Eagle News

Academic Success Under Construction September 19, 2016

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District Goals

  • Goal 1: All students will exhibit Satisfactory or above performance on State assessments. Students below Satisfactory performance will demonstrate more than one year of academic growth;
  • Goal 2: Dallas ISD schools will be the primary choice for families in the district;
  • Goal 3: The achievement gap by race, ethnicity and social economic status will be no greater than 10 percentage points on all academic measures;
  • Goal 4: 95% of students will graduate. Of the graduates, 90% have qualifying scores for community college, college, military, or industry certification;
  • Goal 5: 95% of entering kindergarten students are school-ready on a multidimensional assessment;
  • Goal 6: All students will participate in at least one extracurricular or co-curricular activity each year.

Campus Improvement Plan


  1. Build a positive and supportive campus culture and environment by improving instructional feedback, consistently enforcing discipline, and decreasing chronic absences.

  2. Gabe P. Allen will increase student achievement and student engagement by improving the quality of lesson designs, lesson delivery, and curriculum alignment.
  3. Gabe P. Allen will promote the continuous use and monitoring of formative and summative assessments to drive instructional decisions and provide differentiated instruction to meet the academic needs of students.

About the Common Assessments Window and Why we use data

This week we will engage on the first common assessment administration of this year. Common assessments will provide feedback regarding student mastery of the most critical standards. As we all learned last year, the key to improved student achievement was the data conversations held by teacher’s teams per grade level. We will continue with this effective practice, on the week of September 26, 2016. We will analyze the results of each assessment to understand what concepts in the curriculum were posing difficulty for our scholars. It will be an opportunity to share ideas and figure out the best interventions. Finally, you will follow up in your classrooms. At Gabe P. Allen, we use data to improve teachers’ practice, to discuss why one teacher is having success in teaching a concept and others are not, and what the more successful teacher can teach his or her colleagues.

We are data driven, we use data to shape and inform all our decisions!

Proud to be an Eagle!

Sheila Ortiz

Week at a Glance...

Magnificent Monday, September 19, 2016

  • Submit attendance by 9:00 am.
  • Math Common Assessments
  • Morning Announcements 4-A, all week
  • PD Interactive Word Walls, in the library

Terrific Tuesday, September 20, 2016

  • Submit attendance by 9:00 am

  • Reading Common Assessments

Wonderful Wednesday, September 21, 2016

  • Submit attendance by 9:00 am.
  • Science/Writing Common Assessments
  • No PLC- Work on Data

Thrilling Thursday, September 22, 2016

  • Submit attendance by 9:00 am

  • No PLC-Work on Data

Fabulous Friday, September 23, 2016

  • Submit attendance by 9:00 am

  • Submit your Common Assessment Data in All in Learning and Google Drive


1. Ms. Ortiz will continue with the Goal Setting Conferences. You will receive an email with the date and time.

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Congratulations to our Fantastic Four!

Ms. Green, Ms. Saravia, Mrs. Serratos, & Mr. Maldonado for once again attaining the Distinguished Teacher Recognition!
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Special shout out to those ready to join the movement of defining, supporting & rewarding excellence at Gabe Allen!

We have an additional four who are eligible to apply for DTR.

  • Ms. Gordon, 1st bilingual
  • Mrs. Sotelo, 2nd bilingual
  • Ms. Mojica, 5th Math & Science
  • Ms. Roth, TAG

Intrinsic Motivation vs. Standardized Tests/Edutopia May 11, 2016

When the scores were revealed, the classroom of middle school literacy teachers was everything but hopeful. "Did they even try?" one teacher wondered about her students. The team was disappointed and defeated. After a year of following the curriculum to fidelity, according to the mock-state test data, our efforts meant nothing.

I sat in the meeting, half-listening, as I began to devise a plan. I had no choice but to help. When I was in school, I was just like my students -- totally unmotivated to take any standardized test, simply because I knew those tests were not going to affect my report cards. Therefore, why should I put any effort into them? I was the kid who fake-read the passages and picked the pattern of C,D,A,B,C,D,A,B to answers the multiple-choice questions. For eight years, I've watched my students attempt to do the same. This year was no different -- until hearing the teachers' displaced frustrations made me speak out. I needed them to recognize how these scores are not true indicators of what our kids can do. They can do better. All we have to do is teach them why they should do better. The why lies in activating their intrinsic motivation.

According to career analyst Daniel Pink, intrinsic motivation is driven by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These same principals lend themselves directly to activating our students' internal drive. Here’s how:


Before we can begin tapping into any student's intrinsic values, we need to have a diagnostic that reveals all students' true feelings. In order to do that, students should be prompted to reflect on their personal feelings about standardized tests. I gave my students a simple reflection form in which I was able to gather the following:

Feelings about state test

  • Really irrelevant
  • Only used so the school can get money
  • To be honest, I don't care
  • We don't need it
  • Makes me nervous and self-conscious

Struggles with state test

  • Totally afraid
  • I don't take my time; I rush to get it over with
  • I zone out
  • I get distracted by the silence
  • I worry about running out of time

Motivation during the test

  • Getting it over with
  • Nothing, really
  • What my parents think
  • Getting my phone back

All of their thoughts, struggles, and motivations revealed to me that my hypothesis was correct. The low scores are a reflection of being uninspired, not unknowledgeable.

