Alice ISD - ISC Gazette

October 2015 Publication

Alice ISD ISC 2015-2016 Gazette!

The Alice ISD Instructional Support Center Gazette is a newsletter written by district administrators that includes articles with information of upcoming events, recognitions of faculty and staff, updates on staff development or training sessions and much more! It is published on the last day of every month or the last Friday of the month - except December. We hope that you will find this newsletter to be informative and helpful!

The second six weeks ends Friday, November 13!

From Our Superintendent...

The focus for this year is to teach students to read and close the reading gaps between grade levels so as to ensure the continued success of our students. Going into the holidays, it is important to remind parents about continuing the reading process at home. Parents have the power to boost their children's learning potential simply by making books an integral part of their lives. Take time the next couple of weeks to meet with the librarian, literary coach, and/or reading specialist to develop strategies that can be implemented over the holidays to ensure student have books or other materials to read. Working together to promote reading can only help your campus develop better readers, which will result in the children’s development of a more extensive vocabulary and better communication skills along with other reading skills needed to do well in school and on the STAAR exams. Promote reading!!

Dr. Grace Everett

Texas Teacher of the Year 2016 Awards Ceremony

The Texas Teacher of the Year 2016 Awards Ceremony was held at the Bullock Texas State History Museum Friday, October 16. Ms. Barbara Garcia attended along with 39 other Regional Teachers of the Year. Each Region selects one elementary and one secondary Teacher of the Year. They were all presented with a beautiful trophy and a certificate. All representatives were treated to a wonderful dinner the night before the awards.

Congratulations Barbara Garcia, 2016 Texas Region 2 Secondary Teacher of the Year! We are all so very proud of you! Thank you for all you do for our students!


"The product is NOT evidence of learning.

Thinking and discourse about the product is evidence of learning."

~Ervin Knezek, Lead4Ward CEO & Founder

Alice High School Pink Day - October 14, 2015

Barbara Garcia and her Cafe 400 crew provided tasty treats for faculty and staff while HOSA members offered free blood pressure check ups to raise awareness and promote healthy living. Cafe 400 students also spent time distributing literature about breast cancer awareness.
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Math Corner

Knowing or Understanding?

Is there a difference between knowing and understanding? In "Teaching Student - Centered Mathematics" the authors stake the claim that it is very different. I think anyone who has followed the progress in from one state assessment to another (TABS, TEAMS, TAAS, TAKS, STAAR) can say that is pretty evident.

Students can know their multiplication facts but not understand multiplication or be able to give you a problem that illustrates multiplication. Understanding is flexible thinking and is more than a collection of facts. Students who understand can justify why an answer is correct or why a rule makes sense.

Teaching today requires teaching for understanding. That is why the Process Standards are so important. By designing activities that incorporate these Tools to Know and Ways to Show, we help students go beyond knowing to understanding.

Math Facilitated Planning (Roll Outs)

Nov. 2 . . . 6th Grade (Dubose)

Nov. 3 . . . 5th Grade (Dubose) and 7th Grade (WAMS)

Nov. 4 . . . 4th Grade

Nov. 5 . . . 3rd Grade and Algebra 1

Nov. 6 . . . 2nd Grade

Nov. 9 . . . 1st Grade

Nov. 10 . . .Kindergarten (half-day only a.m. or p.m.)

TI- Navigator Training

For several years we have been fortunate to have the TI-Navigator systems in our middle school and high school classrooms. Training for teachers new to the district will be held on Nov. 12 and ____.

See the info below from about how the system can impact instruction.

The TI-Navigator system creates a powerful connection between students and educator wirelessly networking each student’s graphing calculator to the classroom computer.Effective use of the TI-Navigator system and graphing calculators improves student engagement, understanding and performance. Educators can:

  • Track the progress of individual students or the class in real time
  • View student coursework, check problem solving techniques and guide performance
  • Use instant feedback to create a dynamic learning environment proven by research* to increase student success

TI-Navigator system's integrated approach is based on:

  • Instruction that becomes more dynamic, intimate and intuitive in a more connected and collaborative classroom
  • Assessment of student comprehension that can be performed at any point to monitor progress and instantly adjust instruction
  • Content that is standards-based, fast and easy to deliver, and designed to promote an engaging, interactive classroom
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Upcoming Science Planning Dates

November 4, 2015- 7th & 8th ( William Adams Middle School)

November 5, 2015- 5th (Dubose Library)

November 10, 2015- Bio (Alice High School)

Professional Development Opportunity for Science Teachers

November 9, 2015

Workshop #1295606

For: Science teachers of any grade level

Reading, Writing, Science, ELPS.....Oh My!

