Tiger Tales - A Principal's Story

The Baker's Dozen - Finishing Strong!

Good morning! Well...this is the last Baker's Dozen forever! It's really hard, at this point of the year, to remember the excitement, the anticipation, the fun that we had a the beginning of the year. We're tired...we all are, myself included. My message this week is at the top so you don't miss it - it's about Finishing Strong! Last week was a challenging week because a lot of people decided they no longer had to do (or forgot) what they are supposed to do - arrive on time (not talking about the accidents), call into CASE, notify an administrator when they leave the building, put in grades, take their children to lunch on time, pick their children up on time, and, honestly, the list goes on and on. These are all things we know we should do - there's a reason they are our procedures and the reason always impacts students and other staff members - everything I listed is also a duty and responsibility. I don't want to take away from the people who did an outstanding job putting in grades, having each other check report cards, and those who called when they were running late. Thank you. This week is about having fun, but just like I don't want any of you to end the year in a bad way, I want to make sure you're setting the children up for success too. You know who I'm talking about - the child who needs structure or they get a little wild. Please make sure in whatever you're doing that you provide an environment that is good for ALL children. This week, as we go about saying goodbye to our children, parents, and staff members, let's finish strong. Let's dig in and find that joy, that anticipation (summer?), that fun and finish strong. Mahatma Gandhi said, "Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it ."

Last Week's Treats

Last week was crazy, but mostly because of grades, the stomach flu and summative evaluations! The 4th grade biography fair was adorable! Thank you again to our own Ms. B for allowing her chorus and show choir kids to perform for the whole school! The report cards really look pretty good - a lot of the "issues" were from 1st semester. Remember when you get ready to place them in the envelope, you need to mark "promoted, placed or retained" for next year. Ms. Blanco's baby shower was adorable - I can't wait to see her little one! On the staffing front, Victor has taken a job in DeKalb County and will be leaving at the end of the month. :-( If you know of anyone who would like a custodial job from 12:30 - 9:00, please let me know! If you know anyone who would like a part-time ESOL assistant job, please let me know! Nona has gotten a great job at the data clerk at Heard's Ferry! Congratulations to her!

In the Oven for Next Week

Jeans all week. :-)

Reminder - if you're watching any movie (even a G) from home (or from a child), you must let me know. If it's a PG, you must have parent permission. Please check beforehand - you'd be surprised what movies are PG! Thank you to everyone who has done this already (like 5th grade)!!!!

Tuesday - Pre-K celebration in cafeteria (8:00); 5th grade ice cream social (12:00); 2:45 - Kona Truck out front - a gift for the staff from the 5th grade students! A trip to Hudson Grille with Elliot to celebrate the year and say goodbye to some of our staff members...hope you can stop by for a bit!

Wednesday - Last day for book bags - all papers/belongings go home; final report cards will be given to you; 5th grade ceremony in cafeteria; talent show for students and teachers only immediately following; 1st grade party; 3rd grade party; 2nd grade party, 4th grade party

Thursday - REPORT CARDS GO HOME TODAY; Slideshow for 5th grade in media center, Kindergarten party; 5th grade party in gym (12:00 - 2:00); Clapout through halls at 2:00 for 5th grade - all others come line the hallways. ALL HANDS ON DECK FOR DISMISSAL!

Friday - Post Planning - see previous email

Hang in there - We're better together!


The Baker's Dozen - We Really Were Better Together! (5-15-16)

Whew! What a week! I don't know about you, but I crashed on Friday night - bless all of you who can still go out on a Friday evening! I hope you're enjoying the weekend! Did you realize we only have one more weekend...one more The Baker's Dozen? Hard to believe for sure!!

Last Week's Treats

I will start at the end and work backwards! What a beautiful Saturday, but yet, we had teachers who went to training, both Saturday and Sunday! Wow, that's dedication! Or perhaps I should mention the staff members who came to the fun run! Ms. Cortez, Ms. Jsames, Ms. Griffith and Ms. Phillips - thank you - it meant a lot to the children! Then, there are all of the teachers who are having pedicures or going to the Chattahoochee Nature Center or getting ice cream or going to a baseball play-off...thank you. It's very admirable at any time of the year, but especially now, at the end of the year.

Wasn't field day awesome?! For our newbies, I hope you enjoyed (and survived) your first field day. I'm sorry I missed the volley ball game...I went to a luncheon for our Volunteer of the Year, Keri Albert. It happened last year, too...I promise I'm not trying to get out of it. Although, I hear we have some talented (and competitive) volley ball players! At 5' 3", I'm probably not a great candidate. But, I really want to thank Rachel for all of her hard work! I know she loves it, but it's still stressful and a lot of work - so, thank you Rachel and all of those who helped you!

The Volunteer Breakfast was a huge success - thank to EVERYONE for bringing in your yummy food items! Pretty sure the grits were voted "most popular", although it was all good! Our volunteers appreciated the wonderful breakfast!

The Retirement Party was lovely! Thank you to our PTO parents and all of you! Ms. B's Show Choir did a great job too! Now, if we could only get the weather to cool down to about 73 degrees on that day, it would be even more lovely! The Patriotic Show was adorable and the Kindergarten and Pre-K students loved it! I wonder if we could convince Ms. B to let the Show Choir perform for everyone sometime before the end of the school???

On Wednesday, our SGC approved the Strategic Plan and the device selection as decided by the Device Selection Committee. The device we are going with is the Surface 3. I must admit, I'm pretty excited about it! :-)

On Tuesday, our Kindergarten team hosted our upcoming Kindergarteners and parents! It was a huge success too! The parents and children love it! Thank you to the Kindergarten team for doing such a wonderful job! And, thank you to our Special Area team for agreeing to keep the kindergarteners longer so we may do this!!

Our 5th graders started the week with their Career Presentations...after I look back on all of this, I'm not sure how we survived the week!


  • Subs will rarely pick up at this time of the year (would you if you were a sub?). The last two weeks of school are considered "critical weeks" for that reason. If you can schedule something after school or in June, please do so. There are some nasty viruses going around, so I don't want anyone coming sick...if you're sick at night, please text me and put it in CASE. The sooner it's in CASE, the more likely it will be picked up. Jeannette has done an amazing job finding help this past week, but that will be even harder as we go forward. Marvin (and all of the classrooms he works with) have been very understanding as we've pulled him almost every day.
  • Although I understand this may happen as we get to the LAST week of school, watching videos should not be happening at this point.
  • Be especially diligent watching students on the playground. Do not let them get into the wooded areas (snakes) and make sure you can see everyone!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday – 4th Grade Biography Fair (8:30) (4th is switching specials with 5th), signed papers go home (last ones)

Tuesday – 4th grade GREAT Graduation (8:30), Blanco’s Shower; all grades in TAC

Wednesday – grade verification due by 3:05

Thursday – no grade levels

Friday – Grandparent’s Club - expect Grandparents in your class; PSC’s due; Free dress day...I haven't told the children, but I will!

Recipe for a Delicious Week

One of the lessons we learned from Elliot is we can accomplish almost anything if we work together. I think as we come to the end of a school year, this is what I'm most proud of to see at our school. I have told those who were here last year, that while we supported each other in a personal way, we didn't really work together. This year, I have seen teams come together for the betterment of one child. I've seen teachers volunteer to help a child who "is not their child" without a blink of an eye. If I was Elliot standing on that mountain top, all of you would be right there with me because I can't do it alone and either can you! We really, really lived the words, "We're better together" this year! We've tackled some tough obstacles and we are better for it, but mostly, our children are the ones who have benefited from our solidarity!
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The Baker's Dozen - You're in Control of You! (5-8-16)

Good morning! Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms! I hope you're having a great weekend! I will try to be brief so I may also enjoy the day! Last week was truly amazing! I know you know our parents are wonderful, but if you've never worked at another school, then you might not realize what they did for us was extraordinary! Please be sure thank them on the "board"!

Last Week's Treats

In addition to our amazing Teacher Appreciation Week, we had a lot going on! We shared our Personalized Learning Plan with about 10 parents who came. :-) It's on our website too. I had a pretty amazing morning with Evie Ballowe for my Principal for a (half) day! I've been meeting with some teachers for their Summative Conference - I'm seeing some amazing growth! So, so, exciting!!! Our 5th graders visited their new middle schools, and our 4th and 5th graders did a great job with their guitar recitals!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday - 5th Grade Career presentations, Lauran Myracle - author - 4th and 5th grade students.

Tuesday - 4th grade field trip, Kindergarten Round-up (11:15 - 12:00), Faculty Meeting for all staff

Wednesday - SGC Meeting; Patriotic Concert for Pre-K and Kindergarten by Show Choir; 3rd grade A4L presentations, Retirement Party - my expectation is for everyone to attend.

Thursday - Field Day - we are watching the weather and will keep you posted. Yes, you may wear shorts, but PLEASE READ THIS: shorts must be fingertip length or longer. Do not wear leggings or yoga pants. I know you will be outside moving around, but you still need to dress professionally.

Friday - Volunteer Breakfast - please bring your items to the media center. If you wanted to bring something, but there was no room on the sign up, please feel free to add your name! Student (PACER) race; Faculty Volleyball game.

Saturday - Fun Run

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. ~ Marcus Aurelius

As we wind down the year, there are a lot of deadlines. It can be frustrating and overwhelming. Add to that feeling that we only have one post planning day, and it gets downright stressful. Here's the thing - we have to get some of these "chores" done, but how we handle it, how we allow "it" to control us, is really up to us. It will get done...one day at a time. Don't let the "chores" of the end of the year allow you to miss this time enjoying your students.

We're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - You Make a Difference! (5/1/16)

Happy May Day! Good morning! I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I wanted to say thank you to some folks who have gone over and above during their "off" time. First, thank you to Rachel Hutcherson for organizing and implementing a boy's track club. Friday, the boys ran a one mile run and many of you came to cheer them on! I want to thank Chip, Marvin, and Melany for also helping to work with the boys and encourage them to do their best! I want to give Tiffany and Tricia a shout out as well. This weekend, they took a 4th and 5th grade team to the Cheetah Cup to compete in math...not to mention, they have been meeting with the children before school to practice! I would say all of these folks deserve a Cupcake Award for going over and above!

Last Week's Treats

Our Kindergarteners and Pre-K students did a wonderful job with "Going Buggy" on Friday! They are also so adorable and, of course, Mary Ann does a wonderful job! Thank you to our Math Committee for providing us treats on Friday - much needed after the testing is done and to truly celebrate the arrival of Spring!

Employees who are evaluated on PKEs should have completed their self-assessment by Friday.

PrimeTime - Last year we had let the YMCA know that we were unhappy with PrimeTime. Although they are improved this year, I still felt there were better options out there, so I did a little searching. I found a fantastic program that Ison Springs is using called Generation Infocus. It's a great program and the children have homework time as well as planned STEAM activities (like electives), all with lower staff to student ratios. I'm telling you this because I had to notify the director at the YMCA on Friday and she let the staff know immediately and they told all the parents. The Generation Infocus group will hold a meeting to tell parents about their program before school is out. I just wanted you to know in case a parent asks you about it.

In the Oven for Next Week

Be prepared to be appreciated!!! Check out the Tiger Connection for the day by day festivities!

