Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall Festival Fun

If you didn’t attend the annual Fall Festival, you missed the event of the season.  On behalf of our students, faculty, and staff, thank you so much for the outpouring of support and volunteerism during our 2012 Fall Festival this year. The weather was simply stellar and the time had by all was even better! Thank you to our Fall Festival chairs and our outstanding PTA!

Thank you for allowing your children to participate in Friday’s Character Day Parade.  As a reminder, students are not permitted to wear costumes to school on Wednesday.  Please remind them of trick-or-treat safety when they venture out. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We need 100% attendance on Friday...

This Friday is a very special day for schools. It is our Attendance or Snap Shot Day, where enrollment and attendance are matched to determine the financial support that will be given to our school.  It is imperative that we have 100% attendance on this day.
Friday is also our Character Day Parade. Your child can dress in a costume that represents a character from his/her favorite book.  We are falling in love with literacy at Durham, so we want our students to walk with their books, or replicated book covers during the parade. The parade will take place at 2:30 PM.  We need parent volunteers to help distribute candy by each classroom door. Please let your child’s teacher know if you will be able to volunteer. 
Please help us by making sure your child is here on Friday!!! We want your tax dollars to go to Durham and not somewhere else.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Once again our Dalmatians, students and teachers, came out to shade out drugs and cap it, in support of Red Ribbon Week. Tomorrow, they have the opportunity to sock it to drugs by wearing wacky socks. 

Today, Durham teachers showed their commitment to teaching and learning.  They were engaged in IIM training this afternoon to deepen their craft, so that they can begin to teach our students how to successfully go through the research process.  This methodology will be implemented from PreK through grade 5.  We are excited about the impact that IIM will have on deepening the rigor for our students.  Our teachers will complete their IIM training on Wednesday, November 14th, our next early release afternoon, so please make a note on your calendar.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thanks for the support...

I hope to see all our Dalmatians in their hats and shades on Wednesday and crazy socks on Thursday as we continue to celebrate Red Ribbon Week.  Today, it was great to see so many kiddos giving drugs "the boot."

The peach milkshake that I enjoyed today as I sat and chatted with Durham parents, students and friends was a "sweet" way to end another exciting day. Thank you, thank you, thank all the Dalmatian families and friends who came out to support our Chick-fil-A fundraiser.  As always, your support is appreciated.  Save-the-Date for our Taco Cabana Night which will take place on Thursday, November 8th, from 5-9pm. 

Early Release

As a friendly reminder, tomorrow will be an Early Release Day.  All students will be released at 1:00 PM.  Please ensure that arrangements are made for your children to be picked up on time. 
Parents have inquired why early release days are needed.  After students are dismissed, our teachers will be actively engaged in professional development.  Regina Williams, Magnet/IB Coordinator, will facilitate an Independent Investigation Method (IIM) training for all of our teachers on the next two early release days.  As we move towards becoming an IB authorized campus, IIM will ensure that we provide each student, PreK-grade 5, with a rigorous curriculum.  This method takes students through 7 specific steps to research any given topic.  Please feel free to read more about IIM:
After our teachers have completed their trainings, you will begin to see the evidence of IIM, so be sure to ask both your children and their teachers about the process.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Leadership Speaker Series

Our leadership speaker series is well on the way.  As part of our leadership curriculum, our students in PreK – Grade 5 listen to leaders within our community as they share a 15-minute presentation that includes:
·         a personal story/experience
·         an “aha! moment” or life-changing event
·         the leadership qualities most useful to ones career
·         guidance on choosing a career
·         what/how to prepare for college
·         how to balance your leadership skills/responsibilities with daily life
Today, our fourth graders listened attentively as Mr. Goodewill Pierre, attorney and dad to fourth grader Jada, shared the qualities needed to be a good leader and communicator. He began the session by showing them how to introduce themselves in a proper and strong manner – always offer a strong handshake and look others in the eye.
His take away tip was the four P’s:
·         Positive – always speak in a positive manner and voice
·         Persistence – be persistent but never rude
·         Persuade – you must be able to give accurate details
·         Promise – be able to do and be real

I would like to personally extend my gratitude to Mr. Goodewill and all of the leaders who have volunteered to share their expertise withour Dalmatians. Persons interested in speaking to a particular grade-level or regarding a particular leadership quality are asked to contact Mrs. Regina Williams, IB/Magnet Coordinator at or 713-613-2527.

