Alice ISD - ISC Gazette

Instructional Support Center • March 2016

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has sprung! We come to the end of March - the middle of the 5th Six Weeks! The end of this school year is right around the corner. Let's stay focused on teaching and learning! In addition, let us all stress the importance of attendance and encourage all of our students to read. Remember, bell-to-bell instruction, bell-to-bell engagement and bell-to-bell learning all go hand-in-hand! Check your lesson plans and make sure all three areas are addressed. This past month was short because of Spring Break, but so much was accomplished! Thank you so much for all that you do for our students! Our gratitude to all sponsors and coaches that have worked so hard helping and guiding our Coyotes toward SUCCESS!

Math Conversations

Want to improve math instruction and learning of concepts?

Have your students do more talking! Try opening a discussion with "How can we find out?" You can also ask open-ended questions about how to solve rather than actually calculating answers.Have students make predictions before they solve. Use of prediction and checking for understanding builds math reasoning (and addresses many of the process skills.)

Want to reduce misconceptions? That can be difficult. Just repeating a lesson or giving extra time or extra practice will not help. It is better to show students common errors and help them examine problems that demonstrate those common errors. This is a great opportunity to reinforce those foundational skills.

The book shown in the sidebar is a great read for learning very easy strategies for helping students reduce math anxiety and increase success.

"Through trial and error, mistakes, and correct choices, the brain builds neural tracks to preserve and repeat the rewarding behavior. For students and others, this means that after making an incorrect prediction, the next time the question comes up, prediction accuracy is better because the faulty information in the circuit has changed." (Learning to Love Math: Teaching Strategies that Change Student Attitudes and Get Success by Dr. Judy Willis)

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Math Curriculum Rollouts and Planning

Remember that rollouts begin at 8:00. Bring the IFD, Supporting material you have been using and the drafts of the unit tests. If you need additional copies, contact Anna Holmgreen. Time is critical, be sure to have the materials needed when you arrive!

April 1 ... Grade 6 Dubose Library

April 4 ... Grade 5 Dubose Library

April 5 ... Grade 4 Central Office Training Room

April 5 ...Grade 7 WAMS

April 6 ... Grade 3 Central Office

April 6 ...Grade 8 WAMS

April 7 ... Grade 2 Central Office Training Room

April 7 ... Algebra 1

April 8 ... Grade 1 Noonan Elementary

April 11...Kinder Central Office Training Room (half day, 8:00 - 11:30 or 12:30 - 4:00)

Math Mentor Texts

Using a read aloud is a great way to introduce or reinforce a concept...even for older kiddos! Here is a link to a fairly comprehensive list of mentor texts for math.

Math Mentor Texts

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Science Planning Dates (STAAR INTERVENTION)

April 4th- Biology (AHS)

April 5th- 8th Grade (WAMS)

April 6th- 5th Grade (Dubose)

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Good Luck To All State Science Fair Participants!

On April 1st and 2nd, students from William Adams Middle School, Memorial Intermediate and Dubose Intermediate will participate in the Exxon Mobile Texas Science and Engineering Science Fair in San Antonio, Texas. The fair will take place at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Good Luck to the following students:

Bria Escobar 6th Grade Memorial (Teacher: Veronica Reyna) Vanishing Vapors

Celeste Torres 6th Grade Dubose (Teacher: Tracy McZeal) Hunger Games

Miguel Gonzalez 8th Grade WAMS (Teacher: Denise Garcia) Natural Preservation

Science News Websites

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Writing-To-Learn: Science

Strategy: Quick Write

A writing-to-learn strategy is one that teachers employ throughout and/or at the end of a lesson to engage students and develop big ideas and concepts.

Quick Writing asks students to independently record everything they can think of in 3-5 minutes. The prompt students are given can be open ended or specific, depending on the teacher’s purpose. This strategy can be used before, during or after learning. It should not be a high risk, “graded” activity.

What does it do?

• Surfaces student thinking, making it visible and transparent.
• Provides information for teacher on lingering naïve conceptions, i.e., formative assessment.

• Helps students monitor their own learning.
• Raises questions for future inquiry.
• Provides direction for follow-up instruction, i.e., formative assessment.

How to implement:

• Teacher explains the purpose of the activity and that their products will be read but not graded.