Monday – signed papers (reminder - this is when you should update your blog too), Personalized Learning meetings(8:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m.)

Tuesday – PLC Meetings

Wednesday – 5th grade to SSMS, Kindergarten registration, Leadership Meeting

Thursday – 4th/5th Guitar recital, Kindergarten registration

Friday – 5th grade to Ridgeview

Note: As I write this, I am with my mom in the hospital. She is scheduled for a procedure tomorrow (as of now, but that can change). If she does have it, the Personalized Learning Monday morning meeting will need to be moved to Tuesday, same time. This doesn't affect many people - just keeping you informed. I will notify parents this afternoon if we have to reschedule.

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference. ~Tom Brokaw

As we begin Teacher Appreciation Week, I thought this would be a great quote. As I said before "teacher" is a term which is used for all of the staff this week. Everyone at this school makes a different either directly or indirectly with the students. It's easy to think of some of our students and imagine we make a difference - those who are struggling in some way. But, what about the students who are well fed, well loved, whose parents provide all they need? Are we really necessary? Do we make a difference with them? I think we know the answer...ask a student in Ms. Fenoglio and Ms. Odom's Book Club if they make a difference. Ask one of the teachers about Marvin when we had to pull him to cover their class. Ask a math club student at 6:45 a.m. when they're meeting to practice. Ask any one of the students who have met early or after to school to work with a teacher. Ask a student who has received assurance from the front office that their lunch will be here soon. Ask a parent who has received a nice note from a teacher. Ask the Spelling Bee winners, Girls on the Run participants, any of the club members...ask the children who have great lives how we make a difference...or better yet, look at the "fan mail" bulletin board...you do make a difference and I'm truly privileged to be able to see this all happening! Enjoy the week - you all deserve it.

Heart of a Teacher by Paula Fox

The Baker's Dozen - Gotta Laugh (4-24-16)

Good morning! Well, it's finally really spring...actually, you know how it is in Atlanta - it looks like "summer" will be here this week with high temperatures! It was a strange week last week - especially with testing! Here's what I want to say about that craziness...our 3rd and 4th grade teachers handled it with such grace and flexibility! The students were awesome, of course. Everyone in the school really worked together to make this go well! They changed our server on Thursday night, and we had very few problems on Friday, even though we were testing almost everyone! Tiffany, Chris, Sue, and Ken have been miracle workers - moving things, changing schedules, covering testing. So, when I say thank you to everyone for helping it go smoothly, I'm not just saying the words; I know it's been impactful to us all, so thank you!!

Last Week's Treats

Believe it or not, there's more than just testing :-)! We had some great experiences with High Touch, High Tech and our 1st graders managed to squeeze out a field trip to the Botanical Gardens! Our 2nd graders completed their Force and Motion PBL by designing marble runs! So cute, especially when the 4th graders came and tried to "help" them!

Or course, and it seems so long ago, we presented our Personalized Learning Plan to all of you! I know many of you have questions - please be sure to share them even if we don't have the answers yet - it may be something we haven't thought of! I hope you took away a couple of things: 1. Some things are pretty much the same as we've been doing. 2. For the things that are different, you do not need to do them Day 1 of school. 3. For the new things, there will be training. So, relax and don't worry about it!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday – 3rd/4th Social Studies Milestone

Tuesday – 5th Grade Social Studies Milestone; PLC Meetings

Wednesday – Final Makeups for Milestone - will resume regular lunch and specials schedule

Thursday – RtI Grade level Meetings

Friday – Going Buggy (Pre-K and KK); Math committee doing snacks to celebrate the end of testing - well Milestones (YAY!)


  • All PKES employees should be completing their self-assessments
  • All teachers need to verify their roster by April 28
  • Please be on time to bring and pick up your students from lunch. Check your clock to make sure it matches the cafeteria.

Recipe for a Delicious Week

“There’s a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.” ~ George Carlin

I felt this was an accurate quote for this time of year, especially with testing and trying to fit everything in the schedule! So much is happening, that if we don't laugh, we really might cry...or maybe a good cry works too! But, in the end, we will just pull ourselves up and get on with the business of teaching children!!!

Hang in there - we're better together!


It's fabulous...

The Baker's Dozen - A Hero's Life (4-17-16)

Good morning all! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! I spent Saturday morning with some wonderful parent and student volunteers working on our landscaping. You might have noticed some changes even prior to this weekend. The PTO has some money from grants and even from the neighborhood to spruce up the front by the marquee and in the courtyard. I "heard" some folks were upset when the fountain was removed. I had checked with Marcia and I know the entire courtyard was dedicated to a special educator. I certainly didn't want to disrespect that, but I didn't think a dead, non-usable fountain and courtyard is not much of a respectful memory to her. I want the courtyard to be a beautiful space where you can take the children. We have written a grant for sun shades and sturdy, metal benches so you can use the space for an outdoor classroom. I think having the space used and beautiful is much more respectful of someone and why the area was dedicated to her in the first place....I hope you'll agree.

Last Week's Treats

Well, I guess the name of the game last week was testing. We will continue with testing next week and will continue to use the "testing schedule" even though one day is not a testing day.

In the Oven for Next Week

As I said above, the testing schedule will continue this week, even though we only have make-ups on Wednesday.

Monday – Signed papers go home, PLC Chair meeting

Tuesday – Faculty Meeting – PL plan - All staff must attend

Wednesday – High Touch-High Tech – 1st (room 36); Makeup testing day


Friday – High Touch – High Tech – Kindergarten (room 36), 1st grade – Botanical Garden field trip, 2nd grade PBL in classrooms (afternoon)

Recipe for a Delicious Week

I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people. ~ Maya Angelou

Wouldn't it be nice if there was an overabundance of heroes in the world? The fact is the world could use a few more courageous individuals to step up and give their time, talent and energy for something bigger than themselves. Heroes put the good of others before their own needs which takes a special kind of selflessness. Putting long hours in the classroom while educating and guiding our students into principled citizens qualifies teachers for the title of hero. When educators work to build up future generations so that they think and act nobly, they are without doubt making this a better place for all....don't forget that, we are literally heroes.

We're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - The Ripple Effect (4/10/16)

It's pretty amazing how one week can go so slowly while the same amount of time can go so quickly! Here we are at the end of spring break...I hope you did something fun, or at least got some rest! Of course, the big show next week is the Milestone test. Although you might not be in the testing grade or a "tester", I do ask that we all try to minimize any missed days - not that you should come sick! If you have an option, please either take a p.m. half day or after testing is done in April. I know that seems silly, but with such a small school, one person being out without coverage has a ripple effect on the entire school.

We're supposed to get an AP sub this week...I'm sure we will. :-) All I know is her name is Ms. Stephens - I don't even know a first name. I will certainly appreciate her help!

Speaking of AP's - I saw Janet and Lila this week...and little Rosalynn. She's so tiny, but just perfect in every way! They are even saying she may go home this week. Janet looks great too (of course)!

Last Week's Treats

To be honest with you, the last week was a blur for me! Our SGC elections finished and Giuliana and Mr. Doshi will be our new SGC members. Our SGC met and worked on the strategic plan, and we also had our last training for writing the strategic plan. We received word that our Personalized Learning plan was approved, and we will be receiving devices to "test" and pick out very soon. At my CLC Principal's meeting, I learned Dr. LaCava will be leaving to go to West Palm as the head of HR, so I will have a new boss in addition to a new superintendent. On Friday, we had our Principal's Coffee Chat, but most people just wanted to hear about the STEM cohort for middle school. One parent pulled me aside to talk about retention of her child. Then, Grandparent's Club went into full swing! They looked happy and loved doing this again! Thank you for being so gracious and allowing them in your class! Also, I must thank Chris Elm who helped organize the schedules for me! Bless you! Then...the rest of the day was spent on discipline. Those who need to know about what happened, know. However, I will say, it's always a good thing to remind your students to tell someone if something is not right...just a good reminder. In the event that took place on Friday, it had been going on for some time and not one single child told anyone!!

In the Oven for Next Week

So, I'm going to hope this week is a little better...it has to be, right?

Tiger Time - unless you do it inside your class, we will not have Tiger Time during the entire testing window.

Monday – High Touch High Tech – 3rd; regular schedule

Tuesday – Testing begins, PLCs - because we are not doing Tiger Time and because of testing, I am not going to require PLC's. However, it may be a good time to look at data on your students who might be retain or you have concerns.

Wednesday – Testing, Veriquest training - 2:45 (optional) - in Parent Resource Room - what is it, you ask? It's like a Cricket machine on steroids...you will be able to cut out bulletin boards, words, and make games. You must attend in order to use it. :-) I'll offer more times if this doesn't work for you.

Thursday – Testing

Friday – 2nd grade to Chattahoochee Nature Center; Free dress day for raffle ticket sellers

Recipe for a Delicious Week

I have mentioned "ripple" twice in this blog mostly because it's on my mind. As we begin the testing of our students, it can't help but feel like testing of our teachers and administrators. So much weight and accountability are placed on this one test. Yes, it's important. Yes, we want the children to do well. But I know this - what the children know, how the children will do - it didn't start just this year. Each child comes to you with a part of every teacher before you - good or bad. So, while the true pressure is on the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers, it should also rest on our Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade teachers too. Our wonderful K, 1, and 2 teachers will be sending you their very best evidence of work in the years to come...there is no need to stress - everyone has done their very best - teachers, support staff, administrators...no one has given less than they could. And, honestly, that's all we can do...we're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - Doing Absolutely Nothin' (3-27-16)

Well, we have made it to the last week before Spring Break! I'm pretty sure we're all ready for a break!!! Happy Easter to those who celebrate. I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Last Week's Treats

First, I must comment on the performances Thursday and Friday night...wow! Our students are so talented, and Ms. Badovinac is a miracle worker!!! However, I must say - all of YOU impressed me as well...so many of you helped with makeup, monitoring, stage prompters...honestly, I know we're all so tired, so a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped! I know MaryAnn truly appreciated it!

We are smack in the middle of our SGC elections. Please don't forget to cast your vote for Giuliana - it doesn't matter if you're a teacher or other support personnel...it would be nice to give her your support! Here is the link - it will take 1 minute tops! Based on what I saw, I'm sure there are some middle school boys who would love to cast their vote for her - looking at her picture in the hallway. :-)

We did our Pre-K lottery - lots of girls for next year! Also, I completed all formal observations - woohoo!!!!!!

In the Oven for Next Week

The name of the game for next week is consistency and supervision! The students are squirrely...maybe us too! The more structured you keep the week, the more pleasurable it will be for you and the students. I know I've said it many times before, but I feel I need to remind everyone:

  • Do not leave the students alone in the room - not to use the restroom, not to get the iPads, not to make copies - never. Certainly these things come up - a staff member needs to be actively watching your class (and theirs) to do this. As a mother of boys, I can tell you an accident happens in a split second (even if you're watching them), but if something happens and you were out of the room...you're still the adult responsible for supervision unless you asked a neighbor.
  • Do not send the children to a classroom where there is no teacher - not to get their lunch box, not to get their jacket, never.
  • Be in the halls when students are switching classrooms. This is often an unobserved time where students are exchanging words or more.
  • Place yourself in the line where you can easily see all students. You should not be at the front of the line with your back turned to all of the students. When going places, like the cafeteria, place yourself where you can see the students walking down the hall and in the cafeteria. Monitor the children.
  • Lunch Duty: Walk around and monitor the students. Adults should not be grouped together, but spaced out around the cafeteria.
  • Be at school on time. The reason we have this is so students are not left alone, either in your class or at duty. Please text me or call if you're going to be late...it happens. :-) I've noticed a lot of late comers over the past view weeks. I know the time change is hard, but please let me know if you're going to be late.

