Ram Nation News

Distance Learning Week 4


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

Happy Birthday!!!

We wish you a great day!
  • Jesse Bales 4/3
  • Martin Brown 4/4
  • Juan Salazar 4/5
  • Barbara Perez 4/11
  • Joseph Childress 4/11
  • Bailey Mason 4/14
  • Shelly Kannada 4/22
  • Shatavia Reeves 4/24
  • Kiara Brunson 4/30

Staff Message April 13, 2020

Rusk MS - Staff Message 4/13/20.

Food and Materials Distribution

We are very proud of our team!!!Once again, our fearless staff Ms. Guerra, Ms. Ford, Ms. Scott, Mr. Ramirez, Ms. Beck and the cafeteria staff, Ms. Martin (Mr. Tim Martin's wife), Officer Gamino, and visiting custodians from our elementary campuses came together on Thrusday to support our community during these times of difficulty. During these times, we served a total of 937 students with 14,055 meals. We continue to hear nothing but words of appreciation from our community!

Also, Ms. Shannan Martin and Ms. McGee came out to support our FLS students to provide with learning packets; we had all of students picking up materials to continue meaningful learning from home.

Upcoming Food Opportunities to Share with Parents

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Distance Learning Plan of Action

Monday - Friday - April 13 thru April 17

Teachers and Staff:

  • The 5th Six-Weeks grading cycle ended on April 9th. There was an extension on inputting grades; therefore, Gradebooks will be locked on April 19th.
  • As a reminder ,CA5 grade will be assigned in the form of a project or from an average of student work/quizzes/test/projects from the entire 6 weeks. If students have not completed any work during our virtual learning, use average of grades before March 13, 2020. If not grades before March 13, leave blank.
  • Teacher and staff will clock in at 9:00 a.m. by completing the Clock-In Form
  • Teachers will be accessible online through the instructional day (9:00 a.m. -12:00 noon &1:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m.). Each teacher will have an online designated platform for courses, which can be found on our school Master Directory directly.
  • Teachers will meet with their classes based on the schedule below and keeping our calendar of A/B days for electives. However, based on feedback from parents, and what we noticed with students, there are some students who need more structure and need a schedule. Therefore, share the schedule below with students so that they know what subject/Google Classroom to access throughout the day. These should be recorded and saved for flexible student access. Also, use the daily schedule to support those who need even more support keeping a schedule to keep up with tasks and assignments.
  • Students needing assistance will be reaching out the teacher directly via email, the classroom platform, or phone.
  • Review work completed and submitted by students, provide feedback, and assign grades. Two grades/week will need to be recorded in the Powerschool Gradebook. While teachers may maintain a separate student gradebook as a part of Google Classroom activities, they are required to enter grades into PowerSchool through PowerTeacher Pro.
  • SPED Inclusion teachers will follow existing schedule of classes, assist teachers, and provide support to students according to their IEP. Please note that the courses are only 45-60 minutes, so please divide the time appropriately.
  • SPED Inclusion and FLS teachers will work on completing the IEP Amendments for students whose IEP cannot be implemented as drafted in the ARD documentation.


  • Follow up with students who have academic plans to ensure they are on track with online and material access to ensure they are successful with work completion and passing grades.
  • They will provide follow up for those students reported by teachers who have not engaged with the our virtual setting. They will use the 5.6 Attendance Sheet filled out last week as a reference to help contact students. They will collaborate with Ms. Alanis, Ms. Strong, and Mr. Sanders to help contact parents/students.
  • Follow up with students who were receiving psychological as well as Youth and Family Services to provide support and guidance.
  • Counselors will work on completing the 504 Amendments for students whose 504 plan cannot be implemented as drafted in the 504 documentation.
  • Counseling Services is requesting for Dallas ISD counselors to document their work by filling this link.


  • Coordinate and support food distribution - Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Respond to parent and student questions and concerns via email.
  • Meet with Mr. Kastl as admin team to discuss virtual learning, academic tasks, and student work.
  • Conduct virtual PLC meetings with content teams. Deliverables: Update Syllabi and Instructional Planning Calendars for @HomeLearning.
  • Admin virtual meeting to review the week and plan next steps based on survey results, parent, student and teacher input.
  • Check calendar invites.
  • Monitor PowerSchool grades weekly and provide support as needed.
  • Participate in ARDs and 504 meetings. Use the Final ARD Script for Administrator Facilitating the Meeting
  • Begin virtual interviews for current vacancies.
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Parent and Student Communication

Communication is key to ensure our students feel supported and are successful. Therefore, we will formally document these phone calls in our Teacher-Parent Contact log.

