Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas!



New Kindergarten Teacher - Has many of you probably know, Mrs. Debbie Cox will be returning to Scott Elementary as our new Kindergarten teacher. We are very thrilled to welcome her back! Her first official day will be Tuesday, January 21st after the start of the new semester. Please be sure to help her feel welcomed and help her out as needed... starting work in the middle of the school year is challenge, but we'll be here to support her.

Class Parties - Friday morning, we will have classroom parties at various times during in the morning. Parents are encouraged to take their child home at the end of the party after 10:00am. Parents will be given bracelets as they enter the building through the front office.

Early Release on Friday - just a reminder, we will have an Early Release for all our students on Friday @ 12:30pm. All staff members are encouraged to leave school as soon as you have everything ready to go. Be sure you unplug everything in your pods...computers, pencil sharpeners, refrigerators, microwaves, etc. Also store all electronics (walkies, remotes, Mimios) so they don't "walk away" during the break. Please clean up your classrooms, work rooms, common areas, and empty the staff refrigerator.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Break and enjoy the time family and friends!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh, the Joys of Christmas Sweaters!


Let’s have fun next Tuesday, December 17th and wear our Tacky or Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

Every staff member who participates earns a free jean day in January! So, stop by Mrs. Edwards' desk and sign the participation sheet next Tuesday....The winner will receive a Sonic Gift Card and braggin' rights!




Congrats to December's Teacher of the Month!

Congratulations to our Teacher of the Month

Sheena Northcutt, 2nd Grade


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bad Weather Update

As you know, there is a strong possibility of bad weather coming to our area on Friday morning AND a strong possibility of missing school on Friday. Some teachers in the district are planning on taking their "Friday Tests" on Thursday because of the weather (actually, that's a great idea).

Please keep your snowball express handy for Friday morning. I know Jo Nell Mellody sent out and email earlier today stating "no need for Snowball Express" --- BUT I believe over communication is better in this case. I would hate to have a staff member driving to school Friday morning if school is cancelled.

So here's the procedures we are going to follow IF we are canceling school....

  1. I will receive a call, text, or message from the Superintendent's office to cancel school.
  2. I will start the Snowball Express for our campus --- please call you people!
  3. I will also Txt Message all staff members about the School Closing (via Remind 101).
  4. I will also post something to the school website about the School Closing and share via our campus social media.

I encourage you to also let your parents know school is cancelled (if possible). If you have a quick and easy way of contacting your parents through an email, text message (like Remind 101), or social media...please use these tools.

Thank you guys...you are an amazing group of educators! Please stay tuned for some great 12 Days of Christmas Goodness!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Snowball Express 2013-2014

Teachers,

Can you believe the news reporters are expecting some bad weather for later this week?!? Craziness!! 


Martha emailed our Snowball List out to the staff either AND I have posted it here also (you need your Google Login to view it). I have also posted a link to the Snowball List under the "Favorite Links" on the blog. Please keep a copy with you at home.

Please remember each person should call their people immediately. If the first person you call does not answer, leave a message and call the next person on the list. We will also have school closing information posted to the district website and social media sites once the call is made by the superintendent's office.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December's Teacher of the Month

wtfm.com
Cast your vote for a NEW Teacher of the Month. The Teacher of the Month is a monthly award that recognizes a teacher who exemplifies excellence in education. The Teacher of the Month will be given a parking space in the staff parking lot for that month and a special treat.
Please select ONE teacher who exemplifies our district's vision of Empowering Students & Shaping the Future.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Community School Transformation Alliance (#CSTA)



Today, I had a great day of sharing with other district leaders about what we are doing here in Royse City ISD. From tweets below, you can see we were sharing about our district's Strategic Plan, the common intervention schedule, Think Tanks, the PLC process, and being Connected Educators. We even had two of our 4th grade students speak at this event (Thank you, Cassie Padgett, Dr. Bright, and 4th grade team).

Even though we are not masters of all these things yet... we are doing great things in our district and on our campus. We are all learners in this process together -- and we will continue to make improvements throughout the school year.

Thank you so much everyone for your positive attitudes, your hard work, and doing your part in this experience. All of us working together, supporting each other, and building each other up is the reason why we are so successful.


Take a look of some of the wonderful learning and sharing we did today...







Reminders Before Thanksgiving Break

Here are a few reminders before our wonderful Thanksgiving Break:

Please secure electronic devices that are assigned to you... Mimios, iPads, Document Cameras, Laptops, etc. The temptation of an iPad or laptop that is unsecured and unwatched could result in the campus having to purchase another device. It is also import to make sure the technology department has an accurate listing of who the device is assigned to. If a device does come up missing, Theo has the ability to track the device (through a computer program that all of the district’s devices has installed) and track the device through the IP address or web provider. It is also important that Theo knows who is assigned the device so that he can make sure we give the police department accurate information (serial number, etc) that could help in recovery and tracking.

