Sunday, January 25, 2015

ENews 01.26.2015



Weekly Schedule

Monday
  • Lunch Provided by Texas AFT today!
  • 2:00pm - ARD (Bright, Worley, Propst)
  • 3:00pm - Good News Clubs Begins for the New Semester
  • 3:30pm - Staff Meeting in the Library

Tuesday
  • Jacobs to Scottish Rite Training (all-day)
Wednesday 
  • PLC Wednesday
  • Nurse Kacie of Campus for the AM only 
  • Jayne Knighton Writing Coach on campus
  • 3:30 - Team Leader Meeting @ Conference Room
Thursday
  • Digital Fluency Academy Graduation for Finch & Gowen - Congrats!
  • 8:55 - ARD (Jacobs, Worley, 3rd Grade Teachers)
Friday 
  • Powley attending Campus Testing Coordinator Meeting @ Admin Building
  • 2:00pm - ARD (Jacobs, Dietz, 1st Grade Teacher)


Important Reminders

EdcampAwesome
Reminder... be sure to get your tickets for EdcampAwesome - 1 ticket for registering and 4 additional tickets for attending the event. Click here for register! Do it... do it!!

Reading Instruction
Guided Reading books have been organized in the 4th Grade pod by reading level. Teachers will develop groups based on student's instructional reading level. Reading groups will meet daily. Lower level readers will meet every day while higher level readers will meet at least 2x per week.

**Figure 19 Training** Added Last Week
Region 10 has placed in the "Online Learning Center" to help teachers with supporting the skills found inFigure 19. As many of you know up to 70% of the STAAR test is dual coded to Figure 19. Ervin Knezek says that Figure 19 contains the "process standards" for ELAR.

Region 10 has created a 75 to 90 minute online course about the skills in Figure 19. In an effort to meet everyone's learning style, they're offering 2 different options for accessing this content if you are interested in taking the course.

Click this link & you'll find illustrated directions on how to sign up for the online course through Region 10. When you finished, you would take the brief quiz and receive your certificate. This workshop does count for PD credit. Just list the course in your portfolio, along with the certificate.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 33% of their goal by this Friday. If you notice someone who really needs help, please let me know. We will continue to monitor and encourage students to make weekly targets and a comprehension score of at least 80%. Nita Green is meeting with our targeted 3rd and 4th grade student to ensure they have a book on their reading level each day.

Students should be asked to take home a book every night and read for 20 minutes. Be sure to communicate with parents about their child's AR point goal and their progress toward reaching that goal.

Mathematics
1st & 2nd Grade - Lone Star Daily Rigor is being used with students each week.
3rd & 4th Grade - Math GPS is being used to help students weekly. Teachers should be on week 46-50 this week. We must maintain this pace in order to finished by testing time.

Think Through Math (TTM) for Grade 3-4 - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. Letters have been sent home during the first report card to parents. Remember that there's an app for TTM and it can be used on the iPad.

Professional Development
Remember Valerie James is available for demonstration lessons so be sure to ask her to visit your classroom for additional support as needed. Each week, you're working with Valerie to determine words students must know to be successful. These words are colored by strand and should be posted on the word wall. Be sure to review them frequently with your students. Dr. Bright and I will be looking for these during our classroom observations and walkthroughs.

Kristen Weichel is working with ELAR teachers. She studies the unit IFDs and Assessments to bring materials and ideas for teachers to use during ELAR instructional time. She will also provide support for Guided Reading and is available to conduct demonstration lessons.

