Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

It's hard to believe that 2016 is finally at a close.  What a crazy year it has been.  One of my favorite parts of every year is looking back on the year to remember what things took place in my life personally, professionally, across our country, across the world, and more.  I love reflecting and finding areas that I want to change or grow for the next year.

Sometimes looking back on a year can be filled with tough memories too.  Memories of family members lost, lives changed by unexpected circumstances, or more.

2016 was a crazy year for us as a campus.  We finished our very first year as a Prek-5th grade campus.  We stayed on the IR list, but made some positive progress. We survived a flood and not being able to have a final day of school.  We implemented our first ever House System.  We completed our first ever T-TESS evaluations. We built relationships, proved we were more than test scores, and allowed the world to hear our story as we shared it through social media.

And of course there were some bumps along the way, as there always will be!

But when I look back at the year of 2016 and look at myself professionally, I see many ways I want to grow.  Because of many circumstances this school year I haven't been as visible as I would like to be.  I haven't gotten to read to as many classes.  I haven't gotten to team teach as many lessons.

Sometimes we can be our hardest critics, and when I look back at 2016 I see many ways that I want to continue to grow into the leader all of you deserve.  Being in only my third year as an administrator, the fact that I have much to learn has never left my mind. 

I am so incredibly proud of the work that I saw take place in 2016 and I know 2017 is only going to get better as we all learn, connect, and grow together.  So here's to a New Year!  Here's to feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle the world!  Because together, with each other's help and support, we can truly change this campus more and more.

Week at a Glance

Monday - School Holiday
Tuesday - 8am-11:30am - K-2 - F&P Training (Webb)
                 8am-11:30am - 3-5 - Assessment Writing (Webb)
8:30am - PreK Teachers and PreK IAs have HWT Training at Central
                 8am - Music Teachers Meet at Webb
                 12:30pm-4pm - K-2 - Assessment Writing
                 12:30pm-4pm - 3-5 - F&P Training
Wednesday - 8am-11:30am - K-2 - F&P Training (Webb)
                 8am-11:30am - 3-5 - Assessment Writing (Webb)
                 8am - Music Teachers Meet at Webb
                 8am-12pm - SPED, Camp, and IAs Master Gardener at Brule
                 12pm-2pm - Admin will be off Campus
                 12:30pm-4pm - K-2 - Assessment Writing
                 12:30pm-4pm - 3-5 - F&P Training
Thursday - Students Return

TP Time

Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Growing Together

One thing that has been on our list to do this year is to find ways to grow together as a staff outside of our grade levels.  One way that we've come up with an idea is to offer some different things for you to join if you'd like to!

Weekly Workouts

Starting this week, every Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm we will be putting on a Work-Out video in the Gym.  If you'd like to spend 20-30 minutes (or whatever you're comfortable with) working out, come join us! If you would like calendar reminders about the Work-Out, please sign up HERE.

Bible Study

Starting this week too, every Wednesday Morning at 7am, we'll be having a weekly Bible Study for anyone who would like to join.  It will take place in the TP Room.  If you would like calendar reminders about the Bible study please sign up HERE.

Monthly Get-Togethers

We're going to be starting Monthly get togethers in the evenings!  Things from Painting with a Twist, to bowling, to ice skating, and more!  Just opportunities for us as a staff to bond together outside of school.  These will always take place after a pay-day to alleviate any financial stress.  The first one will take place Tuesday, January 31st! Activity to be announced soon, but mark your calendars if you'd like to join!

Grade Level Meetings

I (Nesloney) would like to briefly meet with grade level teams at some point during January 3rd or 4th.  Team Leaders, please email me a time that works best for your team, as I'd only like to take 10-15 minutes.  I want to talk Priority Money, needs, and expectations. 3rd-5th Grade Teams please come prepared to discuss your plans on working with the data from our Benchmarks and the expectations from Delic.


Konnie Harber - January 8
Evangelic Sipp - January 8

Kids Deserve It

Here is Episode 53 with first year teacher Jordan Potrzeba

KDI 2: Stories from Webb

Also remember to be thinking about something you would like to submit for the new book. Stories, ideas, lessons learned, experiences, favorite lesson, best strategies, failures, and more!  I want this book to feature ALL of your voices, so it doesn't matter what role you hold on our school, you are a vital part to our story!


Rockstar Educators

Darla Davis - Darla is one of our 3rd Grade ELA teachers.  I am so thankful we were able to steal Darla away and get her to join our team this year.  Darla brings so many creative and fun ideas into her room.  She is also someone who does an EXCELLENT job at using different strategies to encourage her students using her whole class.  It's always fun to watch Darla teach and the excitement she brings to her classroom.  I am so thankful that we have teachers like Darla who are passionate about teaching AND connecting with kids.

Dorothy Sargent - Dorothy is one of our PreK IAs.  Dorothy is someone who is always smiling and in a great mood, even when she's having to fake it.  I love watching Dorothy interact with kids as well cause she does such a good job at truly getting on their level and meeting them where they're at.  Dorothy never complains without a solution and is always ready to step up any time anyone asks for help.  I am grateful for the example Dorothy sets for our kids and the amount of time she spends connecting with them.

