Ram Nation News

Week of March 4, 2019


A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society
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Spring break is just about here. I want to thank each of you for your continued hard work and dedication to Thomas J. Rusk Middle school and our students. I know everyone is looking forward to begin off next week, I wish you a safe and restful break. As the weather gets warmer, outdoor activities increase, so please remember to be safe and enjoy time with your family and friends.

The second semester kicked off very fast and has been a busy time preparing our students for the next grade level, assessing our students' progress, taking action towards our goals, and preparing for our next milestone - STAAR. I recognize that STAAR and testing brings added pressure and work. I want to recognize all of the teachers, teacher assistants, support staff, and administrators who work together to improve student achievement and make Rusk a better place to learn and be. I have seen your dedication first hand and I greatly commend you for it. As we received the CA reports and comparison data with other school, we had the 6th highest Domain 1 score for middle schools in the district! I am highly optimistic we will continue to see positive changes in our future STAAR scores and I am more excited each day for the success story about our Rusk Rams.

We have 21 instructional days before our first administration of STAAR. As we continue in our journey #OnANewLevel, we must track student performance and intervene in the moment. It's crucial that we continue to aggressively monitor student work, differentiate instruction, and provide immediate feedback to grow our students.

Attendance Review

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn.

The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 2/25 - 3/1:

  • 6th Grade - 96.89% continue to take the lead!
  • 7th Grade - 95.83%
  • 8th Grade - 94.44%

Let's continue to encourage our students to be present and on time on a daily basis. It really makes a huge difference when our students are present learning.

Thank you!

  • Our Special Education department for achieving 100% ARD compliance for the month of February.
  • Ms. Akin for being selected and participating in the DISD’s Video Library Initiative. Through the Video Library, DISD educators will have access to a visual representation of the Teacher Performance Rubric. We are very proud of the work done by Ms. Akin.

High Expectations

We must provide our very best to our students!!!

Inspiring Relationships

Special Olympics

Under Ms. Martin's leadership, last Tuesday, our special education students participated in various athletic events and represented our school very well. Several of our students placed 1st and 2nd place in the majority of the events. Shout out to Ms. McGee, Ms. Garcia, and Dr. Bradford for their dedication and support as they chaperoned and worked with our students during this event.


  • Aggressive Monitoring should be done with at least the independent practice and DOL. Remember it is a check for understanding where all students receive feedback. You planned your pathway keeping in mind students level of achievement; then, you announce your laps, execute the pathway and provide feedback to students in the moment using the aggressive monitoring trackers and coding system. Every student receives written and verbal feedback. If you see an error or misconception clear it up immediately using the 3 Fs (feedback, fix it, follow up), show call, or modeling. (TEI 2.2)
  • Teachers have to acknowledge in Cornerstone for a submitted spot to be marked complete and show up as complete on our tracker; if you have not acknowledged previous SPOTs, please do so to ensure accuracy and plan accordingly. (TEI 4.2)
  • As we work on documenting the progress our students are making, remember our policy regarding failure rates and the various opportunities needed to ensure our students are successful. EIA (Regulation) (TEI 2.2, 4.2, 4.5)
  • It is critical to be prepared with lessons and materials to avoid having issues with students. When we are not prepared, our students can tell and will find their own way of entertainment. (TEI 3.1)
  • We must have 100% presence in the hallway during transition times. Our students notice when there is a lack of adult presence in the hallways and will take advantage of it.
  • Be very consistent in the effective implementation of various practices discussed during our TEI orientation and lesson alignment conversations. With regards to Alignment (learning objective), the proficient rating states: Focuses students at the beginning and throughout the lesson, by clearly stating (TEI 2.1)
    • What they are learning
    • Why it is important
    • What mastery looks like
    • How to connect it to prior knowledge and their own lives and explaining to students
  • Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (TEI 4.2)


Monday, March 4

  • A - Day
  • Open Transfer Begins - see information below for more details.
  • TELPAS Online Reading - 8th Grade
  • Failure Intervention Plans Due - Individuals who received e-mail on 2/28/19 from Mr. Cordoba
  • We will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action! Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:45 - 5:45 p.m - Monthly Staff Meeting

Tuesday, March 5-

  • B-Day.
  • Band PreUIL Concert at Balch Springs Middle School - Mr. Alarcon and Ms. Halowec
  • TELPAS Online Reading - 8th Grade
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. Let's make the best out of this time being very purposeful in the material covered with students and the students who must attend your sessions. We need to work on the recruitment of students for our after school program since it impacts student growth, our school performance, progress, and, ultimately, part of our stipends are tied to the attendance of our students to our tutoring/enrichment sessions. As a reminder, students do not have the option to opt out; if you need assistance with parents, please let anyone from the leadership team know.

  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school

  • 7:30 p.m. - Junior League webinar set to help teachers win grants for classroom projects

Wednesday, March 6-
  • A-Day.
  • TELPAS Online Reading - 7th Grade
  • Calibration Walks - We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring. Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:30 After school program continues - Let's be very purposeful in our lessons and our recruitment of students.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 7-
  • B-Day.
  • Career Day
  • Weekly PLC
  • 4:30 After school program continues.
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.

Friday, March 8-

  • A-Day.

Upcoming Events

March 19

  • Deadline to input designated supports

April 9-10

  • 8th Grade Reading and Math STAAR test
  • 7th Grade Writing STAAR test (Tuesday 4/9)
  • 7th Grade Math Pre-AP test (Wednesday 4/10)

May 8

  • Algebra EOC test

May 13 -16

  • 6th - 7th Math STAAR and 8th grade Math retest
  • 6th - 7th Reading STAAR and 8th grade Reading retest
  • 8th Grade Science STAAR test
  • 8th Grade Social Studies STAAR test

May 30

  • Last day for teachers and TAs

June 10 - 20

  • Summer Readiness - Selected personnel has been notified. All other who applied will be notified if other opportunities come up.

June 10 - 26

  • SSI - Selected personnel has been notified. All other who applied will be notified if other opportunities come up.

Online Documentation of Designated Supports- GenEd St.

Information about documentation of the designated supports for general education students. It addresses all core and elective content areas.

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Technology Resources - STAFF Section of Website

Technology creates opportunities for student-centered learning. Access the link to be routed to access Technology resources in the STAFF section of our website, you will find information about Apps, TruTouch, and Chromebooks.

Elrod's Field Trip fund Application

Please, refer to the flyer and e-mail sent by Mr. Cordoba on February 24, 2019 for more details.
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Grants for Innovative Teaching

Grants for Innovative Teaching (GFIT) is dedicated to improving education by funding unique programs designed especially for a particular school or grade level. Webinar information to support create a winning application on March 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Open Transfer

The Open Transfer application will be available starting March 4, 2019. Eligible employees must apply via the open transfer application online at https://www.dallasisd.org/careers within the time frame established. Principals will have an opportunity to submit open transfer recommendations no later than March 29, 2019. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notification will be completed by April 12, 2019. I will be sending a form where you will have an opportunity to let me know of your plans for next year; however, if you know that you are planning to transfer or leaving the district, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can plan accordingly.

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2019-2020 Approved Calendar

As you begin planning your summer vacation, use this link to access our 19-20 school calendar. As an ACE campus, we will begin on August 1, 2019.

Happy Birthday

We wish you a happy birthday!

Lindsay Molla 3/14

Erin Miller 3/22