I know these are "no brainers", and if only one person was doing this, I would most certainly just speak with that particular person. However, I've seen a lot of the supervision lapses throughout the school, so I thought a reminder would be helpful to all.

Monday – Report cards go home, signed papers go home, Janet’s baby shower

Tuesday – SGC Work session in STEM lab; RtI grade levels (instead of Thursday), 3 – 5 Milestones training or PLC (People to attend Milestones training: 3rd grade teachers, 4th grade teachers, 5th grade teachers, Polonsky, Steinhart, Griffith, Christian, Quesinberry, Back-ups: Shams, Bryant, Konenkamp, Wong, Winnick, and Guse.)

Thursday – 4th grade gallery walk for their Alliance theatre project

Friday – Volunteer Friday, Principal’s Coffee Chat, Grandparent’s Club - please be flexible if grandparents come in or out of the room.

Recipe for a Delicious Week

Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective. Doe Zantamata

I hope all of you will have an amazing, safe, fun, and relaxing Spring Break. Please feel free to wear jeans all this week, and on Friday, leave when your students are where they belong. Truly, this week - we're better together!


The Baker's Dozen - Seeds of Change (3-19-16)

Happy first day of Spring! I hope you're having a great weekend! It was wonderful to go to the Auction on Friday night, and it was even more fun to see all of the staff dressed up and looking awesome! A big shout-out to the whole SNPK team - they were all there and some of them are quite the dancers! Thank you to everyone who came!

Janet update - I spoke with Janet this week, and her blood pressure is still high, but she's feeling well. They have moved the delivery date up to April 21 or 22. We are still on for the shower on the 28th. As for a sub, it will be after spring break before I get someone. Also, the parents wanted to arrange her meals and I ask that we be included...I had something for us, but they were insistent. I haven't heard that they have started this, so I'll check back with them.

Last Week's Treats

First, of all, thank you to the Art Committee for providing some wonderful snacks on St. Patrick's Day! We also had a lot of field trips last week and I heard they were all wonderful! I'm so glad we have an amazing Food Service staff who never complain when we do sack lunches - even where there are so many in one week! Our Pre-K registration was a success! I think we will have more than we need, but the lottery is on Friday!

In the Oven for Next Week

FYI - On Monday, a consultant will be coming to begin tutoring the students in 2nd and 5th (just like when we had an EIP teacher for a day). She will be in room 35 (the first room in the basement.) She will be there every day, so please don't plan on using that room.

Monday – Braves promotional in lunchroom; send home stickers for Spring Pictures; Jersey Day for 1st and 2nd (for Quarters for Cancer)

Tuesday – Spring pictures - students are allowed to wear Free Dress - remember, this is also class picture day so everyone will be photographed in that photo even if they don't want individual pictures, PLC

Wednesday – Fake report cards run and due by the end of the day, first day of SGC voting

Thursday – 5:00 SGC Meeting, 6:00 Willy Wonka

Friday – Pre-K lottery pull (3:00 in Media Center), Willy Wonka

Recipe for a Delicious Week

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

For many, nothing brings as much comfort as life remaining the same. It's safe. It's familiar. We know how it works for us and what to expect. When we feel the winds of change blowing in our direction it can be unsettling, such as a new superintendent. Fear of the unknown is natural, but don't let that keep you in a state of inaction. There is a purpose to change, just as each changing season is crucial to planting, harvesting and resting. Change is essential to growth. Try to embrace each new step, not as something to dread, but as an opportunity for new beginnings and great possibilities in the cycle of life.

We're better together!


The Baker's Dozen - LOL! (3-13-16)

Good morning! I hope you had a nice weekend! For some of you, it was a nice four-day weekend! I also hope you remembered to set your clocks forward one hour! It's very hard to think we're still in winter! No new updates on Janet; I will let you know as soon as I do! Some people have asked about making meals, and that's a great idea. Let me get more info, like whether her parents are coming, or even if she can return, before we move forward with that.

Last Week's Treats

Last week was a short week with students, but I saw a lot of tweets about some great trainings you attended on Friday! I hope you had a wonderfully productive workday in your classroom. We had a leadership meeting on Wednesday afternoon, and the notes were shared with you. I had a meeting with my boss, Dr. LaCava, on Friday. He was meeting with all principals about their school's data. We've already looked at this in our data meetings and from the original email he sent...the news is good as we know - you all are doing a great job with providing the students with what they need in order for them to grow! He asked if I had any concerns...nope! #soproudofyou

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday – 5th grade to GaTech, Signed papers go home, SGC candidates Meet and Greet (6:00)

Tuesday – 3rd grade field trip, Faculty meeting (Personalized Learning simulation and SPLOST info) - all staff must attend! - Today is the DAY we begin our school's Personalized Learning journey! NOTE: Please bring an iPad. If you don't have an iPad, we will have one for you. You will also need to bring your own headphone or earbuds.

Wednesday – Free Dress for i-Ready; Q3 ends, PLC chair meeting

Thursday – St. Pattie’s Day – treats from the Art Club in the Staff Dining Room, Registration for Pre-K, Grade Level RtI, Grades to admin(will give you more info depending on whether Janet has returned), Parent Workshop (media center @ 9:00)

Friday – 1st, 2nd, K field trip, Auction Night

Recipe for a Delicious Week

A day without laughter is a day wasted. - Charlie Chaplin

Laugh...that's my recipe for a great week. Things are getting tense - parents, situations, expectations...March is the month of tension, especially for our testing grades. So, if we can't laugh, we will most likely cry. Here's a little funny to start your week...

We're better together (don't forget it)!


What Not to Say to a Teacher

The Baker's Dozen - Lessons of Love (3-6-16)

Good morning! Wow! What a beautiful weekend - I hope you enjoyed the weather! Next week is a three day week with students and with our parapros (lucky them!).

Last Week's Treats

Last week, with the exception of Friday, was pretty much a normal week...students were learning, we had great (and insightful) data meetings with 3 -5 Reading teachers regarding their data from the WriteScore READING assessment. Students were finishing up with the WriteScore Writing assessment last week too. We had refresher training on how to use the AED for those who are CPR certified. Don't be surprised if you hear a strange call over the intercom next week (after school) - we need to have an AED drill. We actually started the month off with our monthly fire drill, so we're good until April!! Of course, TAG testing began, but will continue through this week.

In the Oven for Next Week

All week is Exceptional Children's Week

Tuesday – PLC meetings, 3rd grade field trip

Wednesday – Leadership meeting - please remember to complete your prep work

Thursday – Workday, Personalized Learning meeting for simulation (regular school hours)

Friday – PD day/planning with team - If you were unable to go to a training, please use the time wisely by planning with your team. Done well and effectively, you could get through most of the year! If you attend a training for part of the day, the expectation for you is to spend the remainder of the day at your school. (regular school hours)

Teacher Reminders - skip if you're not a teacher :-)

  • Supervise, supervise, supervise - please be diligent in watching the children on the playground. I know I sound like a broken record, but keeping students safe is actually more important than instruction! As the days become warmer, I know you take advantage of that with recess - eyes on the students, not on each other....please.
  • Formal Observations - many of you know we're about to start our last Formal Observation because you had a scheduled one. For those of you who will have an unannounced observation, they could begin at any time. If we need information to complete it, we will let you know. However, it's also important to have your lesson plans printed, and perhaps with your plans, you can have your professional development and communication log with parents.
  • RtI - I know Janet sent out a reminder, but I want to reiterate what she said about monthly STAR assessments for ALL students. I know everyone knows that, but it's hard to schedule. Please make sure you have a rotation for students so they all get on the assessments each month. Also, and maybe more importantly, I have heard concerns that you don't understand what all to do when you are updating the tiers and the interventions. This is exactly why we created Champions for each grade level! Don't hesitate to ask them what to do...no one, I repeat, no one needs to sit and feel frustrated about the process. As we know better (meaning admin), we do better - we are always tweaking the process so it is better for you and for the students. Don't hesitate to share an idea if you have one...all of our positive changes have come from ideas from others! :-)

Recipe for a Delicious Week

Keep love in your heart. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring. ~ Oscar Wilde

We can all be a little flippant with the word love, especially kids. We just love chocolate. We love our new shoes. But in reality, nothing else is as critical to thriving in life as loving one another and being loved. The world can be a scary and unbalanced place. Particularly for children, love makes us feel safe and protected. Regardless of what is taught academically in your classroom, keep love in your heart and infuse caring into your teaching. When all is said and done, it's the lessons learned with love that have the most lasting impact.

We're better together!!


Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend! It was nice and warm - I'm so ready for spring!!! Can you believe it is March (or just about) already? We literally have only THREE months of school left! March is not Angry Adult Month - it tends to be Laser Focus Month :-). What's that? Well, it's when everyone digs in and focuses on student progress (even more than you already do). If you didn't get a chance to look at our Winter progress that I sent last Tuesday, please do. We're doing good things for children...it's very uplifting to see our hard work, and the children's, really pay off!

Last Week's Treats

We had quite a few awesome things happen last week! One was the STEAM Expo at North Springs. Our students represented our school very well! It was great to be there for the first time! Thank you to ALL of the adults who came to support the students and the school as well. Another awesome event was the TAG Tybee Trip - the students had a blast as did the teachers! Thank you to Amanda, Tiffany, and Jonathan for going and making sure our students were safe and having a great time learning!! Last was the BINGO night! It was a blast, as always. Thank you to the staff who stayed to help - Sue, Jaci, Nona, Elizabeth, Melany, and Kathryn. Then...there was Jonathan - he deserves a special medal for coming after the long trip to Tybee...extremely impressed with his ability to keep his eyes open and a positive attitude!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday – TAG testing, Signed papers go home, PSC go home on Monday

Tuesday – PLC Meetings


Thursday – Write Score Reading 3 - 5 Data Talks for Reading teachers only

Friday – Dr. Seuss Birthday (see Chris Elm's email), Volunteer Friday (put items in the media center), and Principal’s Coffee Chat

P.S. - I'd love to read in classrooms if you want!! Just ask!

Recipe for a Delicious Week

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. ~ Epictetus

Ever been around someone so happy, so enthusiastic and positive that it is infectious and you catch his or her good mood? We really are contagious! Studies link our behavior and emotions to those around us; it's called "emotional contagion." While that can be a good thing, it can also be a negative. At the other end of the spectrum are those who bring us down, or worse, infect us with their pessimism, skepticism and unprincipled ways. In the classroom and in life, our task is to stay wide open to catching all the positive vibes we can from anyone who crosses our door and then flooding the atmosphere with positive and encouraging contagions. Take a moment and reflect on the people you are with - are you catching a positive mood or a negative one?

