Ram Nation News

Week of April 1, 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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Last week was a very busy week for all of us! I love to see how we continue to come together to make great things happen for our students and our school. Thank you to everyone for playing a crucial role in supporting our students. You continue to make a great difference in the lives of our kids!

We know that we have been working extremely hard to prepare our students for the next grade level. Michael Jordan said, "You don't show up on game day and expect to be great. Greatness happens in practice. You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them." We have 6 instructional days until the first administration of STAAR. We have been practicing all season for game day and we know that our 7th and 8th graders are ready; they have worked hard!!!! Also, this week, our 6th grade darlings will be taking their 5th six weeks common assessments for math and reading that will provide us great insight on our teaching and students' learning. Let's be very intentional to provide a great learning and testing environment for our kids. As I shared previously, a great deal of student achievement lays on the level of motivation students have. Therefore, this week, it is imperative that our students are greeted with motivating and encouraging words every morning. Let’s continue to work with our students to ensure targeted instruction is being implemented leading up to Tuesday, April 9th.

During these 6 days before testing, it is imperative that we continue to implement best instructional practices. Let's

  • use adequate pacing to help students’ comprehension and mastery
  • implement multiple response strategies frequently
  • make sure the lesson objectives are aligned with standards
  • ensure that the main lesson or teacher-led lesson is aligned with the lesson objectives posted
  • plan activities aligned to standards being covered for those early finishers
  • ensure alignment of weekly assessments, quizzes, and DOLs to the standards being tested
  • spiral those objectives in which students require additional support for mastery
  • implement frequent checks for understanding
  • ensure questioning is at the right level of rigor for this time of the year
  • use STAAR formatted questions (inclusive of griddables, graphs, charts, and other pictorial models)
  • increase the exposure to griddables
  • ensure students annotate all text while reading
  • hold students accountable to the level of expectation for annotation of questions and showing of their work
  • provide bell-to-bell instruction at all times
  • MOTIVATE students - Let's encourage our students, get them involved, offer incentives, be creative, and make connections to real life.

Attendance Review

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

The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 3/25 - 3/29:

  • 6th Grade - 95.37%
  • 7th Grade - 96.72% - an increase of 1.98% from last week and takes the lead again!
  • 8th Grade - 94.92 - an increase of 0.68% from the previous week

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

  • Ms. Molla, Ms. Perez, Ms. Brown, Ms. Vasquez, Ms. Vargas, Ms. Iberosi, Ms. Lewis, and Ms. Miller, for their dedication, commitment, and support as they attended Saturday School providing small group support as they addressed low TEKS and areas of improvement. Also, Ms. Woods and Mr. Ramirez who came out to support in various ways with building preparation, and attendance for credit. I know students were engaged and grateful for having your support.
  • Ms. Baker for her leadership and support with the preparation and coordination for The Holdsworth Center visit. Also, shout out to Ms. Saucedo for securing donations for breakfast for our visitors.
  • Mr. McCann, Mr. Alarcon, Ms. Halowec, and Ms. Gray for their support during The Holdsworth Center Visit welcoming performances by the band and the cheerleaders. This is a great way to provide a great first impression and share our philosophy of teaching the whole child.

Growth Mindset

We must lead by example and be willing to improve in our practice. Also, we must believe that our students can learn and will learn despite the various obstacles they face. We must provide the opportunities for our students to grow and shine!

The Holdsworth Center Visit

Our visitors truly enjoyed and had great feedback from their experience at our school.Our students had an opportunity to display their leadership skills during the AVID world cafe as they shared their school and AVID experience with our visitors. Shout out to Ms. Minter, Ms. Rocha, Ms. Molla, Ms. Baker, Ms. Perez, and Mr. Johnson for allowing us to visit their classrooms, see their teaching practices, see data collection in action, and observe the classroom culture they have created. Also, kudos to Ms. Calderon for her support with the World Cafe station, the math team who participated in the PLC (see above), and Ms. Woods and Ms. Safford, Ms. Brunson, Coach Clark, and Coach Addison who participated in the teacher panel.

High Expectations

Displaying Student Work

Mr. Thornton proudly displays students' work related to buffalo hunter, railroad, and commercial farming. This is a great way to validate and show the relevance of doing a job well-done. Look forward to seeing relevant and authentic student work in your classrooms.

Inspiring Relationships

Our district's goal number four is about supporting students and the participation in extracurricular activities; it is great to see our students participating in the various sports and activities. Our students continue to represent our school in a very positive way; we are very proud of their accomplishments!!!

