OCT Tiger Time News

News from the O.C. Taylor Principal, Lisa Pedevilla

March 2-6, 2020


Dear OCT Families,

We invite you to attend our Portrait of A Graduate Showcase this Thurs., March 5. Visit our 3rd Grade Wax Museum from 6:00 - 6:30 then from 6:30-7:15 explore various classrooms and stations to see how O.C.Taylor Tigers exemplify GCISD’s Portrait of a Graduate. Each grade level and special area will be open to visitors. We will be highlighting the components of the GCISD Portrait of A Graduate.

Pre K: Dr. Seuss & Me (Self-regulated learners)

Kindergarten: Texas Celebration (Effective Communicator and Global Citizen)

1st - Research Showcasing Important Historical Figures

(Self-Regulated Learner, Collaborative Workers and Effective Communicators)

2nd- Math Mania: Student-Designed Math Showcase

(Effective Communicator, Self-Regulated Learner, Skilled Problem Solvers)

3rd - Wax Museum in the cafeteria and gym from 6:00-6:30;

Digital Kahoot in Math/Science from 6:30-7:15

(Effective Communicator, Self-Regulated Learner)

4th - Poetry Slam (Effective Communicator);

Water Cycle Comic Strips & Math Anchor Chart

(Collaborative Worker, Effective Communicators, and Skilled Problem Solvers)

5th - Civil War Cause/Effect Multi-Flow Map

(Self-Regulated Learner, Skilled Problem Solvers, Effective Communicators);

Geometry Digital Breakout (Effective Communicators, Self-Regulated Learners)

Science Circle Books (Collaborative Worker, Effective Communicator)

Foyer and Entry - Snap a photo of your child and the Portrait of A Graduate

Learning Commons & Green Screen - Come solve problems with Osmos and create in our Maker Spaces; Come see how we are effective communicators.

Art - Students will create a school collaboration piece by answering the question, "What are you passionate about?" They will draw or write on a sticky note to add to a pixel heart.

Music (front hallway) - Music Tweet station and scan the QR code to sing our school song

P.E. (Station by Gym) - Scan the QR code to answer a health survey

Guidance - 5th-grade parents are invited to meet with Mrs. Whisman to discuss middle school course selections if needed

GT LEAD - Showcasing work reflecting self-regulated learners, communicators, and global citizens

We hope to see everyone!

To the BEST of days,

Principal Pedevilla

Stay Connected at O. C. Taylor Elementary School

We have a number of ways to keep in touch with our school. Be sure to read, subscribe to and join these resources to get all the latest news.

Facebook: If you’re a Facebook member be sure to join the O.C. Taylor Elementary Facebook Group to get updates in your feed. This group is meant to provide another way to get news and updates.

Website: The school’s website has the latest news, updates, and calendars, as well as general information about the school, resources for parents, volunteer opportunity information, event information and ways to donate.

Twitter: We regularly post events and upcoming news on Twitter. Follow me on Twitter: @OCTYoung and follow our hashtag #OCT4U.

OCT Vision: To empower our children today to create a better tomorrow.

OCT Mission: To create lifelong learners and develop servant leaders through authentic, real-world experiences.


Upcoming Events

Monday, March 2

Read Across America - wear red, white with jeans or Dr. Seuss

Interim Assessment - 5th Grade Science

Tuesday, March 3

Tigers, wear your Tiger shirt and jeans today!

Wednesday, March 4

8:15 a.m. - PTA Executive Board Meeting

2:55 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Yearbook

Thursday, March 5

2:55 p.m. Choir

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Sky Ranch Meeting (Learning Commons)

6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 3rd Grade Wax Museum (Entire school is invited to attend.)

6:30 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. Portrait of a Graduate Showcase

Friday, March 6

Monday, March 9 - 13

Spring Break

Monday, March 16

Tigers, wear your Tiger shirt and jeans today!

Tuesday, March 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Wear green!