Autonomy and Self-Direction

As Daniel Pink put it, "One day of autonomy produces things that have never emerged." First, we have to teach our students how to label the behaviors that keep them from reaching their highest potential on exams. Here are some examples of the labels many of my students named as habits during exams:

  • Daydreaming
  • Sleeping
  • Running out of time
  • Second-guessing myself
  • Forgetting what I just read
  • Anxiety

After the students have shown awareness of their own behaviors by labeling, teachers should follow up by providing tools for self-generating their own solution plans. Here are some examples of many of my students' self-generated strategies that they will put in place in their everyday lives, even after this year's test:

  • Using a personal timer when reading independently to pace myself
  • Challenging myself to non-pleasure read for an extra 15 minutes a day
  • Meditating before I begin an assignment to strengthen my ability to focus
  • Setting personal time goals when reading during the test

The most important aspect of this work is communicating the notion of how individualized this process is for each student. All plans must be personalized to fit each student's struggle.

After creating solution plans, students have to begin actively monitoring their own progress. This can be done by engaging them in ongoing written reflections. These are small social-emotional tools that are a surefire way to increase the habits of scholarship in any unmotivated child.

Mastery and Self-Actualization

We have the responsibility to teach our children to stop waiting for someone else to acknowledge and validate them. Have students explore and answer questions like:

  • How do I recognize my own milestones?
  • How do I celebrate my own milestones?

Then, teach them how to compare themselves to themselves via:

  • Graphs
  • Personal trackers
  • Goal setting and reflecting
  • Self-commitment cards

The more a child feels like she achieving, the closer she'll get to mastering whatever she wants to achieve. Success breeds success!

Purpose and Self-Determination

Generally, our children don’t understand the true concepts of time, goals, and life beyond high school. But with clarity of intention and purpose, nothing can stand in the way of making a desired goal happen.

Like my students, I was never taught the true meaning of standardized tests. All I knew was that the SATs could get me into a "good college." This is the same message that many of our students get: "The state test will get you into a good college." For middle school students who think they have all the time in the world before they need to apply for college, this message means nothing. Teachers have to help students understand the fact that knowing your struggles and having strategies to combat them while taking tests is a life skill that may be applied to many areas outside of the classroom. Two obvious examples are driver's permit exams and jobs that require placement or certification tests (such as police officers and teachers).

Have students explore and answer questions like:

  • What does it mean to have a sense of my transcendent purpose?
  • How will achieving well on this exam impact me a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now?

My students and I created vision boards to remind us of our long-term motivation for doing well. We hung them on our bulletin board in the hallway, along with bar graphs that showed the scores from our first and second practice tests, and a list of strategies for alleviating our struggles.

As educators, it's crucial to remember that we're not preparing our students to be good test takers -- we're preparing them to tackle real-life tests that they'll face once they leave our classrooms. If we don't want them to give up on themselves when things get too tough in the future, we have to build their tenacity now. The foundation of such perseverance lies in intrinsic motivation.

Our First PTA Meeting will be September 28, 2016

The beginning of the school year holds the greatest window of opportunity for getting to know our students and families. It is these relationships we build throughout the year, that starts with a sustainable first impression that we will leverage in the best interests of our students. We must always be working toward a comprehensive and inclusive family and community engagement plan for our respective populations.

It is my expectation that all teachers will attend our first PTA meeting. This will be an opportunity to meet our families. We need to continue working toward a strong home-school partnership.

Student generated Achieve 3000 Lexile Levels Data Wall in Ms. Esparza's classroom.

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  • Thank you Mr. Maldonado. The students for our Soccer team try- outs were identified last week. Students and parents are very excited about this new opportunity.
  • To Ms. Thomas for putting together our Cheer Team. We are making Goal 6 a reality in our campus. We still need a teacher for the Chess Club...
  • To all the teachers that worked diligently to complete the DRA. Now that you know the DRA Levels, you can plan for small group, guided reading instruction, including targeted interventions and supplemental support. You can now select materials that match students’ instructional levels and provide appropriate instruction to challenge them.
  • To all 4th and 5th grade teachers, as well as, Ms. Selsemeyer for helping during the soccer practices.
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Ms. Davis' Math Classroom

Students in Ms. Davis classroom learned a chant to help them remember the steps for standard algorithm.
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1. The Office of Family and Community Engagement will offer ESL classes to our parents. The classes will meet in our Parent Center. More information is coming soon.

2. Save the date: October 1, 2016. Pinkston Feeder Pattern Prep-U. Families from our feeder pattern will be able to participate of free Health Screenings, more than 40 Resource Booths, and free Fun Activities. Our school will be well represented. We want all teachers and staff to participate of this great event. We will give Jean Passes to all attendees.

3. Picture Day is September 22, 2016!

In order to help you stay ahead, these are some of the items that are due or soon to be due....

  • Remember to take attendance daily by 9:00AM.
  • Reasoning Mind and Achieve 3000 assessments.
  • Lesson Plans are due on Google drive every Sunday by 10:00 am.
  • Don't forget to finish the Compliance Videos - Due by October 5th.
  • Common Assessments Data Report is due on Friday, September 23, 2016
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Marseille Moon 09/30

Important Links

1. Compliance Videos: http://olc.region10.org/catalog/Courses/Certification-Compliance/Compliance-Training-Courses

Note: Certificates must be submitted to your immediate supervisor by October 7, 2016

2. TRS: TEKS Resource System For Curriculum, Lesson Planning http://teksresourcesystem.net/module/profile/Account/LogOn

3. Oracle: https://disdops.dallasisd.org/OA_HTML/AppsLocalLogin.jsp

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