Alice ISD Coyotes ISC Gazette

Instructional Support Center ~ December 2014 Publication

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for the hard work and dedication you have displayed in working with the students in the district. Please know that you are very much appreciated! I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Dr. Grace Everett, Superintendent of Schools

Response to Intervention (RtI)

Did You Know???

Our district is working on refining the RtI plan. This was one of the areas addressed in last year's visit by TEA. Here are a few facts about RtI

  • Response to intervention (RTI) is a process used by educators to help students who are struggling with a skill or lesson; every teacher will use interventions (a set of teaching procedures) with any student to help them succeed in the classroom—it’s not just for children with special needs or a learning disability.
  • The RTI framework is used for all students, not just for those in special education programs. In fact, the majority of RTI strategies and interventions occur in the regular classroom because it’s the broadest section with the most students. In addition, any student can receive interventions found in all three tiers of the RTI framework without being in a special education program. While there is a bit of overlap, there is a difference between RTI and special education.
  • If a student is struggling, his or her teacher will use test scores and other measures of progress to choose a researched and proven intervention suited to help the child learn. If a child does not respond to the initial interventions, more focused interventions are used to help the child master the skill. RTI strategies address both learning and behavior.
  • After a child has received an intervention, his or her progress is tested again. If the child hasn’t improved, the teacher and other educators (the RTI team) will meet with that child’s parents and together, this team will select more intense interventions.
  • If the child doesn't show progress, the RTI team will try increasingly intense interventions and even work to identify a specific learning disability (SLD).Even if a child has no learning difficulty, RTI may still be utilized in his or her classroom. Teachers use the RTI process with all students. Although a child may be learning well, or even tackling advanced classes, the RTI process is still available and being used by his or her teacher and school.
Understanding Levels of Interventions
  • Think of the RTI framework as a pyramid. It is usually divided into three sections: base, middle and top. Movement between sections is determined by a student’s response to certain interventions. About 80 percent of students and the most commonly used teaching strategies and interventions are found in the base section of the pyramid. This section is called Tier 1 or the primary level of prevention (of failure).
  • Tier 2 or the secondary level of prevention is in the middle section of the pyramid. Here, the interventions become more intensive because the students are considered to be at a greater risk. About 15 percent of students will be in this section at any given time.
  • Only about 5 percent of students are in Tier 3, or the tertiary level of prevention, at the top of the pyramid. Here, students receive the most intense and consistent interventions.
(Info from
Techniques to Quiet Your to read more!

Tips for elementary, middle and high School level students!

SchoolGuard: Things to Remember

I wanted to take the time to review a few important informational points about School Guard that you should remember.

  • Everyone in the district will receive an active shooter alert (if they have the app) if it is pressed, the alert is sent out to any school that is located within a 5 mile radius of the original alert.
  • The teacher assist button alert will only be received by your fellow staff members at your school, the staff member does not have to be on the campus to receive the alert.
  • The teacher assist and active shoot buttons are not active (you cannot press the buttons) once you have left your school's geo fence. Please check with your school's administration to see how much area is covered by your geo fence.
  • The 911 only button does work wherever you are located, it is a speed dial to 911.

A suggestion that came from a training for our staff that work at more than one school. He mentioned he could have a different device assigned to his main two campuses. For example, this band director works at WAMS and AHS. He is going to have his phone programmed with a AHS code and his iPad programmed to WAMS. This way, he will not miss any principal push or teacher assist messages that are sent out to the schools.

Another suggestion, which came about at a later training, is if you are worried about young ones pressing the app then you can delete the app from your screen so it is no longer visible. When you delete the app from the screen, it will still be available to you through the apps button. I know this works for Android users, I tested it on my phone. If you do this, please remember where the app is, in case you ever have to use it.

Below is a link for a SchoolGuard Tutorial video that includes additional information about the app that was not covered during the training. (It is a YouTube video).

SchoolGuard Tutorial

Technology Lending Grant Program

Last year, Alice ISD applied for the Technology Lending Grant Program offered by the state. We received the news in August, Dubose was chosen to receive one of the $100,000 grants. The grant allows the school to provide mobile devices (iPads, tablets, etc.) along with internet access to students who currently do not have access to devices and/or internet. The devices will be sent home with the students so they can complete assignments for school, work on projects, and do research. Currently, we are looking at providing around 169 devices and 20 internet access devices (MiFi's).

