"Super" Spruce Scoop

Volume 1 Edition 22

March 16, 2015

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T. T. H.

We have all seen the acronym S. M. H. (Shaking My Head). Please watch my video for a message to hear about the acronym we can create as a feeder pattern. We have talked about what people will do if we continue on the trajectory we are headed - Turning Their Heads. We are on our way to doing so!


At our feeder pattern principals' meeting, we discussed leadership and used various tools, articles and discussion to frame our thinking. Leadership comes in many forms and moves. We reviewed the Principal Performance Rubric and Executive Director Evaluation Rubric to make connections. Alignment was observed among the two instruments.

During our article study in which we used the Save the Last Word for ME protocol, we read about five practices that typically yield improvement in schools:

  1. Laser-like focus on what students need to learn
  2. Collaborate on how to teach content, map curriculum and design lessons
  3. Use results of classroom formative data to measure student progress
  4. Find patterns in data and use them to improve instruction
  5. Build relationships so that students trust teachers and teacher trust administrators

While these practices are not new, we discussed the variable which differentiate good from great - IMPLEMENTATION. Implementation is the key to any system or action to be put in place. Strong implementation with fidelity will lead to greatness.

Read Across America

District Principals' Meeting

Wednesday, March 18th, 1-5pm

3313 S Beckley Ave

Dallas, TX

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers

The Teacher Transfer Period is from March 2 through March 27. We all recognize that behind a successful school is a great principal. Just the same, behind a successful classroom is a great teacher. Please consider allowing your great teachers to serve as your recruiters as you work to fill positions for the 2015 -2016 school year. Let's allow them to surround themselves with colleagues who are as strong as them! Remember, an anticipated vacancy will allow you to fill a vacancy for the upcoming school year.

National School Reform Faculty

At our Spruce feeder pattern principals' meeting, we used a protocol to engage in an article study. You may recall, the protocol was pulled from the National School Reform Faculty (N.S.R.F.). The N. S. R. F. is a free resource with over 200 protocols which may be used to lead various types of meetings, etc. Here is the link to their website.

Master Schedule

We know school success is predicated on the work of teachers and the principal, however, a well-crafted master schedule creates the conditions for optimizing human capital. As you develop your master schedule, please think about the practices you know will leverage student success. While there are many ideas to consider, here a few examples to think about. Avoid scheduling mathematics at the end of the school day when possible. We have research that tells us students perform better in mathematics when instruction is provided prior to the end of the school day. Another example to consider, at the secondary level, placing students in cohorts or pods, provides a greater sense of community for students and it allows teachers to have common discussions on the social and emotional side of our students along with instructional needs. While we discussed many ideas at our feeder pattern meeting, a few listed above may spark your thinking about important nuances of a well-crafted schedule.

Kudos Go To...

  • Richard Lagow Elementary School - During my visit last week, teachers were consistently observed providing purposeful instruction with good levels of student engagement. Thank you to Ms. Clay, Ms. White, Ms. Garcia, Ms. Young and Ms. Newland. Your instruction is make a difference in the lives of our students!
  • Balch Springs Middle School - Ms. Bassett and the ELA teachers for their rich discussion during a PLC. They discussed the results of a common assessment with a specific conversation around misconceptions of questions from the assessment. See pic. to the right.

Other Information

  • Thank you to all of our Spruce Principals for holding Saturday School on March 21 and March 28! Our students missed several days of school, so the extra time will help get them the support they need. Think about incentives which will motivate our students to attend such as break and / or lunch, extra credit, spirit day attire. You are appreciated!
  • Well done to all of our principals who sent a survey out to their staff inquiring about their plans for next year. This is a good way to know their intentions.
  • A Job Fair will be held on March 21 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Please begin assembling your team and the marketing tools to sale your school.
  • We have 10 days until STAAR writing and 11 days until STAAR reading. Let's continue to motivate our teachers to give us their best work and thank them for their commitment to our students.