Pride Post #59

Dear team,


     I wanted to pass this along with a huge shout out for Tori, Justin, Pat, and Team ’15.  Vote early and often.


Hi Patrick and Caleb,

  I am so excited to inform you that your student’s School Improvement Proposal has been selected to move forward with 8 other proposals to the public voting stage.  The proposal was reviewed last week by staff at the foundation and they selected it to move forward!  However, before it can be posted on the public voting website we might need to make a few changes (i.e. remove all names for confidentiality sake, double check spelling, make sure the students don’t refer to their old school in a bad light, etc.).  If any changes need to happen Anna Kurtz at the foundation (cc-ed on this e-mail) will reach out to you and let you know.  Again, congratulations and good luck.





     Friday’s Soccer Game with the kids was grand fun.  In a true testament to Wu and Emily’s coaching the team not only scored their first two goals against the teachers they also exited the floor with high fives for teachers and teammates alike.  One of our BHAGs is growth for every student in every tested subject; this team and its parents saw growth in every player and this is evidence that athletics can be an integral part of our mission.   

     Another much-deserved slice of gratitude goes out to our Ops team that is shouldering much of the KIPP NC transition right now.  Pamela completed the KIPP Data profile this week.  Suzie has done tremendous work revising and clarifying our budget.  Teresa’s work (and all of your work completing Praxis and other paperwork) led to our Highly Qualified numbers jumping from 4% to 86%.  Bill is Bill, which is awesome.


     I want to express my own thanks for the continued willingness of this team to engage in challenging dialogue about kids and teaching.  The work that goes on in our Friday meetings appears in our classrooms as skillful teaching and directly improves the achievement of our kids.  It’s a privilege to work with so many thoughtful, humble learners.


      One week remains before a much deserved Fall Break.


Before we depart…


ì       Take the time to express our gratitude to kids and each other. 

ì       Make sure the students have a manageable and clear Fall Break assignment.  This does not need to be a monster packet—it needs to be something  to keep their minds fresh and active over break.

ì       Hype the Fall Food Drive. 

ì       Follow up on progress reports and make contact with parents—especially those we met with during conferences whose children need to significantly improve.  The second quarter ends on January 16 which will come faster than we or the kids realize.


During break…


ì       Enjoy family.

ì       Rest.

ì       Unplug.



When we return….


ì       We have deliberately structured our calendar to include work days after every break.  We will use these days for extended staff development as well as time to work in your classrooms. Our agenda for December 1 is attached.  Please preview it and offer questions or feedback as this is still in the draft stage as far as content—timing should not change.



Many thanks and much love,




To Dos and To Thinks

*       Complete the pre-meeting reflection before your scheduled one on two.  Check the schedule—unless otherwise noted we will meet in my office.  If you have already enjoyed your one on two (and your hug) then start the action steps.

*       Experiment and expand your skillful teaching and learning repertoire.

1.       Practice your expanded clarity repertoire. 

2.       Communicate clear UKDs, agendas, criteria for success.

3.      Use a new move to activate students’ current knowledge and uncover their confusion.

4.      Plan for and protect summarizing time in your lessons.  Try out one of the new ways we learned to summarize from Friday’s lesson. 

5.      Plan and perform a think aloud.

*       Draft your next unit and assessment according to the due dates you established.  Seek feedback from all of the brilliant folks around you.

*       Send out progress reports by November 17. This is an important opportunity to compare current student performance to the first quarter.  It’s also critical to follow up with parents on any action plans from first quarter conferences.  If a student is following through and improving, then parents and kids need to hear our gratitude.  If a student is not improving we need to check in with their folks.

*       Let me know if there are any additions or suggestions for the parent Pride Post.


Ongoing reminders

*       Take care of yourself and have fun with kids and teammates.

*       Plan and teach thoughtfully.

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. *        

This week I will try to…

ì       Continue one on two conferences.

ì       Plan Friday’s team development on cognitive empathy and anticipating confusion.

ì       Teach History/Writing to 2013. 

ì       Participate or help plan weekly rookie, leadership team, KIPP NC and board meetings.

ì       Plan for the Jan-Plan Colby Interns.


Upcoming Events and Due Dates

Michelle Rhee speaks at Duke.

November 17 at 5:30 pm.

ELA Department Day

November 21

Fall Break                                                                           

November 24-28

Teacher Work Day         

December 1

Written Spelling Bee Test

December 2

Meeting with Ann Bullock to plan the umbrella courses for lateral entry teacher licensure.

December 5

Science Department Day

December 5

Semi-final Pride Bees

December 5

Roanoke Rapids Christmas Parade

December 6

School-wide Spelling Bee

December 12

Parent Pride Night

December 18

Last Day of School in 2008

December 19

Winter Break

December 20-January 4

Teacher Development Day

January 5

Students return.

January 6

All juniors take the SAT

March 14th

End of 2nd Grading Period

January 16

Grades due

January 19

Grade Verifications Out to Teachers

January 20

Grade Verifications Due Back

January 21

 Report Cards Printed

January 22

Beth Napleton and her TFA team from to Gaston for their retreat

The week of February 2nd

End of 3rd Grading Period

March 20

Grades Due

March 23

Grade Verifications Out to Teachers

March 24

Grade Verifications Due Back

March 25

Report Cards Printed

March 27

KIPP Writing Project Meetings at GCP

April 2-5

End of 4th Grading Period

June 5th

2009’s Commencement Ceremony

June 6

Grades Due

June 8

Grade Verifications Out to Teachers

June 9

Grade Verifications Due Back

June 10

Report Cards Printed

June 12


Readings, Links, and Other ways to get smarter

1.          Teaching and learning is an art and a science.


The article in the Marshall Memo about mentoring young teachers reminded me of a reflection strategy Russell is using.  She records the amount of time every part of her lesson takes on the lesson plan so she can revise the plans in the future for better pacing and chunking of activities.  It’s such a simple but effective way to ensure lesson planning improves.  One of my students now records the time spent on each section of the agenda.


Mr. Sanchez passes along this article about using writing to support mathematical understanding.


Teaching in the digital age is a fascinating experience. Imagine if the winning lesson plan came from our school.


Check out the quote about glasses in the Marshall Memo.  It jump started my thinking about our special ed kids and the way we treat their modifications.


Taffie passes on this link.


2.      All students leave GCP with the desire and skills to choose the life they want and become the people they want to be.


This is how one group brings together kids from different religious backgrounds.


There’s a column in the Marshall Memo, “Are boys naturally better at math?” that weaves research and analogies into a compelling argument that there are no innate differences between boys and girls when it comes to math and the differences in performance are solely the result of cultural messages. 


3.      The students and teachers are passionate about ideas, their school, their community, and their growth.


This online devil’s advocate tool could engage kids in discussion of controversial issues and expose them to the thinking on the other side.


This portrait of the nation’s first black high school rugby team showcased some wonderful teaching. The Unlikely Scrum


4.  Our school embraces the idea that this is a long term struggle to build strong people and an enduring community institution.


My favorite blog strikes again—musing about the possible benefits of the financial crisis—how it may stop brain drain in education.


This is more well-publicized research supporting KIPP’s efforts and results.


This is a new piece of research about the state of special ed in America

More perspective on EOG results



You can also find a copy of the Pride Post at  I have the post password protected to keep it away from net savvy youth.  The password is creatively enough pride2009.



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