Husky Times

Leading the pack in education

HHE Mission

Holiday Heights is a SAFE and ACCEPTING place where everyone works together to LEARN, IMPROVE, and ACHIEVE our goals.



October 5 Art/PLC Day

October 7 Leader of Learners PM, Jeans with Rangers Spirit Day

October 8 Cotton Bowl Day: Jeans with Texas/OU Dress for student and staff

Mr. Wamsley AND Mr. Dukes off campus on the 8th. Ms. Henderson will be helping with administration

October 9 District PD Day: Planning for Learning with PLC Protocols

October 12 Columbus Day (Flex Day: make sure you put this in Eduphoria if you have summer PD hours)

October 16 Special House Meeting (Awards for 1st six weeks)

October 17 Fall Digital Learning Conference BCTAL 10/17 from 8-1

October 19 BARSP Book Giveaway: Cafeteria 8:50-10:40

October 22 Fire Drill

October 26-30 Red Ribbon Week

October 28-29 Vision & Hearing Screening

October 29 Art/PLC Day

October 30 School Carnival

November 1 Daylight Savings

Reminders and Focus

  • Safe Schools Training Online due October 9th
  • Teacher websites should be up to date and current. If you have not done this or need help, please make sure this happens ASAP.
  • Our goal is to be level 3 (or moving close to it) in most areas on the district rubric for TEKS centered teaching. I have seen many great examples of students interacting with the TEKS in class. Be sure to not only post them, but have discussions so that students understand the goal of their learning.
  • Reading Workshop at 100% implementation is our highest priority in curriculum. We will have some PD on our priorities in order of importance at the faculty meeting this Monday.
  • Guided Reading groups should be in full swing. Meet with low groups 4 times per week, low/medium 3 times, medium and high 2 times. Special Education students should be part of both your Guided Reading Group rotation & TEAM Time interventions
  • Rigor, relevance, and engagement strategies should be focus on when planning for learning
  • Houses are picking up momentum. This is the time where there can be a little lull in the energy. Keep up the passion and excitement. Having students start taking the lead and be a cheer leader is a great way to do this.

Importance of Relevance: Tip from Eric Jensen

The effectiveness of activities, engagement, directions or content blocks depends partly on how well you prepare learners before you even begin instruction.

First, remember, relevance is everything to students’ brains. That’s why inviting secondary students to develop their own student voice and vision is critical. They will get vested in your class and the content. That’s why having choice is important.

That’s why having roles that matter in the classroom works. That’s why classrooms have to be culturally responsive. Save this in your brain, the #1 thing that students care about is “WHY”!

Maybe you start out class by saying, “OK class, let’s pick up where we left off yesterday. Can you guys please find the start of Chapter 5 on page 51?”

Ooooops!!! If that’s you, this is especially for you.

There are two processes you should know about: setup and buy-in.

These two practically ensure the next thing that you do will work and the lesson will be effective. Remember, if the brain’s not buying into the content, the brain’s not changing. If the brain’s not changing, you’re wasting your time. Creating behavioral relevance may be the most powerful skill you can master. With it, students will remember what you teach.


There are two types of classroom learning: (1) compliance (“OK, I guess I can do this.”) and (2) choice learning (“This sounds good; I will jump in and give it my best.”).

Over fifty million U.S. students attend school, and many are compliant learners. According to the High School Survey of Student Engagement (with over eighty thousand participants) 58 percent of students attend school because it’s the law, and 68 percent attend because their friends are there (Yazzie-Mintz, 2007). That is not a rousing endorsement of our teaching colleagues. You, of course may be different.

I want more learning to be the “good” type of learning.


Compliance learning invites re-teaching in your classroom. Compliance learning means students go though the motions, but the learning is rarely recalled.

Motivated, choice learning is more likely to stick (get remembered). Motivating your students before the learning (vs. assuming they have “bought into” what you are doing) is critical.


Unless the brain perceives the task to be behaviorally relevant, it is unlikely to “save” or remember the learned task.

A teacher who opens a lesson with a problem to solve, a puzzle, game or joke is certainly building up and hoping for student arousal. Those are not bad ideas, they are just NOT buy-in.