Be sure to unplug everything in your classrooms, workrooms, computer labs, etc. I know Mr. Sherman will be sending out a reminder email tomorrow about some of the details he will be looking for during the Thanksgiving Break... and yes... he will probably be up here during the break and give me a written report of the campus. All staff members, please check with your team leaders before leaving for the break to ensure all electronics have been unplugged.

Everyone have a wonderful AND restful break! You all deserve it!!


No Intervention for Monday, Dec 2nd

Several of our staff members will be off campus on Monday, December 2nd for training at the administration building.

Therefore, we are canceling intervention for Monday and will reschedule it for Friday. So instead of Intervention on MTWTH and not Friday...we will have invention on TWTHF and not Monday the week after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Congratulations Lisa Pogue

(This is a very late recognition of one of our teachers...so please forgive me.)

I would like to take opportunity to congratulate Lisa Pogue (@poguel). Last week at the district board meeting, she was recognized for her ability to take Google Drive to the next level...with her students. 

After we were all trained using Google Drive, Lisa began asking for Google accounts for her students. She wanted the students using this technology to collaborate on school assignments and projects. Zach Snow (@zachsnow) presented Lisa with our district's "21st Century Teacher Award" last week for getting the students engaged.

Afterwards, her students had the opportunity to share with the school board what they where learning and how this tool help them in the classroom.

Congratulations Lisa!


Monday, November 11, 2013

You are Enough

Here are the notes we took during our Staff Meeting today.




Do you know what it takes to make a different in this world?
You are Enough! YOU MATTER.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November's Teacher of the Month

Congratulations to our Teacher of the Month

Michelle Richie, 1st Grade


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Staff Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder we will have our monthly staff meeting next Monday, November 11th @ 3:30pm.

Mr. Jeff Webb will be here to share with us some new information regarding changes to our salary schedules. All staff will need to be present during this meeting because it affects everyone.

Also, we will be doing an activity about "Changing Education Paradigms". To prepare for this meeting, you will need to watch this video by @SirKenRobinson.



This video will probably spark some interesting conversations so be prepared to discuss this video after Mr. Webb presentation next week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November's Teacher of the Month

wtfm.com
Cast your vote for a NEW Teacher of the Month. The Teacher of the Month is a monthly award that recognizes a teacher who exemplifies excellence in education. The Teacher of the Month will be given a parking space in the staff parking lot for that month and a special treat.
Please select ONE teacher who exemplifies our district's vision of Empowering Students & Shaping the Future.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy Halloween

This was suppose to go out last week...so Happy Belated Halloween from the office staff!
(If you are having trouble viewing this video, try viewing it on your computer NOT your phone)


Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Staff Survey

Our district is looking for some feedback our programs at the district and campus levels. We are using a company called HUMANeX Ventures to help us get from feedback from our district employees. This is a third-party company NOT a district administrator, campus principal, or superintendent. The survey responses are reported directly to HUMANeX Ventures. 

Please be open and honest with your responses. I hope you guys understand we value your input and feedback. Your responses will help guide our district and campus improvement process.

The survey is available now and will be closed on Friday, November 1st.

To access the survey, you will need to click on the link below. 
 
 
Thank you again for your efforts, interest, and candid insight, so we can continue our journey of continuous improvement and targeted efforts to help us realize our collective potential. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#rcisdchat

Tomorrow evening, Mr. Snow will be hosting our first twitter chat. You can see the tweet below and click on the link for more details.
I want to encourage everyone to visit the chat tomorrow. If you don't have a twitter account, you can sign up for free.

Also, you can go to the Twitter Search Page and type in #rcisdchat. This will give you all the tweets about this topic. I have included a link for this search already here.

Here is a post I created on being a Connected Educator.

Monday, October 14, 2013

#Hashtags with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake

You Matter by @AngelaMaiers

Here is the video we talked about today...

Here's a twitter conversation I had with her today...



Be sure to check out her website and other resources.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Revised Mathematics TEKS

Here is a folder for all our Revised Mathematics TEKS for each grade level.

Google Drive Training

Tomorrow, Zach Snow will be here to train us on Google Drive goodness! He will be meeting with teachers during their conference times...see the schedule here.



Also, we have some new tools (or toys) in our library for teacher check out ... Google Chromebooks. There are only two devices on campus for you to check out and "play" with. I want your feedback about these devices, so please take them home and use them. Get online, write some lesson plans, enter some grades, look at student testing data, check AR, look at pinterest, check teacher-pay-teachers, get on Facebook, watch Netflix, etc. Do all the activities you normally do with any other device. 

