Monday Memo

September 22nd - 26th

"Most people who succeed in the face of seemingly impossible conditions are people who simply don't know how to quit." -Robert Schuller


It has been a sad time for our McGowen family. Both Sharon Butler and Bonnie Taylor lost their mothers this past week. Nothing in life prepares you for that. I think it is especially tough when the end drags out over a number of days, as it did for both of them. Both have been given the freedom to return when they are ready. Bonnie plans to return on Monday, and at the moment, we do not know when Sharon will return.

I know that you will want to support them, but it is always awkward to know what to say or do. What I remember about losing my own mom is the feeling of my world being in slow motion as I was trying to define a life without her, and the rest of the world moving in the same fast pace as if nothing ever happened. It is a very strange place to be. My best guess for both of them is to treat them like everything is normal. While that was tough, work was my escape. Even though my life was turned upside down, work was the one place that I could pretend everything was fine and escape the gravity of my reality.

If you would like to send your condolences, please do so in an email or a card. This will allow them the power to read them as they are able. While telling them in person seems most genuine, it also requires them to maintain composure which they probably don't have the energy to do. The greatest gift is to allow them to pretend, if only for a few hours, that everything is back to normal.

None of us know when our last day in this life will be. That is why I believe that we should all live as if today is our last. Never take a moment for granted, and never waste an opportunity to let those whom you love and appreciate know how you feel. Live with no regrets.

Make today count!


Calendar of Events

Standards for District Assessments for Special Education 2014-2015

Students with disabilities benefit instructionally from participating in district-wide

assessments. This ensures students access to general curriculum and provides an

opportunity to receive grade level content. All special education students with the

exception of STAAR Alt students will participate in district wide assessments. (to include

at the secondary level EOC’s, CUA’s, and EOS’s)

Students with disabilities are afforded several options when participating in district

assessments. A student’s IEP will determine what accommodations will be provided to

the student. Accommodations will be based on data collected from classroom

assessments, work samples and formal assessments. The determinations will be made

based on student progress and outlined through an IEP.

Option #1:

Student will take current grade level assessment. The student is able to achieve gradelevel

proficiency and receives daily instruction on grade level TEKS.

Option #2

Student will take current grade level assessment with appropriate accommodations.

Student is able to access grade-level curriculum but needs the use of accommodations

to be successful. Accommodations must be used routinely and effectively used during

instruction and documented in the student’s IEP. Special education case managers will

collaborate with campus administration to ensure the proper accommodations are in

place for the student.

Option #3

Student who would take the STAAR A assessment may be provided with simplified

vocabulary on difficult words. This accommodation will provide students with a simplified vocabulary option. Test administrators may provide students with alternative words or definitions when administering the district assessments.

*The STAAR A version is not similar to the previous M or modified assessment. *

TEA will be providing additional accommodations and the criteria students must meet to

qualify for the STAAR A assessment this fall. As soon as the information is released it

will be communicated to campuses.

Please note students in the general education classroom may still receive modified instruction based on individual student needs. Special education teachers will collaborate with general education teachers to provide the most appropriate modifications and accommodations for daily instruction, including modified assignments, quizzes, and tests.

Recess & Hand Sanitizer

There have been a few questions about the management of hand sanitizer prior to lunch. I hope the information below helps, but feel free to ask questions as we navigate this new procedure.

  • The most efficient way to get students through the line is for the teacher to squirt about a half a pump directly into the students hands.
  • The large containers are not for student use. They were purchased by mistake and only should be used to refill the smaller bottles. We will not be purchasing those in the future.
  • We do not have the budget to fund the purchase of hand sanitizer throughout the year. We have purchase enough to get us started, but will need everyone to include an ongoing request for donations in your weekly communication to parents. We will work on identifying a donation drop-off bin at the front of the school or in the front office. I will communicate the specified location in my next newsletter.
  • We also in the process of identifying a location to keep the stock of hand sanitizer and a process that will make it easy for teachers to get replacements when needed.

This is new for all of us. Any ideas that you have in the management of this would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to email Vicky, Sylvia, Donna or me if you have any suggestions.


I am still working on finding a solution to the printing issue with the calendar. For now, I have included this picture of it below and will email you a copy of it tomorrow so that you may print it if you'd like. Thank you for being so patient with my learning curve!
Big image