  • Teachers will call all of their "Advisory" students at least once a week. Use the Check-In Script provided by our counselors. I understand that we may reach out in different ways such as, ClassDojo, Remind, e-mail, or text; however, hearing a friendly voice means a lot especially when faced in times of social distancing. This will allow students the opportunity to stay connected with the school and for the teacher to help students solve issues or concerns.
  • Our website is updated with information about At Home Learning.
  • Please adhere to technology etiquette and policy guidelines. Teachers should not be directly communicating with students or parents after 9:00 pm and before 7:00 am. We understand if you are providing feedback and do not need student responses, but we cannot expect students to respond, nor should texts and Remind 101 messages be sent after 9:00 pm or before 7:00 am.

Use this School Student Directory to have access to more students' contact information. It is listed by grade level at the bottom of the screen. You can search within each sheet the student's information you need to access.

Below, there are flyers with Emergency Information for the community and information for our families considered Homeless (extended stays fall under this category and we have about 50-60 students who fall under this category).

SEL Lessons for Students - April 14 - April 17

Refer to e-mail sent by Ms. Calderon:

In order to make lessons more interactive, this week we will implement a Nearpod lesson. Ms. Calderon uploaded it to our school library. The lesson is titled Rusk SEL 4/14- 4/17, Let's Breathe. Below you will find step by step instructions on how to place this lesson in your google classroom.

After signing in to Nearpod

New Accounts have been created for teachers that did not have an existing account. User

Name: Teacher District email address (i.e. jcordoba@dallasisd.org - you will be surprised)

Password: RuskRams1

  1. Click on School Library (on the left side bar)
  2. Find the lesson and click Add to my library
  3. Go to my Library
  4. Hover over the lesson and click Student Paced
  5. In the pop up, select add to google classroom

SEL Schedule for this Week

DayLesson/Content Area

Tuesday - Reading

Wednesday - Science

Thursday - Social Studies

Friday - Math

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Grading Procedures

Cycle 6 (6th Six Weeks): April 14, 2020 = May 27, 2020

  • Teachers will enter 1 grade a week per course
  • All grading categories will be weighted the same.
  • Students who are missing assignments will not be given a zero. - The grade for the assignment will be blank. - The missing grade(s) will not be calculated in the final grade for the cycle.
  • Students without grades for cycle 6, will not receive a zero for the final grade. A blank grade will be entered.
  • Final grades will be available to parents/guardians and students on May 27th (ES) and June 10th (MS/HS) via Parent Portal. Parents/guardians may also request the report card be emailed. Parent/guardian identity confirmation over the phone will be required.

See document below to access more information on Grading and how to Resolve Missing Final Blank Grades

Attendance Procedures

  • Teachers are required to enter and submit student attendance every Tuesday and Friday.
  • Attendance will NOT be submitted on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. CRCs and Registrars do NOT submit attendance on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
  • Teachers have until 4:30 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays to enter and submit student attendance.
  • Unexcused absences during District Closure and implementation of at-home learning will NOT count against a school’s attendance percentage.
  • Student attendance corrections due to teacher error must be submitted via email to the school CRC/Registrar and principal (or designee) within 5 school days. See attachment below for attendance correction requirements:


  • Attendance is taken only for the teacher’s “ADA” course (meets at 11:00 am.)

o On Tuesdays

o On Friday

All Teachers are required to confirm participation in at-home learning for each student.

  • Confirmation of participation at-home learning will be used to enter student attendance as “present”.
  • Confirmation of participation in at-home learning can be determined using electronic login by student (Google Classroom, Zoom, Teams, or other learning applications or platforms)
  • Confirmation of participation can be used for any of the three days prior to official attendance accounting on Tuesday and Friday.

Unexcused Absences: Students are only marked as having an Unexcused Absence if the teacher has attempted multiple times to contact parents/students and received no response at all. Confirmation of participation should begin well before the Tuesday/Friday deadline. Teachers should be encouraged to keep a log of participation so that on Tuesday and Friday, they have very few students/parents to reach out to.

Use link below to access an example for secondary campuses.

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Attendance - Work Completion Tracker

We are going to use this Attendance and Work Completed Tracker each week.

