Letters from Principal Bland
Letters from Principal Bland
Here you will find periodic letters from Principal Bland. Typically the letters are the introduction to each BeeMail. For the Past BeeMail Newsletter Editions, click here.
February 21, 2020
I can’t believe it’s already the 3rd week of February! As promised, I will continue to send my bi-monthly newsletter the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month, so be on the lookout! So much has happened since my last Buzz. We kicked off our annual Read-a-Thon week with an assembly at both campuses with a great presentation from a visiting author. Our students had a chance to hear and learn from Ms. Sue Seghal who read one of her books to our entire school. The students were thoroughly engaged as they learned and read about Holi, the Indian Holiday celebrating love, colors and, of course, Spring! It was a great segue into our upcoming International Travelers Week where we will be visiting India! The media centers were busier than ever as students and parents alike purchased books for students, staff and teachers at the Scholastic Book Fair and then checked out books to read during Read-A-Thon.Read more
February 7, 2020
Greetings Parents and Community Members-Read more
We’re finally into February and what a great start to the month we’ve had! We kicked off the 3rd quarter with our HIVE rally last Friday and the kids had a blast! While the blue HIVE won, it was great to see our two campuses come together with student achievement and celebration at the forefront. School is serious business but it’s important to stay grounded and find time to have fun and celebrate with our teachers. The rally involved a dance off, musical chairs and, of course, the big HIVE color reveal. I think it was one of the best Hive Rally’s we’ve had yet and it’s always one of my favorite days of the year! Aside from that, our 5th graders participated in the APS Annual Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl and our jump rope team made appearances around the city to kick off JumpRope for Heart week.
January 24, 2020
Greetings Parents and Community Members- Welcome to Bland’s Buzz! At our last staff meeting, I discussed the importance of these next three months. From MLK to Spring Break is really the most critical time of year and a time where our students can show the most growth. We hope they can be here each day healthy and ready to learn. Once we hit spring break, the calendar begins to fill up with schoolwide happenings, state testing and, of course, end of year activities…so the time to hunker down is now!Read more
January 8, 2020
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
And just like that, we’re back! I can’t believe it’s already 2020. With a new year (and new decade) comes hope, opportunity, growth and unforeseen challenges! Everyday I look forward to taking one step at a time as we continue to grow and nurture Morris Brandon’s most prized possessions, our students! I hope everyone had a restful, relaxing and rejuvenating vacation. I loved seeing all of the adventures our families had on Facebook and social media. Students were so eager to greet me and tell me all of the cool things they did over break, the presents they received, and the fun they had! Of course, not everyone traveled, some families, like mine, stayed put in Atlanta and spent much needed time with family and friends. Whatever you did, I hope you enjoyed your time with your children!
December 18, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
And just like that, 2019 comes to an end! This past week we celebrated our students including 4th grader Ava Runinen who won the first ever Morris Brandon Geo Bee. This event was led by former student Henry Djuric. Henry planned every little piece of the Geo Bee, from practice to competition. The Geo Bee constituted his Eagle Scout project. I’ve seen dozens of different Eagle Scout projects over the years but Henry’s was unique as it not only directly involved our student body but was also the first of its kind at Morris Brandon. Shout out to Jennie Lane, our teacher sponsor and all of the students who participated in this awesome event!
December 11, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! We are in the full swing of our holiday season and with that comes all the events and excitement associated with the end of a calendar year. We’ve had a fantastic first semester too! We saw the hiring of several new teachers including Music and Special Ed. We rolled our DLI program up to the main campus (3rd grade) and even hired two new DLI teachers to go along with what is already a wonderful program. We adjusted the schedule so that all grades have uninterrupted lunch and recess time, created common planning for all grades 5 days a week, moved our French program outside of specials and beefed up the minutes they serve exponentially!Read more
December 4, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
And just like that, we’re back!! I hope everyone enjoyed some family and friend time over our short but much needed Thanksgiving break. My wife and I enjoyed our time with our two kids down in Clearwater Florida, playing on the beach and of course eating everything in sight! While we only have 3 short weeks until our longer holiday break, those weeks will be packed full of holiday practices, performances, assessments, learning and of course holiday cheer! We’ve already hit the ground running since we returned as evident in Ms. Fallon’s 2nd grade DLI class. Her class was busy reading about Johnny Appleseed while tasting some delicious honeycrisp apples to go along with the readings.
