Degan Elementary Eagle Eye

February 15-19

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Avengers: Age of Degan--No Excuses!

I am not sure I am a fan of weekend Valentine's Day. I'm not sure about you, but it felt a little bit that it increased the anticipation of students all week long. Thank goodness we went ahead and had parties on Thursday it was like a little bit of much-needed release rather than holding back the pressure one more day!! Friday felt normal again!

With that said, what an AWESOME Eagle Shuffle on Friday. The energy from students and staff was outstanding. I felt as if the roof would literally come off! One of my favorite moments was to look back and see a student who admittedly doesn't like his voice and who puts pressure on himself to appear tough, standing in the back clapping. Made my heart smile!

One of my personal studies in preparing to become a principal and in the years since has been in the area of mindfulness. I know in today's world of school principals, I'm a late bloomer. Most principals these days start in early their thirties and some even earlier. Most of you know I spent years avoiding this path because of personal experiences with close friends and family who were principals and it appeared to me to take devastating effects on their health. It was only after feeling like I could achieve a mental balance that I could even consider what has become one of the greatest joys of my life. Being an educator is so much more than a job for me, it a chance to have an impact on the world and create a better society for my children and grandchildren some day!

So, as I came across the article today, it hit home. Not because I have a lot of ego. I certainly have had many, many years of people taking my ego to nothing through years and years of bullying (and I use the word correctly unlike many in the world today). What I liked about the message below is the idea of giving ourselves permission to be human as well as to embrace that humanness and to practice gratitude. What a great way to perceive humility. It made me think about something Jon Gordon says. It is impossible to be stressed while you are grateful. "Too blessed to be stressed," he always says!

I hope you will take a moment to peruse the article below. You each put so much into your jobs. Sometimes it is easy to hyper-focus on the growth that hasn't happened rather than all that has already happened. Panic over upcoming testing can be paralyzing if we allow one day of testing to control our thoughts. Humility allows us to accurately self-analyze our progress. We can look at what growth still needs to occur and not feel defeated while also looking at what growth has occurred and without feeling overconfident that the job is done. Humility allows us to keep moving forward with a growth mindset. We know that we have the power to affect our future with the steps we take each day. Sometimes being humble isn't just about not having ego, it's about giving yourself credit when credit is due, too.

Thank you for your humility and nurture as you can for our students each day. It is heartwarming to see staff celebrate a student with emotional struggles that impacts his ability to communicate effectively who outwardly expresses gratitude for an adult who has made a difference for him. My heart swells with pride when I see a team sit together to "crack the code" for a student who lacks motivation. The most important thing you do every day is helping our students see value in themselves. It takes time, it's exhausting, but man is it powerful!

Thank you for all you do! I'm looking forward to learning together on Monday!


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February 15th Professional Learning Day

I am very excited to bring back J. Taylor for our Professional Learning Day next Monday! I have gotten a lot of feedback that you feel comfortable with your knowledge of icons but are looking to apply them with students in deeper ways. District Curriculum Writing teams have been working with J. Taylor as they have worked to revamp curriculum and ensure appropriate levels of thinking, so this seems to be the perfect time to bring them back to Degan for further conversation!

We will have Dr. Kim Dodds and Jennifer Lambert (she was with us last time) working with us on this day.

I have sent them examples of how we typically use the icons in student products as well as the TEKS coming up in the weeks following our professional learning to ensure the day is meaningful and relevant. I am excited that you will come away from this day with tools to use immediately!

Our day will be 8am-4pm. Please be in your seat ready to go at 8 am. Dr. Dodds will work with the entire staff with some Depth and Complexity resources and intermediate level understanding in the morning. We will break for lunch from 11:30-1:00 for lunch on your own. In the afternoon, Dr. Dodds will be working with Design Team Members to begin providing direction for the future and Jennifer Lambert will be working with the rest of the staff on designing instruction and student work to incorporate what you have learned. J. Taylor will be providing our closing reflection, and we will conclude at 4 pm.

For staff at Degan: Jeans are appropriate dress on Monday. Spirit shirts are not required. Please bring your Avenger journal and technology. If tech isn't needed, we will keep it on the floor, but you will have it if it is needed.

Paras who are off campus, please follow typical requirements of the department for your day for dress and their communication for dress code. If you have not had that clarified, if you choose to wear jeans, please include our Degan polo.

Week at a Glance

February 15th- Professional Learning at Degan with J. Taylor Co. Depth and Complexity

February 16th-Zoe's Fundraiser Night

February 17th-Vanessa @ Learning Leaders

February 18th-Norma on Campus for 3rd Grade Writing Initiative Day

PTA Meeting Kinder

February 19th-Club Friday 3rd/1st

NEU School Principals from McKinney and Irving to visit Degan 8-12

On Deck:

Staff Meeting

Think College Thursday

Design Team

Data Meeting During Conference

Club Friday 5th/Kinder

2nd 3 weeks grades due for 3rd 9 Weeks Progress Reports

Book Character Day

Sonic Night

Think College Thursday

Engagement Night

Club Friday 4th/2nd

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.