Ram Nation News

Week of April 8, 2019


A middle school that cultivates scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators, and competitors in a global society
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Last week was another busy week for all of us not only with a focus on academics, but also providing various opportunities for our students to excel in the sports and the arts, and experience Oklahoma City and College Station. Also, we had an opportunity for our 7th and 8th graders to celebrate their learning and participate in a very motivational and high energy pep rally. Thank you to everyone for playing a crucial role in supporting our students. You are making a great difference in the lives of our kids!

We continue to make great strides toward our vision of cultivating scholars to be catalysts of change, life-long learners, innovators and competitors in a global society. It is time for the championship game!!!! This week is a crucial week for all of us here at Thomas J. Rusk Middle School; our 7th and 8th grade students have the opportunity to show our school, district, and the state what Rusk is all about and how we are performing #OnANewLevel. We know that our young Rams will show up and show out.

Our goal is to accelerate transformation and ensure our kids have access to quality education. We must be beacons of hope for our students and our community. I heard the following story from one of my visits to a light show, "Within each of us there is a light that shines, a light that shines in all living things..... Our light rises on the wind to join the stars. As we interact, may we remember the light we share and celebrate our bond with the natural world...." Let's be the light that shines in the dark moments of our students' lives. Be the light that helps our students see there is a bright future ahead of them. Light up our students' path as you show them to have the courage to be the best they can be so that our students can achieve their highest potential.

Remember, as educators, you take many roles and wear many hats. You are a teacher, counselor, mediator, facilitator, nurse, cheerleader, coach, and an advocate to mention a few. You all are REMARKABLE!!!, YOU “Encourage the discouraged to defy obstacles,” “Build confidence; Open doors; Shape futures,” “Change the world by expecting excellence,” and YOU Believe in our students.

As we finalize preparations for this crucial part of our accountability system, let's

  • MOTIVATE students - we know that some students are self-motivated, with a natural love of learning; however, many others need your magic. We know that a great teacher can make learning fun and inspire them to reach their full potential. Let's encourage our students, get them involved, offer incentives, be creative, and make connections to real life.
  • set some time aside to make sure our students know that we are very proud of them and we appreciate all the efforts they have made so far and look forward to their successes.

I am very proud of all the things you have done and of each of your accomplishments in the work with our young Rams.

Attendance Review

Regular attendance is essential to providing students with opportunities to learn.

Check out the percent for attendance for the week of 4/1- 4/5:

  • 6th Grade - 97.35% - an increase of 1.98% from last week and takes the lead one more time!
  • 7th Grade - 95.96%
  • 8th Grade - 96.47% - an increase of 1.55% from the previous week

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.

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Thank You

  • Ms. Guerra, Ms. Woods, and Ms. Davis as we celebrate them this week for the phenomenal work they do. We know our success is a team effort and our APs do so much for our school to ensure our students are successful.
  • Ms. Stripling, Ms. Perez, Ms. Brown, Ms. Vasquez, Ms. Vargas, Mr. Patel, Mr. Martin, and Ms. Miller, for their dedication, commitment, and support as they attended Saturday School providing small group support as they addressed low TEKS and areas of improvement. Also, Ms. Davis and Mr. Ramirez who came out to support in various ways with building preparation. I know students were engaged and grateful for having your support. Also, our students enjoyed a treat, pizza!!! courtesy of Ms. Brown and Ms. Davis.
  • Shout out to Ms. Saucedo and Ms. Miranda for securing donations from Jimmy Johns to provide a token of appreciation to all of our staff. Also, Ms. Saucedo continue to work well with our volunteers and secured donations for breakfast items as they volunteered to begin getting our building ready for testing.
  • Coach Ford and Ms. Buitron for their leadership and dedication to our kids! They led our softball team in a great win against Cary MS. Our girls won 12-3! They played hard and add another win to their record.

Growth Mindset

We must lead by example and be willing to improve in our practice. Also, we must believe that our students can learn and will learn despite the various obstacles they face. We must provide the opportunities for our students to grow and shine!

FLS - Multicultural Learning

Under Ms. Martin's leadership and with the support of Ms. McGee, Ms. Garcia, and Dr. Bradford, our students had a great opportunity to learn more about various cultures as parents have come out to share about their own culture with presentations, food, and artifacts. Our students are learning tons!!!

High Expectations

Cheerleader Competition in Oklahoma City

Our students competed in the MCDA Cheer and Dance Championship this weekend. They were very nervous, but did a great job in their routine. They represented our school very well!!! Shout out to Ms. Turnbull and Ms. Gray for their coaching throughout the year. Also, kudos to Ms. Iberosi for her flexibility and dedication as she joined Ms. Gray in chaperoning our girls in this first overnight trip. Our girls did awesome!


Inspiring Relationships

Our district's goal number four is about supporting students and the participation in extracurricular or cocurricular activities; it is great to see our students participating in the various sports and activities. Our students continue to represent our school in a very positive way; we are very proud of their accomplishments!!!

