Redbird Roundup, Vol 14

Friday, November 30, 2018

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a few days off. It is great to be back and I am excited for our these weeks before our next break!


We had a busy week back with athletic contests continuing, and our boys basketball and girls swimming teams competing well. Wednesday was a busy day this week too as we hosted an Inter-Rater Reliability training for principals and assistant principals, as well as the High School Recruitment Fair for our 8th graders.


There are lots of activities next week so please check the calendar below. Some PD dates have been changed, so please be mindful of that. We are also fortunate to have Dr. Elliot Merenbloom here with us Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning as we continue to work on our new schedule. Mrs. Denning and the Scheduling Committee have put a ton of thought and work into this, and we are hoping to make our time with Dr. Merenbloom beneficial.



Have a great weekend!


Dr. Carr

December 3-December 7

Monday, December 3: Dr. Merenbloom here in PM; Faculty Workshop after school (sign-up posted, Math teachers will have separate meeting after Testing Practices Presentation)

Tuesday, December 4: Make-up Meeting for Coaches and Sponsors at 7 a.m. in room 129; Dr. Merenbloom here in AM; Boys Basketball at McMillan

Wednesday, December 5: Girls Swim at Morton vs. Davis and McMillan

Thursday, December 6: Team PD During the Day (Learning Continuum) Schedule to come; Boys Basketball at Hale

Friday, December 7: No RASA due to their staff training

Staff Introductions

This week we will meet Samantha Borjon.

Samantha Borjon

Name: Samantha Borjon

How many years have you been teaching?

17 years

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School?

The staff! We are awesome!


What is one of your favorite quotes? “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” or “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” – Mark Twain

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Indoor is baking and outdoor is going for a walk.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing? LAUNDRY! No problem washing it, but hate to put it away!

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Take my family to watch a Boston Redsox game and sit on top of the green monster.

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? Percussion instruments

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category? Depends on my mood because I love both! Sweet would have to be any desserts and salty is chips!

Big picture

Powerful Practices

Explicit Directions

Ms. Bressman teaches our swim rotations in PE. It is incredibly important that it is a structured and safe learning environment. Ms. Bressman does an amazing job of giving explicit directions to ensure this. Students enter the swim area and sit on the side. She then models for them how to enter the pool and what they should do once they are in. Their time is very structured and well-organized, and the kids really enjoy their experience in the pool. Great job Ms. Bressman!

Incorporating Technology/Varied Learning Strategies

Mrs. Carver was one of the two teachers selected to be observed during our Inter-Rater Reliability Training on Wednesday. She totally rocked her lesson. She was using Nearpod to help her students have a better understanding of poetry. Within Nearpod, students completed several activities including changing the poetry into prose, and sketching what they read. Great engagement and incorporation of technology!

Relevance/Engagement

Ms. Cochran and Ms. Redding were also lucky teachers to be observed during our training. She had a high engagement lesson in which students were using their favorite drinks to convert ratios. Students looked at sugar content in their own drinks, and estimated sugar contents in some popular drinks. They then identified the ratio of grams of sugar in those drinks. We heard several students say, "I'm not going to drink that again, it has so much sugar!" What a great lesson!

Summative Assessments

Our Social Studies teachers are gearing up for some summative assessments. Mr. Pignatore's students are working on their huge RSP assessment which includes many components. He spent a great deal of time guiding his students through this and giving them the tools to be successful. Mr. Silva's students are working on their end of chapter assessment, which includes identifying terms, drawing inferences, and more. Both teachers were providing high levels of feedback to help students be successful and show what they know. Great job!

Project-Based Learning

Ms. Jacobberger's Service Learning Students put on their end of semester project, a Sensory Fair at J.P. Lord. They worked with students from UNO on this incredible event to serve the students at J.P. Lord. Students were able to pass through stations to try out scents, touches, sounds, and so much more. What a wonderful culminating project!

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Mr. Degbe

Thank you to Mr. Degbe for playing for us during our Redbird Pride Breakfast. I always love hearing him play for his students. It was fun to hear some songs we knew, but also some that he wrote.

The Lion King

The Lion King was absolutely amazing. Mr. Russell, Mrs. Carver, and Mr. Pignatore worked so incredibly hard to make this a great first production in our new space. The kids were incredible, so proud and beaming throughout the show. Audience turnout was great too! We are so proud of all of you and your hard work! We look forward to the next show!

South Sings

Mr. Russell took several of our Chorus students to Omaha South for the annual South Sings. This event gets our students together with high school students to work on their music. It was a great representation of Norris past, present and future!

La Cosecha Dual Language Conference

I was fortunate to attend the La Cosecha Dual Language Conference with Keren Wright and Sarahi Real y Vasquez the week before Thanksgiving. It was a great time to be reinforced for the great things we are already doing, but to also talk about new ideas such as parent engagement, social emotional learning, music, literacy, and so much more.

South Omaha Optimist Luncheon

Mrs. Denning took two of our awesome students, Marco Gutierrez and NaKiya Roddy (who sadly transferred to King due to a family move) to the South Omaha Optimist Luncheon before Thanksgiving break. Students were recognized for high achievement and leadership. These two definitely deserve that honor :)

Congrats Ms. Boyer!

Congrats to Ms. Boyer, who was selected to create a piece of art for the Micah House Art Library, which lends art to homeless shelters. In addition to receiving this honor she also received a cash stipend, which she chose to donate to the Benson First Friday Scholarship Fund. You can see the installation at the Micah House during an open house on December 15th from 9am-11am. Great job Ms. Boyer!

Dual Language Celebration

Our Dual Language program was highlighted at the annual Dual Language Celebration at TAC on Thursday, which showed off the talents of the 10 OPS Dual Language Schools. Ms. Real y Vásquez choreographed a dance for our kiddos, and Mrs. Zermeño jumped in to dance when a student had to be absent.

Final Thought

It is an amazing drop in the bucket to be recognized for the hard work you do. Here are two ways you can recognize a colleague for being amazing.


Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Nomination: https://buffettoutstandingteachers.org/nominate


CHI's Top Teachers Change Lives: https://www.chihealth.com/TopTeachers