We're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - Angry Adult Month (2/21/16)

Good morning! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Congratulations to Chris Elm for becoming a new grandmom! I believe Nancy Polonsky is also a new grandmom, but I haven't heard an update from her! Speaking of grandparents...thank you! Thank you for being so respectful and welcoming to the grandparents on Friday! They were beyond delighted! `

Last Week's Treats

Aside from the awesome Grandparent's Club on Friday, our first ever STEAM Expo was also amazing! Thank you again to all who helped, coordinated and planned! I know as we look toward next year, I will say I was the first person to put "clubs" on my sticky under what's not working for teachers. Thank you for hanging in there...it was truly over and above for many of you who did so much. I did notice it, and also noticed how time-consuming it was. On the other hand, the children loved it! We'll have to rethink how we do the clubs, but the culminating STEAM Expo was truly amazing!

We finished our Personalized Learning plan...in March, we will have a faculty meeting to begin talking about what personalized learning is...and what it isn't. Good news - we're already doing a lot of it!


I've heard from a couple of parents about how stressed the children are about the Milestones because teachers keep saying something like, "If you don't pay attention, you won't pass." I thought about talking directly to the teachers where the parents mentioned this, but I think it's a good reminder for all of us. ***It's not the children to whom you are saying this to, it's the bystanders who worry about it.**** Please don't say this to children or anything like this...it's already difficult enough for them.

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday – nothing scheduled

Tuesday – SGC Meeting, PLC Meeting, 5th grade pictures

Wednesday – Tybee Trip, EarForce field trip, KK Culminating event, STEAM Expo at North Springs (5:30)

Thursday – No grade level meeting

Friday – Spirit Day, Return from Tybee, Bingo Night (6:00 p.m.)

Recipe for a Delicious Week

When the negative thoughts come - and they will; they come to all of us - it's not enough to just not dwell on it... You've got to replace it with a positive thought. ~Joel Osteen

I was at a meeting recently and the speaker said, "Wow! It's already February...otherwise known as "Angry Adult Month"." We all laughed, but it's kind of true. I'm not sure what it is about February that makes our patience a little shorter, our negativity a little quicker, but there's something because I've felt it myself and seen it in other adults. I noticed the last couple of weeks that we've all been a bit short with each other, forgetting to assume good will, but rather assuming the worst in each other. We've been blaming each other for things that go wrong rather than fixing it and moving on. We've been saying, "not my kids; not my problem". I'm sad that we've taken a few steps back from supporting each other, owning ALL the students, and not thinking "us against them" mentality. We're all here together - your success is my success and vice-versa. Let's blame it on Angry Adult Month, but I sure hope February ends soon so we can get back to working together and being kind to each other.

We ARE better together!!!


The Baker's Dozen - Remembering the Past (2- 14-16)

Good morning and Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you have something fun planned on this cold Sunday!!

Last Week's Treats

Thank you to our Engineering Committee for providing some treats for all of us on Thursday! The Valentine Centers were nice, but I'm hearing feedback that they have taken over the day, and have become an excuse to eat lots of candy and sweets! Speaking of treats, one of our students had an allergic reaction after school on Thursday. When we let children take home treats, either from us or a classmate, we do have to be careful there is nothing in there a child can't have or choke on after they leave us. :-( It's a tough world now, no doubt.

SEED Fund update: Well, we heard some good news and bad news...we were awarded SEED Fund money for our STEAM Coach, but only half of it. The board has a "flex" position on the agenda for approval for all elementary schools. Perhaps we can use some of the money to fund the entire position and have some left for something else.

Thank you, thank you to Melany, Riley, and Chelsea for their great presentation on Rigor and Relevance! Great ideas, especially with questions - don't forget to write a few in your lesson plans this week!

Did you know? Jane, Tish, and Chip attended a Saturday training on coding with kids? Pretty awesome if you ask me!!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday – off

Tuesday – CLC Walkthrough (8:00 - 11:00), Falcons Day (please follow your schedule), Faculty meeting in media center - this is for everyone!

Wednesday – TAG testing begins, PLC chair meeting, Parent Common Core Workshop

Thursday – STEAM Expo (6:00 - 7:30), Personalized Learning group out, Grade Level RTI during planning

Friday – Grandparent’s Club - 9:30 - 12:00

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. ~ Maya Angelou

History is riddled with horribly unjust periods of time, brutal and inhumane. Ugly historical truths haunt facets of life today. But the importance of teaching about past injustices is that we begin to recognize the beliefs and patterns that created those horrific times in human history. Facing history with honesty allows us to learn from past mistakes and concentrate on learning, loving, and living with hope and peace. So never miss an opportunity to help your students understand the past and how it impacts the present. Those insights will help them shape a better tomorrow for themselves and the world around them.

We're better together!


The Baker's Dozen - Asking for Help! (2/7/16)

Good morning! Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Well, it seems we're about to have a new superintendent! I know only what you know, but he looks like an intelligent man with lots of experience in schools - a plus in my book!

Some reminders I always forget to tell you:

Summer School - each school will hold it's own summer school. The county has found the "hurry up and remediate" plan of May-mester (for those of you who have been here for a while) does not work. We are going back to the summer school model in the elementary schools and the retest will take place the 21- 23 of June. If you think you might be interested in teaching summer school, please let me know. I don't have the hours, but I doubt it's full day!

Private School Forms - in order to fill out a form on a student, you must have a third party release form signed by the parents. Very often, this release is at the top of the recommendation form, and that's perfectly fine! If it doesn't come with a 3rd party release allowing you to share information, please see Ken for the correct form...this goes for any form a parent needs you to fill out about a child. If it needs a principal's signature, please put it in my box on my door. Otherwise, the forms need to go to Brenda and she will make a copy for their folder and put them in the mail.

Supervision - I hate to bring it up, but did you see the horrible accident that happened to the little kindergartener in Newton County? She was killed on the playground equipment - very horrible and sad. The medical examiner said someone would have had to get her within a minute and that is was unavoidable. However, there is most certainly an investigation...if something happened on our playground, and someone needed to pull the video from back there, what would they see you doing? Are you supervising the students; can someone see everyone, such as the basketball area, the playscapes, the field? I don't want to scare you because accidents can happen as in this case, but please make sure you are diligent in supervising the students. That includes sending students back into the classroom alone - don't do it.

Last Week's Treats

The hero of last week was our College and Career Week - thank you again to Ken for planning everything! It was fun, exciting, and informative for students!! As someone said to me, this week, especially the doors, was a very "Elliot" thing to do!

It was also wonderful to see Chip win the "You Rock" award - very well deserved!

Our Muffins for Mom was awesome - so many moms! Thanks to our very our Kathryn Griffith for all of her help with this!!

In the Oven for Next Week

There's a lot going on!!

Monday - I'm going first thing in the morning to present our plan for our SEED Fund - cross your fingers! It's also a very important day for our Teacher of the Year nominees! They will have their observation and interviews! I know they will all do wonderfully!! It's so exciting to celebrate our profession and honor those who go over and above to create a wonderful classroom full of learning and fun! Our committee consists of Current TOTY - Tiffany Waller, Current POTY - Ellen Fenoglio, Parent - Ms. Megan Tucker, the CST from Heards Ferry, and Chris Elm. Please join everyone in the media center around 2:45 for the announcement of the winner, along with the announcement of the Professional of the Year!

Tuesday - STAR Window closes - you must have had all students complete the STAR assessment by this day. PLC meetings. Community Outreach Committee Meeting (7:45 a.m.)

Wednesday - Fulton Credit Union Visit in the staff dining room (Info attached to the email); Leadership meeting; EarForce

Thursday - Principal's Coffee Chat (7:15); School Board Member, Julia Bernath, Community Meeting in the media center (9:30 - 11:30 - media center closed); Valentine centers. Valentine Treats in the staff dining room provided by the Engineering committee!!

Friday - Professional Learning Day; Leadership Part 2 - 1:00 (tentative) ; Budget Committee Meeting: 2:30 - Also, three of our staff members went to a Rigor training and I would like to review the Rigor and Relevance Framework (which our learning community uses for walkthroughs) - there will be two options for training in the media centers - 8:30 or 11:00. While this is not required, it will beneficial to ALL teachers who attend! If you are in the building and don't have meeting with parents, you may wear jeans.

Monday - NO SCHOOL!

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me?

~ Help, The Beatles

What keeps us from asking for and receiving help? It can be difficult to admit we are struggling. Many of us view it as a sign of weakness. Asking for help is not a shortcoming; it can be the brave thing to do. Have you ever been frustrated because a friend wouldn't ask for help? Likewise, would you ever turn your back on a student or friend who needs you? Asking for help lets others know that you trust them enough to ask. So next time you need help, ask for it.

We're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - The Gift of Kindness (1/31/16)

Happy last day of January! Where has it gone??? I know we all enjoyed the souper lunch on Friday! If you have a moment, please write a short thank you to our PTO! They appreciate that and read "thank you's" out loud at meetings. :-) This weekend, Joseph Plange participated in the Spelling Bee...it was the first one I've ever missed, so if anyone knows how he did, please let me know. I watched it live, but it was really hard to see the faces of the children, so I'm not sure if he was on stage. I know he didn't win. :-( Technology fair: I think it was a great experience for the children...I hope we have more excitement next year. Remy O'Connell won 1st place for her age group in device modification. She'll go on to state!

Last Week's Treats

Our Prospective Parents Open House went really well! We had some families we had not seen before. Thank you again to Kellie and Tish for speaking to our upcoming parents about Pre-K and Kindergarten. We actually had some parents of rising 1st and 2nd who are currently in private who are definitely coming back to Spalding! Woohoo!

SEED Fund: We've been invited to the next step! Another Woohoo! Our meeting with the deciding group is Feb. 8. I'll keep you posted!


There's always a lot to celebrate, but it seems like last week had some particularly awesome moments, including getting invited to the next step for SEED fund! In no particular order - they're all awesome!

  • Look at the picture...that's a 95 on their school cleanliness score! Joe, Elizabeth, Victor, and Dwayne keep this school looking amazing! That's the highest score (scored by someone from the county) I've ever seen! Please send your congrats and love their way!
  • I don't have a picture, but if you look closely at tiny little Ms. Blanco, you'll notice a wee baby growing there! That's right! Ms. Blanco is pregnant and due mid-July!
  • I do this this as a celebration because I definitely think it is something in which to be proud, and she is so humble...but, in addition to Marcia retiring, so is Nancy Polonsky. Now, Nancy might get mad because I used the "r" word - she really isn't retiring, she is just shortening her hours...in other words, she wants to keep working in some capacity, just not full time!

Please join me in saying "woohoo" to all of these folks (or whatever word suits your fancy!)

In the Oven for Next Week

There's a lot going on, so look carefully!

Monday – FFT (Fulton Federation of Teachers - I've attached their flyer) in dining room; pep rally in the gym following announcements. Please remember - wear your college (or Spalding) shirt...no jeans - Khakis or other colored pants.

Tuesday – SGC Meeting (7:30 - 8:00) Parent Resource Room, Career Day - please make sure you are clear on the schedule before Tuesday and ask Ken or a teammate if you're not sure.; PLC’s

Wednesday – Dress for Success; TAG Eligibility Meeting, Tornado Drill

Thursday – Favorite College Hat day; Star Data Talks (grade levels)

Friday – Muffins for Mom, Volunteer Friday; Door Decoration…prizes! Decorate your door with your school colors, logos, etc.

