Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Recruiting parents to help students secure higher test scores next week.


Teachers can encourage parents to help students secure higher test scores. Below is a message to parents, available in both English and Spanish, rewritten to help improve test scores next week.  It is part of the School Time Capsule Project and leads to the second and final letter after testing.

This involves parents writing a letter to their students encouraging them on these tests, and life in general as they write about their dreams for their child. On top of that parents write one story from their own life history. These letters should help student see life from a broader perspective. It will help them be more calm for the testing, doing their more confident best. 

You may use the attached text, reword it in any way you want, and/or put it on your stationary.  Or just print it as it is, with Spanish on one side and English on the other.  I hope this helps.  I regret that this is so last minute but the idea just took form today.  To work it needs to go home this weekend.

As many as 20% of students will not get letters in a well managed project. There other adults are recruited, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, other school staff to provide letters. In the best managed system all the students secure letters from someone. As the system ages year after year teachers will know where such support is needed. 

Bill Betzen, bbetzen@aol.com

 ===================== English version ====================
Help your child to get the best
test scores possible!
You may already have received, or soon will receive, a letter from your child. Your child will be writing to you asking for a letter back from you. Your child may also write letters to your parents or other relatives from whom they would like to receive a letter.

These letters to your child will be the best encouragement possible for your child before their testing. The letter your child is asking for is one about your dreams for them, encouragement for the tests, and one story from your history that you want your child to know. It is a story you would also like your child to pass on to their own children someday.

Hopefully you and the other relatives can finish the letters in time for the tests.  After the tests you child will bring the letters they received to school to be placed into the school time capsule. That same day your child will also write a letter to themselves with their own life plans.

This letter from your child is also a part of the Time Capsule Project that is driving the highest achieving & most rapidly improving Dallas ISD schools!

The letters are stored by grade in the large vault you may have seen in your child’s school. 
Right now the most important thing is encouraging your child with your dreams for their future, encouraging them to do well on these tests, and a story from you family history to help in encouraging your child.

You do not have to wait until you receive a letter from your child.  Write a letter to them now, before the testing next week. Have your child read your letter immediately.  Answer any questions they may have about what you have written.  Let them know you are in this with them!

Again, encourage them to rest the night before the testing, and then do their best on their tests. 
===================== Spanish version ====================
Ayude a su hijo a obtener los mejores resultados posibles en sus exámenes!

Es posible que ya haya recibido, o pronto recibirá, una carta de su hijo. Su hijo le escribirá pidiéndole una carta suya. Su hijo también puede escribir cartas a sus padres y otros familiares de quienes les gustaría recibir una carta.

Estas cartas a su hijo serán el mejor aliento posible para su hijo antes de su prueba. La carta que su hijo está pidiendo es una sobre sus sueños para ellos, animo para las pruebas y una historia de su historia familiar que desea que su hijo sepa. Es una historia que también a usted le gustaría que su hijo le pase a sus propios hijos algún día.

Con suerte, usted y los otros parientes pueden terminar las cartas a tiempo para las pruebas. Después de las pruebas, su hijo traerá las cartas que recibió a la escuela para colocarlas en la cápsula del tiempo de la escuela. Ese mismo día, su hijo también escribirá una carta para ellos mismos con sus propios planes de vida.

¡Esta carta de su hijo también es parte del Proyecto Time Capsule que impulsa las escuelas de Dallas ISD de más alto rendimiento y más rápido crecimiento!

Las letras se almacenan por grado en la caja fuerte que tal vez a visto en la escuela de su hijo.

En este momento, lo más importante es motivar a su hijo con sus sueños para su futuro, alentar para que les vaya bien en estos exámenes, y una historia de su historia familiar para ayudar a alentar a su hijo.

No tiene que esperar hasta que reciba una carta de su hijo. Escríbale una carta ahora antes de las pruebas de la próxima semana. Haga que su hijo lea su carta de inmediato. Responda cualquier pregunta que puedan tener sobre lo que ha escrito. ¡Hágales saber que usted está en esto con ellos!