· Teacher explains and models how s/he would respond to a given prompt.

· Students are told that they should write what first comes to mind on the topic and that they should not

consult their notes or partners.
• Teacher then assigns a topic, which can be open ended or very specific.

Example 1: Explanation

Provide students with a visual prompt and ask them to respond with a description or explanation. The prompt can be a quote, demonstration, photograph or drawing.

• Students are shown a cartoon of a girl looking at a crescent-shaped moon and they are asked to write the text for the cartoon.

• Teacher adds clear water to an “empty” container and the color changes. Students are asked to explain what caused the change.

Example 2: Exit Slip

• At the end of a lesson students summarize in one sentence what they think was the main point of the lesson. Select 3 -5 cards randomly and read aloud or post at beginning of next class. Discuss how well statements reflected the lesson.

• Formative Assessment: At the beginning of the lesson explain the Quick Write Prompt. It can be general or specific.

o “Class, today we will be learning about photosynthesis. At the end of class I will ask you to list three facts about this process.”

o “Class, today we will be learning about photosynthesis. At the end of class I will be asking you to tell me either the reactants or products for this process.”

At the end of the lesson, repeat the prompt and use student responses for planning. Separate cards into groups. If most students respond appropriately, meet individually with those who are still having problems. If the responses are varied, set up differentiated instruction for the next lesson: enrichment, review and small group tutoring.


HB 5 District Evaluation of Community & Student Engagement; Compliance

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Parent and Student Surveys Update

Attention Alice ISD Faculty and Staff:

It's that time of the year again for getting parent and student surveys completed! Alice ISD is conducting an evaluation of selected programs and would like to invite parents to participate in a school survey. As per Texas Education Code 39.0545-Section 46 of House Bill 5, districts are required to evaluate their performance at the district and campus level in 8 areas of community and student engagement and in 1 area of policy compliance.

We need parent feedback, so campuses need to find ways to get parents to submit a survey. Each campus will have an HB 5 Parent Survey Link available on their campus website so that parents can submit a survey. If campuses prefer to send out hard copies to parents to ensure a greater number of survey submissions, remember each of those must be keyed in by the deadline. Spanish surveys will also be made available. Our survey window will begin Tuesday, April 5th and will run until May 5th.

An official email notifying campus administrators that the survey links are "live" on your site will be forthcoming. We have been waiting on ESC2 to activate your links, but as soon as they do we are good to go.

Campuses can also begin surveying their students once we get those links active as well. We suggest you rotate students into your computer labs to ensure you have good data to base your evaluations on.

Get creative - promote an incentive - generate parent interest so that you have large numbers of surveys to use towards your overall evaluation.

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Students from William Adams attend the EXPLORE UT Event!

On March 5, 2016 more than 70 students from William Adams Middle School attended the Explore UT event. The chaperones were Ms. Becky Lutzke, Ms. Michelle Ballard, Ms. Kristin Hall, Ms. Jessica Chavarria, Ms. Ludy Resendez, and Ms. Auriella O'Neill. The trip was sponsored by the Department of Advanced Academics.

Held annually at UT Austin, Explore UT aims to inform students, parents, teachers and community members from across the state about the importance of the public research institution and higher education in Texas. The day-long event invites Texans of all ages to experience robust research experiences, hands-on demonstrations and experiments, and participate in the richness of the university's scholarship and knowledge.

Explore UT seeks to broaden the horizons of students in Texas and motivate them toward achieving higher education after high school. It seeks to help parents and teachers encourage the excitement of learning and discovery, and welcomes alumni to reconnect with the institution that prepared them for their careers.

Students were also invited to participate in other special attractions that included:

-Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum Exhibits

Exhibits included interactive displays, videos, images and artifacts that guide students through the life and legacy of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. Features of the library also included a downloadable app to guide visitors through the tours (including a tour in Spanish), access to President Johnson's private telephone conversations and interactive exhibits on the Vietnam War and Six Day War that detailed the President's decision making processes. Students were able to tour a replica of the Oval Office and see artifacts from President Johnson’s time in the White House.

-Perry-Castañeda Library Open House
The University of Texas Libraries - Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL)

The Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) is the largest of the UT's libraries with print and electronic books, journals, databases, maps and expertise to assist with research and learning. Students were invited to tour and speak with representatives.

