Principal Mackey’s Blog

TAG Family,
This is the final edition of the eNewsletter for the 2017-2018 school year.  Be on the look-out for summer eBlast info in mid-June, mid-July and mid-August.  Information or an event you would like to share with the entire TAG Family?   Email information submissions during the summer to edeltat@aol.com.  Have a great summer!


Principal Note for Current Families and Alumni Principal Note for New Families


Principal’s Note FOR CURRENT FAMILIES AND ALUMNI

Last week was a BUSY week! Not only did our students take AP and STAAR exams, but we also welcomed all of our new, incoming TAG families into the TAG family at our New Student Orientation. It’s amazing how quickly the school year flies by, as it feels like just yesterday that we were welcoming our current freshmen to TAG! Meanwhile, during all of the excitement, US News and World Report released their yearly rankings for ‘Top High Schools in America.’ This year, TAG was ranked as #11 in the nation, which is a phenomenal honor for all of our students, staff, and community. It’s always wonderful and welcome when outside organizations shine a bright light on the life-changing work that happens here at TAG day-in and day-out.

Now, I’m sure that many of you might see that and your first thought be “”What happened? I thought we were #1 or #4 and why do we keep falling?”” This is a completely valid question and it’s understandable to worry whether the school is falling in the rankings for any particular reason. However, let me assure you that even as US News and World Report changes its methodolgy and changes how it ranks, TAG is doing phenomenally by its students and continues to improve each and every year. As I have said before, if it ever comes time to make a choice between pursuing national rankings or doing what’s right for our students, we will choose to do what’s right for our students. For example, one of the changes to the methodology of how rankings are calculated now includes the straightforward percentage of students who pass the AP exams (last year we had 85% with every student taking all of their exams). We could very easily make this number 100%, instead of 85%, by simply not allowing students who don’t feel confident on the exam to take the exam, but we believe that this runs counter to the best interests of our students. All of our students have worked hard in their classes and deserve a chance to take their AP exams to earn credit.

Rankings alone never tell the whole story. That’s why we caution our students to look beyond rankings of colleges, and explore the programs and the outcomes, because rankings rarely tell the whole story. Over the same time frame that our US News and World Report Rankings have moved from #1 to #4 to #11, let me show with you some data that tells a much more impressive and much for complete story of the amazing work being done at TAG. Take a look at the chart below.

Unfortunately in America, where you have a school with a higher number of students coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, you have lower achievement. At TAG, we have seen the opposite occur. Over the past five years, EVERY academic achievement metric has risen. This is an outstanding testament to the quality of the work of our amazing students, dedicated teachers, and supportive community. These results coupled with our student’s experiences and outcomes are the true rankings that matter.

Regardless of what the rankings may say each and every year, I am proud to work here at TAG, a school that I believe is the best in the world and I look forward to continuing to help improve TAG every day and every year going forward!


Principal Note for New Families: Hello New TAG Family!

Hello New TAG Family!

It was so wonderful to see all of you last Wednesday evening at the New Student Orientation! Like I mentioned then, it’s always so much fun to meet and welcome our new students and families to the TAG family officially! We know that you received a LOT of new information and, as your parse through it all that you may have a lot of questions. In this note, I’m highlighting the items you’ll need to do between now and the end of summer. In the meantime, if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at TAG!

Summer To-Do List

1.) Fill out bus request form: tinyurl.com/townviewbus – Due May 30
2.) Mail or bring in enrollment packet (Enrollment packet + proof of residency, 8th grade report card, Immunization information, &Transcript (non-DISD school students only) – Due June 14
3.) Fill out the Flight School form (tagmagnet.org/flight-school) – Due June 14
4.) Summer Assignments – Due First Day of School!
5.) Have fun and enjoy your summer! Seriously!!! – Due All Summer Long
6.) Attend Flight School from July 30 – August 3

We are thrilled that you are joining our family and hope you enjoy a smooth end to the school year and wonderful summer vacation before school finally kicks off again in the fall!


Principal’s Note FOR CURRENT FAMILIES AND ALUMNI

Next week is a big week here at TAG with the advent of AP and STAAR exams beginning on May 7 and running through May 18. This time of year usually brings stress and worry for the forefront as students feel the pressure of the many exams that are breathing down their necks. I understand this, as these exams certainly are meaningful and often mean college credit that students can use towards their degree at whichever college they go to. At the same time, it’s important to remember that the majority of the hard work in preparing for these exams is done! Students – you’ve been working all year long towards success and now is the time for it to pay off!