Timeline for the Grant:


  • Students will be asked to fill out a three question survey before Winter Break asking about the availability they have to technology at home.
  • Teachers will also complete a survey, asking about their technology habits.
  • The grant committee will start evaluating the the students' answers.


  • Make the final determination of which students qualify to be part of the grant.
  • A mandatory meeting for both the parents & students will be held.
  • The required documents will be sent home to be filled out (contracts and calendar for the proper maintenance of the devices).
  • Devices will be available for students to check out and start utilizing them in the classroom and at home.

Contacts for the Grant:

  • Velma SolizGarcia, Program Director
  • Rachel Medrano, Coordinator of Instructional Technology
  • Trisha Terrell, Dubose Intermediate's Principal


Do your students struggle with vocabulary? Silly question!!

Here are two great videos with ideas to help students understand vocabulary---an issue we all know is vital to understanding content!

High Yield Strategies

This time of year is challenging! Students' attention is waning and there is so much to accomplish. It is vital to keep our students engaged and one of the best ways to do that is through high yield strategies. Click the link to get a refresher.

Developing a Problem-Solving Framework

Solving problems involves more than just following a procedure. Students must attach meaning to the problems, decide on steps that will help lead to a solution, follow those steps (possibly revising them along the way) and determine if the solution is reasonable.

Here are Polya's four principles of problem solving:

1. Understand the Problem

This includes restating the problem in one's own words, identifying wanted, given and needed information, drawing a picture or diagram, identifying a subgoal, and selecting an appropriate notation.

2. Devise a Plan

Once a student has a clearer understanding of the problem situation, it is time to determine how to solve it. For many students, determining the mathematical operation to use is a challenge because they have not associated meaning with the problem. Simply depending on "key words" doesn't work.

3. Carry Out the Plan

It is important to check each step as the student proceeds. Asking yourself questions throughout the solution process will help you know if you are headed in the right direction. Sometimes the student gets started and realizes they must take a different approach. This is all part of being a problem solver!

4. Look Back

Students must consider their results in light of the data in the problem and ask the following questions: Does my solution make sense? Is my solution reasonable? Does my solution fit all of the conditions of the problem?

More on these steps in the next issue.

Math Dates to Remember


Please read carefully as some dates/locations have changed!

Jan. 6th - 6th grade @ Dubose

Alg. 1 @ Alice High School

Jan. 7th - 4th grade @ Noonan

7th and 8th grade @ WAMS

Jan. 8th - 3rd grade @ Noonan

Jan. 9th - 2nd grade @ Noonan

Jan. 12th - 1st grade @ Noonan

Jan. 13th - Kinder @ Noonan

Jan. 14th - 5th grade @ ISC Training Room

AISD has a Facebook Page for Math!

Check out the Facebook page created for math.

Currently it has more resources for elementary and intermediate, but more info will be added!

mCLASS MOY Screening

Please take note of this window for the Middle Of Year screening.

Jan. 26 - Feb. 6

There are MANY useful items in the BOY report available on mClass. Students proficiencies are identified as "deficit", "emerging", or "established".

In addition, activites are prescribed for the students to help in getting them to the next level. This is a perfect example of an RtI activity. If you need help analyzing data from the BOY report, contact Anna Holmgreen

Middle of Year Benchmark Checklist

Planning ahead is the best way to ensure a smooth benchmark assessment window. See the dates below for MOY testing dates. Then, use the following suggestions to prepare everyone for the middle-of-year (MOY) benchmark assessment.

Before the MOY window opens:

· Prepare a training plan for new staff and a refresher training for returning mCLASS users.

· Review student and class rosters with your district administrator to ensure the mCLASS system includes all students and that the appropriate staff assesses the correct classes.

· Establish district or school assessment protocols, such as staff responsibilities, assessment scheduling, delivery of student data outcomes, and how to use benchmark data to inform instructional plans.

· Send staff a reminder to sync their devices prior to assessing, following the assessment of students each day, and regularly during the window.

During the MOY window:

· Strive for total student completion.

