Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving November 24th and 25th

I hope that everyone has a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving Break filled with loved ones, laughter and delicious food!


We need your help.  In preparation for the year: We need to know what you feel your needs are for Professional Development.  What is it that you really believe you need PD in?  I need EVERYONE to give us feedback on what you truly feel your needs are so we can continue to plan and get you the support you need. Please write in the comments section at the end of blog.  You can just list.  For example: Guided Reading, Writing, Classroom Management, Math Strategies, Dibels Training, Technology, 21st century skill infusion and on and on.  All Support Staff, your PD Needs are very important to us as well.  You will find a Heading on the White Board that says PD Needs for Support Staff. Please write on the board your needs for Professional Development. 
Also, I would like everyone to visit Room 200 sometime on Monday or Tuesday. There are boards that list the 3 Strategic Goals we voted on for our SIP Plan.  The Action Steps are listed.  I would like to know what you are specifically doing for each goal.  If you are on  SIT, we will be doing this at our meeting on Monday. Those of you who have been at DL, you'll remember that we did something similar to this with chart paper. It helped us to visually see where we were and were not meeting the goals of our plan.  We must execute our SIP with fidelity and amend it as necessary.  This part is important.  Use sticky notes to add your evidence but I need you to write in different colors on your sticky notes.  
pre-k- use a red marker
K-use a green marker
1-use a blue marker
2-use an orange marker
3-use a black marker
4-use a purple marker
5-use a brown marker
Everyone else, please use a pink marker

If you have questions, please let me know.  

THANK YOU Mrs. Perry for the great job with Testing this past week.  A special thank you to all of you for helping to make testing a success:)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Two Week Blog - November 17-28th

Lunch With Your Grandparents

As always, all family members are very important to our students, so we thought it would be a great idea to invite our grandparents to have lunch with our students.  I am thankful for Ms. Kennedy who created the flier and will be doing a phone reminder with Ana,  and to Ms. Hubbard for working it out with Chartwells so we could do a $4 special lunch.  I hope that we have a lot of proud grandparents visiting.  Grandparents are special!

Why Reading Education Matters in Academics; It Might Not Be What You Think by Gregg Goodhart

Lisa Morris so generously shared this article with me a few weeks ago. It is a great article that talks about teaching the arts and brain function. The article talks about research which says that focused training in any of the arts whether it be music, dance or theater, strengthens the brain's attention system, which in turn can improve cognition. The article goes on to say that music training can indeed change brain circuitry and improve general cognition.  Anytime we improve focus and work through the frustration we sometimes have in learning something new, we improve self-discipline and cognitive functioning. This holds true for arts education and general academics. This article is worth reading and I am sure Lisa will share it.  It is from American String Teacher Journal Vol. 64 No. 3.
Thank Lisa for sharing! Another example of  Great Leadership.


Thank you Julie Magness for sharing an NPR audio clip on Common Core Reading:The High Achievers, November 13th, 2014.  This is one part of a four part series on Reading in the Common Core Era.  Please take 5 minutes to listen to this clip. It is very interesting and insightful.  You can hear students talk about learning with common core.   Another example of shared leadership, thank you Julie! Take a listen:

I will forward you the link Julie sent me in an email as well.

  • Dr. Frazier is doing well and sends her regards to all of you. I know we all miss her and she is in our thoughts and prayers.
  • Continue to keep Mrs. Hopson and Mrs. Gilliam and Bill (Maeretha's brother) from Budd Services in our prayers as they continue to go though therapy. Therapy and recovery are difficult processes. We miss them all very much.
  • The last update I had from Mrs. Asbury was to say that Emily did well with the transplant. The next three weeks will be a very critical time as doctors wait to see if her body accepts the new cells.  She is undergoing Chemotherapy.  Please send prayers to Emily and her entire family as they face this most difficult challenge!!!  She is so very young to undergo such a long series of procedures.   Her family will be at the Hospital until very close to Christmas or longer depending upon recovery time.  I am planning on putting together some type of basket with toys, socks, snacks, etc.. for the family. If you would like to contribute, drop your items off in my office and I will put the basket together the first week in December.
  • Prayers to all of our school family who have sick loved ones or who are facing difficult life challenges. We are here for you.
  • 4th/5th Grade Brass Assembly at 10:15.  Please be in the gym and ready to go no later than 10:10.
  • Cannon to Principal's Meeting Tuesday 11/18/14
  • Pre-K Night 11/18
  • Faculty Meeting 3:10
  • Eat with your Grandchildren 11/18 and 11/19
  • Staff Holiday Lunch on the 20th.  Make sure to sign-up to bring something and join in on the festivities.  Thank you Hospitality for organizing this:)
  • 11/19 Home Moravian Hoe Down!  5:30 Fellowship Hall
  • 11/21 Completion of Grade 3-5 Class Spelling Bees. 
  • 11/21 All Newsletters Due and Last day for UNCG Interns. Our Interns are AWESOME!!!

