Sloan Creek Intermediate School

The Leopard- January 28th

Are you ready to TACKLE the CHALLENGE?

3 Focuses for High Reliability
Kid President's Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!

Its February Folks....

I made tons and tons of silly mistakes my first year of teaching orchestra in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. My first job was teaching elementary school orchestra at Rainwater, Central, and Davis Elementaries. During these first few years I learned a ton about how to (and how not to) manage a class and keep the learning flowing. My favorite principal was Mrs. Shelley, of Rainwater elementary. She had a smile that could warm any child's heart and a 1000 mile stare that would make slackers hide under the mimeograph machine. She had high expectations for students and staff, but also worked diligently supporting her teachers and students to do their best work.

Mrs. Shelley had some great advice for me over the first few years in the area of classroom management and planning. As we know that February is our most stressful month of the year, I wanted to share some of her pearls of wisdom.

#1 Is that your real voice?

I am loud by nature, so when Mrs. Shelley would walk into the cafetorium she could always hear my booming voice. She made a point to talk to me about raising our voice to get students' attention is not the best approach, and the stress it causes and the vibe it puts in the room just isn't worth it. The students will mirror your voice level, so avoid using that semi-shouting voice. If we want kids to talk at a normal, pleasant volume, we must do the same. Whispering became my best tool to really get kiddos to listen.

#2 Wait for our learners to give you their attention. Have high expectations.

This golden nugget was given to me by Barb, a 20 year vet and a great art teacher at Rainwater Elementary. "Ray, set your expectations high for them to focus when you are giving direction, then hold them to those expectations by waiting...... silence is golden."

Great advice Barb. I think I learned the term "Hairy Eyeballs" from Barb, as she would have her right hand in the air, and give her class the look and all eyes and ears would be ready for the next cue for learning.

#3 Hands Up!

Holding one hand in the air, and making eye contact with students is a great way to quiet the class and get their attention on you. It takes awhile for students to get used to this as a routine, but it works wonderfully. Have them raise their hand along with you until all are up. Then lower yours and talk. So simple, yet so easy. We use this daily in the cafeteria. Feel free to use!

#4 Address behavior issues quickly and wisely

Be sure to address an issue between you and a student or between two students as quickly as possible. I had two students who were always interrupting my class. Mrs. Shelley prompted me to wait until after instruction, then call the parent with the student present and come up with a plan for tomorrow to ensure that Lindsay (who went on to be an orchestra director in Frisco ISD) had a more focused experience tomorrow.

I love asking naive questions "It looks like you have a question" rather than, "Why are you off task and talking?" When students have conflicts with each other, arrange for the students to meet with you at lunch, after or before school or give Kelly a ring.

#5 All problems in instruction are solved in planning

I learned this from Mr. Moore, not Mrs. Shelley, but this tip is most important of all. Perhaps you've heard the saying, if you don't have a rigorous plan for them, they'll have one for you. Always overplan. It's better to run out of time than to run short on a lesson. From my own first-hand experience and after many classrooms observations, something that I know for sure: low rigor equal trouble! If the lesson is poorly planned, there is often way too much talking and telling from the teacher and not enough hands-on learning and discovery by the students. We all know engaging lessons take both serious mind and time to plan. And they are certainly worth it -- for many reasons, especially in February.

Just a reminder that our A-Team will be out at "The Leader In Me" symposium Monday-Wednesday. We are also taking Christina and Sunny so that we all are seeing the same model to deepen our understanding and implementation.

Bright Spots

Will Davis: Flexibility Bright Spot With Jan Jungmann leaving, Will has stepped into the leadership role of the PE team seamlessly. He has been positive and motivating with all the changes happening to our team. Thanks Will!

6th Grade ELAR, Donna Lusby and Janet Tillman, : Technology Integration Bright Spot You ROCK!! They are branching out of the Google realm and trying a digital storyboard! Way to get out of your comfort zone and collaborate!! !

Cyndi Anderson, Peter Preheim, and Angie Carraway: Student Engagement Bright Spot Great Job 6th grade Social Studies creating fun simulations that engaged students. They learned about the European Union using passports and Euros. Also, your Communism simulation using Starbursts for salary increments helped students understand that with Communism a ditch digger and a doctor can both be paid two Starbursts. The student doctors didn't like Communism very much! Powerful learning!

Jeana Caton: Grow Each Child Bright Spot she goes above and beyond when it comes to her students. She makes herself available to her students every morning and every afternoon. She makes her students feel comfortable to take risks and allow them opportunities to learn from their mistakes as well. She's fantastic!

Kathy Bankes: Tackle the Challenge Bright Spot She is Tackling the Challenge of integrating herself into the two worlds of general ed and special ed! It's a BIG job. You go girl!

