Clark High School Monday Memo

October 3, 2016

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Professional Reading for the Week

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Parent Phone Calls for all student failing a class on today's progress report

As you all know, 6 weeks progress reports will be passed out today during 4th period study hall. Students who are not passing a class will lose eligibility starting at 4:15 this Friday, October 7th. We all would hope that students would take their progress reports home and/or parents would check grades via the parent portal, but we know this isn't always the case. Since the 9 week grading period is new for everyone, I am asking that teachers contact the parents of any student who failed their class on today's progress report. Please contact parents to develop a plan by the end of the day on Friday, October 7th. Be sure to keep documentation of your calls. Please remember that this "9 week grading period" is really only 8 weeks!!

On a side note, students who lose eligibility due to their 6 weeks progress report can regain eligibility at 4:15 on October 21st if he or she is passing all classes for the 9 weeks, which ends on Friday, October 14th. Please also note that students who are passing all classes at the 6 weeks can also lose eligibility if they are not passing all classes on the 9 weeks report card. If they aren't passing a class on the 9 weeks report card, they lose eligibility starting at 4:15 on October 21st. Please contact Tracy Franco or Will Daniel for UIL eligibility questions.

Yes, all paraprofessionals work on Monday, October 10th

There have been a number of questions about whether paraprofessionals have to work on October 10th. This is a scheduled work day for all campus paraprofessionals. Please see your department chair or PLC admin to find out what he or she needs you to do on October 10th. Paraprofessionals will work their regular hours.

Please encourage your students to enter the PTSA's Reflections Contest-"What's Your Story?"

PTSA Reflections Program is a program which encourages students to express themselves artistically as inspired by a theme. This year’s theme is “What’s Your Story?”

Students may create and submit works of art in six categories: dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography, and visual arts. They may enter one or MORE of the categories! All entries are due to Mrs. Lynd in the library by Monday, October 31. Please see Mrs. Lynd for further details.

To download the entry sheet and rules please visit

Conflict of Interest Statements due by October 31st

On October 3, 2016, Plano ISD will begin the annual request for employees to disclose any potential conflicts of interest. ALL employees, except for bus drivers, substitutes and campus PASAR and FANS staff, will receive an email with a link to Laserfiche to make a selection. This year you will need your Employee ID found in the employee service center in TEAMS to complete the form. You must answer all the questions and submit the form even if the answers are "No".

Changes this year require disclosure of gifts, lodging, transportation or entertainment to employees of an aggregate value of $100 or more. This includes donated food or apparel to a staff member by a single vendor in excess of $100 during a school year.

Note: If you do not receive the conflict of interest email on October 3, please check your Clutter or Junk E-Mail folder. It will be from:

If any questions exist, please contact Internal Audit (Jenna Isensee x26174 or Kathy Perkins x26179).

You can be a part of the creation of Clark's YOU ARE LOVED mural this week!

Professional artist Alex Cook will be working with students to create murals in the main hallway during the school day on October 5th or 6th. You can see samples of his work . He will incorporate the phrase You Are Loved into the mural. Classes with related content might benefit from discussing whether seeing this mural everyday will have an impact on the school community. He is coming to Clark through a partnership with the World Affairs Council; therefore, several JWAC members will be participating, along with students from Art, Tech Theatre and AVID. A list of participating students will be sent separately. Teachers and staff are welcome to participate too! Please consider joining us during your conference period on Oct. 5 or 6th.

Drug and Alcohol Prevention Information: “Did You Know”

Did you know…The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has opened a new website called Get Smart About Drugs. This website has some excellent information for parents, teachers, and students. They have focused the last few weeks on Heroin and Opioids. According to the DEA, 580 people in the US will try heroin for the first time today. Check out this website!

Don't Forget-This Saturday, October 8th is Clark's Day to Shop at the Core Store!!

We are excited to announce the opening of the Plano ISD Education Foundation’s CORE Teacher Store! The mission of the CORE Store is to help all students in the Plano School District succeed in the classroom by equipping teachers with donated classroom resources. This effort came out of a desire to help save teachers from personally buying the needed supplies that so many of their students cannot afford. Thanks to our generous sponsors and volunteers, teachers can now get those same supplies FREE through our store.

We would like to invite classroom teachers from Clark High School to visit the CORE Store onSaturday, October 8, 2016 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm. There are 18 teacher appointment spots reserved for Clark. One teacher needs to be selected to attend from the following areas: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, LOTE, Career Ed, Health/PE, Fine Arts, Creative Arts, ESL, Sped Fun/Applied, Sped CATS, BASE, ISS, Academic Support, AVID, Counseling, and the Library. Please have teachers in your PLC work together as a team to determine who will visit the store during your campus’ assigned time and what the needs are of the students in your curricular area because what they select will be distributed among all the teachers in the PLC. We have limited the number of spots per school in an effort to reach all our schools as quickly as possible. Once every campus has had an opportunity to “shop” at the store, additional times will be opened throughout the school year for additional teachers to visit.

The teachers who will be representing your campus will need to create a login and register on our site at Be sure to ask them to select your campus in the drop down menu on the bottom of the contact information page when they register. Once they have completed their Contact Information, they can select the Teacher Appointment form for your designated shopping day. Please only select shopping times within your designated time above as other times are reserved for other campuses. We ask that teachers arrive 15 minutes before their appointment time to get signed in so further instructions can be given to them prior to their shopping time. Our CORE Store is located at 3900 W. 15th St, Suite 102, Plano, TX 75075.

