Monday Memo

January 11th - 15th

Faith allows us to step forward, but support from others helps keeps us going. —KWard


There is quite a bit of content in this week's newsletter, so I won't take too much of your time in my message, but I did want to take a moment to comment on this week's quote. Kristi Ward wrote it in one of her appreciations, and while it applied to my life in many ways, it really spoke to just how important we are to each other at school. Sometimes it just takes a kind word of encouragement, honesty or appreciation to keep us going. This race is a marathon, and in order for us to celebrate at the end, we must stick together. Take care of yourselves and each other. Maintain your focus on the positives and act in a way that aligns with where we want to be performing on the stages of team development. Our victory will be in what we are able to accomplish together.

I'd like to propose an idea for turning in Jeans passes on Tuesdays. It seems like it is an extra step that forces many of you to go out of your to turn them in to my box. Given that someone is normally attending your grade level planning on Tuesdays, I'd like for everyone just to bring a pass with you to planning. Any A-Team member can collect them from the group and you won't have to worry about turning them in. Hopefully this will remove the worry and responsibility from a gesture intended to bring you only peace and happiness.

In effort to keep you in the loop, I wanted to let you know that we received a letter of resignation from Brett Murrey on Friday. While his resignation was effective immediately, please know that the new five-way rotation that we had already planned on implementing this week will allow the students to continue on without missing a beat. We find a long term sub for Brett to finish out the year teaching with Tara Zappe. As you can imagine, the restructuring of 5th grade is a pretty big undertaking, but one that we are confident that will meet the needs of our students. Please continue to encourage and support 5th grade teachers as they work through these changes.

As we continue to pray for The Prugh Family, count your blessings and make today count!



Teacher Scales for Reflective Practice

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Jon Gordon's 20 Tips for a Positive New Year (1-5)

1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.

2. Take a morning walk of gratitude. I call it a "Thank You Walk." It will create a fertile mind ready for success.

3. Make your first meal the biggest and your last meal the smallest. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

4. Zoom Focus. Each day when you wake up in the morning ask: "What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?" Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions.

5. Talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself. Instead of listening to your complaints, fears and doubts, talk to yourself and feed your mind with the words and encouragement you need to keep moving forward.


Fund For Teachers

Fund for Teachers provides educators, possessing a broad vision of what it means to teach and learn, the resources needed to pursue self-designed professional learning experiences. FFT grants are used for an unlimited variety of projects; all designed to create enhanced learning environments for teachers, their students and their school communities.


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Texas ASCD is accepting proposal submissions for 90 minute Innovative Highlight sessions at our ignite16 conference! Don't miss the opportunity to share your talents and insight at this exciting professional learning event. This year's conference will be held June 13-15, 2016 at the Irving Convention Center in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Texas ASCD's ignite16 is a conference focused on transforming curriculum with technology. This popular conference is unique in that attendees leave sessions with end products - something they can take with them, to implement or apply in their districts or classrooms. Attendees of the conference choose sessions that cover all interest-areas of education.

When submitting a proposal, please keep in mind that attendees will come with their own devices and will be leaving your session with a product or program to implement/apply in the 2016-2017 school year. Please make sure to indicate what your end product is in your proposal. This year's strands/pathways include:

• Reaching All Learners

• Engaging the Learner

• Advancing Literacy

• Leading Digital Teaching and Learning

Click here to submit your proposal by Leap Day - February 29, 2016.

Proposals will be reviewed by a program committee and the presenters will be notified of the committee's decision before April 30, 2016.


Important Lunch Schedule Change

In order to accommodate the 5-way rotation in 5th grade, we had to move when they go to lunch. Please refer to the schedule below. We will send out updated master schedules soon.

10:40 1st

11:00 5th

11:15 KG

11:30-12:00 kitchen doors close for café staff lunch

12:15 2nd

12:45 3rd

1:15 4th


First grade will go to lunch 5 minutes early to allow Ms. Irma 5 minutes to wipe down tables prior to Kinder arriving.

Kinder will not be able to go back for seconds and needs to be through the line by 11:30.

Specials teachers buying lunch will need to get the café by 11:30.

On baked potato days, staff will not be able to pick up 11:30-12:00.


Warm-Up Wednesdays

Each January, we sell Warm-Up Wednesday passes to benefit Special Olympics. The passes are sold for five dollars each. These passes are only good during the month of January. If you would like to purchase a pass, you may buy them from Donna.


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Social Studies Textbook Training

The district is offering 2 more trainings for the online textbook for Social Studies next week after school. Below are the links to register in Eduphoria.

Tuesday, January 12th at McNeil Elementary after school:


Thursday, January 14th at McNeil after school:


You do not need to attend both, they are the same.


Did you know that each week I give out jeans passes to those who are one of the top three participants on Shoparoo? I know that many of you have already joined, but if you haven't, it is not too late. Simply go to to create your account. If you use veft4467 as a referral code, McGowen will earn money for you just signing up. Please feel free to push this information out to your parents as well. Once you sign up, Shoparoo will give you a referral code for your parents to use when they sign up. Schools with just 40 supporters are earning an average of $1,000 every year.

Congratulations to Lhauren Chitwood and Jennifer Little for being in this week's top three!


Focus for 2015 - 2016

In order to help every child their personal best, McGowen teachers and staff will:

  • Develop a common language needed to become High Reliability School.
  • Develop an understanding and process for effective Professional Learning Communities.
  • Engage in collaborative team planning and lesson design to promote higher level thinking and student engagement.
  • Present lessons in such a way that students understand and can speak knowledgeably about posted learning and language targets.


