The Voice of Kimball Nation

February 1 -5, 2016

Executive Director's Message

“Data-based decisions”—the phrase has become a buzzword in education over the last few years.

However, for us it makes sense. Using information to help clarify issues, identify alternative solutions to problems, and target resources more effectively leads to better instructional decisions. The real question should not be whether to integrate the use of data in decision making, but how. The upcoming curriculum assessments are “good” data. Using good data effectively is actually a complex process—one that we are mastering to increase student achievement.

The Importance of Good Data—

Identifying the key questions is only a first step. The next step, data analysis, requires the availability of high-quality, targeted data in a format that helps to address critical questions. We’re making intensive use of data from and have data available that can be easily disaggregated to provide a detailed analysis of results by objective or skill in addition to overall scores.

We will be most effective using assessment data to capitalize on the power of classroom assessment. This week I urge you to embed assessment in “every aspect of your planning, thinking, and doing” instead of viewing assessment as a “once-a-year event” Let the data drive the assessment you will develop to measure student achievement.

Now is the time for us to assess our own work and its impact on our students. To continue our success, we need to engage in conversations using assessment data to diagnose strengths as well as areas in which we need to modify instruction. Now is the time to for us to collaborate and discuss instructional practice, using assessment data as a springboard.

The curriculum assessments we administer this week will assist us in seeing specific areas of difficulty for each student, it will also help us to pinpoint objectives that either need to be covered more thoroughly or taught in a different way.

Make it a GREAT week!

Dr. Cheryl Wright

Kimball Feeder Pattern Leverage Points

Kimball High School All Girl’s Assembly

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On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Justin F. Kimball High School, under the leadership of Principal Earl Jones, held the second annual All Girl’s Assembly. This event was a time for the girls to gather, receive inspiration, and depart with renewed motivation. The young ladies were dressed professionally and looking good for this occasion. Each young lady was given a souvenir care package.

This year’s theme was “Defining Moments.” The program began with a powerful display of women of all ages and ethnicity. Each woman introduced themselves, their role, and one defining moment that they overcame.

The program included two panels that addressed defining moments of overcoming adversity and understanding your purpose. The panels were composed of students, faculty, staff, and community members. The girls were given the opportunity to ask heart stirring questions concerning the topics addressed.

The program was packed with great substance. Our girl’s talents were represented through Color and Saber Guard, special dance tribute by the Troubs, song by Kimball’s All Girls’ Choir, original poetry by Briana Joe, and panel participation by Rayla Moore, Alashia Russell and Priscilla Salazar.

Our special guest included radio personality DeDe McGuire from K104FM radio. Ms. McGuire assisted in facilitating the panel discussion. Joining Ms. McGuire was Ocielia Gibson, an author and speaker, former Kimball teacher Laura Leon, entrepreneur Latoya Moppins, and alumna Taylor McKinney.

Joslyn Spurlock, a DISD staff member of the Office of Family & Community Engagement dedicated a painting to the women of Kimball Nation. Miss Spurlock created this piece as she was inspired by the words and testimonies shared during the assembly. Lydia Moore of Freedom Missionary Baptist Church spoke words of encouragement. And as a great finale, Hip Hop and Spoken Word Artist ShySpeaks explosively delivered her poetry which focused on making good choices.

The faculty and staff of Kimball Nation are to be commended for this stellar event. We are looking forward to an even greater time next year!


What exactly is it that effective principals do that ripples through classrooms and boosts learning, especially in failing schools? Click the link above to learn more.

Effective Use of Appreciation, Coaching, and Evaluation

In this chapter of Thanks for the Feedback, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen say there are three kinds of feedback in the workplace:

Appreciation – When a boss tells you how grateful he or she is to have you on the team, that’s appreciation. It’s about acceptance and a human connection – the boss is saying, I see you. I know how hard you’ve been working. You matter to me and the organization. We never outgrow the need to hear someone say, “Wow, look at you! You matter,” say Stone and Heen. “Appreciation motivates us – it gives us a bounce in our step and the energy to redouble our efforts. When people complain that they don’t get enough feedback at work, they often mean that they wonder whether anyone notices or cares how hard they’re working. They don’t want advice. They want appreciation.”