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. ~Jesse Jackson

When I think of the principles we are working on about being kind and inclusive to each other, the snow Friday was a wonderful example of what we do in a "crisis". However the real question is, and most definitely harder, what do we do every day? For each other? I don't think there's ever a question about the children, but it's easy to judge others and deem them unworthy of your kindness...here's a video for today...hope it gives you cause to think. (You might need a tissue.) (It's on youtube, so I'm not sure you can watch it at school.)

We're better together,


World Best Motivational Videos for Students

The Baker's Dozen - The Warmth of Winter (1- 24-16)

Good morning! Wow! That word really sums up Friday for me! Thank you so much for your flexibility and for ensuring we knew how students were going home. Due to everyone chipping in and doing what needed to be done resulted in a very smooth dismissal! Thank you so very much! I hope everyone got home safely and stayed warm all weekend!

Last Week's Treats

Other than the crazy Friday, we also had a wonderful Full Release Day! I heard wonderful things about each session - from writing to i-Ready to technology - to STEM lab! Thank you to all who presented - we have a wealth of knowledge right here at Spalding! I did hear feedback that some staff were unaware we will not have a person in the STEM lab next year. That position was funded by the SEED fund award for this year only. We have requested another SEED fund, but it cannot be the same as before - we are requesting a STEM coach, someone who will serve as a true instructional coach.

Some members of our SGC went to Session 1 of our Strategic Planning 2.0. For those who don't know, Fulton County divided schools into three cohorts to join the charter system. We were in Cohort 1 and wrote our initial Strategic Plan for 2012-2016. It is time for us to rewrite/rethink our Strategic Plan for the next three years! I will be gathering thoughts from EVERYONE in this school! It may require a bit more on your part (perhaps an additional meeting), but this is critical when planning for the future of our school and the impact WE will have on our students' lives! All decisions are based on our school/student data and we will be starting with doing some deep dives into student learning to assess where are students are strong and where we need to improve!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday- T20

Tuesday – PLC Meeting; Prospective Parents Meeting (Media Center) - while parents won't be walking into your classrooms, they will be in the hall with student council members (8:00 - 9:00)

Wednesday – EarForce

Thursday –Writing Professional Development during grade level

Friday – Soup Luncheon (by PTO), Spirit day

You will also be getting information very soon about Teacher of the Year nominations! The process is: nominations; then, from the nominations (if we receive more than 4), you will select 4 teachers to move forward with the interview and observation process; 4 teachers will be interviewed and observed by a panel. The reason we only have teachers nominate and vote on teachers is that if we include classified, it may give some teachers an unfair advantage since they work with parapros on a daily basis, like Pre-K or KK. The process for Professional of the Year will be shortly too!

Help: Due to our increased numbers after the holiday, and other reasons, we are not able to serve all students for EIP. I have found in our budget (it was the extra allocation from last year) the funds to purchase a .40 EIP teacher until the end of the year. If you know a teacher who would be willing to work 3 1/2 hours per day, please have them contact me immediately!

i-Ready: Thanks to some good thinking on our 3rd grade teachers' part, we will be starting an incentive for students to work on i-Ready (this went in the newsletter on Friday to parents). Students who average 45 minutes per week during a month long period will receive a Free Dress Pass! They can do this at home or at school! Make sure you're encouraging the children to do this! I will pull the report, but you're welcome to keep track in your room if you want!

Recipe for a Delicious Week

Song falls silent, music is dumb, but the air burns with their fragrance, and white winter, on its knees, observes everything with reverent attention.
~ Anna Akhmatova

It's that time of year. Many of us face a long slog of winter. The buzz of a new school year has faded, the bright excitement of the holidays is behind us and now, teacher and student alike are tempted to chug along through grayer days. Some of us feel an emotional slump and succumb to complacency. But don't yield to those feelings! This is an excellent time to pay reverent attention to your classroom. The weather may be gloomy, but your classroom doesn't have to be. Bring some sunshine and warmth to your classroom with humor, music, and flowers.

We're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - Keep on Smiling (1/17/16)

Happy MLK Day! Oh, how nice to have an extra day! I hope you had a great weekend

Last Week's Treats

Thank you, thank you, to all of our teachers who remained flexible while we administered the TKES student surveys. They are complete! You should be able to access this information on the TKES portal...as an administrator, I would expect you to look at the results and reflect...I think students do have some insight, but I also saw some students who might not have been taking it seriously. Please know...I know this! If the results aren't what you'd like, please don't stress over it! (I know this is easier said than done!) If there are outliers where only one child went through and said "no", don't give it another thought!

Our Spelling Bee was awesome and drama-free - that's always a plus! Thank you to Chris for organizing it and making sure everything went smoothly! Thank you to our judges and caller too! Great job! Congratulations to Joseph Plange for being our new Spelling Bee Champ!

In the Oven for Next Week

Although a short week, there is a lot going on!!!

  • STAR assessments for our 3rd - 5th grade students
  • TKES walk-throughs begin on Instructional Strategies, Differentiated Instruction and Academically Challenging

Tuesday - hours 7:30 - 3:00

Our PTO will be serving breakfast in the faculty dining room at 7:30. Teachers, please follow the schedule you were given (I'll attach it to this email again.) I will also be meeting with the parapros at 10:00 in the media center. I'm looking forward to a great learning day!!! Casual dress is appropriate. For our I-Ready presenter: please come with questions - she said she welcomes that! However, I probably don't need to say it, but please be respectful and not "take out" your frustrations on her...she sounds like she has a solution for many of our concerns!

Wednesday - 7:15 - SGC Meeting in STEM lab

Thursday - Strategic Planning Training #1 for select staff

Friday - TGIF!

Recipe for a Delicious Week

Laughter is the best medicine! If you know me, you know I really do love to laugh - especially at things that might make you scream otherwise! I'm sure many of you have seen this, but it cracks me up! This principal has some very unique thoughts...not saying I agree - it's just funny!

Have a great week!

We're better together!


Principal Coupon Book

The Baker's Dozen - Helping Hands (1-10-16)

Good morning, Spalding! I hope you had a great weekend! I wish I could be positive and say I'm feeling much better, but I can't :-(. I guess no one won the powerball, including me, so I guess we all have to come to work tomorrow! What a dream that would be to win...I'd be happy with a smaller amount.

This Friday, Chris Elm and I attended my Principal's Meeting. We are beginning some work around creating theories of action surrounding our strategic plan...more to come. (It's really about aligning everything ((yeah!)) and getting rid of what isn't working.) Anyway, it had me thinking...I don't know if I've shared with you that we are beginning work on our Strategic Plan for next year and beyond. It will require (and I do mean require) input from everyone, so be thinking...is this school going in the right direction to prepare our students...what do we need to do differently? What do we need to keep the same? It's kind of like the lottery - how many of you thought about what you'd do with the money if you won? Well, what would you do with our school (not the building) if you could do anything? Stay tuned for more details!

Last Week's Treats

First of all, it was wonderful to see everyone - rested and excited! The teachers did a great job planning their next PBL experience...can't wait to see them in action. The children came in and got right to work! It was a nice week, but long, right? Next week will feel more like our regular routine!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday - Student TKES Surveys begin in media computer lab. Tiger Tutoring all week.
Tuesday - Student TKES Surveys; PLC Meetings
Wednesday - Student TKES Surveys; EarForce
Thursday - JA in Day
Friday - Spelling Bee - 8:45 Cafeteria; Report Cards go home.
Hang in there...we have a 3-day weekend!!!

Our Personalized Learning Team will also be discussing and planning our Personalized Learning Plan! Please speak with Jimmy, Chris, Giuliana, Chip, or Tiffany if you have any ideas.

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

We give of ourselves day in, day out, not to mention all the many, many hours over the standard workweek spent grading, counseling, organizing and preparing. Where on earth would you find another minute to sign yourself up to volunteer? It sounds counterintuitive, but studies have shown that the more time you give in service, the more time it seems you actually have. When your time is being spent effectively helping others, it advances your efficiency, ability and confidence. Being of service to others doesn't have to be a huge, burdensome commitment, just enough time to lose yourself and your worries in the best way.

We're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - Happy New Year! (1-3-16)

Happy New Year! I hope you and your family had a fantastic winter break! I know I did...at least until I caught some type of sinus/bronchitis thing...I think there are many out there with the same little bug! I hope it didn't catch you! I did get some wonderful time just relaxing, spending time with all of my family, going to dinner, taking my grandson to the aquarium...I should have counted the times he said, "wow" or "where's Nemo?" (which we did find). I truly thought the rain would never stop!! I hope you had a fantastic time like that too...maybe a little football, sleeping in late, shopping, reading a book, just doing the things you never seem to have time to do during the working part of our year!

In The Oven for Next Week

Luckily, we start off with a nice, slow week! My first reminder is that all parapros - classified employees do not report until Wednesday with the students.

Monday - 7:30 - 3:00

Teachers, grades and roster verifications are due. These must be complete by the end of the day.

Tuesday - 7:30 - 3:00

This is a Fulton County staff development day. Many of us are required to attend training. The rest of the certified staff may sign up for training. I sent this information in an email a while back. Although you are more than welcome to have signed up for a training, I imagine most of you did not as there weren't many spaces available. So, all teams need to plan their Project Based Learning unit. Don't forget to go to bie.org for ideas! They have projects already on there that you could tweak or change to meet your needs! Also, don't forget to plan an engaging entry event...that is how you engage the children! (5th grade did an awesome job!) Don't forget to plan how your students will present their projects (such as how the Kindergarten team, 5th and 2nd grade did!) At the end of the day, please turn in the Project Design: Overview and Student Learning Guide to me. Also, at 1:30 Chris Elm will be sharing the math materials we have received. If you are a math teacher, you will want to be there...you don't have to use the materials, but you certainly want to make an informed decision.

Finally, these are the people who are required to attend training off campus: TAG, Art, Music, PE, Vanguard, METIs, GA Pre-K and Inclusion Teachers, Principals, APs, RtI Chairs, Social Workers, OT, PT, PSE (SNPK)...if you're not sure where you need to be, please let me know!


Students return; Signed papers go home; Leadership Meeting (Leadership Team, please let me know any agenda items by Tuesday at noon.)


Fake Report Cards due.

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

As I was looking for some inspirational thoughts to start our new year, I came across many...too many, really. I think the new year is a time to reset and we, being in education, have the ability to do just that with our long winter break. It's a time to reflect...what went well, what could improve...I also find the break provides some perspective and clarity on events from the previous year. I hope you have been able to carve out some time to be reflective and relaxed throughout these last two weeks. It doesn't matter what your role is at Spalding, we all work together...when you're better, we're better, and that's the truth. So, I'll start the calendar year with the same way we began our school year, with a focus on Little Elliot. Take a moment to reflect on what we are focused on this year as a staff so that we can become an even more amazing school for our students and for us! How did you do so far? How is your team doing? What can you do to make it better? What is the one thing you could work on? What is the one thing you are doing really well??

· It’s alright to be an individual and unique.

· Some things are hard to do alone.

