Monday Memo

March 28th - April 1

Don't wait until conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes conditions perfect. -- Alan Cohen


The Learning is Earning 2026 video was shared by Jane McGonigal at SXSWedu. She talked about where education is going and what it could possibly look like in just ten years. Most of us will still be teaching then, so I find it fascinating to think about how we will manage this transformation. What is true and real is that technology continues to change how we do business. It is imperative that we embrace this change, continue to deepen our own understanding, and implement teaching practices that allows student to leverage technology to problem solve, create, and engage in a world where people and learning are just a few clicks away.

On Monday, March 28th, we will have a special Staff Meeting at 3:15pm. Dr. McDaniel and Cody Cunningham will be coming to talk to us about the bond election. Their desire is to provide all of us with the facts about the bond election so that we will have accurate information in the event that community members ask us questions and so that we can make the most informed decision when it comes time to vote. In exchange for your flexibility and time, I am making Thursday a free jeans day as well as a No Tracks day.

At Ad Council on Wednesday, we discussed Q4 ELAR and Math Assessments for 3rd -5th grades. We decided that because of STAAR and MAP data, Q4 DAs are not needed to determine student growth. Kinder - 2nd grades will still take their scheduled assessments. I hope that you view this as great news and a valuable time saver. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I also received some additional information about summer PD that will be important for you to know. ELM training has been reduced to a two day training. This will be held on June 6th and 7th and should eliminate the conflict with curriculum writers. The district is offering G/T hours on the first day of Converge. We do not plan on offering GT training during Academy, so this will be a great opportunity to earn the required 6hrs. Summer PD will be offered at Faubion, and all summer sessions should be added to Eduphoria within the next two weeks.

The nights leading up to STAAR testing can be some of the most restless nights you face throughout the year. While it is easy to get caught up in the anxiety of how specific students may perform, I would encourage you to take a different approach. At this point, worry will not change how a student will perform. Instead, I ask that you reflect on the challenging and engaging lessons you've provided, strategically planned guided reading/math/writing groups you've led, the positive relationships you've built, as well as the goals you've helped your students set and reach for themselves. Think about all that you have done to build their self confidence and how long you outwardly expressed your belief in them until they could believe in themselves. Collectively, those things are what have the power to impact testing outcomes. Worry does not. So rather than giving time and energy to anxiety, I encourage you to reflect on your choices that have brought you to today, take a deep breathe and find comfort in knowing you have daily given your best to your students. Celebrate that, and sleep well.

As we continue to pray for The Prugh Family, count your blessings and make today count!


Learning is Earning 2026


Teacher Scales for Reflective Practice

Big image



Important STAAR Information For Everyone


  • Tuesday, March 29, 2016: 4th Grade Writing, 5th Grade Math
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2106: 5th Grade Reading
  • Monday, May 9, 2016: 3rd and 4th Grade Math (5th Math Retest)
  • Tuesday, May 10, 2016: 3rd and 4th Grade Reading (5th Reading Retest)
  • Wednesday, May 11, 2016: 5th Science


On STAAR days, all staff may wear jeans with a McGowen shirt.


  • 3/29- No Specials- Coach Relle will have equipment in the gym and your grade level can come during your scheduled Specials time.

  • 3/30- Regular Specials Schedule- 5th will not go to Specials.

  • 5/9, 5/10, 5/11- No Specials- Coach Relle will have equipment in the gym and grade levels that are not testing can come during your scheduled Specials time.

Big image


Easing Into ELM

Benefits of ELM (Parent Information)

This is designed as a handout to send home to parents. Because of it's size, a screenshot of the document would not work well in the newsletter. Below is the information contained in the handout.

What we do in the classroom, and what you can see in your child.