So, during this AP/STAAR testing season, I want to encourage students to take a deep breath and remember that the hard work is already done. Go into these exams as calmly as possible and trust yourself and the level of work you put in during the year to pay off for you! And parents, please encourage your students to do the same, and to get a good night’s sleep and eat a hearty breakfast before each exam. Before we know it, the exams will be over and TAG Prom will be here on May 19th!!


Principal Note for New Families: Hello and Welcome (again!) to the TAG Family!

We are absolutely THRILLED that you will be joining us next year at TAG. Even though we’re still blazing forward at full speed in the current school year, we are already excited for you to join us in the fall! I know that a great many of you have plenty of questions about what you need to be doing, what to expect over the summer, and a million other topics. We will be hosting our New Student (and Family!) Orientation on Wednesday, May 9th from 6pm – 8pm at Townview. We really hope that we will see you all there!

The evening will consist of three sessions that you will rotate through:

(1) TAG Overview (Logistics, Transportation, Enrollment, Four-Year Schedule, and Q&A) with Mr. Mackey (Principal)
(2) Choosing Your Schedule with Dr. Jensen (Cluster Coordinator) and Ms. Marberry (Counselor)
(3) Meet the Teachers with all of your new teachers

During this time, you’ll receive all the information you will need and you will be able to get any questions you might have answered. You’ll also be able to mingle with current parents and students, purchase TAG Swag (spirit wear!), and join the TAG PTSA! I look forward to seeing each of you on May 9th and welcoming you to the TAG family! We will also have translators and translation services available for any parents who wish to hear the sessions in Spanish.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call our TAG office at 972-925-5970 or email me at bmackey@dallasisd.org.


May 1st, 2018

Can you believe it’s already mid-April?! Neither can we! By now, we’re flying full speed towards testing season and the end of the school year. We have finished our admissions season and have our class of students all settled for next year. It will be exciting to welcome this new and expanded class to TAG in the Fall. As I had mentioned during all of the question and answer sessions, we are actually gaining the ability to offer some interesting new electives for TAG students based on demand, including a Historical Deep-Dive into the 1960s with Ms. Malone, a literature elective called Apocolypse Wow with Ms. Greer, a ‘Math Behind the Board Games’ class by Ms. Lonon, and a Story Workshop Creative Writing elective with Ms. Wells. For those of you wondering who Ms. Lonon and Ms. Wells are, they are two of the new teachers who will be joining us at TAG next year. You can read their brief bios below in this blast!

When we look ahead to May, we have a ton of important timelines that are fast approaching that I’ve laid out below:

May 4: Civics Fair (TAG 9th Graders)
May 7 – 11: First Week of AP Testing and STAAR Biology (9th Grade) and STAAR US History (11th Grade)
May 9 (6pm – 8pm): New Student Orientation
May 14 – 18: Second Week of AP Testing and Senior Exams
May 19 (8pm – 12am): TAG Prom (Open to all grade levels!): City Club at the Top of the Bank of America Tower
May 21 (6pm – 8pm): Senior Banquet (Townview Commons)
May 23 (6pm – 7pm): Honor Society Inductions (Invited 11th and 12th Graders)
May 25: Seniors Last Day / TAG Graduation Rehearsal (9:30am), Graduation (7:00 PM) – UTSW Gooch Auditorium
May 29 – June 1: ACP Exams for 9th, 10th, and 11th Grader Students

Be on the lookout for more specific information regarding these dates as they get closer! Looking forward to seeing you at our final parent coffee and PTSA meeting of the year on May 4th in the Townview Library!

Best,
Ben Mackey, Principal, School for the Talented and Gifted (2.12.18)


News from 30th January, 2018

After coming back from the Winter Break to two four day weeks, it seems that everyone has finally shaken off the cobwebs and we’re back to normal around the halls of TAG. This is the time of year where extracurricular activities begin to ramp up and application season gets into gear. Before we know it, the fourth six weeks will be done and we’ll be in the home stretch of the school year.

I want to leave you all with just a few notes of upcoming opportunities and things to look out for as we move into the Spring semester. Soon, there will be numerous opportunities to volunteer with TAG. We always end up with some interesting field trips due to TAG-IT and will be in need of chaperones to help out. Along with this, we will be seeking interested parents to serve on our Title 1 Committee, which would involve a couple meetings where you would review our school data and determine areas for improvement and how we will spend the Title 1 funds provided by the government for our school. Both of these opportunities will become available for volunteers in our next newsletter!