· Throughout, and at the end of, each testing day, teachers and the assessment team should sync their devices, then log in to mCLASS:Home to verify the sync completed correctly.

· During the window, click the orange Reporting tile on mCLASS:Home to review Completion Reports in order to identify teachers who may need help with their assessments.

After the MOY window closes:

· Pull data from Reporting after nightly refreshes occur.

· Use the data for planning meetings.

· Notify all appropriate stakeholders of assessment outcomes. Prepare for progress monitoring.

This information is from the Amplify December/January Newsletter. You can subscribe to receive information from Amplify on their website.



January 12 – 23, 2014

TPRI (Kinder)

January 12 – 23, 2014

TPRI (1st & 2nd)

January 12 – 23, 2015

DIBELS NEXT ( 3rd – 6th)

January 12 – 23, 2015

For more information, please call Dina Hinojosa at 361-664-0981 ext. 32

Balanced Literacy Staff Development Targets

Writer's Workshop

As the new year comes into full swing we continue our training with the Collette Consulting Group. The focus of the January 14th and 15th training days will be: Writer's Workshop. Teachers will learn to plan and execute a writer's workshop incorporating writing TEKS. Training will include the correct mini-lesson format as well as the architecture of a writing conference. Please see list below for topics of future balanced literacy trainings.

We will continue to have onsite support days to help you with implementing the components of balanced literacy. Campus specific planning days are being scheduled so that you can have Danni and or Kellie work with you on lesson planning or to answer any questions you may have. They will also continue to visit classroom for observation and feedback sessions.

  • February 10th & 25th: Interactive/Shared Writing
  • March 31st: Work Study
  • April 13th: Making Connections Across the Framework

Upcoming Science Planning Dates

January 20th- Biology

January 21st- 8th Grade

January 23rd- 5th Grade

District Science Fair Winners

Congratulations to all of our District Science Fair Winners!! Thank you to all of your Science Fair Coordinators for working so hard with our students!

Below is a list of all the winners.

Regional Science Fair will be held on February 20th and 21st.


Hillcrest- Aleman, John Michael

Noonan- Rodriguez, Tess

Salazar- Torres, Micah

Salazar- Walker, Eli

Saenz- Garcia, Nickolas A.

