Curriculum Courier

For the week of January 23, 2015


“Every organization needs torchbearers. These are the people who discover new ideas, systems or innovations and champion the charge to have them implemented.”

– Bits & Pieces

Science: Linda Cook


The Sustainability Committee met on January 8th and decided that rather than participate in a district sustainability fair, they would prefer to participate in the Coppell City Earth Fest on April 11th. This will provide a larger and more authentic audience for our learners. The event will be held at Town Hall from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm on that date. Additional information will be forthcoming.


The focus of this month's science content specialists meetings will be teacher-student relationships and the impact on student achievement. We will also focus on culturally responsive teaching. Elementary Content Specialists will meet at Brock on Jan. 15th and Secondary Department Chairs will meet at North on Jan. 22nd. Both meetings will be from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm.

David Noel, CISD science instructional specialist, will be visiting K-12 science classrooms to observe instructional practices and will continue to meet with teachers during planning times, as needed. Please let David know when your educators will be having extended planning times so that he can assist with PBL, UbD and CBL design.

In response to our district science data dives, our campus science content leaders have focused on four areas: formative assessment, effective feedback, vocabulary strategies, and teacher-student relationships (including culturally responsive teaching).

This month’s science content specialists and department chairs meetings focused on teacher-student relationships as well as culturally responsive teaching. Please provide a time for you science content leader to share with your campus vertical science team within the next few weeks.

Next month our elementary content specialists will re-visit the topic of effective feedback and will bring constructivist experiences back to the campus. Secondary content leaders will focus on feedback through the lens of grading practices.

Libraries: Debra Marshall

So Many Books, So Little Time

For a bibliophile, book-a-holic like me, this is my favorite time of year. January is the month when all the best book lists for 2014 are published and the annual book award winners are announced at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter conference. I get giddy reading through the lists and finding both my favorites and new ones I missed along the way.

The ALA award announcement press conference is the Oscars of publishing, a gala affair with thousands in attendance. As each award is announced, the room erupts in screams and claps and loud celebration from avid fans of these beloved books from the previous year. What book will win the Newbery? (Brown Girl Dreaming) What book will win the Caldecott? (I have no idea, too many to decide) I will be at the announcements in Chicago, and I can’t wait! Follow me on twitter, @debramarshall, for updates, or better yet, have your class watch the live webinar! Monday, February 2, 8:00 CST

In the meantime, here are some honored “best book” lists you can check out to make sure you are on the cutting edge of the newest and bestest in children’s literature from last year. Our Wilson library either already has these books, or are being ordered for us. If you see one you’d like to try, let me know. And come talk books with me!

Hornbook Fanfare - This year’s Fanfare, the Horn Book’s list of the best books for children and teens published in 2014, has something for just about everyone.

School Library Journal - In 2014, more than 250 titles received an SLJ star;
from that group, 70 books were chosen by the review editors as the best of the best. From raucous read-alouds to off-the-wall adventure, there is something for everyone on this list.

Booklist Editor’s Choice 2014 Books for Youth - Committed to providing a broad selection of outstanding books that mixes popular appeal with literary excellence, the Books for Youth editorial staff has chosen the titles below as best-of-the-year nonfiction and fiction books and picture books.

Keep up with books and authors throughout the year and gain great teaching ideas. Log onto with your CISD email address for all the best in book guides, author videos, book readings, author websites and all things books from the internet.

Intervention Services: Rhonda Carr

Who is your ARD administrator? Who ensures your ARDs are legally compliant? Those are the people that you need make sure attend the 29th Annual Spring Conference on Special Education Law.

Register by January 31 to take advantage of a $30 per person early registration discount.

Hosted by TCASE and Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest, this conference is designed for special education directors, specialists and case managers, as well as superintendents, principals, school board members, and school attorneys.

Topics covered will include:

  • Top legal developments in special education;
  • Legal updates on bullying of students with disabilities;
  • Practical strategies and legal issues regarding student discipline in special education;
  • Special education evaluations; and.
  • Service animals on your campus.

Learn more and register today.

Language & Literacy: Heather Cato

What does the State say about good writing? Join us as we take a closer look at the STAAR Writing Assessment. While all are welcome, 3rd and 4th grade educators are encouraged to attend three after school sessions where we will look deeper into the expectations of the Narrative, Expository, and Editing/Revision portions of the test.

Educators can attend any combination of the following sessions:

Feb 3 – Expository

Feb 10 – Narrative

Feb 24 – Editing/Revision

All sessions will be 3:45 – 4:45 in the Austin Elementary Library.  

As many of you know we have been looking into some different spelling resources to use with our learners. Utilizing the work of last year’s Vocabulary and Spelling committee and the most recent training offered last fall on Word Work, the literacy coaches created a proposed grade-level spelling plan. This plan is grounded in the spelling lessons, that center upon spelling rules, from our current Reading Street textbook adoption.

At this time, we are encouraging educators to look over this resource and see where it may benefit the spelling work they are already doing in the classroom. While educators may choose to utilize a full implementation of this plan in place of what they are currently doing for spelling, it is not a requirement that they do so at this time. For those educators who do chose to utilize this resource, the literacy coaches will be calling upon them to provide feedback and insight into any adaptations that need to be made before we move forward with the task of creating lessons for the entire year.

On the Language and Literacy Google Site you will find more information, the guidelines, and all of the resources.

Social Studies & CTE: Jon-Eric Ziaer


Social Studies

Beginning this week, selected educators K-12 will be piloting Social Studies Instructional Materials. During this “window,” selected educators are asked to identify opportunities where they can utilize these resources in a way that will not disrupt the learning environment and schedule. The expectation is to attempt to use these resources as much as possible during this time period, but they are not expected to use them each day during the “window.” We are very excited about the possibilities to enhance our Social Studies learning experiences with these new resources. If you have an opportunity, please stop by and experience these products in action!

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

In February, Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD will be coming to Coppell High School to meet with Mr. Mike Yakubovsky and tour his STEM program. We are very excited to have this opportunity to share the many great things the STEM program are working on with one of our neighboring districts.

“Choose only to focus on the Present, for it is all we are guaranteed.”

Executive Director: Penny Tramel


The elementary training for educators new to our district for ESL will begin in February. We will have three modules in this training, with the first two modules being face-to-face, and the third module being implementation and feedback in the classroom. Each new educator to the district must attend one session from each module (with the understanding that the third module will not be a “meeting,” but rather, the educators’ implementation in their classrooms with feedback from the Elementary Facilitators. Educators new to our district may be excused from this training if they have a certificate showing they have had SIOP Training. The modules will be offered on the following dates and times. Educators should attend one session of each module.

Module A -Offerings February 10th and 12th from 3:30-5:30

Module B –Offerings February 24th and 26th

Module C –Ongoing throughout the spring, with the closing date for feedback being May 22.

Please have your educators this pertains to sign up in Eduphoria.


I will be forming a committee of parents, educators, and administrators to establish district parameters/guidelines for homework. We have varying views around this topic in our district. If you would like to serve on this committee, please email Melissa McGuire and I your name. I encourage you to serve if you have strong feelings or great knowledge about the topic of homework. In addition, we will need parents and educators across the district to serve. If you have an educator or parent to recommend, please email their names to Melissa and I, along with their contact information. The committee will begin meeting around the end of February and will meet until our work is done. I will say 3 or 4 times, however, it might be more depending on the discourse. Please call me if you have any questions about this committee.


It is never too early to nominate an exceptional educatorfor a SuperTeacher award. You can access the nomination form by clicking on the button below.

Weekly Smile

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson