Curriculum Courier

For the week of October 31, 2014


“Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. “

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Assessment: Debbie Youngs


In talking with ACT, no testing deadline dates for the paper and pencil version of ACT Aspire are available. Per their representative, no dates will be posted until after the fall testing is completed. The projected date for spring testing information is late January/early February. The only information given was that the window is between April 6th - May 29th. If we are allowed a choice of dates, please send me a couple of testing weeks during the window that you would prefer. Thanks!


ACT has sent information regarding upcoming training to principals. Please forward this information to your ACT + Writing testing coordinator.


The updated, detailed Calculator Policy is attached.


8th Grade Math and Algebra I – Each learner will need a graphing calculator.

Biology – 5 learners to 1 calculator ratio; calculator may be a four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator.

Please let me know by November 14th if you do not have enough calculators. Please send me the number needed.


The results from the 9/13/14 CogAT testing (parent/educator nomination and those new to district) are being printed today. We have been working with Riverside to accomplish this goal for over a month and will have the results to your CogAT testing coordinators by tomorrow. The letter that goes home with the results is attached to this Courier and posted on the website under CogAT. It is titled “Parent Letter to Go Home with Assessment Results.” Please send the results home this Friday, 10/31/14.


Typically, the start of a new state assessment brings a drop in scores with increases following over the next few years. With STAAR, this has not been the case. Scores have not shown the expected increase and have, for the most part, flatlined. This article provides interesting information about this unusual phenomenon.


11/4: CBE Grade Level and Course Acceleration (after school)

11/18: CBE and Grade Level and Course Acceleration (after school)

(Date Goes Here)

Dear Parent,

Recently, your child took the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). CogAT is a standardized multiple-choice test, which assesses verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal reasoning skills.

The Verbal Battery measures a child’s ability to remember and transform sequences of English words, to understand them, and to make inferences and judgments about them.

The Quantitative Battery tests the child's understanding of basic quantitative concepts and relationships that are essential for learning mathematics. Tasks measure both the understanding of relational concepts and the learner’s ability to discover relationships and to figure out a rule or principle that explains them.

The Nonverbal Battery measures reasoning using pictures and geometric shapes. This reduces the impact of language on the learner’s score. The Nonverbal Battery also appraises the learner’s ability to use her/his cognitive resources in new situations.

The scores are reported in terms of standard age scores (SAS), percentile ranks, and stanines. The standard age score describes a learner’s performance relative to other students who are the same age. The average SAS score is 100 and about 64% of students score between 84 and 116. The percentile rank describes a student’s rank relative to a group of students in the same age group, within two months of age. If a student who is eight years and three months of age at the time of the test scored at the 70th percentile and we lined up 100 students in the same age group from across the nation—69 would have scored below the student, and 30 would have scored higher. Lastly, stanines range from one to nine, with higher numbers indicating higher performance. Stanines are based on a student’s percentile rank.

According to the State Plan for Gifted Education, school districts are required to collect three data points, both quantitative and qualitative, to support a need for gifted and talented interventions for each learner being considered. CogAT scores are only one piece of the assessment profile. Other data is being gathered and campus Gifted and Talented Committees will be meeting to review each learner’s assessment profile. Final results will be sent no later than November 17, 2014.

If you have questions about your child’s CogAT scores, please contact your campus GTi Specialist.

Thank you,

(your name)

Advanced Academics: Deana Harrell

PBL Campuses

We have the opportunity to host Kevin Gant (former New Tech Network PBL Coach) in January of 2015. Kevin has agreed to spend two days with us training both campus administrators and a small team of campus educators in the PBL process. The training has been scheduled for January 23rd and 24th (please note this is a Friday and a Saturday). If you are interested in attending, please complete the google form attached. Questions? Contact Deana Harrell

PBL Training with Kevin Gant

Sexual Abuse Training

Here is another option for educators, who couldn't get through Darkness to Light. This programs was developed by the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, it is TEA compliant, and not as intense as Darkness to Light.

Educators will need to go to:

Region 10 (

Click on On Line Learning Center

Click on Courses

Click on Compliance Training Courses

Click on Let’s Talk About It: Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Other Maltreatment of Children


Elementary Principals

As part of our Gifted and Talented Services changes, we will not be administering the Cogat this year to all Kindergartners. As you know, Texas state law requires Gifted and Talented identification of Kindergarten learners before March 1st. This year our GTi Specialists and Kindergarten educators will co-facilitate planned experiences (similar to Think Tanks) to identify indicators of giftedness in authentic settings. Cogat assessment for Kindergartners will occur ONLY if additional data is needed. (Sneak preview – Cogat will be administered at 1st grade from 2015-2016 forward.)

Please share the following dates and times with your Kindergarten Educators. The sessions will be facilitated by the GTi Specialists in that feeder pattern, but Kindergarten educators can choose to attend whichever date works best in their schedules.

October 23rd from 3:30-5:30 at Lakeside Elementary (North Feeder Schools) - Completed

October 28th from 3:30-5:30 at Pinkerton Elementary (West Feeder Schools)

October 30th from 3:30-5:30 at Mockingbird Elementary (East Feeder Schools)

Elementary GTi Meetings are scheduled for the following dates/locations:

November 13th – 8:30-3:30 at Lee Elementary

December 11th – 8:30-3:30 at Wilson Elementary

January 22nd – 8:30-3:30 at Denton Creek Elementary

February 12th – 8:30-3:30 at Mockingbird Elementary

March 19th – 8:30-3:30 at Lakeside Elementary

April 9th – 8:30-3:30 at Town Center Elementary

May 21st – 8:30-3:30 at Austin Elementary

June 2nd – 8:30-3:30 at Pinkerton Elementary


Counselor meetings have been set for the year. Please see the dates below.

Elementary Counselors Secondary Counselors- Administration Building

November 20th from 8:30-11:30 November 20th from 12:00-3:00

January 29th from 8:30-11:30 January 29th from 12:00-3:00

February 26th from 8:30-11:30 February 26th from 12:00-3:00

March 26th from 8:30-11:30 March 26th from 12:00-3:00

April 16th from 8:30-11:30 April 16th from 12:00-3:00

May 14th from 8:30-11:30 May 14th from 12:00-3:00

PBL Coaches

PBL Coaches are presenting at Parent University on Saturday, November 1st. Their focus is an overview of the PBL planning process and addressing parent’s Knows and Need to Knows.

PBL Coaches are eager to assist any educator looking to improve their learning design. Professional learning foci for the year include scaffolding strategies, design considerations for responding to learners, making projects more authentic and PBL Facilitation and Planning Tips. Please contact me to arrange professional learning on your campuses or feel free to reach out to the coaches directly.

Mathematics: Mary Kemper

Our Elementary Math Coaches have created tutorials for both Texas Go Math! and Think Through Math. The initial intended audience is the Content Specialists, to build their knowledge of the two resources; however, the tutorials may be shared with all educators utilizing Go Math! and/or Think Through Math. Those tutorials will be shared with Content Specialists later this week. Then, the Coaches will follow up with the Content Specialists individually for support.

Weekly Smile

Drabble by Kevin Faggan


All travel forms must be submitted a minimum of 30 days in advance of the requested travel dates. We are receiving lots of last minute travel forms at the last minute. If you have any questions about travel documentation, please read the travel section in the Coppell ISD Principal Manual.