Please tell me what you think. What works for you? What is easy? What's difficult?

If you're interested, be sure to stop by the library to check out the devices. You will to use your Google Account to login on this device. If you can't remember your username and password, be sure to see the a previous blog post.

Teacher of the Month

wtfm.com
We have a lot of hard working individuals on this campus who truly deserves an award everyday. So let's acknowledge each other's excellent work and dedication to education by honoring them through Teacher of the Month.

The Teacher of the Month is a monthly award that recognizes a teacher who exemplifies excellence in education. The Teacher of the Month will be given a parking space in the staff parking lot for that month and a special treat.
Please select ONE teachers who exemplifies our district's vision of empowering students and shaping the future.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Great day of Planning!

Thursday afternoon seemed like a great success!

I was very excited to see all our teachers from across the district getting together and sharing their ideas. My favorite part of the day was seeing other teachers lead the discussions in each room instead of district leaders or campus principals. I think we learn best from other people who are being successful doing the same job we are doing. Thank you all for your positive attitudes going into this day and I'm glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it.

Unfortunately, my morning was not as productive as I was hoping it would be at Region 10. I'm glad to know our campus is far beyond the other districts/campuses who also were rated "improvement required". Because of the excellent teachers we have at Scott Elementary, we are going to beat this thing. We are going to rise above the state accountability system thanks to the support of Kenny Kaye Hudson, Julia Robinson, Chandra White and others.

This weekend our family hit the State Fair. The rides were excellent and we sampled the two prize winners for this year... Deep Fried Cuban Roll & Thanksgiving Dinner. Also, I will be traveling to Austin to speak with Asst. Principals at C.A.M.P. TEPSA. I will be sharing about technology stuff (of course). Check out the website here.






Hope you enjoy your 4-day weekend...you truly deserve the break!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Curriculum Planning on Oct 3rd

Below is a message from Mrs. Robinson about our half-day curriculum planning on October 3rd...

I hope you are having a great week.  I am excited about our planning sessions on Thursday!  As a reminder, we will meet at Fort Elementary as close to 1:15 as is humanly possible.  You might want to try and carpool so that everyone has a place to park.  Below you will find room assignments for the afternoon sessions.  Remember that our goal is to plan for the second six weeks.  Representatives from each school will have participated in some preplanning activities during the morning and they will serve as facilitators of planning in the afternoon.  If we keep our discussions focused, I am hopeful that we can accomplish a great deal.  Please remember to bring the following:

1.    Curriculum Notebook
2.    IFDs for the Six Weeks (print from TRS system – www.teksresourcesystem.net )K, 1, and 2 – your principals have your IFDs for Math – I’ll explain why at the meeting)
3.    Heat Maps (3rd – 4th grade only - these should be available from your principal :) - click here if you need them again
4.    Assessments for the Six Weeks (Available from Eduphoria – Directions for printing attached – Thanks Chandra)
5.    A smile and willingness to push up your sleeves and work together! :)


Room Assignments at Fort for Elementary teachers:  Mrs. Dodson has given you the teacher name and room number.  Please help each other find the right place.

·        Pre K – Shawn Rogina – Room B115
·        Music & Art – (Carmen Slagle/Elizabeth Seay) will meet together in Room B116
·        Kinder – Amanda Nichol – B113
·        1st Grade – Michelle Hudgeons – Room B134
·        2nd Grade – Shannon Kirby – C109
·        3rd Grade – ELAR – Angela Homan – C136
·        3rd Grade – Math – Malorie Murray – C134
·        4th Grade – ELAR – Stacey Kluttz – C120
·        4th Grade – Math – Becky Smith – C122

Librarians will meet at Herndon Intermediate at 1:15

PE Teachers will be receiving a separate email as they are meeting in a vertical team!

Please do not hesitate to call me if I can help in any way.  Thank you for all you do for children.  I am proud to work in Royse City!


Julia

Monday, September 30, 2013

Forecast for Today is Snowing!!

"Your teachers are awesome!" - Billy Snow direct quote after seeing our teams today.

Thank you 3rd, 4th, and Intervention teachers for a successful day with intervention today! We are doing a great job implementing this process.

I will be getting a written report and visiting with you all about specific feedback we are getting from Billy Snow. All of his suggestions are "tweaking" some of the things we are doing...but we are doing a great job!

"This is my favorite part of the day!" - a student today during our visit!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Google Accounts

It's Done!!!

