Griffin Gazette

March 2017

Principal's Corner

Dear Parents,

We are embarking on the final stretch for the 2016-2017 school year. The fourth six weeks has ended, but there are still a lot of events and activities for your student to be a part of. We also are entering the testing season. Even though the students are will prepared, we will all be glad when they are over.

As summer nears, we may need to be reminded of the FISD dress code. No torn or ragged jeans or shorts are allowed. Ladies need to make sure their skirts and shorts extend below the student’s fingertips when their arms are held to their sides. Gentleman must wear shirts with sleeves at all times.

We have several things to look forward to in May. Please watch the May newsletter for more information.

The students have been wonderful this year. I look forward to our last six weeks together before summer vacation begins.


Elizabeth Holcomb


Griffin Middle School

Announcement from GMS Administration

Compulsory Attendance

Texas requires a child who is at least 6 years of age, or who is younger than 6 years of age and has previously been enrolled in first grade, and who has not yet reached his/her 18th birthday to attend school unless exempt by law.

School employees must investigate and report violations of the state compulsory attendance law. A student absent from school without permission from any class; from required special programs; from additional instruction assigned by a placement/attendance committee or from required tutorials will be considered in violation of the law and subject to disciplinary action. A school aged student deliberately not attending school may also result in assessment of penalties by a court of law against both the student and/or his or her parents. A complaint may be filed in the appropriate court if the student:

· Is absent from school ten (10) or more days, or parts of days, within a six month period in the same school year, or

· Tardies are considered parts of days.

Exemptions to Compulsory Attendance

State law allows exemptions to the compulsory attendance requirements for several types of absences. These include the following activities and events:

· Religious holy days;

· Required court appearances;

· Activities related to obtaining United States citizenship;

· Service as an election clerk; and

· Documented healthcare appointments, including absences for recognized services for students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

A person required to attend school may be excused for temporary absence resulting from any unusual cause acceptable to the Superintendent, the principal or the teacher of the school in which the student is enrolled. Such causes may include, but are not limited to: 1) personal sickness; 2) family emergency; 3) documented juvenile court proceeding; 4) Board approved extracurricular activity; or 5) approved college visitation.

Absences such as non-school related vacations and trips, babysitting, working (including modeling), and non-school sponsored athletic events and programs shall be considered unexcused. If a student is going to be absent more than ten consecutive days, the student shall be withdrawn at the end of the tenth day.

Attendance for Course Credit

To receive credit in a class, a student must attend at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered. If a student does not attend a class 90% of the time, it is the policy of FISD to allow the student to make up the missed time in either Tutorials and/or Detentions prior to the end of the semester in which the time was missed in order to come into compliance with the law and gain credit for the class in question. Students who are in violation of the attendance code and who fail to make up the amount of time required to be in compliance with the law will be denied credit for that class for that semester. An attendance committee consisting of school administration and faculty will hear any appeals if a student or parent wishes to appeal a denial of credit brought about by failure to attend a class at least 90% of the days in the semester.

Note: All absences, both excused and unexcused, count against the 90% attendance rule and for exemption purposes.

Lunch Policy

Parents having lunch with their child must sit at the designated guest tables. Only the parent’s child may sit at the guest table with the parent and parents may not visit other tables. By law, a parent may only bring food for their child. Please wait for your child at the guest tables after signing in through the main office.

Counselor's Corner

The counselors have been working with the 6th and 7th graders in preparation for registration for the next school year. The students learned about all the opportunities available to them for next year and were very excited to begin planning for the next grade!

In preparation for STAAR testing, we will have a special guest speaker at Griffin. Olympic athlete, Johnny Quinn, will be speaking to the students and encouraging them to do their best at all things in life. We are so excited to have him visit Griffin before competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics!

We are having a blast working with your students this year. Have a wonderful Spring Break!!

Your Counselors,

Mrs. Welsh-Roe & Mrs. Renegar

Upcoming Dates

March 24 - End of 9 Weeks

March 28 - March 29 STAAR Testing

April 7 Spring Pictures

April 14 Holiday - No School

April 17 Bad Weather Make-Up Day

April 21 End of 6 Weeks

April 24 Staff Development - No School

April 24 - April 28 Book Fair

May 1 - May 5 Teacher Appreciation Week

May 8 - May 11 STAAR Testing

May 26 Bad Weather Make-Up Day

May 29 Holiday - No School

June 2 Last Day of School

June 2 - 3 Graduation Ceremonies

For more upcoming events, please visit:

Front Office


Parents and guardians, when picking up your student for medical or other appointments, please remember to allow extra time to be scanned into the Raptor system if you have not done so previously in the present school year. Please also allow time for your student to leave class and report to the front office. It is unnecessary to send a note or email alerting us that your student will be leaving early as we are unable to call a student out of class to wait in the front office before a parent arrives to check them out of school.


A new volunteer management program is being implemented in FISD schools. If you haven’t already completed your background check and would like to sign up to volunteer at Griffin, please use the following link to do so.

If you have already completed your background check for this year and have been approved, you do not need to register through App-Garden at this time.