Wednesday, March 18

3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. NEHS

Thursday, March 19

2:55 p.m. Choir

6:30 p.m. Choir Performance/PTA Meeting/Keno/Pizza Night

Friday, March 20

Crazy Socks Day for World Down Syndrome Day

3:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Running Club


Grade Level Newsletters

Parents, please click on the link below to read your child's grade level newsletter.










Important Links

OCT Staff Shout-Outs

Want to recognize a staff member at O.C. Taylor! Complete this form! Thanks for recognizing our teachers! These can be completed by guardians, community members, and students!


OCT and GCISD Updates


Big picture


Updates from Counseling and Guidance, Mrs. Whisman

Please click here to see the Counselor Corner Newsletter.

SAVE THE DATE - May 1, 2020

Would you like to come to O.C. Taylor and share with our students about your CAREER? We'd love to have you! On May 1, 2020 we will be observing Career Day! If you are interested in presenting or have a connection to someone who would like to join us, please fill out this form.

Big picture


Updates from Music, Mrs. Vencill

March is Music In Our Schools month! To celebrate music education and the wonderful things we learn in the OCT music room, let's TWEET and share our 'musical' story globally. We will tweet during our class time to highlight the beautiful music we create together, but I want YOU to tweet your personal story, too!

  • Tweet lyrics from your favorite song OR write your own lyrics.
  • Record yourself singing your favorite tune OR compose your own melody.
  • Record yourself playing your favorite instrument OR create a new instrument.
  • Tell me why #MusicMatters or #MusicChangesLives.

If you tweet from home, don't forget to tag @OCTVencill and @OCTaylorTigers, and use these hashtags - #MIOSM, #MusicMatters, #MusicChangesLives, #musiceducation. If you're not a confident tweeter, email your pictures or videos to bethany.vencill@gcisd.net, and Mrs. Vencill will tweet for you.

Music is an important and FUN part of our day at O.C. Taylor. Let's share with the world why #MusicMatters to us!

**Stop by the MUSIC table in the front foyer during Portrait of a Graduate to take a photo to tweet!

**Add the 1st Grade Music In Our School Celebration to your calendar...Thursday, March 26 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the OCT cafeteria


Updates from Learning Commons, Mrs. Bonacci

Hello O. C. Taylor Families!

Most kids LOVE contests, but at school our time and resources for contests can be limited. If you and your child are interested in participating in contests be sure to check out this collection of opportunities for kids.


The GCISD Reads Challenge deadline is approaching. For more information about the challenges and the Recording Documents for the 2019-2020 GCISD Reads can be found at https://www.smore.com/n06z7-2019-2020-gcisd-reads-challenge

Birthday Books-

Are you looking for a fun way to commemorate your child's birthday? Maybe you're looking for something more lasting than cupcakes? Consider adding a new hardcover book to the library collection in honor of your child's special day! This is a wonderful way to celebrate your child’s birthday and benefit many O. C. Taylor Tigers for years to come! For more information visit https://www.smore.com/n56x2-birthday-books

Thank you for your continued support for our O. C. Taylor Tigers!


Updates from our Nurse Katy

  • THANK YOU: To those who took the time to donate blood at our Blood Drive last week, I appreciate you! We had 15 people attempt to donate, and 14 were actually able to donate. That equates to saving approximately 42 lives in the community! The classroom with the most donations will receive a popsicle party in the Spring!!! :) Stay tuned for the winners...
  • Parents of 4th grade girls: On Friday, March 6th, the 4th grade girls will be viewing the film "Just Around the Corner" and I will lead a discussion afterwards. The film introduces puberty and the physical changes that occur. Letters went home earlier this week with more detailed information, but please let me know if you have any further questions after reading it.


Updates from GT LEAD, Mrs. Griffin

Please click here to see the newsletter.


