The Eagle Call

October 2015

Grit, Growth Mindset, and No Excuses

It is hard to believe that we are wrapping up the month of September and headed full force into October. We have had a great start to the year and I am so proud of our students for their performance so far this year. They have done a fantastic job learning about their brains and how to make sure it is always growing. I am also amazed at how often they talk about being a No Excuses University School. They know that making excuses doesn't do anyone any good.

Last week, I was honored to present to leaders from Richardson ISD, Plano ISD, Highland Park ISD, McKinney ISD, Allen ISD, Frisco ISD, Northwest ISD and Lewisville ISD sharing our journey of transformation at Degan. I was able to speak about our partnerships with parents and community as well as some of the programs we have implemented to make sure our students are growing and improving. It was very exciting to see other schools in these districts interested in what we are doing!

Thank you to everyone who came to our MOD Squad and Watch DOGS sign ups. We look forward to having lots of parent volunteers in the building this year. Please also consider volunteering with PTA. This is such an important way to be involved in your child's education and help provide the best possible experiences for our Degan students.

As we work through October, we will have our first student program in conjunction with PTA and our PTA fundraiser. We will participate in the LHS Homecoming Parade. We will close out the month with our 3rd Annual Mad Science Night. This always has new activities and we hope you will be there! Please put these events on your calendar and we look forward to seeing you there.

Below, I have included some information for you:

  • A video about growth mindset. We talk about this everyday at school. Watch this short clip so that you can have conversations with your child.
  • Information about Fall Picture Day and ordering online
  • Important October Dates (you will also receive a hard copy calendar in Newsday Tuesday this week)
  • Information about Attendance Policy
  • Information about Children and Sleep

Please continue to encourage your child to wear college shirts on Thursday and Green or Degan Shirts on Friday. It is truly awesome to have these things unifying us together as a learning community.


Mrs. Stuart

Have you heard your child talking about growth mindset? Watch this video to get information on what it is...

Growth Mindset Video

Fall Picture Day

Wednesday, Sep. 30th, 8am-2pm

1680 College Parkway

Lewisville, TX

Degan Elementary School

Picture Day: Wednesday, September 30

Picture Day ID: LD925005Q0

Picture Day is Wednesday, September 30.

Last reminder to order before Picture Day.

Simply order at

  • No need to send cash or flyer back to school when you order online
  • See more options available online
  • Use credit card or PayPal on our secure site

Pedidos en español disponibles por internet. ¡Encarga hoy en!

Didn't Make it to Watch DOGS or MOD Squad Sign Ups?

It's not too late. Contact Mrs. Espinoza in the front office to get a registration form, complete your Volunteer Training and we can sign you up for a date.

Don't forget these important dates!

October 1st PTA Fundraiser begins

Think College Thursday

October 2nd Club Friday 4th/2nd

End of 2nd 3 Week Grading Period

October 8th Think College Thursday

October 9th Student Holiday/No School

October 12th Student Holiday/No School Fair Day

October 15th Think College Thursday

LHS Homecoming Parade

October 16th Club Friday 3rd/1st

October 19th 23rd Parent Conferences

October 20th PK Family Night 5:30-7:00 p.m.

October 22nd Think College Thursday

PTA Meeting and 3rd Grade Program

October 23rd 1st 9 Weeks Ends/Early Dismissal at 12:30 p.m.

October 26th Red Ribbon Week

October 26th 2nd 9 Weeks Begins

October 29th Think College Thursday

Mad Science Night 5:30-7:00 p.m.

October 30th Club Friday 5th/Kinder

A monthly calendar is sent in the 1st Newsday Tuesday of the month. Weekly updates and reminders are sent each Tuesday.

Reminders from PTA

  • Please make sure all No Excuses T-shirt orders are in by Wednesday, Sept. 30th.
  • Don't forget to get your PTA membership in
  • Candy Bar Fundraiser starts this week

Say No to Bullying Rally

Saturday, Oct. 3rd, 10am-1pm

1680 College Parkway

Lewisville, TX

Join Degan PTA President, TRonn Hicks, and others to share information about preventing bullying in the community.

Don't forget your college shirts every Thursday and Degan spirit wear every Friday (if you don't have a Degan shirt, wear GREEN)!