As always, if you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the school! Thank you for all of your constant support.


News from 16th January, 2018

Last Saturday, I got to stand in the halls of TAG and watch as 106 prospective students calmly (and nervously!) walk through the halls of TAG for their application session. Standing there, I watched students from every conceivable background and every corner of Dallas amble from classroom to classroom. In that moment, it made me thankful for the incredible diversity that we are able to boast here at TAG. As the principal here, I can name all of the statistics of the student population here at TAG off the top of my head (did you know TAG families speak 34 different home languages?!). While the statistics themselves here at TAG are amazing, seeing so many phenomenal students from so many different backgrounds all here at TAG united with the common goal of getting an excellent education, puts everything into perspective.

Sure, TAG students will learn a lot from their teachers in all of their Pre-AP and AP classes. However, I have no doubt that students will learn even more from the peers around them who come from different backgrounds with different ideas and different beliefs. That is the learning that helps to set TAG apart. TAG students – don’t take for granted the uniqueness of the opportunity you have to go to school with so many talented, passionate, brilliant and driven classmates. Look for more opportunities to bring each other into the fold and expand your networks by talking to and interacting with those you might not usually spend time with. This is one of the many reasons we ask for all students to take advantage of participating with clubs and activities! When you see someone sitting alone at lunch go talk to them! If you have a question that you want to ask, ask someone new and you’d be surprised how many will be willing to help! Help continue to build the strength of our TAG family and it will pay you dividends the rest of your life! Best, Ben Mackey”


News from 30th January, 2018

After coming back from the Winter Break to two four day weeks, it seems that everyone has finally shaken off the cobwebs and we’re back to normal around the halls of TAG. This is the time of year where extracurricular activities begin to ramp up and application season gets into gear. Before we know it, the fourth six weeks will be done and we’ll be in the home stretch of the school year.

I want to leave you all with just a few notes of upcoming opportunities and things to look out for as we move into the Spring semester. Soon, there will be numerous opportunities to volunteer with TAG. We always end up with some interesting field trips due to TAG-IT and will be in need of chaperones to help out. Along with this, we will be seeking interested parents to serve on our Title 1 Committee, which would involve a couple meetings where you would review our school data and determine areas for improvement and how we will spend the Title 1 funds provided by the government for our school. Both of these opportunities will become available for volunteers in our next newsletter!

As always, if you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the school! Thank you for all of your constant support.


News from 16th January, 2018

I hope that you enjoyed a wonderful Holiday Break and that your 2018 is off to a fantastic start! Despite the freezing temperatures, the Spring Semester has gotten off to a great start here at TAG! Most of our seniors have finally breathed a sigh of relief as all their college applications are in, although now they face the hardest part of the application process – waiting to hear back!

As I’m sure most of you have made some New Year’s Resolutions, we here at TAG have done the same. Thanks to the help of our faculty and teachers, here are a few of ours:
– We will have bi-monthly newsletters sent out to our community for the entire year (except during the summer!)
– All communication in the newsletter and all application materials will be available in both English and Spanish
– We will have an active Alumni Association complete with an active board operating by the end of 2018

In that same way, I’d like to encourage all of our students to proactively look at their school experience and set New Year’s Resolutions for themselves. Maybe the aim is to join a new club or take an old club to a new level. Or, maybe there’s just that one class that needs a bit more focus. Whatever it is, students, be an active participant in your own development and education!

I look forward to a wonderful new semester with all of you! If you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


 News from 18th December, 2017

It’s amazing how quickly this semester has come to a close. Our students and staff have been working incredibly hard this semester and the upcoming winter break is well deserved!\n\nWhile many of us know this time of year as the Holiday Season, some of our seniors may know it as the College Season, as they have begun to hear back from colleges and universities around the country that they have applied to. Inevitably, this past week has been a roller coaster of emotion for many of our seniors. Some have heard back from colleges, some haven’t. Some got exciting news, others may have been disappointed. \n\nSeniors, as we continue forward into the break, please keep the following in mind. While college is certainly important and exciting, YOU are more important and exciting. A college decision, one way or another, does not change who you are, what you know, and what you stand for. You’ve put in hard work all of your years here at TAG and I’m proud to have gotten to know each and every one of you over that time. You will all go off to do incredible, powerful things, regardless of what acceptances, deferrals, or rejections you may have received or will receive. A decision, one way or another, does not define you!\n\nAs we head out into the break and get ready to kick off 2018, I’d like to challenge all of our students to take a moment and reflect on this past year. What were your successes? What made them possible? What can you strive to in the new year to make your high school experience more enriching? Perhaps it’s getting involved with a new club or going out of your way to make new friends. Maybe it’s really doubling down in a class that you’re struggling in or looking for a volunteer opportunity. We’ll be doing the same type of reflecting here at TAG for the new year. I’m proud to be the principal here at TAG and I speak on behalf of all of the TAG faculty when I say that I hope you have a wonderful winter break and we can’t wait to see you on January 9th (which, just a reminder, is a B-day!!)! Have a wonderful break


