Tiger Time News
News from the O.C. Taylor Principal, Lisa Pedevilla
May 31, 2020
Dear O.C. Taylor families,
As our academic year draws to a close, we have much to celebrate and many happy memories, despite our Covid 19 school building closure. We have accomplished so much as a school community. We love our Tigers! Be sure and read, read, read this summer (see below about summer reading)!
I want to thank you for the support of O.C. Taylor this school year during this particularly challenging pandemic. We had many successes! We continued the great work of growing your children and preparing them to be servant leaders and lifelong learners.
There are countless people to whom I owe an expression of gratitude:
- Parent Teacher Association President, Executive Board, and all PTA members: Thank you, Berri O'Neal Gormley, for serving as our PTA President this year. You have enthusiastically given so generously of yourself and your talents to make O.C. Taylor a better school. It has been a joy and a pleasure to work with you. To each person serving on the PTA Executive Board, thank you! YOU make a huge difference. Without your support and dedication, OCT would not be the school it is! I appreciate the many hours you put into your volunteer position. From the new Grandparents Day to Donut with Dads, your events were organized well and brought our community together for children. All PTA members, thank you for joining the organization. Thank you for the many gifts and resources you bestowed upon our school. Our PTA supports every child's education! Thank you!
- Campus Excellence Committee: Thank you to the following people for serving on our CEC: Berri O'Neal Gormley, Wes Critz, Scott Payne, Lissa Critz, Liz Payne, Rakshita Jalandhara, Lainie Scruggs, Jacqui Vanhorn, Rhonda Schafer, Kimberly McNamara, Ashley Duncan, Chloe Rodenberger, Allyson Dickinson, Halli Mankins, Sharon Fiffik, Cristie Morgan, Liz Campbell, Allison Bailey, and Cindy Kue. This committee's work navigates our school. Your time helped guide us where we went and how we got there. Our Campus Improvement Plan was evaluated, and the committee will begin planning for next year in August.
- Officer Williams, Officer Smith, and the Colleyville Police Department: Thank you, Officer Williams, for all you did for us, especially keeping our little Tigers safe. From having lunch with our kiddos and participating in our Dads' Club, we appreciate you spending time with us and getting to know the children! A thank you to our new Officer Smith. You were on the job for a week when our spring break and Covid hit. We look forward to getting to know you better in person.
- GCISD Administrative Team: Thank you to Dr. Robin Ryan, Superintendent, and Dr. Shiela Shiver, Executive Director of Instruction. Thank you to the entire GCISD administration for your service. Thank you, Dr. Ryan and Dr. Shiver, for your leadership. I appreciate you coming by OCT and supporting the great things our students, staff, and families are doing. Central administration, thank you for modeling servant leadership in all you do and say. I am honored to be a part of the GCISD team, the B.E.S.T. (Building Excellent Schools Together)!
- O.C. Taylor Faculty and Staff: Thank you for all you do! You are the BEST! I am so fortunate and humbled to be surrounded by such passionate and committed educators. Your professionalism, positivity, and love of children are second to none. You took the challenge of creating online lessons with fervor and excitement. I appreciate you! We have the best careers possible and work in the best school possible. Thank you for loving one another as you do. To the office staff, Ms. Gene, Ms. Betty, and Nurse Katy, thank you for everything. I love the way we work together, laugh, and enjoy each other! We are blessed.
- Parents: Thank you, parents, for all you do each day for your child. I also greatly appreciate your support of me and of OCT! Thank you for the kind emails, cards, and little gifts you and/or your child gave me and our staff members this year. Thank you for supporting our fundraisers: Spring Creek BBQ, Chipotle, Menchie's, Snuffers, Chili's, Chick-Fil-A, McAlister's, and Hopdoddy's! Thank you to our wonderful Homeroom Parents and Grade-Level Coordinators for all you have done this year, especially planning the two wonderful holiday parties! Thank you, all, for your numerous donations to help other people and organizations. From our monthly "GRACE" food collections to our "Pink Pumpkin Challenge" and more, you gave generously. YOU have helped many people.
