Excellence Without Boundaries
October 12, 2015 2nd Six Weeks, Week 2
BY MAY 2016, AT LEAST 80% OF ALL STAAR EXAMS TAKEN BY ARMS STUDENTS WILL MEET THE PHASE II PASSING STANDARD.
I have two points I would like to share. One is about gratitude and understanding and the other is about sustaining one's health (mind, body, and heart).
All staff, I thank you for your unrelenting commitment. I know that the month of September had so many things that were required, all within days of each other and at the same time opening up the new school year. I appreciate your professionalism and ability to balance all that needed to be accomplished. September is a busy month and getting back into the swing of school, teaching, grading, instructional planning, data analysis meetings, attendance, committees, parent meetings, learning new team members, new positions, tutoring, professional development, being there for team mates and students...WOW, the list can keep going!
The work is paying off as we see staff members working together, or teachers identifying what instructional practices reaped the positive learning results from students, setting rigorous student achievement goals as student data is being analyzed, stretching themselves with their Student Learning Objectives, committing daily to supporting students and their needs, (academic and emotional), or students rising to the level of expected behavior and showing respect for their learning environment.
If I could give everyone a million dollars, I would. What I can say and do share with parents, peers, community and anyone who will listen is we have the most committed and vested staff in all of DISD and our Rangers are incredibly fortunate to attend ARMS!
My other message is brief but non the less extremely important. Truly take care of yourself. I was reminded by a wise educator, Mrs. Addison. There is only one of us and we have much that we are responsible for and we must be at our best. We do our best when we are at our best.
So, Rangers pace yourself, get sleep, ask for help when you needed it, and recharge your battery. However you do that, make sure that is something you weave in periodically. This can be a hard part of the year, so please pay special attention to your health. We are all in this together!!
Spotlight 1st Year Teachers from 6th Grade Counselor Ms. Coley
From Ms. Coley:
Please send a shout out from me to the amazing first year teachers of 6th grade and the very supportive 6th Grade Team of teachers whom have ALL Stepped up to help them. Way to go 6th grade teachers! One team. One family.
Mr. Babeu- He ALWAYS seek out ways to motivate his students both academically and socially. He takes time to get to know each of his students and if he notices that they need counseling support or any additional services he refers them so that they will get the additional support needed.
Ms. Craig- She ALWAYS goes above and beyond to help her students. As a first year teacher she has also taken on the task to motivate students by starting the step team and exposing them to a little it of the college life which her students absolutely love.
Ms. Jefferson- She has her group of 6th graders excited about Math. She goes above and beyond to support her students at all times!
These 3 teachers are first year teachers, but through the support of their team, they seem as though they have been doing this for years!
Spotlight on ARMS Instructional Coaches
ARMS Custodial Team
ARMS COMMUNITY MESSAGE
ARMS is on Facebook!!
ARMS Parent Teacher Conference Night 10/13
Thank you in advance to Mr. Wiechmann and the ARMS Jazz Band that will be entertaining on Tuesday night.
Compliance videos due Oct. 31st.
Week 1 ACP Film Viewing
This is a friendly reminder that the first deadline for the secondary sessions occurring on October 20th – October 22nd for the ACP Film Festival is October 13, 2015 (specific content areas, refer to chart below.)
Check future deadlines for all other sessions on the assessment website at assessment.dallasisd.org.
In addition, registration is required and walk-ins will not be allowed into the sessions.
ARMS for the CURE: Race is this SATURDAY
33rd Annual Komen Dallas Race for the Cure
NorthPark Center - 8687 North Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75225
Saturday, October 17
Our team site can be found here:
On site Vaccination Shots for Rangers Staff
Don't forget this Monday, October 12th, the North Texas Flu Shot staff will be in the clinic starting at 2:45 until 3:30 to give:
- Adult flu shots. No charge with insurance.
- Also administering tetanus diphtheria with pertussis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, pneumonia, and meningitis shots. The B12 shot will cost $15.00.
Bring a copy of your drivers license and insurance card with you. If you cannot make it on Monday I have a list of dates and times it will be offered at other schools.
ARMS Climate Survey This Tuesday
To identify what we are doing well and what needs improvement, our goal is 100% participation. This is important and I thank everyone in advance for taking the time to provide your very important feedback.
Fall ACP Film Festival
Click here for more information.
