Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's A Beautiful Day at Diggs-Latham Elementary School! Sept. 22nd

What A Great Day to be an Administrator, Teacher or Student at Diggs-Latham!

IC Meeting a Huge Success!

A very special thank you to the IC Team who worked very hard to organize and present key information in delivering our SIT plan to key district officials.  I was very proud of all of them.  They were passionate, confident and knowledgeable. They presented our Goals, strategies and action steps.  Our feedback was very positive and were even filmed to be able to share "Best Practices" with other schools.  Congratulations to: Dr. Cheryl Frazier, Gloria Pubantz, Katie McGregor, Diana Adkins, Andrea Slusher, Beth Bostian, Jennifer Hart and Allison Sechrist.  I would also like to recognize Linda Studevent, Amanda Gordon and two UNCG Interns: Harry Caines and Zane Doty. Way to go team.

SIT Plan Voting

It has been a very long and tedious process preparing an effective SIT Plan.  I thank you all for your motivation and participation in developing this ever-changing plan of action. Please make sure that you vote on the plan, sign off on the roster and if you are a SIT member, sign the cover sheet.  Be sure to fill out a red ticket to be eligible for the drawing:)  We need this completed first thing this morning (Monday) so we can meet our deadline. The Sit-Chairs will tally the votes after everyone has signed off.

PDPs (Professional Development Plan) and Self Evaluation/Assessment-Due September 30th

What is a PDP?  A PDP is a living document that reflects your goals for professional development.  You should choose goals that are aligned with your Evaluation Standards and school SIP Goals.    Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, results-based and time bound.  They should not be too broad or contain too many components.  "Research has shown that PDP experiences that are disconnected from a teacher's practice have little or no impact on teacher practice or student outcomes."   (Newman and Whelage, Successful School Restructuring)  Your goals should focus on the learning needs of the students you teach.  Your standards should help you to frame these goals.  A high quality PDP would focus on professional learning that will deepen your knowledge of content, pedagogy and social and emotional learning.  Your goals should always support student learning.  You want to choose goals to help you meet the needs of your current students and their abilities. Make sure that you carefully state the action you will take, describe the area of focus, rationale for goal and activities, etc.. to help you meet the goal.  Your goals should be new and directly improve your practice. Here are some SAMPLE examples of well written PDPs.

  • I will investigate intervention strategies to incorporate RTI processes into my classroom in order to better differentiate student instruction by working with Ms. Varga, district RTI coach.
  • I will acquire necessary knowledge needed to collect data, develop materials and put into place individualized learning plans for leveled reading and/or math groups.
  • I will seek out assistance from Connie Rogers in order to improve my ability to create solid and meaningful reading acquisition lesson plans that will benefit all student learners in my classroom.
  • I will research and implement strategies in order to improve my classroom management strategies so that the student engagement in my classroom will improve.
  • I will enhance my skills in administering and collecting assessment data to effectively plan interventions, to improve student learning by working with my grade level team and star 3 leaders.
  • I will learn how to use new technology (Promethean boards, laptops, software, mini-ipads, response eggs, etc..) to incorporate technology into my instructional practices to improve student learning.
  • I will put into place a practice that will teach students to self-assess, Justify, and Set Goals for themselves. 
I hope the above PDPs will illustrate what an effective PDP should look like. Yours can be as creative as you like as long as it is specific, measurable, attainable, time-bound and results oriented.

Star 3 Leadership Positions Announced:

After the brainstorming of leadership positions and the official voting, the following Leadership Positions and Leaders are as follows:

Leadership Position 1-K through 2 At-Risk Tutoring Program Facilitator-Sidonna Brown
Leadership Position 2-Grades 3-5 At-Risk Tutoring Program Facilitator-Alisha Taylor
Leadership Position 3-Differentiation Specialist-Amanda Gordon
Leadership Position 4-Parent Involvement Resource Specialist-Suzanne Asbury
Leadership Position 5 to be split: Intervention Specialists in Literacy-A. Slusher and Math--Jenn Hart

Leaders, you may get busy putting your plans into action.  Remember to keep documentation of everything you do. Connie Rogers will answer any questions you may have.

NISL Training-

Many of you already know that Cheryl and I are in the process of completing an 18 month training entitled: National Institute for School Leadership. This training is for Title I/Star 3 principals.  It is very informative. However, it will require both of us to be out of the building for 2 days at a time throughout the year. Many of the days will fall on non-student days which is helpful.  You can go to Gloria and the office staff  if you have an immediate need. The office staff can reach us if needed. We will both be out today and tomorrow for this training.  

Have you seen how beautiful our grounds are?

