Ram Nation News

Week of January 27, 2020

Vision

A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society
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#EXCELLENCE, Back At It Again

We continue to make great strides toward our vision of creating catalyst of change, life-long learners, and competitors in a global society as we are on our road to EXCELLENCE, BackAtItAgain.

As we continue to visit classrooms, we have seen small group interventions in action, teachers aggressively monitoring, students annotating either their text, questions, or showing their work, and departments who come together to support each other recognizing the urgency of ensuring student learning.


Each one of you plays a critical role in shaping the lives of our kids as you are that beacon of hope for our students. In order to be the best, we must perfect our various practices and adapt to change.


Thank you to everyone who continue to support our students in their efforts to be ready for the next grade level and to succeed in their upcoming assessments.

Let's make sure that we

  • stay focus on the high leverage TEKS, implement action plans, and use data to drive our instruction.
  • actively participate in our PLC sessions. Collaborate with our teams; we know that success in education is powered by effective teams and effective practices.
  • prepare and plan our lessons so that teaching is purposeful and we are able to maximize instructional time.
  • challenge students through academic rigor. Let’s make students use reasoning beyond initial thinking. Let’s ignite in them the desire to know more and apply new

  • leverage the positive relationships we have built so that students trust teachers, teachers trust teachers, and teachers trust administrators

Attendance

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn. It is awesome to see all of our students being on time to school and transitioning in an expedited manner from class to class. The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 1/21 - 1/24:


  • 6th Grade - 95.59%
  • 7th Grade - 95.71%
  • 8th Grade - 94.95%

7th grade takes the lead for the third week in a row!!!

Let's continue to encourage our students to be present and on time on a daily basis. It really makes a huge difference when our students are present learning.

As a reminder, our school attendance goal is to achieve 97.5%; therefore, grade levels will be recognized with a popcorn party or other incentive when they reach this goal on a given week.

Aggressive Monitoring (AGMO)

We have adopted AGMO as one of our best instructional practices and it should be done at least with students' independent practice and DOL. It starts with a pre-planned pathway and an exemplar. During instruction, you announce your laps, follow the pathway and provide feedback to students in the moment using the Coding System your team has agreed on. If you see an error or misconception clear it up immediately using show call.

Saturday School

It is great to see the commitment displayed by our teachers, administration, and students who attended our first session of Saturday School. We were able to see small group sessions where our teachers intervene and support students with skills they need to work on or to advance our little guys to the next level. Shout out to Ms. Perez, Ms. Cato, Ms. Rocha, Ms. Molla, Ms. Miller, Ms. Maloy, Mr. Brown, and Ms. Ford. Also, Mr. Ramirez for making sure our building was ready for our students and teachers.

School Vertical Collaboration

As you may be aware, we are working to increase our enrollment and retention of students in our school. Therefore, counselors, elective teachers, teacher leaders, and some of our student leaders participated of the Elementary Parent Events at Obadiah Knight and Sam Houston to share information with our elementary students and families.

We saw great initiative and preparation by Ms. Woods, Mr. Halsell, Ms. Michael, Ms. Reeves, Mr. Thornton, and Mr. Alarcon providing great information and quality program/school pamphlets.

Elementary Campuses at Rusk

Thank you to our counselors for putting together the preview day for our elementary students. It was such a great opportunity and experience! This preview day was definitely student-led. Our rising 6th graders were able to see our band and cheerleaders perform. Also, they visited and asked questions of all of our student clubs. Furthermore, they interacted with a student panel to get the students' point of view of what it means to be in middle school. Our elementary students had a great impression of what they saw here at Rusk. Shout out to Mr. McCann, Mr. Alarcon, Ms. Michael, Ms. Gray, and Ms. Reeves for their support and preparation of our students. Also, all club sponsors for their displays and student support. Way to go Rusk Rams!

Climate and Culture

Our goal for our climate survey is to rank in the 4th and 5th quintile in all areas. This means that all of our areas of our climate survey will be green!!!

  • We made great improvements as we moved at least one quintile from Fall 18 to Fall 19.
  • We want to provide a welcoming and collegiate working environment for each person who comes to make a difference in our community.
  • Our goal is to improve morale knowing that pressure is on and our students must be the priority.

REMINDERS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK

  • Aggressive Monitoring should be done at least with students' independent practice and DOL. Remember it checks for understanding where no Ram is left behind. You use your pre-planned pathway, announce your laps, and provide feedback to students in the moment using the Coding System your team has agreed on. Students should receive written and verbal feedback. If you see an error or misconception clear it up immediately using show call (TEI 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.2 and 2.3).
  • We must have 100% presence in the hallway during transition times. Our students notice when there is a lack of adult presence in the hallways and will take advantage of it. (TEI 3.3 and 3R Positive Attitude/Enthusiasm).
  • It is critical to be prepared with lessons and materials to avoid having issues with students. When we are not prepared, our students can tell and will find their own way of entertainment.
  • As we work on documenting the progress our students are making, remember our policy regarding failure rates and the various opportunities needed to ensure our students are successful. EIA (Regulation) (TEI 2.2, 4.2, 4.5)
  • Be very consistent in the effective implementation of various practices discussed during our TEI orientation and lesson alignment conversations. With regards to Alignment (learning objective), the proficient rating states: Focuses students at the beginning and throughout the lesson, by clearly stating (TEI 2.1)
    • What they are learning
    • Why it is important
    • What mastery looks like
    • How to connect it to prior knowledge and their own lives and explaining to students
  • During 8:00 a.m. - 8:20 a.m., students must be engaged in meaningful activities: homework support, Grade checks, organizing binder, CNN news with reflection sheet.
  • Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 8:00 a.m. (TEI 4.2)

