Redbird Roundup, Vol 11

Friday, October 26, 2018

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!

I hope everyone enjoyed their three day weekend. We are certainly coming off of an amazing high of distributing over 870 iPads and opening up our building for conferences. It was a long, but wonderful 2 days.

I am seeing some incredible technology integration in classes. It is not always easy, but you are jumping in feet first! I have included pictures from Ms. Hansen and Ms. Naeve, who used their devices to explore their HMH Collections and Scholastic; Mrs. Swanson who used Seesaw to help her science students learn about where the foods they eat come from; and Mr. Kennedy who used ChatterPix to enable his kids to present on a book they read.

Next week we have our monthly NAC meeting on Monday, and peer observations being completed all week. There are also two great after school opportunities to celebrate Day of the Dead on Tuesday with RASA, and Friday with all Norris. See the calendar below for details.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Carr

October 29-November 2

All week- Peer Observations on Cooperative Learning

Monday, October 29- NAC Meetings after school, begin in library

Tuesday, October 30-RASA Day of the Dead Celebration 6-8 p.m.

Wednesday, October 31-Principal's Roundtable, 7 a.m. in room 129; Girls Swim vs. Lewis and Clark at Norris

Thursday, November 1-Schedule Committee Meeting After School; Tentative VILS Parent Night

Friday, November 2- Movie Night at Norris ("Coco"), 6:30 p.m.

Staff Introductions

This week we will meet two of our after-school program directors: Viri Almanza from Partnership for Kids and Veronica Switzer from RASA/Completely Kids

Viri Almanza

Name: Viridiana Almanza (Ms. Viri)

How many years have you been teaching?

-I have been working in the nonprofit sector and with youth for five years.

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School?

--The energy, the passion, and everyone’s Redbird spirit! I love that everyone is welcoming and wants the best for the students. It truly is an amazing school.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

Paulo Coelho:

-When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

-Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.

Fredrich Nietzsche:

- The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

-I love playing soccer, trying to foods, traveling, and reading!

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

-I hate sweeping and moping

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be? 24

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? --Reading, watching movies, or on social media

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Tell my parents to quit their job, get myself a financial advisor, donate money to my favorite nonprofits, and buy my Norris kids ONE thing the wanted.

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category?

Both!! I love chips XXHot Cheetos and Flamin Hot Lays, and I love cheesecake

Big picture

Veronica Switzer

Name: Veronica Switzer

How many years have you been teaching? 9 years youth work

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? The pride in our school community

What is one of your favorite quotes? “Revolution starts inside the mind of a child.” -Immortal Technique

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Bike Riding

What chore do you absolutely hate doing? Mopping

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? Trolling Facebook (it’s terrible) or cleaning my house

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Send my mom on an amazing vacation

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? Broad City

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? Childbirth! I’m also a Doula!!

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category? Salty. Popcorn the way I make it (nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, dill, salt and butter)

Powerful Practices


Mr. Harner and Ms. Redding rocked their stations lesson where they had eight activities to enhance students' understanding of a folktale they read in class. The stations broke down specific skills such as summarizing, identifying conflict, and resolution. Students were engaged, and were able to work with their peers. Great job!


Mr. Degbe shows off his guitar skills while performing for his students, but also demonstrating for them how music is a huge part of Hispanic/Latino culture. This is such a fun lesson to watch, and he even played some of his own music!

Honors Special Projects Passion Projects

Ms. Jacobberger's 6th Grade HSP students showed off their Passion Projects to several of us a couple weeks ago. They investigated a topic and created a solution and shared it via poster and artifacts, and sometimes a costume!

Cross-Classroom Collaboration

Ms. Recic's 5/6 block students went to hang out with Ms. Parker and Ms. Novakoski's ACP students and made cookies. What a cool experience for both classes and students to work together and get to know more about one another!

Creating Relevance/Engagement

Ms. Van Sickle's 7th grade math students practiced percentages and discounts by creating real stores, and going shopping! There were so many neat stores, and very personal and important to each kid. Then, they were able to solve for percentages on their shopping trips. What a cool experience!

Professional Learning

Ms. Carver, Ms. Hardt, Ms. Greco and Ms. Parks are in Orlando for the Association for Middle Level Education National Conference. They will get a ton of information to bring back to us on best practices and current trends. If you have a conference you are interested in attending, let me know! We have funding available.

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Conferences and iPad Rollout

Our conferences and iPad rollout were a huge success. We distributed more than 870 iPads and were able to have conferences with our students. We saw so many families come to our building and it was great to open our doors to our families. Thank you to Ms. Newman for organizing a smooth iPad rollout and all the teachers who worked stations to help. Thank you to Greg and our custodians for getting our building ready, and Mr. Wize for organizing the two days! Thank you to Ann and Margie for a great meal. Thank you to Ms. Frayre for securing the food truck!

No Place for Hate Trip to Valas

The counselors took a great group of students to Vala's for the No Place for Hate, and also Redbird Bucks recognition. They had a beautiful day to be outside and enjoy Vala's!

Congrats Varsity Football!

Our Varsity Football team wrapped up the season with a 5-1 record and 3rd Place in the city by defeating Davis. What a great season for this team! Thank you to our coaches: Mr. Cobelens, Mr. Bernard, Mr. Plank, Mr. Knutson, and Mr. Lewis.

Grassroots Hispanic Leadership Development

Several former Norris students came to speak to our 8th grade DL team about the high school experience. This presentation is a part of their service in the Grassroots Hispanic Leadership Development Project. They share do's and don'ts for high school, and help our students learn how to be successful.

Take Flight Mentoring Day

Ms. Wakefield was able to take Ms. Novakoski to a few schools on her Take Flight Mentoring Day. This is such a great opportunity for mentees to spend time with their mentors, but also to see how things look in other schools.

Congrats to UNO Honor Choir!

Congrats to Ruth Rauda and David Gonzalez for being selected for the UNO Honor Choir! This is quite an honor, and students selected have a new batch of songs to learn for their performance. Way to go!

8C Pumpkin Deocrating Contest

8C spiced up their conferences tables with some RBB-decorated pumpkins. Students and families were able to vote at conferences. The winner was Mrs. Wagner's homeroom with Mr. Cobelens coming in second!

NJHS Keeping Omaha Beautiful!

Our NJHS, led by Ms. Jacobberger and Ms. Reid, took to Hanscom Park on Saturday, October 20 to "keep Omaha beautiful!" Thank you for taking care of our neighborhood!

Redbird Alumni

Check out this story on WOWT about Ximena Anguiano, a former Redbird, and her amazing initiative!

Final Thought

We received a lovely note from the Komen Foundation for our donation during our Pink Week. It included a personal story from a women who was terrified at the possibility of cancer, but that the Komen foundation helped her get screened and cared for. Thank you for your contribution to this organization and spirit during Pink Week.