Ram Nation News

Week of March 18 2019

Vision

A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society
Big picture

#OnANewLevel

Welcome Back Remarkable Rams!!!

I trust you had a chance to enjoy your well-deserved break sharing with family, friends, or pets, were able to catch up with your sleep or favorite T.V shows, put up your holiday lights or Christmas decorations, started your spring cleaning or other rituals, or enjoyed some leisure time in the couch or favorite spot reading a good book or just chilled doing nothing. While I was able to spend quality time with my family, I normally use this down time to stop and reflect about the progress we have made so far with our students and with our staff. I trust that each one of you had an opportunity to renew your energy to help our children have a great end of the school year as we continue to prepare them for the next grade level.

I can't help but think about how our kids have "Sprung Up!" It has been awesome to observe

the growth our students continue to make this school year despite some of the challenges we have had. I have watched leaders emerge, I have observed students caring not only for themselves, but supporting and celebrating each other’s successes, and I have witnessed the desire to improve and be beacon’s of hope for our community. Our students are now

thinking about their various options for high school, planning for their future thinking where they will attend college, and how they can make the world a better place. This is awesome!!!!

We know our work is impacting lives. As you may have experienced in years past, returning from spring break is hard for faculty and students; however, getting back on track and regaining momentum are essentials for successfully completing the semester.

As we come back full force to making an impact in the lives of our kids, let's make sure that

we....


  • map out what needs to be covered to maximize student learning in the final half of the semester; sixteen days before the 8th grade reading/math and 7th grade writing assessments . Remember to focus on quality learning.
  • greet students and inquire about their spring break – Reconnecting with our students after break shows that we value our kids as people increasing the likelihood that they will in turn show interest to the course materials.
  • vary our Teaching Style to tap in students' interests and learning styles.
  • congratulate accomplishments to help students sense their mastery of the materials and to encourage further learning. A sense of mastery is a major motivational issue in learning. Students who sense achievement perform better than students who feel lost or overwhelmed. Spend some time getting students to recognize what they already have mastered and emphasize its importance. Encouragement goes a long way.

Attendance Review

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn.


The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 3/4 - 3/8:

  • 6th Grade - 94.66%
  • 7th Grade - 95.06%
  • 8th Grade - 91.22%


Let's continue to encourage our students to be present and on time on a daily basis. It really makes a huge difference when our students are present learning.

High Expectations

We must provide our very best to our students!!!

High Expectations

Collaboration, Learning, and Support

The 7th Grade Math Team and our Special Education Department were caught in collaboration sessions planning for upcoming lessons and strengthening our documentation for special education students respectively. It is great to see our staff members collaborating and learning in various settings, with each other, and other leaders across the district!!! Kuddos for their dedication to continuous improvement as we work on our shared responsibility for the total development of students and collective responsibility for students' success.

High Expectations

Career Day.

It was such a pleasure to have had the opportunity to see the eagerness and joy our students displayed during career day. This event was a success thanks to the great team effort and collaboration under Ms. Shelby's leadership. The purpose of career day is for young students to learn about the different careers that are in demand and what it's like for someone in that profession. As you know, careers don't just happen, they develop over time and many times with specific experiences and education. Our goal is that, during career day, our children learn not only about various jobs but also about the education necessary to pursue those jobs. Let's continue to impact the lives of our Rusk Rams and making sure that our instruction is focused on helping students to get ready for college, the military, and the workforce. Special THANK YOU to the following staff members for their contribution to the success of career day,

  • Ms. Wells
  • Ms. Tucker
  • Mr. Willis
  • Ms. Calderon
  • Mrs. Mooty

Big picture

Inspiring Relationships

Our district's goal number four is about supporting students and the participation in extracurricular activities; it is great to see our students participating in the various sports and activities. Supporting our mission of building the whole child, Mr. Alarcon and Ms. Halowec led our band students in the Pre-UIL Concert at Balch Springs Middle School. Our students continue to represent our school in a very positive way; we are very proud of their accomplishments!!!
Big picture

REMINDERS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK OF SCHOOL

  • Aggressive Monitoring should be done with at least the independent practice and DOL. Remember it is a check for understanding where all students receive feedback. You planned your pathway keeping in mind students level of achievement; then, you announce your laps, execute the pathway and provide feedback to students in the moment using the aggressive monitoring trackers and coding system. Every student receives written and verbal feedback. If you see an error or misconception clear it up immediately using the 3 Fs (feedback, fix it, follow up), show call, or modeling. (TEI 2.2)
  • Teachers have to acknowledge in Cornerstone for a submitted spot to be marked complete and show up as complete on our tracker; if you have not acknowledged previous SPOTs, please do so to ensure accuracy and plan accordingly. (TEI 4.2)
  • As we work on documenting the progress our students are making, remember our policy regarding failure rates and the various opportunities needed to ensure our students are successful. EIA (Regulation) (TEI 2.2, 4.2, 4.5)
  • It is critical to be prepared with lessons and materials to avoid having issues with students. When we are not prepared, our students can tell and will find their own way of entertainment. (TEI 3.1)
  • We must have 100% presence in the hallway during transition times. Our students notice when there is a lack of adult presence in the hallways and will take advantage of it.
  • Be very consistent in the effective implementation of various practices discussed during our TEI orientation and lesson alignment conversations. With regards to Alignment (learning objective), the proficient rating states: Focuses students at the beginning and throughout the lesson, by clearly stating (TEI 2.1)
    • What they are learning
    • Why it is important
    • What mastery looks like
    • How to connect it to prior knowledge and their own lives and explaining to students
  • Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (TEI 4.2)