Schallert- Garza, Caiden

First Grade

Salazar- Garza, Olivia

Salazar- Herrera, Antontio

Saenz- Cadena, Jesimiel

Hillcrest- Strait, Wesley

Schallert- Chapa, Alaynah

Salazar- Diaz, Alexys

Second Grade

Salazar- Gonzalez, Anthony

Salazar- Guerra, Neveah

MRGarcia- Lucio, Eric

Saenz - Ramos, Ayden

Noonan- Rosales, Daniel

MRGarcia- Vaello, Brianna

Third Grade

Hillcrest- Hinojosa, Jayla

Schallert- Alvarez, Gabby

MRGarcia- Salinas, Catherine

Hillcrest- Timmons, Cameron

Noonan- Davis,Rihanna

Saenz- Escamilla, Liseli

Fourth Grade

Noonan- Lopez, Carlos

Salazar- Lopez, Robert

Noonan- Ramos, Jakob

Salazar- Torres, Isela

Schallert- Ybarra, Deandra

Salazar- Gonzalez, Seth

Fifth Grade

Dubose- Garza, Marcous

Memorial- Quintana, Cristian

Dubose- Manrique, Emily

Dubose- Cabra/Galvan,Mia/Megan

Memorial-Ramirez/Cardenas, Marisol/Tiffany

Memorial- Gonzalez, Mariza

Sixth Grade

Dubose- Cavasos/Moreland Stevie/Austin

Dubose- Rivas/Cantu, Madelynn/Alaura

Dubose- Vela, Zachary

Dubose- Rosas, Alayna

Dubose- Pierce, Samantha

Dubose- Chalpant, Paris

Seventh Grade

WAMS- Cruz,Mya

WAMS- Malabanan, Ena

WAMS- Ragland, Nathaniel

WAMS- Timmons, Madison

WAMS- Torres, Jesiah

WAMS- Villesca, Lydia

8th Grade

WAMS- Rodriguez/Munoz, Ryan/Joseph

WAMS- White-Farrell Holden

WAMS- Vo/Rodriguez, Cindy/Leanna

WAMS- Battice/Villegas, Haley/Teresa

WAMS- Coleman, Nicholas

WAMS- Cuadra/Barrera, Nicole/Jacqueline

10th Grade

AHS- Soto/Sanchez, Dillon/Alex

AHS- Luna, Larissa

AHS- Guerra/Mendoza, Alyssa/Nico

AHS- Perez/Morin, Aaren/Ricky

Effective Strategies for English Language Learners

Carousel –

This activity is great to get students up and moving. In this activity, students are grouped and assigned to stations. At each station, the teacher should have a large piece of poster paper or the sticky post-it chart paper. Each paper should have a question or questions about the topic being taught. Each group is given a specific time in order to write their answer or thoughts about the question. Once the time is up, have the students rotate to a different station. Continue the rotations until the groups have answered questions at all stations and have returned to their original station. This gives the opportunity for students to see what others have written and gives a broader base of answers. This can be used in any content area with any topic. The teacher just needs to do a little planning ahead.

Ticket out the door –

This activity is a great way to see if students were able to grasp what was taught in class. Students are asked to write a short reflection at the end of the lesson. Have the reflection include facts, details, ideas, impressions, opinions, information, vocabulary and/or questions. The teacher may even provide a sentence stem that students would complete as a way to prompt the writing. It is a quick way to check for understanding. If any questions are posted, the teacher can refer to them at the next class.

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Gifted and Talented Bay Bytes Science Camp

Gifted and talented students in 5th and 6th grades participated in the Texas State Aquarium's

Bay Bytes science curriculum camp at the SeaLab, the ancillary learning center of the Texas State Aquarium on December 16, 2014. The Bay Bytes science curriculum camp utilized indoor and outdoor, station-based activities to facilitate scientific discovery and investigation of a coastal environment, including abiotic and biotic features as well as human influences and impacts.

The learning goal of the program is for students to construct and present a profile of the Rincon Canal environment using science process/practice skills, such as asking questions, carrying out investigations, analyzing/interpreting data, constructing explanations, and communicating information/evidence.

Throughout the program students used scientific equipment and tools such as refractometers, microscopes, binoculars, scientific journal's, and technology to collect data. Students worked in teams to conduct their investigations and construct their scientific inquiry. Once collected, students analyzed and interpreted their data; compared and contrasted information gathered amongst their team, as well as data gathered by other teams. Each team rotated through a variety of stations inside and outside the SeaLab facility.

Outside stations investigated the abiotic and biotic features of the environment, including built and natural structures, human influences and water chemistry of canal. Inside stations investigated an aquatic canal community (specifically, a fouling community), identifying and classifying organisms, measuring and predicting biodiversity and discovering how organisms interact with and survive within the canal habitat.

Bay Bytes addressed the following Science Process and Concept TEKS:

o 5th: 5.1A, 5.2A-D&F-G, 5.3A, 5.4A, 5.9A&C. 5.10A

o 6th: 6.1A, 6.2A-E, 6.3A&C, 6.4A, 6.12E&F

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Measuring and predicting biodiversity, classifying organisms and discovering how they interact with and survive within the canal habitat

Making predictions about the salinity and turbidity levels in the Rincon Canal & conducting aquatic measurements

Model Classrooms Project

Alice ISD is working with John Samara to help bring about increased levels of student success. The Curriculum Project deals with six categories of instructional strategies. Recently teacher leaders attended a session which focuses on the areas of Content and Facilitation. Remember that the objective of the category "Content" is to foster connections. This is done through the independent warm-up, three part objective (TPO), interactive lesson opening and academic vocabulary enhancement. The category of "facilitation" helps to nurture focus. These strategies include relationship building, materials management, proximity monitoring, attention development and routine formation.

Administrators also were presented this information and will be working with the staff to implement these strategies. Although there are 10 different strategies, implementation does not have to be a big chore!