Teachers will still have until 4:30 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays to enter and submit student attendance for their 2nd period students.

This will allow for better alignment and communication as grade levels to ensure that our students are logging into each class and completing work. This will also allow our counselors and CIS to continue to contact students who neither are completing work nor have reported online.

Here is the key to for what you will enter for all of your students throughout the week.

0 - No Communication (have not talked to at all)

1 - Talked to- No internet

2 - Online/No WORK

3 - Online and Work Submitted

You will also enter the best working number you have for the students in your 2nd period.(if someone is blank and you have a working number please enter it)

Teacher Remote Lesson Design and Online Delivery

Click link to access site. While there is information on using PowerSchool Learning, as a campus, we have agreed to use Google Classroom to ensure consistency for our students

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Webinar schedule outlining dates and times for professional learning. We will have some of our administrative team members attend to support in implementation, but you are welcome to log in and participate for your own learning.

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Instructional Resources

All in Learning (AIL)

AIL has some features that allow students to complete assessments and lessons remotely. Ms. Guerra created a How-To guide with screenshots on how to create the assessments, push them out virtually to students, and how to upload PPTs with embedded questions for students to answer as CFUs. These resources are self grading and she also created a one-pager you can post on your Google Classroom showing students how to access those assessments online and complete them (it include screenshots as well).

Teacher Guide To Make Online Assessments Via AIL

Student One-Pager for AIL Online

Google Forms to create Quizzes

These quizzes are self grading and can be used in conjunction with your lessons or as assessments at the end of the week. See below a Youtube Tutorial to show you how to create one for our students.

Here are some sample google quizzes by grade level. They are aligned and ready for use!

  • Make sure you make a copy and edit for YOUR team and classes

6th Grade Samples

7th Grade Samples

8th Grade Samples

Algebra 1 Samples

Here’s a 6th grade math example of how to use Quizzes more instructionally

Create an Assessment in Google Forms

SIRIUS e-books

Sirius is a STAAR test prep company that has made their workbooks, both teacher and student editions, available online. For FREE. They have online workbooks for all state – tested subjects.

Follow this link for directions (they’re kind of picky) and registration links.


  • For teacher editions - Teachers need to register (with their DISD email) for the books they need. There is a 2 – 3 day lag; however, I have already sent an e-mail with all STAAR tested teacher names so that the company may verify all teacher accounts.
  • For student editions - See document below to access codes. There is a link for the regular book and a Zingers component, this is a resource that addresses the most commonly asked questions that have had the lowest performance and giving our students difficulties.


Working with Ms. Lewis, we are able to provide this resource to all of you; we appreciate her leadership and support. Ms. Perez has set up your accounts.

Here are links to valuable teacher resources.

Posting Nearpod to Google


Resources: OnDemand Videos, Instructional Videos, Webinar links


Teachers with already existing accounts were sent an invention to join Rusk Middle School account for the upgrade.

New Accounts have been created for teachers that did not have an existing account. User Name: Teacher District email address (i.e. jcordoba@dallasisd.org - you will be surprised)

Password: RuskRams1

Imagine Math

Imagine Math (formerly Think Through Math) builds problem-solving skills and conceptual understanding with support from an online, live, certified, bilingual teacher as well as:

  • Personalized learning driven by the Quantile® Framework
  • First language support for English learners
  • Scaffolded instruction for all learners
  • On-demand instruction by live, certified, math teachers
  • Motivational system that develops confident thinkers
  • Development of college- and career-readiness skills

Imagine Math is another resource to use with our students. It is available on Clever.

Imagine Math has added our Math teachers in the system.

Teachers can…

  • go to Clever
  • Click on Imagine Math
  • Click on Content
  • Then Learning Pathways

Middle school grade levels start on page 2. You can assign pathways to students as you desire

DonJohnston Learning Tools

  • Snap and Read - LIVE Tutorial on Monday, April 6, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. to support our students in using this tool that will assist students and teachers with Read Aloud, Overlays, Translation, Content and Language Support, and Writing. This tool can be used in any content.


Reading assistant with text leveling, study tools, and translation.|

Help students understand everything they read today. Available as a Google Chrome Extension.


Word prediction, speech recognition, and language support.|

Kickstarting the writer inside. Available as a Google Chrome Extension.


Automated Quiz Creator for Google Forms.|

Your onramp to Google Forms.