Gradebook Reminders 
Let's avoid challenging conversations about grades with parents and be sure to follow the Royse City Grading Guidelines. Here's a couple of reminders:
  • Record Grades Weekly - Grade should be recorded weekly in the grade to afford parents & students the opportunity to view through parent portal. 
  • Late Work – this is accepted within five (5) days of the original due date. Be sure to record grades in a timely manner to allow parents to become aware of missing grades during the five (5) day period. Late work penalties do not apply to make up word from absences. 
  • Minimum number of grades – the district required a minimum of nine (9) grades throughout the six weeks. This includes grades for Science & Studies. You have the option to count assignments twice in the grade book. The same assignment that can be counts for Reading can count in Social Studies too. 
  • Unit Assessments – these will be counted in the grade book. Remember to provide intervention or tutoring before administrating a retest for unit assessments. 
  • Zeros – students have five (5) days to complete an assignment before it becomes a permanent zero in the grade book. We want to support you in motivating students in getting their work turned in on time. We’re working on a Google Doc for you to report students to campus administration with two (2) OR more permanent zeroes in the grade book. Teachers are expected to communicate with parents about the progress of their child and give suggestions to improve their performance BEFORE permanent zeroes are given to students. 
  • Parent Communication – please enter your parent communication into Aware under the Journal tab. This will help us keep track of our efforts with parents. Let us know if you need help with this. 
ESL Certification
Royse City ISD is pushing to have 100% of the teaching staff to be ESL Certification. The district will pay for teachers to take the test AND have the ESL Certification place on your teaching certificate. Below are a list of links that are helpful to those interesting in this process:
They can afford to reimburse you now - who know when they will no longer continue to this offer. Be sure to take up the district with this offer to reimburse you for this certification.

Important Information

Bedtime Stories
A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our Bedtime Stories Event... especially our Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and Specials Teachers. The skits were amazingly funny with lots of BIG visuals for the kids. You guys are outstanding!

Staff Meeting - January 26th @ 3:30pm
All teaching staff be sure you have made arrangements to attend. Mr. Powley will be reviewing testing procedures for the upcoming benchmark assessments (aka Mock STAAR).

Lunch Provided by Texas AFT on Monday
Our lunch will be provided by the Texas AFT on Monday. Our contact for this organization is LaTrisa Davis. Be sure to come hungry!

PEG Letter
This week we'll be sending home a letter to our parents about our campus rating from TEA. Parents will have the option to apply for a transfer to another campus. This letter is something we must do this year and for at least two additional years after we meet standard from the state. If parents have questions about this process, please direct them to Mr. Jacobs. I will review with them the specific procedures required for this process. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Biggest Loser Contest
Nurse Kacie and Coach Pendleton are organizing a Biggest Loser Content. Click here to read more about the details & contact them directly if you have questions.

Anchor Chart Make & Take 
Kristen Wechiel is hosting another Anchor Chart Make & Take for 3rd & 4th Grade teachers who couldn't make it previously. It will be in the Board Room at the Administration Building on Tuesday, January 27th @ 8:00am for 4th Grade Teachers and @ 9:00am for 3rd Grade Teachers.

Yearbook Information
Be sure to send home the yearbook order forms. Fourth grade students have 3 extra pages for parents to send personal ads in to be placed in the back of the yearbook. The deadline for ordering ads (Personal and one line ads) is set for March 2nd. Cost of the yearbook will be $25, after the 2nd it will go up to $30.

TAMSA Group (@TAMSATX)
Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessments (TAMSA) is a grass roots organization of concerned parents that supports a more reasoned approach to student testing. Here's a link to their brochure. I like this group a lot because they want to help support student learning. Below you can see a recent article they shared. Be sure to check out their website: http://www.tamsatx.org/

Monday, January 19, 2015

ENews 01.19.2015

Monday - No School

Tuesday 
  • 8:00am - Jacobs to Margaret Kilgo Reading Training @ Region 10
  • 8:55am - ARD (Bright, Worley, 3rd Grade Teachers)
  • 9:30am - Asst Principal Meeting @ Admin Building
  • 1:55pm - ARD (Bright, Worley, Propst)
Wednesday 
  • PLC Wednesday
  • Kristen Weichel on Campus
  • 3:45pm - Figure 19 Training @ Admin Building
  • 4:30pm - STAAR Alt 2 Training @ Admin Building
Thursday
  • TELPAS Training for Green (UPDATED-01.21.2015)
  • PBIS Team to CHAMPS training @ Region 10 
  • Valerie James on campus (visiting your classrooms)
  • 3:45pm - Figure 19 Training @ Admin Building
  • 6:30pm - Bedtime Stories
Friday 
  • STAAR Alt 2 Materials Arrive @ Admin Building
EdcampAwesome
Reminder... be sure to get your tickets for EdcampAwesome - 1 ticket for registering and 4 additional tickets for attending the event. Click here for register! Do it... do it!!
Reading Instruction
Guided Reading books have been organized in the 4th Grade pod by reading level. Teachers will develop groups based on student's instructional reading level. Reading groups will meet daily. Lower level readers will meet every day while higher level readers will meet at least 2x per week.