-Texas Memorial Museum Exhibits
Texas Memorial Museum (TMM)

The Texas Memorial Museum's had ongoing exhibits as well as other fun activities scheduled throughout the day.

Exhibits that students attended included:
Deep Time in Texas
Students explored the museum's Hall of Geology and Paleontology featuring fossil dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, meteorites and rocks. The Paleo Lab allowed students to talk with a paleontologist while seeing how fossils are prepared, catalogued and studied.
Hall of Texas Wildlife
Students could also enjoy wildlife exhibits that highlighted the regions of Texas through dioramas, including mounted specimens of Texas birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Explore Evolution
This exhibit allowed students to explore Darwin's 151-year-old theory on evolution as well as experience how scientists conduct research on evolution and examine why evolution is important to science and medicine.

-Residence Hall Tours

Students attended guided tours of various resident halls and took a glimpse of life in a residence hall. The tours provided a fun way to take a behind the scenes look at life on campus.

-The University of Texas at Austin Office of Admissions

This student-led tour of the campus allowed students to learn about UT's unique history, culture and resources.

-Children's International Festival
College of Liberal Arts-East Mall

The Children's International Festival was at the heart of the Explore UT Cultural Crossroads on the East Mall. Students had the opportunity to experience the cultures of Ecuador, Russia, Tibet, France, Italy, other European nations and the Middle East.

Students who participated in this event, were taken back in time and crafted a medieval shield or crown. They were able to decorate a pre-Columbian costume, and create their own matryoshka doll, beautiful luminary, Tibetan prayer flag, or European nations' flags to take home.

-March with the Longhorn Band

Students who participated in this event, were able to follow in the footsteps of a 100-year-old university tradition and experience the thrill of marching with the Longhorn Band (LHB).

-Speedway Mall Festival
The Speedway Mall allowed for unique activities as a part of Explore UT. Students learned from public health and fire safety demonstrations, they scaled the ROTC climbing wall or explored the TAME Trailblazer, a 40-foot trailer full of engineering and science exhibits sponsored by the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering.

-The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum-walking tour
-Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue-walking tour

Source & Explore UT logo:

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Ms. Vowery Carlile, Gifted Specialist To Visit Alice ISD

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Gifted & Talented Parent Symposium

Ms. Carlile will be the guest speaker at the Gifted Parent Symposium, sponsored by the Department of Advanced Academics. The event will be on April 26, 2016 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Alice HS library.

The event, entitled Surprise! My Child is Gifted! What do I do Now? will allow parents an opportunity to hear strategies and advice on helping gifted children be successful in the classroom, and beyond. She will offer hands on activities that will combine challenging academics with social, cultural, and recreational opportunities to nurture students’ social skills, as well as enhance their natural talents and abilities. The hands on event is uniquely designed to help parents of gifted children enhance critical, complex, and creative thinking of gifted children.

Ms. Carlile, is an experienced educator, passionate author, and consultant. Her expertise with schools, administrators, and instructors have infused her business, "Vowery’s Creative Teaching Materials" with the all the necessary approaches in successfully educating gifted students and meeting their constantly changing needs.

Ms. Carlile has an extensive resume that highlights her breadth of experience with gifted and talented education. She has worked on numerous projects for the state and travels throughout the state of Texas to offer her services and training for various school districts and teachers. She has also produced multimedia resources covering a wide range of gifted and talented education topics.

In addition to consulting services, she has written 36 books on gifted child resources and anticipates more to come. She has also worked with the Texas Education Agency as well as the Public Broadcasting Service to produce a program that promotes consciousness of gifted children and their need for quality education and resources.

source and photo:

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Destination Imagination, Challenge D-Middle Level-Regional Champions headed to the 2016 Affiliate State Tournament!

Texas DI Regional Champions, "DIS IS US" Middle Level-Challenge D "Close Encounters" are heading to the Texas Affiliate Tournament. The team will be representing the South Coastal Bend regional area.


April 1-2 in Anna, TX at Anna High School.


April 2 at the Anna ISD Football Stadium at 8:30 p.m.

