Ram Nation News

Week of March 19, 2018


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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Welcome back remarkable Rams!!!

I trust you had a chance to enjoy your well-deserved break sharing with family, friends, or pets, were able to catch up with your favorite Netflix series, started your spring cleaning or other rituals, or just "did nothing." While I was able to spend quality time with my family, I normally use this down time to stop and reflect about the progress we have made so far. I trust that each one of us had an opportunity to renew one's energy to help our children have a great end of the school year as we continue to prepare them for the next grade level.

I can't help but think about how our kids have "Sprung Up!" It has been awesome to observe the growth our students have made this school year. I have watched leaders emerge and take on roles they would never have thought possible before this year. Our students are now thinking about their various options for high school, attending collegiate academies, where they will attend college, and how they can make the world a better place. This is awesome!!!! We know our work is impacting lives.

As you may have experienced, returning from spring break is hard for faculty and students; however,

  • getting back on track and regaining momentum are essentials for successfully completing the semester.
  • Motivation is a factor that both students and faculty must nurture. Each one of us has a role in producing motivation. In Thinking about Teaching and Learning (p. 74), Robert Leamnson says: "Motivation is something that students must initiate. Fortunately, the initiation is not impervious to outside influence. Some teachers manage to do something, or be something, that persuades students to read about, talk about, and write about content, and so learn it."

As we come back full force to making an impact in the lives of our kids, let's make sure that we....

  • map out what needs to be covered to maximize student learning in the final half of the semester; three weeks before the 8th grade reading/math and 7th grade writing assessments . Remember to focus on quality learning and avoid the error of thinking that learning happens simply through “teaching by mentioning it.” (Wiggins and McTighe, Understanding by Design, 21.)
  • greet students and inquire about their spring break – Reconnecting with our students after break shows that we value our kids as people increasing the likelihood that they will in turn show interest to the course materials.
  • vary our Teaching Style to tap in students' interests and learning styles.
  • congratulate accomplishments to help students sense their mastery of the materials and to encourage further learning. A sense of mastery is a major motivational issue in learning. Students who sense achievement perform better than students who feel lost or overwhelmed. Spend some time getting students to recognize what they already have mastered and emphasize its importance. Encouragement goes a long way. Good teachers influence student performance.

Parent Portal Registration

One of our school goals is to increase parental involvement by increasing the enrollment in Parent Portal and school events. As of March 7, 2018, our Parent Portal registration is as follows, 6th grade - 86%; 7th grade - 87%, and 8th grade - 78%. As a reminder, this portal provides a secure on-line access to parents to their child's grades, assignments, and attendance. Also, it provides email or text alerts of absences and grade average changes. A two-way communication tool for parents and teachers.


8th Grade Field Trip to North Dallas HS

Our students had the opportunity to learn more about North Dallas HS as they attended an event sponsored by the HS. Our students heard from a student panel, had a Q & A with Ms. Eska principal at NDHS, and learn about their extra curricular activities. Thank you so much to Ms. Guerra and Ms. Calderon for coordinating this trip. Kuddos to all the 8th grade teachers for their support as well as all of the chaperones for taking on this challenge. Our students represented our school very well and we heard great comments.


Monday, March 19-

  • Open Transfer application is available through March 30. See below for more specific details.

  • Extended Observations and SPOTs continue

  • TELPAS Listening and Speaking Online - 7th grade

  • Deadline to input the language and supports request for general education students in MyDataPortal. See memo for more details.

  • Planning Meeting with CIC/AP - 6th Grade SS, 7th Grade Math, Science follows schedule communicated by Ms. Guerra, and 7th / 8th Grade RLA. Refer to the Planning Expectations to ensure your IPC and LP have the components to reach proficiency

  • 4:40 - 5:30 Campus Needs Assessment (CNA) - We will meet in the library to share the first draft of the CNA based on teacher input. This will be an opportunity to provide your input in committees in which you may not have participated or if your department did not have a CNA session.
  • 6:00 - Baseball game - Ms. Michael / Mr. Harris.

Tuesday, March 20-
  • 9:00 - 2:00 Special Olympic Track & Field at Loos Field House - Ms. Martin
  • TELPAS Listening and Speaking Online - 8th grade
  • Planning Meeting with CIC/AP - 7th Grade SS, 6th/8th Grade Math, Science follows schedule communicated by Ms. Guerra, and 6th Grade RLA.
  • 4:30-6:00 Tutoring sessions continue

Wednesday, March 21-

  • TELPAS Listening and Speaking Online - 8th grade
  • Planning Meeting with CIC/AP - 8th Grade SS, 7th Grade Math, Science follows schedule communicated by Ms. Guerra, and 7th / 8th Grade RLA.
  • 12:00 p.m. CAB meeting - Mr. Cordoba - Main office conference room.
  • 3:00 - 6:30 SMG Field Trip - A Wrinkle in Time - Ms. Buchannon
  • 4:30-6:00 Tutoring sessions continue

Thursday, March 22-

  • TELPAS reading make-ups in the morning
  • TELPAS listening and speaking make-ups in the afternoon
  • ARD - All Day - Ms. Maloy Room 103
  • PLC - Math
  • 4:30 - 6:00 After School
  • 5:00 Lesson Plans Due

Friday, March 23-

  • TELPAS reading make-ups in the morning
  • TELPAS listening and speaking make-ups in the afternoon
  • Weekly PLC

Saturday, March 24

  • 8:00 - 1:00 Saturday School. Anyone doing Saturday School must submit the extra duty pay request in Oracle before able to use the code.

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 26

  • TELPAS reading make-ups in the morning
  • TELPAS listening and speaking make-ups in the afternoon

Wednesday, March 28

  • 6th Grade Science Field Trip - Ms. Cooray

Friday, March 30

  • Inclement Weather Day - No School (as of March 19)

April 4 -

  • DISD MS Band Pre-UIL Concert at Ann Richards MS

April 13

  • Positive Coaching Alliance in collaboration with NDHS - Athletic workshop. Auditorium 2:30-4:25.

April 19

  • MS Non-Varsity UIL Concert at Cedar Hill HS

Open Transfer

The Open Transfer application will be available starting March 5, 2018. Eligible employees must apply via the open transfer application online no later than March 30, 2018. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notification will be completed by April 13, 2018. As a reminder, transfers within the district after the transfer window closes will only be allowed under special circumstances such as promotions or other similar situations; after this deadline, transfers will need the approval of the sending and receiving principals and executive directors. Thank you so much for everyone who completed the Google form with the 2018-2019 plans and being open.

Summer School Teacher Application

We still have a few openings for the Summer Readiness session. It will be 2 weeks M-Th for 5 hours a day at $31/hr for teachers.

Please, see Mr. Cordoba if you have any questions or need clarification about summer sessions.