Zach Snow has setup our Google Accounts for our campus. You can go to this link and login with this:

username: your district email (i.e. jacobsd@rcisd.org)
password: bulldogs

tech.msu.edu
Once you login, the system will ask you to change your password. Please go ahead and do this. You can go ahead and get started using these tools. However, he will be visiting our campus on Wednesday, October 9th to train us how we can use them.

Using Data at Scott Elementary

partnershipvt.org
Data...data...data...

We use data in so many different ways in our schools, but do we truly fine our data meaningful or useful?

Here I am in Austin attending the Advancing Improvement in Education Conference (AIE Conference) and we are speaking a lot about data. One of our sessions have us complete a survey about our perceptions of data usage in our district. This survey sparked an interesting conversation at our table... and Julia Robinson and Kenny Kaye were both sitting at our table so the conversation with VERY interesting... haha!

I left the session wondering what does our campus truly believe regarding using data. So.... I've decided to survey our staff about this. This link will take you to the same questions we answered here at this conference. Please help me out and respond to this survey.

Directions: Read each statement and tell me what you think about them. The scale is similar to our Star Enterprise data with Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green. Red means this is a concern for our campus and Green means we are doing great with this. The survey will take about 5-10 minutes.

Please let me know if you have questions about the directions.

Click here to take the Data Survey.

Monday, September 23, 2013

College Week

Let's celebrate college week and encourage this important decision for our students this week. 

All staff members, you may wear jeans and/or flip flops this week if...

1. You participate with the different days Mr. Powley set up for college week for the kiddos.

OR

2. You wear a college shirt.

Throughout the week, be sure to share with your students about the college you attended.

Have a wonderful week and show off your college spirit!

Friday, September 20, 2013

National Punctuation Day!



So I saw this on Twitter today and thought it was hilarious! So it's National Punctuation Day is next week...who knew?!? But I thought perhaps some of you would like to do something special to celebrate it.

So along with is funny picture is a link to a website for some interesting activities. Be sure to take a look and share how you used this in the comments below.

Happy Punctuation Day!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

No Absences-Oct 3rd

Please do not schedule any absences or elective appointments for Thursday, October 3rd.

There will be several teachers from each elementary school out that morning attending training sessions, so subs are already in very short supply. Students will be released at 12:30pm, and staff development will take place in the afternoon.

Thank you

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Curriculum Diva's Blog

Julia Robinson (@curriculumdiva) has created a blog that will serve has a resource for our district teachers. Be sure to FAVORITE this site in your web browser along with our campus blog. You can also sign up for email updates to the blog...must like our own campus blog.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Curriculum Calendars 2013-2014

K-4 Homeroom Teachers,

The district has developed some curriculum calendars based on the Year-at-a-Glance documents. You will find both an ELAR and Math versions of these documents in your mailboxes. They have been printed in color and will been to be place in your curriculum notebooks.

Unit assessments are to be administered on the last day of each unit. Be sure to communicate with Dr. Bright about opening/closing your unit assessment windows.

Additionally, I have placed these documents on a shared Google Drive folder (the link is below). You will need to use your district Google account to access this documents.

Curriculum Calendars 2013-2014

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ask 3 Then Me

I saw this method being using by Mrs. Chaney today in her classroom! Go Mrs. Chaney!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Edu All-Stars Podcast

As many of you know, I love technology. And I especially love working with teachers to help integrate technology in the classroom. I have several Twitter friends (aka Tweeps) who promote the technology integration frequently.

One friend is Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd) who is a 5th Grade teacher in Waller ISD in Texas. Lisa Pogue had the opportunity to meet Todd in Waller, TX last spring. He has a website and classroom blog (http://nesloneyflipped.blogspot.com/).

Also, Todd is a co-host for a podcast title Edu All-Stars (http://www.eduallstars.com/) where he and his other colleagues interview some of the up and coming educators who share an interest in promoting educational technology. Here is one of the podcasts he helps to produce.

Their particular guest this week was Matt Gomez (@mattbgomez), a kindergarten teacher here in the Dallas area.



Be sure to check out this and other podcasts from Edu All-Stars here at their website.

Lesson Plans

Many of you are asking about teacher lesson plans and would like to know the expectations for them this school year. I'm going to get you a couple of options...

Option #1
You may use the Forethought application on Eduphoria to develop your lesson plans. Dr. Bright and I can view your lesson plans from the website. With this option, you do not have to remember to submit lesson plans and you can easily share plans with other teachers. Additionally, this option allows you to submit lesson plans from any computer with internet access... you don't have to be here at school to create and submit your lesson plans.