What is the Marshall Memo?
In the spirit of our second "G" GROWTH, every week I will share 1 or 2 of the article summaries with ARMS staff. In hopes of sparking interest, sharing another perspective or strategies as we all collectively work to improve teaching and learning @ ARMS. Take what works for you, leave what doesn't.
Some Ways Cell Phones Can Be Helpful in Classrooms
In this article from the Center for Teaching Quality website, English teacher Robert Sterner notes some of the reasons educators want to ban cell phones from classrooms: “The sly under-the-desk move, the obvious Snapchat selfie, the random laugh at a Tweet snicker.” But he believes there are four reasons to allow cell phones in classrooms:
• To have a conversation about proper use – “Few students (or adults) know how low the legal threshold for harassment truly is,” says Sterner. “Harassment: Unsolicited words or actions intended to annoy, alarm, or abuse another individual. That’s it.” By integrating cell phones into classroom activities, it’s easier to talk about the downside of thoughtless online chatter. “Certainly, some students will continue to act in risky ways online,” he says. “That’s what teens do – engage in risky behavior. But I can make sure the students who are ready to listen and think before they act are informed properly.”
• The carrot or the stick – “The cell phone is a tangible symbol of teens’ indepen-dence,” says Sterner. “Its power with my students makes it a useful instrument for getting the behavior needed in class. If I have already banned cell phones, I lose this option as a teacher.”
• The tool that they are – “[E]verything about that cell phone in your student’s pocket is vastly more powerful than the computer used by Neil Armstrong to land on the moon,” says Sterner. He has students using their phones for poetry analysis and composition, tweeting from a character’s point of view, research, and photojournalism.
• Instilling a growth mindset about willpower – Drawing an analogy between Walter Mischel’s classic “marshmallow” experiments and students’ ability to ignore a Twitter or Snapchat buzz in their pocket until later, Sterner says, “By observing how students interact with their cell phones, I can see which are more mature and who can control their desires and not let those desires control them. With this information I can help students work to build willpower.”
“4 Things You’ll Miss by Banning Cell Phones in Your Classroom” by Robert Sterner on The Center for Teaching Quality website, February 24, 2015, http://bit.ly/1JPhkLo
Emotional Health and Self-Renewal in Classrooms
In this article in Educational Leadership, author/consultant Rick Wormeli imagines some monologues that might be running through students’ minds in an average classroom:
- This stuff is stupid.
- This stuff is awesome.
- This stuff is beyond me.
- I’m not comfortable with this.
- Finally, something I’m good at.
- Maybe somebody will notice I can’t read.
- Let’s see her find a mistake in that one – it’s perfect!
- Does the teacher know I didn’t study last night?
Students are by turns “anxious, overconfident, curious, indifferent, angry, amused, lonely, hopeful, embarrassed, empowered, afraid, excited, diminished,” says Wormeli. Their emotions are often out of synch with the teacher’s and with the school’s expectation of conformity and compliance. Wormeli believes that when teachers ignore these emotional disconnects, they’re jeopardizing teaching and learning – and their own mental health.
Wormeli suggests seven habits that teachers can use to foster a healthy emotional climate in their classrooms – and maintain their own sanity and humanity:
• Find joy in others’ success. Celebrate students’ intellectual milestones, says Wormeli. Give students an encouraging smile when they show improvement.
• Cultivate perspective and reframe. Don’t take certain behaviors personally. Be kind rather than right some of the time. Try to see the big picture. “Teachers who have seen formerly frustrating students come back to visit as successful adults trust in the whole enterprise of schooling and growing up,” says Wormeli. “Hall duty between classes isn’t such a hardship when we realize it’s an opportunity to connect with students outside class.”
• Look beyond stereotypes. There’s a tendency to pigeonhole students: a class clown, a geek, a mean girl, a drama queen. “When we see people as fully developed thinkers, they become more to us than our quick categorization reveals,” says Wormeli. Visiting students’ homes or watching them play soccer, paint a landscape, perform in a concert, or celebrate a religious milestone, we see a different side of them. “They are not just one more paper to grade. We think of them specifically as we plan our lessons, and we look forward to watching them progress.”
