Ram Nation News

Week of September 24, 2018


A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society
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The time has come for our students to show us how much they have learned for the last five weeks! We have been preparing our lessons with the end in mind. We are continuously planning rigorous lessons addressing high leverage TEKS preparing our students for the next grade level, end of the year assessment, ACPs, and common assessments. This week our students will be taking the district's common assessments (CA). These CAs are great data sources to help us determine student academic strengths and deficiencies. I know that we are taking these assessments seriously; let's make sure that our students and parents know the importance of any formative assessment so that each stakeholder knows what needs to be done for each one of our scholars to be successful. Remember, district-wide there is a strong correlation between the ACPs and STAAR; Common Assessments and DOLs are a great gauge to ensure adjustments are made to our instruction and set goals with our students to ensure we meet our ACP and STAAR goals.

It's imperative that our Remarkable Rams are greeted with positive narration on a daily basis! When they enter our classrooms, give them a motivational pep talk and hold them accountable to the expectations you have set and communicated. Starting tomorrow, it is our chance to set the standard for a great testing environment in our school!

During classroom visits, we will be looking for teachers and staff members aggressively monitoring during common assessments. Also, teachers will be using the exemplar generated at the beginning of the six weeks to compare with the work produced by the students.

I am very proud of the work done and grateful that each one of you has embraced the challenge of accelerating transformation for our students who need and deserve the best.


Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn. It is awesome to see all of our students being on time to school. Let's continue to support our students in transitioning in an expedited manner from class to class. The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 9/14 - 9/20: 6th Grade - 97.98%; 7th Grade - 95.91%; and 8th Grade 96.49%.

Way to go 6th grade team!!!! It is great to see the competitive spirit and see our "little guys" step up to the challenge.

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


  • Nurse Surber for her dedication and support in ensuring we are meeting our immunization goal. We have improved from 50% compliance at this time last year to 94.5% this year.
  • Ms. Saucedo for her commitment to our campus and staff member as she continues to find parent volunteers to support our efforts. Last week,our school logged 34 hours and recruited 47 new volunteers.
  • Mr. King for being a team player and sharing his aggressively monitoring template so that other team members could use and/or edit to fit the needs of own class. Awesome work!!
  • Ms. Turnbull for her leadership as she works with our cheerleaders and supported our football team last week during their first game. Our girls demonstrated high energy as they cheered our teams unto victory.
  • Coach Addison for her leadership as the Athletic Coordinator of our school. Last week, we had "Meet the Coaches" parent meeting to create a solid relationship with parents and to discuss expectations to strengthen our athletic program. Kuddos to all the coaches who participated and supported: Mr. Willis, Mr. Salazar, Mr. Rivera, Ms. Winton, Ms. Michael, Ms. Lewis, Ms. Iberosi, Coach Clark, Mr. Thornton, Ms. Buitron, and Ms. Rendon.
  • Ms. Buitron, Ms. Maloy, and Ms. Trent for administering the O*Net career assessment to our special education students to begin their transitioning from secondary school to post-secondary careers or school.

Instructional Practices

Collaboration, Learning, and Support

It is great to see our staff members collaborating and learning in PLCs as we grow as a high effective team. There is a shared responsibility for the total development of students and collective responsibility for students' success. Also, there is powerful learning that defines good teaching and classroom practices. Below, Ms. Guerra leading our science teachers in a looking forward planning PLC where they are able to unpack standards and figure out the knows and shows that our students must master. Also, we see samples of our math and reading teachers engaged in practicing our CA script or providing feedback to make the CA script better. Finally, we see students from TAG High School and Highland Park High School supporting our efforts as they work with individual students to address areas of opportunity.

Climate and Culture

ChatterHigh Challenge

We are thrilled to announce that Thomas J Rusk Middle hit ChatterHigh’s Mindful College Decision Making Challenge objective of earning 250,000 points learning about colleges and careers.

From August 20- September 14 students from your school earned 326,900 points which is enough to earn $125.

This deserves a huge congratulations! Shout out to Ms. Baker for her leadership and support of our college-going culture.

Special Education Department Update

  • IEP binders are complete and have been delivered.

  • Inclusion support has been updated and will implement new schedule starting Monday, September 24, 2018.


