Redbird Roundup, Vol. 20

Friday, February 15, 2019

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!

It has been a great week in Redbird Nation! We had some outstanding Parent Teacher Conferences last week, and it was wonderful to see so many families come out even with some unfortunate weather. We hosted a large Quiz Bowl tournament here on Saturday, and our other winter activities are moving along.

On Wednesday of this week we had two exciting events I want to share with you. The first was Coffee with the Principal. Although I only had three parents show, they were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to come to the building and chat. They had so many positive things to say, and are really pleased with their child's experience at Norris. The second event was the Creighton University visit. The professor of the Introductory Education class has reached out to visit Norris to show his students an urban school experience. While many of the students are education majors, some are unsure or going into another field. They visited classrooms and asked great questions in our debrief. They were so impressed with Norris, our students, our teachers, our school. They asked me what our greatest challenges and opportunities were. I shared that our two biggest challenges were family engagement, and educating kids in a challenging time who have challenging experiences. I also shared our greatest opportunity was that our kids provide us hope. They are incredibly resilient, and I feel hopeful being around them each day.

Another three-day weekend is around the corner, so I hope everyone can continue to rest and be healthy. We are only two weeks away from Spring Break, and then 4th Quarter will be here!

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Carr

February 19-22

Monday, February 18-No School, President's Day

Tuesday, February 19-Student Support PD (Schnabel emailed schedule); Girls Basketball at Monroe, Wrestling Home vs. Morton and Buffett

Wednesday, February 20-Team Leaders Meeting at 7 a.m., SS Co-Planning during Block 3/4, Boys Swim at Monroe, New Teacher Meeting

Thursday, February 21-ELA Co-Planning (Grade 7) during Block 3/4, Girls Basketball at Davis, Wrestling at Monroe

Friday, February 22-ELA and SS Co-Planning (Grade 6) during Block 1/2,

Staff Introductions

This week we will get to know Heather Blumel, Kris Hearity, and Sarahí Real y Vásquez.

Heather Blumel

Name: Heather Blumel

How many years have you been teaching? This is my 11th year, 3rd at Norris.

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? My awesome team!

What is one of your favorite quotes? (see below)

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? TENNIS!!

What chore do you absolutely hate doing? Laundry

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Buy a ranch and rescue all the horses and dogs I could.

What is something you learned in the last week? How to install a grounded outlet.

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? Friends

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category? Salty. Potato chips

Big picture

Kris Hearity

Name: Kris Hearity

How many years have you been teaching? 18 For OPS, 2 Private school, and 4 when I homeschooled my 4 kids

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? The staff is amazing followed closely by most of the students

What is one of your favorite quotes?

“Actions speak louder than words.”

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

I love swimming and being by a pool!!

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Raking the yard! I have a huge yard with lots of older trees.. :(

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

No way... I continue to learn and become a little wiser each year. If I was to stay at a certain age..I wouldn’t learn what I need to.

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

Crash n burn!

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Really? Contact a good Investment person.

What is something you learned in the last week?

That doing my taxes are very difficult!

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time?

Josh Gates’ Expedition Unknown

Sarahí Real y Vásquez

Name: Sarahí Real y Vásquez

How many years have you been teaching? 6 years

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? My favorite thing about NMS is the diversity and the Dual Language Program!

What is one of your favorite quotes? Live, love, laugh.

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Dancing, exploring.

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? Writing or reading.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Pay off anything I owe, then save it to travel and invest it.

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category? Sweet, I love chocolate.

Powerful Practices

Theatrical Performances

Ms. Wright's students were able to act out the play, "Sorry, Wrong Number" in their classes early February. They were able to practice reading with expression and acting out their parts. Awesome job!

Collaboration/Dancing Classrooms

Ms. Reid and Ms. Jacobberger are having their students work with the ACP classes in Dancing Classrooms this year. Each gen ed student has an ACP partner, and this is a great collaboration among our students! They do this during block 1/2 on A days on the stage. Go check them out!


Mr. Smith uses a very organized chart to help his students understand the complex Civil War. Students complete a short reading, and are then able to fill in their organizer with important facts. This helps students deepen their comprehension and identify critical information in a very large topic. Great job Mr. Smith!

Descriptive Feedback

PE is all about descriptive feedback. You observe and monitor students doing exercises and activities, and help them modify. Mrs. Strouts demonstrates this during a boxing lesson with her students. She frequently moves around the room and provides immediate descriptive feedback and exercise modifications to help her students be successful. Great job Mrs. Strouts!


The NLT went through a blended learning activity on the Thursday of conferences with our iPads. This is part of our professional learning through VILS. We researched different structures for blended learning, and noted pros and cons for each. This was difficult for us as we move away from using our Surfaces towards iPads. We are personally challenged to use our iPads more during our NLT time, as well as for coaching visits.

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Instrumental Concert

Our band and strings groups put on a great concert on Tuesday of this week. The bleachers were packed, and families got a taste of what the groups have been working on. Great job everyone!

Pink Out at South High

We wore our pink with pride for Ms. Maddock as she helped coach the varsity girls team at South, and then again on Tuesday before her surgery. We are sending good thoughts your way Maddock, and can't wait for you to be back!

Coffee with the Principal

I had three parents show up at our Coffee with the Principal. We had some great conversations, and I got some great ideas for future meetings!

District Spelling Bee

Vincent Long represented Norris at the District Spelling Bee. He competed with over 30 other kids from the district and represented Norris well! Way to go Vincent!

Quiz Bowl Tournament

Ms. Jacobberger ran a fantastic middle/high school Quiz Bowl tournament on February 9. It takes a lot of staff to make an event like that work, so thank you to all staff who read, and our Redbird Posse for running concessions. Great job to our Norris students who competed as well, led by their coach Mr. Plank!


Our robotics team is winding down competitions, and already have some students qualified for state in the skills competitions. They competed last weekend at Beveridge and are improving with each competition. They are coached by Mr. Good.

Scienc Olympiad

Ms. Ferris took Pedro Ramirez and Oliver Alvarez to Wayne to compete in the Science Olympiad competition. It is a long day of competing for them, and they represented Norris well!


Our wrestling team is also heating up their competitions in preparation for the city tournament to be held at Norris February 28 and March 1. They are coached by Mr. Knutson and Mr. Lewis.

College of St. Mary Visit

Mrs. Zermeño and Mr. Allen took several of our 8th grade girls to College of St. Mary for a tour on Thursday. Students were able to hear about the different programs CSM offers and tour the campus. What a great opportunity for our kiddos!

Final Thought

I attend Principal's Meetings monthly at TAC. Dr. Logan typically only speaks for about 10-20 minutes, then sends us to leveled meetings regarding curriculum etc. Last Tuesday though, she preached. She talked about how her most important role was to support us as principals, so we in turn can support you as teachers. She talked about wanting the central office to be a place that served schools, instead of a place that served adults. She talked about the power of our public schools, and how the charter school movement has not be able to make it in Nebraska because of the great power of our public schools. She encouraged us to continue to make our schools the best choice for our families and students. She encouraged us to keep finding ways to educate our kids in a very difficult time. She is passionately committed to her role as our leader, and I know we are in great hands!