ARMS Legend

Excellence Without Boundaries

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November 16, 2015 3rd Six Weeks, Week 2


Principal Message

Being in the month of November conjurers up thoughts of gratitude and thankfulness. Sarah Ban Breathnach said, “Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.”

As we focus on the final seven days before our Fall holiday, what are you thankful for? What or Who are you thankful for at ARMS, family, friends, etc.? Acknowledge what is working and growth in yourself, team, grade level, or content.

I am thankful everyday for my ARMS family and look forward to the week ahead.

Ranger Pride!!

F. Taylor

I am thankful for us all being ready to receive our Rangers at 8:10AM :-)

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TG2 Spotlight

TG2 Spotlight is an opportunity for staff members to highlight another staff member who has demonstrated Team, Grit, or Growth. Please provide the characteristic you are spotlighting them for (Team, Grit, or Growth), a brief explanation, and a picture (if you can). In your email to me, Subject line should read: RED: SPOTLIGHT: (Teacher Name).
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Spotlight on Ms. Crabtree

Ms. Crabtree is always searching for ways to support the growth of our students by working with teachers and staff on how best to use data to enhance instruction. Ms. Crabtree goes beyond her official role as Testing Coordinator and is a teacher and guide as we strengthen our practices here at ARMS. Ms. Crabtree has a wealth of knowledge and at the same time is takes a learners approach! Thank you for your commitment and service mentality.
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Spotlight on Specialized Unit Team

This team provides an exceptional opportunity for each and every one of our students. Our team always has the highest expectations for our students and day in and day out provides a nurturing and empowering educational setting. They work tirelessly to be of service and always have a solution oriented mindset.

(Mr. Wells in now in Tech Services :-)

Ranger News

7th Grade Sponsoring Staff Breakfast

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Doors Open @ 8:05 AM

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Reminder: At our Morning Zone at 8:10 AM

Staff Potluck Sign Up (Nov. 20th)

When you check your box, please sign up for the Pot Luck in the Main Office.
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Pertinent campus wide WAIP information will be posted in the weekly ARMS Legend. Please ensure that you stay informed of district updates and general information. WAIP information that is specific to a team, grade, content, will be emailed directly.

2016 DISD Tech Fest

This competition is open to all grades and contents. Click here for more information.
Nothing to share this week from Dallas ISD WAIP.
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Marshall Memo

What is the Marshall Memo?

Kim Marshall was a teacher, principal, and central office administrator in Boston for 32 years. He currently advises and coaches new principals through the New Leaders for New Schools program. He is also the author of the Marshall Memo. He subscribes to 64 top-quality publications, and every week he sifts through them to select the most significant articles with the most potential to improve teaching and learning.

In the spirit of our second "G" GROWTH, every week I will share 1 or 2 of the article summaries with ARMS staff. In hopes of sparking interest, sharing another perspective, or strategies as we all collectively work to improve teaching and learning @ ARMS. Take what works for you, leave what doesn't.

A Richer and Deeper View of Student Success

In this Educational Leadership article, author/consultant Steven Levy makes the case for taking data use beyond test scores and getting students to own the process, collecting and analyzing pertinent information and setting their own goals. “Because data analysis is so effective in addressing the mastery of discrete skills,” says Levy, “the process tends to see everything as a discrete skill. It assumes that learning is a linear process, skill by skill, bit by bit, starting in kindergarten at A and ending with a PhD at Z… How can we invite data into schools without letting data usurp the fullness of our humanity?”

The question is whether the non-cognitive domain be measured – perseverance, beautiful work, human emotions. Levy believes so, and gives a small example of how a second-grade class in Boston designed a project to convince people not to be afraid of snakes. To measure their outcomes, students designed a “fear scale” with these ratings:

1. I love snakes SO much, if a snake crawled into my bed I’d kiss it.

2. I would let a snake crawl on me, but not for long.

3. I am scared of snakes, but won’t faint if I see one.

4. Every time I see a snake I panic. I hate snakes so much I would move to Jupiter. I would rather eat a dragon than look at a snake.

Respondents were asked, if they rated themselves 3 or 4, to explain their fear of snakes.

Levy says that Expeditionary Learning, where he works, embraces “an expanded view of student success,” focusing on three dimensions of achievement:

Mastery of knowledge and skills – Students’ progress in this traditional realm is measured by solving problems, thinking critically, applying learning in new situations, and communicating clearly about complex ideas. Students are also in the driver’s seat when it comes to data – for example, keeping records of the kinds of math errors they’re making (computational, procedural, or conceptual misunderstandings), analyzing patterns, and setting improvement goals. “Assessment isn’t something done ‘to’ students,” says Levy, “but something they use to improve and demonstrate their own performance.”

Character and engagement – This includes performance character (academic mindsets and habits of scholarship, including perseverance and organization) and relational character (how students work with others, including respect and collaboration). Students keep track of their own progress on the specific character goals and get feedback from peers and teachers.

High-quality work The criterion here is transferring traditional knowledge and skills to performances in authentic contexts. Students in Expeditionary Learning schools must present their work to diverse audiences and communicate their thinking through writing and speaking. The criteria for success are:

- Complexity – This includes higher-order thinking, grasping big concepts across academic disciplines, seeing different perspectives, and being able to transfer concepts to new situations and understand sophisticated texts.