"DI IS US" Team members are:

Leon De Leon

Tristan Resendez

Chloe Ramirez

Samantha Kohler

Ray Moreno

Andrea Ojeda

Team Manager: Ms. Laura Botello

Chaperone for the event: Ms. Tracey McZeal

Principal: Dr. Judy Holmgreen

DI photo above (stadium award ceremony):

DI logo:

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Texas DI State Champions, Team "DIS IS US"

Middle Level-Challenge D "Close Encounters"

Good luck team,

we are proud of you!

Photo by Elida De Leon

Special Programs

Federal Funds

The deadline to spend campus federal monies is soon approaching. Campuses must have their general supply funds spent by Mar. 31. Federal monies can only be spent on instructional materials. This can include workbooks, novels, computers, ipads, anything for use in the classroom. Please contact the Department of Special Programs for further information.
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Have you ever thought of becoming a Bilingual or ESL Teacher??

The state has been experiencing a shortage of teachers in all areas of math, science, special education and bilingual/ESL education. Alice ISD would like to encourage their teachers to attempt to seek out their bilingual/ESL certification. As an incentive, the Bilingual Department will reimburse you for the cost of taking the exam and the actual certification if you pass the Bilingual or ESL Supplemental. If you are assigned as the English Language Arts teacher of record for a bilingual or ESL student, it also comes with a small stipend. The Bilingual/ESL department is glad to provide study guides for anyone interested. Please contact Dr. Alma Garcia, if you are interested in challenging the exam.


The TELPAS testing window will be closing on April 6. Teachers who have bilingual/ESL students enrolled in their classes will come together on the morning of April 5th to rate the students holistically in Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. Bilingual/ESL students (including those who have denied services) have been very busy completing writing samples over the last few weeks that will be rated in order to determine if progress is being made in acquiring English proficiency. Students in grades 2 - 12 are required to have at least 5 writing samples. Students in grades K - 1 should have 3 - 5 writing samples. Students in grades K - 12 will be rated. If you have any bilingual/ESL students, please ensure that you turn in writing samples to your campus verifier. Once approved, bring them with you on April 5th.

Resources for Teachers of English Language Learners

There are a lot of really great websites out there that have a wealth of ideas, strategies, lesson plans, etc. that can be utilized to help ELL students gain English proficiency.

Here are just a few:

A bilingual site for educators and families of English Language Learners

Lots of games and activities for ESL students

Lots of resources for teachers

Children's books read aloud by celebrities (English)

Texas English Language Learners Portal through TEA

Our numbers of bilingual/ESL students have been increasing steadily over the last few years and it is very important that we do all we can to help our students succeed.

Instructional Technology


The Instructional Technology Department welcomes JR Mascorro to the team effective March 28, 2016. JR is filling the open Technology Specialist position. As you see JR on your campus please welcome him to Alice ISD.


The Instructional Technology department has been busy with multiple ERate projects. ERate is a federal discount program to help schools improve their network.

On March 24, 2016, the wireless network upgrade project for William Adams Middle School was completed. William Adams Middle School now has greater WIFI coverage through out the campus.

The next project is the upgrade of network cabling and equipment for Memorial Intermediate School. This upgrade will enhance the campus computer accessibility to online resources.

TLI update

Alice High School had a huge success at the English I/II Boot Camp and students left feeling confident about the STAAR English I/II exams. The 2-day learning workshop involved having brief sessions with students at AHS. With the help of Vaughn-Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts, students received training on reading and writing strategies that would be used this week for testing. The students received supplies and materials that will impact their daily instruction in English classes. At the beginning of each day, English teachers helped students understand their Confidential Student Report (CSR) and what to expect on this year’s testing. Students enjoyed the activity-packed sessions and felt confident at the end of the Boot Camp. We’d like to extend a thank you to AHS staff, Marta Salazar from ISC, Becki Krsnak and the staff at VGC, Velma Soliz-Garcia and especially the students at AHS.

Curriculum and Parent Newsletters

Please click the links below to see our other newsletters and find out more about the subjects and parent information!

Math Newsletter

Social Studies Newsletter

Science Newsletter

ELA Newsletter

Parent Newsletter

Alice ISD - Instructional Support Center


Dr. Grace Everett

Velma Soliz-Garcia

Anna Holmgreen

Erika Vasquez

Elida De Leon

Marta Salazar

Dina Hinojosa

Ric Gonzalez

Gracie Garcia

Dr. Alma Garcia