Ram Nation News

Week of February 4, 2019


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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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 racing OnANewLevel.

It has been awesome to observe the growth our students have made this school year. Our students' championship character is evident! I have watched leaders emerge and take on roles they would never have thought possible before this year. Our students are now thinking about their various options for high school, the opportunity to attend collegiate academies, where they will attend college, and how they can make the world a better place. This is awesome!!!! We know our work is impacting lives.

We have 9 instructional days left before we take our next Common Assessment...we know we are working on maximizing every minute of our day with all hands on deck! As we continue full force making an impact in the lives of our kids, let's make sure that we....
  • map out what needs to be covered to maximize student learning. Remember to focus on quality learning and avoid the error of thinking that learning happens simply through “teaching by mentioning it.” (Wiggins and McTighe, Understanding by Design, 21.)
  • greet students, narrate the positive, and inquire about their interests and weekend – making these connections with our students shows that we value our kids as people increasing the likelihood that they will in turn show interest to the course materials.
  • vary our Teaching Style to tap in students' interests and learning styles.
  • congratulate accomplishments to help students sense their mastery of the materials and to encourage further learning. A sense of mastery is a major motivational issue in learning. Students who sense achievement perform better than students who feel lost or overwhelmed. Spend some time getting students to recognize what they already have mastered and emphasize its importance. Encouragement goes a long way. Good teachers influence student performance.

Attendance Review

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn.

The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 1/28 - 2/1:

  • 6th Grade - 95.18%
  • 7th Grade - 96.79% an increase of 1.12% from last week and continues to lead!
  • 8th Grade - 94.53%

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.


  • Ms. Perez and Ms. Stripling for their commitment and flexibility as they have taken extra students and more responsibility as Mr. King is taking care of his family. Also, Ms. Wells for her dedication to our students as she is teaching 1st and 3rd period to ensure continuous progress and goal achievement . We know that team work makes the dream work.
  • Ms. Martin, Ms. McGee, and Ms. Garcia for their flexibility and support to our students as they have embraced all of our FLS students and created one class as Ms. Jackson has resigned.
  • Ms. Addison, Ms. Buitron, Mr. Thornton, and Mr. Clark for a great basketball season! Our students worked hard and represented Rusk in a remarkable way. Our Lady Rams advanced to the playoffs tournament and our boys B Team had a perfect record. Shout out to Ms. Woods for supporting our Lady Rams during the tournament.
  • Mr. Geiger and Mr. Smith for their support as they held detention for our students who were in need of some love last week. We hope that our students are learning from their mistakes.
  • Ms. Baker, Mr. Patel, Mr. Hernandez, Ms. Vargas, Mr. Garcia, and Mr. Johnson among others for their commitment to our kids as they helped our students during the magnet schools and high school application process with resume writing, application, and letters of recommendation.
  • Mr. McCann, Mr. Alarcon, and Ms. Turnbull for their flexibility and dedication to our kids as they prepared and performed during our elementary preview days. Visiting students were very impressed!

Commit Visits Rusk

Our students had an opportunity to display their leadership skills during the AVID world cafe as they shared their school and AVID experience with our visitors. Thank you so much to Ms. Baker and Ms. Wells for coordinating, leading and supporting this station. Our visitors truly enjoyed this part of the visit. Also, shout out to Ms. Minter, Mrs. Lewis, and Mr. Johnson for allowing us to visit their classrooms, see their teaching practices, and observe the classroom culture they have created. Our visitors had great feedback from their experience.

Medrano, Obadiah Knight, and Maple Lawn 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. Visiting students 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 and changed their perception of our school based on the things they had heard . Way to go Rusk Rams!


  • 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 announce your laps, create the pathway 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 2.2 and 2.3).
  • Teachers have to acknowledge in Cornerstone for a submitted spot to be marked complete and show up as complete on our tracker; if you have not acknowledged previous SPOTs, please do so to ensure accuracy and plan accordingly. (TEI 4.2)
  • 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)
  • 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. (TEI 3.1)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (TEI 4.2)


Monday, February 4-

  • A - Day
  • We will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action! Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:45 - 5:45 p.m Monthly Staff Meeting

Tuesday, February 5-
  • B-Day.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. As shared before, 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

Wednesday, February 6-
  • A-Day.
  • Calibration Walks - We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring. Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.
  • 4:30 After school program continues - Let's be very purposeful in our lessons and our recruitment of students.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.
  • 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. - CILT at Edison MS.

Thursday, February 7-

  • B-Day.
  • Videographer will be on campus to capture climate/culture components of our school and aggressively monitoring.
  • Weekly PLC: TELPAS overview and logistics - Mrs. Mooty
  • 4:30 After school program continues.
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.

Friday, February 8 -

  • A - Day
  • Meet with your grade level teams to complete exemplars and prepare for upcoming lessons.

Saturday, February 9 -

  • Saturday School Begins - Adults 8:30 - 1:00; Students 8:45 light breakfast 9:00 - 12:30

Upcoming Events

February 11

  • TELPAS Writing - Present Tense RLA

February 13

  • TELPAS Writing - Social Studies

February 15

  • Professional Development Day

Week of February 19

  • Common Assessment Window

February 20

  • Annual Ram Nation Soul Food Unity Luncheon - During 3 lunches. Requesting small donation of $10

February 19-20

  • TELPAS Writing - Science

February 21-22

  • TELPAS Writing - Math

February 25-26

  • TELPAS Writing - Past Tense Narrative RLA 6th and 7th
  • TELPAS Online Reading - 8th Grade

February 27-28

  • TELPAS Writing - Past Tense Narrative RLA 8th
  • TELPAS Online Reading - 7th Grade

March 19

  • Deadline to input designated supports

Online Documentation of Designated Supports- GenEd St.

Information about documentation of the designated supports for general education students. It addresses all core and elective content areas.

Open Transfer

The Open Transfer application will be available starting March 4, 2019. 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 March 29, 2019. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notification will be completed by April 12, 2019. I will be sending a 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.

Welcome to Rusk Middle School!

Please, take some time to greet and get to know the following personnel as you make them feel welcome to our school:

Ms. Jacey Melchiorre - 7th Grade Math - Due to the late hiring, she will coteach and support Ms. Winton and Mr. Martin as well as lead her own class during 4th period.