Coaching – This is feedback to help us learn, grow, or change in a specific way – to sharpen a skill, master a new idea, expand knowledge, or improve a particular capability. Coaching could come from a tennis instructor, the woman at the Apple Genius Bar, or a friend giving advice on a relationship.

Evaluation – This lets us know where we stand – a “meets expectations” performance evaluation, a middle-school report card, your time in a 5K race, the blue ribbon that your cherry pie was awarded, the acceptance of a proposal of marriage. “Evaluations are always in some respect comparisons, implicitly or explicitly, against others or against a particular set of standards,” say Stone and Heen. “Evaluations align expectations, clarify consequences, and inform decision-making.”

Each of the three forms of feedback satisfies a different set of needs, they continue: “We need evaluation to know where we stand, to set expectations, to feel reassured or secure. We need coaching to accelerate learning, to focus our time and energy where it really matters, and to keep our relationships healthy and functioning. And we need appreciation if all the sweat and tears we put into our jobs and our relationships are going to feel worthwhile.” Research has shown a high correlation between effective evaluation, coaching, and appreciation and employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity. In the area of appreciation, one study found that “Yes” answers to these questions were particularly significant:

- In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?

- Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

When employees answer “No” to these questions, it doesn’t necessarily mean bosses don’t care or aren’t saying “Thanks.” But they may not be doing so in a way that’s heard. Appreciation needs to have three elements to have an impact:

- It has to be specific. “Good work” is not enough. Some boss-employee relationships can degenerate into MADD – Mutual Appreciation Deficit Disorder.

- Appreciation has to come in a form that the receiver values and hears. This is tricky, because for some people, all the “attaboy” they need is their monthly paycheck, while for others public recognition is important, while others crave a title or promotion, and others want to know they’re a trusted advisor or indispensable player.

- Appreciation has to be authentic. “Appreciation inflation” can set in – Thanks for coming to work today – and the currency loses all value.

When appreciation is specific, fine-tuned, and authentic, it’s an essential workplace element.

Coaching also requires skill and finesse – and there’s always an element of evaluation in advice-giving. “The coaching message ‘here’s how to improve’ also implicitly conveys the evaluative message that ‘so far you aren’t doing it as well as you might,’” say Stone and Heen. “All too often, feedback that is offered as coaching is heard as evaluation. (‘You’re telling me how to improve, but really, you’re saying you’re not sure I’m cut out for this.’) And efforts to elicit coaching from mentors yield feedback that is laced with evaluation, producing defensiveness and frustration rather than learning.” When coaching is handled badly, it’s stressful, confusing, and ineffective, wastes time, and leads to conflict and poor morale. “Coaching shortfalls mean that learning, productivity, morale, and relationships all suffer,” say Stone and Heen. “And that’s particularly tragic when people on both sides of the relationship are well-meaning and trying hard.”

The key is giving the right kind of feedback to the right person at the right time. Here’s how Donald, the lead partner in a law firm, went 0 for 3 giving feedback to three subordinates:

• April meets with Donald hoping for some appreciation for working tirelessly for eight years and effectively anticipating her boss’s needs. Instead, Donald gives her a number of concrete suggestions on how she could manage her time better, straighten up her workspace, and be more assertive about saying no. April leaves the meeting feeling devastated and considers quitting.

• Cody submitted a research memo to Donald a few days earlier and is hoping for some specific suggestions on how to approach such assignments more efficiently in the future. Instead, Donald gives him a general evaluative comment about being on a successful track for a first-year lawyer. Like April, Cody leaves the meeting deeply frustrated: “How is that going to help me figure out what I’m doing?” he wonders.