GCISD Pre-K Lottery

The GCISD Pre-K lottery application window is now open! Please visit www.GCISD.net/prek for more information.
Big picture


GCISD Nutrition Award for GCISD and Ms. Gwen


has been recognized as a North Texas Gold Sponsor for the Summer of 2019 by the Excellence in Summer Meals Campaign! Best practices in programming, operations, food quality, outreach, and marketing are all taken into consideration for this honor. #CelebrateGCISD Woohoo! Congratulations to Ms. Gwen!

Big picture


Yearbooks Sold Only Online This Year

Big picture


Doodle 4 Google 2020

Big picture


Technology Tip: The Balancing Act

I don't know about you, but my children would get grumpier the more they used technology. Many research studies have explored the connections between children’s use of electronic devices and mental health. The results show as use increases so do the risks of mental health problems including depression, anxiety, ADHD, mood disorders, and suicidality. Studies have shown that children with ADHD symptoms spend more hours engaged in screen time activities than children without ADHD. As the amount of time spent with devices increases, so do symptoms of ADHD. There is clearly a connection.

Research also shows that fear of missing out (FOMO) on what others are saying and doing online also drives up stress and anxiety levels.

The content children are exposed to online can also lead to mental health problems. Excessive time spent on Internet games can lead to depression, aggression, impulsivity, substance use, and physical brain changes. Pornographic content is rampant online, and children are exposed much more than adults realize. In the US, 73% of young people in the US (93% of boys and 62% of girls) report that they have been exposed to online pornography before the age of 18.

Having been in education at all levels, I have seen the amazing things technology can do. However, when not in balance and check, I have witnessed all of the above in many children, some in my own sons. The key is to recognize when it gets out of balance and swiftly bring it back to stability.

Big picture


Take Care of Texas Art Contest, by March 6th

2020 Take Care of Texas Kids Art Contest (Elementary Only)

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Chemical Council are excited to kick off the 2020 Take Care of Texas Kids Art Contest. Sixteen students—and one lucky teacher—will win a tablet or laptop! Prizes are provided by Texas Chemical Council.

To enter, K-5th grade students should create a unique piece of artwork portraying the positive ways people can Take Care of Texas by keeping the air and water clean, conserving water and energy, and reducing waste. You can see the winning artwork from previous years.

All entries must be postmarked on or before March 6, 2020 to be eligible. Please read our contest rules and complete the entry form to return with the artwork. Winners will be announced on April 15, 2020.

Big picture


Rock Your Socks Day, Celebrated at OCT on 3/20

O.C. Taylor will be celebrating World Down Syndrome Day on Friday, March 20. World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), 21 March, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The actual day, March 21 was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which leads to Down syndrome. We hope this will raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
Big picture


Math Telescoping Exams (Elementary and Middle School)

Testing opportunities for telescoping in math for the 2020-2021 school year are available in the spring and summer for GCISD students who are completing Grades K - 7.

The Math Telescoping Information Packet will be available on the district website under the For Parents and Students Directory by selecting the link for Acceleration Exams, Math Telescoping, Grades K - 7.

Parents will find information about the requirements to qualify for Math Telescoping and instructions about the TWO STEP Online Registration Process. There will be links to print the Information Packet, begin the TWO STEP Online Registration Process to register for the spring exams, view the TEKS on the TEA website, and download Study Guides for the exams purchased from UT-Austin.

The online registration form will go live on February 14th for the April 18th test administration.

The online registration form will go live on May 4th for the June 17th test administration.

The exam dates and registration deadlines for each exam date are listed below:

Spring Exam Date: Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 9:00 am | Colleyville Middle School

Online Registration Opens – Spring Exam Date: February 14, 2020

Online Registration Deadline – Spring Exam Date: March 2, 2020

The online registration form will not be available on March 3, 2020

Exam Fee Payment Deadline – Spring Exam Date: March 3, 2020

Summer Exam Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 9:00 am | Colleyville Middle School

Online Registration Opens – Summer Exam Date: May 4, 2020

Online Registration Closes – Summer Exam Date: May 18, 2020

The online registration form will not be available on May 19, 2020

Exam Fee Payment Deadline – Summer Exam Date: May 19, 2020

Spanish version


Parent Tech Academy - Not How, but WHY? Thinking Critically in the Digital Age

March 4 | Colleyville Heritage High School | Learning Commons at 6:15 p.m.