Real Men Read!

Thank you to our MENtors who are participating in Real Men Read (RMR).   Our MEntors have committed to spending one hour...once a one class...   The Goal of RMR is to show students that:
  • Reading is FUN!
  • the community cares
  • a commitment to education can ensure success

We greatly appreciate you taking time this morning to attend the mentor orientation.  For those who were unable to attend, we certainly missed you, but we understand the demands of a busy schedule.  If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Rachel Luna, our RMR Coordinator. We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday, November 15th, for our first reading day.  The theme will be Science and Nature and the books to be read are as follows:

2nd Grade – Scholastic True & False: Reptiles by M. Berger
5th Grade – Spiders by N. Bishop

More information will follow as the date approaches and materials are received.
Again, thank you for your participation in Real MEN Read!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Red Ribbon Week

Welcome to Red Ribbon Week!
October 22nd - 26th
Red Ribbon Week is an ideal way for people and communities to unite and take a visible stand against substance abuse.  Show your personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle through the symbol of the Red Ribbon.  This week our students can participate as follows:
  • Monday: Team Up Against Drugs – Wear your favorite sport team’s shirt
  • Tuesday: "Boot out Drugs" – Wear your favorite boots
  • Wednesday: "Shade out Drugs and put a Cap on it" – Wear sunglasses and/or a hat
  • Thursday: "Sock it to Drugs" – Wear crazy socks
  • Friday: “Be a Good Character – Say No to Drugs” –  Wear a costume that represents your favorite character from a book
These are not free-dress days, and items must be worn with uniforms.
We would like 100% of our Dalmatians to participate and pledge to always be drug-free.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

First nine weeks!

My how time flies when you are having fun!  It has been a busy nine weeks of teaching and learning at Durham, and I must apologize for not posting a message for a few weeks.  I am committed to communicating more frequently.  Next week we will begin the second nine weeks of school.  We had many great experiences at Durham during the first nine weeks.  More than 200 families joined us for our Open House.  I cannot stress how important it is for you to remain in contact with your child’s teacher. 

We also began our College-bound Fridays.  We were joined by Black MS cheerleaders and Waltrip HS band members, along with college students from UH and Rice University. 

It’s never too early to begin to plant the seed that we expect our children to go to college.  Don’t ever underestimate the influence you have on your kids’ lives.  They look to you for guidance and boundaries.  They model after your words and actions.  If you value something, they value it as well.  They listen, and they learn from the examples we provide.  In my daily life, I am constantly reminded of the values I learned from my mother.  She taught me about working hard and taking pride in all I do. She would often say, “It isn’t worth doing if you’re not doing it right.” I carry her words in my heart and head, and for years to come, you will forever have an influence on your child’s life. Years from now, when your kids are grown and raising their own families, they will remember the time you spent with them and the lessons in character that you modeled.  Choose wisely…teach wisely with words and actions, for what you say and do is shaping a young life and generations after.

One of the ways to show your children how much you value their learning, is by joining the PTA and participating in PTA events.  Thank you to all of our families who participated in the Chuck-E-Cheese fundraiser night.  This Tuesday, October 23rd, please join us at Chik-Fil-A on 43rd and Crosstimbers.  Please be sure to mention Durham, so that a portion of your purchase will come directly to the school.

I’ve also decided to do a Home and School Corner with some entries.  These will be simple, yet effective tips to ensure that home and school are working together to support student learning.

Ticket please!
If you want to limit your children’s TV time, try this idea.  Every week, give them seven slips of paper.  Each slip is good for an hour of television.  Help them to plan ahead.  For example, if they want to watch a two-hour movie on Saturday, they’ll need to save an extra ticket from a day during the week.

As always, thank you for choosing Durham as your school of choice.


Onica L. Mayers
Ready to Serve