• Evelyn goes into her meeting with Donald really wanting to know where she stands in terms of making partner in the firm. Donald says, “Evelyn, I know I’m not good with a compliment, but I can tell you that it means a lot to me when I see you staying late and here on weekends. I notice that. I’m sorry if I haven’t always said so over the years.” Evelyn is frustrated not to get the specific evaluative information she sought, and now she’s more anxious than ever – were Donald’s comments code for “Thank you and goodbye”?

“In this farcical round-robin,” say Stone and Sheen, “April wants appreciation but gets coaching, Cody wants coaching but gets evaluation, and Evelyn wants evaluation but gets appreciation. All the while Donald is so pleased with his newfound feedback-giving abilities that he wonders whether he might be just the guy to lead an in-house training for other partners on how to give feedback well.”

Stone and Sheen close with two pieces of advice on effectively handling appreciation, coaching, and evaluation:

Be explicit about the purpose of the conversation. There needs to be an upfront discussion of the goal, addressing questions like these:

- What’s my purpose in giving/receiving this feedback?

- Is it the right purpose from my point of view?

- Is it the right purpose from the other person’s point of view?

“Are you trying to improve, to assess, or to say thanks and be supportive?” ask Stone and Heen. “You won’t always be able to fit the messiness of real life into these clean categories, but it’s worth trying.” It’s also important to check in several times during the conversation. It’s possible that the person receiving feedback may take the bull by the horns: “You’re offering coaching, but it would help to get a quick evaluation: Am I doing all right overall? If so, then I can relax and am eager for your coaching.”

Separate evaluation from coaching and appreciation. “The bugle blast of evaluation can drown out the quieter melodies of coaching and appreciation,” say Stone and Heen. “Even if I walk into my performance review determined to learn how to improve, evaluation can get in the way… We can’t focus on how to improve until we know where we stand.” Being upset with a less-than-stellar rating can prevent people from hearing the feedback that will get them to a higher rating next time. That’s why it’s wise to separate the formal evaluation process from coaching and appreciation, and make sure that coaching and appreciation take place throughout the year.

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen (Penguin, 2015)


Monday, February 1st

· Unscheduled Visits to Campuses

Tuesday, February 2nd

· IR Meeting with PSPs and Principals – T. W. Browne MS @ 9:00 a.m.

· Unscheduled Visits to Campuses

· Office Time

Wednesday, February 3rd


H.B. Bell Bldg. Room 738 @ 8:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 4th

· Unscheduled Visits to Campuses

Friday, February 5th

· School Leadership ED Meeting – Haskell Bldg. @ 8:15 – 10:15

· Office Time

· Scheduled Campus Visit – Carpenter ES @ 11:00

· Unscheduled Visits to Campuses

Kimball Feeder Pattern Leaders

Earl Jones, Justin F. Kimball HS Principal

Barbara Moham, Zan W. Holmes MS Principal

Jonathan Smith, T.W. Browne MS Principal

Jacquelyn Burden, Jimmie Tyler Brashear ES Principal

Dr. Charmaine Curtis, John Carpenter ES Principal

Kathryn Carter, L. O. Donald ES Principal

Adriana Gonzalez, L. K Hall ES Principal

Ida Escobedo, Margaret B. Henderson ES Principal

Tammie Brooks, Maria Moreno ES Principal

Arnold Zuniga, Leslie A. Stemmons ES Principal

Lakeisha Smith, Thomas Tolbert ES Principal

Clement Alexander, Daniel Webster ES Principal

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The Voice of Kimball Nation Newsletter is Changing

The newsletter will be published at the beginning of each month. This will allow for more information from the campuses. You will still receive the week-at-a-glance weekly by email. Please send information, articles and highlights to my email each Friday and they will be published when the newsletter is sent out at the beginning of the month.

Justin F. Kimball Feeder Pattern

Embrace Opportunities. . . Unlock Potential. . . Inspire Excellence! "KIMBALL NATION"