***Remember if one person on your team is creating the lesson plan, but sure to copy those plans into your own planner on Forethought***

Option #2
You may submit your lesson plans electronically. I have created a "Lesson Plan" folder on the Scott Shared Drive. In the Lesson Plan folder are individual folders for each teacher. Here you can save your lessons into your own personal folder on this drive. With this option, you can only submit lessons on school campus and using a district computer.

If you are handwriting your lesson plans, please scan and place them into your "Lesson Plan" folder on the Scott Shared Drive.

Tutoring sessions, intervention, and additional support will be provided to individuals needing to use the scanner.

Staff Development Survey Results

Teachers,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts about staff development week. We will take both your affirmations and concerns about staff development to heart and consider them in future plans.

Here is a link to the results of the survey.

Don't forget to respond to the new survey regarding teacher technology.

Thanks again for your comments. Have a wonderful Wednesday afternoon!

The Intervention Video

Here is the video I shared with you all today...

Technology for Teachers

Thank you for your time today during our campus PLCs. I would like to get your feedback regarding technology.

I believe as educators, we need to be using technology in the classrooms with students. Ultimately, students are the ones who need to use technology to collaborate, critical think, and create work developed by the teachers. I also believe teachers need to first be comfortable using technology BEFORE introducing digital devices into the classroom to work with students.

With this in mind, I would like to get your thoughts about a digital device you believe would be helpful to you as a classroom teacher. This would not necessarily be a device every student at Scott Elementary would need to be using. This would be primary a tool for the classroom teacher.

Please keep in mind this device would be a tool to help you do your work. This would need to be a device you can use in a PLC, take with you for professional development, use this to access student data, run reports, develop lesson plans, research curriculum ideas, collaborate with other teachers, and more... (Update a classroom website/blog, manage your educational social media accounts, and upload pictures of students learning---okay this little bit is for my "connected" educators in the room).

Updated 9/5/2013

I'm adding some resources to help you make an educated decision. Here are some resources I think you will find useful:



Let me know what you think in the survey below or here in this link.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

PLC Schedule & Agenda

Tomorrow will be our first PLC meeting for the school year. They will be given during your conference time tomorrow. Click here for the link for tomorrow's schedule. 

This process is not that different from a regular team meeting, however I will setting up an agenda for this first time to help establish expectations moving forward. So for this first PLC meeting, this will be our agenda:
  • Discuss our Mission/Vision for Scott Elementary 
  • Celebrate our STAAR 2012-2013 
  • Review the curriculum units for the 1st six weeks
I'm looking forward to meeting with you all tomorrow!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Staff Meeting Dates

Here are the dates for our monthly staff meetings. Be sure schedule things around these dates since they are only once a month. These dates will be on Monday afternoons and will be from 3:30pm-4:30pm. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sept 9th
Oct 14th
Nov 11th
Dec 9th
Jan 13th
Feb 10th
Mar 17th
Apr 14th
May 12th


What Happened to CSCOPE?

So if you have been watching the news, CSCOPE has been a very interesting topic not only in the state of Texas, but also across the country.

Most recently, Sen. Dan Patrick and SBOE member Thomas Ratliff had a wonderful debate over CSCOPE, local control of education, and other topics. The Texas Observer has an great article about this event. Be sure to click the link to read about it.

Also (very recently), the developers of CSCOPE released a letter to the public about some changes it will be making to its service. Starting August 30, CSCOPE will be referred to as the TEKS Resource System. 

TEKS Resource System is just that, a resource. It will still have all of the components and options you have used in the past and any material that you have developed within the old site will automatically be transferred to the new site. You will also be able to continue using your current username and password. However, there will be no sample lessons provided within the system. Any instructional content within the site will need to be uploaded by the user and the user will be responsible for its content.

Beginning September 1, going to www.mycscope.us will redirect you to the new site: www.TEKSResourceSystem.net. Additionally, if parents or community members have questions about what system you are using, there will also be a public site to replace www.cscope.us. More information on the public site will be forthcoming.

If you missed the debate from the Live Stream this past weekend, I have included the YouTube video of the debate. Our wonderful Curriculum Director, Julia Robinson (aka @CurriculumDiva on Twitter) was present in the audience during this event, be sure to ask her about the experience. She has some good stories!


School Improvement Process


Good Evening Scott Staff,

(I'm writing this at home so it's evening for me, but it could be morning for you)

Because we did not "Meet Standard" as a campus on the school accountability system this school year, there will be a process we will all be a part of for this school year. So, I want to begin to fill you in on the process for School Improvement. I know that you might be a little worried about it and I want to assure you that it is going to be okay. We have a wonderful district administration who is going to be very supportive throughout this process.

First of all, we had to name a District Coordinator of School Improvement (DCSI). That will be Kenny Kaye Hudson, but Julia Robinson will be working hand in hand together on this project. 

