Bryan Adams Feeder

Cougar News: March 23, 2015

In this Issue:

Feeder Celebrations & Events

  • "I will graduate." T-shirt Distribution and Homecoming for special guest Todd Williams
  • Bryan Adams Students Visit UT Austin
  • Theater Workshop @ Lochwood Library
  • Visiting Authors @ Hill Middle School
  • Hexter Garden Work Day
  • Alex Sanger Koo Koo Kangaroo Concert

Upcoming Events:

  • Teaching Trust
  • Tech Teach Presentation @ Bryan Adams March 24th @ 6:00 pm
  • Superintendent Miles hosts meeting at Bryan Adams High School, March 25th - 4:30-5:30

Reading from the Marshall Memo 578: Timothy Shanahan on Real Test Prep

Links for Feeder Use:

  • Reclaiming Cougar Country
  • BA Roaring Readers Volunteer Link

Bryan Adams Feeder Pattern Celebrations for March


"I will gradulate." T-Shirt Distribution and Homecoming for special guest, Mr. Todd Williams

Across the district, the "I will graduate." campaign is connecting elementary students with their feeder high schools through the distribution of t-shirts. In the Bryan Adams Feeder, we have had outstanding assemblies! Special thanks to Ms. Alexander and Ms. Suhl, student council reps, for coordinating the effort. We would also like to recognize the senior class president, Jonas Veazey, for his outstanding presentations. Through a strong team effort, our goal of inspiring students to connect with high school and college was reinforced.

We were fortunate to host a special guest at our Casa View Elementary assembly. BA alumnus Todd Williams, a former Casa View student 42 years ago, returned to help celebrate with our students. He and his wife , Abby Williams, along with Trustee Micciche, Assistant Superintendent Cordero, Executive Director Healey, Principal Aponte, Principal Kastl, and our DISD Community Partnership office all participated in the ceremony and enjoyed distributing t-shirts to students. The BA Band, Belles, cheerleaders, JROTC, and Student Council made the event exciting and inspiring for all.

Special thanks to Mr. Williams for supporting our feeder pattern this year in many ways, including:

  • Sharing ISIP reading data analysis through Commit!
  • Donating funds for feeder slogan contest, design, and yard signs.
  • Supporting education innovation with ideas and resources.
  • Donating college banners to all 12 BA schools.

Bryan Adams Students Visit University of Texas in Austin

Thanks to 9th grade teacher Ms. Chi from Bryan Adams High School for taking students to UT Austin. They had a wonderful time and it was great exposure to a college campus. Many reported it was one of their best memories. These trips provide vital inspiration for our students. Go Cougars!

Theater Workshop @ Lochwood Library for High School Students

“High school students: Play a part in a theater workshop series to be held at the Lochwood Branch Library. No experience required. Join in anytime during the series. Email for more information.”

Authors Visit Robert T. Hill Middle School Library

Pat Mora, International acclaimed author and founder of DIA, Day of the Child/Day of the Book, visited at Robert T. Hill MS last week. Over 60 Librarians and several teachers from around the District attended the event. The event was a huge success, well organized and enjoyed by all.

A special shout out to Mrs. Ruiz, Mrs. Kastl, Ms. Pompa, Ms. Ramirez, Mr. Brown, Sgt. Martinez and his 5th period class of cadets, Mr. Morris, Ms. Debra Smith, Mrs. Tseng and to everyone who one way or another made possible the success of this wonderful event.

More information on the authors:

Maria E. Rodriguez

Library/ Media Specialist

Robert T. Hill Middle School

Better Together Home of the Highlanders

Robert T. Hill Student Finalist in Poetry Contest

TWU professor and author Dr. Sylvia Vardell, promoting her new book with co- author Janet Wong, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish also visited Hill MS. This was a great connection for celebrating Jonathan Jimenez, a 7th grader, who was selected as one of the finalists of The Dallas Public Library Poetry Contest.