Lisha Crawford - Lisha is one of our First Grade teachers.  Lisha is in the midst of her second year as a teacher  and the growth I've seen in her has been mind blowing.  Lisha is never satisfied with status-quo or just being good enough.  She is always looking for ways to grow and get better and do more for her students.  Lisha is also great at bringing in others to her ideas and not just hoarding things for her classroom.  It's a blessing for us as a campus to have leaders like Lisha working alongside us!

In Closing....

This week as I meet with teams I'm going to be talking about your "One Word".  So begin thinking.  What is that one word you want to use to describe your 2017.  What one word do you want to keep as your reminder, your push, your guide forward.  Begin thinking of that "One Word" and be ready to share at Team Meetings this week.  All other staff I will be meeting with groups throughout the week to talk your "one word" too!

Every day is only as good as we choose to make it.  We have a choice to wake up, leave our mess in the car, and bring our best for the kids.  It never is easy, but it is so worth it.

Let's make 2017 the best year yet!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

We Can Do This!

5 more school days! Well technically 4 and 1/2!  I've never been a fan of teachers publicly celebrating breaks, as I know it sends a bad message to those who aren't in education. BUT, I know we ALL are ready for some R&R!

The holiday season always seems just a little more crazy than the rest of the year.  I have been so impressed by the consistent hard work you all are putting in, and you have definitely earned a break!

So let's go out with a bang this week and bring our best for our kids! They deserve it!

Week at a Glance
Monday - 3rd/4th/5th Grade Math Benchmark
Staff Meeting - 3:45pm
School Board Meeting - 6:30pm
Tuesday - RTI Meetings Begin
UIL Ready Writing
Reading Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room
Wednesday - 3rd/4th/5th Grade Reading Benchmark
Thursday - House Games - 2:15pm
Christmas Concert - 6pm - Brosig Auditorium
Friday - Grades Due - 3:45pm
Early Release - 12:00
Ugly Sweater Christmas Party - 12:45pm - Cafeteria
Meet the New Superintendent - Mandatory - HS Cafeteria - either 1:30 or 2:00 (more info to come)


3rd, 4th, and 5th grade will be taking their Math and Reading Benchmarks this week.  HERE is the schedule of who we'll need.  It will be all hands on deck.  The tabs at the bottom correspond with the correct days.

Staff Meeting

We will have a staff meeting at 3:45pm on Monday. If you received an award in November, please bring it and be ready to give it to someone else!  After awards, support staff can leave, while the Teachers will have an afternoon of learning from others! I'm excited about the things planned by the teams involved!

House Games

House Games are on Thursday this month because of the half-day! Final time to earn points before we announce the Semester 1 winner!


Grades are due FRIDAY for report card 2.

Ugly Sweater Christmas Party

We are having food catered for our Christmas Party on Friday.  It'll be tacos, rice, and beans! Don't forget that Friday is our Ugly Christmas Sweater Day! We hope to see tons of Christmas Sweaters.  We will also announce our Secret Santas at the Party and play a game or two!

New Superintendent

There is a mandatory district wide meeting of the new Superintendent on Friday after our party. The original email announced it was at 1:30, but there is a possibility of it moving to 2:00pm since several of the campuses had things planned.  I will keep you informed of the exact time.

School Will Be Closed

The school will be CLOSED December 19-23. You CAN NOT be on campus those days. They are cleaning floors and other things.  NO STAFF will be allowed on campus those days.  Go home. Enjoy your break.

January 3rd and 4th

January 3rd and 4th are inservice days.

Both days K-2 will be in F&P Training from 8-11:30 and Assessement Writing from 12:30-4:00
Both days 3-5 will be in Assessment Writing from 8-11:30 and ELA Teachers F&P Training from 12:30-4:00


Dec 18 - Joni Leonard
Dec 20 - Aaron Marvel (the big 3-0)
Dec 22 - Cewilla Thomas
Dec 24 - Sandra Smith

TP Time

This week you get to ENJOY your TP time and just relax a little!  BUT please show up for morning duty :-)

Monday - No one (But 2nd Grade please help with duty)
Tuesday - Kinder
Wednesday - No One (But 5th please help with morning duty)
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 5th Grade (but 3rd Please help with morning duty)

Kids Deserve It

Last day to get a KDI Hoodie/Baseball Tee/or VNeck for December is TOMORROW (Sunday)

All of us in the office hope that each of you take time out during Christmas break to truly refresh! You deserve it!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tis The Season

As you can tell, everywhere you look, the Holiday season is in FULL swing.  Christmas music everywhere, decorations, excitement, and more!

But as we've talked about before, holidays for some are just the opposite.  For adults and kids alike, sometimes the holidays are filled with bad memories, reminders of those we've lost, expectations unfilled, worries, and more.

As we are in the midst of this time let us focus on being patient with those around us.  Let us keep growing our kiddos in a strong foundation in education while still offering opportunities for them to give back and grow emotionally.