Una vez más, aliéntelos a descansar la noche antes de la prueba, y luego que hagan su mejor esfuerzo en sus pruebas.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Quintanilla Class of 2008 10-year Reunion, May 9th 6-7

The 8th grade Class of 2008 is being welcomed back to Quintanilla on Wednesday, May 9th, from 6 to 7 in the Quintanilla Cafeteria, remodeled since 2008.  Presentations will begin at 6:15 pm regarding the May 23rd morning Career Day events.  Would you like to talk with Quintanilla Students about life after 8th grade and your career choices, giving the advice you wish you had received a decade ago?

Come with your ID so you can pick up the letter your wrote in 2008 to yourself in 2018 with your dreams and plans.  If it is impossible for you to join with us on May the 9th, after that date you can connect with Ms. LaShonda Roberson who was a science teacher some of you may remember.  She is now the Quintanilla Librarian.  After May the 9th she will have the remaining letters not yet picked up. They remain in the Library at Quintanilla.  Just come during school hours and bring your ID to pick up your letter but only after May the 9th.  Ms. Roberson's email is LaRoberson@dallasisd.org

See you on May the 9th at 6 pm.  I hope to be there by 5:30 pm to begin handing out letters. Bring your ID.   The reunion is in the Cafeteria at Quintanilla.

Former Computer Applications Teacher,

Bill Betzen
bbetzen@al.com

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Beginning a School Time Capsule Project

A School Time Capsule Project can be started within a few weeks in any school serving grades from 3 through 12. It only requires a principal and staff who want to see over 80% of the parents of their students actively involved. They become involved by writing letters to their child both recording their dreams for their students and writing family history stories they want their child to pass on to grandchildren someday.


Two annual writing projects in Language Arts Class achieve these goals. The first is a letter written by students to their parents and other important adults in their life.  That letter asks for a letter back to the student answering two questions of the adult: 1) "What are your dreams for me?" and 2) "Will you write me a story from your history that you want me to pass on to my children someday?"

About two weeks after that first letter, when most students will have received and studied the letters received back from all the people they wrote to, the second writing project happens.  It involves the students writing a letter to themselves about their own futures.

All these letters are then placed into one self-addressed envelope for each student.  These envelopes are then placed into the School Time Capsule, usually a 500 to 700-pound vault located in a central location in the school lobby.

Before these writing projects each year students and parents are given back the letters they wrote the year before. Children change a lot in one year. The quality of the letters almost always improves year to year.  It is good for both parents and students to see those changes reflected in their letters.

The only big change in the annual letter writing is in the 8th and 12th grades when students, and everyone writing to them, write letters planning dreams for a decade into the future.  These are the letters that remain in the vault for a decade.  At their class 10-year reunion these letters are returned.


We are now planning the 4th such reunion at Quintanilla Middle School which, after 14 years of the School Time Capsule Project, is one of the highest performing middle schools of all 33 DISD middle schools. 

The reunions are always planned a week or more before Career Day so that the returning former students can volunteer to speak that day with current students about their lives after middle school and how they chose their professions.

As students become more future-focused they also become more well-motivated. Behavior problems decrease. The School Effectiveness Indices (SEI) scores for all schools with active Time Capsule Projects have risen this past decade to be among the highest in all of Dallas ISD.  See more details about progress in Time Capsule Project Schools in this report filed last November: http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2017/11/school-time-capsule-project-update-11-6.html

To begin this project you must simply schedule the two writing projects for all students in all grades. Plans to secure a vault must be made, but you do not need the vault to begin. It only needs to be secured before the next school year. A 43 cubic 700-pound vault is now recommended, but if your school has classes closer to only 100 students each, a smaller vault will be adequate.  We are currently ordering the 700-pound 43 cubic vault from Costco.com that sells for $900, online at https://www.costco.com/Cannon-43.8-Cu-Ft-Executive-Series-Safe%2c-60-min-Fire-Protection.product.100341405.html  Smaller vaults are available but this vault gives potential for growth in the amount of materiel students can store in their letters. Larger envelopes can be used to allow all the letters to be collected for storage until the 10-year reunion.

Below are examples of directions recommended for students for the writing of that first letter to their parents, and other adults in their lives such as grandparents.  They were written using  https://readable.io/text/ so that they are written for three different reading levels.

