Ram Nation News

Week of December 3, 2018

Vision

A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society

Mission

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.

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#OnANewLevel

Every year our students and teachers go through a rather stressful time of testing at the end of each semester. Whether we talk about ACPs or state assessments, this can be a stressful time. At this time of the year, students should have mastered the skills they need to show significant progress from the time of entry.


Our teachers have not just taught straight from the book. Throughout this semester, each one of you has engaged in backwards planning, creating and using exemplars, aggressively monitoring, and Data Driven Instruction meetings among others. We have been very purposeful with laser focus analyzing data, and identifying weaknesses and specific groups of students, to redesign instruction. Teachers have been using best instructional practices with aggressively monitoring as a leverage to keep students accountable and make adjustments to instruction so that our students can master concepts. Students have been encouraged by teachers and administrators to work hard and aim high. Let's continue to MOTIVATE our students to do their very best so that they would not miss the opportunity to be and feel successful.


With only one 8 days of instruction left before ACPs, I am sure you agree with me that there is not a single minute to waste. Let's be very intentional in the type of work and tasks that we are putting in front of our students. As you know, there are things that students must know and other things that are nice to know; therefore, have a laser-focus on the learning that is critical for each grade level and focus on the must know.


  • 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.


  • Let's use the ACP blueprint to narrow our focus. Continue to make this learning relevant and incorporate engagement strategies to motivate students. 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.


  • Have conferences with parents and guardians about behavior, academics, absentees and tardiness. We need to make sure that we create partnerships with all stakeholders and that we hold everybody accountable.


  • Ensure that student work and designated spaces in our classrooms (word walls, concept walls, data walls) are updated or used appropriately so that new learning/progress is evident.


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!

Attendance

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn. Let's continue to support our students in transitioning in an expedited manner from class to class.


The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 11/26 - 11/30:

  • 6th Grade - 97.62 - Improved by 0.20%
  • 7th Grade - 96.23% - Improved by 1.44%
  • 8th Grade - 96.55% - Improved by 1.01%


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

THANK YOU


  • Ms. Addison and Ms. Buitron for their leadership and support with our girls' basketball teams. Our Lady Rams continue to improve and represent us very well! They won their last games.
  • Coach Clark and Mr. Thornton for their dedication and leadership with our boys' basketball teams. Our B Team has won 2 games in a row and our A team continues to work hard and improve their skills.
  • Ms Wilson for her commitment and support as she works with some of our students needing the most love. We really appreciate you!
  • Ms Rendon as she continues to work with two classes, approximately 50 students, showing similar performance in various concepts. We really value your commitment, leadership, and support.

Parent Meeting

One of our school goals is to broaden constructive relationships with the members of school community. Thank you so much for all your hard work to provide parents tips for our upcoming ACPs and discuss expectations. All of the various departments were very organized, had materials, and exemplars ready to share with parents.

Let's continue to make sure we encourage parent participation in school events, parent workshops, and parent conferences to create partnerships to build the whole child. Shout out to Ms. Baker for putting the "Passport" together and Ms. Zuniga and Ms. Saucedo for the extra support during this event.

Climate and Culture

As you already know, our goal for our climate survey is to rank in the 5th quintile in all areas! This means that all of our areas of our climate survey will be green. Also, we want to provide our students with the opportunities to participate in after school or co-curricular activities as we support our district's goal #4. I appreciate the hard work, dedication, and commitment to support building the whole child.

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.
  • During 8:00 a.m. - 8:20 a.m., students must be engaged in meaningful activities: homework support, organizing binder, CNN news with reflection sheet.
  • 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! (TEI 1.2, 1.4 and Stipend Agreement)
  • 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.
  • 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)

DAILY EVENTS

Monday, December 3-

  • Campus Climate Survey Continues - Remember to send confirmation of completion to Ms. Miranda, CC Mr. Cordoba, in order to wear jeans from the day you take survey until Friday EXCEPT Thursday. See e-mail sent by Mr. Cordoba for more details.
  • SPOT observations continue
  • B 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 Monthly Staff Meeting - Library

  • 4:30 - 5:30 Academic Pentathalon coach meeting - Ms. Brown and Ms. Baker

  • Lady Rams’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at P.C Cobb Athletic Complex (1702 R.B. Cullum Dallas, TX 75210) against Spence MS.