- Dads' Club: Thank you to Wes Critz for leading our Dads' Club this year! Our Dads' Club coordinated the Turkey Drive that collected a record number of turkeys to donate to those less fortunate. Our amazing Dads' Club worked many late hours to create our winning float at the Grapevine Parade of Lights! The pancake breakfast and TWO real snow hills were such fun!! The Dads' Club hosted many fun events for dads and their kids. (See Dad Greeters below.) We are appreciative!
- Students: To our stellar 5th graders, who are now officially 6th graders, we will miss you. You made an indelible mark on me and many others! Your leadership and kindness legacy lives on here at OCT. I know the year did not end as we had envisioned, but you kept your spirits high through it all. To all of our Tigers, thank you. Thank you for your loving and thoughtful hearts. May you all enjoy a much-deserved summer break!
This year's theme was "Leave Your Legacy!" We have so much to celebrate and many accomplishments for the 2019-20 school year. Below are a few of our highlights:
All of our students, families, and staff quickly adjusted to our online Learning@Home platform. Parents, you became tutors and teachers overnight. Great job!!! It takes all of us working together in order for our children to grow and flourish. I appreciate you working with us during this time of isolation.
Teachers embedded Future Explorations into their curriculum and instruction. We introduced all of the 16 career pathways to all of our students then explored one to two a month. Thank you to those who came and presented to our students about their own careers. It is never too early to start to build interest in what might become a lifelong love and fit for a career.
We hosted our third annual Book Character Parade where students dressed as their favorite book characters and paraded through the halls. It just happened to align with Halloween. :)
We had many of our O.C. Taylor students meet the GCISD Reads Challenge! WAY TO GO, Tigers! Readers are leaders!
We collected over $20,000 for the American Heart Association through ourJump Rope for Heart in Coach Mester's P.E. class. Thanks for organizing, Coach Mester and Coach Mac!
We hosted a successful Hour of Code. This is a global movement by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.
Our OCT Student Council hosted a North Texas Leadership Training through Texas Elementary Principal and Supervisors Association where almost 100 students from the DFW area came to OCT to be trained on leadership. Our OCT Student Council hosted many outreach events! Our TTT Student Council raised money with the Pink Pumpkin Challenge and donated the amount to Susan G. Komen Foundation. Thank you to Mrs. Mankins, Mrs. Knudson, Mrs. Whisman, and Mrs. Epperson for sponsoring our student council, TTT!
Our Dad Greeters greeted outside each morning and opened car doors. These dads help keep our Tigers safe...plus it helps parents get to work faster. We appreciate ALL you did this year! Thank you for getting up extra early and giving of your time to help us all!
We had over 150 dedicated dads come and spend the day at OCT helping in our Dad of the Day Program. Thank you for sacrificing and serving!
Our Dads' Club hosted our Turkey Drive, and thanks to our families, we collected a record number of turkeys for those who needed one for Thanksgiving.
Thank you to Mrs. Fiffik and Mrs. Watkins for sponsoring our National Elementary Honor Society for fifth-grade students. Our NEHS had 23 student members. Students became aware of how much people (especially our troops) need. It was great to see them all pitch in and get behind the fall service project. The students came up with the idea, created their own posters, and decided how to organize things. They collaborated together in small groups and also as one unit to solve a "problem" in our community. They brainstormed, advertised with posters and on the morning show, and gathered and sorted donations. Service to our community is so important, and they really "owned" that this year. Seeing them work together was great!
We have another wonderful yearbook full of memories! Thank you to Cristie Morgan and Tiffany Dagger and the Student Yearbook Staff! They put in many long hours. What a unique challenge to complete the yearbook during the Covid -19 school and business closures. I appreciate the extra efforts put into making this happen.
- We had many facility improvements and updates. We have new flooring in our entry vestibule and front hallways. We have new lighting and an entirely new Learning Commons. In front of O.C. Taylor, the front bed surrounding the Tiger has been cleaned and cleared. We have more special rocks the OCT students have painted. The front faded wall was painted a bright blue at the end of last year. Thank you also to Dads' Club, PTA, and Jim Hoey and his team in GCISD facilities for working with me to improve our facility.
