News from the O.C. Taylor Principal, Lisa Pedevilla
May 31, 2021
Dear O.C. Taylor families,
On this Memorial Day weekend, my thoughts are with those who serve or have served. Thank you to those who sacrifice now and those who have come before us who sacrificed. We are blessed with freedoms because of you. You are always all in our thoughts and prayers and not forgotten.
As our academic year, and hopefully Covid-19, draw to a close, we have much to celebrate and many happy memories despite the challenges. We have accomplished so much as a community. The OCT faculty and staff say "We love our Tigers! They're G-R-R-R-reat!" Be sure to read, read, read this summer (see below about summer reading)!
I want to thank you for the support of O.C. Taylor this school year. We had many successes! We continued the great work of growing your children and preparing them to be servant leaders and lifelong learners.
There are countless people to whom I owe an expression of gratitude:
- Campus Excellence Committee: Thank you to the following people for serving on our CEC: Beth Vencill - DEC, Gabriela Haynes, Whitney Arington, Ashley Duncan, Chloe Rodenberger, Allyson Dickinson, Cindy Rutter, Morgan Epperson, Kari Griffith, Allison Bailey, Lissa Critz, Wes Critz, Tamaron Hunt, Jacqui Vanhorn, Dawn Hall, Liz and Scott Payne, and Tiffany Dagger-Cummings. This committee's work navigates our school. Your time helped direct us where we went, which direction, and how we got there. Our Campus Improvement Plan was evaluated, and the committee began planning for next year, thanks to you! It will be our best year yet!
- GCISD Administrative Team: Thank you to Dr. Robin Ryan, Superintendent, and Dr. Shiela Shiver, Executive Director of Instruction. Thank you to the entire GCISD administration for your service. Thank you, Dr. Ryan and Dr. Shiver, for your leadership. I appreciate you coming by OCT and supporting the great things our students, staff, and families are doing. Central administration, thank you for modeling servant leadership in all you do and say. I am honored to be a part of the GCISD team, the B.E.S.T. (Building Excellent Schools Together)!
- O.C. Taylor Faculty and Staff: Thank you for all you do! You are the BEST! I am so fortunate and humbled to be surrounded by such passionate and committed educators. Your professionalism, positivity, and love of children are second to none. I appreciate you! We have the best careers possible and work in the best school possible. Thank you for loving one another as you do. Thank you to Mrs. Bailey and the office staff, Ms. Gene, Ms. Betty, and Nurse Katy, for being a fun group that loves our school and students. I love the way we work together, laugh, and enjoy coming to OCT each day. We are blessed.
- Nurse Katy: A special shout out to Nurse Katy Faught who worked many extra hours to follow all of the extra protocols. She spent many weeknights and weekends working. She always had a smile and never complained. We love and appreciate you!
- Parents: Thank you, parents, for all you do each day for your child. I also greatly appreciate your support of me and of OCT! Thank you for the kind emails, cards, and little gifts you and/or your child gave me and our staff members this year. Thank you for supporting our fundraiser: Spring Creek BBQ! Thank you to our wonderful Homeroom Parents and Grade-Level Coordinators for all you have done this year, especially helping plan two pandemic parties! Thank you, all, for your numerous donations to help other people and organizations.
- Parent Teacher Association President, Officers, Executive Board, and all PTA members: Thank you, President Lissa Critz, for all you have done this year, especially in a pandemic. It has been a pleasure to work with you! To each person serving on the PTA Executive Board, thank you! YOU make a huge difference: Lissa Critz, Challee Garland, Lindsay Harrison, Tamaron Hunt, Berri O'Neal, Liz Payne, Jill Tate, Stephanie Wilkerson, and Stephanie Williams. Without your support and dedication, OCT would not be the school it is! I appreciate the many hours you put into your volunteer position. All PTA members, thank you for joining the organization. Thank you for the many gifts and resources you bestowed upon our school. Our PTA supports every child's education! Thank you!
- Dads' Club: Thank you to Wes Critz for leading our Dads' Club this year! As soon as the GCISD spring guide allowed, our dads were up at the school opening car doors and greeting. Thank you! You made us feel like we were finally on our path to some normalcy. A special thank you to Wes Critz, James Davis, Lee McDowell, Ian Moravek, Scott Payne, and Ben Stevens.