Second, we will be working with a Professional Service Provider (PSP). Today, Mr. Worthy, Kenny Kaye, Julia, and I visited with a lady named Judy Caskey who is a PSP. She will be working with our district throughout this process and let me say she is a wonderful person. She is very knowledgeable and a very caring and warm person. I know that you will like her. I have invited Judy Caskey to visit our campus so I can introduce her to our staff. She will be on our campus at a variety of times during the school year.

Third, we will need to assemble a Campus Leadership Team for the school improvement process that will consist of key campus leaders such as yourselves, a representative from a grade level team, a content area coach or facilitator, a Bilingual/ESL representative, and a special education representative. We will have to meet to discuss progress etc. More details on this will be coming.

Please don't stress about this process because we will have it under control. Again, our district leadership is very supportive and knows you are a wonderful group of educators. I am so proud of all of you and the work you do for our students. You guys do an amazing job everyday with our students and that is what really counts!!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Staff Development Week Survey

Please complete the staff development survey below. If you having a difficult time viewing this, you can open this survey in a full screen with this link.

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

News & Updates

Teachers,

Here are a few reminders and updates about campus news for this week. My goal is to send out a weekly update about school and upcoming events via the campus blog. Please be sure to check the blog frequently because I do not always send out an email reminder with each update.

I have updated the blog with an email subscription feed. So as I update the blog, you can be notified of a new blog positing via email. The email subscription feature is located on the top-right of the main blog page.

Reminders for this week:

Thursday Folders – Instead of the bulldog folder going home on Wednesday this year, they will be going home on Thursdays. This will be help us align with the rest of the school district regarding communication coming home.

Handbooks - Be sure to read our district employee handbook and district acceptable use policy. Both the handbook and policy can be accessed here on this blog, through the Intranet of the RCISD website, and through the I:drive. Additionally, you have received a copy of the individual mandate notice to employee from Mr. Webb, but I have included another copy here:


Other documents - Statement Concerning Your Employment in a Job Not Covered by Social Security – This was also sent out by Mr. Webb last week. Please complete it and return to Martha by August 30th.

RCISD Anaphylaxis Powerpoint - Due to the increasing prevalence of food allergies, care of students with life-threatening allergies has become a major issue for school personnel. Please complete the attached training and include your certificate of completion with your compliance training certificates to the designated person on your campus. The password is bulldogs.


PDAS Annual Review for Teachers – Please begin working on the PDAS teacher refresher course. Each teacher must complete this module within the first 3 weeks of school. Use this registration code for the course: kindness913 - Please keep in mind that when inputting your registration code that it should be entered exactly as it appears - no capital letters or spaces before/after/in between. 


If you have trouble with the link about, paste this URL into your browser:

RCISD Education Foundation – This foundation supports our Royse City students directly through grants written by its teachers. Royse City employees continue to be the largest supporters of the foundation. We are recognized as a campus by the foundation if we have 100% participation from our staff. All you have to contribute is minimum of $2.00 a month for us to count. Let’s show our continued support to the Education Foundation!

Sunshine Committee – our Sunshine Committee dues for this year is $20.00. You can pay Martha for this committee. This money will go to fund our staff birthdays and other special events we have each year.

Royse City Jean Scholarship – Each Friday you have the opportunity to wear jeans for $1.00. The money goes to support our Royse City HS graduates. You may pay $1.00 each or pay $36.00 for the whole year. Please pay Martha for this fund.

Staff Meetings/STAT – For this school year, we will have a monthly staff meeting on Mondays. Be sure to schedule personal appointments and make arrangements around these dates since they are only once a month (dates will be coming soon). We will also have STAT meetings on the Mondays we are not having a staff meeting.

PLCs – we also will have our official Professional Learning Committee meetings on Wednesday during your conference times. Basically it’s a grade level/department team meeting. Either Mr. Jacobs or Dr. Bright will attend some of these meetings with you in order to support your efforts. More details will be coming regarding theses.

ARDs – Thursday will be the day we are scheduling for ARD meetings. Please know Mrs. Worley may or may not be in attendance with your classes on those days.

Intervention Collaboration – We will have RtI time Monday through Thursday during the week. Fridays will be the time for planning and preparing with the RtI team for the following week. Students who did think tanks before will be allowed to participate in an enrichment activity outside the classroom. Student who were in small group intervention will be able to do a think tank. More details will be coming also on this.

