Bulldog News 3.4.2016


Congrats to Ms Shue and Mr Pittman for presenting at this year’s NCTies conference! Way to go in sharing what’s great in their practice with North Carolinian educators. Proud of your showcase and talent. Next year, we should have more teachers come up and present or just attend some of the inspiring sessions.

keep-calm-and-follow-the-norms-3SIT has started talks about developing some school norms and protocols for next year. These are important as they will guide our talks, beliefs and actions in becoming the school we want and need to be for our students. Ask someone who went on the South Carolina visit about some of the norms we saw permeate the school culture. Its starts with us having a belief that things will be different – action follows.

We will soon begin having talks about teaching assignments next year. Please begin thinking about your first and second choice for teaching assignments and grade levels. We want to have everyone in the place they are most comfortable but as changes come up its good to know what backup contingencies we can count on. We will formalize the process soon.

achieverWe have had some fantastic conversations about Achieve3000. Ms Shoaf goes into detail below so I won’t repeat it but I will just say we want to thank everyone for their talks and good attitudes about how we have to change our approach to reading and literacy. As we get more information and resources. We will share with you. Our success = students success.

Ccj6Gi3W8AQpuMLThanks to you all for helping make our #ReadAcrossAmerica Book Swap a huge success! At the end of the day, we were able to have at least one book per student – that means a lot and shows a great message to everyone watching. We value reading and are building our culture to reflect it. Thanks Ms Shue for being the driver of this campaign.

The last two weeks have been busy weeks for 8th Grade. Not only did they take a trip to see ‘Taming of the Shrew’ at Norvell Theater but they had some science expeditions to the Horizon lab. Thanks for organizing, chaperoning and drive these next level experiences.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 3.42.27 PMMr Pittman has shared our acquisition of 15 Google Cardboard viewers with everyone. These are some great gap closing opportunity builders. This is the tweet I sent out last week as I visited him leading Ms Kennington’s class on a virtual field trip to the Great Wall of China. There were gasps and sounds of wonder as this class really experienced the massiveness of this wall. Consider this for many students who have never been out of Rowan County or North Carolina. This is a great way to close the opportunity gap and build on some learning experieinces. Way to go




When You Fall Down

I shared this video with each grade level Schoology group:

This is an amazing video that shows what grit, determination, training and support can do. I love this video because when we see her fall and hear that she gets up we say to ourselves, ‘Good for her’ or ‘She won just by getting up.’ But going deeper and more realistically, she won the race because she was trained to be strong, fight through failure and push harder when you fall. Don’t feel sorry for her, coach her – make her tough.

Do we teach our kids how to fight harder when they fail?
What is our message when kids get a failing grade?
What does the failing grade mean in your classroom?

This runner had hope when she got up because she believed in herself and knew that pushing herself beyond her limit was called for and she knew she could do it. What message do you send to the kids in your class who are struggling or even passing but need to do more that they have hope. We shouldn’t be leaving these life messages to 11, 12, 13 year olds to figure out on their own. Let’s be the difference makers who make the difference.

One person who was not seen in this video that made a huge difference was the coach. Think of the messages he/she must have had with this runner to get such a fantastic result.


“A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.”   -Ever Garrison

We are trying to remind kids to keep the kindness cards moving! If you see one, remind kids to pass it on.

Also, we need good quality speakers for Career Day Thursday, April 21st. Time commitment will be 7:30-12:30, but it will be very organized and they will be fed and appreciated. For everyone who secures a speaker, I will buy your lunch Monday, May 2nd.  If you find more than one, you will receive an additional prize. We need people who will engage the students. There will always be an additional adult in the room. I had positive feedback form all of the participants last year and several have agreed to return. Would like to have this finalized by the end of March, so the sooner the better.

Dodgeball will be after school Friday, March 18th. I need some volunteers to help the afternoon go smoothly. The event should end before 5. For anyone who can help, I will provide lunch for you Monday, April 4th.

“I have this theory that if one person will go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” -Rachel Joy Scott


At the beginning of the year, we did an activity at PLC meetings where you looked at characteristics necessary for transformation and put a gold star on those that come more naturally for you, while we used stars of other colors to show areas that are more challenging. The traits with the largest amounts of gold stars were:

  1. Believe in the power of community.
  2. Be open to experimenting with new potentials.
  3. Empower and inspire those around you.
  4. Challenge yourself to constantly transform.


All year, I have been so proud to brag on you for your willingness to try new initiatives like Guided Instruction and Achieve3000, as well as to constantly transform your instructional practice through new strategies, the coaching cycle, and self-reflection. One major secret to your success has been your collaboration in planning with colleagues and support staff. We tend to be at our best when we can run our ideas by another person and receive feedback.

I was lucky enough to be a part of the collaborative process with 7th grade Science last week. We were able to revamp their approach to Achieve3000 articles to make them more interesting and meaningful for the students. Some of our strategies included annotating with the highlighting feature in the article, incorporating a Schoology discussion board with the Dig Deeper passage, and eliminating the Thought Question since it didn’t add value to the lesson. The most important thing that happened was that there was an exchange of ideas about how best to approach the material with everyone contributing to the conversation.

It has been a pleasure to work with Mrs. Rabon and Ms. DeAngelo. Although they present the material in their own styles, it would be hard to find a clearer example of collaborative planning than the following pictures:

rabon               deangelo

How is your content area collaborating? What would evidence of your planning look like?

I had a similar experience with 7th grade Social Studies this week as we focused on graphic organizers as support for reading, and I am available to work with other content areas as well.


Monday, March 7

  • SIT Meeting
  • Basketball @ Knox

Tuesday, March 8

  • PLC Meetings – We will be updating the student data cards with information from the recent benchmarks. If you took any cards with you last time, please make sure they find their way home!
  • Battle of the Books

Wednesday, March 9

  • Achieve3000 Meetings for ELA Teachers during planning

Thursday, March 10

  • LDC Training @ Horizons (Brothers, Kepley, King and Shoaf off-campus)
  • Basketball @ CGMS

Friday, March 11



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