This workshop will focus on strategies that can be used to help struggling learners understand difficult science concepts. Participants will explore hands-on activities that will provide English Language Learners with meaningful access to the science curriculum, while fostering the development of academic language.

If teachers are interested in attending they will need administrator approval and will need to sign up through the education service center.

Science Resources


“House Bill 743, which was passed by the Legislature earlier this year, requires STAAR assessments be designed so 85 percent of students can complete the grades 3–5 assessments in two hours and 85 percent of students can complete the grades 6–8 assessments in three hours,” said Commissioner Williams.

This year Commissioner Williams has announced changes to testing that will meet the legislative requirements of HB 743.
TEA will take the following actions in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years:

  • For 2016 only, TEA will remove all currently-embedded field-test questions for STAAR grades 3–8, which will reduce the length of each assessment by five to eight questions.
  • TEA has also redesigned the 2016 STAAR grades 4 and 7 writing tests so they will be completed in one four-hour administration. The length of the STAAR Writing Assessment has been shortened in number of multiple choice items and students will only have 1 composition to write [it will be expository]

During the spring 2016 test administration, TEA will collect detailed data on the time it takes students to complete the assessments. That data will then be used to determine how to adjust STAAR 3-8 assessments for the spring 2017 assessments.

Teachers Implement the Balanced Literacy Framework

During the month of October several elementary classroom teachers were visited by Danni and Kellie of the Collette Consulting Group. They want to ensure that teachers new to balanced literacy have been successful with implementing the components necessary for students to master written and oral language. As they conducted their on-site support, Danni and Kellie checked that classroom environments are correctly set up and they observed teachers implementing their writer's workshop. During the classroom visits teachers are able to get immediate feedback from Danni or Kellie regarding their implementation of a specific structure. Not only do new teachers get classroom support, teachers previously training in Balanced Literacy are also visited. Danni and Kellie want to maintain communication with these teachers and provide on-going professional development for teachers who may need a refresher of some sort.

During their October training days new teachers reviewed the writer's workshop components and began on implementing the readers workshop framework with a specific focus on guided reading. With B.O.Y. testing complete, teachers now have students grouped to begin guided reading instruction.

Guided reading is the heart of an effective literacy program - this is where teachers can show children how to read at their level and provide the needed support. Guided reading leads to the independent reading that builds the process. When students engage in smooth, efficient processing of text with deep understanding, they can steadily increase their abilities.

Guided reading:

  • gives children the opportunity to develop as individual readers while participating in a socially supported activity.
  • gives the teacher the opportunity to observe individuals as they process new texts.
  • gives individual readers the opportunity to develop reading strategies modeled during shared reading time.
  • develops the abilities needed for independent reading

Essential components of guided reading:

  • teacher works with small group
  • children with similar reading development are grouped together
  • each child reads
  • the goal is for children to read independently
  • children are grouped and regrouped in a dynamic process that involves ongoing observation and assessment [Teachers need to become expert in forming and reforming groups to allow for the differences in learning that are evident in students. -Fountas & Pinnell, 2013]

November and December Balanced Literacy Days

November 2nd - Danni on-site visiting classrooms
November 4th - Danni on-site visiting classrooms
November 18th - New Teacher Cohort (K-2) Balanced Literacy training
  • Location Alice High School Library
  • 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Focus: Taking running records and digging deeper into book introductions

December 1st - Kellie on-site support

December 2nd - Danni on-site support

December 9th - Danni on-site support

Making Changes in 5th - 8th Grade ELAR Classrooms!

Not only are our K-4 teachers being trained in balanced literacy instruction, but our 5th - 8th grade teachers are as well. Upon visiting their classrooms an immediate difference can be seen in their classroom environment. Literacy stations, classroom libraries, easels for the mini-lesson, and carpet areas so kids can come together as a group for shared reading or a read aloud can be seen throughout our ELAR 5-8 classrooms.

Sam Collette and Roseanne Smith of the Collette Consulting Group have been working with ELAR teachers at both Dubose and Memorial Intermediate Schools to help them with classroom environment, setting up their libraries, and planning for guided reading instruction. Furthermore, teachers have also been guided and supported in this new instructional framework by their campus literacy coaches Dr. Barbara Stottlemyer, Deborah O'Neil, Margaret Everett-Garcia, as well as with Becky Krsnak, our Texas Literacy Initiative liaison, and Dina Hinojosa our Texas Literacy Initiative Grant Project Director.

