Redbird Roundup, Vol. 5

Friday, September 13, 2019

Our Mission and Vision

Norris Middle School prepares all students for their future by providing a safe, caring, and diverse school environment that maintains high expectations, academic excellence, and respect for all. Success, achievement, respect…It’s a Redbird thing!

La Escuela Secundaria Norris prepara a todos los estudiantes para su futuro ofreciendo un entorno escolar seguro, atento y diverso que mantiene altas expectativas, excelencia académica y respeto para todos. Éxito, logro, respeto…Es una cosa de los Redbirds!

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!

I want to give a big shout-out to Katie Collington for all her preparation for MAP testing. Things went incredibly smoothly (minus some connectivity issues the third day) and this is a great schedule to have in place for the remainder of our testing. Several NLT were also running around troubleshooting all morning, and that is much appreciated.

And to you all, awesome job administering an assessment to almost 1,200 kids! You were well-prepared and able to problem-solve, and kept your testing environment as productive as possible for your students. Way to go!

Next Tuesday is our Open House, it is a required event for staff. Please be here by 5:45. Please also work with your RBB to decorate your door and make your room extra bright and welcoming for our families. We will have many events taking place that evening.

Our first VILS PD of the year is Thursday, September 19. I am so excited with what Sara is going to share with you about your personalized PD paths for the year. She has put a ton of work into differentiating VILS PD, and I think you will enjoy it!

Last, Friday, September 20 is our SIP/Curriculum Day. More info is below!

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Carr

September 16-20

Monday, September 16: Grades due

Tuesday, September 17: Volleyball at Buffett; Open House from 6-8 p.m.

Wednesday, September 18: Team Leaders Meeting at 7 a.m. in room 129; Home Norris Cross Country Invite, JV VB Quad at Marrs

Thursday, September 19: Creighton students visiting Norris from 12:45-1:30; FB vs. Beveridge; VB vs. King

Friday, September 20: AM-Redbird Pride Breakfast, Appraisal Notification, Wellness Activities; PM Curriculum Days at Assigned Locations

Friday, September 20 Schedule


8:00-8:15-Appraisal Notification


8:30-9:00=Rotation 1

9:00-9:30=Rotation 2

9:30-10:00=Rotation 3

Rotation Options: Volleyball, Walking, Calm Activities, Nutritious Cooking, #KeepNorrisBeautiful, Stress-Relieving Art

PM Curriculum Locations are posted on Norris Staff and begin at 12:30. Remember, our goal is 95%!

Staff Introductions

Up Next Week in the Redbird Roundup

I do three staff introductions each week. You'll be getting an email from me with questions. Even if you have done it before, please participate and do it again! Please respond and include a picture by Thursday! I will do the first week.

Up next: Zach Henery, Meghan Schumacher, and Heidi Wallin

Dennis Damewood-Special Education Long-Term Sub

Name: Dennis Damewood

How many years have you been teaching/in education? 35 years, mostly in alternative school or correctional facilities

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? The kids are the best

How would your friends describe you? Slow motion

What website/app do you use most often? Webs??? I just send the spiders on their way

What is the best thing that happened to you this week? Coming to Norris Middle School

Would you rather go 30 days without your phone or an entire lifetime without dessert? I hate my phone. I am willing to go a lifetime without it.

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home? Tecate Mexico

Tatiana Eskridge-Vocal Music Teacher

Name: Tatiana Eskridge

How many years have you been teaching/in education?

I am in my 6th year of teaching full-time.

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School?

My favorite thing about Norris Middle School is that I get to return and contribute to a community that poured into me. It’s amazing to be colleagues with people who taught me. I also enjoy that the administration and staff are very positive and helpful.

*How would your friends describe you?

My friends have often used the words loyal, kind, funny, crazy (in a good way), unique, smart, and helpful.

*What website/app do you use most often?

It varies, but Viki, amazon, and unintentionally most of the time Facebook.

*What is the best thing that happened to you this week?

I am predicting it will be getting paid. Pay day is always a great day, especially when you have to wait a month for it. Well, at least I’m learning patience.

*Would you rather go 30 days without your phone or an entire lifetime without dessert?

I would go 30 days without my phone. It would probably be blessing in disguise and I absolutely love dessert! However, if I went 30 days without dessert I would loose more weight… Nah, I will stick with giving up the phone.

*What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?


*What would you sing at karaoke night?