***************************************
Directions for 3rd through 5th grade students for the first Time Capsule Project writing lesson:

What are your dreams for me?  
Time Capsule Project Letter Student Directions
Elementary School  3-8-18

Write a letter to each of the most important adults in your life. Write to your parents, grandparents, other relatives, or even school staff.    

Ask them to write you a letter telling their dreams for you.

Ask them to write one story from your family’s history. It can be a story they want you to someday tell your own children. 

Your parents and/or relatives will finish their letter. Read it with them. Ask them questions so you can best understand their letter. 

Bring the letters you have received to school. Bring them on the day your teacher says you will write a letter to yourself. In this letter write your dreams for your own future.

Place all these letters into one envelope. Put your name and home address on the envelope.

Your envelope will return to you in one year.


***************************************
Directions for 6th  through 8th grade students for the first Time Capsule Project writing lesson:

What are your dreams for me?  
Directions for the first Time Capsule Project letter
Middle School 3-8-18
Write a letter to each of the most important adults in your life. Write to your parents, grandparents, guardians or other relatives. You may even write to school staff you may be close to.  Write to adults from whom you would like a letter describing their dreams for you.  

You may write your letter in any language.

You will write such letters each year.  You change a lot in one year.  You will write letters to the adults observing your changes.  They will describe how their dreams for you have changed as you change.

Ask them to each write one story from your family’s history. It can be a story about themselves or any relative.  It should be a story they consider valuable. It should be a story they want you to pass on to your children someday.  

When your parents and/or relatives finish their letter, read it at home with them. Ask them questions so you understand it.  The goal is for you to understand the letter.

Bring all the letters you have received to your Language Arts Class. Do this on the day planned to write a letter to yourself. On that day your teacher will give you an envelope. It will hold all the letters you have received. Place your name and address on this envelope. You will then write a letter to yourself about your own plans for the future.

You will also place the letter you write into this self-addressed envelope.  You will place that envelope into the School Time-Capsule.  This will happen each year until you graduate.

Every year you will receive back this envelope with your letters. The only differences will be in the 8th and 12th grade. Those years you will write letters planning your life 10-years into the future.  Those same years the relatives writing to you will also describe their dreams for you 10-years into the future. These 10-year letters will remain inside the school time capsule for 10 years.

In 10 years your class will have a 10-year reunion. At that reunion you will receive these envelopes back. School staff will invite you to speak with the then current students in your former middle school.  You will give your recommendations for success to them. You will describe life after middle school.


***************************************
Directions for 9th through 12th grade students for the first Time Capsule Project writing lesson:

What are your dreams for me?  
Directions for the first Time Capsule Project letter
High School Students 3-8-18
Write a letter to each of the most important adults in your life. Write to your parents, grandparents, guardians or other relatives. You may also write to school staff you may be close to.  Write to adults from whom you would like a letter describing their dreams for you.  

You may write your letters in any language.

You will be writing such letters each year.  You change a lot in a year.  You will write letters to the adults observing your changes.  They will describe how their dreams for you have changed as you change.

Ask them to each include one story from your family’s history in their letter. It can be a story about themselves or any relative.  It should be a story they consider valuable. It should be a story they want you to pass on to your children someday.  

When your parents and/or relatives finish their letter, read it with them. Ask them questions so you understand it.  The goal is for you to understand the letter.

Bring all the letters you have received to your Language Arts Class. Do this on the day planned to write a letter to yourself. On that day your teacher will give you an envelope. It will hold all the letters you have received. Place your name and address on this envelope. You will then write a letter to yourself about your own plans for the future.

You will also place the letter you write into your self-addressed envelope.  You will place that envelope into the School Time-Capsule.  This will happen each year until you graduate.

Every year you will receive back this envelope with your letters. The only differences will be in the 12th grade. That year you will write a letter planning your life 10-years into the future.  Your senior year the relatives writing to you will also describe their dreams for you 10-years into the future. Your senior year letters will remain inside the school time capsule for 10 years.

In 10 years your class will have your first 10-year class reunion. At that reunion you will receive these envelopes back. School staff will invite you to speak with the then current students in your former high school.  You will give your recommendations for success to them. You will describe life after high school.  You will give the recommendations you wish you had received. You can also talk about the recommendations you did receive and now regret not having followed.

But for now, plan the future you want and describe how you will achieve it.