 News from 12th December, 2017

First, I want to wish all of you a very happy Holiday season! It’s amazing how quickly this semester has come to a close. Our students and staff have been working incredibly hard this semester and the upcoming winter break is well deserved!

While many of us know this time of year as the Holiday Season, some of our seniors may know it as the College Season, as they have begun to hear back from colleges and universities around the country that they have applied to. Inevitably, this past week has been a roller coaster of emotion for many of our seniors. Some have heard back from colleges, some haven’t. Some got exciting news, others may have been disappointed.

Seniors, as we continue forward into the break, please keep the following in mind. While college is certainly important and exciting, YOU are more important and exciting. A college decision, one way or another, does not change who you are, what you know, and what you stand for. You’ve put in hard work all of your years here at TAG and I’m proud to have gotten to know each and every one of you over that time. You will all go off to do incredible, powerful things, regardless of what acceptances, deferrals, or rejections you may have received or will receive. A decision, one way or another, does not define you!

As we head out into the break and get ready to kick off 2018, I’d like to challenge all of our students to take a moment and reflect on this past year. What were your successes? What made them possible? What can you strive to in the new year to make your high school experience more enriching? Perhaps it’s getting involved with a new club or going out of your way to make new friends. Maybe it’s really doubling down in a class that you’re struggling in or looking for a volunteer opportunity. We’ll be doing the same type of reflecting here at TAG for the new year.

I’m proud to be the principal here at TAG and I speak on behalf of all of the TAG faculty when I say that I hope you have a wonderful winter break and we can’t wait to see you on January 9th (which, just a reminder, is a B-day!!)!


 News from 21st November, 2017

Despite the warmish weather outside, we are hurtling towards winter break and the end of this first semester at light speed. The end of the semester means that we have a ton of events coming up for you to be aware of, from Christmas concerts to final exams. As we approach the holiday season, I want to take the time to say “Thank You!” on behalf of the entire TAG faculty and staff. Your support as parents, alumni, and community members means a ton for us. From volunteering your time chaperoning TREK or field trips, to taking on active roles in the PTSA, to stopping by at our TAG PTSA coffees, we are thankful for your help in making this school as wonderful as it is!

Please make sure to look through the rest of this newsletter for information on the Townview Winter Concert – a joint performance by the choir, modern band, and orchestra, final exam schedule, and other opportunities and events. If you have any questions or need anything at all, feel free to call us at the TAG office!


 News from 9th November, 2017

Can you believe that the first two six weeks of the TAG school year are already finished?! Thank you to everyone who was able to join us at the TAG Picnic on October 22. It was a ton of fun! As we hurtle towards Thanksgiving Holidays and Winter Break, I wanted to take a few moments to update you on some of the exciting things going on at TAG.

Seniors are currently finishing up any Early Decision college applications so, if you see a stressed senior, remind them to breathe and relax! Seniors, while we know some of you are so busy, please make it a point to thank your recommenders and counselor. They’ve been working overtime to write recommendations and work with you (and your classmates!) on these applications.

We’ve also begun the recruiting and application season for next year’s TAG class. Our application packet went live last week and we’re headed out to local middle schools across the metroplex to talk to prospective 8th graders about TAG. If you know any 8th grade students who may be interested in learning more about TAG, please direct them to our school and website!

One last, exciting piece of news, is that we are in talks with the University of North Texas at Dallas (UNTD) about the possibility of an exciting partnership with UNTD, Bishop Dunne Catholic School, and Verizon. This partnership would target 5 – 10 of our current juniors who are interested in focusing their senior thesis on forming a task force to identify a systemic problem in their community and develop and implement a plan to work towards its solution. This would include funding for the work and would, hopefully, grow into a project that interested students could carry on year after year. While we’re still working through the details, it’s still very exciting stuff and we’re excited to share more information with you and your students as we receive it.

Thank you again for all your support of our school. We hope to see you at the PTSA coffee tomorrow morning!