The task of changing their instructional practices has not always been easy for our teachers, but they are motivated to make an impact on the students they teach. They understand that in order for us to impact and improve reading levels across the district students need guided reading instruction. We are so proud of our teachers for taking on this endeavor and are thankful they have been open to change. Our students love their new classroom environment and are beginning to develop a love and appreciation for reading all over again.


Think about it...

When you try something new, or want to improve, what do you seek? Feedback!

Providing meaningful feedback is one of the best things educators can do to help improve student learning. Great feedback is more than "good job" or a smiley face. It must be specific and timely.

The article below addresses great tips for giving feedback. Take some time to check it out!

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What Is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP)?

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is the most researched and best-known bullying prevention program available today. With over thirty-five years of research and successful implementation all over the world, OBPP is a wholeschool program that has been proven to prevent or reduce bullying throughout a school setting. OBPP is used at the school, classroom, and individual levels and includes methods to reach out to parents and the community for involvement and support. School administrators, teachers, and other staff are primarily responsible for introducing and implementing the program. These efforts are designed to improve peer relations and make the school a safer and more positive place for students to learn and develop.

The Goals of the Program Are:

  • To reduce existing bullying problems among students.
  • To prevent the development of new bullying problems.
  • To achieve better peer relations at school.

What Are the Effects of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program?

OBPP has been more thoroughly evaluated than any other bullying prevention/reduction program so far. Six large-scale evaluations, involving more than 40,000 students, have documented results such as the following:

  • Average reductions by 20 to 70 percent in student reports of being bullied and bullying others. Peer and teacher ratings of bullying problems have yielded roughly similar results.
  • Marked reductions in student reports of general antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, fighting, theft, and truancy.
  • Clear improvements in classroom social climate, as reflected in students’ reports of improved order and discipline, more positive social relationships, and more positive attitudes toward schoolwork and school. For students in grades 4–7, most of the positive results can be seen after only eight months of intervention work, given reasonably good implementation of the program. For students in grades 8–10, it may take somewhat more time, maybe two years, to achieve equally good results.

What Are the Components of the Program?

OBPP is not a classroom curriculum. It is a whole-school, systems-change program at four different levels. The program components include:

Level I-Schoolwide:

  • Establish a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee.
  • Conduct committee and staff trainings.
  • Administer the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire schoolwide.
  • Hold staff discussion group meetings.
  • Introduce the school rules against bullying.
  • Review and refine the school’s supervisory system.
  • Hold a school kick-off event to launch the program.
  • Involve parents.

Level II-In the Classroom:

  • Post and enforce schoolwide rules against bullying.
  • Hold regular class meetings.
  • Hold meetings with students’ parents.

Level III-For Individuals Who Bully or Who Are Bullied Supervise students’ activities:

  • Ensure that all staff intervene on the spot when bullying occurs.
  • Hold meetings with students involved in bullying.
  • Hold meetings with parents of involved students.
  • Develop individual intervention plans for involved students.

Level IV-In The Community:

  • Involve community members on the Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee.
  • Develop partnerships with community members to support your school’s program.
  • Help to spread anti-bullying messages and principles of best practice in the community.

For more information on the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program visit or visit with your campus counselors.

Source: Olweus Facts - Introducing the OBPP

Gifted & Talented 30 Hour Awareness Workshops (Days 1-5)

Workshops will be at the ESC-2 in Corpus Christi, Texas.

G/T Training Day 1 of 5 (Nature and Needs)
This is Day 1 of the 30 hours required for teachers of gifted students. Participants will learn about the cognitive, social and emotional characteristics of gifted students.

Date: Jan. 19, 2016

G/T Training Day 2 of 5 (Identification and Assessment)
This is day 2 of the 30 hours required of teachers of gifted students. Participants will learn about methods of assessment that help accurately identify the needs of gifted students in a district.

Date: Jan. 27, 2016

G/T Training Day 3 of 5 (Designing Curriculum)
This is day 3 of 30 hours required of teachers of gifted students. Participants will learn about the Texas Performance standards Project and other innovative and practical ways to design appropriately challenging curricula for gifted students.