DAILY EVENTS

Monday, January 27-

  • B Day
  • MAP Middle of the Year RLA Testing - 8th Grade. See below a link for a refresher on how to set up and monitor. If you need more support one-on-on, see Ms. Wells.
  • We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, continue the analysis of the common assessment, and analyze data profiles for your students.
  • Grades due EOD - Ms. Reyes/Ms. Perez
  • 4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. PD - TELPAS Basic Training - Library


Tuesday, January 28-
  • A Day.
  • MAP Middle of the Year RLA Testing - 7th Grade. See below a link for a refresher on how to set up and monitor. If you need more support one-on-on, see Ms. Wells.
  • We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, continue the analysis of the common assessment, and analyze data profiles for your students.
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. Let's make the best out of this time being very purposeful in the material covered with students and the students who must attend your sessions. We need to work on the recruitment of students for our after school program since it impacts student growth, our school performance, progress, and, ultimately, part of our stipends are tied to the attendance of our students to our tutoring/enrichment sessions. As a reminder, students do not have the option to opt out; if you need assistance with parents, please let anyone from the leadership team know.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school.
  • Progress Reports go home today; distribution during 5th period.


Wednesday, January 29-
  • B Day
  • MAP Middle of the Year RLA Testing - 6th Grade. See below a link for a refresher on how to set up and monitor. If you need more support one-on-on, see Ms. Wells.
  • We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, continue the analysis of the common assessment, and analyze data profiles for your students.
  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m CAB Meeting - Mr. Cordoba/Woods, Maymi - Library.
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. As a reminder, students do not have the option to opt out; if you need assistance with parents, please let anyone from the leadership team know.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school.
  • Optional: TELPAS Basic Training continues on the day that you do not have tutoring/after school. See Mr. Cordoba for extra duty pay code.


Thursday, January 30-

  • A Day
  • 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 7th grade field trip to the Dallas Environmental Center - Ms. Kannada's classes.
  • We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, continue the analysis of the common assessment, and analyze data profiles for your students.
  • 12:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m. - School Leadership visit - Mr. Kastl
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. As a reminder, students do not have the option to opt out; if you need assistance with parents, please let anyone from the leadership team know.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school.
  • Optional: TELPAS Basic Training continues on the day that you do not have tutoring/after school. See Mr. Cordoba for extra duty pay code.


Friday, January 31-

  • B Day
  • 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 7th grade field trip to the Dallas Environmental Center - Ms. Melchiorre's classes.


Saturday, February 1

  • Saturday School Continues - Adults 8:30 - 1:00; Students 8:45 light breakfast. Session is from 9:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Upcoming Events

February 10

  • TELPAS Writing - Present Tense RLA


February 12

  • TELPAS Writing - Social Studies


February 14

  • Professional Development Day
  • TELPAS Calibration Core Subjects


Week of February 18

  • Common Assessment Window
  • TELPAS Writing - Past Tense Narrative RLA


February 25

  • TELPAS Writing - Science


February 26

  • TELPAS Writing - Math


March 2-3

  • TELPAS Online Reading - 8th Grade


March 4-5

  • TELPAS Online Reading - 7th Grade


March 6-9

  • TELPAS Online Reading - 6th Grade

Open Transfer Period

The Open Transfer application will be available starting March 6, 2020. Eligible employees must apply via the open transfer application online at https://www.dallasisd.org/careers within the time frame established. Principals will have an opportunity to submit open transfer recommendations no later than April 10, 2020. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notification will be completed by April 24, 2020. While I have sent a form in the Fall, I will be sending another form where you will have an opportunity to let me know of your plans for next year. However, if you know that you are planning to transfer or leaving the district, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can plan accordingly. As we are working on having a solid and effective team, transfers will not be approved after the April 10 deadline. In previous years, I have tried to be flexible and supportive allowing staff members to transfer; however, we have found ourselves in a bind trying to fill vacancies for transfers approved after the deadline. Therefore, while I want to keep as many of you as possible, I know that life happens and some of you will be transferring. Please, plan accordingly and let me know of your next steps.

MAP Testing Proctor Quick Start

Here is the link with how to do the map testing. It is the same material as earlier in the year, but it may be helpful as a refresher. Teachers and students now have a clever link under apps to access it quickly.

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Teacher Report & Input -ARD Meetings / IEP Development

In order to provide our students with the best possible IEP plan, your input and report is very important. Use this link to access the teacher report so that our inclusion teachers can plan and prepare for ARD meetings and develop IEPs.

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Happy Birthday -

We want to wish you the best and many blessings for the years to come.

  • Ms. Ford 1/2
  • Ms. Cagle – 1/3

  • Mr. Morshed 1/7
  • Ms. Cato – 1/9
  • Ms. Eddy – 1/13
  • Ms. Eze 1/24
  • Mr. Thornton 1/24
  • Ms. Minter 1/26
  • Mrs. Gardner 1/28