Marcus Mustangs Monthly Newsletter

January, 2016



  • 1/11 Celebration Staff Meeting
  • 1/12 PTA 2nd grade performance
  • 1/14 Parent Conferences
  • 1/18 MLK student/teacher holiday
  • 1/19 Staff Meeting--Staff Recognition Award


  • 2/8 Random acts of kindness week
  • 2/9-2/11 Common Assessment
  • 2/15 Higher education week
  • 2/15 Teacher/Student Holiday
  • 2/19 End of the 4th Six Weeks
  • 2/22 Start of the 5th Six Weeks
  • 2/29 Report Cards issued this week


  • 3/1-3/3 Mock STAAR
  • 3/7 TELPAS window opens up
  • 3/14 Spring Break
  • 3/29-30 STAAR testing 4th Writing, 5th Rd & Math

A closer look into 2.4 Checks for academic understanding

2.4 targets the consistent checks for academic understanding at almost all key moments to determine pace of the lesson and whether or not key steps or concepts need to be discussed further before moving on.

The teacher gets an accurate reading of the class’s understanding from almost every check and effectively makes adjustments using information gathered from checks, but may miss a few opportunities for needed adjustments to reach other students.

In order to be credited as an effective check for understanding, the technique must be appropriate to the objective and yield information that can inform instruction and thus succeed in obtaining an accurate reading of the class’s understanding. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • scaffolding
  • adjusting time allotments
  • using new examples of information
  • explaining concepts in a different way
  • regrouping students, using "think-alouds,"
  • providing models or manipulatives
  • connecting to prior knowledge
  • providing auditory or visual clues
  • clarifying questions;
  • asking students to rephrase material;
  • having students respond on white boards;
  • using "exit slips;" "think-pair-share;"
  • having students vote on answer choices,
  • response cards, response chaining, do-nows;
  • scanning progress of students working independently;
  • drawing upon peer conversations/explanations;
  • conferencing with individual students;
  • using role-playing; using constructed responses;
  • observing student work in a structured manner.

For some lessons, checking for understanding of the class may not be an appropriate standard. For example, if students are spending the majority of the period working on individual essays and the teacher is conferencing with a few students, it may not be necessary for the teacher to check the understanding of the entire class. In these cases, the teacher should be judged based on how deeply and effectively s/he checks for the understanding of the students with whom s/he is working.

A teacher does not necessarily have to check with every student in order to gauge the understanding of the class. As long as the teacher calls both on students who raise their hands and on those who do not, a series of questions posed to the entire class can enable a teacher to get a reading of the class. Or, if the teacher checks the understanding of a number of students, finds that most of them did not understand some part of the lesson, and immediately re-teaches that part to the entire class, this should count as effectively obtaining a reading of the class because the teacher gained enough information to be able to adjust subsequent instruction.

Balanced Literacy Cadre

3rd-5th Reading Teachers:

If you are a third, fourth, or fifth grade teacher and are attending the district's Balanced Literacy Cadre at the Buckner Building from 2 - 5 PM, the dates are below.

  • Jan. 13

  • Feb. 10

  • March 9

  • April 4th

  • May 28th

  • June 1st

Thank you for being a part of a team that helps the school increase student achievement and as an extra bonus you are enhancing your teaching craft. We look forward to hearing all about the training and sharing these best practices with the rest of the Staff.

Tutoring updates

Tutoring will continue 2x a week Tuesday district time and Wednesday or Thursday paid time 3:30-4:30

Saturday School is NOT mandatory, but if you are interested in tutoring, email Ms. Wallace no later than January 29, 2016.

Tentative Saturday School Dates

  • 3/5, 3/26---4th Writing & 5th Reading and Math
  • 4/23, 4/30, 5/7---3rd&4th Reading and Math including 5th grade re-testers

Common Assessments

Common Assessment #3

  • 2/9 K-5 Reading, 4th LA
  • 2/10 K-5 Science
  • 2/11 K-5 Math

Social Studies is not mandatory

Mock STAAR #1

  • 3/1 3-5 Math
  • 3/2 3-5 Reading
  • 3/3 4th Writing & 5th Science

Mock STAAR #2

  • 4/12 3-4 Math
  • 4/13 3-4 Reading & 5th Science (5th gd R&M retesters only)
Big image

Staff Recognition

Don't forget to complete this week's survey to recognize our first teacher and support staff for the Second Semester. The recognized person will be announced on January 19 at our brief staff meeting.

The teacher and support staff will receive a Recognition Sash to display for the week, a Certificate, you will be highlighted at our Recognition Board, a Parking Spot designated for you, and denim for the whole week as long as you wear the T.O.W. Sash...

Each week we will meet and the award will be passed on to another person, chosen by you based on the given criteria from the google form.

· Supportive and respectful to all students and staff

· Enforce high student expectations consistently

· Contribute to team experiences and collaboration with colleagues

· Contribute to increasing positive morale throughout the campus

· Has high expectations for students and expect nothing less than 100% of full effort

If you have any other ideas that we can add to recognizing staff please do not hesitate to share with us, we are open to ALL ideas :)

Marcus' Mustangs Spirit Song

Praise to Marcus Elementary

Blue and White we strive for Success

Memories here will live eternally

Friendship, Learning, Mustang Pride

Marcus is where we learn good Character

Skills to build our future bright

Memories here will live eternally

Friendship, Learning, Mustang Pride

Herbert Marcus Elementary


To be an educational exemplar, whose priority is to provide high quality instruction, increase student academic achievement, and develop our students holistically.


To foster a love of learning in a caring, safe, and welcoming school, where the staff works collaboratively with the community to develop confident, responsible students who are well prepared for the future, to ensure that our students achieve their highest academic potential and are college and career ready.

Core Beliefs:

Our main purpose is to improve student academic achievement.

Effective instruction makes the most difference in student academic achievement.

There is no excuse for poor quality instruction.

At risk students will achieve at the same rate as non-at-risk students with our help using a Response to Intervention process.

Staff members must have a commitment to children and a commitment to the pursuit of excellence in a caring classroom.