The Eagle Call

February 2016

Happy Second Semester!

As we move into the second semester, I am so excited to see the growth of each of our students. Each month, all of our students take an online reading assessment through Istation, we score a sample of their writing, and we take campus common assessments to determine their ability to apply mathematical skills. Every three weeks, teachers meet to discuss their students and determine their growth. If a student isn't growing, we collaborate and plan to see how we can help them. It doesn't matter if they are the highest performing student or one who is struggling most; our mantra is "all students grow". As a parent myself, this is exciting. That is the purpose of school, to make sure all students grow!

Not only do we meet as the staff to discuss students' needs, but your child's teacher also meets with your child individually. They discuss where they are, where they need to be, and if they are growing or not. This past week, when we had school board members and a team from Huffines Middle School touring, I got to watch one of our 4th graders explain to them his data/goal setting folder. I was so proud as he shared his growth over the year and how he sets his goals. The really exciting thing is that it isn't just older students who do this. Our Kindergarteners have been working to do the same thing since August. Our PK students are even working to look at if they are growing! I share this because I do believe that your children are experiencing a rarity in education. They have some amazing teachers committed to their growth each and every month!

I encourage you to ask your child about their goal folder. Ask them what their goals are for reading, writing, and math and how they are working to improve. It is really cool to listen to them take ownership in their learning. I know as an elementary student, I didn't understand my own academic progress as well as our students here at Degan! It is also exciting to know that Huffines is taking an interest so that we can provide consistency and support for our students as they transition to middle school. I know they are investigating "No Excuses University" and I am looking forward to strong partnerships in the years to come!

We are so excited to share in this journey with you to provide your child with the best education. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or suggestions as we work to continually improve this experience for your family!


Mrs. Stuart

Colleges are Rethinking Costs of College!

Research shows the impact on earning capacity with post-high school learning. At the same time, it is critical that our children don't end up in debt to make a college degree a reality. See below how some universities are taking steps to make this dream a reality!

Don't forget these important dates!


February 1st-5th National School Counselor's Week: Thank you, Mrs. Blevins!

February 3rd- Sonic Night

February 4th-Think College Thursday

February 5th-Club Friday 5th/Kinder

February 9th-Think College Tuesday this week!

February 10th-Spring Pictures

February 11th-Valentine's Parties 2 pm

February 12th-Club Friday 4th/2nd

February 15th-Professional Learning Day for Teachers/No School for Students

February 16th-Zoe's Fundraiser Night

February 18th-Think College Thursday

PTA Meeting and Kinder Performance

February 19th-Club Friday 3rd/1st

February 25th-Think College Thursday

February 26th-Club Friday 5th/Kinder

And these dates in Early March

March 2nd-Sonic Night/Book Character Day

March 3rd-Engagement Night

March 4th-Think College Thursday

March 5th-Club Friday 4th/2nd

March 6th-13th Spring Break

A monthly calendar is sent in the 1st Newsday Tuesday of the month. Weekly updates and reminders are sent each Tuesday.

We are so excited that we were able to secure a deal to get hardcover yearbooks this year at an even lower cost than the soft cover yearbooks from last year. The cost is $22. You can see Mrs. White in the library or click the link above and order online with a credit card. There is a limited quantity, so order now so you don't miss out!

Essential Eagle "Need to Knows": Set High Goals for Attendance in 2016! (When You Miss School...You Miss Out!)

As we enter the spring semester, it is critical to remember district attendance policies:

  • Your child must attend 90 percent of school days to receive credit for the year. Failure to do so may result in having to attend summer school or being retained (even with passing grades).

  • If you are going to be out for a preplanned event (not illness or doctor's appointment), you must request approval for an excused absence before the absence. This form is available on our website or through Mrs. Casarez. (only five preplanned absences can be approved per year, grades must be passing, and these absences cannot put the student above 10 percent absences).

  • According to district policy, only three days per semester can be excused for illness based on parent notes. Otherwise, you must have a doctor's note for it to be excused.

  • Excused absences are required for makeup work.

  • Only three excused absences are allowed to be considered for Take Flight and SOAR. (No unexcused absences).

  • If you have a transfer to attend Degan, you must comply with attendance policies, maintain passing grades, and refrain from discipline issues to keep your transfer status.

Tardies Count!

Congratulations to our 5th graders for winning the 1st Nine Weeks lowest tardy percentage and celebrating with Kickball Against the Teachers! They also won the 2nd Nine Weeks and will have another celebration soon!

However, other grade levels have taken the lead for the 3rd Nine Weeks. It will be exciting to see who wins! Remember, 'Tardies Count' and being on time has its rewards!

Students must be in their classes ready to learn at 7:50 a.m. each day or they must get a tardy pass from the office.

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This year, because Valentine's Day falls on the weekend and because we couldn't make parties work on Friday with our Club Friday/Lunch schedule, Valentine's Parties are on Thursday, February 11th.

Just a few reminders to make it a smooth experience for all:

  • If you are the room mom, please make sure you get your communication to parents approved through the office.
  • If you are planning to attend parties, RSVP through the office so we can preprint a badge and decrease your wait time.
  • Room Parents can enter rooms at 1:30 to being setting up.
  • Parties begin at 2 p.m. All parents attending parties, but not volunteering may enter at that time.
  • Please remember that if you are serving as a volunteer, you should not bring younger children with you to the party.
  • While you may bring a younger sibling if you are not volunteer and helping with the party, please make sure you are supervising the younger child and not expecting them to participate so that we can ensure a quality party experience for students.
  • If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact your child's teacher or the Degan Office.

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Don't forget your college shirts every Thursday and Degan spirit wear every Friday (if you don't have a Degan shirt, wear GREEN)!

This Week's Eagle Essential Skill and Nine Week's Foundational Character Trait

At Degan, we believe it is important to teach and practice critical life skills. Each week we teach an Eagle Essential that aligns with our Foundation of Character trait for the 9 weeks. During February, we will be working on reviewing the Eagle Essentials of Accepting No for an Answer, Getting the Teacher's Attention, Staying on Task and Listening.

All of these are great life skills and continue to support our 2nd Nine Weeks Character Trait of Caring and Service. Doing these things correctly demonstrates respect for those around you.

Didn't Make it to Watch DOGS or MOD Squad Sign Ups?

It's not too late. Contact Mrs. Espinoza in the front office to get a registration form, complete your Volunteer Training and we can sign you up for a date.

Degan Office Staff

We are here to help with any needs or questions you may have. Stop by or call: 469-713-5967

Vanessa Stuart, Principal

Kyle Smith, Asst. Principal

Shelley Blevins, Counselor

Jill Fuller, Nurse

Chandra Ayres, Secretary

Kelly Casarez, Attendance Clerk

Megan Espinoza, Office Clerk

Kim Teamer, Data Clerk

Office Hours 7:15 a.m. -3:30 p.m.

For assistance/questions outside these times, please call 469-713-5967 and leave a message, someone will get back with you shortly.

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