Monday, October 28, 2013



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall Festival A Huge Success! Go Team:)

Fall Festival was a huge success. I want to thank every single staff member for all your help in making this evening such a big success.  It takes a ton of work to pull an event such as this off and we appreciate each and everyone of you, especially our leader, Amanda Stevenson and her awesome team!  I loved the costumes, creativity and teamwork.  Both dance groups did an outstanding job in their first performances!  Thanks coaches!!!!  I sent some pictures to Theo Helm that I had taken during the evening to showcase on channel 2.  Many, many staff members showed up and I can't tell you how important that it is that you show solidarity and show the kids they matter. It also shows you in a different light and who doesn't like to see their teachers having fun OR Mr. Powelson with a lit Mohawk!!!!!  I appreciate you all!  Even Spence Ballus came, he is our Eagle Scout!

Not only was Friday Fall Festival, but it was a very important day for our school.  We were fortunate enough to be selected to host a very informative meeting with Dr. Beverly Emory, A.L. "Buddy" Collins (NC State Board of Education), Sara Riggins (Policy Advisor), Rachel Beaulieu (Legislative and Community Relations Director for NCDPI), Dr. Ken Simington, Dr. Janie Costello and via skype, Dr. Wayne Foster.  Our very own Connie Rogers and Sarah Huddleston were also present to add their expertise.  I felt the meeting went very well.  We received many compliments on the things we are doing here at DL.  Buddy Collins said that people in the community are "buzzing" about our successess. Your colleagues, Stephen Friel, Andrea Slusher, Julissa Knight, Beth Bostian, Debora Snider, Abadesa Ochoa (who volunteered to open her classroom) and Katie McGregor did an outstanding job.  I was just like a proud mama!  We also were joined by Celena Tribby and four teachers from her school. They were awesome as well.  The teachers served on two panels and were asked some very pointed, hard questions.  The questions ranged from those about professional development, class size, Dibels, TRC, Read to Achieve, and TWC.  We will put together a policy statement that we have been assured will be read in Raleigh.  Your colleagues proposed pay raises, appreciation and acknowledgement, more teacher work days where you can actually work and other key components that would be best practices.  they were articulate, poised and confident.  Thank you all for dressing so professionally. You looked great!  Thank you also for the quality of Bulletin Boards tied to CC in the hall. Let's keep that up as it is impressive.  I walked them down just about every hall in the school even though our time was limited by their schedule.  We had a chance to tell "Raleigh" what we thought and they listened.  I am so proud of all of you!!!!!!  Once again, team work paid off.

Week At A Glance.....

EOQ Continues as Monday is Math EOQ and Tuesday is 5th Grade EOQ-Science
Observations continue
"It Takes A Village" tutoring on Wednesday
Dr. Frazier and I will bt at NISL Training on Thursday and Friday
Please read last week's blogs for other important dates.

Last Week in the blog, I asked you to comment on why you do what you do or your choice of a few other things.  Besides Dr. Frazier, Connie Rogers and myself, there were only about 10 responses. Either people are not reading the blog or they are not taking it seriously enough.  We have 75 employees at least. Everyone should respond.  There are important dates that you need to know and the only place you will be able to find them is in the blog.  I thank all of you who read the blog, reflect on it and stay abreast of what is happening at our school.  You are helping to create a strong school community which we strive for every day.  I have a new challenge for this week's blog.
Leave me a comment on this topic, "Construct a quick response to: We want to know what we should include in our Policy Statement to Raleigh, What do you think they should know about real life in the classroom, school,  What do you love about your job and how can Raleigh help us to make it easier?"  To enter a comment, you scroll down to the bottom of the blog, youmay see 1 comment or no comments, click where it says comments or the word reply and add your comment.  Thank you!

Kennedy Center's Individual Schools of Distinction
Dr. Frazier and I and members of the Arts Team worked very hard to apply for this recognition. We had to include video footage of Arts teaching and performances that were uploaded to You-Tube, school academic and demographic data, arts via common core, and much more.  We made the deadline by 4 minutes but we did it!  Keep your fingers crossed.  So many great things are going on here!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Into October 20-25, 2013

It's Time for the BOOK FAIR!!!

Ms. Batten has been working very hard to get the Book Fair set up and ready to go. She gave out prizes to the 3 teachers who previewed her Book Fair. I hope that you all will get in there to see all of the hard work that went into the set up of the fair.  There are some great books! The fair will not be in the Media Center but in Room 202, the old band room.  We made this decision as it will be better contained and easier to manage and the media center can still house classes.  Book Fair will be open all week.  Make sure you see Ms. Batten to sign up:)

Picture Day is on Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dr. Frazier has sent out an updated picture schedule so be sure to check it to make sure you're there and ready to go. Just one class being late can throw off the picture and lunch schedule.Please remind students on Monday so they can look their best:) There will be two photographers.  

