"Super" Spruce Scoop

Volume 2 Edition 7

October 12, 2015

October 19 - P. D. Day

In just over a week, you will have an opportunity to help advance the quality of instruction of your staff. Each of you has done a good job of charting the professional development to occur throughout the first semester. However, spot observations serve to support the identification of trends and professional development needs of your staff.

Please take some time this week to work with your leadership team to identify instructional needs from spot observation trends to determine professional development. Also, please consider feeder pattern priorities and areas that tend to be neglected. A few ideas come to mind; all schools should have a writing plan which outlines the "what" and "when" of writing instruction. Also, guided reading, the reading and math block components with time segments as well as science support. While there is much to consider, each campus has a great opportunity to strengthen instructional quality through a day of learning.

Let's make it a great day of learning that allows our feeder pattern to get better!

Now Is A Good Time To:

  1. Conduct an informal staff survey replicating the district survey
  2. Check-in on your Campus Action Plan with your staff for progress on implementation
  3. Develop a writing plan for the school year with the input of teachers and the instructional coach
  4. Review the number of Spot Observations conducted by each administrator for their respective list of teachers - 40% should be completed by now

TEA Update

AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today advised school districts and charters of his recommendation to replace the current phase-in schedule for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) student passing standards with a revised approach.

Under new proposed rules from the Commissioner, the traditional phase-in approach would be replaced with a standard progression approach from 2015–2016 through 2021–2022, the year final standards are scheduled to be in place. In other words, rather than larger jumps to more rigorous performance standards every few years, this progression approach would mean smaller, predictable increases every year through the 2021–2022 school year.

Also, 4th grade and 7th grade writing has been reduced to expository writing only for STAAR testing.

Below is information pulled from Lead4Ward providing updates from the last month or so.

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Why Should Teachers Begin the SIx Weeks with Test-In-Hand?

Below is a screen shot of a question on the third grade common assessment. Stop reading right here and try to solve the problem. NO, REALLY - PLEASE STOP AND SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

Alright, now that you have, do you see the level of rigor in the problem. The standard is TEKS 3.2A Compose and decompose numbers up to 100,000 as a sum of so many ten thousands, so many thousands, so many hundreds, so many tens, and so many ones using objects, pictorial models and number including expanded notation as appropriate.

The math required much more than our newer teachers have seen. So, it begs the question, "Why should teachers begin the six weeks with the test in hand?" The answer is:

If teachers are able to see the level of rigor in the assessment, they are more likely to get their instruction to the level of rigor in the standard. Trust the process!

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B. H. Macon - Guided Reading in Action

Below is a link to a video Mr. Bennett took of Ms. Walker's class as she implements Guided Reading with Daily 5. Thank you to Mr. Bennett and Ms. Walker for the good work.


I observed 6 data meetings throughout the course of last week. They were all productive with principals leading them in most cases. Some were extended while others were during the 45 minute planning period. Those that were longer allowed for a deeper dive into how to reteach and the best strategies. In particular, I want to give a shout out to Ms. Garcia and her instructional coaches, Ms. Walker and Ms. Cook. Their meeting was outstanding! A few pictures are posted below.

Events for the Week:

  • Monday, October 12 - Assistant Principal Focus Group, High School Parent Conference Night
  • Tuesday, October 13 - Middle School Parent Conference Night
  • Wednesday, October 14 - Principal for a Day
  • Thursday, October 15 - Elementary School Parent Conference Night
  • Friday, October 16 - Secondary Fair Day

TEI Update

New SLOs for teachers impacted by leveling must be submitted by October 23
Teachers whose assignments are impacted by leveling must create a new SLO that aligns to their new teaching assignment and student population. Here are some helpful resources.

Distinguished Teacher Review Criteria &
Application Training

Criteria: DTR intends to identify around the top 20 percent of teachers across the district. For this reason, the top 25 percent of teachers from every teacher category who meet the additional criteria were invited to apply.

DTR Application Training: Want to provide application support for DTR-eligible teachers on your campus? Click here to view and register for an upcoming training. Please share this training opportunity with your CICs and DTR-eligible teachers as well.

A-Team Feedback Tool - Cuellar Elementary

I was fortunate to observe Dr. Wilson lead a recent A-Team meeting where she took our recent learning from the Spruce feeder pattern principals' meeting and was using a Spot conducted from an A-Team member to refine the written feedback. It was a really effective way to coach her team while being able to monitor the quality of feedback given to teachers as well as monitor teacher performance.

During my time there, she shared a tool with me she is using to give written feedback to her A-Team members. It is a powerful tool to coach and support administrators on your team. Nice work, Dr. Wilson!

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R. C. Burleson PREP U!

On September 30th R.C. Burleson Elementary hosted their first PREP U parent workshop with the support of Ken Atwood Specialist with the Office of Family and Community Engagement. Community Liaison, Mechelle Ware, organized the event and extended the invitation to all parents in the Spruce Feeder. We had over 40 parents in attendance between Burleson parents and our feeder schools parents it was a "Success!" Principal Tomeko Williams welcomed parents and expressed how important it is for parents to be involved in their children education.

Parents were engaged in conversation on "How to become more involved in their children education." Parents received literature, helpful tips, food, prizes, and the opportunity to ask questions. Not only did the parents receive resources and tools for being in attendance so did the students, as they received a coupon for a free kids meal compliments of Popeye's. Mrs. Tomeka Williams is the Principal of the "Super" R.C. Burleson Elementary School.

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Quote of the Week:

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