Coffee Maker & Tea – to all my coffee lovers…currently we have no “staff” coffee maker in the teachers’ lounge. I apologize but I hope you all understand...it was not sanitary. So Martha and I are currently working on purchasing a new coffee maker for the staff lounge. Until then, you are welcome to have coffee in the front office workroom. Regarding the tea, we are currently being charged by food service to make tea for the staff. So, our campus will be purchasing tea for the staff. However, Mrs. Stephanie is willing to make tea for our staff FREE of charge. Tea drinkers…be sure to thank her for her willingness to do this for us.

Labor Day is this weekend…No school on Monday so enjoy your three day weekend. You have earned it!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Master Schedule UPDATE

Ladies & Gents,

Happy First Day of School! And nothing says welcome back to school like an update to the master schedule.

Click here for the Master Schedule

Please note the times for Specials, RTI, Lunch and Recess are a little clear.

Have a wonderful first day!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

CSCOPE Debate

I've just learned about a CSCOPE debate for this evening starting at 6:30pm this Saturday on campus at the University of Texas at Tyler. 

SBOE Member Thomas Ratliff and panelist Mary Ann Whiteker, superintendent of Hudson ISD and past president of TAMS, have both received TAMS highest honor, Golden Apple awards and are presenters at the Legislative Conference.  


If you can't attend the debate, you can follow at http://clients.streamingmediahosting.com/jlepe/10571.html

Friday, August 23, 2013

Text Message Reminders from the Principal

Okay Staff,

Have you ever heard of Remind 101? This is a free service provided for teachers to communicate with students and parents. I love it because it's easy to use and private. Teachers never see students' or parents' phone numbers. Students and parents never see teachers' phone numbers.

You can learn more information and sign up at their website.

I would like to use it with you all for basic communication and last minute reminders to you all. This is completely voluntary and I promise I won't overload your cell phone with messages.

To sign up for this service, follow the directions below. Let me know if you have any questions.


This is a great tool to use with students and parents by sending their reminders about class assignments, projects, school event updates, and more.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Forethought Lesson Plan Training

Here is the handout Chandra White gave us for the Forethought Training.

Also, I will be sending out a survey about staff development from this week. I would like your feedback about some of the activities we did, what was helpful, what we can do differently, etc.

Keep your eyes open for that!

Update to Schedule

Please see the update to our schedule for tomorrow...


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Check this out!

This article was shared with the principals by Mr. Worthy regarding the Texas Accountability System. You can read the full article with this link:

By Maria Luisa Cesar : August 3, 2013 : Updated: August 3, 2013 10:53pm

This week, the Texas Education Agency will release a tsunami of reports rating Texas public schools under a new accountability system.

Designed to credit schools that increased academic achievement even if they didn't deliver glowing test scores, the new system grades schools and districts across four indexes: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness.

The accountability system is the state's way of measuring how well schools are doing in educating kids. The old one could sink a school based solely on the standardized test scores of its lowest-performing students. Educators pleaded for more flexibility, and the TEA didn't rate schools at all last year while it overhauled the system.

But some who have looked closely at Index No. 2, the new method of calculating student progress, say it might be as much a curse as a blessing when the reports come out Thursday.

“It doesn't look right, feel right or smell right,” said Mike Lara, director of research and technology services for North East Independent School District, the second largest in San Antonio…

…He'll have a hard time explaining to parents that a student can pass the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test in a subject one year, pass it the following year and still fail to meet state progress standards, he said.

The opposite is true for students who fail the test in a subject area one year, fail it in the next grade the following year but make improvements on their progress score.

What's more, the measuring stick the state is using to calculate student progress is based on the STAAR's “final passing standards,” the tougher test-passing threshold that won't take effect until the 2015-16 school year at the earliest.

Although documents released by the TEA said those methods will have “minimal impact,” Lara said using the toughest standard may leave more schools vulnerable to a grading system he called confusing at best and demoralizing at worst.

There's no consensus among educators here on whether the student progress measure will have as dire an impact as Lara is projecting. Some didn't see a problem with it. A few school officials declined to comment on how the state was making its calculations, saying they didn't know enough about it…

Accountability

Passed in 2009, House Bill 3 paved the way for the STAAR test and the accountability system it's now tied to. Advisory committees eventually recommended an index-based system but proposed holding off on implementing the student progress index this year.

The four indexes measure student performance on the STAAR test, the difference in that performance from one year to the next, how effectively a school is closing achievement gaps between different groups of students and how prepared students are for higher-level coursework.

Schools and school districts will have to meet performance targets in each index, although no such target has been set for the student progress index yet. Instead, the Index 2 target score will be derived from how all schools fare, in effect grading on a “curve,” with the lowest 5 percent considered failing.