Student Class Assignments for 2020-21
We have been working diligently on class assignments for next year. Our process for class placement is for the staff to meet in our online Professional Learning Communities to discuss. The classroom teachers, OCT administration, counselor, and special teachers review these recommendations, make additional suggestions to accommodate needed professional support, and then the final approval rests with the principal and assistant principal. As we did this school year before Meet the Teacher in August, we are planning for our teachers to be calling home to let your child know he or she will be your child's teacher. Make sure the front office has a good phone number to reach you on the Thursday before school starts.
If you would like to give input about your child to help with classroom placement, please complete the Invite to Write form. Please do not request a specific teacher on your form. All forms are due no later than June 20, 2020. Click here to make a copy of the form.
This year we have one staff member leaving us. Liz Campbell, a special education teacher, is moving closer to where her husband works in Frisco. We will miss her and wish her the very best life has to offer. Remember, once a Tiger, always a Tiger! Come back and visit!
We had to make some changes to the existing personnel. With our enrollment predictions and numbers for next year, the demographers and central administration have slated four sections of first grade; therefore, Lesley Osborne, who has taught 1st grade before, will teach 1st grade again next year. We will have only three sections of 2nd grade next year and are increasing by one teacher in 3rd grade, so Mrs. Julie Lee will move from 2nd to 3rd grade. Mrs. Mandy Wierzbicki (formerly Eikelbarner) will be joining our 3rd grade team from BCES. Mrs. Watkins will join the 5th grade team, along with Mrs. Fiffik, Mrs. Fields, and Mrs. Epperson. With all this, it should be noted that there is a possibility of additional changes when we return in August, as unforeseen events tend to happen.
As I come to the end of this long letter, I extend my thanks to the entire OCT community for the way you continued to support the OCT staff through the Covid-19 quarantine. I am beyond blessed to serve this school and community. I will miss you this summer! Please continue to read with your children every single day. This is a critical task in order for your child to not regress. We hope to see you in August!
To the BEST of days,
Empowering our children today to create a better tomorrow!
OCT Vision: To empower our children today to create a better tomorrow.
OCT Mission: To create life-long learners and develop servant leaders through authentic, real-world experiences.
CLICK HERE to see the GCISD 2020-21 Instructional Calendars
Returning student registration (online only)
Wednesday, July 29
8:00 - 12:00/1:00 - 4:00 TENTATIVE New Student Registration at OCT
Thursday, August 13
5:00-6:00 p.m. TENTATIVE Meet the Teacher
Monday, August 17
7:15 a.m. Doors open for the 2020-21 school year
7:40 a.m. Tardy bell rings
7:40-8:40 a.m. TENTATIVE Kindergarten Parent BooHoo/Yahoo Breakfast in the Library
Wednesday, August 19
5:00-6:15 p.m. TENTATIVE Curriculum Night for PreK, K, and 1st grade
Wednesday, August 26
5:00-6:15 p.m. TENTATIVE Curriculum Night for 2nd & 3rd grades
Thursday, August 27
5:00-6:15 p.m. TENTATIVE Curriculum Night for 4th & 5th grades
Please help our district and campus to improve our practices by giving feedback on these surveys. We greatly appreciate you taking a few moments to complete these, especially as we continue our journey of online learning.
STUDENT SURVEY: Ask your child to complete this survey:
Elementary Student Survey (English)
Elementary Student Survey (Spanish)
PARENT SURVEY: Adults/Guardians, please complete
Elementary Parent Survey (English)
Elementary Parent Survey (Spanish)
Saving Student Work in SeeSaw
If your child is using Seesaw, parents have the ability to download your student’s work:
Looking Forward Happy Summer, 2020!
