The BEST Beat

Monthly Newsletter from Anna ISD Curriculum & Instruction


Big picture


Big picture


Do you remember having a teacher that truly cared about your interests and talents? That is exactly the environment that Ms. Thornhill has created with her 2nd graders this year. Immediately she was able to tell that this group was gifted in the area of creating and artistic ability. In order to play on her student’s strengths, she began searching for resources and coming up with innovative ideas to help these students shine. Currently, students are learning about memorials and monuments in social studies. After reading through different examples of monuments in our world, Ms. Thornhill flipped the script and allowed students to create their own monuments! Students were completely engaged and excited about this fun activity. Many students chose to use topics from history, while others created monuments that were personal to their lives. In both artistic expressions, the students could tell you all about monuments and the historical significance they play in our nation. Allowing her students to use their strengths in the classroom is just one example of the excellent things that are happening in Ms. Thornhill’s classroom. Thank you, Ms. Thornhill for allowing students to shine in your classroom and always setting them up to succeed!
Big picture


Ms. Cannon is one of our brand new teachers at Anna Middle School, and her command of classroom management and instructional pedagogy is already making a big impact on her students!

Her class period began with all students immediately prepared to work on their warm-up journal entry over The Giver before the tardy bell even rang; moreover, multiple students were excited to share their responses about a memory they would share if they were The Giver. These first few minutes showcase how Ms. Cannon has created procedures that have transformed into daily routines that now are visible, predictable classroom norms. These norms build a foundation on which learning can take place each day!

Students moved into a Philosophical Chairs activity where they would either “Agree, Build, or Challenge” a thematic statement based on the novel The Giver. As students moved to different sides of the room and responded to the statements, Ms. Cannon pushed students to justify their answers with specific evidence from both the novel and their own experiences. Throughout the activity, students continued answering questions and responding to one another with eager anticipation—even at times with palpable passion! It’s clear that Ms. Cannon’s students feel comfortable in sharing their insights because she has created an inclusive and academically rigorous place where students know that they can and will grow.

Finally, Ms. Cannon introduced the “But, Because, So” writing strategy that Mrs. Shaw from Region 10 showcased to our teachers during August PD. Our secondary ELAR teachers have been employing this incredible strategy for a few years now to improve students’ writing and content knowledge, and it is a beautiful cross-curricular practice that you should definitely employ!

Anna ISD is blessed to have so many stellar teachers like Ms. Cannon who make a true difference with their students each and every day!

Big picture


Feeling the cool air in the mornings is giving us hope for cooler weather soon and pushing us right into the holiday season. While I love Fall, it does always seem to lend itself to a packed schedule. We are all coming and going and always have somewhere to be! This of course leads to additional stress, including in the classroom. The busy schedules and rushed pace leave many of us in states of stress and a sense of overwhlemingness, including the students. This can lead to students acting out and having emotional meltdowns in the classroom, both outward and inward.

Ruby Payne shares in her book, Emotional Poverty, about the emotional dance that is happening in our schools and specifically the emotional noise of the classroom (p. 97).

Dr. Payne goes on to share how to support and handle this emotional dance in the classroom.

  1. Remember that there are a lot more people in the room than you knew.

  2. Triage your students. 90% of discipline referrals come from 10-15% of the students. Know these students well.

  3. Know your own triggers so that your brain can stay integrated and regulated.

  4. Manage the emotional noise level in your classroom. Know that before and after holidays, it will be higher.

  5. Be aware of your own bonding and attachment tendencies.

  6. Identify which problems can be solved and which ones need to be managed.

  7. Be aware of where you are in your own stage of life. What emotional issues are you dealing with outside of the school that come with you into the classroom? (p. 122-123)

I encourage you in this busy season to take care of yourself, manage your own expectations and give yourself grace. You are taking on more than a job, but a calling and you are giving of yourself each day to your students, there is nothing greater. There is no perfect system, but please know that I want you to feel supported in your classroom and I encourage you to reach out when it becomes too much or it isn’t working. The system of education is about learning and that includes every position in our district.

Happy Fall!