Our 6th grade music staff: Elizabeth Rogers, Dawn Coad, Bethany Stuard, Joe Nidever, Lindsay Abbott, Nathan Lewis, Diana Williams, Daniel King, Mary Winkler, Amy Gearhart, Joey Sloan, Engagement Bright Spot: Thank you for all the hard work and love each of you poured into our visit to WSMS. Our 5th graders loved learning about Band, Choir, and Orchestra. No matter what path they choose, they will have an experience second to none.

If you know a staff member who should be considered for a Bright Spot in Technology Integration, Flexibility, Student Engagement, Tackling the Challenge or Cognitive Demand, Communication, Formative Assessment, or Grow Each Child send Ms. Peschke their name, the category, and why you are nominating them.

Judges needed for UIL

Friday and Saturday February 26th and 27th. Since this our marquee academic event for our kids , we would like to have our SCIS staff serving as judges in lieu of parents. Traci Reagan is doing a fantastic job of helping our students and coaches prepare for this event. Please consider volunteering to help Traci organize this event by judging.

6th Grade Overnight at the Perot

6th Grade Teachers-

Just a reminder, our overnight visit to the Perot Museum is on track and scheduled for February 12th. As a reminder, it is an expectation that each 6th grade teacher attend this trip and stay overnight with our kids. Thank you in advance for arranging your family's schedule and events to assist our students and parents so that the event is well managed and safe for our students. If for some reason you have a medical need that would prevent you from attending the overnight, please schedule a meeting with Ray.

HRO reminders:

Grading: Reminder, you should be on track by having at least one major grade and 4 minor grades. Please do not plan on giving major assessments within the last 5 days of the grading period to give students time to re-learn.

Greeting – Spring has Sprung: This is a reminder that it is our expectation that everyone is standing outside their door between passing periods and greeting students in the hall, this helps reinforce students making good choices regarding behavior.

Student Failing: Just as in years past, if a child is failing your class or has 3 or more zeroes, it is my expectation that you call the parent.

Accommodations and Modifications: Please ensure that you include these in your planning. As we talked about in our meeting, it is our expectation that 100% of our students get what they need 100% of the time. We will be talking to each team over the next two weeks about our next steps from our January professional learning

Nuts and Bolts


(See SCIS master academic calendar here)

Do you have duty this week?

See SCIS duty schedule here)

Friday, January 30th

**Deadline to Email Mr. Winkler if you can not attend Graduation on May 28th**


Monday, Feb 1st

5th Grade registration forms/Google forms sent home

Health and Wellness/ PST 3:15 @ Eva's Room for HH

Health and Wellness/ PST 4:15 @ Eva's Room for SB

A Team and Bradshaw/Person at Leader in Me symposium

Tuesday, Feb 2nd

A Team and Bradshaw/Person at Leader in Me symposium

Wednesday, Feb 3rd

6GT LAVA 3.2 5th GT Math exam

A Team and Bradshaw/Person at Leader in Me symposium

Staff Mtg - Committee

Cyber Safety Parent Presentation 6:30-7:30 p.m. @ WSMS

Thursday, Feb 4th
Cyber Safety Assemblies 5th-8:30/6th-9:30


Friday, Feb 5th

A Team 8:30-10

C. Doyle test 5 ELAR

6th Math short Assessment

5th Grade registration forms due


Monday, Feb 8th

PTA Board Mtg library

5th Grade MATH Benchmarks


Tuesday, Feb 9th

5th Grade ELAR Benchmarks


Wednesday, Feb 10th

Staff Meeting - PD 3:15-4:15 in band hall

Kelly meet 5th grade to review registration choices outside of SS classes

Thursday, Feb 11th

6GT ELA Mythology Exam

Kelly meet 5th grade to review registration choices outside of SS classes

Friday, Feb 12th


Teacher v Staff BB game



A Team 8:30-10

6th Math short Assessment

F Simonsen B-Day
Principal Coffee 7:45- 8:30

Kelly meet 5th grade to review registration choices outside of SS classes


Monday, Feb 15th

5th SS exam

PTA Valentine Luncheon

Grades DUE

Tuesday, Feb 16th

5th science Unit 4 EXAM

6GT LAVA 3.3

Progress Reports Home

Wednesday, Feb 17th

WSMS visit 6th grade ELAR classroom -registration presentation
Staff Meeting-Vertical

LISD Board Mtg 7:00pm

Thursday, Feb 18th

Group Photo Day

Friday, Feb 12th

Spring Photo Day

A Team 8:30-10

6th Math short Assessment

6th GT math Unit 6 Test

Sub Coverage

See current totals for who is covering classes. If you are covering someone's class, you are welcome to update this sheet. If Lara, Ray, or Shelley ask you to cover, we will update it from now on.

SCIS Master Academic Calendar

Click here to check to see when summative assessments are being planned. Please only 1 summative assessment per grade level per day. All summative assessments should be on this calendar and your personal google calendar on your website please

Lesson Planning

Share your team created lesson plans here each Friday

Digital Suggestion Box

Click here to give us anonymous feedback on areas that we can improve in and places that we are already meeting your expectations.