Common Sense

Thomas Jefferson Feeder Pattern News - February 15, 2016

About the Title

Common Sense was a pamphlet authored by Thomas Paine in 1775-76. It was written to inspire American colonists to declare independence from British Rule at the beginning of The Revolution. This weekly, modern, online relative of that pamphlet documents the news, events, updates, and celebrations of the TJ Revolution - the educational sensation sweeping through northwest Dallas.

Thomas Jefferson HS to Partner with Brookhaven to Pursue Early College Designation

Thomas Jefferson High School with partner with DCCCD campus Brookhaven College to pursue Early College High School designation in the coming years. In the meantime, TJ and Brookhaven will immediately collaborate to offer an expanded array of dual credit courses, clear pathways toward a college degree, and various career certificates. This fall, 100 rising 9th graders will be enrolled in the Thomas Jefferson Collegiate Academy. More information will be announced soon, including the specific details about the TJ Collegiate Academy and how students can apply to become a part of this great new choice opportunity in Dallas ISD!
mySchool: Thomas Jefferson High School

TJ Feeder Pattern News in Brief

Cary MS 8th Graders Explore SMU & Bush Library

Cary MS at SMU

Executive Director's Message

Team TJ,

Welcome back from what, I hope, a relaxing Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day three-day weekend!

Last week, Superintendent Hinojosa announced a broad expansion of choice offerings in Dallas ISD for the upcoming school year. Among those new options will be a two-way dual language program beginning at Foster ES and the initiation of a Collegiate Academy at Thomas Jefferson HS!

Students and their families have numerous options when choosing the best educational institution. With these additional options and other existing options in our feeder family of schools, we are ensuring that the Thomas Jefferson Feeder Pattern and Dallas ISD remain the premier choice for our community members!

Have a great week with students!

Timothy J. Hise

Executive Director, Thomas Jefferson Feeder Pattern

TJ Feeder Literacy Cadre Corner

During Cycle 1, school leaders can expect to see the following moves in literacy teachers' classrooms. A data walk will look for these moves at the end of the fourth six weeks, but these moves should begin to appear in your classrooms now.

Learning Cycle - Week 6

PLC Focus

  • Bringing it all together: Using the three considerations of text complexity to select texts for different parts of the literacy block
  • Integrating scaffolded tasks into lessons

Observable Teacher/Student Moves

  • Teachers continue to select texts based on the quantitative and qualitative factors of text complexity
  • Teachers collaboratively plan for guided instruction of complex text in various settings
  • Teachers differentiate student reading tasks during various parts of the literacy block

Data Walk Scheduled

We will conduct a collaborative Data Walk on Tuesday, February 23 from 8:30-11:30am at Cigarroa ES.

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Knight, Walnut Hill ES Spotlighted as Student Achievement "Bright Spots"

A Comparison of 4 Programs for English Language Learners

from Marshall Memo #623

In this Educational Leadership article, Ilana Umansky (University of Oregon) and Rachel Valentino and Sean Reardon (Stanford University) report on their study of a large urban district in California using four different models to educate its sizable number of English language learners who were native speakers of Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Filipino, and Korean:

  • English immersion – ELLs were in general-education classes, usually with native-English speakers, with all-English instruction; teachers used various methods to help non-proficient English speakers understand curriculum content.
  • Transitional bilingual – Instruction in students’ home language as a bridge to English acquisition and a way to make content more accessible; the aim was a rapid transition into English, typically by fourth grade.
  • Maintenance bilingual – The goal of this program was full bilingualism and biliteracy in English and the students’ home language.
  • Dual immersion – This program enrolled ELLs and non-ELLs, typically in a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio, aiming to get both ELLs and native English speakers bilingual and biliterate in both languages.

