Redbird Roundup, Vol. 6

Friday, September 14, 2018

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!


What a great week with so many exciting events! We kicked off our PD cycle with a presentation on Learning Goals on Tuesday. Lesson design and implementation were discussed in teams on Wednesday, and the goal is for staff to implement (and continue implementing) next week. NLT will be in to provide coaching. Peer observations will take place the last week of September.


We hosted some great events this week with volleyball on Tuesday and cross country on Wednesday. It is great to open up our building to the public and have so many people here.


The next month is going to be exciting. We start our iPad Parent Nights on September 20, and have our Open House/Ribbon Cutting on September 25. Our next iPad Parent Night is October 4, and Conferences/Rollout is October 17 and 18. Please talk up these events with your students!


I share a story in my Final Thought about a pretty exciting moment at our cross country meet. Take a moment to read, and reflect.



Have a great weekend!


Dr. Carr

September 17-21 Calendar

Monday, September 17: Mid Quarter Progress Grades Due

Tuesday, September 18: MAP Data PD by appt, Classroom Support PD by appt; Cross Country at Lewis and Clark, VB home vs. Davis

Wednesday, September 19: Team Leaders Meeting at 7:00 in room 129, VILS PD during Team Time

Thursday, September 20: VILS PD during team time; First VILS Parent Night, 6 p.m. in Library, Varsity VB at Buffett, JV FB at Hale

Friday, September 21: Varsity FB home vs McMillan, JV at McMillan

Staff Introductions

This week we will get to know Bob Brown, Maddie Parker, and Alyson Recic.

Bob Brown


Name: Bob Brown

How many years have you been teaching?

First year full time, 1 year as a substitute, 11 years as a Private Music Teacher

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School?

The Staff and Students. Both constantly keep me on my toes!


What is one of your favorite quotes?

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Doing the dishes

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Pay off my student loans

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time?

The Office or The Simpsons

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

Jazz Improvisation

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category?

Sweet. Cherry Licorice.

Maddie Parker

Name: Maddie Parker

How many years have you been teaching? This is year 2, so 1.5?

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? The students!


What is one of your favorite quotes?

- “Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day.”

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

-Indoor activity is watching tv, outdoor activity is walking my dog.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

-Putting my clothes away.

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

-22

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

-Sit down or have a small snack

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

-Buy my parents a new house.

What is something you learned in the last week?

-Koalas are really violent! I hate that fact!

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?

-Sitting and or eating small snacks.

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time?

-Shark Tank

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

-The best pizzas in Omaha.

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category?

-Salty! Pickles and pickle juice.

Alyson Recic

Name: Alyson Recic

How many years have you been teaching? This is my first year!

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? My favorite thing about Norris is the amazing sixth grade team



What is one of your favorite quotes? "Wherever you go, may people always recognize that you have a beautiful heart"

What chore do you absolutely hate doing? Dishes

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be? I'm not there yet, but I feel like I'd like to pause at around 28.

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? Watch an episode of whatever show I'm currently watching on Netflix, or read my current book.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for? Calligraphy!

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? The Office or Parks and Rec... again

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? Might be weird, but the Titanic. I went to Branson every year growing up and always went through the museum they have there. It's fascinating to me.

Meet our new SSL, David Washington

This is our new School Support Liaison, David Washington. He is with us on Wednesdays, and his areas of focus are attendance, due process, and enrollment. He is already meeting with our Norris Academy Attendance Team and helping get students to school. He has teaching experience in Special Education and Health Education, and has been with OPS for over 30 years. He has served in the U.S. Army and is currently in the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of Colonel Select. He will introduce himself through our staff interviews soon, but I wanted you all to see his face, and welcome him to Redbird Nation! He can be found in the admin. conference room on Wednesdays, and is available via email.

Powerful Practices

Best Instructional Practices

Mr. Kammandel's and Mr. Amburgey's Pre-Algebra class was full of best instructional practices including: Cooperative learning, re-teaching, station work, hands-on activities, distributive practice...I could go on! Tons of engagement, and the opportunity to informally assess students and see where they are.