The pervasiveness of the internet and the massive amounts of information available — reliable or not — requires information seekers to also become discerners. Acquiring the skill set needed to select, evaluate, and use information and technology appropriately, responsibly, and effectively is more vital now than ever before.

As educators and parents, it is essential that we educate ourselves and young people regarding the necessary responsibilities and safeguards, as well as the profound benefits that come with living in this digital age.

Join us as we review the 5 Competencies of Digital Citizenship designed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) and discuss tools and strategies to ensure we and our students are using critical thinking to be Inclusive, Informed, Engaged, Balanced, and Alert digital citizens.


To learn more about GCISD Parent Technology Academy, click here!


GCISD Walk of Honor, by Apr. 30

The GCISD Walk of Honor seeks to identify and recognize individuals who have become an important part of the GCISD story. Anyone may complete a nomination form and submit the required documents to the Walk of Honor Selection Committee. Each fall, new honorees are honored at a recognition event, and a permanent display of all honorees is housed at Mustang Panther Stadium in the Walk of Honor area. Nominations for next year’s class of honorees are now being accepted. The deadline to submit a nomination for consideration is April 30, 2020. Please visit the Nominate page for details.



OCT 4th Grade Team

Cindy Rutter, Liz Campbell, Halli Mankins, and Kim Steele, Anne Lee
Big picture

Mrs. Cindy Rutter

Mrs. Rutter graduated from Westwood High School, Austin Texas and from Concordia Lutheran University in Austin, Texas. Her teacher certifications include 1-8 General Education and 1-8 Reading Endorsement.

Her greatest strength as a teacher is a love of the subjects (reading, writing) that she teaches. Her love of reading and writing make her want to instill the love of reading and writing in her students. Her favorite food is seafood and she loves to eat fish fillet sauteed in butter. Her favorite color is yellow because it makes her feel bright and sunny. If she had a superpower it would be to fly, so she could travel for free!

Her advice to parents is to spend time every day with your child and read to them daily.

Mrs. Rutter's favorite memory of school was of her 5th grade teacher at Cannon, Mr. Newburn. She says, "He used to take us on field trips on the weekend. We'd go to so many different places in the metroplex. We'd go ice skating at Tandy Center and college kids classes at TWU. What great memories!"

Big picture

Mrs. Liz Campbell

Mrs. Campbell is a special education teacher serving students in almost every grade level but primarily those in fourth grade. She graduated high school from The Colony High School in The Colony back when flannel was cool the first time and received her Bachelor of Arts from Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia. During that time she almost changed her major to education but decided to stick it out in her chosen field of Mass Communication. After several years in public relations and marketing, Mrs. Campbell went back to school and got her Master's of Education and teacher certification in special education from Texas State University and is now celebrating her eighth year as a teacher.

Mrs. Campbell has a six-year-old, Elliott, who she enjoys laughing, reading, and spending time with, along with her husband, Brad, and their two dogs, Duncan and Chewie. A poorly kept secret about Mrs. Campbell is that she is a huge Star Wars and Harry Potter fan. Ask her (almost) anything – she isn’t afraid to show off her nerdy side. She also enjoys watching baseball and basketball with her family, reading, and spending time outdoors.

If Mrs. Campbell could give any advice to her parents, it would be, don’t forget to have fun and laugh with your kids. She is constantly surprised by how sweet, caring, clever, and genuinely funny each of her students is.

Growing up, Mrs. Campbell doesn’t have any one favorite memory. She has a kind of collage of memories with her sisters and friends – camping trips, a last hug from a friend that she didn’t realize at the time was the last, and discovering a new band or book from someone.

