Curriculum & Instruction Newsletter

New Teacher Updates Volume 6

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From the Director's Desk - Mrs. Aida Gomez

As we reach the half-way point in our school year, I am reflective of a simple quote by William James. He states that “The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” This holds true no matter what our age. In Annette L. Breaux’s book 101 Answers for New Teachers and Their Mentors, she dedicates Tip 88 to this thought. As teachers, we can often get caught up in the realm of deadlines and many responsibilities, causing us to forget that the little things in life make the biggest difference. You can influence the climate in your class and impact the students around you with simple gestures. The following actions show others you care, cost absolutely nothing, yet impact children ten-fold:

  • Acknowledge their birthdays

  • Greet students with a smile

  • Compliment them on jobs done well

  • Write thank you or encouraging notes

  • Call parents to share something positive

  • Be cognizant of new haircuts, clothes, or other changes

  • Notice and encourage student success

  • Genuinely ask about hobbies and interests

The message above is not all inclusive, but it reminds us of the little things that we often tend to overlook. It’s meant to stimulate some reflection on things that mean the most to students and also help transform our day. In our elite profession we are always being watched and others learn from the way we communicate both verbally and through our actions. Take this opportunity to acknowledge students and make a difference in their lives. Celebrate whenever possible and remember that it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Thank you for being a part of our SFDRCISD family and for helping to mold tomorrow’s future, one day at a time.

Quallity Teaching for English Learners - QTEL in our Classrooms

There is no greater resource, than recognizing teachers within our organization for leading learning with love! Through the course of this academic school year, SFDRCISD has established Bilingual Academies at the elementary level and Sheltered Teams at secondary, for instructing our English Learners. It is without a doubt, a wonderful opportunity for growth, and we want to take this time to recognize these teachers for their Demonstration Classrooms.

In the training sessions, approximately 15 participants for each elementary and secondary session come together to collaborate as leaders of learners. They inspire to grow our students both academically and in language. From this group, some shining stars have taken the challenge of inviting teachers into their rooms as they model lessons for learning. A huge shout out to -

  • Mrs. P. Hernadnez - Ruben Chavira Elementary
  • Mrs. Y. Hernadnez - Buena Vista Elementary
  • Mrs. S. Leos - Lonnie Green Elementary
  • Miss L. Limon - Buena Vista Elementary
  • Miss N. Ochoa - DRMS ELA
  • Mr. R. Norton - DRMS ELA
  • Mrs. A. Celeste-Villalvir - DRFS ELA
  • Mrs. L. Bosquez - DRFS ELA

As new teachers, we encourage you to collaborate with Demonstration Teachers. Through your mentors, ask questions, set up learning walks, and take some time to learn through their expertise. The C&I team is committed to growing our Professional Development resources utilizing quality instruction videos from within our own classrooms. We are so proud of the instruction we see daily and hope to see some new teachers join in on this process in the near future!

Spotlight on DRMS - Debra Luna

A large student population paired with a large staff, means ongoing support is key to the success of the organization. At DRMS, Debra Luna serves to support new teachers and planning protocol. As an interventionist, Mrs. Luna services students across multiple content areas by mentoring teachers, providing resource,s and leads training opportunities for continued professional development. Many thanks for all that your do!

"Mrs. Luna has been a tremendous asset to 7th grade ELA. She provides us with data and finds opportunities to meet the needs of the teachers to service our students. We appreciate all she does for our department and new teachers!" - Claudia Talamantes - 7th grade ELA

"Mrs. Luna has always been quick to help me gather materials and resources for my lessons even up until the last minute!" Natalie Ochoa - 8th grade ELA

Spotlight on Lonnie Green Elementary - Ramona Casillas

Lonnie Green Elementary' s leadership team has continued to support teacher growth through various efforts. Part of that support includes how the interventionist is utilized to service student needs. Ramona Casillas has been a part of the LGE family for 5 1/2 years. Prior to that, she served as a math teacher in secondary. Her knowledge in numbers helps teachers sort through data, discuss student quintiles and provides a focus in instruction to meet the needs of all learners. Mrs. Casillas currently works in and out of classrooms providing push-in interventions through guided groups. She is always at hand to provide professional development opportunities such as book studies, one to one planning sessions and teacher mentoring to name a few. A shout out from Mrs. Rivera and her 3rd grade class truly shows Lonnie Green's appreciation for Mrs. Casillas!

"Mrs. Casillas is THE Math Guru! Not only do my students love her, but I've learned something from her every time she's come in! From center games and ideas to Lone Star Math, Mona has been an asset to our classroom and cluster. We love you, Mrs. Casillas!"

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Book of the month: 40 Reading Intervention Strategies for K-6 Students

Research Based support for RtI

By: Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins

Mentors will be able to provide a copy of this book if you are interested in its strategies.

C&I Team

Director: Aida Gomez - SFMMS

Coordinators & Campus Contacts: Patricia Brown - DRMS/Blended, Marta Galindo - LAM/RCE, Sandra Mendoza - DRFS/BVE, Maytte Y. Soliz - CAL/DLG, Jennifer Sutton - DRHS, Griselda Westlake - GAR/NHE