Perkins' Pieces #8


The North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards manual begins, “For every student in North Carolina, a knowledgeable, skilled compassionate teacher…a star in every classroom.”

A star in every classroom.

What do stars need to shine? Science is my weakest subject, so I looked it up. The simple answer is energy. When all the elements that provide energy to the star are exhausted, it collapses.

- This was excerpted from a recent article in, a website I strongly encourage you to check out. You should subscribe to stay in the loop on the pulse of education in our state. The author, a teacher, is right. If we are going to be stars in our classrooms (literally and/or figuratively), we need to preserve our energy. Never forget to "sharpen your saws," people!

To continue with the star analogy, do not forget that "Teachers are the stars that make our lives sparkle and shine." As we begin a new year, I encourage you to remember the stars in your own skies and be those miraculous stars for your students too! One of the best parts of working in Education is having two "new years" each year--August AND January.


  1. Jessica Hamilton ( will be joining us as a lead teacher for ELA! Her office will be at LCHS, and she will work alongside me in our endeavors. I will focus on middle school, and Jessica will focus on high school, but we will be collaborating quite a bit. It is imperative for growth and vertical/horizontal alignment. The department is also expanding to two lead teachers for Math grades 6-12 as well. Teacher support is a huge part of student success, so the more lead teachers, the merrier, right? It will also afford us the opportunity to go deeper in our areas of need. I am excited to work with Jessica in this new capacity. We have worked together for many years. :) Welcome, star!
  2. If you are a high school teacher and would like to unsubscribe from my newsletters, please just reply to this email and let me know. I will still send these to my mailing list of folks I work with via mentoring, BTs, professional development, etc. but will gladly take you off the list if you'd rather.
  3. There is no required district level professional development scheduled for the workday on January 19. Use your time to garner energy, stars! Jessica and I are both available if you need anything. Email us to make an appointment if need be.
  4. Middle School ELA Benchmark Window is January 21-29; thanks in advance for all of your hard work with these!
  5. Upcoming Professional Development:
  • January 27 - DPI will be in LCS for "Are We Asking the Right Questions?" Reps from each school (K-12) have been invited already. We have sub cost limits, so stay tuned for this info to be shared in department meetings, etc.
  • January 27 after school at 3:30 in the Assembly Room at Central Office - Focus/work group on Secondary Literacy Plan with Dr. Warren (based on findings at the Forum in December). Anyone interested in being on our focus/work group should join us!
  • February 3 - iReady will be in LCS to train middle school educators on their resources.
  • Forthcoming - periodic focused PD with ELA lead teachers and ITFs on literacy topics such as: ACT readiness 6-12, technology integration, fostering inquiry, ensuring challenge/standards based instruction, and infusing writing, etc. Stay tuned for dates on those offerings. You won't want to miss those!
  • High School English II Benchmarks: March 7-15 and May 2-10
  • Middle School Last ELA Benchmark Window Grades 6-8: April 4-12
  • April 11 - save the date for our Spring ELA Plenary Session Grades 6-12
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LIT2750 – Book Study on How Children Succeed by Paul Tough: This is a voluntary opportunity for all teachers. We will document thoughts and implementation via Teachers that complete the program and all documentation will receive one Literacy CEU. Completion is expected by April 30, 2016. If schedules allow, we will meet once or twice to have a discussion on the chapters we have covered so far and our reflections.

Click here for your reading schedule and blog comment due dates. We will only meet in person twice: February 10 and April 6 at SLMS from 3:30 - 4:15. This should be painless and fun. The blog comments are no more than a short paragraph to show inquiry and insight into what you have read.

All ELA teachers received a copy of this PD book at our Fall Plenary Session. Let me know if you need one!

Anyone is welcome to sign up for CEUs on School Link.


I cannot stress how much taking time for personal growth can revolutionize your career and your LIFE. Most educators are selfLESS, not selfish, so it is hard to make time for ourselves. However, self care will help you be better spouses, parents, friends, coworkers, leaders, and teachers! If you have not decided on a resolution, I encourage you to take time to write it down, share it out loud with someone, and work toward that goal! I have done this already, but I also like to choose a one word focus for the year. Last year my word was "mercy." I had to learn how to forgive myself for being imperfect (and to forgive others too)! This year, my one word is "love." I read a great book over break (non-school related!) and now my hashtag is #forthelove...everything I do is going to be "for the love" of something...for the love of KIDS, for the love of ME, for the LOVE of humanity, for the LOVE of literacy, etc! I even have a theme song. Gauntlet thrown...will you email me your one word?

So thankful to learn with you as we grow,


PS: Many thanks to Betsy Bridges and Chris Dossenbach for the video/quote pic at the bottom of this Pieces newsletter. I hope you find time to watch both videos on the workday, even if you have seen them before. I found this Sesame Street one with my two year old son, Nolan :)

Literacy Resources

Find links to past newsletters as well as our Google shared folder and much more.


"It's never too late to be who you might have been."

-George Eliot
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Sesame Street: Janelle Monae - Power of Yet