Big picture


United States 2020 Census

Beginning in March 2020, students and families in GCISD will have an opportunity to respond and participate in activities related to the 2020 Census. An accurate representation of our student and family population is important for future federal funding implications. Beginning Mid-March, families will receive a letter in the mail with a code for someone to complete the census online or over the phone. It is encouraged to complete the census upon receiving the code so there is not a need for follow up communication or an in-person visit from a census representative. Please be assured that census data is confidential and forms are available in 13 home languages. Below is more information in English and Spanish if you with to learn more:



School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)

School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) is the perfect place for parents to make contributions and recommendations on health initiatives that influence your child. Find out how you can join SHAC.

We think your kids are..... G-G-G-G-reat!

Big picture

Spring is in the Air!


Spring has arrived (or at least that's what our weather tells us this week!).

As a parent of a 5th grader, I am all too aware of how quickly this year is flying by, with all of the "lasts" that we are getting to enjoy in elementary school! I would encourage each of you to jump in and let us know how and where you might like to assist this spring.

We will have so many special activities where you and your child can participate, from Spring Fling in April to Staff Appreciation Week in May. So feel free to email me at berrionealgormley@gmail.com or text at 214-293-5986 if you see an opportunity you would love to volunteer!

It has been a great year so far, and this spring will be so memorable for us all!


3rd Annual Dads' Club Golf Tournament

The 3rd Annual Dads' Club Golf Tournament was held this past Friday at the Texas Star Golf Course and was a huge success!

We deeply appreciate all of those who sponsored our golf tournament, as these types of fundraisers make a huge difference to provide great opportunities for our Tigers! Thank you to our Title Sponsor - Julia Barth, with J.P. Barth Law Firm, PLLC & Juniper Title, Inc. We truly appreciate your support!

Thank you to the organizers - Brad Haga, Wes Critz, Lissa Critz and Stephanie Williams!

Big picture
Big picture

Colleyville Receipt Race 2020

The Colleyville Receipt Race is BACK! Save your receipts when you shop and dine at local Colleyville businesses from March 1st through April 30th. We will earn $500 for our school just for participating! Be on the look out for a box in the front entryway to deposit your receipts. Thanks for helping support our school and community businesses!

Apple Tree

If you would like to purchase something for your teacher (or for any fabulous OCT teacher/staff member), this is the Apple Tree link where we ask staff members to list their needs for their classrooms!


Spring Fling

Spring Fling is Saturday, March 28th from 2-6 pm. We need your help to make this event a success! We have some carnival games in our shed that could still be tons of fun, but are in need of some paint and a little bit of love! If you love to fix things us, please contact Stephanie Williams at octsilentauction@gmail.com for how you can help out! We are also in need of coolers and wagons the week of the event. If you would be willing to donate your rolling cooler or wagon for the event, please sign up and drop off your item at school on Wednesday, March 25th.

Spring Fling - Nerf War

Our annual Nerf war will return to this year's Spring Fling. This is always a popular event. We are in need of a few more Nerf guns to make this event a success. Nerf guns do not have to be new, but must be in working order. Nerf guns will not be returned, but will instead be stored in our shed for use in future years. If your garage needs a good spring cleaning and you are willing to part with a few of your Nerf gun collection, please contact Stephanie Williams at octsilentauction@gmail.com.

Grace Food Drive - Third Graders!


MARCH is your month FIRST GRADE

ITEMS IN NEED: Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup

Your hands may be small, but your hearts are BIG.

GRACE is in need of some Ramen Noodle Soup.

Collection baskets will be outside the 1st Grade Classrooms beginning Monday, March 2nd and will stay there until Friday, April 3rd. The next time you are in the grocery store, please consider supporting your community by picking some packages of Ramen Noodle.

Thank you in advance for your support.

We would love for you to be on our team!

*It is almost time to select next year's PTA Officers and then later this spring, the Executive Board Members will be selected as well. Please click on this link below and fill out the form! Or interest forms were sent home in your child's backpack this week! If you are interested, please fill out a form and let us know where you would like to serve! We would love to have you on our PTA team! It's not too late!


