Team Thomson News & Notes

January 7, 2018

Important Information for You!


The end of the second semester is near and with it comes a more formal assessment window. This week we will hold both the DIBELS and STAR testing. I also know that you will be working on finalizing other curriculum assessments in preparation for marking report cards. I encourage you to work with your students on setting goals for the next marking period based on their current learning achievements.

Also, I would like to take a minute to reemphasize how essential DRA is as a tool in a teacher's diagnostic toolbox. Even though we do not provide subs for wholesale assessment of students, we have not done away with DRA! Administering DRAs to students who are struggling helps to pinpoint the area(s) a student needs help in and allows you, the teacher, the opportunity to directly observe your student's strengths and weaknesses in a more 'formal' manner than what taking running records (even on a regular basis) may provide. Additionally, DRA levels are used to determine IRIPs for students. We are entering the time that we must update current IRIPs and write IRIPS for students who may have fallen below set benchmarks. Using DRA in conjunction with DIBELS and STAR testing help us triangulate data and create a clear picture of the student. I know that Megan Campbell is more than willing to review the nuts and bolts of DRA administration (including comprehension sub-tests for older grades) with anyone feeling the need for a refresher. We do not have to assess all our students on DRA at this time; but at a minimum, we need an updated DRA on any student who is not reading at benchmark.

Cardinal Code & the Golden Lunch Box

This week the Cardinal Code focus is 'Hallway'. This fits nicely with the kick-off to the Golden Lunch box. As you review this lesson with your students, please also emphasize that really this lesson applies anytime they are lined up to move from one place to another. Example, lining up in the lunchroom to go outside should look and sound just like lining up in the classroom to go to a special. Thank you for taking the time to review this lesson with your students.

I am so looking forward to the kick-off of the Golden Lunch Box and the lessons this Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The 'awards' will be showing up in the lunch room this week on the salad bar to provide the students with a visual. Christine Gretch has also created 'posters' that will hang outside the awarded classrooms each week.

Success Criteria

Don't forget that this week we will be reviewing the writing of success criteria in your lesson plans at our staff meeting. Don't forget to bring your lesson plans with you to the staff meeting. Everyone will need to have their own to work from.

*SIDE NOTE* Our staff meeting agenda is very full, so please be sure to be there on time and ready to go right at 7:35 a.m.


I look forward to spending this time observing all the good work you are doing. As the first inquiry cycle ends, you will need to complete a mid-year self-assessment and we will be revisiting and creating new Growth Plans. Teachers will need to complete their Self-Assessment for the 2nd Inquiry Cycle between January 17 - 24. Teacher Growth Plans for the 2nd Inquiry Cycle need to be completed by January 31. After a few teachers shared very honest feelings and thoughts in the fall about this process, I will be sharing a new way of thinking through the writing of your Growth Plans that I believe will make them far more meaningful to you in your practice. We will discuss this at our staff meeting this week. Please work with Anna to set up a growth plan meeting beginning next Tuesday, January 16th. You will need to have your Self-Assessment completed and your Growth Plan in draft form prior to our meeting.

School Business Still on Hold

As you know, the substitute shortage continues to reek havoc on our school, the district, and districts across the county. And while this continues to be monitored closely, at this time ALL school business except for IEPs, Child Studies, and those school business absences that were already scheduled have been cancelled. For Thomson teachers, this means that classroom learning labs have been cancelled for January and that our Data Days have been cancelled as well. The District recognizes how meaningful these professional experiences are, but even more important are having classrooms covered and learning taking place. I know that through our PLCs we will be able to figure out a way to complete our Data Day Dialogue and intervention planning. The classroom learning labs for February have been put on hold for now and not yet cancelled. We will discuss how to continue all of these meaningful professional opportunities within the constraints that we currently have at our staff meeting...bring any 'outside the box' ideas that you have.

Quotes Worth Reading

"Don't ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. Ask them what problems they want to solve. This changes the conversation from who do I want to work for to what do I need to learn in order to be able to do that."

-Jaime Casap

Thomson Elementary

Home of the Thomson Teddies!


Where Kids Come First and Futures Begin!

Celebrations & Announcements

Birthdays... Mickie Ybarra, January 12th, Happy Birthday to You!

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Monday, January 8th-Kick-off for the 'Golden Lunch Box' lesson...please look for a schedule from our behavior committee; Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 p.m. H.S. AMR
  • Tuesday, January 9th-DIBELS Testing
  • Wednesday, January 10th-Staff Meeting, 7:35 a.m. (Agenda: School Improvement/Mini QAR; 5D+ Growth Plans; Success Criteria, please bring lesson plans with you; Your WORD for the year; Building Problem Solving); DIBELS Testing
  • Thursday, January 11th-STAR Testing; General Admin. Meeting (Natalie); ELA Meeting 4:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Friday, January 12th-STAR Testing
  • Monday, January 15th-Martin Luther King Day, NO SCHOOL
  • Tuesday, January 16th-Box Top Challenge Kick-off
  • Wednesday, January 17th-Lockdown; Social Studies Curriculum meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 18th-Elementary Principals Meeting (Natalie); CMC Meeting 4-7 p.m.
  • Friday, January 19th-End of Second Marking Period/Semester; Leadership Team Meeting, 7:15-8:15 a.m.
  • Saturday, January 20th-GISD Literacy Conference, if you are planning to attend please let me know and get registered. I will be submitting names to Kevin Brown for PD pre-approval for the group next Tuesday, January 9th.
  • Monday, January 22nd-No School for Students/Teacher Records Day (report cards can be done from home).
  • Tuesday, January 23rd-Julie returns, Dee's last day!; Child Study Day (please get names to Jason and fill out the SIDR); Science Curriculum Meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.; PTO, 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 24th-Staff Meeting, 7:35 a.m. (Agenda: Building Problem Solving); Report Cards will be printed
  • Friday, January 26th-Report Cards Sent Home; End of PTO Box Top Challenge