Week at A Glance

Monday - Nesloney Out
F&P and MobyMax Middle of Year Testing Begins
Tuesday - Nesloney Out (1/2 Day AM)
Books & A Blanket will be here (won't affect any schedules)
K-2 Going to GBL - Brittany Taylor will be attending as Admin
Science Vertical Mtg - 3:30pm - TP Room
Wednesday - Team Leader Mtg - 7am
Delic and Becky on Campus - Mtg only with 3rd-5th and Admin
Picture Retakes
Thursday - 4th Grade Writing and 5th Grade Science Benchmark (schedules will be sent out soon)
Ident-A-Kid on campus
Christmas Family Movie Night - 5-8pm
Saturday - Navasota Christmas Parade - 6pm

Navasota Christmas Parade

In an effort to be more visible in the community we are going to be taking part in the Navasota Christmas Parade.  We will have 2 trailers there.  We have to put some lights on the trailers as all floats must be lit to go with the their theme (Home for the Holidays).  We would love to have as much staff there as possible.  We are all going to wear our House Shirts!  Alcantara and Charlie (Jessica's Boyfriend) will provide the trailers.

If you have a generator for us to use for the Christmas lights on the trailers that would be awesome! The parade starts at 6pm so we'll probably need to be lined up by 5:30 (but they're giving us more details later this week).

The actual events go on all day though so you can be there earlier if you'd like.  We'll send a letter out to our students on Wednesday.

Staff Christmas Party

Please remember our Staff Christmas Party is the last day of school (Dec 16) at 1:15pm.  We will be providing lunch. It is an Ugly Sweater day!  So please be looking for one and wear it that day!

Also don't forget about your Secret Santa!!


Please work to make sure all F&P Testing is done by the end of this week.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through the rest of this month as we will be looking at them with Delic and Becky.

House Shirts

If kids ask, once they turn in a House Shirt order form, it could take up to 3 weeks to get their shirts.  We're getting them as quickly as we can.

TP Time

Continuing work with lessons.  Please bring a lesson and TEK

Monday - No One
Tuesday - Kinder (Marvel or Boenker will lead)
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - No One (Benchmarks)
Friday - 3rd Grade

Kids Deserve It

Many have asked about sweatshirts! They're back! (more colors will be available on Monday, sorry not Purple or Yellow).


Rockstar Educators

Marylee Argueta - Marylee is one of our 2nd Grade Bilingual Teachers.   Marylee is a force to be reckowned with.  She is full of energy, always has an idea to try, and steps up wherever needed.  She's a natural born leader with a ton of great ideas.  She also cares deeply about each of her kids and is always working hand in hand with her parents to ensure success.  I have loved getting to know Marylee even more this year as she finishes her admin schooling and has shadowed me a few times.  We are lucky to have people like Marylee on campus!

Kathy Leiva - Kathy is one of our PreK IAs. Kathy is one of those who always comes with a great attitude.  She's smiling all the time, steps up wherever I need her, and has been a HUGE helping hand while never complaining.  She works so incredibly hard but because she's so quiet she often goes unnoticed.  I am so thankful for people like Kathy on our team because she truly carries us in so many ways.

Anna Wilkerson - Anna is a 4th Grade Math/Science teacher.  What I love about Anna is how much she listens to feedback.  She's always growing and trying new things and such an inventive mind.  She works hard to connect with her students and is a big team player as well.  I love too how Anna will try things even if she isn't guaranteed they'll work! That's awesome! I'm so glad we have creative minds like Anna on our campus!

In Closing....

Let's find ways to spend more and more time celebrating each other this week! Have lunch with someone new, smile more, give high fives, and just have fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Act Like A Child

Well we're back at it again starting Monday!  We've got a little less than a month until Christmas Break!  If there's one thing I've learned it's that being an adult is hard.  There's constant decisions that have to be made, jobs to keep up with, bills to pay, and so much more.  Sometimes we feel like we're spinning our wheels and getting no where. Or sometimes we may feel like it's all just too much, too hard, to overwhelming.

There is a way for us to make "adulting" a little bit easier though.  How you might ask? Well it comes down to the simple fact of remembering what it's like to be a kid.  To live those childlike moments and embrace them.

To run barefoot down the beach.  To sit and build something out of play-doh.  To lay in the grass and try to figure out what shapes the clouds have made. To go out and order a Happy Meal just so you can play with the toy that comes with it.

Sometimes the best way to maintain perspective and to not get to overwhelmed is to embrace your inner child.

As educators we have a leg-up on the rest of the adults. How so? Well we get to be around children all day long.  Kids who can help us remember what it's like to dream big, to believe in the impossible, and to imagine things can be better.

My all time favorite quote is "Adults need to have fun, so children will want to grow up" by Erica Bauermiester.  It's so true. Why would a child ever want to be anything like us, if we look like unhappy, angry, grumps.

Let's find ways this week to tap into our inner child.

Week at a Glance

Monday - School Board Mtg - 6:30pm
Tuesday - Math Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room
Wednesday - Cecil Wedding Shower - 3:30pm - Library
Thursday - Community Connections Voluntary Mtg - 3:45pm - Library (more info below)
Friday - End of Progress Report Grading Period (3:45pm)

Community Connections Mtg

In an effort to reach more of our students we are looking to crowdsource what connections we as a staff may have.  We'd love for you to join us for a voluntary meeting just to share some of our connections and to explain ways we're working to better meet some of our students social/emotional and academic needs.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through December 9th.