DAILY EVENTS

Monday, March 18

  • B - Day
  • Open Transfer application is available through March 29. See below for more specific details.
  • Extended Observations and SPOTs continue
  • TELPAS Listening and Speaking Online - 6th grade
  • As we continue to ensure students receive the best instruction possible and to hold them accountable for their active learning in the classrooms, we will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action! Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:45 - 5:45 p.m – Grade Level Meeting – AFC


Tuesday, March 19-

  • A-Day.
  • Cahn Fellows Program Visit
  • TELPAS Listening and Speaking Online - 6th grade
  • Deadline to input designated supports. See link below for more details.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. Let's make the best out of this time being very purposeful in the material covered with students and the students who must attend your sessions. We need to work on the recruitment of students for our after school program since it impacts student growth, our school performance, progress, and, ultimately, part of our stipends are tied to the attendance of our students to our tutoring/enrichment sessions. As a reminder, students do not have the option to opt out; if you need assistance with parents, please let anyone from the leadership team know.
  • 6th – 8th grade RLA teachers will work on completing TELPAS writing rating. Please, coordinate to have students who normally stay in tutoring for reading to go to other contents; as a reminder, we do not cancel tutoring unless it is done for the whole school.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school


Wednesday, March 20-

  • B-Day.
  • TELPAS Online Reading - 6th Grade
  • Calibration Walks - We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring. Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:30 After school program continues - Let's be very purposeful in our lessons and our recruitment of students.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.
  • 4:30 – 5:20 p.m. - 6th – 8th grade RLA teachers will work on completing TELPAS writing rating. Please, coordinate to have students who normally stay in tutoring for reading to go to other contents.
  • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. 7th Writing and 8th Reading and Math STAAR Parent Meeting – Auditorium for whole group session and then Cafeteria for break out meeting by teacher or grade level teams. (Cookies, snacks, and drinks will be served)


Thursday, March 21-

  • A-Day.
  • TELPAS Online Reading - 6th Grade
  • Weekly PLC
  • 4:30 After school program continues.
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.


Friday, March 22-

  • B-Day.


Saturday, March 23-

  • Saturday School Continues - Adults 8:30 - 1:00; Students 8:45 light breakfast 9:00 - 12:30

Upcoming Events

April 1

  • 6th Grade Math 5th CA (STAAR released test)

April 2

  • 6th Grade Reading 5th CA (STAAR released test)

April 3

  • 6th Grade science field trip to Houston Space Center – Selected students – Ms. Cooray

April 6

  • 8th Grade science and physics field trip to Texas A & M Physics Festival – Selected students – Mr. Proctor, Ms. Minter, and Ms. Rendon.

April 9-10

  • 8th Grade Reading STAAR test (Tuesday 4/9)
  • 8th Grade Math STAAR test and Algebra 5th CA (Wednesday 4/10)
  • 7th Grade Writing STAAR test (Tuesday 4/9)
  • 7th Grade Math Pre-AP test – STAAR Test (Wednesday 4/10)
  • 7th Grade Math 5th CA (STAAR released test)

April 11

  • 8th Grade Science 5th CA (STAAR released test)
  • 7th Grade Reading 5th CA (STAAR released test)

May 8

  • Algebra EOC test

May 13 -16

  • 6th - 7th Math STAAR and 8th grade Math retest
  • 6th - 7th Reading STAAR and 8th grade Reading retest
  • 8th Grade Science STAAR test
  • 8th Grade Social Studies STAAR test

May 30

  • Last day for teachers and TAs

June 10 - 20

  • Summer Readiness - Selected personnel has been notified. All other who applied will be notified if other opportunities come up.

June 10 - 26

  • SSI - Selected personnel has been notified. All other who applied will be notified if other opportunities come up.
Online Documentation of Designated Supports- GenEd St.

Information about documentation of the designated supports for general education students. It addresses all core and elective content areas.

Big picture
Technology Resources - STAFF Section of Website

Technology creates opportunities for student-centered learning. Access the link to be routed to access Technology resources in the STAFF section of our website, you will find information about Apps, TruTouch, and Chromebooks.

Big picture
Grants for Innovative Teaching

Grants for Innovative Teaching (GFIT) is dedicated to improving education by funding unique programs designed especially for a particular school or grade level. Webinar information to support create a winning application on March 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Open Transfer

The Open Transfer application will be available starting March 4, 2019. Eligible employees must apply via the open transfer application online at https://www.dallasisd.org/careers within the time frame established. Principals will have an opportunity to submit open transfer recommendations no later than March 29, 2019. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notification will be completed by April 12, 2019. I will be sending a form where you will have an opportunity to let me know of your plans for next year; however, if you know that you are planning to transfer or leaving the district, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can plan accordingly.

Big picture
2019-2020 Approved Calendar

As you begin planning your summer vacation, use this link to access our 19-20 school calendar. As an ACE campus, we will begin on August 1, 2019.

Happy Birthday

We wish you a happy birthday!

Lindsay Molla 3/14

Erin Miller 3/22