The researchers analyzed data from eight cohorts of English language learners who attended the four programs, using up to 10 years of data for each cohort. Here are the comparative results on three outcome measures:

  • Students’ English language acquisition as measured by the California English Language Development Test – There were quite small differences in the results in the four programs: more than 80 percent of all ELLs were proficient in English by the end of elementary school, and more than 90 percent were proficient by seventh grade. In the bilingual and dual-language programs, ELLs took slightly longer to become proficient in English than did similar ELLs in English immersion. By seventh grade, 95 percent of maintenance students were proficient, 94 percent of dual immersion, and 92 percent of English immersion and transitional bilingual.
  • Students’ academic growth as measured by the California ELA and math tests – By second grade, students who had been in transitional bilingual programs since kindergarten had higher ELA and math scores, on average, than their peers in the other programs. But by seventh grade, dual immersion students had passed those in English immersion and maintenance programs and weren’t statistically different from those in transitional bilingual programs. Math scores were not significantly different. The authors note that ELLs’ math scores in second grade were above the state average, but over time, ELLs’ math scores grew more slowly than the state average.
  • Students’ reclassification from ELL to fluent English proficient status – Students in English immersion and transitional bilingual programs were reclassified at higher rates in elementary school. By fifth grade, however, the reclassification pace of additional students slowed in all programs, the most in English immersion. By seventh grade, reclassification rates were very similar across all programs: 92 percent for transitional bilingual, 88 percent for English immersion, 87 percent for maintenance, and 86 percent for dual immersion.

Umansky, Valentino, and Reardon conclude with the following suggestions for schools and districts:

  • When possible, invest in high-quality two-language approaches. “In combination with the evidence of the social, health, and economic benefits of bilingualism,” they say, “these findings make a compelling argument for investment in high-quality two-language instructional programs.” However, such programs are not feasible in districts with small numbers of ELLs.
  • Choose among two-language programs based on community and stakeholder voice. The research is not definitive, say the authors, and it’s important to listen to the opinions of parents and others.
  • Opt for slow and steady. “Rather than pushing ELLs to reach English language benchmarks rapidly and withholding academic or content instruction until they do,” say the authors, “schools should focus on providing high-quality teaching and full, meaningful access to content in all ELL programs, regardless of the language of instruction.”
  • Take the long view. Looking at results over only one or two years and using one outcome measure won’t capture the differences that emerge over time. “Evaluations of the effectiveness of ELL instructional programs should track students through elementary and into middle and high school using a variety of outcome measures,” say Umansky, Valentino, and Reardon, “– and given the value of bilingualism, evaluations, when possible, should also measure students’ literacy in their home language.”

“The Promise of Two-Language Education” by Ilana Umansky, Rachel Valentino, and Sean Reardon in Educational Leadership, February 2016 (Vol. 73, #5, p. 10-17), available for purchase at; the authors can be reached at,, and

Leadership Quote of the Week

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Week At-A-Glance

Monday, February 15, 2016
  • Presidents' Day - Student and Staff Holiday

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

  • Collegiate Academy Mtg @ TJHS - Hise (7-8am)
  • Unannounced Campus Visits - ACP Action Plan Implementation (8:15am - 2pm)
  • Middle School Summer Achievers Meeting - Hise (2:30-3:30pm)
  • Joe May ES HCM Staffing Meeting - Hise (4-5pm)
  • Collegiate Academy Application Process Meeting - Hise (5-6pm)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

  • TJHS Staff Meeting - Hise (7:45-8:15am)
  • Unannounced Campus Visits - ACP Action Plan Implementation (8:30-11am)
  • Collegiate Academy Cohort 1 Principal Planning @ Dallas County Schools (11:15am - 12:45pm)
  • Districtwide Principals' Meeting @ Dallas County Schools (1-5pm)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

  • Project Transform 2016 Planning Meeting - Hise (8:30-9:30am)
  • Unannounced Campus Visits - ACP Action Plan Implementation (10am - 12pm)
  • TJ Collegiate Academy Site Team Meeting - Hise (12:30-2:30pm)

Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Deadline to Submit Title 1 Purchase Requisitions for 15/16 School Year
  • Last Day of the 4th Six Weeks
  • ED School Leadership Meeting @ Haskell (Hise) 8:15-10:15am
  • Collegiate Academy Cohort 1 ED Meeting @ Haskell - Hise (10:30am - 12pm)
  • Unannounced Campus Visits - ACP Action Plan Implementation (1-3:30pm)