportunities are available in our auxiliary departments:
Head Irrigation Technician - maintain district irrigation systems
Cafeteria Food Service (Nutrition Specialists) -PT w/ benefits – work while your students are in school!
KidzU Site Aides – PT w/ benefits – great schedule for local college students!
Bus Drivers/Bus Driver Trainee – paid training program to earn your CDL and drive our children.
Apply now to work with the BEST! www.gcisd.net/careers
Free Meals Extension
The USDA has extended its nationwide waiver, allowing GCISD to now offer free meals through June 2021 at all elementary and middle school campuses and meal bundles at curbside locations. Complete information can be found here.
Please be sure to visit the O.C. Taylor PTA website where you'll be able to fill out some important forms as well as pay your Homeroom Fund Fee (just $10), which helps pay for things during the year like Winter and Valentine's parties and an end of the year gift for the teachers. Our partnership with the PTA is critical for maintaining the exceptional culture we have here at O.C. Taylor!
PTA Mini Grant Spotlight
OCT Mini Grants 2020-2021
4th grade and Pre-K were granted a combined 36 lap trays to help students maintain their socially distanced learning.
Pre-K was granted 10 additional “My First Learning” journals to assist in their writing.
1st grade was granted a Reading A-Z application subscription, impacting 90 students.
3rd grade received an “Education Galaxy” application for the entire grade level to use.
Our SPED team was granted new items for their classrooms. These included a new rug for the RISE class to define circle time more clearly, a new stapler, along with new nap mats for our students.
Kindergarten received new Leveled Reader books along with book bags for carrying.
OCT Talent Show for 4th and 5th Grade
Calling all 4th and 5th Graders! Unmask your talent for our virtual talent show! Check out all the information here: https://octaylorpta.membershiptoolkit.com/home
Fall 2020 Council E-Connection Newsletter
Please read the Fall 2020 Council E-connection Newsletter to see some of what O.C. Taylor PTA has been doing on our campus.
Fall 2020 Council E-Connection Newsletter
Helping Our Community
Every year, O.C. Taylor students and the PTA collect donations for GRACE Grapevine, a local
nonprofit serving the needy in our community. In the past, each grade participated during a
specific month of the school year. We want to maximize our impact in the community by
opening up donation collection to the entire school all year long!
For the month of December, we will be collecting unwrapped toys for children.
The grade that collects the most donations each month will win an extra recess!
Donation drop boxes will be placed in the school hallways and in the lobby.
March - PBJ (Peanut/nut butter, jars of jelly)
April - Stock the Pantry (Canned tuna, meat, fruit, etc.)
May - Mac & Cheese(Packages of everyone's favorite!)