Tuesday, December 4-
  • 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).

  • 4:30 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 5-
  • B-Day.
  • Calibration Walks - We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring.
  • 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).
  • 4:30 p.m. 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.)
  • 4:30 - 7:30 - CILT sessions at Edison MS.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.


Thursday, December 6-

  • A-Day.
  • Weekly PLC
  • 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. The Real Estate Council (TREC) and Commit visit (2 different groups of 10-12 people.) We will visit classrooms and stop by PLCs to have staff members share their experience as teachers in a Dallas public school and ACE.
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.
  • 6:00 p.m. Band and Cheerleaders Holiday Program - Mr. McCann, Mr. Alarcon, and Ms. Turnbull.

  • Boys’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at P.C Cobb Athletic Complex (1702 R.B. Cullum Dallas, TX 75210) against Spence MS.

  • Soccer games at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for the girls and boys respectively at Loos Stadium against E.D Walker MS.


Friday, December 7 -

  • B-Day
  • Students will be able to wear jeans with a college, spirit, or uniform shirt for $1 in support of CAB.
  • Teacher-Made ACP Due - Appraiser and Mrs. Mooty. If you have questions about who should be getting TM ACP see Ms. Vasquez for English Learners questions or Ms. Maloy for Special Education questions.


Saturday, December 8,

  • UIL Academic Competition -See Ms. Baker if interested in coaching ($50/team per competition)

Upcoming Dates

December 12

  • Climate Survey window ends.
  • Last day for after-school for the semester.


December 13

  • ACPs begin
  • Christmas Dinner at 5:00 p.m.


December 14

  • Snapshot for documenting student involvement in extracurricular and co-curricular activities


December 15

  • Winter Blitz - Destination Imagination team - Ms. Vargas and Mrs. Lewis


December 20

  • Teacher Work Day

The Educator Collective

The Educator Collective's next FREE event: an Ugly Holiday Brunch!

Grab your ugliest Christmas sweater and come celebrate the end of the semester with TEC! Join TEC on December 8th for the 2nd Annual "Ugly Holiday Brunch” party on the rooftop at STIRR. We’ll be hanging out from 11:00 am – 1:00 p.m and will have brunch, drinks and giveaways so come ready for a good time! Invite your teacher friends to come and mingle.


You must RSVP - all details and registration information in the link above!

Campus Climate Survey

Our goal for our climate survey is to rank in the 5th quintile in all areas! This means that all of our areas of our climate survey will be green. Neutral does not count and adversely impacts.

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Listening to reading

Is listening to audio a useful piece of literacy education? It turns out that listening to stories builds literacy skills in most of the same ways reading them does

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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. Guillory - Mom's health

Ms. Jackson - Own health and for a prompt recovery

Mrs. Hayes - Father passed away

Ms. Rendon - Grandfather passed away

Congratulations!!!

We want to join in congratulating Mr. Clark and his family in the arrival of Baby Clark. He was born on Sunday around 7:30 a.m. and weighted 6 Lb and 11 oz.

Welcome to Rusk!!!

Please, take some time to greet our new staff members and get to know them:

Mr. Orlando Garcia joins our team as one of our Hall Monitors.

Ms. Janie Garcia joins our team as one of our Teachers Assistants in the Special Education department as Malichi's one-on-one.


Happy Birthday

Wishing you the very best!!!


Dec. 13 – Ms. Galvan

Dec. 13 – Ms. Wilson

Dec. 22 – Ms. Safford

Dec. 24 - Ms. Davis

Dec. 29 – Mr. Johnson