“By definition, 5 percent will not make it over that bar no matter how well they do,” Whitsett said. If a school misses the mark in a single index, it fails to meet the state standards altogether — leading some to argue that it's as much as an all-or-nothing accountability system as the previous one…

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pictures

Please email me pictures of some young person who is significant to you. This can be your own children, grandchildren, a niece/nephew, a good friend's child, or someone you are mentoring. However you must have a special relationship with these kiddos.

We will share these photos during staff development next week.

Looking forward to seeing you all!

P.S. I'm teaching a "twitter" session tomorrow at the High School. If you're in the area, be sure to stop and say hello!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fire Chief Inspection

Our wonderful Royse City Fire Chief completed an inspection of the campus today. Here are a couple of reminders about what we need to do before the start of the school year:

  • Please do not hang anything from ceilings. If you have a tree or tower, make sure it does not reach the ceiling. No clips with rotating items.
  • No more than 50% of walls covered. He would prefer one wall not covered.

I will email individual teachers about what they need to do in their classrooms. Please direct your questions about specific questions regarding fire code to Dr. Bright.

The Fire Chief will be back by the end of next week.

Staff Development Week

It's almost that time of the year again. Time to get back to work, get ready for kids, and celebrate another school year!


All staff members will be able to wear jeans all week. The only exceptions to this is on Tuesday for Convocation and Thursday night for “Meet the Teacher”. You may wear khakis, capris, denim skirts, etc. for convocation along with your staff shirt. You will receive your staff shirt on Monday morning. For the “Meet the Teacher” event Thursday night, we will all dress professionally.

Speaking about professional dress, here is a link to our professional dress guidelines for our district. The point of the guidelines is for us to dress professionally. Personally, I have witnessed parents and students respond differently and in a positive way to teachers simply because they were dressed professionally. 

With that in mind, I want to point out what the guidelines state about shoes, sandals, and flip-flops. The guidelines refers to "projecting a business image" and describes "appropriate shoes". Also it states that "flip-flops are not acceptable". I understand in the past flip-flops have been allowed at various times throughout the school year. However, we need to project a professional atmosphere. As professionals, we want to be respected by students, parents, and community members, so we must dress in a way that commands respect.
 
So, I propose we have “Flip-Flop” Fridays at Scott Elementary. All staff members will dress professionally all week and on Fridays, you can wear flip-flops with your jeans. Please let me know if you questions about this.



Looking forward to seeing you all!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Released STAAR Assessments

Finally, they are here!

The state released our STAAR assessments from this past Spring administration. You can see the released items on their website and a press release that was posted today.

Press Release by TEA News
STAAR Release Questions - TEA website

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Welcome to the Anita Scott Elementary Staff Blog

Hello Scott Elementary and welcome to a new school year!

I hope for many of you that your summers have been restful. And for the rest of you, I believe you need the T-Shirt that states: "I've survived Summer 2013...can you believe it!" It's amazing how many staff members have been in hospitals, emergency rooms, rehab centers, and more. Thankfully for most, things are calming down just in time for the start of a new school year.

Some of us in the office have been working for a week now getting prepared to start a new school year. We are also preparing to see all of you back on campus. We have some new things planned for 2013-2014 and one of them is this blog.

This will be the way we will communicate great stuff to you. Instead of filling up your email inbox with lots of messages, it will be posted on this blog instead.

Why a blog? Why not simply email us?

One of the great benefits of using a blog instead of emails is that it saves everything. If you are like me, I read my stuff and delete it. But sometimes I need that information again and can't locate it. The blog will help keep everything you need organized.

Listed below are some blog "norms" which will help us understand how to use this tool more effectively.

Blog Norms:
  • Please leave comment... I want to encourage you to comment on these blog posts. Add your name and keep the conversation going. Please ask questions if you have them and leave them in the comments section. If you have a question then most likely others will too. I will reply with answers or clarifying comments.
  • To share or not to share... I understand this will probably be a different way to communicating than you are used to. Some may be excited about this way of communicating and want to share something in this blog with others. However, this blog is intended for communication between Scott employees. Please do not share a link to this blog with others outside our campus. If you really want to share something, please let me know and we will work together so you can share something you really might like in this blog.
  • Stay informed... Several times I have sat in meetings listening to someone share information that could have been communicated in an email or newsletter and felt it was a waste of my time. One of the many benefits of sharing information this way is so we don't have to spend our staff meetings going over the same information. So I expect you to have knowledge of the information in this blog. Please take the time to read it now, so it will save us time down the road.
  • Other people can contribute... I would love to have others contribute to the development of this blog, so I may ask from time to time if you would please contribute a posting to this blog.

Be sure to bookmark the link to the blog. I will be posting a schedule of our activities for staff development week coming soon.

I'm looking forward to this next school year.
Don Jacobs, Principal @ Scott Elementary