• Candidly discuss pedagogical issues. Research tells us that certain practices are less than effective, says Wormeli: worksheet packets, lectures without opportunities to process content, oral dictation spelling tests as a measure of spelling, counting homework as 50 percent of a report card grade, percentage grades averaged together. Do we have frank discussions with colleagues about changing such practices? Do we work to persuade parents who push for outmoded practices?
• Embrace humility. “If someone critiques our teaching, if feels like they’re critiquing us,” says Wormeli. “In humility, however, we grow comfortable with the idea that we may be wrong… Let’s invite administrators, parents, and students to evaluate us at any time.”
• Value intellect. Teaching the same material year after year can be deadening. Wormeli suggests mixing things up curriculum-wise; attending an Edcamp; writing for publication; rethinking one’s goals; writing a personal grading philosophy statement to make sure grades truly measure student learning.
• Maintain passion and playfulness. “Having fun with your subject and your students will give students permission to engage, even invest, in their learning,” says Wormeli, “and it will elevate your spirits.” Use props in lessons; play the part of different historical or literary characters; be a contestant in a review game; insert funny slides into presentations; make fun of your own errors; use students’ names in test questions; get a colleague to burst into the classroom with a random piece of information; put a mystery box in the middle of the classroom with yellow police tape around it and a sign saying, Warning: Open one week from today, only in the presence of an adult.
“All these habits together create a feeling of emotional wellness,” Wormeli concludes, “but they are habits, not incidents. Like muscles that atrophy in disuse, these habits have to be used frequently to achieve emotional health benefits.”
WEEKLY EVENTS (10/12- 10/15)
ARMS Climate Survey (Staff) - Tuesday, 10/13 DUE by Thursday, 10/15
DISD Middle School Parent Conference Night, 4:30pm
Coffee w/Principal - Wednesday, 10/14, 8:45 AM in Library
Parent Workshop - Wednesday, 10/14, 9:30 AM in Library
Executive Education Team Training - Wednesday, 10/14, All Day
Empower Team Meeting - Thursday, 10/15, 7:30 AM, Parent Center
Ignite Academy- CANCELLED - Thursday, 10/15, 4:30 -5:30, in Library
Free Dress - Grade level who earns Best Attendance (TBA), Thursday, 10/15
Middle School Fair Day (No School) - Friday, 10/16
Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure - Saturday, 10/17
Be on the Look Out for in October
On the Horizon: October
POD Leader Meeting - Tuesday, 10/20, 7:30 AM - 8:00 AM, in Library
POD Action Meetings (PL)- Tuesday, 10/20
Staff Breakfast - Hosted by 6th Grade, Wednesday, 10/21 in Teacher's Lounge
ARMS Parent Info Night for DISD Magnet School - 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Ignite Academy, Thursday, 10/22, 4:30 -5:30, in Library
Student $1 Jean Day- Friday, 10/23
Halloween Desert Bake Off, Friday 10/23, in Teacher's Lounge (all three lunches)
Social Studies Saturday School - Saturday, 10/23, 9 -12
Region 10 - ARMS ELL Training PD, Saturday, 9 -1pm, in Library
POD Action Meeting (AP) - Tuesday, 10/27
Staff Meeting - Tuesday, 10/27, 4:30 - 5:30 pm, in Library
Empower Meeting - Wednesday, 10/28, 7:30 am, in Parent Center
ARMS University -Wednesday, 10/28, POD time, in Library
Parent Workshop - Thursday, 10/29, 9:30 - 10:30 in Library
Fall Student Dance - Friday, 10/30 (Time TBA), in cafeteria
Compliance Videos Due - Friday, 10/30 (via Region 10)
On the Road to National Merit Scholarship! Good Luck on the PSAT!!
The Dallas ISD Scholars Program recognizes students in grades 7 through 10 who have demonstrated academic excellence and college readiness potential. Not only will this program support students in their pursuit towards National Merit ® Scholarships, it will also provide resources and opportunities that promote academic and social success.
To qualify our 8th Grade Rangers scored in the 95th percentile on 7th grade STAAR Reading or 7th grade STAAR Math
Kudos to ARMS Staff!
ARMS Rangers Help with Main Hall Traffic!
The Most Important Work of our Time! Always remember YOUR IMPACT!
Ann Richards Middle School
At Ann Richards MS, our vision is to be a flagship middle school at the hub of the community, nurturing diverse leaders, and empowering intelligent trailblazers.