Degan Elementary Eagle Eye

November 16-20

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Avengers: Age of Degan--No Excuses!

I want to start by saying how much I appreciate the information you shared from our virtual staff meeting this week. It will really help me as I see how we can continue to make our RtI process make a difference for our students and not so burdensome on you.

I also appreciated your honesty about stress. As I have shared with you before, I was never going to be a principal. The main reason was because I saw the impact that these kinds of demands had in the health of friends and family members who were principals. It wasn't until I felt that I could effectively manage the challenges of stress before I could even consider this type of role.

I think that in today's day and age, even the role of a teacher, especially at a Title I school, there is increased demand. I think that is why it is so important to become mentally strong in managing challenges. The truth is our students are always going to have high needs and there will never seem like there is enough time. So what can you do?

  • Remember, that it is always about growth, not perfection. We are human and we can only do so much. We can't compare ourselves to others because none of us has exactly the same situation. All we can do is try to learn and improve each day. I love the idea of seeing situations as challenges I will overcome eventually, not insurmountable problems. They are just events that I haven't conquered....YET!
  • When you feel like you are not doing enough "teaching", remember that the time you spend building relationships with your students is the most powerful teaching you can do. Students learn more from teachers they like and respect. When you have that relationship, you are teaching them valuable lessons about life and sowing the path for future academic learning. If when we are teaching, we are using our tools to teach to the rigor of the standards, students will learn what they need to learn.
  • Train your brain to not take things personally. A student's actions, a parent's email, a colleague's is just an event. It doesn't become positive or negative until you add your interpretation. Jon Gordon says E+P=O. Events are not positive or negative, but when we add our Perception, we determine the Outcome. Practice each day seeing events as just event. The less negative perception you add, the less likely you are to perceive the event as a stressor.
  • Take care of yourself. If you don't, the time that you spend sick just causes additional stress when you have to miss time with students. Eat well, sleep well, take care of you! It is time well spent.
  • A wise man who had a significant role in shaping my career always used to say Faith, Family, Job. I think if you are always filtering this way, it helps to keep things in perspective. I do know that for most of us, "job" isn't so much more. It is our purpose and mission in life so it doesn't really have a stopping or starting time. I think that is okay, as long as you continue to remember that a "purpose" isn't about the "stuff" and the "tasks" it is about the people.

Thank you for all you do. Thank you for working to develop that habit of eliminating stress in your life and living in the growth mindset.


Response to Intervention

Thank you for your great questions. Design Team met extensively on this last week and will be looking to develop a plan to provide everyone with more clarity in the process.

Here are a few answers to questions that were posed last week:

Is RtI for behavior?

Absolutely. If you have a student whose behavior is in significant need, and you need to do interventions beyond what you do for all students, we need to document this through RtI

If we develop interventions for a student who is showing Tier I on Istation but dropped in their score, do we need to do RtI?

You would only need to go to RtI for a student who is performing at the level expected if you are having to do interventions over several weeks to keep them performing at the Tier I level. These interventions are usually minor and involve mostly just a conversation to get the student moving forward. If you do it one cycle, and it works, I would say you are good. I would always recommend you keeping your documentation on any interventions you provide, just in case you need this at some point down the line.

How do you document something like "future story"? Can this be in a RtI plan?

Absolutely. It is a research-based intervention. Document the date you did it and the result of the interaction. Did the student show increased self-confidence and motivation in the task or not? Make a note of what happened. This will let you know if it is a worthwhile intervention for this student.

The article mentioned pulling students during Fine Arts, is this an option?

Yes, it could be an option (other than PE where structured activity movement minutes are required by law). However, for many students, these are the classes that students enjoy most and feel most successful. Before you do this, you must consider the cost/benefit. You must also discuss this with the CAMP teacher as the student couldn't come and go from this class as it would be disruptive to learning. If this is something you deem necessary for a student's success, let's talk about it.

How often should I have an RtI meeting?

This is a good question. Federal law gives recommendations for timelines, but this is for guidance, not a requirement. The purpose of timelines is to give an opportunity to measure and see if interventions are working.

  • Start RtI if you are consistently doing interventions for a student to help them be successful.
  • Only move on to the next RtI Tier if the student is not showing growth. If the student is growing, interventions are working and should eventually close the gap. If the growth is slow, the student will likely level out, and you will need to move forward. The data you collect with your interventions will be powerful in helping with decision-making.

How long should the RtI Process take?

Response to Intervention does not have an end goal of a special education referral. The intent is that if interventions work, a referral never takes place. If a significant disability exists like Autism or Intellectual Disability, it can go very fast. Because Learning Disabilities are very ambiguous and subjective, they take longer to determine they exist and require significant data.

Please know that we always need to do what is best for students. We always want to use research-based interventions, and that there are no black and white answers. We can, however, work through this together. Always come and ask questions if you are unsure.

I Choose Thankful

I love this video. It helps me remember all the blessings I have and that the challenges I face only make me stronger. More than anything I want you to know how thankful I am for each of you and all you do to make the world a better place through the powerful impact you have on our students. They are the future...and you touch it! Many blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving season.
Thankful Video I Choose Thankful

Week at a Glance

Bullying Prevention Week

PTA Bookfair Week

November 16th-Progress Report Grades due 10 am

November 17th-Chipotle Night

November 18th-Vanessa @ Learning Leaders 8-4

Picture Retake

Shield Party

November 19th-Think College Thursday--College Gear and Jeans/Flip Flops (Please advertise and encourage college shirts with students!

5th Grade Bullying Performance 2 pm

PTA Meeting/5th Grade Performance

November 20th-Club Friday 5th/Kinder

November 21st-29th Thanksgiving Break

On Deck:

Sonic Fundraiser

Staff Meeting

Think College Thursday

Advisory Council

Club Friday 4th/2nd

Nutcracker Performance

Vanessa Gone to Learning Forward Conference in Washington D.C.

Eagle Assessments

Cane's Night

Thnk College Thursday

Design Team

Club Friday 3rd/1st

End of 2nd 3 Week Grading Period for 2nd 9 Weeks

Huffines Band Performance


Zoe's Fundraiser Night

Data Meetings

Staff Meeting

Think College Thursday

Christmas Parties

Polar Express Day

Early Dismissal Day

We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares them for college. When schools exhibit a culture of universal achievement by believing in students, they collaborate around that belief. During collaboration, they align their standards as a team. As teams align standards, they need to assess the standards and manage the data. Then, and only then, can they pursue meaningful interventions with their students.