ALL items left for students in the front office need to be clearly labeled with the student’s name and grade marked on the actual item with a Sharpie. Smaller items such as eye glasses, cell phones, or house keys must be placed in a zip lock bag with the name and grade label inside the bag or marked on the bag with a Sharpie.

Unacceptable items for deliveries to students include homework/classwork (regardless of due date or class period), projects, classroom supplies, instruments, PE clothes, uniforms, etc. These items may be placed on the grade level cart in the front office and will be distributed to students at their lunch period only.

Student lunches may only be dropped off by a parent or guardian. If dropping off lunch for your student, please have it at the school 5 minutes before their lunch period to ensure that it will be added to the lunch cart in time to be delivered.

Finally, the most important question of the day, what time is lunch?

6th Grade:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday lunch is 10:55 – 11:25

Tuesday, Thursday lunch is 10:41 – 11:11

7th Grade:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday lunch is 11:45 – 12:15

Tuesday, Thursday lunch is 11:27 – 11:57

8th Grade:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday lunch is 12:35 – 1:05

Tuesday, Thursday lunch is 12:13 – 12:43

The bell/lunch schedule is also on the Griffin MS website.

Attendance Office

Attendance – Please contact the data/attendance clerk at 469-633-4900 or if your student will be absent from school. A doctor note, parent note, or email is required when students return from school. If written documentation is not received within 3 days of your child's return, the absence will be marked as unexcused. Medical and dental personal may fax notes directly to 469-633-4950. Attendance information is available on the Home Access Center (HAC). If you cannot remember your password, you may retrieve it at

Grades – Are published in HAC. Your student knows their login information and can show you how to use HAC.

Enrolling or Withdrawing - Please email our registrar Michele Kaiser at least 48 hrs in advance to discuss these processes.

News from Officer Attaway

Please be mindful of traffic laws while dropping off and picking up your students.

All traffic laws are enforced on school grounds including speeding and cell phone violations. Let’s remember to treat the school drives just like you would a school zone.

6th Grade


In 6th grade ILA, we have continued to work on perfecting our grammar skills. Comma rules were a little tricky, but your children were up to the task. Our students are currently delving deeper into this topic to work on sentence variety through complex and compound sentences. Their level of understanding and being able to truly comprehend the construction of a sentence has improved tremendously since the beginning of the year. They just completed a poetry unit where they were asked to analyze and compose different types of poems in a variety of projects. Poetry is an excellent way to refine those critical thinking skills.

As we enter into this part of the year, we like to take some time to re-establish norms and expectations. One of the keys to being successful is listening to and following directions. So, with this next 6 weeks, we will be taking some time to look at what it really means to thoroughly go through a rubric to get their desired results. In addition, our focus will be the novel study and reading comprehensions skills such as inference, characterization, and short answer responses. We have seen tremendous growth in our students already this year, and we have no doubt we will continue to see more. Please ask your child about what he or she is learning in ILA to reinforce concepts and ideas at home.


I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by. The kids have grown so much this year! The 6th graders did an amazing job with Module 4B by mastering equations and inequalities. We have now moved on to Module 6, where we will be learning how to convert form one unit to another in the customary as well as the metric system. We will be discussing qualities of geometric shapes and finding area and perimeter of rectangles, trapezoids, parallelograms, triangles and even composite shapes. This is usually the unit the kids enjoy the most during the yearJ We will end the 5th marking period with our data analysis unit.

We are proud of our 6th graders’ hard work and effort! Make sure your kids can access our Google Classroom, we upload information daily. Please remind your student to keep up with their Think Through Math every week! The weekly requirements are always on the Weekly Agenda on Google Classroom.

6th Grade Math

Social Studies

After an extensive analysis of Russia's government changes, we've set off on a safari through Africa to explore this immensely diverse continent with its many heritages, languages, and climates. During our exploration of Sub-Saharan Africa we'll examine how the heritages and cultures of this region were dramatically impacted by outside forces, particularly those of Western and Middle Eastern influence. These forces shaped the region and the effects are still evident in Africa today, even though the African countries are independent of their former colonial rule. Next we'll analyze the policy of Apartheid in South Africa, and compare the history and practices that were not too far from our own American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's.

Our next destination remains partially on the African continent where we’ll examine Northern Africa and Southwest Asia. This region shares Middle Eastern culture, making it distinct from our previous Sub-Saharan countries. Here we’ll explore the birthplace of three of our world religions, analyze the impact of an oil industry vital to the region’s economy, and experience the life of a young boy living under the rule of the Taliban through Deborah Ellis’ The Breadwinner.


We are working on our energy unit and we are having a blast exploring the different types of energy and energy transformations! We have been busy examining energy use in different places like our homes and at school. We have had some great discussions as to whether we are being energy efficient or not! We are looking forward to starting our next unit on physics. The big ideas we will investigate are simple machines, force and motion. We cannot wait for the action!

The 6th grade team


Mr. Loveall

7th Grade


The 7th grade Pre-AP ILA students are beginning a novel study of Tangerine by Edward Bloor. This novel focuses on one young man’s emerging realizations about himself, his family, and the society he lives in. From sinkhole disasters to muck fires and lightning strikes to a mysterious “zombie,” this novel proves that in Tangerine, just about anything is possible. Students will analyze the choices made by the characters in the novel and relate the concept of choices and consequences to their own lives.

