Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ENews 10.16.2014

I would like to start this ENews off and say how please I am with the progress you guys are making this school year. I know our start to the school year wasn't the smoothest rides.  We're also getting some additional attention due to our accountability rating. However, I believe it's beginning to come together.

Now that we have a campus plan targeted to help us improve, we know what to do to move us forward. The plan we have will be finalized and posted in all our workrooms, the teacher's lounge, and by the mailboxes. This will help us be focused and drive our conversations around school improvement.

Please let me know how we can BEST support your teaching and learning practices with your kiddos. You guys are doing a great job and I love seeing the Teamwork we have this school year.

School Board Recognitions 
Our very own Robin Gowen (@RobinGowen) was recognized at the School Board Meeting this month and received the "21st Century Teacher Award" by Zach Snow (@zachsnow).  I'm so proud of her efforts to move our students forward and encourage 21st Century Skills in kids.

Also all our 4th Grade teachers were recognized for their efforts to collaborate across the district. I'm so please with these teachers to contact each other from other campuses and plan the 2nd Six Weeks on their own. Laura Martinez (@LGarciaclass) represented our 4th Grade group at the Board Meeting on Monday.

Student Gmail Accounts
Just a reminder... Zach Snow has setup student gmail accounts for our students to use for classroom instruction for 3rd and 4th Grades. Here's the letter we'll be posting to Peachjar and Social Media. Students now have the ability to email their teachers about class assignments and can send messages to each other. However, they cannot send message outside our domain ( & only). Nor can the receive messages from outside the domain.

This gives students the ability to have access to Google Drive which includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and other services connected with Google including YouTube. We'll be working with Mr. Snow and Mrs. Finch (@ChristianaFinch) to provide training for teachers and give support of instructional integration. Please let us know how we can support you.

Also, here's some informational video about the Gmail Student Accounts:

Parent Info Video:
Elementary Video:

Staff Gmail
We're still encouraging all our staff members to start moving toward Gmail and away from Outlook. This migration will occur next school year for all staff members but it would be great to start playing with it now especially since we have student Gmail accounts for 3rd and 4th grade.

Complete the form below if you would like to be added to our list of teachers moving from Outlook to Gmail now and I'll send it to Theo McDonald:

Parent Portal
It's a new Six Weeks grading period and parent/teacher conferences are underway. Be sure to remind parents to check student grades in parent portal. Also, grades should be recorded weekly in the gradebook to afford parents and students the opportunity to view through the parent portal.

It's official... we'll start tutoring on Tuesday, Oct 28 and go through Thursday, Nov 20th. I would like all staff members to be prepared to help support 3rd and 4th grade students. You may to asked to take a small group on Tuesdays or Thursdays for you to teach. Currently, the 3rd/4th grade teachers are working on identifying students who need additional support. Once that's complete, we'll start asking for help with specific students. 

Reading Family Night
Next Tuesday is our Reading Family Night & Book Fair. The times for the Book Fair are 5:30pm-7:30pm. Cassie Padgett, Connie Jones, and other teachers are working together to develop activities and ideas for teachers to do with our students and parents. The goal for this event is to give parents specific strategies they can do to support reading home. Also, parents can stop by the book fair and purchase some books to go along with the reading strategies.

HumanEx Survey
Last year our campus took a survey from this organization called HUMANeX Ventures (@HUMANeX). You can see the earlier post here. Our campus identified some areas we would like continue in our top areas and some other targets for growth.

Our Top 3 areas were:
  • I feel great pride in the work I do.
  • I have at least one close friend at work.
  • I am continuously seeking ways to improve my overall productivity.
Our Top 2 areas for grow were:
  • I feel "in on things" that are happening at Royse City ISD
  • I have received meaningful recognition in the past 10 days.
Here's the Brainstorming Activity the staff completed with the HUMANeX representatives. I'll be posting our Top 2 areas for growth on the bulletin board by our mailboxes to us to review. Please let us know how we can support you guys this school year.

PDAS Observations will begin soon for all staff members. We'll be letting you know how we'll be completing your 45-minute observation. More information coming.

