Ram Nation News

Week of May 14, 2018


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


Last week we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. While it was an intense week of preparation to our next milestone, STAAR testing, it was also a time to be recognized for the impact in the lives of our Rams. Each one of you is a HERO!!! What is your superpower?

As parents came in to volunteer, to participate in meetings, or to drop off gifts for you, I received many praises about our teachers. One in particular caught my attention,

  • A parent's praise about a teacher. She said it well about this particular teacher (who is so humble that asked me to not mention her name),
  • "We could never repay you or present you with a gift equivalent to the many things you are and do." "My daughter started naming out what you like and your favorite color. She really loves you!!!"...... "She had a choice of who to give a gift and you were the first name to come out of her mouth. I really appreciate you and all the times you sacrificed to come in to provide extra help and the encouragement you gave her. She used to come home asking me if she was dumb because she really had a hard time with the work; it was as if she was purposely doing bad on the work but she really didn't have a clue as to what she needed to do. You helped transform her and for that I thank you.

Stories like this one is what help us to keep going; "this is why we do what we do" (from the teacher who received this message). Thank you so much for continuing to shape dramatically the lives of our children by providing awesome and meaningful learning experiences. Thank you for helping reach and stretch the potential of each one of our Rams.

We know that this week is critical and will determine our success in regards to our state accountability. It is that time of the year when we will have an opportunity to show the District and the State what Thomas J. Rusk Middle School is all about. You have worked extremely hard to get our students not only prepared for the next grade level, but also to take the STAAR test. Our students are ready and confident that they will succeed; I know that they have worked hard and will do their very best during testing days. As we strive to be beacons of hope providing a life of opportunity to our students and our community,

  • Remind our students that you are proud of them
  • Be calm and actively monitor the testing environment
  • Smile and follow the testing protocol shared by our Testing Coordinator

Let's make sure that we stay focus on preparing our students for success. We need to get our students as ready as possible for the next grade level; therefore, in our classrooms where camps are taking place,

  • let's teach and hold students accountable for the learning
  • let's challenge students by exposing them to high level tasks, HOTS questioning, and engage them in habits of discussion.
  • let's be prepared by having materials and lesson plan ready, having questions available, making learning relevant, and knowing or anticipating students' misconceptions

Thank you

  • Ms. Woods, Ms. Hoskins, Ms. Galvan, Ms. Saucedo, Ms. Bickford, Mr. Harris, Mr. Carballo, Ms. Araujo, office helpers, and 6th grade cheerleaders for their hard work, dedication, and support during the 6th grade dancing with the stars. Our 6th graders had a good time and enjoyed their celebration.
  • Ms. Davis for her leadership and coordination of the testing meetings. She did an awesome job setting up the logistics of the testing environment. By doing so, we can ensure that our students get the best setting to be successful.

TEI Roster Verification (TRV) Completion

Congratulations to the following teachers for having completed their TRV.



The deadline for teachers to submit rosters is May 25 at 5:00 pm. Approvers have until June 9 to approve submitted rosters.

Big picture

AVID- Top 4 in ChatterHigh Competition

Under Ms. Baker's leadership, our AVID students are top 4 in the ChatterHighcompetition which supports students to talk about their future. Our students are able to engage in games and explore careers and higher education. They have gained points for researching and answering questions correctly; also, they are able to challenge themselves and other while they learn about colleges and higher education.

STEAM for Girls

Our girls continue to have opportunities to engage in hands-on activities/projects focusing in creative problem solving to combine science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Shout out to Ms. Carroll, Ms. Brunson, and Ms. Minter for supporting our girls in this program. It is exciting to see our students have fun as they learn!!!

Teacher Appreciation Week

We had a special week, many staff members contributed to ensure teachers and staff felt appreciated for the work and commitment to our students. Special THANKS to Ms. Saucedo, Ms. Galvan, and Ms. Miranda. Ms. Saucedo coordinated all parent volunteers and supported in your celebration. We hope you enjoyed all the food and treats prepared for you.


The End of the Year (EOY) Assessment window for I-Station opened on May 1, 2018. Given that this is the final I-Station assessment for our students this year, please talk with them beforehand and make sure that they understand that they should take this assessment seriously. Please consider changing the seat arrangements of students, if necessary. Also, students need to be monitored closely while testing to make sure that they are following testing protocols and giving their best effort.


May 14

  • 6th, 7th, and 8th Retesters - STAAR Math
  • 8th grade Science and Social Studies Camp for students who have passed math.
  • 7th grade math PreAP students will engage in science and reading activities - Ms. Vargas

May 15

  • 6th, 7th, and 8th Retesters - STAAR Reading
  • 8th grade Science and Social Studies Camp for students who have passed reading.

May 16

  • 8th Grade STAAR Science
  • 6th Grade Social Studies Camp

May 17

  • 8th Grade STAAR Social Studies
  • 7th Grade Field Day - Ms. Perez
  • 6th Grade Field Trip to the Environmental Center 1/2 of the students - Ms. Cooray's science students.
  • 6th Grade Science Camp in preparation for ACPs. Teachers will plan for this camp.

May 18

  • 6th Grade Field Trip to the Environmental Center 1/2 of the students - Ms. Minter's science students.
  • 6th Grade Science Camp in preparation for ACPs. Teachers will plan for this camp.
  • 8th Grade UNT College Visit

Saturday, May 19

  • 9:00 - 12:00 Dallas ISD Large Scale Job Fair - Leadership team and selected members.

Upcoming Events

Based on feedback received, I am sharing as many dates/events for the month of May as possible to ensure appropriate planning is taking place.

Monday, May 21st

  • Career Day (Shelby/Calderon)
  • Student Voices: Gun Violence and School Safety
  • 7th Grade Science PreAP field trip to Perot Museum - Ms. Rendon

Tuesday, May 22nd
  • 8th Grade Field Day
  • 6th Grade Science field trip to Perot Museum - Ms. Cooray
  • 5:30 - 6:15 p.m. Spring Band Concert - Mr. McCann and Mr. Alarcon

Wednesday, May 23rd
  • 8th Grade Downtown Dallas

Thursday, May 24th
  • 8th Grade SMU

Friday, May 25th

  • ACP testing begins
  • 7:00 - 10:00 p.m 8th grade EOY Dance

Thursday, May 31st

  • 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 8th Grade Awards Ceremony

Friday, June 1

  • 2:00 p.m. EOY Luncheon at Pappadeoux

Monday, June 4th

  • Grades due at the end of the day
  • Summer Dress Code begins through September 28. See this memo for more details.

Tuesday, June 5
  • Teacher work day
  • 4:30 p.m. Happy Summer Break!!!!

June 7 - June 8

  • AVID Pathway training - This is a training for everyone who has not been trained by AVID certified trainers. There are two options, option one: you can get paid for both days; option two: you can get paid for one day and get credit for 7 hours toward your required 21 hours.

June 11 - June 21

  • Summer Readiness Summer School

June 11 - June 27

  • SSI Summer School

June 19 - June 22

  • Responsive Classroom Training - Team of 8 staff members. The Responsive Classroom Course for Middle School Educators is designed to empower educators to create a middle school experience that’s responsive to the developmental strengths and needs of young adolescents, while helping students develop the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to be successful in and out of school.

2017-2018 Calendar Modification

Please, access the link below to learn about your last formal day of work for the 2017-2018 school year.

See Ms. Miranda if you have any questions.