- Craftsmanship – Work is done with care and precision and attention to accuracy and detail; there’s beauty in conception and execution.

- Authenticity – The work really matters to students, includes original thinking, and uses formats, standards, and sometimes audiences from outside the school.

Educators in Expeditionary Learning schools use these lenses to examine student work, praise what’s good, and improve what falls below standards.

“Who’s In the Driver’s Seat?” by Steven Levy in Educational Leadership, November 2015 (Vol. 73, #3, p. 62-67),; Levy can be reached at

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Understanding the Fundamental Attribution Error

“Humans instinctively judge other humans,” say Kristen Swanson, Gayle Allen, and Rob Mancabelli (The Research Institute at Bright-Bytes) in this article in Educational Leadership; “it’s a survival trait.” Researchers in the 1960s identified and named the fundamental attribution error – a strong tendency to fault people, not systems. For example, when another driver cuts in front of us or goes through a red light, we immediately conclude the person is rude and reckless – even though there could be a medical emergency, or perhaps the person’s car is malfunctioning. “But it’s unlikely that our first instinct would be to consider these possibilities,” say the authors. “You’d assume the person is the problem… Essentially, we’re hardwired to overemphasize people’s internal characteristics and minimize the impact of the system or situation at hand.”

Our tendencies when driving in traffic can also surface when looking at student achievement data. “In an effort to act swiftly and decisively, we focus on what people are doing wrong,” say Swanson, Allen, and Mancabelli – the blame game. They have three suggestions to counteract this habit:

Teach colleagues about the fundamental attribution error. Help them catch themselves before they jump to conclusions and blame students or colleagues when other factors are at work. “Combating biases around data begins with awareness,” say the authors. “When we simply make colleagues aware of these underlying human tendencies, they become more likely to catch themselves engaging in ineffective, judgmental behavior.”

Search for root causes. One well-known strategy is to ask Why? at least five times.

Maintain a formative outlook. “Celebrating improvement and growth, not just success, helps everyone maintain momentum,” say Swanson, Allen, and Mancabelli. “When we honor people’s work and assume positive intent, innovative solutions follow.” This goes for the vocabulary we use when talking about data – for example, not there yet, beginning, emerging.

“Eliminating the Blame Game” by Kristen Swanson, Gayle Allen, and Rob Mancabelli in Educational Leadership, November 2015 (Vol. 73, #3, p. 68-71),; the authors can be reached at,, and

WEEKLY EVENTS (11/16 - 11/20)

POD Leader Meeting - Monday, 11/16, 7:30 am - 8:10 am, Library
POD Action (APs) - Tuesday, 11/17
Staff Meeting - Tuesday, 11/17, 4:30 pm - 5:15 pm, Library
ARMS STAAR Family Night, Tuesday, 11/17, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Cafeteria
Coffee with the Principal - Wednesday, 11/18, 8:45 am - 9:20 am, Library
Parent Workshop - Wednesday, 11/18, 9:30 am - 10:30 am, Library
Staff Breakfast, Wednesday 11/18, 7:45 am, Teacher's Lounge
Grade Level Free Dress Day, (Highest Overall Average on 2nd Six Week CA's)- Thursday, 11/19
Math Blitz - Thursday, 11/19 (Activity Schedule)
Empowerment Meeting, Friday, 11/20, 7:30 am - 8:10 am, Parent Center
Staff Pot Luck - Friday, 11/20, During all lunches, in Teacher's Lounge
RLA Saturday School - Saturday, 11/21, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Magnet Prep Boot Camp - Saturday, 11/21 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

ARMS Athletic Events -

Monday, Nov. 16th @ Forester vs. Gaston MS (6pm Girls, 7:30 pm Boys)

Monday, Nov. 16th @ Cobb Athletic Complex vs. Comstock (6pm, 7pm Girls)

Thursday, Nov. 19th @ Cobb Athletic Complex vs. Comstock (6pm, 7pm Boys)

On the Horizon....

Staff Meeting, Monday, 11/23, 4:30 pm - 5:15 pm
Fall Holiday Break - 11/25 - 27
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TMEA Region 20 Middle School All Region Auditions

Ileana Negrete Martinez

Natalie Garcia

Leonardo Hernandez

Abigail Borrego

Oscar Trinidad Escamilla

Gustavo Ramirez

All of them placed extremely high (top 3rd of the players on their respective instruments).

The following students placed in the TMEA Region 20 Middle School All Region Concert Band:

Carlos Vasquez, 8th Grade - Trumpet - 4th Chair

Charity Crawford, 8th Grade - French Horn - 3rd Chair

Vanissa Martinez, 8th Grade - Flute - 1st Chair

This is a momentous individual achievement for these students! This means they were recognized to be some of the best young musicians on their instruments in this Region of Texas!

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6th Grade A/B Honor Roll Ice Cream Social

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Teaching and Learning never cease! Mr. George steals this opportunity to teach (after everyone was accounted for during the fire drill).
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Which Ranger has Baking Skills????

The Most Important Work of our Time! Always remember YOUR IMPACT!

Ann Richards Middle School

At Ann Richards MS, our vision is to be a flagship middle school at the hub of the community, nurturing diverse leaders, and empowering intelligent trailblazers.