Prevent the Summer Slide
Please continue to have your children read each day over the summer months to prevent summer slide. A recent study of children in 3rd to 5th grades showed that students lost, on average, about 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 27 percent of their school-year gains in math during summer break. Younger children are prone to the most learning loss because they’re at a crucial stage in their development. James Kim, Ed.D., an assistant professor of education at Harvard University states, “Things like decoding, letter knowledge, and word reading skills are very susceptible to decay without frequent practice, as are math facts like addition and subtraction.” So, please help us by reading with your child.
As an additional resource, please reference the GCISD Learning@Home, "Love2Learn Enrichment 2020" by clicking here. This site will be updated throughout the summer.
Updates from the Learning Commons, Mrs. Bonacci
Hi O. C. Taylor Families!
The 2020-2021 GCISD Reads Challenge begins on June 1st. Watch our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates about this exciting challenge throughout the summer months. For more information visit our 2020-2021 GCISD Reads Challenge Smore!
Your child has free access to Epic until June 30th and free access to Overdrive all year. You can also connect to your public library using the Overdrive app. Please let me know if I can support you in accessing reading materials for your tiger.
For information about the Learning Commons Programs and Services visit this link-
Congratulations, Tigers!!! We are so proud of you for working hard to finish this school year strong. We wish our 5th graders lots of love as they move on to middle school. We hope you will come back to visit every once in a while. Remember...once a Tiger, always a Tiger! We have attached a fun Specials Bingo game so that you can keep Art, Music and PE in your life throughout summer break. We love you, we miss you, and we can't wait to see again soon. Stay safe and enjoy your summer break!
Updates from the Clinic, Nurse Katy
- Vaccinations: If your child receives any vaccinations over the Summer, please be sure I get a copy for their permanent file. You can scan/email them to me if that is easiest for you. When I am back on contract in August, I will be notifying everyone who still needs shots or an updated shot record. My wish is that every student will be completely up to date with all of their immunizations and able to come to OCT on the first day of school!
- Medications/Medication forms: If your student will be taking a controlled medication DURING SCHOOL HOURS next year, please get the appropriate Medication Permit/Physician's Orders signed by a physician over the Summer. We have to have a new one on file every school year. The form can be found on the GCISD website- Departments- Health Services- Forms and Authorizations. Also, check the expiration dates on your student's inhalers, Epi-pens, etc. All medications have to have a pharmacy label and not be expired in order for them to be kept/administered at school.
- THANK YOU: Thank you for allowing me to serve you another year! If you have any questions or need anything from me, please do not hesitate to ask. Have a spectacular Summer vacation! Stay safe and healthy! :)
A Word from Counselor, Mrs. Whisman
Registration for Returning Students
Registration for returning students will open in July. All returning families will need to go to the district website under Student Registration to complete the registration process. Remember, if you are currently living at the same address, you will confirm the residence in Skyward. If you have moved during the summer and have a new address, you will be required to provide proof of residency at the campus during the designated time in August.
Registration for New Students to O.C. Taylor
Summer Food Program
The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to all children age 18 and younger. These meals provide essential nutrients for active growing kids. Children need good nutrition year-round so they can learn, grow, and succeed in life. With nearly 2 million food-insecure children living in Texas, these healthy meals are vital to nourishing young Texans during the summer vacation.
To participate in the free meal program, children 18 and younger must be present at one of our serving sites.
For more information, visit the GCISD website.
Thank you from the PTA!
When I decided to retire from higher education two years ago, I hoped I would have more time to devote to serving on the PTA at O.C. Taylor. Being in PTA roles has allowed me to be firsthand at numerous events where our Tigers have had such fun and exciting learning experiences. I was able to grow closer to the women and men who serve tirelessly on the PTA.
To the dozens of you who always picked up your phone when I called, thank you for always saying yes and never saying no. From being wiling to pick up donuts or coffee at 6:30 a.m. to running to numerous stores to find supplies; from collecting athletic equipment from the Dads' Club members so that the kids have resources at recess, to decorating the school for the first ever Grand Slam for Grand Friends event until 11:00 p.m., only to be back by 6:00 a.m. for the event....THANK YOU. Those words are filled with indescribable appreciation and awe for how blessed we are at O.C. Taylor with parents who would devote so much of their time and talents and resources in order to make our children's time at elementary school to be even more memorable.
