Ram Nation News

Week of April 22, 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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It is hard to believe that we just finished the first week of the 6th six weeks; before you know it, the end of the school year will arrive soon. I want to thank you for the hard work, commitment, and support you have provided each one of our young Rams. I know that we will show great academic results and improvement!!!

We continue to make great strides toward our vision of cultivating scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society.

Every teacher wants his or her students to be successful on the big test, STAAR. As we continue to prepare our students for this milestone and for the next grade level, the following practices represent the highest yield of the high yield instructional practices. Use them and our students will perform better:

  1. Tell your students what you are going to teach them during the lesson, in student-friendly, concrete language. This primes the brain to be receptive to what you are going to teach them.

  2. Embed at least one small group purposeful talk activity into the lesson. This allows the student to begin to process, clarify, comprehend and connect the concept you are teaching.

  3. Challenge students' thinking by preparing high academic tasks; if we don't do so, our students will get bored and begin getting in trouble. They will find their own source of entertainment.

  4. Embed a quick critical writing activity into every lesson. This allows the student to solidify and think deeper about the concept you are teaching.

  5. Reinforce the effort students are putting forth as they talk, write and work. Recognize improved and exemplar thinking and performance.

  6. Close the lesson. This creates an information chunk that the brain can efficiently process, store, recall and connect.

Attendance Review

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

Check out the percent for attendance for the week of 4/15- 4/18:

  • 6th Grade - 93.71%
  • 7th Grade - 94.93% Continues to lead the attendance board!
  • 8th Grade - 94.60%

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.

Thank You

  • Ms. Miranda, Mrs. Gomez (aka Ms. Galvan), Ms. Saucedo, Ms. Araujo, and Ms.Reyes as we celebrate Administrative Professionals Week recognizing and celebrating their work and their contributions making Rusk a better place. Let's take some time to thank them for their service and for all they do for us.

Growth Mindset

We must believe that our students can learn and will learn even. We must provide the opportunities for our students to grow and shine!

High Expectations

Our students continue to rise to the level of expectations that we have set for them.

Inspiring Relationships

Our district's goal number four is about supporting students and the participation in extracurricular or cocurricular activities; it is great to see our students participating in the various sports and activities. Our students continue to represent our school in a very positive way; we are very proud of their accomplishments!!!

Ms. Baker continues to provide various opportunities for our students to explore what colleges and universities have to offer. Our students had the opportunity to visit UT Arlington and TCU last week and learn more about college. Shout out to Ms. Eddy for her support during this field trip.


  • As common assessment scores are available, have students profile (use link to access two samples of profile sheets to use) their assessment and conduct conferences with students so that they know what mistakes they made as they took the common assessment. Also, set goals so they know what they need to do to achieve and make significant progress. (TEI 1.2 and 1.5)
  • Aggressive Monitoring (see tracker and coding system if needed) should be done with at least the independent practice and DOL. Remember it is a check for understanding where all students receive feedback. You planned your pathway keeping in mind students level of achievement; then, you announce your laps, execute the pathway and provide feedback to students in the moment using the aggressive monitoring trackers and coding system. Every student receives written and verbal feedback. If you see an error or misconception clear it up immediately using the 3 Fs (feedback, fix it, follow up), show call, or modeling. (TEI 2.2)
  • As we continue to strengthen a great and solid testing environment to support the success of our Rusk Rams, use the active monitoring sheet for testing during your CDOL or any testing that may be longer than 45 minutes so that you can collect qualitative data to make instructional decisions and to have goal conversations with our students.

  • 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.
  • Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (TEI 4.2)


Monday, April 22

  • No School

Tuesday, April 23-

  • B-Day.
  • Extended Observations and SPOTs continue
  • 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. 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

Wednesday, April 24

  • A -Day.
  • 8:30 No Bully Coaching Session 3 - Ms. Turnbull, Ms. Safford, and Ms. Shelby
  • 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.

Thursday, April 25-

  • B-Day.
  • Report cards distributed.
  • Weekly PLC -
  • 4:30 After school program continues.
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.

Friday, April 26-

  • A-Day

Saturday, April 27

  • Health Fair at Rusk - UT Southwestern.
  • Saturday School Continues - Adults 8:30 - 1:00; Students 8:45 light breakfast 9:00 - 12:30

Upcoming Events

April 29

  • Tentative (based on STAAR test results release) - Student Surveys

May 8

  • Algebra EOC test

May 13 -16

  • 6th - 7th Math STAAR and 8th grade Math retest
  • 6th - 7th Reading STAAR and 8th grade Reading retest
  • 8th Grade Science STAAR test
  • 8th Grade Social Studies STAAR test

May 20

May 30

June 10 - 20

  • Summer Readiness - Selected personnel has been notified. All other who applied will be notified if other opportunities come up.

June 10 - 26

  • SSI - Selected personnel has been notified. All other who applied will be notified if other opportunities come up.
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2019-2020 Approved Calendar

As you begin planning your summer vacation, use this link to access our 19-20 school calendar. As an ACE campus, we will begin on August 1, 2019.

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HOW TO FINISH THE SCHOOL YEAR STRONG (click hyperlink to access the entire article)

  1. Don’t coast; instead, be more intentional. Don’t allow yourself to go on autopilot. Instead, choose to be intentional about making these last days count. Set one or two end-of-the-year goals and make it a priority to do all you can to influence your students during these last few days.

  2. Keep first things first. When you’re overwhelmed and there are a million things to do, remember to keep first things first. Focus on what really matters and realize that the rest will get done eventually. (You might also want to try the intentional procrastinating to-do list system.)

  3. Draw on relationships you’ve built. You’ve spent a whole year building relationships with your students and their parents, and as a result, you likely have more influence now than you ever did before. You may never get another chance to inspire them, believe in them, guide them, or counsel them. So take advantage of every opportunity you get to speak the truth and impact their lives.

  4. Strategically prioritize what to teach. If you’ve got way more material to cover than you have time to teach, don’t just keep plodding along. Instead, sit down and decide what is most important for them to learn. Then focus on that.

  5. Don’t plan to finish teaching too early. For those of you who are right on track and are about to finish your curriculum, I have a word of caution for you – don’t finish too early. One of my first years I finished my math curriculum a week early, planning review games for the last week. The problem was that once I told the kids we were done with the book, they turned into crazy people. Well, not really, but it was definitely much harder to keep them focused. Since then, I’ve scheduled the final test closer to the last day of school.

  6. Communicate with parents. Don’t just turn in your final grades and walk out the door. Take the time to have one last communication with the parents of kids who have struggled in your class. Give them suggestions of things they can do over the summer to help prepare their student for the next year. Even if you don’t think they’ll heed your advice, taking a few moments to send them a final email shows them how much you care about their student.

  7. Try to leave things as organized as possible. Notice I said try. Yes, there’s a bazillion things to do, but the more organized you can leave things now, the smoother things will go next fall. So take a few moments to jot down notes for yourself of what worked and what didn’t. And maybe even to tackle those disastrous desk drawers. (Do I dare even mention the closet?)

  8. Decide to enjoy these last days. Simple but profound. Instead of counting every moment till you’re done, choose to enjoy these last days you have with this group of students. Soon school will be over and you’ll be relaxing. But this opportunity – your time with these students – will be done. So choose to enjoy these days while you have them and to view them as a gift. This one mental decision will impact everything else you do.

Happy Birthday

We wish you a happy birthday!

  • Edwina Woods 4/2
  • Martin Brown 4/4
  • Barbara Perez 4/11
  • Shelly Kannada 4/22
  • Kiara Brunson 4/30