Last Chance - Please Let me know if you had Perfect Attendance for Quarter 1.  Also, let Mrs. Kennedy know which of your children made honor roll and principal's list for Q1, grades 3-5. She will ready their medals. We will also recognize Perfect Attendance.  We need to collaboratively come with an idea to recognize k-2.  We can talk about this at our faculty meeting. Please send me any ideas you might have:) I would love your feedback.

Kudos to Tryla Green for taking on the role of Tutoring Facilitator. This is an important job as is the role of a tutor. It is a critical position in which we target specific learning challenges for each child based on the data we have.  We will all need to collaborate to make sure the work we are doing after school is purposeful and data driven.  I know Tryla has called a meeting for this Thursday afternoon for tutors and subs. Thank you all for doing this very important work. You are appreciated.

Home Moravian Hoe-Down November 19th at 5:30

 Please make sure that you have signed the clipboard as to your intentions for coming by Monday Morning. Home Church needs a good count. Our students and our Arts Team will be performing. You are welcome to bring family and guests. Please add them to our clipboard list. I look forward to seeing you there. All donations come back to our school. We are very grateful to Home Church. Thank you for your time. It should be a fun evening and the food is delicious.

Thank You Ms. Beaver for putting up Bulletin Boards in the Office and outside of the Teacher's Lounge. You Rock! The boards are terrific!

 Giving Thanks........

This is my Fourth year at Diggs-Latham Elementary.  I feel this is a calling for me. I am passionate about working together with you all as a team to grow our students and give them the best start possible. We have had many challenges and many accomplishments during our past four years.  We have been recognized in our community as being a school that has a climate of collaboration and mutual respect. We love our students and it shows.  We seek out treasured community partners, and volunteers to support our students and staff. You all have done such a great job engaging our parents, whether it be academics or the arts. We all work hard everyday and I am extremely thankful for each and everyone of you. You are a staff that has fun, supports each other and sets high expectations for both yourselves and students. I love seeing the smiles everyday, even when you are leaving at the end of a long day or week. We all have the same vision and goals for our students. Besides our faculty and entire staff, I am thankful for our coaches, our cafeteria staff, our bus drivers, our central office program managers,  instructional support, and student services.  I am also thankful for Dr. Emory, Steve Oates and Kenneth Simington who support all of our endeavors.  Of course, I am very thankful for my family who are very understanding,  patient, and supportive as I do the job I love.  I know you feel the same way about your families.  Working in a school in any capacity takes dedication, hard work, and a big heart!

In two or three sentences, please comment at the end of the blog pertaining to what you are most thankful for at our school.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 10-14th, 2014

November 10-14th, 2014

It's A Brand New Week:)

Things to think about.......

  • In regards to Monitoring: What mid-course corrections are needed?  
  • How are you celebrating incremental results in student progress?
  • Are your selected strategies being implemented as intended?
  • Are you getting results?
  • What evidence will you use to determine if strategies and interventions are working?
  • Remember to give the Y, your grades for this quarter for any students that attend the Y program. Also, make sure that you send a list of all students who made Honor Roll and Principal's List so that we can give them their medals.  Have the list to the Y and Mrs. Kennedy by this Friday.  I will also ask Mrs. Wolfe to give me a list of all students who have had perfect attendance this quarter so they can be celebrated. If YOU have had perfect attendance this quarter, let me know as I will celebrate you as well!  We value attendance.


  • November 5th-Mary Tarlton and Gwen Wolfe
  • November 7th-Susan Ingram
  • November 9-Jennifer Hart
  • November 15-Gerri Thierbach
  • November 21 Angela Roane
  • November 25-Nohora Martinez
  • November 26-Vicky Beaver

Reminder that there is NO School on November 11th. It is Veteran's Day.  We thank all those in our school and community who serve or who have served our country. We feel a deep sense of gratitude for your commitment and service. Thank you to Mr. Holmes and Mr. Stover and all of our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, volunteers and neighbors who have served their country to protect us and our freedom.

Home Moravian Fall Hoe-Down Dinner to Benefit Diggs-Latham Elementary
November 19th at 5:30

These are pictures from last year's events in which Home Moravian raised $3000. to help our school with Teacher Gift Cards, Parent Engagement Nights, Food, Clothes, Literacy, and Field Trips.  They are always here for us when we need them.  They will work hard to cook and serve home-made soup, bread, desserts, etc... for a small donation.  They invite their church members and I invite you.  Let's give back and attend.  We will have students performing. Please plan to attend. The event will be at their Fellowship Hall where we had our opening of school breakfast.  You may bring your families.  Many of us will be participating in volunteering for Candle Tea as well. This is always a lot of fun and another great way for us to give back.  I appreciate your support. It was wonderful to see so many of you there last year.