Hexter Garden Work Day - Huge Success

Thanks to the 60 volunteers who helped with the spring garden work list at Hexter Elementary Saturday who completed over 34 jobs! We also greatly appreciate ONE90 bbq, Hexter parent Herman Guerra, who generously fed everyone.

Rosemary Costello -Teacher Assistant/Garden Coordinator ---972-502-5800

Sanger Koo Koo Kangaroo Concert

Alex Sanger Elementary School students shouted their favorite color, did (safe) karate chops, and performed a variety of other dance moves during a special Koo Koo Kangaroo concert on Tuesday afternoon. Koo Koo Kangaroo, an interactive comedic dance-pop band from Minnesota, performed at Alex Sanger Elementary after its students won a GoNoodle contest sponsored by Children’s Health. GoNoodle is an online service that provides “brain breaks” in classrooms through brief, interactive videos designed to encourage body movement. To win the GoNoodle contest, Sanger Elementary had the highest percentage of GoNoodle users in Dallas ISD between Feb. 9–March 6. “Brain breaks allow our kids to get some physical movement and get the blood going through their bodies,” said Danielle Wesley, senior director of school-based services for Children’s Health. “That allows our kids to be smarter because it helps them get back on task quicker.” Alex Sanger Elementary Coach Rose Hammond was a leading GoNoodle advocate at the school. She said some videos have mini-lessons within the physical activities. She introduced GoNoodle to parents at a PTA meeting, and many parents have even incorporated the “brain breaks” at home. Sanger Elementary Principal Hector Martinez said he appreciated how GoNoodle brings a focus to physical health.

“Having our students participate in exercise, not only at school but at home, is very important,” he said. “We are changing the mindset that healthy living is now a lifestyle.”


Tech Teach Presentation Invitation for Our 8th Grade Parents and Students

Bryan Adams HS has a parent presentation scheduled for next Tuesday evening to inform our parents and students about the Tech Teach program. This program allows students to earn an associate’s degree through dual credit while they are still in high school. After high school graduation, participants can complete an education degree from Texas Tech University, through online and distance learning at little to no cost for participants.

We wanted to reach out to our feeder middle schools to ask you to please let your 8th grade parents know about this presentation and encourage them to attend if their child has an interest in going into education one day. Even if they aren’t sure, they are welcome to attend! The presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24th at 6 pm in the BA library.

Shannon Rodriguez MEd

Counselor, Cohort Class of 2016

Bryan Adams High School


“Striving for Excellence”

Superintendent Miles hosts meeting at Bryan Adams High School

Wednesday, March 25th, 4:30-5:30pm

Millmar Drive, Dallas, TX, United States

Leadership ISD - March Community Connectors Session

Thursday, March 26th, 8:30-10:30am

1933 East Levee Street

We will have another great agenda with plenty of information and experts to help you build parent leaders, engage your stakeholders, and find available resources to support your spring programs. We will have a light breakfast for you. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early so we can start right on time since we have a great agenda for the day!

LAST CALL----Teaching Trust - ED Fellows Program Accepting Applications, Deadline March 31, 2015

The Ed Fellows Program in collaboration with TFA- DFW is currently accepting applications. I’m specifically reaching out because we value our partnership with Dallas ISD and need your support to source quality nominations.

Our leadership program is designed to develop teacher leaders who can implement proven practices in their own classrooms with fidelity and influence colleagues to drive and sustain student achievement on their campus. We believe the actionable leadership strategies our program teaches can support the work your principals lead on their campus.

Please encourage your principals to nominate high achieving teachers today. We are in search of educators eager to practice their skills to grow, learn and elevate their impact. The application deadline is March 31. We look forward to receiving DISD applications.


Ana Luz

Ana Luz Hernández, Recruitment Manager

Teaching Trust | Transforming Education at Its Core

1825 Market Center Blvd., Suite 260, Dallas, TX 75207

214-206-3849 x321| f: 214-206-3854 |

From the Marshall Memo #578

Timothy Shanahan on Real Test Prep

This article is a great reminder that our primary focus cannot be on "test prep" rather we have to build strong readers.