“Crazy” by Patsy Cline or “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston

Ryann Pratt-6th Grade ELA

Ryann Pratt

First year teaching

Favorite thing: creativity and diversity of students

Website/app: Scribd. It’s an audiobook and ebook app that gives you unlimited reads for only about $10 a month. Very handy for long commutes to work.

Something you would never guess about me: I was a part of a competition clogging team for 5 years and a member of my high school’s Step Squad/Drill Team for 4 years.

Best thing that’s happened this week: went to the Backstreet Boys concert with my best friend and signed papers to move back into my childhood home.

Tv show to binge watch if you had the time: Bob’s Burgers

Karaoke night: something from Phantom of the Opera. I pretend to be both the phantom and Christine.

The photo is a picture of me, my two best friends, and John Roberts who does the voice of Linda from Bob’s Burgers who we got to meet when he came to visit my sister’s college.

Wellness Word to the Wise

Take time to meditate. Meditation helps you relax the body and the mind. Even one minute of meditation in the middle of your workday will help improve mental health wellness.

Powerful Practices

Learning Goals

Mrs. Kincaid has her learning goals posted for both her classes on her front board, as well as the agenda for the week. Students copy these items into their agendas at the beginning of class, and she reviews/unpacks with them. Always visible, always relevant!

Activities Connected to Learning Goals

Ms. Reyes and Mr. Morris work through class activities that are directly tied to their learning goals. Ms. Reyes' students are making connections to a text through dialogue, and Mr. Morris' students are editing writing. These activities align directly with their learning goals, which are posted and visible throughout the class period. Great job!

Welcome Egon!

Our therapy dog, Egon, had his first day of school on Thursday. Kids loved seeing him in the hall, he is very friendly. Egon will always be on a leash, and always in the care of Mr. Dickel. Research has shown therapy dogs can reduce stress and provide a sense of connection in difficult situations. We are grateful to Mr. Dickel for bringing us Egon!

Green Team in Action

Our Green Team, led by Mrs. Carver, is doing an amazing job collecting recycling and keeping waste from filling landfills. The District goal is 30% diversion of waste items to the landfill, and Norris is at 28%, which ranks #1 among the other 11 middle schools. Awesome job!

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Congrats Veronica Switzer!

Congrats to our very own Veronica Switzer, the winner of the Completely Kids After School Champion Award. The Champion for Afterschool award is intended for an exemplary program staff and /or volunteers that work directly with students. This person has a strong relationships with students and families, help to support students and families and is an asset to the afterschool program and the students and families they serve. Veronica has done an outstanding job serving families and students at Norris Middle School and has definitely exceeded the criteria for winning this award.

Congrats Jody Boyer!

Congrats to our very own Jody Boyer (or as I like to call her, my Artist in Residence) on having her work selected for the 2019 Nebraska Art Teachers Association Educator Exhibit! This is a juried exhibit on display at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, NE through September 28. We are so proud of Ms. Boyer!

Title: Prairie Plant from the Sandhills of Nebraska #1

Medium: Wet Cyanotype with Acid on Watercolor Paper

Dimensions: 18 x 24 inches


Our DL Team and my NLT + Counselors recently had our teambuilding activities. DL tried their skills at ax throwing, and my NLT came to my house for an evening of food and socializing. These are great ways to have fun with our colleagues outside our busy school days.


Mariana Corona, a student of ours from last year, celebrated her Quince this past weekend, and Ms. Parker and Ms. Novakoski attended. What an amazing honor to be invited and to celebrate with her!

Tailgate Potluck

Our beginning of year tailgate potluck with college colors day is always a huge hit. Thanks to everyone for bringing items to share. Thanks also to Wake for keeping things moving in the library while admin. covered lunch. We'll have another potluck around the holidays for our annual crockpot exchange. Can't wait!

What it's all about

Ms. Hansen sent me this picture and some video of an 8th grade student, Dayanara, helping a 6th grader try out for Redbird Posse. Dayanara didn't hesitate to show the 6th grader the moves over and over, and helped her so joyfully. This is why we do what we do. Beyond all the academics, having students leave here as good people is such a huge responsibility, but so incredibly worth it.

Final Thought

This article was shared with me this week on the impact of positive interactions with kids. We know the research that says negative experiences can have lifelong effects on kids (physical/mental abuse, substance abuse etc.). But this article speaks to what we can control-our positive interactions with students. They are just as powerful as their counterpart, and we have a billion opportunities every day to make them happen.

"Every moment matters. Every interaction with a child has a reaction in that child."