Ms. Brown for her leadership and support with building climate and culture as she led preparations for the Pep Rally. As Ms. Brown says, "you all showed up and showed out!!" Mrs. Strong worked on putting 466 labels on the treat bags. Mr. Geiger, Mr. Martin, Ms. Winton, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Woods, Ms. Brown, and Ms. Davis for making donations towards the treat bags. Mr. Salazar and Mr. Proctor for doing the unloading and lifting of the various boxes. Shout out to Ms. Baker, Mr. Willis, Coach Clark, Coach Addison, Ms. Davis, Mr. Johnson and Ms. Brown for showing their dance moves, Officer Gamino for displaying his abilities in the console as DJ, Coach Addison for hyping up the kids with her energy,. Also, shout out to Ms. Rendon as she shared words of encouragement with our students (see video below). Finally, Mr. McCann, Mr. Alarcon, and Ms. Halowec for their support with the band performance... Our students sounded great!!
Thank you so much for all teachers and support staff who attended and added energy and high spirits to this event.
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8th Grade Field Trip

Mr. Proctor, Ms. Minter, Ms. Rendon, and Ms. Guerra sponsored and chaperoned a great experience for some of our 8th grade students. They attended the physics festival at Texas A&M. Shout out to Mrs. Proctor for supporting our students as well as she was one of our chaperones. Our students learned tons and had a lot of fun!

Baseball Team

Under Ms.Michael's leadership, our baseball team won 9-2 against Cary MS. They played hard and came out victorious. Shout out to Coach Addison, Ms. Minter, and Mr. Brown who came out to support our team!


  • As we begin our first round of testing, let’s make sure that test security is a priority. One of the most crucial components is to have test proctors to remain mobile and vigilant. This means that we must circulate the classroom throughout the entire testing time. By doing so, it will allow us to maintain a secure testing environment as well as keep our students focused.
  • As common assessment scores are available, have students profile (use link to access two samples of profile sheets to use) their assessment and conduct conferences with students so that they know what mistakes they made as they took the common assessment. Also, set goals so they know what they need to do to achieve and make significant progress. (TEI 1.2 and 1.5)
  • Aggressive Monitoring (see tracker and coding system if needed) should be done with at least the independent practice and DOL. Remember it is a check for understanding where all students receive feedback. You planned your pathway keeping in mind students level of achievement; then, you announce your laps, execute the pathway and provide feedback to students in the moment using the aggressive monitoring trackers and coding system. Every student receives written and verbal feedback. If you see an error or misconception clear it up immediately using the 3 Fs (feedback, fix it, follow up), show call, or modeling. (TEI 2.2)
  • As we continue to strengthen a great and solid testing environment to support the success of our Rusk Rams, use the active monitoring sheet for testing during your CDOL or any testing that may be longer than 45 minutes so that you can collect qualitative data to make instructional decisions and to have goal conversations with our students.

  • 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. (TEI 3.1)
  • 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.
  • Submit lesson plans by Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (TEI 4.2)


Monday, April 8

  • A - Day
  • Extended Observations and SPOTs continue
  • As we continue to ensure students receive the best instruction possible and to hold them accountable for their active learning in the classrooms, we will be checking for exemplars and aggressively monitoring in action! Ensure trackers have students listed, color-coded by band, and noting whether they are in bucket or out of bucket.
  • 4:45 - 5:45 p.m – Finalize getting testing room ready - 1st floor room teachers pair up with a teacher on 2nd floor to support with finalizing getting rooms ready.

Tuesday, April 9-

  • B-Day.
  • 8th Grade Math STAAR test
  • Algebra 5th CA
  • 7th Grade Writing STAAR test
  • After-school cancelled due to testing and providing you time to break early since during the day the break times are short - Thank you for your flexibility and support.

Wednesday, April 10

  • A-Day.
  • 8th Grade Reading STAAR
  • 7th Grade Math Pre-AP test – STAAR Test
  • 7th Grade Math 5th CA (STAAR released test)
  • After-school cancelled due to testing and providing you time to break early since during the day the break times are short - Thank you for your flexibility and support.

Thursday, April 11-

  • B-Day.
  • 8th Grade Science 5th CA (STAAR released test)
  • 7th Grade Reading 5th CA (STAAR released test)
  • After-school cancelled due to testing and providing you time to break early since during the day the break times are short - Thank you for your flexibility and support.
  • 6:00 - Lesson plans due.

Friday, April 12-

  • A-Day.
  • 7th Grade Science PreAP 5th CA (STAAR released test)
  • Eight of our students will participate in Special Olympic Area Track Meet at Love Joy High School in Lucas, TX.

Saturday, April 13 -

  • 4:30 Baseball Game at North Dallas HS Vs. Spence MS.
  • Eight of our students will participate in Special Olympic Area Track Meet at Love Joy High School in Lucas, TX.

Upcoming Events

April 27

  • Health Fair at Rusk - UT Southwestern.

April 29

  • Tentative (based on STAAR test results release) - Student Surveys

May 8

  • Algebra EOC test

May 13 -16

  • 6th - 7th Math STAAR and 8th grade Math retest
  • 6th - 7th Reading STAAR and 8th grade Reading retest
  • 8th Grade Science STAAR test
  • 8th Grade Social Studies STAAR test

May 30

  • Last day for teachers and TAs

June 10 - 20

  • Summer Readiness - Selected personnel has been notified. All other who applied will be notified if other opportunities come up.

June 10 - 26

  • SSI - Selected personnel has been notified. All other who applied will be notified if other opportunities come up.
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2019-2020 Approved Calendar

As you begin planning your summer vacation, use this link to access our 19-20 school calendar. As an ACE campus, we will begin on August 1, 2019.

Happy Birthday

We wish you a happy birthday!

  • Edwina Woods 4/2
  • Martin Brown 4/4
  • Barbara Perez 4/11
  • Shelly Kannada 4/22
  • Kiara Brunson 4/30