  • I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this very difficult time. It was a personal relief to know I could walk out of school and not worry about sub plans, duty coverage, or even having Brase taken care of.
  • I am at peace because I know my mom is in a better place but my tears are for me and my family because we lost our foundation. Brase told me that his heart is happy because now Mimi can talk to him and remember his name. I am amazed at how resilient he has been. Like me Brase has seen what the horrible disease of Alzheimers does to a person from the inside out. He has said for the last few years that one day he will be apart of finding a cure. With all my heart I hope he does because this disease is beyond devastating and I do not want any person or family to experience the pain and heartache.
  • Please don't feel the need to say anything in particular to me or feel you can't ask me the "regular" everyday school questions. It is going to be a slow process for me to find my new day to day normal without my mom. I realize none of you had the privilege of knowing my mom but she was the most amazing mom, wife, Mimi and best friend. She would light up a room with her smile and personality. I am the lucky one to have been her daughter. I know I am the person I am today because of her.
  • I think the hardest part of losing someone is not saying goodbye, but learning to live without them. Always trying to find a way to fill the void, the emptiness left in your heart when they go.
  • -Bonnie
  • Thank you Laura for working with me to integrate social studies and language arts! ~Julie
  • Thank you Krystina for taking care of our grade level Kahoot. ~Julie
  • Thank you Maria for switching duties with me this week. ~Julie
  • Thank you Melanie for sharing new apps with us! ~Julie
  • Thanks O'Connor for helping me with the progress reports. ~Julie
  • JL I totally forgot to appreciate you (so this is an apology & an appreciation) for the day I fell & you offered to come pick me up from school, then you were so kind to meet Brian & I at Ecare! I do think I've told almost everyone though. ;) ~MMac
  • I appreciate Saporito for helping me on Friday after school!! ~ MMac
  • Thanks Siff for always letting me (& Brian) use your step ladder! ~ MMac
  • Shana thank you for being so kind & letting me into the building so I haven't had to hobble so far! ~ MMac
  • Martha & Jill, thank you for helping me with info about my little friend. ~MMac
  • Melanie – Thank you for thinking of our grade level and delivering us books that help up teach our current topic! I can't wait to read the new book to my class! You are fabulous! - Trisha
  • Coach Relle – Thanks for all the fun you have with all the students! You make a fantastic pirate! - Trisha
  • Samantha – Thank you for putting together our grade level college Kahoot game! I love teaching with you! - TK
  • Kristi – Thank you for your positivity, Pringles can for the Kaboom game, saving Jovie's homework from the street, and for just being all around awesome! - TK
  • Destine – Thank you for being an incredible team leader! Thanks for the station directions and always going above and beyond to help! Also, thank you for helping Jovie find fun things for her homework project – she just loves you! - TK
  • Melanie – Thank you for always helping me with technology! I appreciate your help with setting up my MAP tests! We are so lucky to have you at McGowen! - Trisha
  • Ashley Burns – Thank you for providing Jovie with a happy home at school! She loves first grade and completely adores you! - Trisha
  • Barbara and Stacie – Thank you for being a ray of sunshine as we walk into the office! I appreciate all that you do! - Trisha
  • Nurse Vicky – Thank you for organizing the Wellness Visits! - Trisha
  • Donna – Thank you for the encouraging email before my appointment! It really lifted my spirits! - Trisha
  • The Entire McGowen Family – Thank you for such a great first month! I have felt so welcome and supported! - Trisha
  • Ashley- Thanks for Sonic!!!!- Marley
  • Jean- Thanks for Starbucks!!!- Marley
  • Carin- Thanks for Sonic!!! - Marley
  • Amber- Thanks for putting all those sheets back in the Science binder. That seems awful. - Marley
  • Kam- Thanks for being willing to make cute things like a Mav of the Month letter.- Marley
  • Thank you SL and JL for being my "sounding board" as I manage (with your help) my schedule allotment. I appreciate your thoughts and understanding-- so very much!:) -Michelle C.
  • Syl- thank you for the Sonic drink before our LPAC meeting the other morning. That was such a welcome surprise! Thank you! - Michelle C.
  • Melanie-thank you so much for coming to RJE on Monday after school to discuss the "next steps" and "big picture". I thank my lucky stars that I get to work with you! -Michelle C.
  • Shana – Thanks so much for inviting me to your room to help with your iPad lesson! - Melanie
  • Julie and Valerie – I appreciate the way you both realized the importance of doing strictly a "How to use iPads" lesson with your classes. - Melanie
  • Keri, Shana, Julie, Amber, Samantha, Bonnie, Jen and Lhauren – Thanks for a GREAT first tech committee meeting. We had lots of agenda items and we kept on chuggin' along:) We're a great team! - Melanie
  • Carin, Ashley O, Laura K. - Thanks for your flexibility this week while we scheduled the Google Hangout with Caldwell. Amazing authentic learning for your kiddos. - Melanie
  • MC- thanks so much for helping me with our LPAC Meeting- SL
  • Merlene, Krystina, Jaime & Jalynn- thanks for taking time to meet with us to discuss your students and how to help them be successful! SL
  • Stacie, Barbara & Vicky- you ladies rock! Thanks for keeping such a positive attitude everyday! SL
  • JL- your model of leadership and grace inspire me everyday! SL
  • Destine & Brooke- I appreciate the extra time and effort you have given a special student! SL
  • Marci- thanks for working with me to ensure afternoon coverage! SL
  • Melanie & Lynn- thanks for being on the front lines for MAP testing! I truly appreciate all if the support you provide teachers! SL

Bad Dude of the Week

This week, our Bad Dude recipient is none other than Nick Relle. He is ALL IN when it comes to McGowen. Aside from daily duty both in the morning and afternoon, he is also heads up Safety Patrol, Family Fun nights, and Mavericks in Motion. Due to his dedication, we are a Healthy Zone School In Training and will certainly reach Healthy Zone School status next year. In his classroom, he consistently finds ways for all of our students to participate to the level in which they are able. He is a true example of a servant leader on our campus. I appreciate his humor, positive attitude, work ethic, relationships with students and the enthusiasm he exudes when teaching.