Cardinal News

Were Stronger Together 4/11/16

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Week at a Glance

This Month:

The month of APRIL is

All Things good,

great or


By the power vested in me

I, the Principal Leader Lucretia Rice,

proclaim April as

"Forest Heights Month"

~An LRR Proclamation

This Week:

  • Transfer Window for Teachers April 4-15th

  • C-Week on Counselor Schedule

  • Instructional Department Walk-throughs and PLC visits. Please be prepared each and every day to show off your students knowledge and your magnificent teaching skills.


  • Grades in by noon!


  • Science Mock EOG (5th Grade)


  • 4/13 5th to 6th Grade Transition-Southwest Middle


  • 4/14 5th Grade Field Trip-Catawba Science Center (Hickory NC) 8:30am
  • 4/14 4th Grade Field Trip-Old Salem 8:30am
  • Report Cards Out


  • 10am -1pm WIX #3 to Adventure Landing
  • 9:30 - 11am Pre-K Field Trip - Gastonia Fire Station

In the Coming Days:

  • 4/18 5th Grade Schiele Outreach Program @ 9am in Gym
  • 4/18 - 4/22 Physical Inventories @ specials and 3pm each day
  • 4/19 Rice Principal Meeting
  • 4/20 Field Day
  • 4/22 5th Grade Concert @ 8:30am
  • 4/26 @ 3pm Flex Benefits Meeting
  • Sack the EOGs Assembly May 17th
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Mock EOGs

Monday - Student Software Prep Day

Tuesday - Mock SCIENCE

Wednesday - Make up testing

All Staff Save The Date - Flex Benefits

Staff this year GCS has elected to switch insurance companies. Therefore all staff will have to restate your beneficiaries with the Colonial representative. Classified Staff I will find out soon if you need to attend the meeting or just set up an appointment when he returns for the all day session. Nonetheless, he wanted everyone to know of the changes.

Certified Staff plan to attend. Cafe Staff w/Custodians and bus drivers he will come and do a separate meeting during the day for you.

After School Meeting, Tuesday 4/26 at 3pm

Annual enrollment begins April 4 - June 10, 2016 for benefits such as dental, vision, life, Family Medical Spending Accounts, and other Colonial Life products.

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You Can Do It


Often I use quotes from famous folk. . . dead and alive. Some we have heard of some we haven't. The intent is to make you stop for just a second and look at life differently or give yourself a chance to appreciate the power you have over self and others.

The picture above has been inserted not because some scholar said it, but because one of our sweet, little Forest Heights babies believes it.

Mrs. Knox ran across this when going sorting and stacking the nearly 1000 sheets of scrap paper our children used during last weeks Mock EOGs. How powerful! How inspirational. She doesn't know how she found that one sheet; but she and I both know that our kids are counting on us to keep them motivated to ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING.

Staff hang in there for them. Thank you Mrs. Knox for sharing with us.

Great Teachers Don't Teach

In a conversation on LinkedIn, one person asked, "What are the characteristics of an effective teacher?" I read quite a few excellent remarks that describe what such a teacher does to be effective. I couldn't help thinking about some of my best teachers.

I had an amazing psychology professor in college. He was on fire every class period and his enthusiasm was contagious. But the things I remember most are the psychological experiments in which we participated. I remember every detail and the supporting theories because I experienced it.

My psychology professor was an effective teacher because he provided experiences that created long-term memories. In response to the LinkedIn comments, I penned the following:

"I appreciate all of the comments that have been made so far. Yet I feel there is one thing still missing. One characteristic of an effective teacher is that they don't teach. You say that is outrageous. How can an effective teacher teach without teaching?

My experience is that good teachers care about students. Good teachers know the content and know how to explain it. Good teachers expect and demand high levels of performance of students. Good teachers are great performers and storytellers that rivet their students' attention.

All of this is good but great teachers engineer learning experiences that maneuver the students into the driver's seat and then the teachers get out of the way. Students learn best by personally experiencing learning that is physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. John Dewey had it right in 1935 when he espoused his theories on experiential learning. Today we call this constructivism.

