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