Thanks to Steve Cutright and his Maintenance and Grounds Department, our Japanese Garden is looking beautiful.  They went above and beyond in filling in ground water ruts, gravel and rock around the fountain.  They also put down pine straw everywhere.  It looks awesome. I have 2 Red Velevet cakes in the refrigerator to thank them for all their hard work.  Last weekend, Amanda Gordon and I went to the fundraiser at United Methodist Church for our school. Spencer Ballus, our newest eagle scout, held a Greek dinner to raise money to beautify our school. There were several hundred people at the dinner. The plans for the beautification should begin in a few weeks!

Gift Cards from Home Moravian

Home Moravian has once again designated money to go towards gift cards. Each teacher and specialist will receive a $50. gift card to be used at either Kaplans, Dollar Tree or Target.  Mrs. Kennedy will post the sign up sheet for which card you want in the lounge.  There is a quick turn around on the cards.  You do not have all year to spend as you did last year.  See my previous email sent out on Saturday for details.  Please sign up today so that we can get these cards purchased for you.  FYI... Home Moravian will hold a fund-raiser dinner for us coming up in November.  We are so very fortunate.

Positive Post Cards

We have received only about 13 postcards and they have been mailed. Please be sure to get your post card written to a student  and put it in my mailbox outside my door to be reviewed and mailed.  I love seeing the positive words.:) Kids and parents just love getting these:) It means a lot.  Thank you!


  • September 23rd and 24th Cannon and Frazier to NISL Training in the Education Building
  • September 23-SIP Plan Due to Assistant Superintendent
  • September 24th-Good News Club Begins and Star 3 Meeting with Connie Rogers
  • September 25 and 26th-PDP and Self-Evaluation Meetings in Computer Lab
  • September 25th-Mentor/Mentee Meeting 3:10 conference room
  • September 26th-LEP Fall Parent Night
  • September 27th-A Day Of Caring-Volunteers from Hanes Brands will be here to work in the vegetable garden.
  • September 27th-ALL GRADE LEVEL AND SPECIALIST NEWSLETTERS DUE TO ADMINISTRATORS for approval.  They will need to go home the following Tuesday.
  • September 30th-Bookworms Orientation at 9:00
  • October 1-Mid-Term and Parent Resource Room opens/Joint Principal's Meeting
  • October 3-Literacy Night 
  • Week of October 7th  ITBS testing window opens
  • October 22nd is picture day

Thank you for reading the blog and being informed. If you have read the blog, please leave me a comment on the blog. You will see a place to do that at the top of the blog.

Family Affairs- We are very excited that Linda Wright will be rejoining us today. It is great to see her back.  Mrs. Bracken did an outstanding job in Linda's absence.  Welcome Back Linda.  We were so pleased to hear that Ms. Reece has been feeling better and received a good report from the doctor.  Keep Kristy and her mom in your prayers as she navigates her way through the loss of her husband. Congratulations to Amanda Gordon who won several art award ribbons in the Stokes County Fair.  We are also very proud of Amanda Stevenson who was part of a show on Saturday night in which her talents were once again showcased:)
Please keep Mrs. Blasini in your prayers as her father-in-law passed away last week.  This is a very difficult time for the family and she could use your support.  Please keep Ms. Faqih in your prayers as she continues to recover.  We all miss her a lot.  Please keep Mrs. Farthing's mom in your prayers as she has been under the weather and could use happy thoughts sent her way.  If ever you have something you would like to share under Family Affairs, please let me know.

Happy Birthday to...  Dr. Madison whose birthday was September 17th!


  1. I wonder who will comment on the blog?

    1. Congratulations Star3 Teacher Leaders!!! We will do great work here at Diggs-Latham this year!!!

  2. Is the Tuesday Star3 meeting for all staff?

    1. It s for Star 3 Leaders and Star 3 Committee.

  3. Looking forward to another wonderful week at Diggs-Latham!

    1. Wow, you have been a teacher now for almost 6 weeks:)

  4. Happy Birthday Dr. Madison! So glad Mrs. Wright will be back with us!
    -Allison Sechrist (my gmail is still set to my maiden name)

  5. I was wondering who that was in your office Friday with the beautiful new hair do!

  6. Thanks for the updates. Everyone have a great week!

  7. You all are doing an awesome job with the comments. Just hit reply to my original comment and that will let you make a post.

  8. Thanks for the updates. Enjoy your workshop!

  9. I'm excited to be our Parent Involvement Specialist! I'm looking forward to finding resources and ways to get our parents more involved in their child's education!

  10. Happy Monday Diggs-Latham! Have a great day!

  11. Thank you for always updating us!

  12. Thanks for the important info! Have a good training:-)

  13. Don't forget to visit the Differentiation Blog at