Curriculum Standards:

  • Displays and applies learning at high levels with deep understanding
  • Meets the standards for the grade level or courses each year

  • Expresses him/herself well in small and large group situations
  • Utilizes effective verbal skills, including during presentations
  • Utilizes effective written skills, in formal and casual settings
  • Utilizes technology tools for effective and appropriate communication

  • Ability to serve as the leader of a team during a project
  • Displays various leadership skills to lead to the success of the team

  • Displays ability to work well with others
  • Is accepting of others’ Ideas
  • Celebrates individual and team accomplishments
  • Able to serve as a leader as well as a group member

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving:
  • Analyzes situations to create effective solutions
  • Is able to work independently and with others to solve problems
  • Is able to evaluate information for accuracy, relevance, and credibility

Creative Thinking:
  • Utilizes “out-of-the-box” thinking
  • Expresses self in various creative ways
  • Merges original ideas with others’ creative ideas for high quality products

Iterative Design:

  • Accepts feedback for the purpose of improving •
  • Is able to give feedback to others for the purpose of improvement
  • Strives for high quality work and products

Authentic Learning:

  • Engages in projects that address real problems and situations
  • Applies learning of curriculum standards to authentic situations to make a difference in the local or global community
  • Shares products and/or presentations to authentic audiences (e.g., local businesses, city council, school board, etc.)


  • Employs a variety of tools and processes to research what is needed to learn and complete the project
  • Recognizes the need to gather information from resources that include technology applications, hard-copy text, and people
  • Is able to summarize and paraphrase information and synthesize to convey to appropriate audiences in effective format(s)

Time Management:

  • Is able to stay on task when working independently and with others
  • Monitors time as work occurs to meet deadlines
  • Commits to extra time if needed to meet a deadline



Big image


What is T-TESS?

The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) is a system designed by educators to support teachers in their professional growth.

T-TESS includes three components:

  • Goal-setting and professional development plan
  • The evaluation cycle (including: pre-conference, observation, post-conference)
  • Student growth measure

T-TESS strives to capture the holistic nature of teaching – the idea that a constant feedback loop exists between teachers and students, and gauging the effectiveness of teachers requires a consistent focus on how students respond to their teacher’s instructional practices. For those reasons, each of the observable domains in T-TESS focuses on teachers and students rather than separating them out into separate domains. Ultimately, T-TESS is a process that seeks to develop habits of continuous improvement, and the process itself best leads to that outcome when appraisers and teachers focus on evidence-based feedback and professional development decisions based on that feedback through ongoing dialogue and collaboration.

The recommended system encourages annual evaluations comprised of multiple informal observations and walkthroughs and at least one formal observation. These collective observations, along with the end-of-year conferences with appraisers, function as an integrated system to provide actionable, timely feedback, allowing teachers to make efficient, contextually-based professional development decisions that lead to growth – both teachers and students. Throughout the school year, teachers collaborate with their observer and/or appraiser to discuss teaching strategies, best practices, and techniques for effective instructional planning and execution of lessons.

For more information, please visit This article was take from the site, and is a valuable resource in understanding the new appraisal system.





Did you know that each week I give out jeans passes to those who are one of the top three participants on Shoparoo? I know that many of you have already joined, but if you haven't, it is not too late. Simply go to to create your account. If you use veft4467 as a referral code, McGowen will earn money for you just signing up. Please feel free to push this information out to your parents as well. Once you sign up, Shoparoo will give you a referral code for your parents to use when they sign up. Schools with just 40 supporters are earning an average of $1,000 every year.

Congratulations to Barbara Peebles and Krista Daniel for being in this week's top three!


Focus for 2015 - 2016

In order to help every child their personal best, McGowen teachers and staff will:

  • Develop a common language needed to become High Reliability School.
  • Develop an understanding and process for effective Professional Learning Communities.
  • Engage in collaborative team planning and lesson design to promote higher level thinking and student engagement.
  • Present lessons in such a way that students understand and can speak knowledgeably about posted learning and language targets.


Remind for Staff

I have created a Remind for our staff in order to send out just-in-time reminders, last minute notifications of jeans/warm-up days, and/or emergency info. If you haven't already, please click on the link below to join the group.


Happy Birthday!