- PTA Field Day Coordinator and Helpers - Thank you, Mendi Huffman and Jason Mester, for organizing a fun field day! Many hours went into the preparation. Thank you, Wes Critz, Darrell Huffman, Ben Stevens, and Scott Payne for setting up all of the ropes, preparing our fields, and doing the heavy lifting.
- Students: To our stellar 5th graders, who are now officially 6th graders, we will miss you. You made an indelible mark on me and many others! Your leadership legacy lives on here at OCT. To all of our Tigers, thank you. Thank you for your loving and thoughtful hearts. May you all enjoy a much-deserved summer break!
Student Class Assignments for 2021-22
We have been working diligently on class assignments for next year. Our process for class placement is for the staff to meet in our Professional Learning Communities to discuss. The classroom teachers, OCT administration, counselor, and special teachers review these recommendations, make additional suggestions to accommodate needed professional support, and then the final approval rests with the principal and assistant principal. Our teachers will be calling home to let your child know he or she will be your child's teacher. Make sure the front office has a good phone number to reach you on the Monday before school starts.
This year we have several staff members leaving us. We will miss them all and wish them the very best life has to offer. Remember, once a Tiger, always a Tiger! Come back and visit! The following are leaving OCT:
- Cindy Davis, 1st grade teacher, is retiring. She has served for years in education and years at OCT. We will miss her!
- Dawn Bonacci, our beloved librarian, is retiring. She has served in education for years and at OCT for years. We will miss her book and technology knowledge, but most of all her huge heart!
- Julia Scuderi, a 1st grade teacher, is leaving to teach at Cannon Elementary.
- Lorrine Evans, ECSE paraprofessional, is looking for a different opportunity. We appreciate her paraprofessional assistance the past few years!
We had to make some changes to the existing personnel. With our enrollment slated for next year, we will have three sections of first grade instead of five. Mrs. Davis is retiring and Miss Scuderi is moving to Cannon. We will have five sections of 2nd grade next year, so we will add Tiffany Dagger (currently 3rd) to 2nd grade along with Angie Vaughn (currently 5th grade). With all this, it should be noted that there is a possibility of additional changes when we return in August due to unforeseen events and fluctuating enrollment numbers.
As I come to the end of this long letter, I extend my thanks to the entire OCT community for the way you continue to support us, our teachers, and our students. I am beyond blessed to serve this school and community. I have the best job in the world and love coming to work each day. I will miss you this summer! I wish you all an excellent summer, wherever you may be, and I look forward to an exhilarating 2021-22 school year where our theme is "Eye of the Tiger: Rising Up!" See you in August!
To the BEST of days,
Empowering our children today to create a better tomorrow!
Goodbye to our Retirees!
Ms. Davis taught for 27 years and taught 1st for 3 years, 2nd for 18 years, and 3rd for 6 years. She served 21 of those years at O. C. Taylor! When asked about her favorite memory, she replied, "There are so many: gearing up for the beginning of every year when we meet our new students and start getting to know them and then the last 4th of the year when thinking back and realizing how much they have grown. I also love all the programs when we get to see students performing." She will miss developing relationships with children as they learn and grow together and will miss learning new techniques and strategies that work well to reach children!" She is most excited about being able to spend long stretches of quality time with her grandchildren. When asked what she likes most about O.C. Taylor, Ms. Davis shared, "OCT has a culture of nurturing and excellence. It has wonderful students, parents, teachers, and administrators. We have a family atmosphere where everyone pulls together for the good of children."
Mrs. Bonacci has been in education for 25 years. She taught 2nd through 5th grade in Abilene, Texas before moving to Forth Worth and becoming the librarian at O. C. Taylor. She states, "For me choosing a favorite memory is like selecting a favorite book. I just cannot do it. Each one is unique and valuable. One of the many things I cherish about being a librarian is watching our students grow over the span of their elementary years. I will definitely miss the love notes and drawings from the kids. I’ve kept them all over the years, and I will treasure them forever." She has loved being a part of the O. C. Taylor family. She says this really is a place like no other, and she is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this community.
You Are Invited To Write!
You are invited to write to give input on your child's placement for the 2021-2022 school year. Please do not request a specific teacher. Click here to give input on your child's placement for the 2021-2022 school year. Please do not request a specific teacher.
READ, read, read....then RETELL.