Big picture


Special services are packed full of highly specialized terms and practices - it’s in the name! Throughout Anna ISD, the Special Services Department exists among a wide continuum of programs, placements, and services to meet the needs of kids. From early childhood through the 18+ Program, the unique needs of each student with a disability in Anna are served by our more than ten different programs and a dozen different related services. Whether you’re brand new to the field of education, or you’re a veteran educator, it’s a good practice to periodically review or refresh the basics. For example, what’s the difference between an accommodation and a modification? Here’s a quick reminder.

TEA writes that accommodations change how the content is taught, made accessible, and/or assessed. In contrast, modifications change what the student is expected to master - course, activity, and/or TEKS objectives are altered to meet student needs (ESC Region 20 & TEA, 2022).


Big picture
By appropriately and meaningfully applying the instructional strategies of accommodating and modifying for our students in Special Education, we ensure that our students with disabilities are primed to attain high levels of academic growth. Please reach out to your Special Services staff with any questions about these concepts.


On September 30th, we hosted Special Olympics Bocce Ball. Ten other districts were in attendance: Blue Ridge, Bonham, Denison, Detroit, Grayson County Flight, Howe, Melissa, Prosper, Sherman, and Whitesboro. We had a total of 280 athletes compete. Special Olympics is always a shared privilege between Special Education and several other departments, such as Band, Athletics, AV, Food Services, the SROs, Maintenance, and Region 10. We also involve the community; for example, Jacked Up Nutrition hosted a tent and offered samples of their amazing drinks. Special Olympics is always a great event for all involved.

Big picture

We also had several Anna Coyotes place and win ribbons: Austin Rider (3rd), Scott Knapp (1st),

Eric Rangel (1st), Rafael Ortiz (2nd), Eduardo Martinez (2nd), Jacob Richardson (3rd),

Zacch Adeyemi (3rd), Caden Smith (3rd), Koran Gillam (3rd), Lexilynn Waites (2nd),

Presley Scarbrough (2nd), Savannah Pontious (1st), Jose Delgado (2nd), Briji Ojeda (2nd)


Special Services Parent Education Night

Considering Parent Engagement Imperative

October 25, 2022

Anna Middle School

6:00-8:00 PM

Save the date on 10/25/22 at 6:00 PM for Anna ISD’s Special Services Parent Education Night, where we stress the importance of considering parent engagement imperative. Join us for an opportunity to learn from Anna ISD specialists and other parents of students with special needs. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend four break-out sessions on topics related to special education, dyslexia, 504 services, and ESL. Childcare will be available. Anna ISD staff are also welcome to attend!

Big picture


TEEMS is the Texas Educator Excellent Management System. This is a new system teachers and administrators will use to collect TTESS evaluations and student growth data as it pertains to the Teacher Incentive Allotment. Each teacher should have received an email from TEEMS with their login information. All teachers will receive 2 formal evaluations this school year as we are collecting data for our submission to Texas Tech University. One evaluation will be announced and the other will not. If you have any questions or did not receive the welcome email from TEEMS please reach out to your campus administrator. Be sure to continue to check the Anna ISD TIA Handbook for updates!


Our GT teachers had their first ever K-12 collaboration meeting. The team has some fantastic projects in the works for our Gifted Students that covers an array of academia including all the core subjects and most recently adding in STEAM and Makerspace. Elementary students will be competing in Destination Imagination and our Secondary students are competing in The Future City Project as their major competitions. Be looking for future updates in the BEST Beat as the projects progress!

The advanced academic team has been working on streamlining procedures and setting a focus for our students as they start looking towards and preparing for post secondary readiness. All 11th AND 12th grade students will get to take the SAT School Day this year! While all 8th graders and sophomores will take the PSAT. Anna ISD is also a SAT national testing site on the weekends so any student can sign up and test at Anna High School on one of the national testing dates. More information about SAT can be found here.

New this year, Anna High School will be offering students the opportunity to take the ACT test during the school day. Anna ISD is looking forward to being able to support all students in being post secondary ready and being able to offer these exams locally is a step in the right direction.

