Ram Nation News

Week of November 26, 2018

Vision

A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society

Mission

At Thomas J. Rusk Middle School, our mission is to empower our students to become

college and career ready by providing them a culture of excellence through challenging

opportunities, powerful relationships, and strong community partnerships.

Big picture

#OnANewLevel

I trust you had a relaxed week sharing with family and friends. I know that we have many wonderful things for which to be thankful. I am grateful for the dedicated and kind people that our children have here at Rusk; your love and support for each one of our scholars continues to make a positive impact in each one of them believing, achieving, and succeeding. I am grateful to be a part of this fantastic school filled with hard-working staff striving to provide quality learning and a safe environment for our young Rams.


YOUR SUPER POWER IS TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION...

  • As we approach our Fall ACPs, use the ACP blueprint to narrow your focus. Continue to make this learning relevant and incorporate engagement strategies to motivate students. Include review sessions that incorporate game format such as, Jeopardy or Kahoot and keep sending homework and study guides for students to practice and use.


  • After analyzing the common assessment data; remember, if a student keeps messing-up on specific SEs, during the first and second common assessment administration, then you need to:
  1. carry over these same SEs onto our ACP action plans.
  2. teach, re-teach or introduce these difficult SEs.
  3. If these SEs are not learned, they will continue giving our students difficulties.
  4. Re-test after re-teaching these SEs and collaborate with your team to analyze where students are erring and incorporate anticipating misconceptions during our planning sessions.
  5. Break down difficult concepts into manageable chunks & scaffold the learning.


  • Let's maximize every instructional minute available to us; bell-to-bell instruction is the key. If our scholars are focused and we engage them from the moment they enter our classrooms to the moment they leave, they will be the beneficiaries of learning.


  • Have conferences with parents and guardians about behavior, academics, absentees and tardiness. We need to make sure that we create partnerships with all stakeholders and that we hold everybody accountable.


  • Ensure that student work and designated spaces in our classrooms (word walls, concept walls, data walls) are updated or used appropriately so that new learning/progress is evident.

Attendance

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn. Let's continue to support our students in transitioning in an expedited manner from class to class.


The following is the percent for attendance for the week of 11/12 - 11/16:

  • 6th Grade - 97.42 - Improved by 0.96%
  • 7th Grade - 94.79%
  • 8th Grade - 95.54%


Let's continue to encourage our students to be present and on time on a daily basis. It really makes a huge difference when our students are present learning

Instructional Practices

Leadership

Mr. Patel

During the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages conference, Mr. Patel was recognized and received the Leo Bernardo Award for innovation in K-12 language education; this is a great honor!. Also, he was asked to keynote the ACTFL's assembly of delegates. We are very proud of the work done by Mr. Patel and the great attention he brings to our school, the World Languages Department, and our District.

Ms. Akin

Ms. Akin has been selected to participate in Dallas ISD’s Video Library Initiative. Through the Video Library, Dallas ISD educators will have access to a visual representation of the Teacher Performance Rubric.

Calibration videos are used by the District to ensure that a score in North Dallas is the same as a score in South Dallas for a teacher of the same discipline with the same students. More than 600 Dallas ISD evaluators will utilize Ms. Akin's video to hone their observation skills. This video is extremely important and provides great contribution to our profession as we support the development of all of our teachers. We are very proud of the work done by Ms. Akin!

Climate and Culture

As you already know, our goal for our climate survey is to rank in the 5th quintile in all areas! This means that all of our areas of our climate survey will be green. Therefore, we have been very intentional in the work around PLCs, team effectiveness, trust, college-going culture, socio-emotional learning, and feedback to name a few. Below, we see some examples of the activities conducted during the last 2 weeks.
Big picture

Angel Tree

In an effort to provide our most neediest students a great holiday season, CIS and our counselors joined forces to put together the Angel Tree. We are very excited to announce that over 68 Rusk Angels were adopted in less than 2 days. Thank you for your support and warm heart as we help to make the holiday season a little brighter for our Rusk Angels.

REMINDERS FOR THE UPCOMING WEEK OF SCHOOL

  • During 8:00 a.m. - 8:20 a.m., students must be engaged in meaningful activities: homework support, organizing binder, CNN news with reflection sheet.
  • It is critical to be prepared with lessons and materials to avoid having issues with students. When we are not prepared, our students can tell and will find their own way of entertainment.
  • We must have 100% presence in the hallway during transition times. Our students notice when there is a lack of adult presence in the hallways and will take advantage of it.
  • During transitions, let's make sure to have 100% participation and hold each other accountable to be present in the hallway supporting students. Our goal is to narrate the positive and have at least 10 positive interactions each transition. APs, CICs, and counselors will be working with each one of you to provide individual support. (TEI 3.3 and 3R Positive Attitude/Enthusiasm).
  • Engage learners throughout your lessons and ensure we incorporate bell-to-bell instruction. It will support the increase in student achievement and reduce disruptions. While students are more familiar with engagement strategies such as Think Pair Share, we need to ensure that we have taught, modeled, and practiced these skills in order for effective implementation (TEI 2.4, 3.1, and 3.3).
  • Be very consistent in the effective implementation of various practices discussed during our TEI orientation and lesson alignment conversations. With regards to Alignment (learning objective), the proficient rating states: Focuses students at the beginning and throughout the lesson, by clearly stating (TEI 2.1)
    • What they are learning
    • Why it is important
    • What mastery looks like
    • How to connect it to prior knowledge and their own lives and explaining to students
  • Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (TEI 4.2)