· Helping others gives you a sense of worth.

· If you work together, you can accomplish even the most difficult jobs.

· Sometimes the unintended consequences can be the best!

We're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - It's Like Taking a Bath (December 13, 2015)

Can you believe it??? This is my last Baker's Dozen for the year 2015? This time next week many of us will be traveling, shopping, sleeping, and hopefully, getting some much needed rest!

Last Week's Treats

We had a lot going on as happens this time of year! Our 4th and 5th graders were wonderful with their choral performance! Ms. B does an amazing job...if you've never taught anywhere else, what Ms. B does with our children is not the norm! She is amazing!! Our Technology Competition was really amazing too...we have some seriously talented children at Spalding! I was so impressed by our students' abilities and I'm excited to see them go to the next level...I think we may have some county-level winners! I was honored to host some of the staff at my house on Saturday night! We had a great time, but there's also a bunch of left over food, so be looking for it in the staff dining room!

In the Oven for Next Week

So much...

Our fun dress events...don't forget, you have to text me - no emails accepted. :-) Person or teams with the most pictures wins...daily winners and an overall winner, I'm basically making up the rules as we go!

Someone asked about jeans...of course you may wear jeans if you want...even if you're not participating, although you'll miss out on the fun!

Monday: Light it up! (not get lit up…but you can after school) – Wear sparkles, lights, anything that shimmers and shines - doesn't have to be holiday related!

Tuesday: Red….White…or Blue day – whatever color you pick – own it. Dress from head to toe in that color.

Wednesday: Peace on Earth – anything “peace” related – or 60’s.

Thursday: Ho, ho, hoedown…be appropriate – I’m talking about country western wear.

Friday: Winter theme – however you interpret winter…blue, white, snowflakes, Frozen, ice cubes…be creative!

Actual events:

Monday, Dec. 14 – Milestones Informational Meeting - no one came on Friday, so...

Tuesday, Dec. 15 – Winter Sing A-long (8:45); Short Faculty Meeting (Ms. Shams and Ms. Cortez wanted a few moments of your time)

Wednesday, Dec. 16 – Pot Luck Lunch – We will provide the meat (chicken and ham) and you all can provide a side or dessert! (Staff Lunchroom)

Thursday, Dec. 17 – Free Dress Day for students who bring in 8 canned goods

Friday, Dec. 18 – Parties, spirit day, Gingerbread Kid Caper

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

I love this week before break and I equally dread it...teachers are stressed, children are anxious (don't think they're all excited to leave school for 2 weeks), parents are also stressed, but it's also fun and silly and all the things that make our job one of the best in the world...whether you have to be pulled through the week or you jump in head first, you will make it...we'll make it through together...remember your smile - remember the children - and before you know it, it will be Friday afternoon! Watch the video below...do you recognize yourself?

We're better together!


Dogs just don't want to bath - Funny dog bathing compilation

The Baker's Dozen - Together, we're #awesome! (12-5-15)

Good morning, all! Somehow we have made it December 6! Only 10 short days left until we begin our two week break! Tomorrow (Monday) is our visit from the central learning community team. I'm sure they will see wonderful things happening in the classroom! Of course, I'm sure they'll share their observations and ideas for growth...ultimately, they are here to support me supporting you...it just didn't feel that way last time, but it will tomorrow. So, please don't stress too much...yes, I'd like everyone up and working with students in the morning, but that's what Janet and I see every day! If you're testing, then you're testing...we're not going to put on a show for them - just our everyday, run-of-the-mill, AWESOME teaching!

Last Week's Treats

Our Kindergarteners and 4th grade students went to the High Museum of Art and had a fabulous time! Some children will never get the opportunity to go there, and it's wonderful we have provided that experience for them (even with the naked lady pictures)! On Friday, our 5th graders had an amazing entry event experience thanks to our 5th grade PLC team. Honestly, it is one of the best entry events I have ever seen. The children are about to begin their PBL unit on Ellis Island, so on Friday, unbeknownst to the children, as they arrived at school, they were "corralled" into the cafeteria. Each child was given a new identity from a different country and they had to go through the "stations" just as the newly arriving immigrants did! Some were "detained", some became frustrated, some students got into character and used a different dialect...it was a memorable experience for the children...and just as importantly, how pumped do you think the students are to learn about Ellis Island now after this experience???? I'm so proud of the 5th grade team!! #AWESOME

I, unfortunately, missed a lot of this as I had my Principal's Coffee Chat. The big topic of the day was parents being able to share about their family celebrations in class. I stressed again to parents (and sharing again with you) - if they are going to use instructional time, it must be a standards-based topic. So, discussing family celebrations in Kindergarten and Pre-K is fine since it is in their standards. Taking instructional time in 3rd grade (not that 3rd grade did this, just using them as an example) to discuss family celebrations (Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, etc.) is not appropriate. Now, for the parties, and they are parties - this is NOT instructional time...what you and your room parents decide to do is most likely fine...you still can't teach religion during that time, but I don't think for a minute that is happening. We also discussed redistricting, but that's not something that is affecting us now...perhaps in the future, but certainly not at this point. Last, we discussed how the parents really want to help you - they feel you all are all stressed by the way you act (couldn't get specifics), but they weren't complaining about your stress...just that they REALLY want to help...please send things home to cut out, staple, etc. if you don't have anything at school for them to do. I would definitely take them up on it! :-)

In the Oven for Next Week

I know I sent this in an email, but here it is again...

Monday, Dec. 7: Instructional Rounds – 8 – 11; Signed papers go home; Milestones reports go home with 4th and 5th grade students.

Tuesday, Dec. 8 – Cosco Rep in Lunchroom; PLC meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 9 – PAGE rep in Lunchroom; Holiday Reading in the evening at Slopes

Thursday, Dec. 10 – Technology Competition; Show Choir

Friday, Dec. 11 – Milestones Parent Meeting

Saturday, Dec. 12 - Staff Party at Lynn's - 6:30 p.m. - dress is casual! I'll be in my crop top!

Monday, Dec. 14 – Milestones Informational Meeting

Tuesday, Dec. 15 – Winter Sing A-long (8:45); Short Faculty Meeting

Wednesday, Dec. 16 – Pot Luck Lunch – We will provide the meat (chicken and ham) and you all can provide a side or dessert! (Staff Lunchroom)

Thursday, Dec. 17 – Free Dress Day for students who bring in 8 canned goods

Friday, Dec. 18 – Parties, spirit day, Gingerbread Kid Caper

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

This video was from the beginning of the year...but, it's good to go back and remember the feeling we had as we started in August...What are you teaching??

Together, we're #awesome! Let's see those tweets of all of the awesomeness taking place in the classroom for the next two weeks! Let's do this, people!


Kid President's Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!

The Baker's Dozen - Taking Time to Enjoy Friends (November 29, 2105)

Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving? I sure did! Lots of food and spending time with my family! I really hope you did find some time to relax this week! It's hard to think we're in the holiday season with this wonderful weather! Be sure to check your email for the staff holiday party!! (I resent it!)

Last Week's Treats

So much happened before we left for Thanksgiving! The training went well...many people loved the first part! I am so sorry that the 2nd part caused some stress...it was supposed to be a stress-free day! Remember - we're paying them, so if something is not working, please let me know and we will get them to adjust!

Our Thanksgiving feast was delicious! Thank you to everyone who helped make it happen...especially to our two Food Service Workers - that's pretty impressive! They were down two people, but still managed to provide a wonderful two days for us, our children and their families!

We participated in our Personalized Learning Design 1.0 team...it's really great to see we're already doing so many "personalized learning" things - it's really a matter of taking what we're doing, ensuring it's happening school-wide, and getting a little creative!

Our 2nd graders had their PBL trading day, and our Kindergarteners presented their timelines to their parents! I know PBL takes a lot of planning and prep work, so thank you for making learning engaging, fun and meaningful!!!

In the Oven for Next Week

As you can imagine, this is a fun, yet very busy time of the year for all of us! For our new teachers, I highly recommend keeping your schedule and instruction the same as always to minimize student misbehavior and disruptions. So, let the holiday season begin!

Monday - Welcome back!

Tuesday - PLC meetings

Wednesday - Kindergarten Field Trip

Thursday - 4th Grade Field Trip; Grade level RtI meetings

Friday - Principal's Coffee Chat; Volunteer Friday

Holiday Reminders: Although the holiday season is upon a lot of us, we all need to be mindful of the different religions and celebrations we have among our students and staff. To say you will "cover" all religions if you do a Christmas activity is not always do-able. Only Pre-K has standards which discuss family celebrations, so while I'm not forbidding you to display Christmas or Hanukah symbols, I am asking you to be super sensitive to your students - you may have Muslims, Christians, Jews, or Jehovah Witness' in your room, just to name a few. I would personally keep to a winter theme, rather than any holiday. I would also urge you not to have parents come in and discuss their holiday so you are giving "equal time". Again - only Pre-K has standards about sharing family celebrations, so there's really no curriculum based reason to have parents come in and share...it's sometimes just not worth the can of worms it opens, so be very careful. Additionally, we are supposed to uphold the separation between church and state, so I don't want anyone to step over that line and appear to be teaching religion. I really don't want to take the fun out of the season...99.9% of our parents are happy with how little or how much we do at the holidays, so again, I'm not telling you NOT to show a Christmas tree or a menorah, I am just urging common sense and sensitivity.

Recipe for a Delicious Week

Take time to be true friends to each other… not just in bad times, but in good too. Create times to enjoy each other. - Little Elliot

It's been a while since we visited our story of Elliot. How are you doing so far? Have you worked as a team? Do you see that others have unique talents? Have you truly embraced that all students are your students regardless of whether their yours or even if you're not a teacher? During the busy December time, it's even more important to take time to work together, but also to take time to celebrate the friendships (new and old) you have, to slow down for just a moment to be a friend, to give yourself permission to go to dinner with people...it's okay. In the end, everything that needs to get done, will get done.

85 year old best friends, this will make your day

The Baker's Dozen - Being Thankful for What We Have (11/15/15)

Happy Sunday! I hope you've had a nice weekend! Well, we only have five more days until Thanksgiving break! Whew! I told you we'd make it! Before you know it, it will be Winter Break...time really does fly!

Last Week's Treats

Of course, our 2nd graders were delicious! Thanks to such a wonderful music teacher, Ms. Badovinac, and to our awesome 2nd grade teachers! We also had the awesome sidewalk sale and coffee and bagels in the morning thanks to our TAG students (and parents and teacher, Ms. Shams)! Then there was Ms. Hutcherson doing a great job with Jump Rope for Heart! We had our student council classroom elections...so much going on! Oh...I almost forgot our Prospective Parents meeting (thank you Ken, Chris, Ms. Sprinkle and Ms. Cooper for going)...many parents excited about Spalding Drive. Wait! We also had a wonderful lunch and celebration with Tiffany and Ellen as our Teacher of the Year and Professional of Year...it was a wonderful event and it was a pleasure to spend the day with them and their families. Last, but not least, Marcia is a grandmommy again - her first boy! I probably even left something out like the amazing job our 2nd grade team is doing with their PBL or the writing taking place in 5th grade...it's a busy, but awesome school!!

In the Oven for Next Week

Not to be outdone by last week, this week has some special treats too!