November 13th-Mrs. Baccari will hold a Family Engagement Math Night from 5:45-6:45 this Thursday Night!  Thank you for engaging and educating our families. Several other teachers and have done this as well or plan to. We appreciate this effort. This is a great support for our families. Speaking of Engagement......Melissa's son who is a student at UNCG just got engaged!!!!! Congratulations to the happy couple! Hooray for Melissa and her family!

I know it seems like sometimes I am  Super Woman...That not being the case, I Need YOU! Dr. Frazier will be out beginning Tuesday and not return until after the Thanksgiving Break.  We will need all hands on deck to fill her shoes. We are a school of leaders and will be able to do this working together, just as you do when I am out. You are awesome and I can always count on you. Thank you. Please keep Dr. Frazier in your thoughts and prayers as she prepares for her procedure. Privacy is requested, thank you.  

 Completion of all Classroom Spelling Bees in Grades 3-5 should be completed by November 21st.  Our School Spelling Bee will be held December 5th at 9:00.

CRAZY SOCK DAY will be this Friday the 14th of November! Wear Yours! Remind Students to wear their Crazy Socks as well!

We will be sending a note home with students that we will be having a Come Eat Lunch with your Grandchild Day.  There will be two days: K-2 Students can bring their Grandparents on the 18th of November and 3-5 students can bring their Grandparents on the 19th. The Grandparents will check in at the office, come eat with their students and then leave unless you would like them to come back to your rooms to read, listen to their grandchildren read or to see the class, etc.. but this part is NOT required. If you do want to do something after lunch with the grandparents, that is up to you and please send a note home to that effect. Also, let me know.  We are working with the cafeteria manager to come up with a set price for lunch. She will let me know this week.

It is that time again to select our new Teacher of the Year. Our SIT Chairs will be organizing and announcing the Selection Process for this Year and will get this information out to you in the next few weeks.  The Nomination and Selection Process should be complete by December 14th and the winner announced at the December 18th Faculty Meeting. I know you will respect the process and choose an individual who exemplifies the characteristics of a great teacher and leader. This will be a very hard decision to make:)

 We Need your help.  Many teachers and students in our school have allergies, asthma and or specific breathing difficulties.  The usage of aerosol air fresheners, strong cologne, etc... can cause a severe breathing reaction. Please refrain from using these items in excess.  Be wary of others who may have to follow you in the bathroom. Also, please discourage your students from wearing any kind of perfume or cologne that could trigger an asthma or breathing attack.  We will make an announcement and put it in the Parent Engagement Blog as well. Thank you for your assistance with this problem before it becomes an issue.  Just a reminder that the Fire Marshall prohibits us from using plug ins of any kind. If you have these in your room, please remove as soon as possible. We could be fined. Thank you.

I would like to thank everyone for the Great Job that was done in the preparation and execution of FALL FESTIVAL.  It was a great success and it could not have been accomplished without careful planning and attention to detail.  I would like to thank all of the members of the Fall Festival Committee. Job Well Done!  I would also like to thank all of our volunteers and sponsors.  The feedback I received from our students was very positive.

Peer Evaluations

In accordance with State Board Policy, all of our teachers who are initially licensed and hold an SP1 or SP2 license have to have an observation completed by a peer/mentor.  We prefer a peer but we will  leave that decision to you.  You may choose the peer/mentor and make a decision as to when this observation can be accomplished.  You will use the current Rubric. You should utilize a pre-conference, evaluation and a post conference.  The evaluator will complete the rubric and you will both sign off on all necessary parts. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.. I would like to have these observations complete by Christmas Break if possible.  

Mid-Year PDP Progress

I know that many of you are well on your way to completing your PDPs and some of you have actually completed one of your goals. Please go into Powerschool and complete the section on how you are progressing with your PDP midyear. This will not take long. You will list evidences that you are working towards accomplishing your goal.  We will meet to sign off on your Mid-Year PDP. I would also like to accomplish this before our December Holiday Break if possible.  When you have completed your mid-year progress tab, please let me know so we can go ahead and schedule a meeting.  This is a very important component of your overall evaluation so think it through. Remember you can bring evidences to show me and/or upload any artifacts you might have collected.

Let's Talk MATH!           

IMPORTANT-Valuing Student Thinking is important.  I just read a great article I will share with you by Allison Hintz and Elham Kazemi.  It is called, "Talking About Math".  Please comment on your answer to this question:  "Through open and targeted sharing, discussion can build students' understanding of mathematical content" The author states that it only takes 5 words (How Did You Get That?) for math teachers to engage and create opportunities for students to share their thinking. My question is one posed in the article" How can teachers keep kids from getting lost or disengaged when when many different ideas are shared?  Please add a comment to the end of the blog.  Thank you!