Essential Eagle "Need to Knows"

Attendance and Tardies:

First, I have to say that we have gotten off to a great start this year with students being on time in their classrooms and making sure they are at school every day.

There have been some changes to the state law with regard to attendance so I want to take a moment to let you know what to expect:

  • The Compulsory Attendance Law is still in effect. It says all students who are age 6 buy Sept. 1st must attend school or provide documentation of an alternative program. If a child enrolls in school (even if they are ages 3-5) they are also accountable for Compulsory Attendance.
  • The law further states that when a student under "compulsory attendance" misses 3 or more days or parts of days in a 4-week period or 10 or more days in a 6-month period, the school is required to take action. (This includes late arrivals and early pick ups).
  • Previously, schools filed in court and it was considered a "criminal act". Now the law has been adjusted and states that schools must meet with parents, set up action plans and interventions. If the parent chooses not to participate or the problem does not improve, the parent (or student, when they are older) is to be referred to family court.
  • District policy regarding attendance remains in place. This states students must attend 90% of the school days or they may not receive credit for the year. (They could be retained or be required to attend summer school).
  • Absences with doctors notes, court ordered appointments, religious holidays are always excused with documentation. Absences for death of family member or visiting an active military parent are excused, but it is preferable that you complete a request for an excused absence prior to the dates absent if at all possible.
  • It is currently LISD District School Board Policy that illness with parent notes will be excused up to three per semester. Beyond that, it would require a doctor's note or be counted as unexcused.

Why is It Important to Be at School?

  • Being at school ensures your child get the maximum benefit of their education. Make up assignments can never fully replace the interactions and conversations missed in the classroom.
  • Being at school helps prevent the creation of learning gaps caused by missing pieces of learning that occur at school.
  • School funding is based on attendance. While this is certainly not the most important reason, the state significantly cut school funding four years ago and this has not been restored. Losing funding as a result of absences limits funds to provide a quality educational experience for our children.
  • Degan has been on the cusp of receiving "distinctions" based on improvement and growth of our students on STAAR. We have missed the distinction as one of the factors is attendance, and while our attendance rate was good, other schools considered similar to Degan outperformed us. Again, while this is by far is not the most important reason, recognition for Degan increases property values in the area.
  • When considering students for SOAR and Take Flight, they must have no unexcused absences and no more than 3 excused absences to meet the attendance criteria. Three tardies count as an "excused absence" for award purposes.

Additional Information:

  • Degan has an Attendance Committee headed by Mr. Smith and includes a team of teachers.
  • Our Skyward System makes phone calls to notify you of absences recorded in the system in case there is a mistake.
  • Teachers notify parents when their child has received three tardies.
  • Please make sure you request excused absences with the proper form in timely fashion. (The form is online and available through Mrs. Casarez in the office).
  • Please avoid "vacations" during days school is in session. Approval for these types of absences is not guaranteed.

As always, we want to work with you to provide the best possible education for your child. Please be sure to contact us with any questions.

How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?

Not having enough sleep prevents the brain from moving knowledge from short-term memory to longterm memory. It has also been linked to behavioral struggles, impaired growth, slow reaction time and obesity. Below is a link to help plan for maximizing your child's sleep habits and recommendations for bed times based on age and wake-up times.

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This Week's Eagle Essential Skill and Nine Week's Foundational Character Trait

At Degan, we believe it is important to teach and practice critical life skills. Each week we teach an Eagle Essential that aligns with our Foundation of Character trait for the 9 weeks. During October, we will be working on:

  • Working with Others
  • Asking for Help
  • Asking Permission
  • Greeting Others.

All of these continue to support our 9 weeks Character Trait of Responsibility.

Degan Office Staff

We are here to help with any needs or questions you may have. Stop by or call: 469-713-5967

Vanessa Stuart, Principal

Kyle Smith, Asst. Principal

Shelley Blevins, Counselor

Jill Fuller, Nurse

Chandra Ayres, Secretary

Kelly Casarez, Attendance Clerk

Megan Espinoza, Office Clerk

Kim Teamer, Data Clerk

Office Hours 7:15 a.m. -3:30 p.m.

For assistance/questions outside these times, please call 469-713-5967 and leave a message, someone will get back with you shortly.

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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.