Classroom Observations are in Full Swing:)

Dr. Frazier and I are conducting classroom observations. Star 3 Evaluations are also being conducted.
Remember that the CWT Focus has changed to Focus on the Learner.  We will still check for EQs.  We have been noticing that not everyone is calling attention to the EQ and then revisiting it after the lesson.  The EQ is something the children should be familiar with and know where to find in the room if asked.


  • 10/23-Wear RED day
  • 10/24 Reading EOQ
  • 10/28 Math EOQ
  • 10/29 Science EOQ
  • End of Quarter 10/31 (Next Thursday)

Kim Underwood will interview Spencer Ballus this Tuesday at 3:00 to showcase his Eagle Scout Project.  If your class would like to make a thank you card for Spencer, I will be sure he gets it on Tuesday:)

Look at these Great Bulletin Boards I discovered! Remember that it is time to change your boards at the end of this month. Make sure your boards match a common core standard and they contain some student work. 

Yes, yes, I know these bulletin boards are sideways!  I couldn't get blogger to flip them.  It is probably an operator error:) There were many other boards that I saw in both buildings that were outstanding and I will publish them as soon as I figure out out to rotate the pictures.  I probably have to rotate them on my phone before I put them in the blog with no editing components.  I am trying:)  Love Technology!

Fall Festival is Friday!  Get Involved and Assist:)

Newsletters are due on the 31st. Remember to have your newsletter translated before you give it to us for approval.  You have to allow plenty of time for translation.

WEAR RED-Red Ribbon Week Celebration is October 23-31

Red Ribbon Week is celebrated October 23-31 with a focus on "Taking a Stand Against Cyberbullying" and "Say NO to Drugs".  We would like everyone to wear RED on Wednesday 10/23.  Please pass information on to your students and if you need any questions answered, please ask Linda Studevent:)  Display your red ribbons on your door or in your classrooms through October 31.

Parent Resource Room Opened to Standing Room Only Crowd!

The first Parent Session was held last week and facilitated by Ms. Barger and Nurse Hall.  The topic was "Being an Advocate for your child".  They did an outstanding job going over key points for parents. The room was packed and we were thrilled. Thank you to Suzanne for planning the event and Mr. T. for translating.

Coming Up.....

  • Report Cards due November 5th at 3:00 (K-2 Cannon & 3-5 Frazier)
  • Remember all grades levels need to plan to meet with Robyn Varga during you planning or LTM time on November 4th. Please make sure you mark your calendars and plan accordingly.  You can meet in your grade chair's room. We will have her here all day in order to train all grade levels in Rti. PEPs will be a topic that you can ask questions about.
  • Faculty Meeting on November 12 and Report Cards go Home that day
  • You should hold any needed Parent Conferences and PEP sign off conferences the week of November 17th or any time before that.  It is essential that you follow PEPs and create them for students in need. Parents are a big part of the process:)  
  • November 11-No School for Veteran's Day

Reflection from the "Lead Learner":

This weekend I have done some Reflection on Why I do What I do and Why you do What you do.  Goodness knows, we have very challenging jobs and very busy schedules.  We are teachers, moms and dads, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and on and on.  I have come to the conclusion that it is about dedication, devotion and a passion for the profession. I find this especially true when I am coaching teachers. It is one of my favorite parts of the job.  My job is really broken down into two areas. They are Management and Leadership.  Some might think they are the same but they are very different.  You all are both managers and leaders as well.  You Manage by planning, organizing, problem-solving and attending to the daily tasks of being a teacher.  However, you LEAD by example, establishing direction, and building and sustaining relationships. You lead by making every student feel valued and important and leaving no doubt in their minds that they "will" learn. I am consistently trying to inspire, motivate and energize not only you but the students.  I hope that I am succeeding. We have all been working through change and I am so impressed with the amount of shared leadership that has resulted from the change. I feel we truly are a team.  I would like you to leave me a comment on the blog as to your feelings about teacher empowerment at our school and your role as a leader.  Granted, many of you are emergent leaders because you are new to our school or to teaching and haven't quite gotten your feet wet in the leadership pool. OR leave me a comment about why you do what you do. OR any thoughts you have on how I could be an even better leader.  Diggs-Latham and all that entails is my heart. I believe in you and I believe in our students. I am also thankful for all of our volunteers, sponsors, coaches, PTA, local churches, business partners, neighbors, and colleges and universities who believe in us as well. Have a wonderful week, it will be another busy one!   Donna

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Diggs-Latham is so BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

Diggs-Latham Walks to Raise Awareness of Bullying!

I would like to personally thank all staff members, parents, students and friends who showed up to represent and support our school on Saturday morning at BB&T Ballpark. We had a great time.  I would especially like to thank Ms. Studevent for all her hard work in helping organize the event and getting all the Acts of Kindness Chains to the stadium. Thank you to Mrs. O'Brien, Mrs. Gordon, Mrs. Adkins, Dr. Madison, Ms. Studevent.  We would also like to thank Ross' mom. She cheered for our team and was an official Tiger!  There were several parents and lots of kids!  It was great.  Thank you to Amanda for painting our banner. It was the best one there!  Bullying is a serious subject and can happen between children, adults, adults and children.  We need to stop it and this event helped kids and adults alike to find the right words to say when faced with a bully.