AR Goals
On of the strategies we're doing for our Target Improvement Plan is based on AR and supporting students with reading. Our goal is to move students forward with reading and helping them read on grade level. AR is one program we can use to help us monitor students in this way.

33% is the target goal for this last week for our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students. Next week (Oct 20) the target goal will be 50% of goal. Be sure to monitor students who are not on grade level. You can support this strategy by ensuring our students are reading something on their level and taking a book home to read each day.

I plan to visit each classroom next week to talk about the importance of reading and how AR will be using to track their progress.

Dates to Remember
Elementary Curriculum Advisory Meeting - October 22nd @ 3:30pm
Early Release Planning Day - November 7th - Please bring your 2nd Six Weeks Writing Samples

Friday, October 10, 2014

ENews 10.10.2014

Congratulations to our Teacher of the Month

Laura Martinez,
 4th Grade Teacher

Staff Meeting Next Monday
Monday, October 13th @ 3:30pm is our next whole staff meeting. We'll be sharing our Targeted Improvement Plan with the staff. I've been so very pleased with the progress with this group of teachers who served on this team: Dianna Bright, Stuart Powley, Vickie Taylor, Nita Green, Suzette Worley, Lisa Pogue, Cassie Padgett, Connie Jones, Jennifer Chaney, and Jamie Garcia. Julia Robinson will be visiting with us again to help share the plan and gather ideas from the group.

Family Reading Night & Book Fair
Cassie Padgett and Connie Jones have stepped up to help plan and organize our Family Reading Night for Tuesday, October 21. Each grade will be helping parents learn strategies they can do to support Reading instruction at home. The Book Fair is also scheduled for the same night to help encourage kids and parents to buy books and use the reading strategies they learned at home.

Student Gmail Accounts
Zach Snow has setup student gmail accounts for our students to use for classroom instruction. This is a great step moving forward toward 21st Century Learning. Here's the letter we'll be sending home to parents. Also, here's some informational video about the Gmail Student Accounts:

Parent Info Video:
Elementary Video:
Secondary Video:

Digital Citizenship Week
October 20-24 is digital citizenship week and we'll have a few activities on campus to give some attention to this topic for our students. Currently Robin Gowen will be planning some activities during computer focused on this topic and Stuart Powley will be reading some information about digital citizenship during morning announcements. If you would like to participate, be sure to visit the Common Sense Education website for some free resources and have your students join in the conversation. 

Parent/Teacher Conferences & Tutoring
Just a reminder: Parent/Teacher Conferences should be scheduled during the weeks of October 13-24. We have two evenings scheduled on both Thursdays (October 16 & 23) for the last conference @ 7:00pm. Be sure to you focusing on those students who need additional support at home. These kids could be below grade level in reading, low students on the ISIP iStation report, struggling in mathematics, etc. Also, I would like each teacher to document your conference with parents in Aware under the Journal tab (let me know if you need help with this). This documentation will serve has a great record for the STAT team.

Just to clarify, you are not required to stay late for conferences on the Thursday nights listed in the blog. There will be administrators present and air conditioning both nights, however you do not need to stay late if your conferences can be completed earlier.

We're still finalizing the tutoring schedule for this 1st Semester. Tentative, the dates for tutoring are be Tuesday, October 28th - Thursday, November 20th. Please mark your calendars but WAIT on communicating this out with parents for now. We'll send out an email about communication with parents. We'll be targeting students in 3rd and 4th Grade and I would like each person to help with small group tutoring this year... more details will be coming.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Instructional Technology Trainings and more!

Hey guys! Please read the info below.

Upcoming trainings:

  • Tuesday, October 7th - Gmail 1 (for beginners)
  • Wednesday, October 8th - Gmail 2 (more advanced)
  • Wednesday, November 5th - Google Drive

Bring your chromebooks! :)

Working toward that jean pass and t-shirt?! Come to trainings at school, they're brief, relevant, and we are all so fun :)

iStation is on most of the iPads! Thanks Julie - 2 class sets are ready for use!

Follow our district Pinterest page! Feel free to send pins to this account to help us grow our boards! If you interested in pinning to a specific board, let me know.

Also, watch for a tech survey coming soon. :)

Let me know if I can help you in any way. It's why I'm here, and I'm happy to help!