November 20, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
It’s been a great week since we last spoke! Our students continue to learn, our families are enjoying our Thanksgiving Feasts, and teachers are happily moving toward the week long break! Our French teachers are already preparing our students for our annual holiday performances (more info below), and most grade levels have already transitioned into their next Wit and Wisdom units. Our 5th grade gifted teacher, Dr. Porter, brought the African American Museum of Iowa directly into her classroom, and Mr. Carr’s 3rd grade students are creating amazing chalk pastel creations! Our PC media center Media Specialist, Katie Ingram got a ton of new books as we gear up for the holiday season!
November 13, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
Another week has passed and so much has happened at Brandon. We celebrated “Love Your Red Hair Day” (I didn’t know we had so many red haired students!). I got to see Mr. Hutson teach a lesson in our KK DLI Spanish class (quite impressive!), and Ms. Ingram even stocked our new Kindergarten playspace with unit books aligned to their Wit and Wisdom Module. Our 5th graders are wrapping up their Module 1 with amazing writing pieces. Our French class continues to amaze with the learning and engagement I see every time I walk by.
November 6, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
And just like that, October has come and gone. Fall weather seems to have made its way into Atlanta as we gear up and prepare for Thanksgiving! We had another amazing week since we last we spoke including the best Book Character Day ever! I loved seeing our Kindergartners marching through the hallways in proud costumes. Everyone had books to accompany them demonstrating our love for reading at Morris Brandon! It wasn’t just at PC either. When I made my way up to Main Campus, our 3rd-5th graders got into book character action along with our teachers too! I also know everyone had a great time trick or treating. It was cold but dry and we survived Friday, also known to teachers as the “dreaded day after Halloween!”
October 30, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
It’s been a big week back in the Hive! We pride ourselves on teaching to the whole child at Brandon. This comes in the form of SEL morning circles, relevant and meaningful instruction and celebrating our students when they exhibit the behaviors and outcomes that we want! I saw this throughout the week in Ms. Richards 5th grade class. Her students didn’t just learn about science but were actually BECOMING scientists when they explored movements of the earth’s crust in our Main Campus science lab.
October 23, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! What an amazing past week we had in the Hive! Our time was filled with amazing instruction like in 4th grade where I saw students writing about the different perspectives of the Colonists and Loyalists as they wrote opinion papers on how certain characters felt about the Boston Tea Party. We had an AMAZING Kindergarten Hispanic Heritage Recital led by Ms. Halliday and Sra. Estrada’s DLI classes, and of course the best Fall Festival I have ever been to!Read more
October 16, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing Fall break. While your children were at home, on vacation, or just relaxing and rejuvenating, our faculty and staff have been at school, hard at work, planning and collaborating for what’s to come. While the majority of our staff opted to stay in school conducting parent/ teacher conferences, collaboratively planning or inputting grades, our Specialists participated in district planning days along with our Gifted team.
October 9, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!Read more
We’re finally into October and as the days seem to be cooling off, we’re super excited for what Fall has to bring! Jamboree, our Hispanic Heritage recital, Book Character Dress-up day, Thanksgiving family luncheons and of course our winter concerts are all on the horizon! While there will be plenty of info on these important dates in the upcoming weeks, I want to take a minute to recap our last full week of instruction! We got to wear our Braves gear on Thursday to support our hometown team (one more to go!), our Kindergartners had a blast at the Art Barn and we celebrated Custodial Worker Appreciation Day!
October 2, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!
I can’t believe it’s already October! While it definitely doesn’t feel like it, we are happily rolling into the final phase of Q1. By the end of the month, you will hopefully have a parent/teacher conference scheduled and have seen your child’s first quarter report card, which is available in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. Our school’s CCRPI score, the official state report card for schools, should be available soon and I will begin to share the information with our community through BeeMail and a Principal Coffee Talk.Read more
September 25, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!