**Figure 19 Training**
Region 10 has placed in the "Online Learning Center" to help teachers with supporting the skills found inFigure 19. As many of you know up to 70% of the STAAR test is dual coded to Figure 19. Ervin Knezek says that Figure 19 contains the "process standards" for ELAR.

Region 10 has created a 75 to 90 minute online course about the skills in Figure 19. In an effort to meet everyone's learning style, they;re offering 2 different options for accessing this content if you are interested in taking the course.

Click this link & you'll find illustrated directions on how to sign up for the online course through Region 10. When you finished, you would take the brief quiz and receive your certificate.

For those that prefer and face-to-face format, Julia Robinson will be facilitating the course 2 afternoons THIS WEEK in the Board room at the Central Office on January 21 & 22. It will begin at 3:45 pm and go for 45 minutes each afternoon. You can register for the face-to face facilitated course at http://www.schoolobjects.com/wshop/default.aspx?cid=389

This workshop does count (in either format) for PD credit. Just list the course in your portfolio, along with the certificate.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 17% of their goal by this Friday. If you notice someone who really needs help, please let me know. We will continue to monitor and encourage students to make weekly targets and a comprehension score of at least 80%. Nita Green is meeting with our targeted 3rd and 4th grade student to ensure they have a book on their reading level each day.

Students should be asked to take home a book every night and read for 20 minutes. Be sure to communicate with parents about their child's AR point goal and their progress toward reaching that goal.

Mathematics
1st & 2nd Grade - Lone Star Daily Rigor is being used with students each week.
3rd & 4th Grade - Math GPS is being used to help students weekly. Teachers should be on week 41-45 this week. We must maintain this pace in order to finished by testing time.

Think Through Math (TTM) for Grade 3-4 - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. Letters have been sent home during the first report card to parents. Remember that there's an app for TTM and it can be used on the iPad.

**Messages from Valerie James**
Valerie James will be on campus this week HOWEVER you will not visit with her in the front office during your conference times. Since we just had met with her last week, we decided it would be best for her to visit your classrooms instead. Please contact Valerie directly if you would like her to visit your specific classroom or if you have questions about math curriculum. I'm sure she'll pay a special visit to your class if you reach out to her directly.

As of January 14, the answer documents for the Grade 4 Math Benchmark are available to print in AWARE under STAAR Benchmarks. If you printed your answer documents prior to January 14, please destroy them and reprint the new answer documents with the title. 

We are using Test A from the Math GPS workbook that should have been removed from the student workbooks earlier in the year and stored at your campus. This Benchmark is configured based on the STAAR Blueprint from TEA(same number of questions per SE). There is no available online testing for this benchmark.

Professional Development
Remember Valerie James is available for demonstration lessons so be sure to ask her to visit your classroom for additional support as needed. Each week, you're working with Valerie to determine words students must know to be successful. These words are colored by strand and should be posted on the word wall. Be sure to review them frequently with your students. Dr. Bright and I will be looking for these during our classroom observations and walkthroughs.

Kristen Weichel is working with ELAR teachers. She studies the unit IFDs and Assessments to bring materials and ideas for teachers to use during ELAR instructional time. She will also provide support for Guided Reading and is available to conduct demonstration lessons.


Gradebook Reminders 
Let's avoid challenging conversations about grades with parents and be sure to follow the Royse City Grading Guidelines. Here's a couple of reminders:
  • Record Grades Weekly - Grade should be recorded weekly in the grade to afford parents & students the opportunity to view through parent portal. 
  • Late Work – this is accepted within five (5) days of the original due date. Be sure to record grades in a timely manner to allow parents to become aware of missing grades during the five (5) day period. Late work penalties do not apply to make up word from absences. 
  • Minimum number of grades – the district required a minimum of nine (9) grades throughout the six weeks. This includes grades for Science & Studies. You have the option to count assignments twice in the grade book. The same assignment that can be counts for Reading can count in Social Studies too. 
  • Unit Assessments – these will be counted in the grade book. Remember to provide intervention or tutoring before administrating a retest for unit assessments. 
  • Zeros – students have five (5) days to complete an assignment before it becomes a permanent zero in the grade book. We want to support you in motivating students in getting their work turned in on time. We’re working on a Google Doc for you to report students to campus administration with two (2) OR more permanent zeroes in the grade book. Teachers are expected to communicate with parents about the progress of their child and give suggestions to improve their performance BEFORE permanent zeroes are given to students. 
  • Parent Communication – please enter your parent communication into Aware under the Journal tab. This will help us keep track of our efforts with parents. Let us know if you need help with this. 
Staff Meeting - NEXT WEEK January 26th @ 3:30pm
All teaching staff be sure you have made arrangements to attend. Mr. Powley will be reviewing testing procedures for the upcoming benchmark assessments (aka Mock STAAR).