In The Classroom

Long past are the times when we teach content just in case a student might need it. A great teacher will devise a way to give the students an urgent reason to learn skills or knowledge and then let them show they have learned it by what they can do. This is called project-based learning.

A great teacher will keep the students wanting to come to school just to see what interesting things they will explore and discover each day. We call this inquiry.

The philosophy that supports such a great teacher is simple. Students learn best when they are in control of their learning. Students must do the heavy lifting of learning and nothing the teacher can say or do will change that. Real learning requires doing, not listening, or observing only. Yet what do we find in every public school and university? Teachers talking, talking and talking while students listen, daydream and doze. We call this lecture.

The word "teacher" implies the flow of knowledge and skills from one person to another. Whether it be a lecture, or a power point, it involves talking at the students. While that is commonly viewed as the quickest and easiest way to impart knowledge and skills, we all realize that it is not the most effective. Socrates had it right when he only answered a question with more questions and look what he produced -- some of the greatest minds that ever lived. We call this the Socratic method.

Yes, there are times when direct instruction is necessary, but only to be able to do something with that knowledge or skill, but a great teacher devises learning experiences that force all the students to be engaged much like being in the deep end of the swimming pool. Then the lesson on arm and leg strokes becomes relevant. To learn, the students must do something. We call this performance-based learning.

Taking Action

Returning to my original premise: great teachers do not teach. They stack the deck so that students have a reason to learn and in the process can't help but learn mainly by teaching themselves. This knowledge then becomes permanent and cherished rather than illusory and irrelevant.

In my book, Teaching Students To Dig Deeper: The Common Core in Action, I provide detailed ways to get students into the driver's seat and to get the teacher out of it. I also provide the teacher a reason to change the way they teach so they can in essence become let's say, "learning engineers" instead of "teachers."

How can you keep from teaching and promote true learning?

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Teachers and ALL STAFF --- REACH

After speaking with various PLCs, students and other staff. I am delighted to report we have a unified goal. WE want to make our children the best they have ever been in this school. We want it for them. . .and believe it or not THEY want it for themselves.

Our task is simple. . .


We have to raise our level of expectation to an all time high. Our goals can no longer be to complete a task or even make 50% we have to reach for 85% on every task we complete from April 4th through June 8th.

Reteach - Retest - Results (REACH)

I will put a pledge card in your boxes this week. There will be a staff pledge and a student pledge. The cards will be displayed on the orange wall in the cafe. The first grade level team to get 100% pledges posted in combination with 100% of students in the grade level making 85% average on AR along with 100% of the students participating at 2 books read for the week will get a PIZZA PARTY. (Teachers I will send you a list of exceptions and modifications for your room if you have any)

***Kindergarten and 1st grade you are included in this assignment. You will be judged on compass ELA/Reading use during 4th quarter.

Art Show Exibitors

Make plans to see our students artwork in the art show in Dallas from March 26 through May 7, 2016 if you come through Dallas. (Dallas Museum)

Jazmir Dye from Ms. Motes

Jayden Wakefield from Ms. Psorianos

Melanie Zavala from Ms. Psorianos

Aerielle Carter from Ms. Miller

Jonathan Ferrera from Ms. Martin

Aryannah Hall from Ms. Branch

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Kindergarten and Pre-K Registration

Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten registration for the 2016-2017 school year will be held May 2-13 at three elementary schools across the county. Parents may register their child at any of the three school locations, which will accept applications for all elementary schools. The registration schedule is below:

Lowell Elementary: May 2-4 from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Gardner Park Elementary: May 6 and May 9 from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 7 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Carr Elementary: May 11-13 from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

We're Stronger Together!

Know your Purpose (EVERYDAY)

My purpose is to use my leadership to inspire a culture of learning and excellence that guides my school and community to educational success, while having happy, healthy and safe stakeholders.