Thank You Spencer!!

 I can't even begin to tell you all how very proud I am of  Spencer Ballus .  There are beautiful Arts Cutouts mounted on the wall of our school.  They are bright and colorful and advertise that we are an A+ school of the arts! Spencer and his fellow boy-scouts, parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends came out to measure, saw, dig, plant, shovel and on and on for a whole day. The memorial portion of our front yard (dedicated to past Principal Larry Fields) has been beautified with flowers and a gorgeous Butterfly Bench.  You could take your classes outside and read to them.  Spencer's group also planted a dozen or so Knock-Out Roses throughout our front yard as well as ornamental grasses. There were also other surprises.  We are truly blessed to have this gift come our way.  It is all about RELATIONSHIPS:)  When Spencer proposed a project to several schools, I was the only response he received. We are so very fortunate to have Spencer, his family, friends and a group of boy scouts who want to help their community. We could have never afforded this on our own. The Greek Dinner Fundraiser he planned and executed paid for all of the work. I am so proud,  and I know you are proud, as are our families of this beautification.  It would be wonderful to do thank you notes from the children. Spencer and his friends kept asking me, Do you think they will like it?Mrs. Linda Wright's class has already done some and they are so cute. Spencer will be returning to Diggs-Latham to present us with money that was actually left over from the project.  I have called Kim Underwood and he will be doing a story on Spencer. Go Spencer!

Thank You Hanes Brands for Caring About US!!!

Hanes Brands sent about 30 people to us a few weeks ago to plant, weed, organize, and beautify our gardens. We are so fortunate. The mums and violas are beautiful.  They also worked in the vegetable garden and cleaned all the old blinds out of the old green square metal container by the garden. We now have a locked container in which to store garden supplies. They even found the time to work in the Media Center for a bit.  Great things are happening at DL inside and out!


Thank you to Mrs. Pubantz, all of our Kindergarten teachers, assistants, PRTs, teachers and coordinators who participated in giving the ITBS Test and all that it entails. Thank you for your patience if you lost a PRT for intervention. It is a huge job and it takes a lot of people to pull it off. It is very hard to keep kindergartners still and focused.  We appreciate you all.  Now...on to the CoGat.

It Takes A Village Kicks Off-

Wow, I was so excited to see our parents learning alongside their children last Wednesday afternoon. The tutoring program taught by UNCG Interns is very successful.  The students were really engaged and motivated to work hard.  Thank you to everyone who helped identify the students who will participate for the next 6 weeks. Thank you Barbie, you were an instrumental liaison as always:)

Bulletin Boards-

Our school is a buzz with learning. Whats happening inside truly reflects common core standards being taught. Now, we need to move the learning to the outside walls as well. Visitors to our building need to feel the spark we all feel. We don't want to miss an opportunity to share knowledge. It is time for your Bulletin Boards to change (remember they should be changed every month).  We want students, visitors, volunteers, parents, etc.. to see a reflection of what is being taught in the classrooms.  Have a talk with your kids about respecting what is on the boards. Make your boards/work samples, etc.. match what you are doing in the classroom. Put the standard it matches on the board as well. Put thought into what you display. Your boards should have student work presented. Kids will get excited when their work is out there. I have seen some incredible boards and work posted, but we need to step it up a bit. Last week I was able to put some comments on a board in which the children did some writing. I want to do that throughout the school.  I will be sending you some samples and  information about expectations.  Thank you for getting on board and bringing the learning outside into the halls and foyers.  We will send out another Bulletin Board Assignment sheet in case you need it.

Candle Tea- Home Moravian

It is almost that time again and Home Moravian needs volunteers for Candle Tea. If you would like to participate and learn to make candles, be a hostess, sell candles, work in the kitchen, etc.. let me know asap. They are making the schedule now.  Home Moravian is always there for us.  It is important we give back too:)

Week at a Glance...

  • Administrative Observations and Star 3 Observations will begin this week.
  • OSTE Mtg. 3:15
  • CoGat window opens for us 10-15/16/17
  • It Take A Village Tutoring on Wednesday at 2:40
  • Jaymie Almaguer has a birthday on the 13th and Lisa O'Brien has a birthday on the 15th
  • Please give to United Way.  We want 100% participation, no amount is too small. (Let's get Dr. Emory out here to cook dinner for us:) We can do it.
  • Picture Day the 22nd of October
  • Fall Festival right around the corner, it is a week from Friday!
  • Please remember to plan for Nov. 4th. Our LTM and all grade level meetings will be a training with Robin Varga on RTi.
  • READ BELOW........You all are the BEST........