ACE Weekly Newsletter

February 15, 2016

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In This Week's Issue:

Note from Executive Director

Celebrating Excellence

Articles of the Week:

  • Five Ways to Make Test Prep Engaging
  • Connecting Growth Mindset and Assessment
  • Main Idea: The Skillful Teacher, Part 2 on Motivation

Video Spotlight

  • Assess and Group
  • The Keys to Success? Grit


  • ACE Site
  • Math SE live binder
  • School Calendars
  • HUB
  • Links to articles on School Turnaround
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Note from your Executive Director

Dear ACE Team,

I hope you enjoyed the weekend and the wonderful weather! It is hard to believe we have only 25 days until our first round of STAAR testing. Please make the most of every minute with high quality instruction. Ideally, we teach a concept from concrete to abstract, from hands-on and experiential to text based and conceptual. Along the way, we provide small segments of STAAR aligned questions regularly, as opposed to cramming with weeks of test prep.

Even with the best preparation, educators frequently get nervous and want to test more. Even though they have access to tons of data (more now with All in Learning, interims, ACP and DOLs)... they still think testing more will yield a different outcome. It reminds me of the story of two farmers. Both were charged with fattening their livestock. One fed his livestock, the other continually weighed his livestock. No doubt, the later was disappointed with the final results. Let's not keep weighing our students, let's feed them with quality instruction.

I have seen many teachers facilitate fun, engaging review by giving one STAAR-aligned question at a time to pairs of students who prove their answers on dry erase boards or in teams with clickers. They have rich discussions with each question by sharing why they selected a certain answer. Teachers discover misconceptions and new windows for learning are opened. Let's be creative and remember that instruction matters most now.

As always, thank you for your dedication and tenacity.


Jolee Healey

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The Skillful Teacher, Part II

In part II of the Skillful Teacher summary, the focus is motivation, which is incredibly important for these last few weeks before STAAR. We are reminded that "the emotional state of students affects almost everything they do in school – their level of focus, amount of investment, and the energy level they bring to tasks.

This emotional state is influenced by three major areas – each of which is described in the section on motivation: their relationship with teachers (Personal Relationship Building), their feelings of support among peers (Classroom Climate), and their own confidence and belief in themselves (Expectations)."

Read this week's main idea to get the part II summary by clicking Here.


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Common Elements of Successful School Turnarounds: Research and Experience

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