Date: Feb. 3, 2016

G/T Training Day 4 of 5 (Differentiating Instruction)
Day 4 of the 30 hours required for teachers of gifted students. Participants will learn about what differentiation truly means and what it should look like for gifted students.

Date: Feb. 8, 2016

G/T Training Day 5 of 5 (Setting Standards)
This is day 5 of the 30 hour required training of teachers of gifted students. Participants will learn about assessment used to measure student growth and the quality of a district's serves for gifted students.

Date: Feb. 17, 2016

Contact the Gifted Education Department at 361-664-0981 X 30 to register or for more information.

Clipart: Source Karen's Kids

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Gifted children in your classroom? Gifted kids in your home?

Visit the Hoagies' Gifted Education Page, the all-things-gifted site, full of resources, articles, books and links to help and support parents, teachers, and gifted children alike. Pick your path, and explore them all! Explore at :

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Texas Literacy Initiative Update

District BOY Literacy Line Meeting

Great things are happening at Alice ISD! All campuses, including Community Action Headstart campuses, met to share the beginning of year (BOY) data on Wednesday.

Each campus shared 3 items:
1) a BOY celebration
2) plans for implementation on reaching sustainability in the assessment course
3) this year's focus - what they will do everyday with fidelity to reach their goals

Every campus leadership team presented their celebrations. From Literacy Night successes, implementation of guided reading and small group instruction, intervention, reaching data goals to team building, writing professional development, focused intervention and instruction based on data and team book studies. Each campus has a lot to celebrate. One big area of focus is Writing across all content areas. Way to go team! We are on our way to meet our TLI Goals! Thank you for all your hard work! Your dedication to our students doesn’t go unnoticed.

The next data meeting is February 24, 2016, at AHS library.

AHS Literacy News!

English I teachers have come together to plan lessons based on data analysis from Unit 1. With the guidance of Deborah O'Neill, teachers met to plan 5 weeks of lessons for explicit instruction. In the next few weeks, all students will have access to Reading Plus as an intervention to help struggling readers. In addition, AHS has set-up a new computer lab in the English wing - Room 113 with 32 new computers for students to use. English classrooms were also equipped with new computers for students to use during differentiated instruction. A special thanks to Cindy Sandoval, Curriculum Department Administrative Assistant, for her perseverance in setting up the lab and classrooms with computers for daily use. Kudos to you, Cindy!

Technology Corner - Google Tips!

  1. Need a classroom timer?
    While in Chrome, just enter "5 min timer" in the URL/Search box and the browser will auto start a 5 minute timer.
  2. Did you know that Google Docs has Voice Typing?
    Open a Google Doc and on the menu select Tools / Voice typing. Enable the microphone and start talking. (This does require a microphone.) Great resource for struggling students.
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Discovering the World Through GIS (geographic information systems)

Map Your Future Career with GIS: Civil Engineering, Surveying, Geology, Land & Wildlife MGT, Geography, Precision Agriculture & Forestry, Natural Resources, Law Enforcement, Logistic & Transportation, Architecture, Marketing & Business.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is a high-demand technology field with high earnings potential and interesting, challenging work. GIS uses software to create maps, graphs, charts, and spatial reference data reports. Some examples are the location of fire stations in a city, hurricane evacuation routes, the best location for businesses based on demographic statistics, and maps of property boundaries. GIS technicians are highly skilled professionals responsible for acquiring, encoding, plotting, and mapping spatial data.

The National Geographic Society, along with TAMUK, TAMUCC, Del Mar, Coastal Bend College, Laredo Community College and the National Informational, Security, Geospactial Technology Consortium are inviting school districts to be part of this exciting event. This event is open to students in grades 6 through 12. GIS Day includes sessions that allow kids an opportunity for hands-on activities, and demonstrations allowing them to experience emerging information technologies, and a variety of natural, physical and social sciences, including STEM related fields. GIS is observed globally and builds awareness about geographic information system technology.

This event features indoor and outdoor hands-on activities, presentations, and booths. Students will visit with GIS professionals and experts working in industry, education, government and other organizations all utilizing GIS technology.

The event will be on Nov.17, 2015 at Del Mar College (Center for Economic Development) in Corpus Christi, Texas. The global GIS Day is officially observed on November 18, 2015.

Don’t miss GIS Day of the Coastal Bend 2015!

For more information or to book your campus session at the event, contact John Nelson with the Del Mar College Geospatial technology Program: or 361.698.1475, 361-698-1478.

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Alice Independent School District 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