Thank you for all that you do!!! You are truly the best and I am honored to be working side by side with you as we continue the mission. Enjoy jeans with a Durham or holiday shirt next week to get in the holiday spirit.
Make sure that you give Mrs. Clay a "high five" and a positive comment as Durham has enrolled and withdrawn more students than any other school in the district.
Mr. Jose Parada
As most of you know Durham has the best custodian around in Mr. Jose Parada. There are tons of items that we take for granted because Mr. Parada handles them so that we can focus on working with students. Every day we get to experience Mr. Parada's professionalism, outstanding work ethic and his positive attitude. Now is the season when we get to show him our gratitude. Please help us make Jose and his family's Christmas a little brighter. Please bring your donations to Mrs. Brown so we can present our gift to him during our assembly on Friday, December 18th. Thank you all in advance!!!
As we begin closing off the first semester and beginning the second, there are a lot of items that need to be taken care of:
- Trust Cards: One week is the longest you should keep a student's Trust Card. Students who have not reclaimed their Trust Card from you should receive an office referral if their Trust Card is still unclaimed after a week. Do not make reclaiming Trust Cards a long drawn out process where students have to conference four to five times to reclaim it. In order for Trust Cards to be effective, we must all be on the same page. New Trust Cards will be issued the Second Semester using the same system as last year. A student cannot receive a new card without relinquishing their first semester card.
- Once the second semester has settled, Dragon Time will become academically focused for all students. Math, ELA and the counselors have started the process of realignment. We will begin the second semester of Dragon Time with reteach lessons from the Fire Team. More to come...
- Operation Success will begin the week of February 1st. For those of you who are new, Operation Success is our focused small group enrichment that takes place after school. The classes are usually topped off at around ten students who have academically struggled with state mandated assessment. This will be for all levels of ELA and math, and eighth grade science and social studies. Math will be on Tuesdays, ELA will be on Thursdays, and science and social studies TBD. I know that some schools provide this service for students under "other assigned duties" but at Durham we currently have the funds to compensate you for your time. It is often commented that we put too much emphasis on state mandated testing, but it is devastating to the student who has never passed. This means we have to do everything we can to help them be successful!
- Friday Night School will hopefully begin on January 8th as another option for students assigned Wednesday Night School. If you are interested in supervising please shoot Mrs. Hall an email.
- On-line office referrals will begin the second semester. We will cover this briefly on January 4th before breaking out into PLC's to focus on planning for Dragon Time and Operation Success. The second half of the day will be spent on the Poverty Simulation.
Whatever happened to expanding lunch periods?
We discussed in a faculty meeting and then in BLT about a new schedule to accommodate lunch time for students. Fortunately, a new avenue became available so that all three lunch lines will be serving the same menu items. This will include the hiring of a new staff member for the cafeteria which should accelerate serving students. This begins the second semester and will be rough in the early going as we iron out the kinks.
Department Chair Meeting
As we move forward into the second semester, your department chairs will be discussing having one set of grading categories for each department. For example, all English teachers have a breakdown of forty percent for exams and sixty percent for daily work, quizzes, etc. The reasoning behind this is so that when looking at failure rates for students, an accurate analysis of the data will determine why students are not passing. This will be a majority rule vote per department.
Odds and Ends
- When is the last time you reviewed your word wall with your students? There is this old saying: If a tree falls in the woods....If you never use your word wall, which is important for students from poverty and our English Language Learners, then it is just window dressing. These students must not only see the words, but hear them in correlation with their practical use.
- If you have items in the refrigerator please take them home before leaving for Christmas break.