Degan Elementary Eagle Eye

February 8-12

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Avengers: Age of Degan--No Excuses!

I'm not sure about you, but it feels to be through with district CBAs, our common assessments for Math, and another round of Istation. These last two weeks have certainly been packed, but the results are impressive. It is incredibly exciting to see how our students are growing in their skills and becoming stronger in their transfer and application of problem-solving, calculations, reading and writing. While I know we still have a way to go, it is amazing how far these students have come. Even more impressive is that the skills are not just on a surface level but truly moving to their ownership of the skills. The strong habits you build make the higher application and transfer to testing possible.

I think this is what is truly amazing. So many of our students walk through our doors with zero educational background. They have had no exposure to anything pre-academic. Some of our older students have not only had limited pre-school experience but bounce around in schools or come from schools with less intentional efforts. Yet still students come to Degan and begin to thrive. I am in awe of what you accomplish with our students and so glad that district leadership and school board trustees recognize this.

I had lunch with a friend from another district this weekend. Their focus on testing was disheartening. It was sad because the goal was driven by appearances. It was driven by how it made the district look, not how it prepared students for their future. You can train a child to take a test, but that doesn't equate to real life skills that life. The growth that our students have experienced this year is phenomenal. It's real, and it will help them for the rest of their life.

Another reflection I had as I looked at data to prepare for my meeting with Mr. Plunkett is how students are beginning to see how they can control their results. After six months of meeting with students, showing them their data, and discussing increases and decreases, they are becoming aware of how THEY can make the results go up or down. I'm not sure if they understood this before. I think it goes back to what Ruby Payne says about those coming from backgrounds of poverty seeing their life as "fated". Your intentional efforts teach them they have power. A feeling of power over your destiny gives you hope! Our students are growing, and it is because of you and the time you spend with them mentoring them, not just teaching them.

Thank you for your time learning and responding to Gallup. You have been sent a link to participate in the Employee Gallup Survey. Just a reminder that this is for all Degan Employees-if you received a link, your input is needed. The survey is anonymous, and results go directly to the company. The survey is optional, but I would appreciate your input. The more respondents we have, the better information we have to plan from for next year. I believe the survey will be active through Friday if you have not had a chance to complete it. It takes less than 10 minutes.

Please pay close attention to the calendar. We have some things shifted this week due to class parties, etcetera.

Thank you for all you do! You are amazing educators. Most principals feel lucky to have at least half the staff focused and strong. I know that is one of the things I shared with Cheryl last week. I have a full building of people committed to making a difference and giving their best for our students no matter their role. I am certainly blessed, and so are our students!


Need Volunteers for Teacher Job Fair on Saturday

I need some people to man the Degan table at the Teacher Job Fair on February 13th from 8-12. If we have enough, it could be shorter shifts. They want both Kyle and I screening applicants in interviews. If you can help, please let me know! I would really like 4 people for 2 hours shifts (7:45-10, 10-12:15)
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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 8am. 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.

Week at a Glance

February 8th-1st 3 week grades for 3rd Nine Weeks Progress Reports due

Vanessa Coaching Call 3pm

February 9th-Think College Thursday (remember to remind your students. Jeans for staff if you contributed to "Together We Rise")

Vanessa @ Central Zone PLC from 9am-1pm

February 10th-Spring Pictures/Individual and Class

Math Curriculum Coordinator Visit (afternoon)

Staff Meeting with Damen Lopez (Founder of NEU)

February 11th-Valentines Parties 2pm

Design Team

February 12th-Club Friday 4th/2nd

Last day for Gallup Employee Survey

February 13th-LISD Teacher Job Fair

On Deck:

Professional Learning Day

Zoe's Fundraiser

February Principal's Meeting

3rd Grade Writing Initiative Day

Area NEU Schools to visit

Club Friday 3rd/1st

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.