November 28 - Andrea Day
November 30 - Mallory LaPlant
December 3 - Allison Guy
December 4 - Tamera Boyd

Christmas Family Fun Night

Our Campus Christmas Family Night is December 8th from 5:00-8:15pm.  As always, we are asking staff to serve at least one 45 minute shift that night.  This is a HUGE fundraiser for PTO, a great night for families, and a great time for us to mingle with families.  You can sign up for a spot to work HERE.

TP Time

We will continue to dive into lessons.  Please bring one lesson for a TEK you're teaching or will teach. Each team member should bring a DIFFERENT lesson for a different TEK.  Please know the TEK for your lesson before our meeting.

Monday - 1st Grade
Tuesday - 2nd Grade
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade


If you have not already decided on a date for your observation, please note that may reflect in part of your T-TESS observation rating, as you were instructed to decide on a date with your evaluator BEFORE Thanksgiving Break.  We would like all observations done before Christmas, and with Benchmarks and other things coming up, I know all of our calendars are already almost full.

Kids Deserve It

Episode 50 is an interview with "Ada Twist, Scientist" NY Times Bestselling Author, Andrea Beaty.


Rockstar Educators

Geralyn Jackson - Geralyn is our counselor.  I really don't know how our campus could function without her.  She is a huge champion for kids and the broken.  She is constantly counseling with kids, meeting with parents, handing out food or supplies, doing 504 things, and so much more.  Geralyn is light hearted, compassionate, and extremely hard working.  I have had the pleasure of getting to spend all three years of my admin position with Geralyn as part of the team and I know that I am a better person for getting to work alongside her each and every day.

Vivian Stenseth - Vivian is one of our PreK teachers.  She is a powerhouse in the classroom.  Even though she is very soft spoken and always so calm, I am consistently blown away by her creativity and the thought she puts behind each of her decisions.  She challenges her students, but also loves on them so much.  She gives them freedom to express themselves, but also structure to learn and grow.  She's extremely patient and always loving.  I love every moment I'm able to spend in her classroom because I see a teacher who's heart is truly there for the kids, but I also always leave the room with another idea or lesson learned!

Evangelic Sipp - Evangelic is a 5th Grade Math and Science teacher.  I can't tell you enough how blown away I am by the growth Evangelic has shown in the past year.  She's only in her second year of teaching, but she takes such deep thought to all of her lessons and ideas.  She's the first to jump on board with a new teaching strategy and she's always hungry to learn more.  She's also excellent at connecting with her kids emotionally and looking for ways to grow them academically as well as socially.  I am thankful we have teachers like Evangelic on our campus.

In Closing....

Kids are resilient, creative, and can do so much more than we often give them credit for.  They believe in the impossible, want to change the world, and they keep getting back up when they're knocked down.

Let's take this week to learn from our kids.  Start each morning talking with your class. Share  your joys, your pains, your successes, your failures.  Share your heart.

And most of all, find the kid in yourself. Play at recess.  Stay for their PE class.  Invite your students to stay after school one day for a game of kickball.  Let them see you care about them more than just a score on a sheet, and in the process you'll find some joy too.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Let's Be Thankful

Thanksgiving.  That time of the year when we take just a little more time to think of things we're thankful for.  As I was making a list of things I was thankful for, our students kept coming to my mind.  And how we could view so many of them as having trouble making a thankful list, but in reality, they're able to notice the "little" things so much better than us sometimes.

I was having a conversation with a student this week about her behavior.  She's a tough cookie. She's been a "project" of ours for about the last year or more.  She's got a lot of pain built up in her life, and that sometimes comes out of her in the most unfriendly ways.

As she had another episode, I pulled her into my office.  I asked her what was going on, and of course she didn't want to talk about it.  She never does.

So I tried a different approach.  We have three staff members in particular who are working or have worked a LOT with her to get her in a better place.  I told her how much her teacher loves her, I told
her how much our assistant principal loves her, and then I told her how much her teacher from last year loves her.  Because truly, they care about her so much.

Then I told her, that the way she treats those who care about her, hurts them.  And that some people can only take so much of someone being hateful to them before they throw their hands up.  Before they walk away.  Before they say "I've tried everything and I just don't know what else to do".  Before they say, "Does she hate me??" We've all felt that way before about a student or loved one.

And for the first time ever, I saw something different in her.  She looked at me and said "I don't hate them.  I love them a lot too."

What?!?  I had never heard her say that about anyone.

And she sat with me in my office and she cried, with me.  We talked about how our emotions can sometimes get the better of us.  It happens to all of us at one point or another.

But we can't let our emotions control us all the time.  We can't let our hurt, our anger, our pain, push others away just because we choose to lash out at those we love.

We talked about how it's ok to be angry.  It's ok to struggle with work or friends.  It's ok to want to cry.

But we have to verbalize those emotions.  We have to ask for help.  We have to show that we're trying to change and be better.