Another week down! This past week brought field trips at nearly every grade level, a 5th grade car wash, the first PTA General Meeting and of course, our Junior Beta Club election! There’s never a dull moment at Brandon as each day brings something new, not just on an instructional level, but an extracurricular and social emotional one as well! One of the highlights of my week was visiting our cluster middle school, Sutton, to award one of our very own students a state level spelling bee trophy! It doesn’t matter if you’re a new or old Brandon Bee; we want to recognize great work and great citizens everywhere. This past weekend, Mr. Hutson went to the Atlanta Lantern Parade and snapped pics of students and teachers alike, many of them representing in their Morris Brandon gear!Read more
September 18, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Can you believe we are already 6 weeks into the school year? It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming our families back from Summer vacation. While the weather is still HOT, the sixth week marks the halfway point of our first quarter. Teachers have been keeping accurate grades and progress reports for select students will be going home soon. Remember, you can always check up to date grades on our Parent Portal. We are continuing to develop our assessment strategy to ensure more alignment in grading across our grade levels, something that is not always easy! Aside from that, it’s been another busy week! Read more
September 11, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members:
At Brandon we are so lucky to have the resources and funds available not just from Atlanta Public Schools, which has done an amazing job of moving more funds to the school level, but also from our wonderful Foundation. As you may know, each child at Brandon and within APS is allotted a small amount of money from the district. This money can be used for textbooks, teachers, professional development or IB implementation. How the funds are used is a decision of the GO Team. In a school the size of Brandon with the amount of staff and students we have, we are fortunate enough to have the additional support from parents like you! What the Foundation does for Brandon is immensely helpful not just in running the day to day operations of the largest elementary school in APS but it also helps give our Brandon students the world class education they deserve. Read more
September 4, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! So much has happened since we last spoke and so much is on the horizon! We had an amazing week leading up to Labor Day weekend. We welcomed ALL of our families back to meet their teachers during our three Back to School Nights, hosted a Student Support Services seminar for all of our parents interested in everything Brandon has to offer, and I even had the chance to speak at our State of the North Atlanta Cluster meeting last Thursday night. Read more
August 28, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!
As the weeks continue to move along, so does our teaching and learning! This week is full of informational sessions designed to help you, our parents, learn more about our school, community, and strategic planning!
I had a blast at our first back to school night on Monday as well. Our Kindergarten parents came out in full force as they learned all about their child’s teacher, our instructional programming, the class schedule and support services. First and Second grade Back to School nights were also a hit! These seasoned parents knew just the questions to ask as they learned about Brandon from their new teachers. We have had representatives from the Gifted program speaking about the evaluation process and timetable, Specialists outlining all they do for our students outside of the classroom, and of course, our awesome Program Administrator Dwight Hutson, who’s always available for a quick chat or to help answer a question. Read more
August 21, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members,
As week two rolls on, I continue to be impressed with the teaching and learning that is taking place in every classroom. By now, I have had time to visit EVERY single classroom in both buildings. I see Essential Agreements on the wall, Essential Questions on the board, Wit and Wisdom and Eureka math workbooks being used and SEL in action! Students are moving quietly down the hall, have completed their first 6 day rotation, and seen their French or Learning Lab teacher on more than one occasion! It’s a beautiful sight to see, and I love it when the building is functioning so well this early in the year. It is a credit not just to our amazing students but incredible faculty and staff as well. Read more
August 14, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members!!
And……We’re Back!! Just like that, the school year has taken off after hopefully a long and enjoyable summer! It was so great to see all of our families at our annual Celebration of Learning. I loved seeing all of our rising Kindergarten students meet their teachers for the first time, seeing how much our students have grown in just a few short months and of course former Morris Brandon siblings visiting their old teachers! That’s how you know we have the best teachers around. Brandon should be a warm and welcoming environment for all students, and that’s exactly what Celebration of Learning is! As Monday rolled around, it was only appropriate to see our very own school, Morris Brandon, featured on the news. What a great way to start the school year! Special thanks to Crash Clark for making the day that much more special! On Saturday, I had the privilege of representing the North Atlanta Cluster at a table with a few of the other Principals at the annual Back2School Bash. Read more
July 31, 2019
FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – Greetings Parents and Community Members!
