ACE Weekly Newsletter

April 10, 2016

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In This Week's Issue:

Note from Executive Director

Celebrating Excellence


  • ACE Mixer

Articles of the Week:

  • What conversations can capture

Video Spotlight

  • Participation Protocol for Academic Discussions


  • Texas Gateway
  • STAAR Countdown
  • ACE Site
  • Math SE live binder
  • School Calendars
  • HUB
  • Links to articles on School Turnaround
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Note from your Executive Director

Dear ACE Family,

Happy Spring! Hope you have enjoyed these three day weekends and are energized for the challenges ahead. Your dedication and expertise is paving the way for increased student achievement and we have much to celebrate!

Please mark your calendar for our ACE Mixer, April 21st. All ACE faculty and staff members are invited. We will have a short program then time for fellowship with dinner in the Edison courtyard. As part of the program, we would love some fun video clips about your thoughts on accelerated transformation. Please read below and send them our way.

Best wishes for an enjoyable and productive week,


Jolee Healey

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Zumwalt Writing Winners

Through the face to face meetings with tutors from LeadershipISD, students were able to meet professionals who shared their expertise in written communication. Volunteers represented a variety of fields including medicine, mathematics, law and finance. Last week tutors met their assigned students for a final person feedback session at Zumwalt Middle School. Student participants learned how to improve their compositions based on the STAAR rubric and left with concrete next steps to revise their essays. Additionally, LeadershipISD announced the winners of the six week writing contest and gave prizes totaling $500. Breanna Carroll's essay will be published in the LeadershipISD newsletter.

April Fools Prank at Pease

Pre-K and 2nd grade teachers pranked their interim principal for April 1st. Mr. Warfield was told of an emergency and immediately rushed to assist the teacher not realizing he would be sprayed with silly strings. April Fools!

Surprise visit at Mills by Brandon Carr

Dallas Cowboy, Brandon Carr, stopped by Mills to check out Reading Partners Program. We spent time in reading classrooms discussing the need to continue programs such as Reading Partners at Mills next year. He also spent time talking to 4th grade Reading Partner participants about the impact the program has on their reading. We hope he can garner support for the program's continuation.
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ACE Spring Mixer-Selfie Call!

Have you submitted your selfie yet?? What are you waiting for? Grab your phone, tablet, ipad, or computer and begin recording. In case you didn't get the memo, the flyer is attached. Be silly, be goofy, have fun and submit a selfie describing what transformation has meant to you this year with ACE. Here is the link to submit videos:

Make sure you follow the guidelines on the flyer and submit your video by April 12th at 5pm...we can't wait to see what you come up with!

Also, if you haven't rsvp'd, please do so on the link below!

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What Conversations Can Capture

Listening to conversations also gives teachers information that pertains to the learning environment. Teachers might notice fresh perspectives or solutions students bring to the discussion. Teachers might also gain insights into power dynamics (for instance, whether participation of voices is equitable or skewed by patterns that follow race, gender, or language status).

Consider two short exchanges and the instructional next steps each implies. Imagine that in considering the following interactions, you're seeking insight into three elements: the quality of students' collaborative conversation skills, how well students articulate thoughts aloud, and their level of understanding of important content. (Although we have the luxury here of analyzing written conversations, teachers will mostly need to keep the checklist of elements they create in their heads as they take notes on live conversations.)

Conversation 1. A 2nd grade teacher prompts students to share with their partners how the water cycle works, using vocabulary they just learned (evaporate, vapor, condense, precipitate).

MAYRA: It starts with water. Then it vapors to the sky. Then clouds and falls. Then a river goes down.XAVIER: The sun heats it up. Water goes up to clouds. It goes to the mountain. And then it falls into the river. That's all.

Although this interaction is actually a pair-share, not a conversation—because students don't go back and forth to build up ideas together—it gives insights into these students' content understandings and oral language skill. Both students have a solid grasp of the water cycle, but they aren't using the taught vocabulary. They use mostly complete sentences and some sequence markers for the cycle. Clues to the students' level of engagement are also here: Mayra and Xavier are both engaged enough to respond, but not engaged enough to elaborate (beyond just making the teacher happy by providing an easily anticipated answer).

If other students reveal similar needs, next steps could include modeling and scaffolding the use of target vocabulary in interactions and establishing a more engaging purpose for interactions. The teacher might have students share ideas to create a multimedia presentation on the water cycle.

Click here to read more!

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Common Elements of Successful School Turnarounds: Research and Experience

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