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  • Mixed Media platform that can be used to put a lot of links in one place (without anyone knowing)

  • Guide Students Frame by Frame, Step by Step

  • Here’s a sample 6th grade lesson

More Resources...

Science Spot - Interactive lesson for all Science

Phet Science Simulations - All level science interactive lab simulations

6th-8th success stations for science - Full lessons and activities

School Yourself - great resource for Algebra 1 and up. It’s totally free and well organized!

Delta Math - looks excellent for all grade levels. Lots of timed mental math activities and specific skills to practice.

Five interactive SS websites - Social Studies interactive sites and activities

Kahoot it - Provides engaging game-style learning using multiple choice practice

Special Populations: Guidelines during School Closure

These are the guidelines for teachers serving students receiving Advanced Academics, Bilingual/ESL, Section 504/Dyslexia, and Special Education services as each of these groups has compliance requirements that remain in place during this time.

These are the guidelines for our teachers that serve students receiving Advanced Academics, Bilingual/ESL, Section 504/Dyslexia, and Special Education services as each of these groups has compliance requirements that remain in place during the district closure. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional information as it becomes available.

Important to note, all ARD and Section 504 committee meetings will be conducted virtually through Microsoft Teams. Principals in collaboration with Special Education Case Managers will coordinate these meetings where applicable.

Procedures for Recording a Virtual ARD during COVID-19 School Closures

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Teacher Report & Input -ARD Meetings / IEP Development

In order to provide our students with the best possible IEP plan, your input and report is very important. Use this link to access the teacher report so that our inclusion teachers can plan and prepare for ARD meetings and develop IEPs.

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Counseling Corner

Request for Counseling Services

  • Request for Counseling Services
  • Request for Counseling Services (Spanish) This form is for current Dallas Independent School District students, parents/guardians, or staff who would like to request counseling services for a student from a professional school counselor. Once completed, a member of the counseling team associated with the identified school will contact you regarding your concerns.

One-on-One Counseling Support through Bookings

Through Outlook our counselors have the capability to use Bookings which allows them to chat with students virtually similar to Skype. Students and parents can visit our counselors' booking page whenever they want, book the time and service they need, get a confirmation email and calendar invitation, and reschedule or cancel if they must.

Students may schedule an appointment with our counselors using the Rusk Counseling Booking Link.

Social-Emotional Learning

  • Mindfulness and Emotions: To help find a sense of calm and focus on the present, we encourage both adults and students to practice mindfulness and regulate our emotions. Each of us can build our skills by pausing to breathe deeply, focusing on the present, and allowing emotions to come and go rather than being swept up in one particular train of thought or heightened emotion.
  • Remember to visit Dallas ISD's At-Home Learning for SEL resources for students (available in both English and Spanish). If you feel students need support from our counselors, please refer them to one of our counseling queens team members.

Accountability Updates

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District Extended Emergency Leave

During an Extended Emergency Leave, some employees (this applies to all of us) may be required to perform limited duties remotely/work from home to maintain key functions of the District (i.e.: activities such as instruction, lesson development, curriculum development, staff supports and business office functions). An employee must be available during normal work hours.

If an employee is unwilling or unable to fulfill their assigned duties on a given day or are not available due to a trip, vacation, surgery etc. they should utilize PTO.

Confidentiality of Health Related Information

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Open Transfer Period (MUST read if planning to transfer)

The Open Transfer application for regular schools will be available starting March 6, 2020. Eligible employees must apply via the open transfer application online at https://www.dallasisd.org/careers within the time frame established. Principals will have an opportunity to submit open transfer recommendations no later than April 10, 2020 for regular schools. If you are seeking a transfer to a High Priority Campus listed here, then you can still participate of the Open Transfer Window until May 8, 2020. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notification will be completed by April 24, 2020.

If you know that you are planning to transfer or leaving the district, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can plan accordingly. As we are working on having a solid and effective team, transfers will not be approved after the April 10 deadline for regular schools or May 8 for HPC. In previous years, I have tried to be flexible and supportive allowing staff members to transfer; however, we have found ourselves in a bind trying to fill vacancies for transfers approved after the deadline. Therefore, while I want to keep as many of you as possible, I know that life happens and some of you will be transferring. Please, plan accordingly and let me know of your next steps.

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CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Prevention

Site is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Click on the button and it will take you to the website.