Please spend time developing the LOVE of reading with your children. Talk about books, go to the library, snuggle up, buy books, and READ the books together. After you finish reading a story with your child, ask him to retell it to you. This is the best way to check comprehension and boost his understanding of the story. Retelling a story requires your child to think about the details and decide what's really important. Give your child these three rules for retelling a story:
- Tell what's important.
- Tell it in a way that makes sense.
- Don't tell too much.
Your child should be able to tell you what happens at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story. He should also be able to name the main characters.
You can prompt your child by asking open-ended questions, such as, "What happened next?" It's OK if he doesn't remember all the details. That gives you a chance to say, "Hmmm, let's go back and look at that part of the story again." Revisiting parts of the story will show your child that he sometimes has to read things more than once to gain a thorough understanding.
Studies show that this simple activity will help your child become a more thoughtful reader. He will start to pay attention to words whose meanings he doesn't know. He will focus on the story structure and pay more attention to important details. All of these things will improve your child's reading comprehension and make him a better reader and a more successful student!
Summer Bucket List Challenge
OCT Vision: To empower our children today to create a better tomorrow.
OCT Mission: To create life-long learners and develop servant leaders through authentic, real-world experiences.
Monday, August 16
4:30-5:30 p.m. Meet the Teacher
Wednesday, August 18
7:25 a.m. Doors open for the 2021-22 school year
7:40 a.m. Tardy bell rings
7:40-8:40 a.m. Kindergarten Parent BooHoo/Yahoo Breakfast in the Library
5:00-6:15 p.m. Curriculum Night for PreK, K, and 1st grade
5:00-6:15 p.m. Curriculum Night for 2nd & 3rd grades
5:00-6:15 p.m. Curriculum Night for 4th & 5th grades
Supply Packs for 21-22 School Year
Have a great summer!
Updates from the Specials Team
Dear OCT families,
We are so proud of our Tigers for their hard work and positive attitude this year. You all faced many changes and challenges, whether working at home or at school, in a growth-minded, enthusiastic way. Many thanks to our Tiger families for your support and flexibility, too. We are so thankful for our GRRRREAT Tigers and hope you all have a restful, fun and safe summer. We wish our 5th graders the very best as they leave OCT and begin this new and exciting journey into middle school. We hope you know you will always have a place at OCT. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger. And to everyone else...we'll see you in August!
The OCT Specials Team
Updates from the Clinic, Nurse Katy
Parents of 5th graders: Please click here to read Tips for a Successful Transition to Middle School.
From OCT PTA President
To the families and staff of O.C. Taylor,
As we welcome summer after what we can all agree was the longest school year ever, I wanted to thank everyone for your patience and support as the PTA tried to find ways to keep our traditions alive and make the best of some less than ideal circumstances. I hope your children grew in love and kindness. I hope they made memories to treasure. I hope next year will welcome a return to normalcy and the return of our trademark programs and events that I know we all miss. Your PTA President next year, Tamaron Hunt, is an unbelievably talented and dedicated mother and volunteer and my most fervent wish is that you all will give her the love and support I’ve enjoyed during my tenure. These elementary school years truly do fly by, so enjoy the special moments and fun events with your kids!
To the BEST of days,
O.C. Taylor PTA President, 2020-2021
We would like to thank all our awesome parents, teachers, and staff for everything this year! Thank you for supporting our PTA in so many numerous ways, even in this crazy year. We love representing our families and supporting our teachers!
We’d like to also thank all the volunteers who stepped up to help with recess duty, lunch duty, opening car doors, working field day, and all the things to help our teachers and staff have a successful year. Thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you!
We’d finally like to thank our outgoing PTA President, Lissa Critz for tackling all the obstacles this year! It was a wild year but we made it. Thank you so much for your dedication to our school!
Congratulations to the newly-elected PTA Officers for 2021-2022. We are looking forward to a great, back-to-normal kind of year!
Thank you to our incoming PTA Executive Board Members who will be serving in various roles. We appreciate you taking on these leadership roles. There are a couple of vacant roles, so please reach out to Tamaron Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in serving on the board.
If you would like to volunteer, but not serve on the board, we can’t wait to share the many volunteer opportunities with you in the fall! Keep an eye out in the newsletter and PTA Website and please also join our PTA Facebook Page if you haven't already.
We hope you have the BEST Summer!