Did I truly get through to this child? Who really knows.  Only time will tell. And I know she'll lash out in anger/pain again.  But maybe, just maybe she can see a little more that we care about her so very much.  That we want to help her, to be a part of her life, to walk with her down this road.

I tie that into Thanksgiving because I am so thankful to have the job I do.  I am so thankful to work with kids that come to us broken in a thousand pieces, hoping to find someone with a little glue and time to help them put the pieces back together again.

Teaching is a special profession.  It's not something I feel I have to do, but I get to do.

And I am so incredibly thankful to work alongside people like YOU every day.  People who pour their heart, soul, time, blood, sweat, tears into these kids.

People who are more than just educators.  People who are life changers.

Our job isn't easy.  Our job doesn't always feel rewarding every day.  But I am thankful you walk alongside me with these kids.  That you jump off the ledge with me.  That you take risks, love deeply, and keep pushing yourselves.

I am thankful for our parents we have how are doing the best they possibly can to raise their children.  I am thankful for our district administration who makes decisions they feel are for the betterment of kids.  I am thankful for our own personal families who deal with our tears and time away from home because we love what we do.

Thank YOU for what you do.  There is no way I could ever express how needed and appreciated you are.

Week at a Glance

Monday - Marvel Out
Book Fair Begins
Staff Meeting at 3:45pm
Tuesday - Dress Like a Pirate Day (for Book Fair)
Bilingual Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm - TP Room (lead by Marvel)
Book Fair Fun Night - 4pm-7pm
Wednesday - Moreland on Campus
Thursday - Kinder and First Grade Field Trip to Zoo (Thomas, LaPlant, and Jackson attending)
3rd-5th to George Bush Library (Nesloney, Boenker, and Madison/Taylor attending)
Friday - House Games (visitors will be here to observe as well)
Pot Luck Lunch

Pot Luck Lunch

Please make sure you've signed up to bring something for the Pot Luck lunch on Friday.  We still have about 25 people who haven't signed up to bring anything yet.  You can sign up HERE.

Book Fair

The book fair is this week and we'd love your help in talking in up!  Especially our Book Fair Fun Night on Tuesday night.  It's a come and go event with "Fish and Chips", door prizes, guest book readers, and more! We'd love to have tons of families in attendance.  We will also have Tuesday be "Dress Like a Pirate Day" to help go with the theme of our Book Fair.

House Games

The House Games are on Friday and will work like normal.  We will begin calling about 2:10pm.  That is a day to get your teams fired up, for you and your students to dress in your colors, and for us to bring the energy and excitement!  Let's show what we can do when we all come together to have fun and celebrate!

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through December 2nd


Cassie Reynolds - Nov 17
KVon Lamber - Nov 23
Dorothy Sargent - Nov 24

Christmas Family Night

Our Campus Christmas Family Night is December 8th from 5:00-8:15pm.  As always, we are asking staff to serve at least one 45 minute shift that night.  This is a HUGE fundraiser for PTO, a great night for families, and a great time for us to mingle with families.  You can sign up for a spot to work HERE.

Ugly Sweater Christmas Party

On our last day, December 16th, we are having our Staff Christmas Party after the kids leave at 12:00pm.  This is going to be an  "Ugly Sweater" Christmas Party! There will be more details to come, but I wanted to let you know now in case you wanted to start looking (or start making) for that ugly sweater!  There will be prizes!

TP Time

More Lesson Plan work.  Please bring ONE activity that you'll be doing this week to share with the group for us to dive into.  You need to know what TEK it addresses.

Monday - 2nd Grade
Tuesday - Kinder
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade


T-TESS is going strong, but I still have LOTS of people who have not contacted me (or the other two evaluators) to set up an evaluation.  Let's get all of those on the calendar before Thanksgiving Break.

Kids Deserve It


Rockstar Educators

Mallory LaPlant - Mallory is our campus Secretary, but as you know she's so much more than that.  Mallory always comes with the best attitude and she steps up in so many ways.  She always has a thousand things on her plate but is always there with a listening ear, a great attitude, and ready to tackle something else.  From our work orders, to new enrollments, to keeping up our salt water tank, to SO MUCH MORE, Mallory really is a huge asset to our school.  I am so thankful for Mallory's positive attitude, but even more so for her immense love for the students we serve here at our school.  I have watched Mallory eat lunch with kids, laugh with kids, and even cry over some of our kids.  We are lucky to have someone like her!

Joni Leonard - Joni is our PE teacher. What I love about Joni is that she is willing to jump off the edge with me with some of my ideas.  And she's also incredibly flexible with her time.  Joni probably has the schedule that gets changed the most on this campus, and she just takes it in stride.  I have watched Joni really push and stretch herself over the last year or two to try some really fun ideas with our kids.  And I love what she does with them especially on our House Games days to get them even more excited.  Joni is such a needed part of this team, and I don't know what we'd do without her energy, ideas, and support!

Allison Guy - Allie is one of our 3rd Grade ELAR Teachers.  Allie comes up with such creative ideas and ways to work with her students.  I love how she's willing to try something she's totally uncomfortable with just to see if it will work.  She's got such a gift with our SPED students as well.  I am thankful we've had the energy and ideas of teachers like Allie who continually make me look at things different and want to try new ideas too!  If you haven't seen her most recent idea with book trailers, go check out her bulletin board outside her room!