Below, our softball team had the opportunity to travel to North Dallas High School (NDHS) for the Middle School Night. Each one of our players paired up with a NDHS and Spence MS player who play the same position; they were introduced and walked the field as part of the introduction to the people in attendance. Later, our girls watched the game and worked on team building. Shout out to Coach Addison, Coach Buitron, and Coach Ford for supporting our girls!

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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 in the majority of the events; also, some of them will be going to the city championship in the next few days. 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. It is awesome to see the happiness and sense of accomplishment in our kids' faces! We are proud of their work!

Band at UIL

Shout out to Mr. McCann, Mr. Alarcon, and Ms. Halowec for their leadership and dedication to our band program. Our students participated in the UIL competition last week; we received 2 2 3 on stage which is excellent rating as well as 1 2 2 in sight reading which is an superior and excellent rating. The comments from judges were very positive; we are very proud of the work done!

6th Grade Field Trip

Ms. Cooray provided an opportunity for her honor A and B Roll students to attend a field trip to the Perot Museum. Our students leaned tons and had a lot of fun.


  • Our 6th Grade Remarkable Rams will have testing on Monday and Tuesday. Remember to incorporate the testing message/script your team prepared for your students since students will be mixed. During testing, we should be intentional as we actively monitor and provide accommodations to identified students. Please refer to the handout provided during PLC - Testing Expectations.
  • As common assessment scores are available, have students profile (use link to access two samples of profile sheets to use) their assessment and conduct conferences with students so that they know what mistakes they made as they took the common assessment. Also, set goals so they know what they need to do to achieve and make significant progress. (TEI 1.2 and 1.5)
  • Aggressive Monitoring (see tracker and coding system if needed) 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)
  • As we continue to strengthen a great and solid testing environment to support the success of our Rusk Rams, use the active monitoring sheet for testing during your CDOL or any testing that may be longer than 45 minutes so that you can collect qualitative data to make instructional decisions and to have goal conversations with our students.

  • 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.
  • Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (TEI 4.2)


Monday, April 1

  • B - Day
  • 6th Grade Math 5th CA (STAAR released test)
  • Extended Observations and SPOTs continue
  • As we continue to ensure students receive the best instruction possible and to hold them accountable for their active learning in the classrooms, 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 - Library
  • 6:00 p.m. Softball Game Vs. Franklin at Franklin Field
  • 6:00 p.m. Baseball Game Vs. Franklin at Franklin Field

Tuesday, April 2-

  • A-Day.
  • 6th Grade Reading 5th CA (STAAR released test)
  • 8th Grade Social Studies 5th CA - in class
  • 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Enrollment Training at 9400 NCX - Ms. Araujo, Ms. Woods, and Ms. Saucedo.
  • 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

Wednesday, April 3-

  • B-Day.
  • 8th Grade Social Studies 5th CA - in class
  • 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.
  • 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.- LPAC meeting at Buckner - Ms. Davis and Ms. Vasquez

Thursday, April 4-

  • A-Day.
  • Weekly PLC - April STAAR Test Testing Meeting
  • 4:30 After school program continues.
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.

Friday, April 5-

  • B-Day.
  • 4:30 p.m. Make up Testing Meeting

Saturday, April 6-

  • Saturday School Continues - Adults 8:30 - 1:00; Students 8:45 light breakfast 9:00 - 12:30
  • 8th Grade science and physics field trip to Texas A & M Physics Festival – Selected students – Mr. Proctor, Ms. Minter, and Ms. Rendon.

Upcoming Events

April 9-10

  • 8th Grade Reading STAAR test (Tuesday 4/9)
  • 8th Grade Math STAAR test and Algebra 5th CA (Wednesday 4/10)
  • 7th Grade Writing STAAR test (Tuesday 4/9)
  • 7th Grade Math Pre-AP test – STAAR Test (Wednesday 4/10)
  • 7th Grade Math 5th CA (STAAR released test)

April 11

  • 8th Grade Science 5th CA (STAAR released test)
  • 7th Grade Reading 5th CA (STAAR released test)

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.


Mrs. Mooty shared the link and information last week regarding this training. The modules are,

  • Active Monitoring
  • Distribution of Test Materials
  • Proper Handling of Secure Materials.
The modules are accessed at http://texasassessment.com/administrators/training/. The modules do not require you to log in. You should be able to click on each module, click enter, and begin without logging in.

ALL test administrators must complete all modules; this includes teachers and support staff. Everyone must complete this training because you may be asked to support for small groups or in case of an emergency. Once you have successfully completed a module, you will be given a certificate. Please put you name and date on the certificates, then email them to Mrs. Mooty or place in her box in the mailroom or drop by her office. All three (3) certificates must be received (by hand or email) by the end of day Saturday, March 30, 2019.

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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!

Ms. Woods - 4/2