Monday - Keisha Duck will be coming as a Principal for the Day. She is from Manheim North America and will be here in the morning, doing announcements, observations, and some classroom visits. At 2:45, Ken Zeff, interim superintendent, will be with all of us. I say the media center for now, but I'm going to see if we can meet in the cafeteria so we can all be sitting and listening. (Stay tuned for more details). Kindergarten students sharing their PBL timelines in the cafeteria (1:30); Signed papers go home.

Tuesday - SGC - 7:15 in the STEM lab; 2nd grade practice for PBL (cafeteria)

Wednesday - Ear Force; Student council election speeches (cafeteria, 9:15 - 9:45); PLC Chair meeting; K, 2nd, 4th grade Thanksgiving feast (other grade levels will eat in their classrooms)

Thursday - 2nd grade PBL trading event in cafeteria (8:30 - 9:45); PK, 1st, 3rd, 5th grade Thanksgiving Feast; Personalized Learning workshop (select staff); Schoolwide Spirit Day

Friday - Full Release Day - Alliance Training (email sent prior) - begins at 8:00, breakfast at 7:30 and lunch will be pizza.

You may wear jeans all week - just remember we have guests on Monday, so think business casual, not "cleaning out my closet Saturday". :-)

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

I was torn again about what to share today, it being my birthday...I could share some wonderful insights as an old grandmommy or I could discuss the things for which I am thankful...I decided to combine them. If you listen to announcements you might have heard the Words of Wisdom on Friday about the Man-With-No-Shoes who was feeling sorry for himself until he heard some wonderful music being played by a man sitting on a blanket. As the Man-With-No-Shoes began to feel the joy of dancing, he called on the music man to join him in dance. However, the music man replied, "I can't, brother - I have no feet"...This story is to remind us to be happy with what we have, and we will have plenty to be happy about. I think about Paris and the fear and sadness which must be pervasive in their city and country right now and think about how our country felt on 9/11. I am thankful to be in a country where we can express ourselves regardless of what we have to say. I am thankful to be in a place where we are free to worship how we like, be with who we like, and love who we want. I am so sad that anyone (country or people) have to live in fear every day or where learning is a privilege and not a right...I am thankful to be here for another birthday, and I am extremely grateful to be working with such dedicated and caring professionals. Make it a thankful week...

We're better together!


The Baker's Dozen - A Mile in Their Shoes (11/8/15)

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

Yes, I'm starting with the bottom first today because I want to make sure everyone reads it! I have two topics that are timely today and I didn't know which one to do, so I decided to do them both.

You never truly know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. –American Adage, Source Unknown

Have you ever envied a person’s job? I know I often get into “discussions” with my husband about how I'd love to do his job for one week! But the truth is, I have no idea what he goes through on a daily basis, nor does he have any idea what I do on a day to day basis. It's easy to judge from afar. We’ve all heard that “perception is reality” and, to some extent, it is. It's easy to look at someone’s job in the school and think their job is so easy…but do you really know what they do all day? Would you like to be the person who watches and listens to students throw up all day? Do you want to be the person who listens for the 100th time that “their child forgot their lunch”? Do you want to be the person who cleans up after the children? What I'm saying is, we all have yucky parts of our jobs that make our jobs difficult and we also have parts of our jobs no one can see. Did you know I receive roughly 200 emails a day? Obviously, I have to respond to most of them, but that's not something a person “sees” as they walk past my office. Our teachers are the backbone to our school…we’re here because of the children, but if we’re not a teacher, then we should be supporting teachers through our roles. It's easy to see what teachers do every day, but more difficult to see the tasks all the support personnel provide. We all make choices in our life including our profession, so before you are tempted to judge another person and how hard they work, assume good will and seek clarity.

My second topic is part of the first…it's about the wall we’re all hitting. Everyone is exhausted, tired, irritated, overworked, overwhelmed, and more. I've noticed when we get to this point, we start blaming others, taking our frustrations out on each other, and generally becoming unhappy. Certainly this is because you're working hard, but it's also in part because of the time of year and we need a break. I'll pause for a moment to remind us (me included) that we're lucky enough to be in a job that has a week off at Thanksgiving and winter holidays and spring break - that's definitely more vacation time than companies give out! We have two more weeks before we get a week off…it's not really a choice if we’re going to make it – we have to. I think about where we were as a school this time last year, and I can't say this enough- I'm so proud of everyone and their growth. Even if you weren't here, think about your growth and know it is noticed and appreciated. I know that to get to this spot has required a lot of work on your part. I don't think I could ever give out enough jeans passes or thank you’s where you would genuinely feel appreciated. All I can say is that with every part of my being, I am so appreciative of what you do on a daily basis (because I DO know what you do) , regardless of your position, and I am so thankful to be here with you as we navigate these waters. Hang in there…we WILL make it.

Last Week's Treats

Well, for me, my treat was the GaETC conference, and I think those who had the opportunity to go, would agree! I learned a lot, and so did they! They will be sharing what they learned on our January release day. The Principal's Coffee chat was pretty non-eventful. One parent asked about something specific to a teacher and about AR (which I checked with Jimmy), so nothing else to report. However, I have gotten a couple of emails from parents about students not watching the morning news - they didn't know about something or didn't hear their birthday announced. All teachers now have projectors. The expectation is that the announcements are on each and every day. If you're having a problem with your projector or the news show, please let Jimmy or me know immediately - we will help!

P.S. - I sent a Save the Date for the Staff Holiday party - it probably went to your clutter email, so please check! It's December 12 at 6:00 and free! I hope you will be there!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday - Kindergarten Field Trip (9:30 - 10:30); T2O (Office 365)

Tuesday - PLC meetings

Wednesday - Ear Force; club meetings

Thursday - (no grade level meetings); Gail Dean Community Meeting (9:30 - 11:30) - media center - do not send students during this time.

Friday - Spaced Out - cafeteria - 8:45 - 10:15; Spirit Day for Tiger Trot participants - staff too!; Legacy of Excellence Awards Ceremony (for Tiffany and Ellen)

Have a great week!

Remember, we ARE better together!


The Baker's Dozen - Accepting Help (11-1-15)

Good morning! Did you remember to set your clock back an hour? I loved the extra hour of sleep! What, you say?! Then, you must have children or pets that still go by their internal clock and setting a clock forward or back has no effect on wake-up time! I don't say this to rub it in, just that you should either enjoy it while you're young or there is a light at the end of the tunnel - your time will come too when you can sleep an extra hour! (quicker than you think!)

Last Week's Treats

It was certainly a busy week, ending with Fall Centers and Book Character Day! Wow! The children had a blast and I'm not sure I have recovered from the delicious junk food binge in the media center! I apologize again for the cancellation of the Instructional Rounds. I can't believe Dr. LaCava would do so on a whim, but I know it was impactful and disappointing to us all! He has rescheduled for the 7th of December, not the 3rd as they originally said! The 5th graders had a great experience at The Alliance Theatre! Our 2nd and 4th graders had a great learning experience, too, with the visit of a Native American (sponsored by the PTO)! I heard it was amazing! There's always so much happening at Spalding and that is such a testament to everyone (I do mean everyone!) who works at our school!

In the Oven for Next Week

There's a lot going on...be sure to ask if you're not clear on what's happening! :-)

Monday: Signed papers go home, along with Progress Skills Checklists, Thanksgiving invitation, and a Milestone letter for 3rd and 5th grade students. 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers will meet during their planning with Marybeth Mulligan, CLC Data Program Specialist to review WriteScore data. (It's pretty rockin' if you haven't heard!) 1st grade has a field trip to the Teaching Museum North. Tech 2 Order: 2:45

Tuesday: PLC meetings

Wednesday: Statewide Tornado Drill (weather permitting); Select staff at GaETC (Wednesday - Friday). Leadership Meeting

Thursday: Select staff at GaETC; RtI for K - 2; no meetings for 3rd - 5th

Friday: Select staff at GaETC; Principal's Coffee Chat; Volunteer Friday (please have your materials in the media center for our volunteers!)

Recipe for a Delicious Week

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ―Maya Angelou

Is it harder for you to accept than give? I can tell you without a doubt it is for me! People will often offer to help and I decline...why is that? I guess you could say it's a "control thing" and perhaps it is. At the very core, though, it's that I don't want to burden someone else with something I think I should be doing. So, when I think of Elliott's lessons this year about helping others and how helping makes you feel better, I forgot to think about the other side of that...accepting help! This week, when someone offers to help, take it! It doesn't make you "less than" or "helpless"; it just means you can accept help gratefully! When you accept, it makes others feel helpFUL, so accept help and it will be a win/win!

We're better together!


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The Baker's Dozen - Speak the Truth (10/25/15)

Happy Sunday!! I hope you had a great weekend! I want to thank all of the folks who stayed on Friday to help with the Fall Fun Fest! It's always a fun event, but a long day! I know many of you stayed to help, so thank you! We have a lot going on next week, so please read all the way through The Baker's Dozen!

Last Week's Treats

Thank you to everyone for doing such a great job with ITBS testing! It went off without a single hitch! The writing Professional Developments with Chris have been great and we are really seeing the results in all of our students, but we have the data for our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. Our Write Score data came back and the students are doing great! Keep up the good work!

In the Oven for Next Week

Red Ribbon Week

Monday - Dr. LaCava and team will be here to do Instructional Rounds...thank you, everyone, for really being thoughtful about the lessons and activities they will see. I have the utmost faith they will be very impressed!! Super Star Party for select students in the cafeteria at 1:20. T2O - air server and iPad docks. Crazy Sock Day!

Tuesday - PLC's - Be Healthy Day (wear your favorite team shirt)

Wednesday - Fifth Grade Trip to Alliance Theatre; Ear Force, CPR training after school, Put a Cap on Drugs (wear your favorite cap or hat)

Thursday - K - 2 - Data Meeting on I-Ready/STAR; 3 - 5 - RtI meeting; Smartie treat for students

Friday - Book Character Day or wear red. Fall Center day; Staff goodies in the media conference room (I'll bring plates and paper goods). Please, please be mindful of students who don't celebrate Halloween or any allergies in your class. If you are getting the students a "treat", I would much rather it be an object than candy. Students who go home on the bus with candy can choke!

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper. ~ Khalil Gibran

There's story telling and then there's embellishment...I've been known to embellish a bit myself. :-) If you're telling a story, stretching the truth often makes for good entertainment. However, if you're relaying information about a situation, student, or event, stretching the truth is often misleading. I'm on a campaign to myself to only speak the truth when relaying information...not to embellish to make a point or sway a decision. The TRUTH is - the truth is almost always enough. I challenge you to speak to truth too!!

Speaking of truth...this picture below is no lie or exaggeration...it is a little dancing Arias. That's right - Janet is pregnant (She's due the beginning of May). And that's the truth.

We're better together!


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A Baker's Dozen - Counting Your Blessings (10/18/15)

Good morning! I hope you are enjoying the chilly weekend! I admit, I had to turn on the heat this morning...so chilly!! Of course, it is the middle of October! Can you believe it?

Last Week's Treats

While it was our normal busy four-day week, I participated in a couple of things you should know about...