In Closing....

I hope you take a little time this week to share with each student why you're thankful for them.  Remind them that they're loved. They're noticed.  Take a moment to speak individually with EACH child. It will make a difference they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

And if you need a laugh, this video below should help :-)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Some Have No One Else

This week I was reminded of the simple fact that we have children at our school that have no one else.  That we're they're only one. The only one who encourages them, celebrates them, believes in them.

I have students come into my office every day for "Hats Off" calls to celebrate them.  Friday something different happened.  I had called home to celebrate a third grader who struggles with school quite often.  He was so excited about his "Hats Off" card.  As we called mom (and had her on speaker phone), I told her the great reasons why I was calling home and how proud of her son we were.  I then asked her, as I do every parent, if she'd like to talk to her son to celebrate him too.  Her response? "No, that's ok. I can talk to him later if I feel like it".

Wow.  Did I mention she was on speaker phone? And her son heard the whole exchange.  I watched this little boy lose all sense of excitement and instead put his head down.  It broke my heart.

But it was a reminder.  A reminder that our kids come from homes where they aren't always taught of their worth and value. And socioeconomic status doesn't always play a part.  These kids come from home full of monetary wealth and homes devoid of any material things.  Kids are kids.

It was a reminder for me to hug our kiddos a little tighter.  To give a few more high fives.  To dance a little more.  To laugh as much as possible.  To celebrate every single moment.  For we may be the only way celebrating that challenge and I want to be the pebble in that child's pond of life where ripples are felt for years to come.

Week at a Glance

National Young Readers Week!
Monday - Marvel and Boenker Out
Tuesday - Nesloney Out
Curriculum Visit in the AM from Central
Social Studies Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room with Boenker
Wednesday - Fire Drill
PTO Meeting - 5:30pm - Library
Thursday - #ReadYourHeartOut day (Share reading all day on Social Media)
Nesloney Reading on Roof all Day
Friday - Delic on Campus (meet during Conferences)
Veteran's Day Program - 7:45am - All Teachers needed in Gym at 7:35am

TP Time

We will continue looking at LP during TP time as well as discussing homework

Monday - First Grade
Tuesday - Kinder
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Lesson Plans

Should be updated through November 18th


If you have not scheduled yours yet, you need to have a date decided on by the end of this week with your evaluator!

The Best Part of Me

When I visited my friend Brad Gustafson's school last week, this activity stuck out to me.  It was called "The Best Part of Me".  Not only were the photos, taken by the kids, PHENOMENAL, but the writing was as well.  HERE is a link to the Scholastic article.

Kids Deserve It!

Final day to order shirts for November is SUNDAY.  You can order HERE.


Rockstar Educators

Jessica Schutzenhofer - Jessica (Kjos) is one of our 2nd grade teachers.  One thing I appreciate about Jessica is how excited she can get about her students.  The best example was on Friday when Jessica had her kids doing a reader's theatre.  She was so excited for the kids to do it that she really wanted me to to see it.  So badly that she rearranged their day so it would fit in my schedule. The kids did amazingly well and had voices and all. They loved the experience.  I am so thankful we have teachers like Jessica who will give kids experiences that allow them to be creative and have fun, while also learning and connecting with each other!

Olivia Aguinaga - Olivia is one of our 3rd grade teachers.  Olivia brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her team.  But even more so than that Olivia has a playful side that she lets out every now and again.  I absolutely loved the way she dressed up for our 50s day this week! By far my favorite costume, I even had to do a double take to figure out who it was.  Our kids remember those little things.  Those times we danced with them, those times we dressed up, those times we used special voices.  I am so thankful we have teachers on our campus who are building those memories for our kiddos.

Maura Pavlock - Maura is one of our PPCD IAs.  Maura is a breath of encouragement every single day.  She always shows up, upbeat, ready to go.  Even on days where she definitely doesn't want to be here.  Maura is funny and fun.  But most of all she has a deep love for the kids she serves.  You can see it in not only the way she works with them but in the way she talks with them as well.  I am so thankful we have educators on our stuff who love kids with every ounce of their being.

In Closing....

Remember this next week, as we get closer and closer to the Holidays, that the holidays aren't happy experiences for all of our students.  Some dread those days where they have to be at home instead of being at school.  And because of that fear and dread they will act out in different ways.  We have to have a big enough heart to love them anyway.  To forgive them time and time again.  To wrap them in compassion, patience, and honesty.  We have to show them we aren't going anywhere, we aren't going to abandon or give up on them, and we love them so very much.  Because we might be the only one.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Learning from Others

This past week I had the experience of visiting a friend's school and seeing what they were up to.  I've always been a believer in connecting with others online and learning from and with them. But that is only a piece of the puzzle.  To truly learn from someone you have to see them in action!

Time and time again, I have learned so much more from personal visits to schools rather than conferences, webinars, and trainings.

