Eagle News

Building Blocks of Success Week of February 1, 2016

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Dallas ISD Core Beliefs

  • Our main purpose is to improve student academic achievement.
  • Effective instruction makes the most difference in student academic performance.
  • There is no excuse for poor quality instruction.
  • With our help, at risk students will achieve at the same rate as non-at risk students.
  • Staff members must have a commitment to children and a commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

Campus Action Plan

Key Actions

  1. Allen Elementary will increase student achievement by providing purposeful instruction in Reading, Mathematics, Writing, and Science.

  2. Improve the quality of instruction by increasing rigor and student engagement.

  3. Allen Elementary will improve positive perception of school climate and culture by all stakeholders including students, staff, parents and community.

Campus Improvement Plan

Problem Statement 1: 47% of the "all students" category did not meet the state standard in writing.

Annual Goal: 76% of the "all students" category will meet state standard in writing in the 2016 STAAR.

Problem Statement 2: 67% of the African American students did not meet the state target in reading.

Annual Goal: 76% of the African American students will meet the state target in reading in 2016.

Problem Statement 3: Less than 5% of all students met 2 or more subject area tests at Final Level II in the 2015 STAAR assessment.

Annual Goal: 15% of all students will meet 2 or more subject area tests at Final Level II in the 2016 STAAR assessment.

Building Blocks to Success

An exemplar Core Belief: Staff members that have a commitment to children and to the pursue of excellence.

I love taking this time to reflect upon the wonders of the new semester. It is great to watch our scholars flourish with the guidance of our committed teachers. This week while visiting our classrooms, I witness children who are engaged and excited about their learning. It is difficult to believe that we are halfway through the school year. Remember, we have 20 Instructional Days in FEBRUARY. As we look ahead to the month of February, let's stay focused in providing purposeful instruction and engaging the students in each lesson. I am very proud of the children and teachers at Gabe P. Allen, and I look forward to more great things in this second semester.



Proud to be an Eagle!

Week at a Glance...

Magnificent Monday, February 1, 2016

  • PLC TELPAS overall training 3 to 5 include Text Complexity

  • PD for all teachers-Mr. Elizondo Power Struggle Part II

  • Attendance is due by 9:00 am

Terrific Tuesday, February 2, 2016

  • Attendance is due by 9:00 am

  • Staff/ Group Picture Day

  • Tutoring

  • 1/2 Day Planning K/1 8:30-11:30 (RTI/SST)
  • 1/2 Day Planning 2/3 12:30-3:45 (RTI/SST)

Wonderful Wednesday, February 3, 2016

  • Attendance is due by 9:00 am

  • 1/2 Day Planning 4/5 8:30-11:30 (RTI/SST)

  • Tutoring

Thrilling Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • Attendance is due by 9:00 am

  • Tutoring

  • Lesson Plans are due

Fabulous Friday, February 5, 2016

  • Wishing for Wings- Art Partners Presentation for Kindergarten at 1:00 pm


Saturday School starts February 6, 2016 from 8:30 to 11:30 am.

Becoming a Math Person

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Why students develop an aversion to mathematics — and how teachers can help change their minds

By Leah Shafer, on January 16, 2016 2:22 PM


We’ve all seen it happen to a child confronting long division, or a teenager grappling with geometry. We’ve even done it ourselves. The frustrated pencil drop, the defeated shoulder slump, and finally, the resigned proclamation: “I just can’t get this. I’m not a math person.”

But what does being a “math person” really mean? And more important, how can teachers help every student feel prepared and excited to tackle new concepts in mathematics?

According to HGSE Lecturer Noah Heller, the idea that there are “math people” and “not math people” is a social construct and not based on inherent characteristics. It stems from the belief that math intelligence is a fixed trait, rather than something that grows and develops with hard work and opportunities to learn. But the notion of a “math person” is still a useful one for math teachers to consider when trying to develop lessons and classroom norms that foster perseverance in all students.

Forced into Mathematics

When students proclaim that they’re “not ‘math persons,’ that’s an indication that they feel outside of mathematics, that math doesn’t belong to them,” explains Heller, the master teacher in residence for mathematics at the Harvard Teachers Fellows Program. “They feel like the math learning expected of them is something that they’re forced to do and memorize, or a way in which they’re asked to conform their thinking or cram for examinations. When students say they’re not ‘math persons,’ they mean that they don’t see mathematics as a useful practice that can help them interpret and navigate the world.”

Developing a Mind for Math

Math intelligence — and therefore the traits of a “math person” — can be nurtured and enhanced, Heller says. Teachers can take steps to help students develop a growth mindset — the view, popularized by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, that it takes determination and persistence to achieve success (in math, in this case), not innate talent. Heller outlines some of those mindset-changing steps here:

  1. Create opportunities for cooperative learning. When students learn from each other by discussing problem-solving strategies, they discover new techniques for approaching problems and new attitudes that help them persevere.
  2. Give students the chance to productively struggle. Math lessons are often set up to value outcomes, which are either right or wrong. But rich problems take time to figure out. Teachers should give students the chance to interpret complex problems in their own way, and they should encourage students to try a new approach if they’ve hit a dead end.
  3. Encourage participation, even if the student doesn’t have the right answer yet. “If there’s a threat of being wrong every time I raise my hand, and being wrong is a bad thing, then very quickly I decide math isn’t for me, I don’t like this, I’m not a smart person,” Heller explains. Teachers need to frame wrong answers as opportunities for learning, rather than as summative assessments of ability. When a student participates, he doesn’t have to feel sure he has the right answer — just confident that sharing his work will help move him in the right direction.
  4. Re-envision math as a language. Math teachers, says Heller, can work to “create classrooms where learners are situated as insiders, where they have opportunities to construct knowledge so that they feel it belongs to them and is useful in their world.” To foster that environment, Heller likens math class to a language class. Math students should feel that they can claim ownership over mathematics in the same way English language learners learn to claim ownership over English.

Above all, to succeed in math classes and to feel motivated to pursue mathematics-related careers, students need to feel comfortable with and excited about mathematics — they need to feel like they, too, are math persons.

During our January PTA Meeting, we recognized the Students of the Month. Here are the recipients with their teachers.

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Gabe P. Allen Elementary

Sheila Ortiz Espinell- Principal

Franceslia Rodriguez- AP

Russell Sims-AP