Biggest Loser Contest
Nurse Kacie and Coach Pendleton are organizing a Biggest Loser Content. Click here to read more about the details & contact them directly if you have questions. I'm looking forward to this!!

School Board Appreciation
I want to say "Thank You" to everyone who helped to show their appreciation to the school board this last week via cards, signs, pictures, etc. I especially want to thank Mrs. Ortega for organizing several of our ladies to create some original artwork. Both she and the students did a wonderful job sharing with the Schoo Board last Monday.

PEG Letter
Next week we'll be sending home a letter to our parents about our campus rating from TEA. Parents will have the option to apply for a transfer to another campus. This letter is something we must do this year and for at least two additional years after we meet standard from the state. If parents have questions about this process, please direct them to Mr. Jacobs. I will review with them the specific procedures required for this process. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

The Writing Academy
This was a HUGE success for our 4th Grade students this year. On Wednesday our 4th Grade students spent the day learning more about Narrative Writing. Next month, they will participate in similar activities focused on Expository Writing. Thank you for everyone who help organized this event and were flexible with their schedules. I can't wait to see what the students will be learning next month!
ESL Certification
Royse City ISD is pushing to have 100% of the teaching staff to be ESL Certification. The district will pay for teachers to take the test AND have the ESL Certification place on your teaching certificate. Below are a list of links that are helpful to those interesting in this process:
They can afford to reimburse you now - who know when they will no longer continue to this offer. Be sure to take up the district with this offer to reimburse you for this certification.

Lunch Provided by Texas AFT Next Week
Our lunch will be provided by the Texas AFT next Monday. Our contact for this organization is LaTrisa Davis and she'll be here again next week. Be sure to come hungry!

What Kind of Mindset Do You Have? (#stuvoice)
How do your students respond to challenges they face in the classroom? I like this infographic about Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset. What kind of classroom environment have you created for your students? Do you model this for your students?

Monday, January 12, 2015

ENews 01.12.2015

Congratulations to our Teacher of the Month

Catherine Blaine,
 3rd Grade Teacher

Monday - School Appreciation
  • 3rd/4th Grade - Kristen Weichel on campus
  • 3:15pm - ELAR Make & Take for 3rd & 4th Grade
  • 3:30pm - Staff Meeting
  • 7:00pm - School Board Meeting
Tuesday 
  • 9:30am - Principal Meeting @ Scott Elementary
Wednesday 
Thursday - Early Release @ 12:30pm
Friday - Teacher Workday
  • 10:50am-12:05pm - HUMANeX Staff Feedback Session
  • 3:30pm - Sara Moss's Retirement @ Admin Building
This Week's Schedules
We have lots going on this week and I've included all the schedules that have been sent via email here on the blog. To view them, you MUST be logged in with your Royse City ISD Google account:
EdcampAwesome
Reminder... be sure to get your tickets for EdcampAwesome - 1 ticket for registering and 4 additional tickets for attending the event. Click here for register! Do it... do it!!

Reading Instruction
Guided Reading books have been organized in the 4th Grade pod by reading level. Teachers will develop groups based on student's instructional reading level. Reading groups will meet daily. Lower level readers will meet every day while higher level readers will meet at least 2x per week.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 83% of their goal by this Friday. If you notice someone who really needs help, please let me know. We will continue to monitor and encourage students to make weekly targets and a comprehension score of at least 80%. Nita Green is meeting with our targeted 3rd and 4th grade student to ensure they have a book on their reading level each day.

