Saturday, August 14, 2010


Attached is the District Discipline Matrix. We pretty much follow it to a T, so become familiar with it. We have Saturday School that teachers can assign (form attached), but please try to use consequences that can be enforced during the school day as your first line of defense. We have a HUGE number of suspensions of kids who fail to do Saturday School. Teachers are also allowed to assign In School Suspension (ISSP), but you need to go through the team to ensure that there are not too many kids in In-House. Each team is allotted 2 slots. I have also attached a referral form. This is used when a student needs disciplinary action that would result in suspension. The procedure is to send the referral to the grade appropriate vice principal. Unless it is a severe issue, please do not send the student. The vice principal will work the referral and put a copy in your box. We keep a DNA calendar (Do Not Admit) with our Outlook Calendar. I will show you how to access it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grading Practices

The suggested number of grades is three per week. That said, I want to emphasize that I would rather see few grades, but those grades really reflect a student's progress through the content than a gaggle of grades that just verify completion of assignments. In looking at correlations of grades to test scores, we had many incidents where no correlation existed. This is a tough issue--a kid works their tail off, is quiet and studious, but just can't pull a good grade gets padded. Other kids who are not our favorites may not get the same break. Be cognizant of this grading reality because it will happen without you realizing it. Really look at the PASS objectives and design lessons that will teach these objectives and will have assessments that really assess whether the kiddo is proficient. I encourage the use of mini-lessons and assessments for use in grade entry and I really like for the title of the grade (in Smartweb, our electronic gradebook) to reflect what the standard or objective was. When you look at your gradebook, it should give you picture of the student's mastery of the course content.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We have pretty limited resources. Each teacher gets a $100 Office Depot card. It is donated by a local business and sometimes they get it to us before school starts and sometimes not... We also have Title I and School Improvement funds. Title I budgets are set for this year, but School Improvement is still an option for supplies. All requests must be linked to reading and math, but with some creative wording, most requests are granted. Start making your lists with prices NOW because sometimes the turn around for when I get the School Improvement budget and when the plan has to be completed is very short. That said--a general plan for the year is a good idea because purchases in March are pretty much non-existent.

We do not have copy counts, so you do not need to budget for copies or laminating film. I also try and keep some basic supplies in the closet in my office which teachers are more than welcome to sort through.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day One with Kiddos

On the first day of school, kids will enter the building one grade at at time. The vice principals orchestrate this--teachers should be at their door ready for kids starting at about 8:45. If you have a first hour, you will distribute colored schedules to your students. It is critical that you ensure that no kiddo is in your class without a schedule. I would suggest that you have all students either stand and then sit when they get their schedule or hold up their schedules all at once to make sure you don't have any solo kids. I will call on the intercom (central sound) when I want teachers to send their DNE (Did Not Enter) schedules. These are schedules that do not have a live body to claim them. Jenny, you will send your 6th grade schedules to Mr. Schellenger. Linda, you will send your 8th grade schedules to me. Chrissa, you don't have an advisory so this doesn't apply to you. At the beginning of each subsequent class, make your kids hold up their colored schedule. If there is a kid that does not have a schedule, send him to the above adminsistrators. 7th grade schedules go to Mrs. Camp. In between classes, teachers post at their doors to monitor the halls and during the first week, help kids locate their classes.

On the first day, we orient kids to the school covering certain content in each timeblock. I will email you that grid directly and post a blog regarding each topic.

On Day Two with Kiddos, you will have to be very diligent about taking your roll for each period and double checking to make sure that no kids are in your room who are not on your rolls. Any kid that is not on your rolls needs to be sent to the grade level administrator. Do not accept them to class unless they have a schedule that is signed and dated by one of the office staff. Again, it sounds silly, but having kids all stand for roll call is a very effective way to track this. Every year I have a kid that sits in classes for a few days who is not active on a teacher's roll. The teachers will say, "Is there anyone who didn't get called," and they will sit like toads and not say a word. This is money for our district and determines if we keep or lose teachers--VERY IMPORTANT!!!

Day One--Teachers Report Back to School

Teachers report back Monday the 16th. Linda and Jennie will be at ACT training, Chrissa, just report to the building. Teacher day is 8:50 to 4:20 for preservice week. Dress is very casual during this time. The air is not working well, so shorts and t-shirts are very appropriate. There is colored bulletin board paper outside of the main office, but is housed in the art room during the school year. There is a laminator in the library.

Tuesday we have an optional breakfast at NW Baptist Church at 7:45. The church is right behind the school on 23rd. This is a fun event and they have great goodie bags for teachers. Afterwards, we will report to Taft for our orientation which will be in the auditorium. The afternoon and the following day are work days.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Welcome new 2010-2011 teachers!

Welcome to Taft Middle School! Taft has been a middle level center since 1930 and brings a wealth of tradition and history to the table. Taft has a student population of approximately 800 students who speak 9 different languages and represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds--Truly Taft is a melting pot! Taft has a teacher turnover rate of 1%. While it is hard work, we are more like a family than a staff. We truly look forward to you joining our family!