This week I was able to spend a day at Brad Gustafson's (@GustafsonBrad) school in Minnesota.  Brad and I have been friends for years and talk on a daily basis.  Brad (and Ben Gilpin) have been my constant source of encouragement and coaching as I've entered this administrative world.  I met Brad on Twitter, and over the last couple of years through Twitter and Voxer we've become great friends. Our wives are even good friends now and we have traveled together on several occasions.

It's one thing to hear about things someone says is happening at their school.  It's another to see it in action, especially since Brad was just recently awarded the National Distinguished Principal for Minnesota.

I was so impressed with many things I saw.  From the student work posted everywhere, the amount of teachers trying innovative seating/classroom design options, to the clear focus on literacy (student AND teachers advertising what they're reading), to the friendly little touches such as the welcome mats and signage.  It was a great day with lots of learning.

I share all of this to remind and encourage you of the power of connecting with others.  I always say "no matter where you work and how talented the people are that you work with, your ideas are still limited to the four walls".  Putting yourself out there and connecting on sites like Twitter really does expand your learning and opens doors like nothing else.  Then when you can push those "twitter" connections to the next level, and make face to face learning happen, it's a whole new ball game!

Know someone at another school who is doing exceptional things? Let's go visit!

Week at a Glance

Monday - ALL STAFF Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character
Tuesday - Writing Vertical - 3:30pm - TP room
Foundation Banquet - 5:30pm
Wednesday - Team Leader Mtg - 7:00am
3rd Grade Field Trip (Boenker Attending)
Thursday - 2nd Grade Field Trip (Marvel attending)
Friday - 50th Day of School Celebration (50s Day)
End of Progress Reports Grading Period (3:45pm)

TP Time

We will be looking at and discussing lesson plans this week.  So please bring your lesson plans printed out, a laptop, and your materials for the week.

Monday - 1st Grade
Tuesday - 2nd Grade
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through November 11th


You should be in contact with your T-TESS Evaluator to start setting up observations.  I have already completed two!  It has been such a nice process.  The pre-conference has been GREAT and a much needed add on to our new system.  I really am enjoying this time spent!  HUGE props to Ambrus, Colbert, Wilkinson, Desern, Robertson, and Davis for already getting yours scheduled!

Kids Deserve It

Many of you have asked about Kids Deserve It shirts!  There are the original six colors, the women's v-neck, the neon, and new baseball tees all on sale through next Sunday!  Get yours HERE.

Education Foundation Dinner

I still have a couple of tickets to the Education Foundation Dinner on Tuesday!  I will be sending an email out later this weekend to those who I have written down as attending!  If you don't get an email from me by Monday and you asked for a ticket, let me know!


Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) and Matt de la Pena (Last Stop On Market Street) discuss diversity in Children's Books


October 31 - Kevin Bradford
November 3 - Carolyn Hafley

Rockstar Educators

Angela Calkins - Angela is one of our 3rd Grade Math/Science teacher.  I absolutely love any time I get to watch Angela teach.  She is engaging and energetic.  There's so many times that I'm blown away at the knowledge she possesses and is only a 2nd year teacher.  Angela also loves working with our special education population and truly has a knack for them.  I am also super proud of Angela for stepping up into a leadership role when asked.  She has already done a great job and is truly a natural born leader.  I can't wait to see what kind of educator Angela will grow into as this is only the beginning.

Traci Colbert - Traci is our PPCD teacher.  I had the pleasure of sitting with Traci during a T-TESS Pre-Conf this week as well as watching her do a lesson with her students.  I loved sitting with Traci and hearing her talk about her students and what she was going to be doing with them.  I was even more thrilled to watch her in action.  Though Traci's students may learn differently than most, Traci holds them to a high standard.  She is active with them, cares for them with all of her heart, and knows deep down that she is going to do whatever it takes to help them grow.  I am so thankful our little PPCD kiddos have someone like Traci leading their learning.

Sue Ambrus - Sue is our HeadStart co-ordinator.  Sue is probably one of the kindest and most helpful educators we have on our team.  She is the perfect person too to be down at HeadStart leading those kiddos.  She has an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience and it is so clear every time I watch her interact with her students.  She also always encouraging and looking to grow, but also help others grow.  She never complains and is the first to ask who needs help.  I am so thankful we're able to learn from and alongside of someone like Sue.

In Closing...

This week I encourage you again to connect with someone new and learn alongside them.  Every day we tell our kids that the number one rule at Webb Elementary is "Be Brave".  It's time we all start using that as our own mantra.  Find something to be brave in doing this week.  Push yourself, ask for help, go observe someone in action!  Remember that us administrators are here to help!  Let us know what you need and we'll do what we can to make it happen!  Together we are making this school the best in the state of Texas! I believe it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Words We Choose

Every one of us know what is feels like when someone shows interest in who we are as a person.  When they truly care.  Each of us also know what it feels like when someone says something hurtful that feels like it cuts us to the core.

Our words are powerful.  Aldous Huxley once said "Words can be like X-Rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced."

I have a friend who I met 8 years ago.  His name is Sergio.  He was staying with a family friend of mine as part of a foreign exchange program.  It was his very first time in a country other than his own (Venezuela).  He knew no one. He knew no English.  When you're thrown into an environment like that, it's terrifying.  Sergio quickly learned English though (he really had no other choice!)  Sergio and I, for whatever reason, also became quick friends.  He made it through his year of the Exchange Program and afterwards I went out and spent 3 weeks with his family in Venezuela and experienced a taste of what life was like for him, where no one spoke the language I spoke.