* Also - The O.C. Taylor PTA is only a FEW members away from receiving another PTA Membership award! So if you feel so inclined, and you have not yet joined PTA, or if your parents or another relative or friend would like to support our PTA, please let them know that they can still join! Contact Liz Payne, VP of Membership, for more details! scottlizpayne@yahoo.com

Thank you!

Box Tops

It's a new semester, so we're starting a new Racing to Recess Challenge. New collection bags will be sent home this week. Keep clipping those Box Tops when you see them. If you haven't already, be sure to download the Box Tops App so that you can scan your receipts and earn money for our school instantly! We're only a little more than $250 away from raising $1000 in Box Tops this year!!


Be sure to shop smileamazon.com so that .5% of all your purchases will go to the OC Taylor PTA. Log on to smileamazon.com and select PTA Texas Congress 1610 O C Taylor Elementary as your preferred charity. It's an amazingly easy way to earn money for our school!! Remember, you must log on to smileamazon.com every time you shop Amazon to ensure that your purchases earn money for our school.

Tom Thumb Good Neighbor Program

You can now earn money for our school simply by shopping for groceries at Tom Thumb or Albertson's! Designate O.C. Taylor PTA as your organization by completing a Reward Application at any courtesy booth. Fill in the top portion and the "Good Neighbor Program" section, indicating account number 8332 to link your grocery purchases to O.C. Taylor. If you already have a Rewards Card, simply stop by a courtesy desk to link our school to your existing account. Pharmacy, fuel, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco products do not count toward the purchase amount credited to the Good Neighbor Program accounts. 1% of all eligible purchases made at Tom Thumb & Albertson's will be given back to our school! So far this year we've raised over $70 for our school just by shopping for groceries!


Stay Connected at O. C. Taylor Elementary School

We have a number of ways to keep in touch with our school. Be sure to read, subscribe to and join these resources to get all the latest news.

Facebook: If you’re a Facebook member be sure to join the O.C. Taylor Elementary Facebook Group to get updates in your feed. This group is meant to provide another way to get news and updates.

Website: The school’s website has the latest news, updates, and calendars, as well as general information about the school, resources for parents, volunteer opportunity information, event information and ways to donate.

Twitter: We regularly post events and upcoming news on Twitter. Follow me on Twitter: @OCTYoung and follow our hashtag #OCT4U.

Thank you!

Berri O'Neal Gormley

PTA President



Lissa Critz

PTA President-Elect



Important Information Regarding GCISD Elementary Student Issued Devices

Parents, please take a moment to review your child's GCISD issued device. From time to time the device may have damage or other issues that have not been addressed.

For Elementary iPads

If the screen has any cracks please ensure that the iPads are turned in for repair. To report issues or repairs, have your child enter a Helpdesk ticket through the Classlink icon on their iPad. If you have any problems, please have them notify their teacher.

Also, while looking at the iPad, please review the current operating system level by following these steps below. It is important that the iPad is on the latest software level for important updates. iPads might not receive the auto-update command so we need to manually check the device.

To update your iPad use the following steps:

1. Tap on Settings

2. Tap on General

3. Tap on Software Update

Depending on how old the operating system is, this can take several minutes. The iPad will restart itself when finished. If your battery is less than 75%, plugin during this process.

If your iPad fails to update because there's not enough space available:

1. Delete or back up photos and videos. These can be backed up to your Google Drive or iCloud.

2. Remove unused apps. This ability has been restored for students.

Important Information Regarding GCISD 5-12 Student Issued Devices

Parents, please take a moment to review your child's GCISD issued device. From time to time the device may have damage or other issues in which they have not turned in to be addressed. Look for cracked screens or missing keys. If you notice any damage, have your student enter a Helpdesk ticket via classlink so the device can be repaired.

Also, take the time to have your students completely restart their device by shutting it down and then turning back on. Doing this helps the system receive needed updates.

Big picture