Games/Engagement

Mr. Lewis uses a combination of Jeopardy and Basketball to help his students review for an upcoming assessment. Students are engaged (and of course competitive) and able to use the questions to study on their own later. Great activity!

Learning Goals Spotlight

Our PD this week focused on learning goals, and reinforced using higher levels of thinking verbs, as well as I can/will be able to statements. I'm highlighting a few high-quality learning goals below!

PD Cycle

Our first PD cycle began with a presentation on learning goals on Tuesday, and lesson design and implementation discussion on Wednesday. Next week, the NLT will be coaching specifically on learning goals, and peer observations will happen the week of 9/24. Remember to reach out to someone in your cohort to schedule your observation, and leave them a pineapple note regarding using the strategy (learning goals). This cycle allows us to not only get the information, but to implement it, collaborate, calibrate, and give each other feedback.

Attendance Goal-Strive for 95

We discussed the district attendance goal of Strive for 95 (95% daily attendance, fewer than 9 days of absence) for our students at our faculty workshop on Monday. We also brainstormed some ideas for incentives for our students and will continue working through these. For now, please be in communication with your assigned counselor about student attendance so we can take it to our group and help intervene.

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Redbird Posse Tryouts

Our Redbird Posse continued its tradition of excellence with a huge number of girls trying out for dance/poms/flags. This group is well-known all over Omaha and I can't wait to see their first performance at our Open House/Ribbon Cutting on September 25th!

6A Team Birthday Recognition

Our 6A team is doing some monthly birthday recognition with their students. Some students LOVE to have their birthdays celebrated! Very fun recognition for these students and definitely providing a sense of community!

Home Volleyball Match Debut

Our Redbird Volleyball Team had their home debut against Bryan Middle on Tuesday. Both teams fought hard! Our new gym is a great space for these matches, and we are proud to show it off!

Scheduling Committee

Our Schedling Committee, led by Mrs. Denning, met on Tuesday to discuss communicating with teams on scheduling, as well as to look at some research and best practices around middle school scheduling. As we look towards a new schedule in 19-20, this will be huge to have staff input and collaboration!

Norris Cross Country Meet

Our Norris meet was held on Wednesday of this week. We had an amazing turnout and a beautiful day. Thank you to all the staff who helped out!

NICE Field Trip

Nina Sitting Eagle, our NICE Liaison (Native Indigenous Centered Education) took several of our students to the 2nd annual Strengthening the Circle Native youth conference at UNO. NICE students from 6 middle schools listened to a speaker on historical trauma and the effects it has on Native youth of today. The blocks represented the burden of such things as boarding schools, alcohol, broken treaties, disease, etc. from the first point of contact 500+ years ago by the Europeans. What a powerful experience for our kiddos!

Redbird Alumni

Yexalen Jaramillo

Yexalen was a Redbird in 15-16 after arriving from Mexico. She is currently attending South High and doing an internship with RASA and helping our Redbirds after school. She expressed her gratitude to Mr. Bernard the other day for her experience at Norris and the Redbird teachers that helped her.

Final Thought

Imagine this: You're a middle schooler running in your first cross country meet, and you're struggling. You see everyone passing you, going in front of you, and you think you're alone. Then two teachers, not from your school, start running with you. They're not dressed for running, but they do it anyway. They cheer you on, show you the way, and help you towards the end. You're starting to feel like you can do it. Then, you enter the home stretch, and a bunch of your teammates, and runners from other schools join you. You hear cheering, people encouraging you, and suddenly you know, "I can do this." You run through the finish line and are greeted by celebration from a huge crowd.


This was the scene at our cross country meet on Wednesday. I am so incredibly proud of Ms. Reyes and Ms. Hansen, who ran with this young man. I am proud of our students who ran with him. I am proud of our coaches who instill in our students the importance of helping and supporting others. It's not about the size of the dog in the fight, it's about the size of the fight in the dog. Way to go Redbirds.