It's been eight years, but Sergio and I finally were reunited this week.  It was like not a moment had passed.  We laughed, we learned each other's languages again, and we had a great time.  It was then that I sat with Sergio as we were reminiscing.  I asked him how exactly we had become friends.  His response hit me and was the reason for the the title of this post.  He said "When I came to this country everyone treated me differently.  I was different.  Some thought I was dumb because I couldn't speak English.  Some people talked to me really slow.  But after being here for a few weeks, you were the first person who asked about me.  Who tried to speak my language and get to know the real me.  What I liked, what I didn't like, about my family.  You really cared."

That simple statement reminded me of how powerful our words truly are.

Our words can build up.  They can connect us, change our lives, and develop friendships we would have never expected.  But as I've seen in my own life and the lives of others, words can destroy to.  They can place mistrust, they can destroy reputations, they can cut you all the way to the bone where you wonder if you will ever heal from the hate that was thrown at you.

Every day we come into contact with others we have a choice with how we use our words.  Whether it's in what we say, the look on our face, of our body language.  Those are all forms of communication.

This week I encourage you to think about the words you're using with your students, your co-workers, and your families.  Let's be extra cognizant about the words we choose.

Week at a Glance

Monday - Becky on Campus (mtg with all teams at conference with normal data expectations)
PreK Field Trip (Marvel Attending)
Staff Meeting - 3:45pm - Cafeteria (BUY A PUMPKIN)
Tuesday - Picture Day (Mallory will call for classes throughout the morning. ABC order)
Reading Vertical - 3:30pm - PLC Room
STEM Night - Webb - 5:30-7:00pm
Wednesday - Moreland on Campus
NED Show at 9:20am in Gym
Thursday - Nesloney Off Campus
Friday - Nesloney Off Campus
House Games (MCd by Marvel)
Kona Ice (all grades will go after their lunch to recess to get Snow Cones)
PEIMS Snapshot Day (Mallory/Walker will probably be very busy)

TP Time

Final week of Lucy Calkins work.

Monday - 2nd Grade
Tuesday - Kinder
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans should be updated through November 4th

Morning and CHAMPS

This year we have implemented more CHAMPS expectations and have seen the wonderful results in several classrooms as well as the hallways.  Improvement is needed in the gym during bus duty.  Several children are reading, but there are also several children talking to one another.  In order to remain consistent with our expectations, we have to continue to teach, model, and enforce our expectations.  When children enter the gym, please report to our bus line duty post and remind children of the gym CHAMPS expectations.   Teachers should continue to model appropriate behaviors for the children.  Please refrain from holding conversations or using your cell phone until the children have loaded their busses.  

The morning gym procedures have changed to allow for a more comfortable interactive experience.  The children will be allowed to talk to their elbow partners in a level 1 voice.  Please enforce the level 1 voice level in the gym in the mornings.  Please feel free to use the microphone to redirect the children to use appropriate voices.  Administrators are needed outside for the breakfast line as well as the cafeteria, so we will not always be available to redirect the children.  Floaters should continue to walk through the students enforcing the level 1 voice and when needed redirect the children using the microphone.  If their voice levels are greater than a 1 after one warning, they can sit quietly on level 0 until dismissal.   We are making new CHAMPS posters for the morning gym procedures.  Please see the new poster HERE.

Kids Deserve It




October 24 - Lauren Neutzler
October 30 - Jeanette Enriquez

Rockstar Educators

Kitty Tripp -  Kitty is one of our 3rd Grade Math/Science teachers.  Kitty has been such a joy and jolt of energy for our team.  Kitty brings an IMMENSE amount of knowledge when it comes to educational technology and I have loved not only watching Kitty use the tools in her own classroom (and her kids blossoming) but also the heart Kitty shows for constantly sharing with others.  Kitty is always pushing her own learning and asking what she can do better.  She is hungry for feedback but also dead set on doing what's best for her kids at all times; emotionally and academically.  I am so thankful we have someone like Kitty with us!

Julie Brooks - I have loved watching Julie grow over the last three years.  She is such a great teacher and is so good with her students.  She is smart, energetic, and cares deeply.  She has clearly found her place in working with PreK kiddos and I love every time I get to watch her in action.  Julie always looks for feedback and isn't afraid of coming to administration when she has a concern.  I am thankful Julie is a constant learner who will step out of comfort zone time and time again.

Diddy Flores - Diddy is one of our new kindergarten teachers.  So often when I see Diddy with her students I would never have known she was a first year teacher.  She works so hard and has done a great job at taking advice and trying whatever works.  She has reached out to admin as well as other teachers on campus to really help her grow into the best teacher she can be.  I can't wait to watch her grow even more as she becomes an even better teacher.

In Closing....

Like in the opening, remember this week of how our words matter.  Find some way this week to celebrate those around you.  Your team, your students, other staff, and your family.  See how it changes things!