Students should be asked to take home a book every night and read for 20 minutes. Be sure to communicate with parents about their child's AR point goal and their progress toward reaching that goal.

Mathematics
1st & 2nd Grade - Lone Star Daily Rigor is being used with students each week.
3rd & 4th Grade - Math GPS is being used to help students weekly. Teachers should be on week 36-40 this week. We must maintain this pace in order to finished by testing time.

Think Through Math (TTM) for Grade 3-4 - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. Letters have been sent home during the first report card to parents. Remember that there's an app for TTM and it can be used on the iPad.

Professional Development
Remember Valerie James is available for demonstration lessons so be sure to ask her to visit your classroom for additional support as needed. Each week, you're working with Valerie to determine words students must know to be successful. These words are colored by strand and should be posted on the word wall. Be sure to review them frequently with your students. Dr. Bright and I will be looking for these during our classroom observations and walkthroughs.

Kristen Weichel is working with ELAR teachers. She studies the unit IFDs and Assessments to bring materials and ideas for teachers to use during ELAR instructional time. She will also provide support for Guided Reading and is available to conduct demonstration lessons.


Gradebook Reminders 
Let's avoid challenging conversations about grades with parents and be sure to follow the Royse City Grading Guidelines. Here's a couple of reminders:
  • Record Grades Weekly - Grade should be recorded weekly in the grade to afford parents & students the opportunity to view through parent portal. 
  • Late Work – this is accepted within five (5) days of the original due date. Be sure to record grades in a timely manner to allow parents to become aware of missing grades during the five (5) day period. Late work penalties do not apply to make up word from absences. 
  • Minimum number of grades – the district required a minimum of nine (9) grades throughout the six weeks. This includes grades for Science & Studies. You have the option to count assignments twice in the grade book. The same assignment that can be counts for Reading can count in Social Studies too. 
  • Unit Assessments – these will be counted in the grade book. Remember to provide intervention or tutoring before administrating a retest for unit assessments. 
  • Zeros – students have five (5) days to complete an assignment before it becomes a permanent zero in the grade book. We want to support you in motivating students in getting their work turned in on time. We’re working on a Google Doc for you to report students to campus administration with two (2) OR more permanent zeroes in the grade book. Teachers are expected to communicate with parents about the progress of their child and give suggestions to improve their performance BEFORE permanent zeroes are given to students. 
  • Parent Communication – please enter your parent communication into Aware under the Journal tab. This will help us keep track of our efforts with parents. Let us know if you need help with this. 
Staff Meeting - TODAY January 12th @ 3:30pm
All teaching staff be sure you have made arrangements to attend. 3rd & 4th Grade ELAR teacher may attend the Make & Take session with Kristen Weichel today.

Benchmark Testing
Our dates for benchmark test (aka Mock STAAR) are as follows:
  • 4th Grade Writing - February 3 & 4
  • 3rd & 4th Grade Reading - February 10 
  • 3rd & 4th Grade Math - February 12
With having a break between the Reading & Math tests, I understand this schedule doesn't give students a true picture of the STAAR.... however we have several factors influencing our campus: TCEA conference, Writing Camp for 4th Grade, and Quarterly Report Due to TEA on our improvement plan. 

We'll have a "Closed Campus" on February 10 & 12 means no outside visitors nor specials on these days. So it will be critical to communicate with students and parents about the dates for closing the campus due to testing. Be sure to communicate via newsletters, social media, remind accounts, etc.

Tutoring
We're in talks about starting up tutoring again for this month. The current plan (which is subject to change) is start with 4th Grade Writing only on January 20th and continue through February 12th. Afterwards, we'll start with 3rd & 4th Grade Reading/Math on February 17th. The days for each session will be once again on Tuesday/Thursday. We'll have more of a plan by the end of this week. Please hold on the communication with parents until we have firm plans in place.

Student Voice (#StuVoice)
What are you're students dreams, goals, and ambitions this year? Are you listening to them? Can we do something to help? Can we allow their voice to impact what happens at school? Watch this video below and listen to what these students have to say about their ambitions for 2015.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Highlights from the #RLChat


There were over 500 tweets yesterday from educators in our area & others from the Community Schools Transformational Alliance (CSTA). The CSTA includes districts like Community ISD, Sunnyvale ISD, Commerce ISD, and more. If you've never participated in a Twitter Chat... here's the way it goes.