The 7th grade ILA students are beginning a novel study of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This novel deals with the changes youth experience as they struggle with right and wrong in a society in which they sometimes feel they are the outsiders. From beehive hairdos and cliques to Elvis Presley music and leather jackets this novel leads students to discover that regardless of our circumstances ultimately we are all in the same gang. Students will analyze the choices made by the characters in the novel and the consequences that follow.


Be sure to check Google Classroom regularly for weekly agendas with upcoming assignments, quizzes and tests. Classroom also includes attachments of Basic skills, test reviews and extra practice.

The students have three major units to learn about before the May 7th STAAR Test. Currently, we are working on Geometry with two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures. Students will calculate Area, Surface Area and Volume including circles, cylinders and cones. Our next units will cover Data and Statistics then Probability.

Don’t forget about THINK THROUGH MATH each week. Research shows consistent usage is associated with statistically significant gains on STAAR Mathematics. Pre-AP students are expected to PASS 2 lessons per week and Math 7 students are expected to PASS 1 lesson per week. Think Through Math provides on-line HELP with a teacher if students are struggling with parts of the lesson. We encourage the students to use this resource as we know the wording can be confusing at times.

Math Textbook On-line

Can’t remember how to do a problem? This is a great way to find the information you need.

School Name: Griffin Middle School

Texas History

As we move into spring, Texas History will be focusing on the recovery of Texas after the Civil War. What this means to our students is we will be covering the Cattle Drives, the Spread of the Railroads and the discovery of oil. As we all know all Texans have cattle in their backyards, next to the oil rig!!

We will soon enter Texas in the early 20th century and dealt with the World Wars and the Great Depression.


7th grade science has just started our ecology unit! This is a huge unit that includes biomes, adaptations, dichotomous keys, energy flow in ecosystems (food chains, webs, and pyramids), cycles of matter, and decomposition. We have lots of fun demos and labs set up. Please make sure your child has at least one highlighter, and pencils, we’ve been noticing that students are missing those. Our next unit after this will be Earth Science.

8th Grade

Math/PAP Algebra

During the fourth six weeks of Math 8 and PAP Math 8, students studied systems of equations, data and trend lines, and began studying volume and surface area. Students applied their knowledge of linear equations to our systems unit and data and trend lines unit. We have recently started a unit on volume and surface area which extends students’ knowledge of these topics from seventh grade. Next up on our agenda is the STAAR Math test. Students will take their STAAR Math test on March 28.

PAP Algebra I:

In the recent weeks we have completed Module 3. In this Module we have explored Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities. Module 4 will present fun, but challenging learning opportunities for our students. It includes such topics as: Polynomials operations, factoring, and the Quadratic formula. It has been a busy, yet productive six weeks, and we look forward all the learning that will take place in the remainder of the school year.

Noteworthy Date: Algebra I End of Course Exam will be on Tuesday, May 2nd

Please refer to our Google Classroom for more Algebra I information and resources.


Science is finishing Physics with a grade level project of water rockets. We will be starting chemistry after spring break.

Griffin Electives


Griffin Symphonic Orchestra competed at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest on Thursday, March 2nd. These students worked very hard to play music at a very high level, and did a fantastic job of representing Griffin MS!


Girls and Boys Athletics:

Track & Field upcoming events:

District Qualifier Meet - 3/16 at Memorial Stadium

District Meet - 3/23 at Memorial Stadium

Meets begin at 4:30pm -- Come out and support your Gator athletes!

Soccer season will be here soon!

Boys soccer has a parent/athlete meeting on March 15th

Girls soccer has a parent/athlete meeting on March 27th

Both meetings are in the main gym from 5:00-5:30 pm

Soccer tryouts will begin on March 20th (boys before school and girls after school).

You must have a physical dated after May 1st, 2016 in order to tryout!

See a soccer coach with any questions:

Girls: Coach Danielli

Boys: Coach Stewart and Coach Loveall

See our Athletic website for more information:


Art I: Our budding artists finished the first semester by drawing a realistic self-portrait from observation and painting it with a variety of watercolor techniques. Next, they were introduced to sculpture and 3-dimensional art forms by creating a Paper Relief sculpture that utilized pattern.

Art 2: Our emerging artists drew fantasy cities in 2 point perspective and created a Giant playing card featuring their self-portrait as King, Queen or Jack.

Art 3: Our expert artists studied the artist Rene Magritte and created a room collage in the style of surrealism, using techniques such as, juxtaposition, dislocation, changing scale, transparency, levitation and transformation.

Next, they learned about Designer Toys and used to create their own 3D figures and printed them in the library's 3D printer with the help of Mrs. Leffel.

Please congratulate 8th grader, Darcy Doelger for winning 1st place in the Middle school Black and White drawing category at the Collin County Youth Art Show and for winning Grand Prize for the whole show! Also, congratulate 7th grader, Caroline Girard for winning 1st place in the Middle School Color Drawing category. Great Job GMS artists!