1. The Fulton County Principals' Meetings: For those of you who were here last year, you know I sent out the minutes to the meetings. There is really nothing to send this year. Twice, I've listened remotely to the meeting, so I'm not even there. :-) They are doing a different format for the meetings and after the interim superintendent speaks, we break up into our Personalized Learning groups. MY Personalized Learning group activity was to be at school for our Listening Tour (more on that in a moment.) The Director of Assessment did speak about the Milestones tests and that we will still be receiving the data soon.

2. Our School Governance Council meeting - As Janet shared with the leadership team on Wednesday, we are going forward with a STEAM Coach. Our vision is to have a person for a transition in the lab - meaning next year, teachers will teach the lessons with the support of this person, rather than how it is now. The Coach will do just that: coach. They will model lessons in your classroom, observe you teaching, provide important feedback, and support you through professional development on our release days or other opportunities.

3. Personalized Learning! I know I've mentioned this before, so please don't hate me for repeating myself - I know I have to read something multiple times before it makes sense! We are in Group 3. A Launch group, Group 1 and Group 2 have gone before us. What is personalized learning? Just what it sounds like...we are ensuring each child receives instruction in the manner and timeliness they need to be successful. Does it involve technology? Yes. The county recognizes "personalizing" for all students can't be done effectively with one teacher for a whole class. Technology will become part of the teaching and student work rather than just a practice opportunity. As we go down this path, we will examine what is right for our school. I have selected a core group who represent the different aspects of the school: Tiffany, Chip, Giuliani, Chris, and Jimmy. This is a long process, so don't worry that it will happen tomorrow or even next month...we have a lot of planning to do prior to implementation. As you hear about it, I urge you to not think, "oh no, another thing", but rather how it will support what we are already doing.

In the Oven for Next Week

All Week - ITBS Testing

Monday- Signed papers, Report cards, and student compacts go home - parents need to return the report card envelope and the top sheet for the compact. We are required to have a signed form from each parent for the compact. T2O - in Ms. Baker's room (Interactive Projectors) - update for those who don't have them: they will be here shortly (maybe this week). If you have an older Promethean or if you get a new one, the expectation is for you to be using this in an interactive manner in your room. I often see it being used as a projector or not at all...this would be a good T2O to go to!!!

Tuesday – Mini grant meeting; Faculty meeting: for everyone! We have a lot to discuss and do! If you have a laptop or iPad, please bring it. We will be: Taking our Staff photo (wear your green cupcake shirt with khaki's or colored pants); Tiffany will be discussing compensation; We will be taking our school climate survey (not the admins survey, but the survey used in CCRPI); Marcia will be sharing information about benefits and charitable fund.

Wednesday – PLC Chair meeting

Thursday – Writing grade level with Chris

Friday – Fall Fun Fest (I'm checking to see if they need volunteers)

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." Willie Nelson

Oh, Willie Nelson, I imagine he counts a lot of things, but the statement is true...we have to think of the things we have and be thankful for what we have. When we dwell on what we don't have or can't do, either personally or professionally, it's hard to be happy. When I think about my job, I think about my blessings at Spalding: a great AP, a wonderful front office staff who know their jobs, people around me who are willing to work hard, amazing students, helpful (although very involved) parents, and most importantly, teachers who have been running uphill since August. I know we have "taken" on a lot...my goal is to continue to maintain these initiatives without adding anything else. From writing, to PBL, to PLC, to STEAM, teachers have a lot on their plates - I know this. I count you as MY blessing every day, but really, you are the students' blessings...thank you for all you do for the children and our school! Today, take a moment and think of your blessings, whether at home or school, and try to keep that happy feeling for the rest of the week!

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The Baker's Dozen - Focused on Solutions (10/11/15)

Good afternoon! I hope you are enjoying your much deserved and much needed three day weekend! (4 days for some of you!) I'm glad we have some sun today - I'm tired of the dreary rain even though that's typical for this time of year!

Last Week's Treats

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in thinking "short" weeks are the longest! We had a lot going on from PBL planning to Rock Eagle to parent conferences to State of the School...it was a lot! It definitely added some stress to everyone's tired brain. I remember when Dr. Avossa approved this year's (and last) calendar...he knew it would difficult without a real break until Thanksgiving, but we will have an entire week off in less than six weeks. I know it's easy to become negative about the state of education, our county, or our school, but "this" is the state of education now. I sat with some principals at my last principal's meeting and they were not positive at all...one even was crying because she was so overwhelmed. Sound familiar? We ALL feel it, even if it's about different things. So, how do we get through it?

Let's remember Elliot's message...we have to work together! You might have just said, "We have PLC's three weeks out of four; what else could you ask for?!" Well, it's not what I'm asking for, but what is good for you...I've heard some concerns from teachers that they can't plan together...that is not true! Of course you can! When you look at the 4 guiding questions for PLC's (What do we want students to learn? How will we know if they have learned it? What will we do if they don't learn it? What will we do if they already know it?), the question about what do we want students to learn absolutely includes planning that instruction after you've unpacked the standards!!! So, while you may be focused on Tiger Time, there is no reason not to discuss other subjects and discuss how to teach those standards! As an FYI - there are grade levels who are doing this VERY well, and I would imagine (at least in this area), their stress is much lower.

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday - No School - enjoy!

Tuesday - PLC Meeting

Wednesday - Club Meetings; Ear Force

Thursday - SGC (Public Comment) in STEM Lab; Listening Tour for Personalized Learning (12-2) - I'm not sure who all will be involved...more to come. RtI grade level meetings

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

Criticism is always easier than constructive solutions. - Jaron Lanier (artist)

Whether it's in your work or in your personal life, it is always easier to find fault with something and focus on what's wrong than to look for solutions. Imagine the power (and time) we would have if we turned the time we spent complaining about a problem into finding a solution to the problem! I'm not immune to a "venting session" - it's healthy and we all need it from time to time. However, when it's where you "live", it's not healthy for you or those around you! When we're stuck with a problem, let's try to focus on solutions and not the problem!

We're better together!


The Baker's Dozen - What Every Kid Needs (10/4/15)

Good morning! I hope you're taking advantage of a rainy weekend to get some rest or just take it easy! We have a four-day week with students and then we have a three-day weekend! Woohoo! Before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving and we will have a whole week off! I know we're all tired, and your hard work has not gone unnoticed by me or by the parents! In the end, it's always for the children...hang in there!

Last Week's Treats

We had a couple of technology trainings that were great: Safari Montage by Jimmy and Nearpod by Nearpod. Safari Montage is a platform where you can design personalized learning experiences for students or you can just search for and use the digital content...once we receive our "devices" next year, wouldn't it be cool to have each child log on to something like Safari Montage where you have created their personalized learning experience?! Like anything new, it may take a while to create the "units", but once done, it's done for all students! Sound overwhelming? What about starting with one subject and using the iPads? As for Nearpod, it's also very useful for Personalized Learning! It was a basic class, but I learned a LOT! Thank you ALL of the people who came to learn. Sometimes, it's overwhelming, so pick one thing and try it!

The Data Chats were awesome - I hope you use the Record Book for grouping students for Tiger Time even if you use different data...Chris and Robyn fixed it so everyone can see the math for their grade level. Let them know if you can't see it.

Our 3rd graders did a wonderful job with "Dig It" - thank you to Ms. B - she is amazing! Thank you, too, to our 3rd grade teachers and their help to make sure this was super adorable!

Thank you to everyone who provided material for our volunteers on Volunteer Friday! They love to feel helpful and you did a great job...win/win! You might have noticed my Principal's Coffee Chat was very full...that's because Chuck Gardner, the Sandy Springs Middle School principal, joined us! We had many 5th grade parents, and I truly think they were impressed by him and feel much better about the children going to middle school. We will have some more opportunities to connect with Mr. Gardner!

General Reminders

Agendas - For grades 2 - 5, they should be used daily. This is so parents have accurate communication, but also so students learn organizational skills that will support them their entire lives.

Passwords - If you haven't already, please communicate with parents about iXL, I-ready, and any other technology passwords students can use at home. You may have shared this information on your website, but you might want to make a sticker and put it in each child's agenda (with their passwords).

Hand Sanitizer - I'm sure we've all seen the recent negative uses of hand sanitizer...here's another: when children put it on their hands in massive quantities, it drips on the floor and ruins the wax. Please make sure students are either: A. doing it over the sink or B. use less so it doesn't drip on the floor.

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday - 2nd grade, then 5th grade PBL Planning (I would recommend using the basement so you can spread out.) Signed papers go home. T2O: Safari Montage training (2:45)

Tuesday - Walk to School Day; Doughnuts for Dads (cafeteria); State of the School (media Center); Kindergarten, then 1st grade PBL Planning; PLC Meetings

Wednesday - 4th grade, then 3rd grade PBL Planning; 5th grade Rock Eagle trip

Thursday - RtI grade levels with Ken (be sure to bring data); 5th grade Rock Eagle trip

Friday - Conference Day (regular professional dress if you're meeting with parents); Flu shots (2 - 4);

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

Rather than text, I have a link for a TED video from Rita Pierson. I was lucky enough to have her visit my old school many years ago, and she is an amazing person! It's about a 7 minute video, but worth it if you've never seen it...but even if you have, it's a wonderful reminder for why we do what we do regardless of our job title...please take a moment to watch.

We're better together!


Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

The Baker's Dozen - Practicing Forgiveness (9/27/15)

We met with our School Governance Council on Tuesday. This week, we are having Leadership, and believe or not, we need to be thinking about SEED Fund money for next year. Right now, SEED Fund money funds Ms. Waller's position and our partnership with The Woodruff Arts Center and some professional learning. What would you like for next year that supports our Strategic Plan? Be sure to tell your Leadership rep if you have any ideas or suggestions!

Last Week's Treats

Whew! What a busy week last week! I loved the feedback from the writing trainings...I'm so glad to hear we're all on the right path! What about the Trot-a-thon? Pretty amazing that our parents organize this so their children, through you, can get the benefits! The collection of shoes was awesome, and I guess the news stations liked it too! The PTO gift cards were a nice final touch, and I'm sure they would appreciate a nice thank you for their gift/donation! Be on the look out for information about classroom grants...they're easy, and often funded!

In the Oven for Next Week

Monday - Picture Day, T2O (media center) - 2:45

Tuesday - PLC (not Committee Meeting) - The majority of grade levels indicated Committees were meeting on their own and would rather have another day for PLC meetings

Wednesday - Leadership Meeting

Thursday - STAR Data review grade levels (more info to come)

Friday - Volunteer Friday, Principal Coffee Chat, 3rd Grade Dig It - 8:45 (after Tiger Time)

A Recipe for a Delicious Week

A life lived without forgiveness is a prison. ~ William Arthur Ward

Who hasn't laid awake at night stewing over something said that didn't sit well? Or moped around feeling hurt about some perceived infraction? That's a lot of energy spent mulling over hurt feelings. The real enemy is often the negative self-talk, drumming up old insecurities and fears. Imagine if that much energy was spent on forgiveness and perspective. Sure, we don't always hear what we want. Feelings get hurt. People get angry. It's rotten when it happens, but life can and does move forward. Carrying the weight of a grudge is a self-imposed prison from which only you can release yourself. And that will make you a better person and a better educator.

We're Better Together!