DAILY EVENTS

Monday, November 26-

  • SPOT observations continue
  • A Day - We will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action!
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans and work on ACP action plan (address high leverage TEKS, low performing TEKS, map out TEKS to be covered in the remaining of the instructional days - ACPs begin December 13).

  • 4:45 LED Display training - Library

  • 5:00 - 7:00 Dinner in recognition of those who participated in the Congressional App Challenge - Ms. Safford and selected students.

  • Lady Rams’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Loos Fieldhouse against Marsh MS.

  • Soccer games at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for the girls and boys respectively at Franklin Stadium against Medrano MS.


Tuesday, November 27-
  • B-Day. We will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action!
  • Campus Climate Survey begins - see e-mail sent by Mr. Cordoba for more details.

  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans and work on ACP action plan (address high leverage TEKS, low performing TEKS, map out TEKS to be covered in the remaining of the instructional days - ACPs begin December 13).

  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. We need to work on the recruitment of students for our after school program since it impacts student growth, our school performance, progress, and, ultimately, part of our stipends are tied to the attendance of our students to our tutoring/enrichment sessions. I have noticed that we have been a little relaxed and have given our students the impression that they can opt out; we need to bring our numbers up!

  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m. during the 2 days that you will stay after school


Wednesday, November 28-
  • A-Day.
  • Calibration Walks - We will be walking classrooms checking for alignment, exemplars, and aggressively monitoring.
  • Meet with your grade level teams to align your Lesson Plans and work on ACP action plan (address high leverage TEKS, low performing TEKS, map out TEKS to be covered in the remaining of the instructional days - ACPs begin December 13).
  • 4:30 p.m. After School Program Continues. We need to bring our numbers up! (see Tuesday for more details)
  • 4:45 - 5:45 p.m. AVID Site Team meeting - anyone tutoring will collaborate with team to support with taking over tutoring kids so that students will benefit from this opportunity.
  • Remember to clock out at or after 6:00 p.m.


Thursday, November 29-

  • B-Day.
  • Weekly PLC
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.
  • Fall Preview Night from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Parents will be able to explore and sign up students in one of several enrichment clubs. Also, they will have the opportunity to discuss with you about the ACP tests. (5:30 - 6:00 club presentation and sign ups; 6:00 - 6:30 parents will meet with grade levels to discuss ACPs and expectations) - This is a District event similar to parent conference night and everyone is expected to be in attendance

  • Boys’ basketball game at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Loos Fieldhouse against Marsh MS.


Friday, November 30 -

  • United Way campaign - Thank you so much for everyone who has contributed to meeting the district's goal of $150,000. Pay $5 to wear your jeans today.
  • (Optional) 4:45 p.m. Teachers who hold an ESL/Bilingual certification and/or have SIOP training will meet with Ms. Wells in room 111 to discuss requirements for Title III - Great opportunity for staff members and students.

Upcoming Dates

December 5

  • 4:30 - 7:30 - CILT sessions at Edison MS.


December 6

  • The Real Estate Council (TREC) and Commit visit - 1/2 day Morning


December 8

  • UIL Academic Competition -See Ms. Baker if interested in coaching ($50/team per competition)


December 12

  • Climate Survey window ends.


December 13

  • ACPs begin
  • Christmas Dinner at 5:30 p.m.


December 14

  • Snapshot for documenting student involvement in extracurricular and co-curricular activities


December 20

  • Teacher Work Day
Campus Climate Survey

Our goal for our climate survey is to rank in the 5th quintile in all areas! This means that all of our areas of our climate survey will be green. Neutral does not count and adversely impacts.

Big picture
Annual Policy and Compliance Acknowledgment

On November 1, 2018, you will receive a communication from the district regarding the steps to follow to complete the Annual Policy and Compliance Acknowledgment. Please, access the entire memo by clicking the link above.

Teacher Training Video

Here you will find the teacher training video to support you getting started in the use of the LED displays. Face-to-face training forthcoming.

Videos and other reference materials

Here you will find brochures, overview videos and "how to" videos to support you getting started in the use of the LED displays.

Happy Birthday

Wishing you the very best!!!


Dolores Reyes – 11/4

Thomas Lowry – 11/4

Taylor Iberosi – 11/16

Destany Morgan – 11/18

Arryan Baker – 11/22

Gabriel Hernandez – 11/26