Ram Nation News

Week of January 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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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.

We have had several visits this year from various groups and it has been great to hear the feedback about the work that each one of you is doing. It is awesome to see the ownership that our students have of our school; several of them asked me about Mrs. Healey's thoughts of our work. I was excited to report to our students that each one of our visitors has only had positive comments and that I am very proud of the work done by our teachers and students.

During Mrs. Healey's visit, she said, "Beautiful halls! Such a positive, student – centered environment. I see evidence of SEL in the classrooms. It is great to see your team hosting groups of students needing behavioral support each morning to set goals and change behavior – not suspend. Also, there is evidence of strong cognitive engagement with students reading to each other in groups, show call, equitable questioning."

As we continue to strengthen our work and support our kids to be ready for the next grade level so that they can be college ready, let's make sure that we

  • 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.

  • Incorporate the lesson cycle to ensure students have opportunities to be involved in the presentation and learning of meaningful content.

  • Implement student progress monitoring. We know that student progress monitoring is a practice that helps us to use student performance data to continually evaluate the effectiveness of our teaching and make more informed instructional decisions.

  • send homework that students really need instead of sending tons of homework. Look at students’ deficiencies and target those skills; use Eduphoria (see e-mail sent on 1/15/19 for details on how to access to TEKSBank) to help you create TEKS specific homework.

  • use the TEI rubric to know exactly what is expected of you and how you may move from one level to the next. Also, you may ask anyone from the leadership team if you need specific ideas or examples in teaching practices to support your performance.

Attendance Review

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn. Let's continue to support our students in transitioning in an expedited manner from class to class.

The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 1/14 - 1/18:

  • 6th Grade - 97.27%
  • 7th Grade - 94.78%
  • 8th Grade - 95.99% - an increase of 1.46% from last week.

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. Craft and all of the cafeteria staff for a great FCNS audit. We received very positive reviews about the operation of our cafeteria. We appreciate everyone for the support with this audit!
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Parent Conference

One of our school goals is to broaden constructive relationships with the members of school community. We had parents eager to talk with teachers and had a few lines in the hallways. This was a great opportunity to discuss academic progress, involve parents/students in the plan of action, homework expectations, and tutoring opportunities.

Let's continue to make sure we encourage parent participation in school events, parent workshops, and parent conferences to create partnerships to build the whole child.


  • 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, January 21-

  • NO SCHOOL - MLK Day.

Tuesday, January 22-
  • B-Day. We will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action!
  • 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. This is a great opportunity to reset and recruit students who are still needing our help; students do not have the option to opt out.

  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school

Wednesday, January 23-
  • A-Day.
  • Calibration Walks - We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring.
  • 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, January 24-

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

Friday, January 25 -

  • A - Day
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans, determine misconceptions, create exemplars, and analyze data for your students.

Saturday, January 26 -

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

Upcoming Events

January 28

  • Girls’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Loos Fieldhouse against Cary MS.

January 29

  • Medrano ES and Obadiah Knight ES will visit to learn about expectations and programs.

January 31

  • Commit will visit our school again in the spring as this organization supports our district and wants to bring another group of potential donors to learn about the great things taking place at Rusk.
  • Boys’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Loos Fieldhouse against Cary MS.

February 1

  • Maple Lawn ES will visit to learn about expectations and programs.

February 15

  • Professional Development Day - Survey for input forthcoming

Week of February 19

  • Common Assessment Window

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Eduphoria TEKSBank

Many of you have asked for more resources for your DOLs and CDOLs. While these are only a few examples of the use for Eduphoria TEKSBANK, you can use it as you see fit.

We are excited to announce we now have access to the Eduphoria TEKSBANK bank of test questions as a resource for you!

  • You will login with your email address and the password "welcome2017". Then you will be asked to change the password. If this password does not work for you, use the "forgot password" hyperlink, input your e-mail address, and you will receive a link to reset your password.
  • The website for the program is dallasisd.schoolobjects.com. No www.

Hope this helps you and your team as you continue to align your lessons to the level of rigor expected of our kids.


Ms. Akin - 1/3

Ms. Eddy - 1/13

Mr. Willis - 1/21

Ms. Minter - 1/26