#1 - There's questions about topic for each person to write a response.
#2 - The questions are labeled and organized like so for each Tweet... Q1, Q2, Q3
#3 - The answers to each question are also labeled and organized likewise... A1, A2, A3
#4 - Each participant must include the hashtag in their answers so their tweets show up in the feed... #RLChat

If you didn't get a chance getting onto Twitter yesterday for the Revolutionizing Learning #RLChat - I created a Storify to help you see the great discussion from yesterday. Perhaps you'll learn a few things about the value of being a "connected educator". (Here's the link to the original Storify post)

Save the date for next Thursday @ 8:00pm CST and participate in the next Twitter chat with #RLChat!


Monday, January 5, 2015

ENews 01.05.2015

Welcome back to school and to a new year! I hope you've had a restful and enjoyable Christmas break. I spend lots of time in the kitchen and Santa brought me a Pioneer Woman Cookbook... I was very excited!

It's time to hit the ground running again with another edition to the ENews. Before I get started, I would like to point out some updates to the blog (if you're viewing this on a mobile device, you may not be able to view these updates unless you select "View Web Version").

First, I've added an Countdown Event Badge from EdcampAwesome to the blog on the side menu. Be sure to register if you haven't already. Remember, any staff member who registers for the event will be entitled to ONE jeans pass... and if you attend EdcampAwesome, you will receive FOUR additional jean passes. So, click here and register for the BEST professional development experience ever! I love Edcamps ... and I love them so much I did a blog post last year about them on my personal blog (thedigitalprincipal.com). Click here if you want to read/watch it.

Second, I've also added our Scott Activity Calendar AND it's a link at the top of the blog. You can check out our upcoming dates to help you plan for future events, field trips, parent nights, etc. Be sure to visit with Martha if you need something added to the calendar.

Monday - Welcome Back to School!
  • 3:30pm - Good News Club

Tuesday - Have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday 
  • 5:00pm - Chickfila Spirit Night
Thursday
  • Math Training with Valerie James in Conference Room
  • 2:00pm - ARD (Bright, Worley, Todish)
Friday - Enjoy the Weekend

Reading Instruction
Guided Reading books have been organized in the 4th Grade pod by reading level. Teachers will develop groups based on student's instructional reading level. Reading groups will meet daily. Lower level readers will meet every day while higher level readers will meet at least 2x per week.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 75% of their goal by this Friday. If you notice someone who really needs help, please let me know. We will continue to monitor and encourage students to make weekly targets and a comprehension score of at least 80%. Nita Green is meeting with our targeted 3rd and 4th grade student to ensure they have a book on their reading level each day.

Students should be asked to take home a book every night and read for 20 minutes. Be sure to communicate with parents about their child's AR point goal and their progress toward reaching that goal.

***I'm so excited about our reading levels this last week. EVERY homeroom class has been doing an amazing job getting students to read and take AR quizzes. During the last week, we had an increase of passed AR tests from 20-50% in every class. Most classes have taken over 100 quizzes during this grading period and many classes have many, many, many more. It's obvious that Scott Elementary students are reading! Keep up the good work teachers!!***

Mathematics
1st & 2nd Grade - Lone Star Daily Rigor is being used with students each week.
3rd & 4th Grade - Math GPS is being used to help students weekly. Teachers should be on week 30-35 this week. We must maintain this pace in order to finished by testing time.

Think Through Math (TTM) for Grade 3-4 - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. Letters have been sent home during the first report card to parents. Remember that there's an app for TTM and it can be used on the iPad.

Professional Development
Remember Valerie James is available for demonstration lessons so be sure to ask her to visit your classroom for additional support as needed. Each week, you're working with Valerie to determine words students must know to be successful. These words are colored by strand and should be posted on the word wall. Be sure to review them frequently with your students. Dr. Bright and I will be looking for these during our classroom observations and walkthroughs.

Kristen Weichel is working with ELAR teachers. She studies the unit IFDs and Assessments to bring materials and ideas for teachers to use during ELAR instructional time. She will also provide support for Guided Reading and is available to conduct demonstration lessons.