As the hot summer days continue, I’ve been back at work after a nice two-week break, ready to pick back up with all of the to-do items on my list! Our Main Campus summer renovation is coming along nicely with old carpet pulled out of the classrooms and shiny new tile in its place! We also were able to replace the carpet and tile in our main office! Our school colors are now brighter than ever as you see them everywhere you walk around the building. I can’t wait to see and share the final product: a beautiful big Morris Brandon logo laid right into our Main Campus lobby entrance! The Primary Campus is getting a brand new HVAC system as well! I am also happy to say that we are 100% complete with hiring for all of our vacancies for the 19/20 school year! Read more
June 27, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! I hope your summer has been off to a great start! I enjoy seeing all of the awesome updates of your summer travel and adventures on Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t have any plans, or haven’t gone anywhere, I envy you as well! Just hanging out with the family, at the pool or with a good book may be all you need to rest, relax and recharge! While you have been enjoying summer, our admin team has been hard at work, planning for the year ahead, hiring our new bees to the hive, and attending valuable workshops to help build our capacity as school based leaders. To give you an idea, last week myself, our Assistant Principals, Program Administrator and Instructional Coach attended a 3 day APS leadership retreat where we outlined our goals and strategic priorities for the 19/20 school year. We looked at every piece of school wide data imaginable, down to parent, student and staff satisfaction surveys! We ended the retreat packing school supplies for our students to be given out at the APS Back to School Bash on 8/10/19 at the GWCC. Read more
May 15, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! With only 8 days left in the school year, coupled with Georgia Milestone testing, 5th grade exhibition, Field day, packing up for the summer move at MC, completing end-of-year tasks, Hive Rallies and so many more “To Do’s,” this month has officially been named MAY-hem! It doesn’t stop our amazing teachers and staff from doing what they do best though – giving our students the summer send-off they deserve! Our teachers, on top of everything else they do, are flawlessly planning end-of-year celebrations, inputting grades, making class lists, moving rooms and so much more! I have to give a BIG shout-out to our 3rd-5th graders who just completed their Georgia Milestone assessment as well. If you don’t already know, APS pushed the testing WAY back to allow for more time of instruction and less end-of-year down time, and it worked! Our students came to school prepared, on time, and each grade level had near-perfect attendance! Read more
May 8, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! While the countdown is on, there is still so much to discuss, so much information to share and so much news to celebrate within our Brandon community! Our Main Campus students in grades 3 and 5 have been absolutely fantastic during the first wave of Milestone testing. What impresses me the most is how mentally prepared our students are! There have been little to no absences, students are coming to school on time, and the testing sessions have been pretty much flawless with little to no technology issues or other factors that can affect the testing window. While that’s happening at MC, our PC students are busy continuing with learning and instruction! The Spring Star window is now over and we are able to get an excellent glimpse of how our students grew compared to others just like them – from the August testing window in 2018 all the way to the May window in 2019. Read more
May 1, 2019
Dear Parents and Community Members: As I think about the week since we last spoke, I’m reflective of the great work that we’ve accomplished this year and the work we continue to improve on as we make our way to the summer months. One thing that I’m excited about is Morris Brandon’s application to become a Common Sense Media School. Below is an excerpt from a piece that Program Administrator Dwight Hutson wrote as to what digital citizenship is and how it affects our students:
We teach our children about the people we can rely on and trust in our real-world communities but what lessons do we teach them about the digital world? Digital citizenship can be considerably more complicated than the real world so we have to prepare our children on how to navigate through this world safely and circumspectly.
In order to walk with wisdom in the virtual world, students must learn to:
- Maintain an outstanding digital footprint
- Keep their private information private
- Determine which sources are trustworthy
April 24, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! As another week is upon us and we gear up for the final sprint (or marathon if you ask the teachers!), I’m reflective of the amount of work and energy that goes into not just running a school but running a classroom as well! Every day I come to school, I’m excited to see what the day will hold. Our teachers are eagerly preparing their classrooms, putting the final touch on lessons, or planning their next SEL activity. I see teachers making copies, meeting with parents, and even hosting before-school tutorial sessions. Our office clerks are answering phones, sorting mail, and managing attendance while our admins are making their way around the building, making sure everything is perfect come 7:30am when the doors will open. Our support staff, including custodians, cafeteria workers, site managers and bus drivers, are all busy doing their AM duties – cooking, cleaning, preparing and getting our kids to school safely and on time. Read more
April 17, 2019
Greetings parents and community members! As we continue to inch closer to May and inevitably the summer, we continue to make great strides at Morris Brandon! We are actively hiring the best staff around for 19/20 openings, continuing to work on scheduling and curriculum purchases for next year and are completing profiles for all students in order to find the best teacher placement for next year. These student placement cards, or “profiles” as I call them, are a way that our teachers can share any and all pertinent information about your child to their teacher for next year. While you may never see these, it’s a great way for their 19/20 homeroom teacher to see any trends, data or social-emotional needs that any of our students may have so that they are best prepared to welcome them come day one! Read more