  • Stand at the door and greet students by name as they enter. (relationship building)
  • Have the warm-up ready and displayed as students enter. (independent warm-up)
  • Have the TPO posted, but also read it or have a student read it. Ask, what are we going to do today? Refer to verb: analyze, etc. Talk about what that means (refer to the Bloom's verb list that many of you have posted in your room. (interactive lesson opening)
  • Have your content vocabulary posted by the TPO. (academic vocabulary)
  • Determine a management system for your class that the students know. Where can they get worksheets, paper, pencils? Where do their books go? (materials management)
  • Walk around the room and stand next to students as you teach--especially those off track--"teach from your feet, not from your seat". (proximity monitoring)
  • Have a cue (a phrase, a signal, etc.) to get students attention and focus. (attention development)
  • Have a routine formation for your lesson structure: greet, lesson opening, academic vocabulary enhancement, teach, produce, teach produce, reflect.

The return to school in January is a GREAT time to start these strategies if you have not already done so. If you have implemented them, reflect on your fidelity and frequency of implementation and keep at it. You will see great results!

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Jennifer Rodriguez- 3rd Grade Teacher & Mrs. Evey Guerra - Noonan Elementary Principal


I was approached at the end of last school year by Velma Soliz-Garcia, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, along with Gracie Garcia, Director of Special Education and jokingly told I was replaceable. They had seen the VGo which is a robot, a new and breakthrough technology, for students that cannot attend school due to various situations. They felt that this type of technology would be the perfect scenario for one of our Homebound students.

There were two VGo robots up for graps in our ESC 2 region. I was given the information and applied for one of Brooke’s Bots. The more I learned about these Bots the more excited I became. These robots were named after a young girl, Brooke Hester (Read more about Brooke Hester at the following: ).

At the beginning of the school year, I was notified that our District was a recipient of one of the Bots. I was ecstatic, jumping up and down, because I knew of the perfect student that would embrace such an opportunity.

The student chosen to utilize this wonderful piece of technology is a Homebound student who will be taking the STAAR for the first time this year. She is a smart and very outgoing little girl. When I told her the good news, she was initially apprehensive….not quite knowing what to expect.

During our preparations, a lot of questions were asked and answered such as, “How does it work?” “Who and how much are they going to see?” and “Will she be able to communicate with her classmates?”. It has been four months now and kids in her class know who she is ……and she knows her classmates.

One day I stopped by the school and the students in her class were talking about the VGo Robot. They were excited about the new Bot and about the opportunity to interact with their classmate. When she logs in, everyone takes a minute to say their greetings and then they begin working. She is placed into a group and can now actively participate. VGo allows her to be part of a group, to belong as part of her class and her school community. This is a beautiful example of how her Homebound and school worlds are bridged together by the use of technology.

By: Brenda Blum

Homebound Teacher Alice ISD

Alice ISD Instructional Support Center

Departments and Contributors

Dr. Grace Everett - Superintendent of Schools

Curriculum and Instruction Department

Velma Soliz-Garcia, Assistant Superintendent (Curriculum & Instruction, Career and Technical Education, Technology, District Coordinator of School Improvement, and GearUp)

Marta Salazar - Director of Instructional Services (ELA, Dyslexia, Parent Involvement)

Elida DeLeon - Director of Advanced Academics (GT/AP, Social Studies, Discipline Hearing Officer)

Anna Holmgreen - Director of Instructional Services (Math and Data Analysis)

Erika Vasquez - Director of Instructional Services (Science and RtI)

Dina Hinojosa - Texas Literacy Initiative - Literacy Shepherd

Technology Department

Velma Soliz-Garcia, Assistant Superintendent

Rachel Martin, Instructional Technology Coordinator

Special Education & 504 Department

Gracie Garcia, Director of Special Education & 504

Federal & Special Programs

Dr. Alma Garcia - Federal Grants, State Grants, Bilingual/ESL Programs, Migrant and Homeless Liaison

Career and Technical Education Department

Velma Soliz-Garcia, Assistant Superintendent (Curriculum & Instruction, Career and Technical Education, Technology, District Coordinator of School Improvement, and GearUp)

Mike Carper, Alice High School Assistant Principal & CTE Campus Administrator

Celina Garcia, Alice High School CTE Department Chair

Finance Department & Human Resources Department

Dr. Melonae Day, Assistant Superintendent Finance and HR

Student Nutritional Services

Krystle Flores, Director of Nutritional Services

Student Health Services

Lisa Lozano, District RN