Degan Elementary Eagle Eye

September 7-11

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Avengers: Age of Degan--No Excuses!

It's hard to believe we have already finished our 2nd week of school. I started looking at some of our students' initial beginning of the year scores for Istation and was truly amazed. I'm seeing scores for grade levels 20 and 30 percentage points higher than where we ended in May. You might say, "Well they were just burned out in May." Nope, our scores stayed pretty steady all year. We never made it to any grade level having more than about 40% Tier I except in 5th grade and those students aren't here. It can't be attributed to summer school, we didn't have that. We did Istation nights, but while we had some good attendance for our first endeavor with this, it is not near the number of students we are seeing with growth. So what is it? The only thing I can attribute this success to is the power of the "Law of Attraction". What you visualize and believe in something, it can come true. I believe that our students are feeling special to be a "No Excuses University" school. We are telling them they can do great things. Their parents are being vocal about what a great place Degan is, and as a result, they are raising their level of effort. It doesn't seem possible but it is happening.

Here are some examples of the power of seeing what you want to see, rather than allowing yourself mental images of what you don't want.

  • I was very disappointed, more than once, at not being hired as a principal. While it was difficult, I always told myself that the "perfect" school was being prepared for me, far better than I could ever imagine. Low and behold, DEGAN! I cannot tell you how many times I have said in the last year what a dream job I have. Incredible people who take risks and are masters at transformation and innovation. Not an easy job, but a perfect campus!! Truly way better than I could have imagined!
  • When I interviewed for Degan, one of the questions was "What will the district leadership team see when we walk on the campus at Degan?" Now you have to remember, at that point, I did not have any real understanding of Strategic Design or where LISD or Degan had been. My response was that they would see a "flywheel". Now the flywheel is a concept from Jim Collin's book Good to Great. It is the idea that if an organization has the right people, a focused vision, and everyone is pushing together, great things happen. While initially getting the flywheel moving takes a great deal of work, with everyone pushing, eventually, the flywheel gains momentum and almost becomes self-sustaining. I cannot believe how far we have come in the past two years. Two years ago, you weren't sure anyone knew where Degan was. This year, you see the "handprints" of the work of Degan all over LISD (and beyond)! I think this goes back to explaining the sudden increases in Istation scores. FLYWHEEL! A clear message that it wasn't because of anything that just happened, but the sustained effort over time.
  • Last, I had several teachers approach me with concerns over staffing/enrollment this year. I mean, let's face it. We've lost teachers for two years straight. When asked if I had a "plan", my answer was "no". Now this is an unusual response from me, since I always have a plan. But I decided to focus on what I wanted rather than what I didn't want. I spent time every day seeing an influx of students into 3rd and 1st grades. If teachers asked, I told them to picture that, too. That's exactly what we got! Students who told us they were leaving, came back! We kept our enrollment where it needed to be! It was awesome to not be contacted by HR this year and to know that we are good to go!

The minute you spend time putting pictures in your head of "what you don't want", you give that permission to happen. That is the clear picture you are putting in your head....the thing you don't want. I challenge you today. Picture what you want. Make your goal big, hairy and audacious. Spend time seeing it come true. Don't allow yourself to picture a student not being proficient or having inappropriate behavior. Jack Canfield says spend 5 minutes at the beginning and ending of each day seeing the outcome you desire. It works and you've got nothing to lose, but everything to gain!

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” - Mahatma Gandhi


Good to Great

Good to Great - Jim Collins

Another look at Building Relationships

Rita Pierson Relationships

Best Wishes, Delaine! Please Welcome Ashley Allen!

For those of you who may not know, Delaine has accepted a paraprofessional position at Heritage as a Library Aide. We wish her the best and thank her for her service to Degan.

Ashley Allen has been hired and will be filling our ESL Paraprofessional role beginning Wednesday. Ashley has completed her student teaching in Kindergarten, ESL, and 4th Grade. She is a EC-6 certified teacher and just passed her ESL Certification. I know she will be a great addition to our team.

We have also been approved to hire a Title I paraprofessional and are looking to hire in the next week.

Week at a Glance

September 7th Labor Day/No School

September 8th Vanessa @ Principal PLC (moved to Parkway to have access to dual language classes)

4th Grade in planning with Norma @ Rockbrook

September 9th Eagle Assessment 1 Window begins

September 10th Think College Thursday--College Gear and Jeans/Flip Flops

Design Team

PTA Executive Board

September 11th Club Friday 4th/2nd

National Day of Remembrance/Patriot's Day

End of 1st 3 Week Grading Period for 1st 9 Weeks (at least 3 grades for each subject entered, progress reports for anyone with less than 75, parents contacted if student is failing, per email from Mr. Plunkett)

On Deck:

PDAS Self-Report I due

Mod Squad Orientation

Staff Meeting

Think College Thursday

Data Meetings during Conference

Watch DOGS Orientation

Club Friday 3rd/1st

Think College Thursday

Design Team Meeting

Club Friday 5th/Kinder

Custodian Appreciation Week

Fall Picture Day


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.