Thursday, August 9, 2012

Staying Above the Line at Petal Primary School

Good morning!!!
We are into our second day of the beginning of this school year, and it is so exciting to see the faces of our beautiful children. One more day, and then we will be ready for the "real deal" on Monday. Thanks to all of you for your support and especially for sharing your precious children with us at Petal Primary School.

In my very first blog entry, I shared that one of the goals of the "Standing Tall" blog will be to communicate with the families of our students. Today I have asked Kim Raulston, one of our awesome PPS Assistant Principals, to share her belief statements. In addition, Kim will also share  information about how we will be teaching boys and girls to learn self control and to show respect to one another.

We are off to a great start to what I feel will be a wonderful year.   I believe that our MISSION is POSSIBLE at Petal Primary!

Dede mentioned in an earlier blog that teachers and administrators spent time reflecting on our “bone deep beliefs” as we prepared for the new school year.  I would like to share my beliefs with you. 

1.      I believe that we learn by becoming a student of others.

2.      I believe that we must remain teachable in order to teach.

3.      I believe that empowering others makes a difference in me.

4.      I believe that for me to see what others see, I must feel what they feel.

5.      I believe that through struggles we gain strength.

6.      I believe that we must strive to understand others before being understood.

I would also like to share a quote with you from Abraham Lincoln:  “There is but one way to train up a child in the way he should go, and that is to travel it yourself.”

I love this quote!  Abraham Lincoln understood the importance of teaching young children guiding principles through modeling the desired behaviors for them. Our Petal Primary School Creed emphasizes the importance of these very important principles. 

PPS Creed

I am Petal Primary.

I will respect myself and others.

I will do what is right.

I will be the best that I can be.

I am Petal Primary.

In an effort to promote a safe and caring environment, where all students are taught the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, we have implemented an “Above the Line” behavior plan. The plan will allow us to instill in each individual student an awareness of his /her importance and the need for cooperation among all members of our school family.  Clear expectations assist students in understanding how to relate in the classroom, hallways, on the playground, and in areas outside our school setting.

One of the components of our school wide behavior plan is the “Fix-It” plan.  The Fix-It Plan helps a student to identify the inappropriate behavior, assume responsibility for the behavior, and develop a method to repair the damage that was caused. 

Students will receive training and a lot of practice learning the “language” of the plan.  Pictures will be used to help our students understand what Above the Line and Below the Line behaviors look like. I’ve attached a copy of our Above the Line plan.   







At the beginning of the school year the teacher will spend time discussing the PPS Creed.



The teacher defines above the line/below the line/bottom line behaviors.



The teacher provides students with a clear understanding of appropriate and inappropriate behavior, focusing on teaching students to “live above the line”.



If a student makes an inappropriate behavior choice and falls “Below the Line”, the student will be responsible for developing a plan for “fixing” the problem.The teacher will assist the student with developing a “fix-it” plan.

Teacher & Student


If the “Fix-It” plan works, the student may go back above the line.

Teacher & Student


If the “Fix-It” plan does not work, a consequence that “fits the offense” is given.The teacher will notify the parent of the behavior,and when necessary schedule a parent conference.


Student & Parent


When a student’s behavior is considered “Bottom Line”, the student will be referred to the office.The assistant principal will determine the necessary action depending on the severity of the inappropriate behavior.Although “Bottom Line” behaviors automatically result in a consequence, the student is also expected to complete a “Fix-It” Plan.

Assistant Principal,

Teacher & Student


The teacher will notify the parent of bottom-line behaviors.A referral form will be sent home with the student explaining the behavior and the consequence.Parents will be asked to discuss the behavior with the student.The signed form must be returned to school the next day.

Assistant Principal,

Teacher & Student

We have an awesome group of students and faculty at Petal Primary. It is our hope that this plan will foster responsibility, accountability, and respect among our students.  Take a look at some of the pictures that we use to teach the students about above/below the line behaviors.

We appreciate your support and welcome your feedback.    

I hope that this information is helpful to you - don't be surprised if your student comes home and talks about the above/below the line behaviors. I shared with you in the very first post that we talk a lot about "Standing Tall" at Petal Primary. We will be learning the above the line behaviors so that we can truly Stand Tall at school AND in any other situations we may encounter.
Ms. Dede

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Is the mission possible?

Good morning,

I hope that you are as excited about this new school year as we are. A new year brings about new possibilities, challenges, and opportunities. Our district's theme this year is Mission Possible. Throughout the school year, we are going to be referring to this theme and what it means at Petal Primary as we work to meet the needs of the Petal School District's youngest scholars.

Our goals at Petal Primary this year are very simple and straightforward, and we want you to know up front what we will be working toward so that we can all work together.

Goals for 2012-2013
  • Improve communication and further engage our parent population
  • Continue implementation of the Common Core State Standards
  • Increase our average daily attendance to 97%
These are very broad goals and really are extensions of work that we have begun prior to this school year. However, we recognize that there is always room for improvement, and we solicit your support and feedback as we move throughout the school year. I plan to share with you regularly the various things that are going on as we work toward reaching these goals.

As the Petal Primary School teachers prepared for the new school year, we spent some time clearly articulating our "bone deep beliefs" about teaching & learning. What is a "bone deep belief"?  It is one that is true to the very core of that individual and remains constant during both good times and bad times. A "bone deep belief" is so much a part of an individual that it can be stated "on the spot". The time that we spent reflecting on our beliefs was truly time well spent. Opening your heart to share your passion for teaching and learning is risky, but this process reminded each of us precisely why we are in this business.

Today I want to share with you my very own "bone deep beliefs". These should be evident in my practice, so as we work together during the upcoming school year, you should be able to see these beliefs in action.
  1. I believe that relationships are the foundation for learning.
  2. I believe that collaboration is essential for true growth in schools - collaboration among teachers, parents, and students.
  3. I believe that teaching IS rocket science.
  4. I believe that lifelong learning is critical and that as the principal, I must be the lead learner.
  5. I believe that we must set goals high. Even if we fail, we will learn from our mistakes.
  6. I believe that change is fundamental & in order to truly prepare students for the future, we must embrace change.
Over the months ahead, I plan to give a bit more details about each of these beliefs that I've shared. I would also like to share some of the teachers' belief statements, along with those of my fellow administrators, Kim Raulston and Sandy Hampton.

I was amazed as individual teachers shared their own beliefs. I am so privileged to work alongside individuals who have such a burning passion for what they do everyday. As I said, sharing your inner most feelings and thoughts is risky and very personal, but this process allowed us to put into words those beliefs that are at the very core of why we do what we do everyday. As teachers read aloud their belief statements, you could've heard a pin drop. For some educators out there, teaching may just be a job, but at Petal Primary, being a teacher is much more than what we do, it's who we are.

Is this mission possible? We believe that it is indeed possible, and we plan to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Petal Primary is ready to embrace the challenges that await us.

Please give us your feedback. We can't wait to see you and your young scholars later this week.