Redbird Roundup, Vol. 1

Friday, August 16, 2019

Our Mission and Vision

Norris Middle School prepares all students for their future by providing a safe, caring, and diverse school environment that maintains high expectations, academic excellence, and respect for all. Success, achievement, respect…It’s a Redbird thing!

La Escuela Secundaria Norris prepara a todos los estudiantes para su futuro ofreciendo un entorno escolar seguro, atento y diverso que mantiene altas expectativas, excelencia académica y respeto para todos. Éxito, logro, respeto…Es una cosa de los Redbirds!

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!

Welcome to the first edition of the Redbird Roundup for the 19-20 school year. This is my weekly newsletter to staff that highlights our staff, important events, powerful practices, Norris activities, and a few deep thoughts. I have also added a "Wellness Word to the Wise" section to increase our focus on personal wellness. I hope you enjoy it!

This last week feels like a blur! There is so much excitement and activity around the start of school. We had some great opening days with staff, wonderful teambuilding and focus on our instructional practices.

We welcomed nearly 800 6th and 7th graders on Wednesday, and 1,200 total students on Thursday. This is a dramatic increase from our 1,150 students last year. Norris is the place to be. Thank you for welcoming them with a smile on your face.

There is not much on the calendar for next week with the exception of school pictures, expectations assemblies for 8th graders, and the start of sports. This is intentional, we want people to have time to get into their routines and get some rest.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Carr

August 19-23

Monday, August 19: MTSS-B Vision Team Meeting after school; Pictures during PE time; Volleyball begins; Football impact testing

Tuesday, August 20: Pictures during PE time; Football and Cross Country begin

Wednesday, August 21: 8th Grade Expectations Assemblies during PE time

Thursday, August 22: 8th Grade Expectations Assemblies during PE time

Friday, August 23: Nothing scheduled

Up Next Week in the Redbird Roundup

I do three staff introductions each week. You'll be getting an email from me with questions. Even if you have done it before, please participate and do it again! Please respond and include a picture by Thursday! I will do the first week.

Up next: Elizabeth Busboom, Kat Duvall, and Connor Martin.

Staff Introductions

Carrie Carr

Name: Carrie Carr

How many years have you been teaching/in education? Starting year 15 (5 as a Spanish teacher at Burke, 3 as a dean at Burke, 4 as an AP at Bryan Middle, and starting year 3 here!)

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? I love our kids. And I love all the good there is in this place every single day.

How would your friends describe you? Organized, a planner, kind, sarcastic, funny, driven

What website/app do you use most often? Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Zillow (#househunting)

What is something we would never guess about you? I am the shortest person in my family.

What is the funniest thing you have ever seen a kid do? Anything that Gabriel from Novakoski and Parker's class does

What is the best thing that happened to you this week? I have gotten to see all our staff as they return to school!

What is the worst food you ever ate? I hate to admit it, but I hate seafood. So anything in that realm.

Would you rather go 30 days without your phone or an entire lifetime without dessert? Bye phone....

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? Anything on Bravo, especially the Real Housewives

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home? Shenyang, China-I spent a summer teaching English to teachers.

What would you sing at karaoke night? Shoop :)

Is a hot dog a sandwich? Why or why not? Per the dictionary, a sandwich is an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal. So yes.

Wellness Word to the Wise

When you're feeling tired, get moving! Is your energy lagging? Though it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're tired, exercise -- even a brisk walk -- can be more effective than a nap or cup of coffee at fighting fatigue. Our Wellness Walkabouts are a new practice to support this, and even though they are scheduled with your team, you can always venture out on your own!

Powerful Practices

Getting to Know You!

Our opening meetings featured a few different get to know you activities, including Quizlet and Speed Dating. Both would be super easy to do with your students the first few days!


Mrs. Newman and the VILS Crew put on an amazing UnConference for our beginning of year training. So many staff members jumped up and shared their knowledge. It is incredibly powerful to learn from each other! Our building focus in VILS this year is blended learning. Think about ways you can provide differentiation through blended learning by adjusting the time and task for an activity, while providing your students voice and choice in what they do. Awesome VILS start!

Meet Egon!

We are pleased to welcome Egon, our new therapy dog, to Norris. Egon is a silver lab and belongs to Mr. Dickel. There are an incredible amount of benefits to having a therapy dog, both physical and mental. We are excited to offer this new support for our students and staff.

Safety First

Our School Safety Team, led by Mr. Schnabel, met for the first time on Tuesday. This group, composed of administrators, school security, teachers, counselors, social worker, school psych., our nurse, and other staff will help to identify any safety vulnerabilities in our school and bridge the communication on our safety plan between all stakeholders. They will meet quarterly.

Giving Students Ownership

Mrs. Rossell has a couple of friends in her classroom, a snake and two guinea pigs. She is going to enlist the help of her Redbird Block students to care for her class pets. She also has posted some interesting facts about them so students can understand them more. Great way to give them ownership and get them involved.

Opening Activities

I saw tons of awesome opening activities in classes. Kahoot, sharing about yourself by color of Starburst, introducing others....awesome ways for kids to get to know each other and build community in your classes!

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard


Our Orientation was held August 5 and 6, and it was PACKED! So many of our families attended to help get their students ready for school. Thank you to all who helped make this event possible. A special thank you to Mrs. Zermeño who organized the free haircuts for our students.


It was wonderful to see so many staff come out on August 3 to #KeepNorrisBeautiful. I think we have created an annual event. Our building is looking beautiful, thank you to our wonderful custodians and all of you!

Staff Picnic

Our staff picnic was a rocking good time! We held it a little earlier this year to help give people more time to get things ready for school. It featured some great food, and the 2nd Annual Norris Corn Hole Tournament (won by Goltl/Goltl with runners up being Ryan/Ryan). Thanks to everyone for attending.

Norris Parent Group

We are excited to see our Norris Parent Group take shape. Bridgette Hinsley, mother of Jocelyn Hinsley (and also Ali Parks :)) is taking on this group. She collected over 75 names at Orientation and is excited to bridge communication between our school and parents. She treated us to some goodies on the first day of school!

Another Year with RASA

We are excited for another year partnering with RASA. Thank you for the awesome pens in our mailboxes! At our next Faculty Workshop we will hear from another group, Partnership for Kids, and their involvement with our students. We are glad to host so many groups that serve our kids.

Final Thought

I have started reading "The Culture Code" and am looking to use it as a book study with the NLT. The whole book focuses on the qualities of highly successful groups and it revolves around 3 skills: Building safety, sharing vulnerability, and establishing purpose. The author observes several groups at work, including a class of kindergartners. The author describes the kindergarten class as appearing chaotic, but then goes on to say, "But when you view them as a single entity, their behavior is efficient and effective. They are not competing for status. They stand shoulder to shoulder and work energetically together. They move quickly, spotting problems and offering help. They experiment, take risks, and notice outcomes, which guides them towards effective solutions." Whatever your group is, your team, your content, your coaching staff etc., let us work together to emulate this. Let's build up our teams so we can work together for a common purpose.