Gradebook Reminders 
Let's avoid challenging conversations about grades with parents and be sure to follow the Royse City Grading Guidelines. Here's a couple of reminders:
  • Record Grades Weekly - Grade should be recorded weekly in the grade to afford parents & students the opportunity to view through parent portal. 
  • Late Work – this is accepted within five (5) days of the original due date. Be sure to record grades in a timely manner to allow parents to become aware of missing grades during the five (5) day period. Late work penalties do not apply to make up word from absences. 
  • Minimum number of grades – the district required a minimum of nine (9) grades throughout the six weeks. This includes grades for Science & Studies. You have the option to count assignments twice in the grade book. The same assignment that can be counts for Reading can count in Social Studies too. 
  • Unit Assessments – these will be counted in the grade book. Remember to provide intervention or tutoring before administrating a retest for unit assessments. 
  • Zeros – students have five (5) days to complete an assignment before it becomes a permanent zero in the grade book. We want to support you in motivating students in getting their work turned in on time. We’re working on a Google Doc for you to report students to campus administration with two (2) OR more permanent zeroes in the grade book. Teachers are expected to communicate with parents about the progress of their child and give suggestions to improve their performance BEFORE permanent zeroes are given to students. 
  • Parent Communication – please enter your parent communication into Aware under the Journal tab. This will help us keep track of our efforts with parents. Let us know if you need help with this. 
Staff Meeting Next Monday - January 12th @ 3:30pm
All staff members be sure to make arrangements to attend our monthly staff meeting.

ENews Special Edition Challenge
Congratulations to the following teachers who completed the ENews Special Edition Challenge: Bethany Bunnell, Christin Propst, and Heather Todish. I asked you to watch the video titled "What School Is Achieving-OutComes" from the Edutopia website. They will have their morning duty off this week! Be sure to checkout the previous blog post for some great resources for teachers.

Techninja's back at it again!
In a previous blog post, I told you that Todd Nesloney (@TechNinjaTodd) created the Summer Learning Series and it was being considered as the "Best Open PD/Web Conference/Webinar Series" by The Edublog Awards. Well I'm happy to say that he was awarded that distinction ... if voted for him of course ... and now he's doing another web-based PD for educators.

It's called Educator Learning Series with the hashtag #EduLS. You can read more about this series and work the challenge on the blog - http://educatorlearningseries.blogspot.com/. I will let you know when there's an update because I'll be completing the challenges myself again.


Blog Contributors
I would like to thank Christiana Finch (@christianafinch) who has written several postings on our staff blog recently. Here are a list of the her most recent postings in case you've missed them:
I'm happy to add other contributors to our staff blog. We learn best from each other. If you would like write yourself or nominate someone to guest blog for our staff sometime, please let me know. Each person has something to share and I would be so thrilled to have others sharing on this blog too. Think about it!

Teacher of the Month
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. 

Articles in Your Mailbox
Recently, I was blessed by Judy Caskey with some educational articles and decided to share TWO with you and placed them in your mailbox. As I read them, I underlined key points in the articles... you could simply read my lines and get main points. One article is about class discussions with a focus on Math instruction AND the other challenging student behavior. 

As I read the second article, I thought about a few of "Scott Scholars" specifically. The author gives tips on what their staff did to help support their challenging scholars... verbal check-in, creating safe corners with cushy beanbag pillow or chairs, a calming box with moldable putty inside, etc, etc. And sometimes those things didn't work either. The educators working with a specific kid had many people working with her... teachers, principals, psychologists, counselors, specials educators, behavior specialists, you name it! These talented and skilled educators would meet, develop, and implement a behavior plan and it worked... sometimes. The student would experience "setbacks" - as the author described it - with the plan and the educators would meet again to develop another one. 

This one sentence from the article touched me, "It would be wonderful to report that Jane rapidly turned the corner again and was participating appropriately every moment of her day, but it's far more truthful to share that despite any setbacks she may experience, her growth and learning are being supported by educators who just won't give up on her."

I have personally witnessed several of you who refuse to give up on our kids - especially while working with some of our most challenging students. I read this article not necessarily learning something new, but instead I was reaffirmed that the work you all daily is worth it. I'm so fortunate to work with teachers that won't give up on students... no matter what! So read the articles and I hope you'll be encouraged like I was.