Remind for Staff

I have created a Remind for our staff in order to send out just-in-time reminders, last minute notifications of jeans/warm-up days, and/or emergency info. If you haven't already, please click on the link below to join the group.

Teacher of the Year 2015-2016

Selection of the Campus Teacher of the Year 2015 - 2016


1) Peer nominations are encouraged.

2) One nominee from each campus will be accepted.

3) Nominees should have taught in McKinney ISD for at least one year.

4) Nominees should not have won the “Campus Teacher of the Year” award within the past three years (they can have been nominated within that time frame).

5) Nominees can include your campus LMS, Counselor or a Specialist, however they are not eligible for the regional competition.

6) Just keep in mind, that your Nominee must spend at least 4 hours a day with students to be eligible to advance to the next level.


Happy Birthday!


Mary Ann Miller - 7th

Laura Garro - 10th

Martha Gordon - 15th

Lisa Pedersen - 15th

Jean Possehl - 16th

Holly Bianchetta - 19th

Stacie Bullock - 19th

Krystina Ticehurst - 24th



  • Thanks to Michelle Caballero, SL, Lovell, JD, Chitwood, Bravo and Zappe for the extra time and effort you put into planning for the new rotation. JL
  • SpEd, Specials, Kinder and First - Thank you so much for your understanding heart and flexibility with your schedules. While you could have easily thrown a fit over the inconvenience, your kind smile and encouraging words meant more to all of us than you could possibly imagine. -JL
  • Many thanks to my Sonic Fairies last week! It is amazing how a Diet Coke at just the right time can feel like winning the lottery. -JL
  • Bravo, Chitwood, JD & Zappe – Thank you for pouring everything into planning this past week. I’m so glad to work with each of you and the perspectives you bring. I can’t wait to see it all come together! -Lovell
  • A-Team – Thank you for the extra time you spent with us (and on us) working out the details and supporting us! - Lovell
  • Kinder and First grade- Thank you for being so flexible with the schedule tweaks that needed to be made for 5th grade. I know this will ensure our students success this year and we could not do it without your help. I appreciate you all more then you know! -JD
  • Chitwood and Bravo- Thank you so much for making our amazing accommodations binder for each of us! They look great and it makes things so do-able. You two are the best teammates ever! Love ya! -JD
  • Lovell and Zappe- Thank you so much for the amazing collaboration last week to ensure our students are successful in math and science. I know the collaboration will continue to grow weekly as we meet each students needs. This new plan is going to be amazing and I cannot wait to see our students grow by leaps and bounds! I am blessed to be working with you two ladies! -JD
  • Fifth Grade- Thank you for all the hard work you have done this last week to get this new plan in place! I am excited to see what happens. I work with the best team ever! Love you all! -JD
  • Bonnie, Jaime, David, Jenny, Sharon, Rhonda, and Nicole- I appreciate all of you so much for reworking your master schedules to help our 5th grade students! I know that is not an easy thing to do and probably took you hours to do. I owe you all big time! Much love! -JD
  • Melanie, Michelle, Sylvia, Shiela, Stacie, and Jennifer- A thank you and my appreciation to each of you for all the countless hours of hard work, thought, problem solving, sleepless nights, etc. cannot even begin to tell you how much you all mean to me and what we are doing to ensure success for each of our 5th grade students. I work with the best educators, administrators, staff, students, parents, and community! Love you all! -JD
  • Barbara- Thank you in advance for all that you are doing to be doing this week for 5th grade! Love you dear friend! -JD
  • McGowen Staff- I appreciate each and every one of you for all the support and help you have given fifth grade last week! Your kind words and willingness to help in any way has been greatly appreciated and has made last week do-able. Thank you for being the best staff a girl could work for. Much love! -JD
  • Fourth Grade- Thank you so much for all your ideas on how to make this transition a smooth one for everyone involved. You all are the best! Love ya all! -JD
  • A-Team & 5th Grade: Thank you for all the dedication in taking action to collaborate, pull lessons, tweak schedules, create, and maintain a positive attitude towards making changes for all of our students in 5th grade. As a momma of a little guy in 5th, I am so grateful for all the hard work you have put in, and it is truly appreciated!!! —KWard
  • Jen & Lora: Thank you so much for going to extra mile to help Julian excel! —KWard
  • JL: Thank you for supporting me in my future goals. Faith allows us to step forward, but support from others helps keeps us going. —KWard
  • 4th team: Thank you for helping things run smoothly while I was gone. You guys are rockstars. - AF
  • Rico: Thank you for taking the time to make all those math copies! - AF
  • Trisha: Thank you for the Sonic drink on Friday! You’re always so thoughtful. - AF
  • Trisha-Thank you for the drink! So sweet of you! -Amanda


Action Items

  • Schedule assessments for open testing windows with Bonnie
  • Submit grade level budgets by EOD Tuesday, January 12th
  • Submit committee budgets by EOD Wednesday, January 13th
  • Nominations for TOY due by EOD Friday, January 15th


McKinney ISD's Vision, Mission and Beliefs

Any time we have an idea, concern, solution and/or comment, this is the filter through which we should speak. Let's help each other live up to our vision, mission, and beliefs.


We are a cohesive, diverse community providing engaging learning experiences for all.

We will provide engaging learning experiences so students can become effective communicators, quality contributors and socially responsible citizens.

  • Partnerships between students, parents, community members and staff are foundational to educational success.
  • Positive school culture and a safe environment foster growth.
  • Everyone has inherent value and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Learning is an active process requiring engaging tasks and engaging minds.
  • Relevant and authentic experiences ignite continuous, deeper learning.
  • Meaningful relationships enrich learning.
  • Confidence fuels risk taking and higher achievement.
  • Financial stewardship ensures a tomorrow for education.