....the fundamental problem is that many educators are not sure what will improve test scores.... It’s not students’ ability to answer questions on specific skills, says Shanahan – “performance on various question types explains none of the variance in student performance on standardized comprehension tests… Analyses of test performance suggest that outcome variance is due not to the questions but to the passages. On reading comprehension tests, it matters how well students read the passages that they will be questioned about. If you want higher test scores, then teach your students to read the test passages better.” How do teachers do that? Here are Shanahan’s suggestions:

Teach students how to figure out unknown words. When they take the new tests, students are going to encounter some words they don’t know – there’s no way they will have learned all the possible words. If instruction during the year has focused on learning as many words as possible, students will be up the creek without a paddle. But if instruction has focused on learning words and strategies for figuring out unknown words, students will be able to manage. Shanahan believes that during the year, too many teachers are pre-teaching words. That’s okay if the words’ meaning can’t be figured out from context clues. But if there are context clues, as there usually are, students should be required to do the work of figuring out the word – and explicitly taught how to struggle successfully.

Making sense of sentences. Consider this sentence from a fourth-grade text and how difficult it would be for many students to decipher its dependent clauses:

The women of Montgomery, both young and older, would come in with their fancy holiday dresses that needed adjustments or their Sunday suits or blouses that needed just a touch – a flower or some velvet trimming or something to make the ladies look festive.

Students need explicit instruction in how to close-read this sentence, break it down to its basic elements by taking out parenthetical phrases, and make sense of it. The same is true of sentences that use the passive voice (It was determined by Roosevelt that the Chancellor’s message did not require an immediate response from the State Department). “There is a substantial research base showing the effectiveness of sentence combining and sentence reduction in improving students’ writing and reading comprehension,” says Shanahan. “Such lessons, at one time, were commonplace in many American classrooms. Perhaps it’s time for their rediscovery.”

Silent reading with real understanding – Reading comprehension tests require students to read lengthy passages without prompting or assistance. How much practice are students getting at this demanding task? Shanahan wonders. He sees silent reading periods in schools he visits, but he’s unclear: “I just can’t tell, from what I see, whether the students are really improving in that essential reading skill or whether they are languishing. In many situations, I doubt whether the teacher knows, either. Sadly, I’m finding that few teachers have any idea how to teach students to engage successfully in this kind of extended silent reading.” Shanahan believes many students need to be asked to read one sentence silently and be quizzed on it, then two sentences, then a paragraph, then a page, then a chapter. “This kind of build-up reading with intensive questioning can take place beyond the reading book,” he says – in science, social studies, Weekly Reader, Time for Kids. And students need to be able to do it without picture clues.

If we teach these three things well – figuring out unknown words, breaking down difficult sentences, and sustaining concentration and comprehension when reading long passages silently – Shanahan believes we will see improved test performance, and students will be better readers as well.

“Let’s Get Higher Scores on These New Assessments” by Timothy Shanahan in The Reading Teacher, March 2015 (Vol. 68, #6, p. 459-463), available for purchase at; Shanahan can be reached at

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Dear Cougar Family,

Thanks for joining us in Reclaiming Cougar Country! Over 500 yard signs have been sold!! Please keep the momentum. Let's get these planted in yards and around our local businesses. Thanks to BA Student Council & our PTAs; keep up the great work!

Remember our 3 Key Actions:

1. Purchase a yard sign from Bryan Adams High School Student Council members or from your local PTA. Order form is below. $5.00 each (Every time I see one of our signs, it makes my day! Please feel free to take pictures of any you find and email me.)

2. Help increase communication by sharing good news. It's simple; just write a short description of an upcoming event or summary of a recently held event with a photo. Share news in the following ways:

3. Consider volunteering with our "Roaring Readers" program. We are committed to ensuring all first grade students finish the school year reading on or above grade level. This is a significant challenge and community support will make a big difference. Please visit the link below to learn more and share it with a friend.

Together we can make a difference in our community for our children. It's a great time to be a cougar! Thank you for your partnership,

Jolee Healey

Executive Director

Bryan Adams Feeder Pattern