  • Our Remarkable Rams will be testing this week. Remember to incorporate your testing message/script in which we worked last week. During testing, we should be intentional as we aggressively monitor and provide accommodations to identified students. Please refer to the handout provided during our PLC - Testing Expectations.
  • During transitions, we will be looking for 100% of staff members present in the hallway having positive interactions with students. (TEI 3.3 and 3R Positive Attitude/Enthusiasm)
  • Engage learners throughout your lessons and ensure we incorporate bell-to-bell instruction (see below for more details). It will support the increase in student achievement and reduce disruptions. While students are more familiar with engagement strategies such as Think Pair Share, we need to ensure that we have taught, modeled, and practiced these skills in order for effective implementation (TEI 2.4, 3.1, and 3.3).
  • 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)
  • 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)


Monday, September 24-
  • A Day
  • Math Common Assessment
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, continue the analysis of the common assessment, and analyze data profiles for your students.
  • Breast cancer awareness t-shirt sales (Ms. Lewis) and ticket sale for October 5th dance (Mr. Patel) begin.
  • 4:45 PD after school: Weekly Data Meetings Overview - Library.

, September 25-
  • Reading Common Assessment
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, continue the analysis of the common assessment, and analyze data profiles for your students.
  • During all lunches - Unity Luncheon in the Teacher’s Lounge - Ms. Brown
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school.
  • 6:00/7:30 football game at Franklin Stadium against Medrano MS.

Wednesday, September 26-
  • Science Common Assessment and also Writing CA for 7th grade
  • Calibration Walks - We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, continue the analysis of the common assessment, and analyze data profiles for your students.
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school.
  • 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. Volleyball game at Cobb Athletic Complex against Spence MS.

Thursday, September 27-

  • Social Studies Common Assessment
  • Department Collaboration PLC - Department Chair and AP/CIC
  • 9:30 - 2:30 Microsoft YouthSpark Live Dallas 2018 Field Trip - Physics event - Mr. Proctor
  • 3:30 - 6:30 1st RLA Team Thursday! at Edison - Ms. Davis and Ms. Wells
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school.
  • 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. - movie afternoon showing Coco - Fundraiser. There will be snacks for sale.
  • 6:00 - Lesson Plans Due

Friday, September 28 -

  • Testing make ups for those students who were absent.

Saturday, September 29 -

  • 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - ACE Super Saturday: Cycle 2 of ACE PD - Rusk Admin.

Upcoming Events

October 9 -

  • Principal for a Day - Alexander Bourdeau, Solutions & Analytics Lead - Sense360

October 12-

  • Professional Development Day - No school for students

October 19 -

  • Fair Day - No school
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TEI Teacher and Administrator Perception Survey

Please, access the memo to learn more about the TEI survey that will be administered via SurveyMonkey from September 24 - October 5. The purpose of the survey is to collect feedback from teachers and administrators. It is voluntary and confidential.

Bell-to-Bell Instruction

Place emphasis on maximizing the limited time teachers have with students and communicate high expectations for on-task behavior.

  • Greet students at the door.
  • Post "do now" for students to begin immediately.
  • Have materials needed by students and teachers readily available.
  • Plan for smooth transitions between instructional activities.
  • Build in opportunities for movement and active student engagement.
  • Check regularly for student understanding and focus.
  • Have an active summary activity in every learning segment.
  • Present and link the day’s objective to previous learning or homework.
  • Use teacher-directed instruction to clarify or introduce new material.
  • Use student-centered learning activities requiring active student engagement.
  • Use summary-reflective dialogue to check for mastery and establish links with future learning or homework.
  • Plan for four learning segments of about the same length during a class period to help with pacing

Welcome to Rusk!!!

After a long wait, Ms. Allison Eddy joins our social studies team as one of our 6th grade teachers. We are very excited to have her on board. Also, Mr. Tim Brown joins our team as one of our special education inclusion teachers.
Please, take some time to greet them and make them feel welcome.

Happy Birthday -

We want to wish you the best and many blessings for the years to come.

9/5 – Iresha Hayes

9/7 - Angelica Saucedo

9/28 – Perla Calderon

9/29 – Carlos Carballo