Monday Memo

January 19th - 23rd

It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. -Bill Gates

Dear Team,

Team Leaders are reading Getting to Got It for our book study this year. It is a quick but fabulous read explaining how to help struggling students learn how to learn. Between now and our next TL meeting, TL's have been asked to share and discuss their learning/strategies from Getting to Got It with their teams. The goal is to identify current content learning challenges that teachers/students face, determine the related cognitive structure needed to master that learning and to identify ways in which parents and teachers can support the development of the lacking cognitive structures. Team Leaders will then share/discuss their grade level findings at our next TL meeting.

Thus far, we have welcomed 20 new students to McGowen in January. My original plan was to come by and take pictures of them to post on Facebook. Now I am thinking that it might be a more efficient use of time to ask you to help. If you will, please take a photo of any new student and email it to me. I plan to post their pictures on Wednesday afternoon. I really appreciate you help!

Make today count!


Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve

Questioning Strategies

A good question is classroom gold. Researchers estimate that anywhere from 50 to 80% of instructional time is spent on questioning, so imagine the return on investment for fine-tuning this popular instructional tool. In the latest issue of ASCD Express, educators share their secrets for crafting meaningful, higher-order questions, for getting students to write their own questions, and for putting inquiry at the heart of everything. Browse the issue.

How Much of a Difference Do You Make?

Having consistently good teachers in elementary school appears to be as important for student achievement as small class sizes, according to new research. While this provides us with a great deal of affirmation, it also bestows upon us a tremendous responsibility. What implications does this have on our job performance every single day? Read the article.

Volunteers During After School Duty

If you would like to volunteer to help support our positive behavior notes during dismissal, please click on the link below. A jeans pass will be issued for each volunteer slot that you sign up to serve. Please note that if you are already scheduled to that location as a duty, it would not be appropriate to volunteer for a position the same time you have duty.

Warm-Up Wednesdays in January

Each January, we sell Warm-Up Wednesday passes to benefit Special Olympics. The passes are sold for five dollars each. These passes are only good during the month of January. If you would like to purchase a pass, you make buy the from Donna.

Writing Webinar Opportunity

Wonders in STAAR Writing - great for staff learning!

January 27, 3:4-15pm (Central)

Part 2: CSI (Comma Splice Investigator): Investigate Revision and Editing Like Never Before!

Part 2 tackles Revising and Editing. Learn how to take spelling, word choice and grammar to an attainable and memorable level by learning symbols that speak louder than labels for parts of speech. See how Comma Drama comes to life and how CSI (Comma Splice Investigators) solves the craziest comma crimes. All of this will lead to amazing sentences and sentence fluency never thought possible!

Click here to find out more!

For a printable version of the calendar, please click on the "Calendar" title above.
Big image


  • Donna - Thank you for keeping me on track with my schedule on Monday. You were my hero! -JL
  • Sylvia - I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you covering my ARDs on Monday. You are the best! -JL
  • Shiela - Thanks for keeping up with my calendar better than I can. You memory continues to impress me daily! -JL
  • Bonnie and Jaime - Many thanks for being my ARD support on Wednesday! -JL
  • Kinder, 1st, and 2nd: Thanks for building such great number sense in our kiddos! It really shows! -Third Grade Math
  • Thank you to JL for the lunch/sonic run and treat on Thursday. It was much needed and appreciated! -Michelle C.
  • Thank you Gimber for the chat! I needed it and was grateful for you lending an ear (whether you wanted to or not—ha!:)! - Michelle C.
  • Thank you to everyone for your time and attention to our data meetings on Thursday. -Michelle C.
  • Michelle- Thank you for all of your help planning math interventions and for your help in Kristi and I's parent meeting! -Aly
  • Trisha- Thank you for taking Kristi and I's classes when our parent meeting ran over! You're a life saver.
  • MoMo ...thank you for your insight and brainstorming and support my friend! BoBo
  • 5th Grade...thank you for pulling together as a team to handle everything this week! Bodmer
  • Cathomas...thank you so much for being willing to help out, no questions asked! Bodmer
  • 1st & 5th grade teams - Thanks for pulling together to take care of your teammates. -JL
  • My 2nd grade team- Thanks for your flexibility and teamwork last week!! ~Valerie L.
  • Shana- Thank you for letting me help out with the Math Club! The kids had a great time learning, and I can't wait to do it again next week! ~ Valerie L.
  • Lynn G- Thank you so much for making our copies last week! I don't know what we would do without you! ~Valerie L.

Focus for 2014 - 2015

· Providing all students with at least one year’s growth

· Closing the achievement gaps in our subgroups

· Utilize data to drive instruction

· Collaborative team planning and lesson design to promote higher level thinking and student engagement

· Posting learning and language targets daily in student friendly terms

Happy Birthday!!


Genny Lofton - 5th

Mary Ann Miller - 7th

Laura Saporito - 10th

Brooke Morris - 10th

Martha Gordon - 15th

Lisa Pedersen - 15th

Jean Possehl - 16th

Holly Bianchetta - 19th

Stacie Bullock - 19th

Krystina Ticehurst - 24th

2014 - 2015 Teacher of the Year Nominees

Congratulations to the following nominees:


All of these teachers are masters of their craft and are definitely worthy of this honor. Because Michelle Caballero does not spend at least four hours of her day with students, she unfortunately is not eligible to be considered in the voting process. However, I know that we all agree that he is simply amazing and deserving of the Instruction Coach of the Year Award (if it existed).

Voting will begin today and will end at the end of the day on Thursday, January 22nd. If there is a tie, we will hold a run-off election on Friday, January 23rd. The winner will be announced on Monday, January 26th.

Please utilize this link to access your ballot. Only one vote per staff member will be permitted, and all votes are anonymous.

Thank you for participating in this process.

MAP Schedule For This Week

Big image

Bad Dude Award

This week, we'd like to recognize Holly Bianchetta for her Bad Dudeness. In addition to all of the fabulous annual performances she is responsible for creating, Holly has gone above and beyond in finding opportunities to showcase the choir outside of school. This year, she has also hosted a student teacher and was the co-recipient of the largest MEF grant that we've ever seen. Her efforts to celebrate students, enhance the learning experience and to grow others have not gone unnoticed. It is greatly appreciated and just a few of the reasons she deserves to be the Bad Dude of the Week.

Remind for Staff

I have created a Remind for our staff in order to send out just-in-time reminders, last minute notifications of jeans/warm-up days, and/or emergency info. If you haven't already, please click on the link below to join the group.

McKinney ISD's Vision, Mission and Beliefs

Any time we have an idea, concern, solution and/or comment, this is the filter through which we should speak. Let's help each other live up to our vision, mission, and beliefs.


We are a cohesive, diverse community providing engaging learning experiences for all.

We will provide engaging learning experiences so students can become effective communicators, quality contributors and socially responsible citizens.

  • Partnerships between students, parents, community members and staff are foundational to educational success.
  • Positive school culture and a safe environment foster growth.
  • Everyone has inherent value and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Learning is an active process requiring engaging tasks and engaging minds.
  • Relevant and authentic experiences ignite continuous, deeper learning.
  • Meaningful relationships enrich learning.
  • Confidence fuels risk taking and higher achievement.
  • Financial stewardship ensures a tomorrow for education.