I have loved working with every single member of the board, and I'm so glad that this year provided the opportunity to develop friendships with you as we worked alongside each other. Also to the 8 officers, I am grateful to each of you for making this year, (even during our current learning-at-home situation), so memorable and fun. I think we have as much fun planning everything as our kids do at the events!
Thank you to Lissa Critz for being my constant sounding board. You are the calm to my chaos! Your sage advice and your ability to choose the perfect wording for any situation has been utilized numerous times this year. You are able to reflect and utilize reasoning to determine decisions, and I am excited to serve on the board next year under your wise leadership. Stephanie Williams, thank you for knowing that you needed to set up a Marco Polo chat group for the millions of conversations we would have this year about PTA. Your work ethic is unbeatable. You somehow never run out of ideas or out of energy to complete tasks. When we all think we are exhausted, you are able to complete one more task single-handed. Tamaron Hunt - you must have thought I was crazy when we decided to add every program possible and squeeze them all into one year....yet you never blinked. We knew we had the perfect person to carry out each program with amazing perfection, creativity and beauty. You created a blueprint, down to the tiniest detail for every program, and I hope everyone always remembers that the programs that were created this year were a success because of the woman who put them together and told us where to place every tablecloth and every buffalo plaid-wrapped present.
Jill Tate, thank you for being as devoted to O.C. Taylor as you are to every one of your projects. You delve into each task and find a way to benefit our school. You have the biggest heart, and we were blessed to have you lead our volunteers, as you truly have a servant's heart. Liz Payne, you are the epitome of "Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger." You have loved O.C. Taylor since you were a child, and it shows in everything you do. From greeting kids and opening car doors in the morning at the car loop, to asking in every situation "How can I help?", you love each Tiger family, and you see our members as the integral pieces of our PTA. Stephanie Wilkerson, you are the sweet, quiet one who goes along with our crazy plans. You worked alongside Tamaron at all of the Programs, usually with future Tiger Nolan by your side, ensuring that plans went off without a hitch. Thank you for all of the things you did behind the scenes - from organizing the PTA files, to running the Talent Show with Liz Payne.
Lindsay Harrison, we had a void last summer, and I didn't know what I would do. I'm so glad that God put you on my heart to ask if there was any way you would join our crazy PTA Officer group. None of us could possibly do your job the way you do. You are pristine with every intricate detail, and you make all of our jobs so much easier. Thank you for managing our resources and facilitating our expenditures so meticulously. And Kristin McElroy, we are all so blessed by you. After serving three years in President (2 years) and President-Elect (1 year) roles, you were willing to say yes one more time to serving as an Officer. Your contributions to O.C. Taylor are deeply appreciated, and I can't thank you enough for your wealth of knowledge and being able to recall something from three years ago that I might need to know.
Lisa Pedevilla, our Principal, I am grateful and indebted to you. You are a partner to O.C. Taylor PTA, and the first one to show up at events with us to set up, and the last one to leave to lock the doors behind us to make sure these amazing events can occur. You plan and work with us during days and nights, weekends and all summer-long, and you say yes to countless crazy ideas from the PTA. Thank you, Lisa, for loving our kids and our families, and for being a leader that our children will always remember and love. I have loved working alongside you.
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
-- Henry Drummond
I appreciate each of your families, as you were all supportive and kind to me this year. Serving our unmatched O.C. Taylor was an honor, and I'm grateful that you are the best elementary school community. I hope and pray that you all stay healthy and happy all summer, and I can't wait for the days where we will all be together again.
O.C. Taylor PTA President, 2019-2020
Congratulations to your newly-elected PTA Officers, 2020-2021!
President ~ Melissa Critz
President-Elect ~ Tamaron Hunt
Vice President of Programs ~ Liz Payne
Vice President of Ways and Means ~ Jill Tate
Vice President of Members ~ Challee Garland
Vice President of Volunteers ~ Berri O'Neal Gormley
Secretary ~ Stephanie Wilkerson
Treasurer ~ Lindsay Harrison