Common Sense

Thomas Jefferson Feeder Pattern News - December 15, 2014

About the Title

Common Sense was a pamphlet authored by Thomas Paine in 1775-76. It was written to inspire American colonists to declare independence from British Rule at the beginning of The Revolution. This weekly, modern, online relative of that pamphlet documents the news, events, updates, and celebrations of the TJ Revolution - the educational sensation sweeping through northwest Dallas.

TJ Feeder Pattern News in Brief

Executive Director's Message

As the semester ends, please accept my heartfelt thanks for the work you've done with teachers, staff, and students so far this school year. I look forward to reviewing ACP data, culture survey data, and your mid-year progress reviews to assess how far you've moved the needle during the fall of 2014.

Please maintain a strong academic tone at your campuses through the completion of the semester. Whether your students are testing or engaged in continued instruction, every moment counts.

Thank you and have a great week with students!

Timothy J. Hise

Executive Director, Thomas Jefferson Feeder Pattern

The Reading Paradox

from Marshall Memo #564

In an Education Gadfly article, Kathleen Porter-Magee says that teaching in a standards-based era has led many teachers to start with the end in sight, backwards-mapping the year and teaching one bite-sized standard after another. This works with some subjects, especially math, and it works with primary-grade reading, where students need to learn to decode and build a basic vocabulary. But it hasn’t worked very well with reading after third grade, says Porter-Magee: “Beyond the foundational reading skills, standards in this realm don’t articulate the content that students need to learn to become good readers. Instead, standards describe the habits and skills of ‘good readers.’ Good readers can, for instance, identify the main idea of a text. They can understand ‘shades of meaning’ and can even use evidence to support comprehension and analysis.” A decade of trying to teach reading standard by standard hasn’t brought about robust gains in U.S. reading achievement, especially in the upper grades.

So how do teachers get their students to high levels of reading proficiency on standards that don’t fit the normal standards-based approach? “After students learn how to read,” says Porter-Magee, “the ‘outcome-focused’ instruction that characterizes the standards era needs to adapt as the classroom shifts to English language arts. Then we must stop trying to teach reading the way we teach math. Rather, we need to view the skills and habits described by the standards as tools – tools that can and should be honed over time, in service of understanding and analyzing great texts, but that are not the ‘content’ of reading instruction.”

“The Reading Paradox: How Standards Mislead Teachers” by Kathleen Porter-Magee in The Education Gadfly, December 3, 2014 (Vol. 14, #49),

Cary MS Visits Aggie-land

Lunch & Learn with Dallas ISD TEI Team

The TEI team is excited to announce optional lunchtime campus sessions called “Lunch & Learn with TEI” for teachers to connect with TEI staff members and receive answers to their questions about the Teacher Excellence Initiative. Please click this link if you are interested in having TEI staff members come to your campus to share information with teachers and answer their TEI-related questions during your teachers’ lunch period. If interested, after completing the survey a member of the TEI team will follow-up with you directly to confirm your session content and scheduling preferences. Given that DTR-eligible teachers will most likely use the winter break to complete the DTR application in preparation for the January 22, 2015 application deadline, the TEI team is suggesting that most “Lunch & Learn with TEI” sessions occur prior to the deadline.

Fishman Prize for Superlative Teaching

Region 10 State Accountability Training Offered for Principals

Region 10 will offer training on the Texas State Accountability System for Dallas ISD Principals in the coming months. The training will highlight the 4 indexes of the state accountability system. What subjects, which students, and calculation methods will be discussed for each index.

  • January 21 (2-5pm) - Dallas ISD Administration Building
  • January 22 (2-5pm) - Haskell Building
  • January 27 (2-5pm) - Dallas ISD Administration Building

If you wish to register for one of the sessions, call 972-925-6714 or email Registration is capped at 30 participants per session.

Leadership Quote of the Week

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Week At-a-Glance

Monday, December 15
  • Campus Visits

Tuesday, December 16

  • Campus Visits
  • Principal Assessment Center

Wednesday, December 17

  • Campus Visits
  • Districtwide Principals' Meeting @ Hulcy MS (1-5pm)

Thursday, December 18

  • TJ Feeder Principals' Holiday Breakfast @ The Original Pancake House (7:30-9am)
  • Campus Visits

Friday, December 19

  • End of 3rd Six Weeks

On The Horizon

December 18: Dallas ISD School Board Meeting

December 22-January 2: Winter Break

January 5: Student Holiday/Professional Development

January 6: Six Weeks 4 Begins

January 6: TEI Expert Meeting @ Foster ES (4-6pm)

January 7: Principal Focus Group

January 9: TJ Feeder Meeting @ Knight ES (8:30am-12pm)

January 12-14: Dallas ISD Written Composition Benchmark

January 12-16: Parent Conference Week

January 14: Teacher Focus Group @ Polk ES (4-5:30pm)

January 16: Cycle 5 Data Meetings (Elementary)

January 19: MLK Holiday (Students & Staff)

January 21: Districtwide Principals' Meeting

January 23: Cycle 5 Data Meeting (Middle) @ Greiner MS

January 28: Districtwide Assistant Principals' Meeting @ Hulcy MS

January 30: Cycle 5 Data Meeting (High) @ Jefferson HS

Action Items