Arousal means the student is awake, alert and in a good metabolic state for potentially learning something. But that is not the same as a state of buy-in, which is a yearning, hungry state that MUST be fulfilled. Buy-in says to the learner, “This is worth learning, pay attention and save it!”

I cannot emphasize this enough: unless you get buy-in from your students every single time you introduce new content, an activity or anything you want their brain to “save” you risk students forgetting it. The human brain is driven by behavioral relevance.

It is as if the brain is saying, “Why should I care about this? Because if I really should care about, I’ll remember it!” So let’s pause and distinguish between arousal “hooks” and relevancy buy-in. Check out the list below:

  • Teacher enthusiasm (may incite arousal)
  • Compelling relevancy (this is the “holy grail”)
  • Urgency or excitement (arousal hooks)
  • Anticipation or curiosity (arousal hooks)
  • Novelty (creates curiosity)
  • Props or costumes (activate curiosity & arousal)
  • Problem solving (invites a state of “challenge”)

You can see that many times a teacher will confuse the arousal with buy-in. By the way, arousal is a good thing to do. If your students are sleeping or bored, nothing good is happening for learning. But to get students to learn with energy and momentum, both arousal and buy-in are critical.

The following buy-in or arousal strategies can hook students into your learning and they are simple and sweet. The idea is to get students to nibble at a good idea until they want to eat up the rest of the learning. These six hooks introduce the content.

  1. “Now, let’s tie in what we just did to what will be on the test. First, grab a pencil.” (the “hook” word is “test”)
  2. “Here’s an idea to help you get the grade you deserve.” (the “hook” words are “get the grade you deserve”)
  3. “Oh! I’ve got a great idea; it’ll only take a moment. First, stand up please.” (the “hook” here is curiosity)
  4. “I’m going to share something that will boggle your mind!” (the “hook” here is anticipation)
  5. “First, take in a deep breath. Now, if you’re ready for something awesome to learn, stomp your feet twice.” (the “hook” word is “awesome” to invite curiosity)
  6. “I’ve got an idea that might cut your time spent with your head in a book. It should take just a few minutes. Are you game?” (the “hook” words are “cut your time spent” which is a clear benefit)

In closing, you CAN have the best school year of your life. Implement ideas from this monthly newsletter and get ready for a miracle!

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"High performance is about inspiring not pressuring."

#1 Philosophies in high performance cultures:

Servant-leadership. Everyone is viewed as a leader--> leaders serve teammates--> teammates serve each other--> everyone serves customers (students).

Maximize strengths. Understand, acknowledge, and leverage strengths more than fixing weaknesses.

Behavior focus. High performance always degenerates into observable behaviors.

#2. A fundamental belief in high performance cultures: Coaching maximizes potential, expands capacity, and enhances fulfillment.

High performance coaching:

  • Is a fundamental way to develop and lead people.
  • Requires heart.
  • Is forward-facing.
  • Successful coaches:
  • Partner rather than pull rank.
  • Make people feel valued and powerful.
  • Leverage curiosity and listening.
  • Believe people want to succeed.
  • Serve the best interest of coachees and the organization.
  • Keep one eye on the scoreboard and two on the playing field.

Successful coachees:

  • Aspire to grow and contribute.
  • Practice transparency, candor, and vulnerability.
  • Take responsibility for their own development and performance.

#3. Coaching principles:

  • Create safe environments.
  • Focus on the future, even when discussing the past.
  • Monitor energy.

#4. Coaching practices:

  • Ask questions.
  • Listen openly.
  • Offer reflections and observation.
  • Design solutions and goals.
  • Inspire ownership.
  • Schedule follow up.

#5. Coaching patterns:High performance cultures leverage the power of systems without treating people like machines.

  • Basic coaching patterns.
  • Coaching patterns for special situations.
  • Performance problems.
  • New opportunities.
  • Respectful Conflict.
  • Patterns that build results and relationships.

#6. Coaching plans:High performance organizations develop execution plans. How will you move the ball down the field?

  • Use checklists before and after coaching sessions.
  • Schedule quarterly meeting to debrief, train, and support coaches.
  • Leverage evaluation systems for coaches and coachees.
  • What’s working?
  • How might this relationship be better?
  • What percentage of time did my coach spend listening?