Please note that if an area chooses not to send a rep, please let me know asap, so I can send a second person from another area. We don't want to lose out on this amazing opportunity!

Wednesday WICOR #7. Madeline Meets Curious George by Craig McKinney

In an old house in Paris

that was covered with vines

lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. . . .

The smallest one was Madeline.

So begins the story of Madeline, a beloved 1939 children’s book by Ludwig Bemelmans. Madeline lives in an orphanage and is watched over by her nurse and teacher, Miss Clavel (You thought Miss Clavel was a nun, didn’t you? It turns out she’s a nurse. Who knew?). In the first of her many adventures, Madeline and her fellow orphans follow a strict daily routine (“In two straight lines/ they broke their bread/ and brushed their teeth/ and went to bed.”), Madeline has an emergency appendectomy, and everyone cries a lot.

Two years later, H. A. Rey created the story of an equally popular character,Curious George:

This is George.

He lived in Africa.

He was a good little monkey

and always very curious.

In the initial book in the series, George is abducted from his homeland by the unnamed man with the yellow hat. True to the story’s title, George’s abundant curiosity gets him into trouble repeatedly, upsetting sailors, firemen, and a balloon man. Eventually, the man with the yellow hat realizes he is ill-equipped to take care of a monkey in urban America, so George finds himself happily residing in a zoo at the story’s end.

Which of the two would you rather have in your class: Madeline or Curious George?

I suspect that many teachers’ initial response is that Madeline would be a whole lot easier to teach and would thus be the more desirable student. Though we don’t see anything about Madeline’s behavior in school in the book, we observe all kinds of cooperative obedience in her daily routine. I’m sure Madeline would never turn in work late, forget to bring supplies to class, nor get in trouble for chatting with her neighbor during instructional time. Many teachers would view Madeline as the ideal student.

George, on the other hand, is a less predictable option. Aside from the fact that he’s a non-linguistic, non-human pupil, George could either be a delight or a terror in the classroom. The book tells us he’s “a good little monkey,” but, in the story at least, George’s curiosity leads him into some situations that would drive most teachers crazy. In some classroom environments, George would be off-task and non-compliant. With the right teacher, however, Curious George would be completely engaged in his learning.

Unfortunately, some teacher’s classes resemble a scene from Where the Wild Things Are. The “wild rumpus” prevents any learning from occurring, creating an environment that would be frustrating to compliant Madeline and that would encourage Curious George to jump into the middle of the mayhem.

If you’ve let your classes spiral out of control, you may have to become like Max in Maurice Sendak’s story:

And when he came to the place where the wild things are

they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth

and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws

till Max said “BE STILL!”

and tamed them with the magic trick

of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once

and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all

and made him king of all wild things.

Whatever “magic trick” you have to employ to get your classes under control is a necessary first step to creating an environment conducive to learning.

Once you’ve maintained order, your students could be learning in one of two states: compliant or engaged.

Compliant students are doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re behaving. They are following directions. They are completing their work. Compliant classrooms look a lot like Madeline’s orphanage with all the students in straight lines going through the motions without much excitement. The motivation for student compliance may be fear and coercion, a desire for an extrinsic outcome like a grade or reward, or simply a “cooperate and graduate” mentality. There’s rarely any passion or excitement in a compliant classroom, but there’s no chaos either. It’s preferable to the world of the wild things. It’s not, however, a place where Curious George is going to thrive. In fact, George will likely be pigeonholed as a troublemaker and will be singled out for his off-task behavior.

Engaged students are excited about what they’re learning. Their motivation is likely more intrinsic; they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing because they are involved in learning that is interesting, worthwhile, authentic, and valuable. External rewards are not required because the students want to be doing what they are doing. There is an entirely different vibe from a compliant classroom. It’s probably a little noisier and more energetic than Miss Clavel’s roomful of dutiful girls, but the noise and energy are focused and purposeful. Curious George, whose curiosity would be a detriment in other classroom environments, would learn most successfully in this scenario. So would most students.

I invite you to take a moment to observe your students during class. Where do they fall on the continuum between compliant and engaged? What steps can you take to move them closer to a state of engagement? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Open-ended rather than closed-ended questioning and learning tasks
  • Authentic work about authentic content rather than “fake” activities that don’t transfer to the real world
  • Structured collaboration rather than individual work or unstructured “group work”
  • Student-driven inquiry rather than teacher-determined outcomes
  • Creativity rather than rote learning
  • Honoring student voices and opinions rather than rewarding students who do exactly what you’ve predetermined they’re supposed to do
  • Opportunities to take risks safely rather than suffer the “gotcha” repercussions of being incorrect
  • Emphasis on the intrinsic rewards of inquiry-based learning rather than insistence that everything be graded
  • “Fun” activities that are directly linked to the learning outcomes rather than unrelated, fluffy fun and games
  • A playful atmosphere rather than joyless conformity

By fostering George’s natural curiosity and making Madeline feel safe to be herself, take chances, explore, and immerse herself in authentic learning, teachers can win with every student.