Big picture
Big picture


I am beyond excited to kick off our Anna ISD MAP CHAT! I plan to offer these CHATS throughout the year for us to collaborate and work together to really dig into our MAP Growth data! This first time, we are going to look at Class Reports (which ones should you use and why!?) and Student Profiles! Please complete this form if you plan on attending in October! MAP CHATS 2022-2023

Big picture


As we all know, there is a significant STAAR redesign this year. This will impact all STAAR tests given in the 2022-2023 school year.

STAAR Redesign: New Question Types

New Question Types Scoring and Reporting Guides:

Math (PDF posted 8/15/22)

Reading Language Arts (PDF posted 8/19/22)

Science (PDF posted 1/27/22)

Social Studies (PDF posted 1/27/22)

Spanish Reading Language Arts (PDF posted 1/27/22)

I encourage you to try it for yourself or with your students!

Online samples of new items types


In other news, Anna High School has a few exciting assessment events coming up! We are giving the PSAT/NMSQT on October 12th, our very first ACT School Day is on October 18th, and our Fall SAT School Day on October 27th! We are thrilled to be able to offer these incredible opportunities to our high school students.
Big picture


An Exchange Day is the term Anna ISD uses to define Professional Development days that are attended during the summer (before the first day of instruction/contract) in "exchange" for time off during the school year. Anna ISD's Exchange Days for the 2022-2023 school year are October 10 & 11 and November 21 & 22 for a total of 4 exchange days. For most staff, those days were earned during Curriculum Camp, August 1-4, 2022. ALL professional and paraprofessional staff must earn their exchange days. Please make sure that if you earned exchange days outside of Curriculum Camp that you have submitted that documentation to Strive in Eduphoria. You can find step-by-step directions on how to do that here.


Click the image below to view the Professional Learning and Instructional Planning days for the 2022-2023 School Year. This is a LIVE document and contains the most up-to-date information and locations! If you click the date tiles, you can view more date-specific information.
Big picture



Your thoughts in words.

Wordtune is an AI-powered writing companion that understands what you’re trying to say, and suggests ways to make your writing more clear, compelling and authentic.

Whether you’re using it to write personal emails, create documents for your clients or exchange instant messages with your colleagues, Wordtune helps you express yourself better.

Powered by advanced AI technology that has a deep understanding of context and semantics, Wordtune goes far beyond the grammar and writing assistants you already know, offering completely new capabilities:

🔮 Rewrite - Explore fresh ways to express yourself in writing. Rewrite suggests alternative ways to phrase your text, whether it's the entire sentence, phrase or just a single word.

✍️ Tone & Length - Depending on your goal, you can choose the tone and length in which your rewrite suggestions will be written. Want your message to be a bit more casual? More concise? No problem! Rewrite helps you get your message across with the phrasing you like the most.

🔍 Translate and Rewrite simultaneously - Write a sentence or part of a sentence in a foreign language, and when you select Rewrite, you will receive rephrasing suggestions in English. The feature is particularly useful for non-native English speakers.

🚀 Wordtune Works Where You Do - Wordtune is a multi-platform extension that works where you write! The list includes: Gmail, Google Docs, Outlook (web version), Facebook, Whatsapp (web version) and more! In addition, you can use Wordtune Editor, a central place that works across browsers, that you can access without having to use the extension.

Wordtune can help you to:

💡Write a better, clearer message and deliver it the way you intend to

💡Make brilliant vocabulary choices

💡Spend less time editing and perfecting your text

💡Write with confidence

💡Sound more fluent

💡Expand your English vocabulary

Big picture


October is Fire Safety and Prevention Month. We have plans to have classes come in to the library Kindergarten through 5th Grade to see some informative videos and visit with Anna, Texas fire fighters lead by James Dockray our Fire Prevention Captain. Then, the classes will go out to see the fire trucks and the equipment that the fire department uses to fight fires and keep them safe.
Big picture
We have been meeting with each grade level of teachers at the elementary schools. We have been sharing information of library resources and plans and answering any questions. Library classes are in full swing at all levels as well as book clubs. We suggest that you join us at the Anna ISD faculty book club and share new and favorite books for you to read during your recharge time on weekends and upcoming holidays!
Big picture
Big picture