4th - Gaby Shambo

14th - Alison Tebo

17th - Colleen Everett

21st - Valerie Larpenteur

22nd - Lora Lovell



  • Shiela - Thank you so much for all the work you do behind the scenes to support our struggling students. It is greatly appreciated! -JL
  • Sylvia - Thanks for being a problem solver and making sure that I was represented in the video. -JL
  • Donna- Thanks for everything you did to make our TOY reception so wonderful! SL & JL
  • Donna- We appreciate how you took care of us when we were out on Thursday! SL & JL
  • Shiela, Michelle, Melanie- Thanks for rallying together for Mav Fan Jam on Thursday! SL & JL
  • Stacie- I appreciate your help to prep for next week! SL
  • Melanie- You are such an amazing director and producer! The TOY video was AWESOME! SL
  • JL- Thanks for arranging coverage for an ARD while I was out. SL
  • MC- Thank you for constant commitment to support our students, parents, teachers and tutors in every way possible! SL
  • Shiela- I appreciate all of the preparation you have done to get our Dyslexia referrals ready- especially learning the new KTEA3! SL
  • Rico – Thank you for your technology help late on a holiday weekend. I really appreciate your patience! - Michelle C.
  • K, 1st, 2nd and 3rd – Thank you for your valuable data conversations and overall collaboration. Wonderful job! - Michelle C.
  • McGowen family— Thank you so much for taking the time to create such fun and special memories for me during the TOY reception. My video was amazing, and everything was decorated so beautifully. I am blessed to know each of you, and I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness. —KWard
  • Michelle— You are a precious friend and I thank you dearly for taking care of Julian when I wasn’t able to get to him week before last. Love you!— Kward

  • 4th Grade Team— You are precious to me, and I just wanted to say thank you for always having a positive attitude and for never failing to help one another out!! — Kward

  • Barbara— You have such a kind and sweet spirit, and I want to say thank you for giving grace. You make me smile each time I walk through the office. ;-) —KWard

  • Melanie— Thank you for always helping me, and for coming up with such creative ideas for us to use technology with our students. — Kward

  • Shiela and Martha thank you for all your help and guidance with my friend Thursday after school.

  • Jaime – Thank you so much for going out of your way to help me pull together some paperwork at the last minute! I was so very grateful for your time! - Michelle C.


Action Items

  • Attend Staff Mtg on Monday, March 28th with Dr. McDaniel and Cody Cunningham - 3:15pm
  • PTA Wish List receipts due by EOD on Thursday, March 31st
  • Dyslexia Referral due by EOD on Friday, April 1st


Bad Dude

This week, we'd like to recognize Shiela de Leon as the Bad Dude of the Week. Shiela provides the endless support in all areas of our school. Along with teaching guidance lessons to every student in our building each month, she collaborates with district and community members to provide for our families in need. She also serves as our 504 Coordinator who tirelessly works to help us provide students with much needed support and services. Lately, she has been sporting her Campus Testing Coordinator hat and working with Sylvia to help get things ready for STAAR testing next week. In addition to fulfilling her own job description, she can frequently be found helping others do their job as well. Shiela frequently helps out in the nurse's office, at the front desk, and covers for Sylvia and I whenever we are out. She is an extremely valued member of our team, and I cannot thank her enough for all that she does for McGowen.


Big image

McKinney ISD's Vision, Mission and Beliefs

Any time we have an idea, concern, solution and/or comment, this is the filter through which we should speak. Let's help each other live up to our vision, mission, and beliefs.


We are a cohesive, diverse community providing engaging learning experiences for all.

We will provide engaging learning experiences so students can become effective communicators, quality contributors and socially responsible citizens.

  • Partnerships between students, parents, community members and staff are foundational to educational success.
  • Positive school culture and a safe environment foster growth.
  • Everyone has inherent value and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Learning is an active process requiring engaging tasks and engaging minds.
  • Relevant and authentic experiences ignite continuous, deeper learning.
  • Meaningful relationships enrich learning.
  • Confidence fuels risk taking and higher achievement.
  • Financial stewardship ensures a tomorrow for education.