April 10, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members, it feels like an eternity since we last spoke! I trust that you all had a nice, relaxing, fun-filled Spring Break with your kids. I love following all of your adventures on Facebook. Lots of beach time, some Disneyland, a few trips to Europe, and lots of relaxing at home. What a way to spend Spring Break! I fell on the latter end, as I spent my time off right here in Atlanta. My children were off Monday and it was great to spend the day with them. While it seemed like winter creeped back in for a quick second (it was cold!), the day quickly warmed up and allowed us time to visit pretty much every park within a 3-mile radius of our house. The rest of the week was spent outdoors, on the beltline, working out and sleeping! As we gear up for that final springtime push into summer, I’m reflective of the time we spent since the last time we spoke. Read more
March 27, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Can you believe there are only 40 days left in the school year? I cannot believe how fast this year has gone! I can say without a doubt that I’ve learned more in the past 10 months than I have the prior 10 years! We often talk about engagement as being that feeling you have when you get home from work. Are you tired? Worn out, sad, mad or depressed? Or are you eager and invigorated to get started with where you left off? I know where I stand! Read more
March 20, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Another week is upon us and what a week it was! Our teachers spent all day Monday vertically planning with the grades above and below them. This is a great way for teachers from an upper grade to talk to the grade below about what they want their students to know and be able to do. We often take it for granted but teachers are busy! They barely have enough time to plan with their own grade levels let alone different grades, so we were happy to see them planning away and building that collaborative learning community that I’ve been speaking so much about. Read more
March 14, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Another week is upon us and, as we inch a little closer to Spring Break, the learning, instruction and engaging classroom activities continue each day at Brandon! This past week saw lots of exciting activities happening within our wonderful school. As you know, each month our school reads a book focused around SEL competencies and tied into what is happening during that time. Mr. Hutson and I highlight these books each month in a segment we call “Principal Book Chat.” It’s a great way to send a positive message to our students across both campuses and we hope these are viewed in each classroom! Read more
March 6, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members, can you believe that we are over two months into the new year? I can’t believe how fast we are moving. I’ve always said that teaching is like a train – it’s going to move fast, regardless of whether you are on it! Before we know it, it will be spring break and then downhill for a short two months until summer. Rest assured that, as always, there are no days off for our students and our instructional staff. Read more
February 27, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! We were so excited to welcome ALL of our Morris Brandon students back to school Monday. Everyone seemed super relaxed, excited to return (for the most part), and well rested from the week off. I loved hearing about all of the awesome places our students went, events they attended, or even the book they read on the sofa or by the fire on a rainy winter break day. While you and your children were spending the week NOT at school, your teachers and staff were busy planning out the final three months of school and participating in some meaningful professional development at the school level. Read more
February 13, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! This past week we saw another slew of exciting activities taking place at Brandon, including our Scholastic Book Fair, a visit from the Atlanta Opera, Counselor Appreciation, the Tall and Small Ball and, of course, it all culminated with the kickoff of our annual Read-A-Thon! This is the first year I’ve ever experienced anything like this. The fact that we have an entire week dedicated to reading and raising money for our school excites me in so many different ways! Not only is reading so important for our children, but also these types of initiatives fall directly in line with what we are trying to accomplish as a school and as indicated within our schoolwide priorities set forth in our newly-approved strategic plan. The kickoff to Read-A-Thon was absolutely unbelievable! Read more
February 6, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! We’ve reached February!! While January didn’t seem as long a month for me as it did for some people, the month did get the New Year started right! We rolled right back into school with little time lost due to the holidays, with exciting activities, celebrations, programs and, of course, solid instruction taking place. This last week saw the kick-off of our Scholastic Book Fair at both Main and Primary Campus. I love seeing students perusing books and learning materials, using their Bee Bucks any chance they can get. Read more
January 29, 2019
Greetings parents and community members! While I sit at home writing this this post on another “No Day,” I thought I’d take the time to reflect on some more great happenings and accomplishments at Brandon over the last week. While I’ve been busy finalizing our schools 19/20 strategic plan (to be posted soon) as well as our FY 19/20 budget, we continue to move through the school year as one school, headed in one direction with one purpose: to give our children the best, most enriching school experience they can have while in Elementary School! With Read-a-Thon right around the corner as well, there are so many exciting programs and announcements to make! Read more
January 23, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! As we roll into our third week back since holiday break, I am excited to celebrate some of the successes of our students, faculty and staff! Knowing that academic progress is important for our students from year to year, our hard-working instructional coach and fantastic teachers have created all sorts of acceleration and remediation plans tailored to meet the unique needs of each of our students. You obviously know by now about MyLexia, designed to cater remediation and acceleration to a student’s particular needs, but did you know that each grade level has now created intervention/acceleration plans for every student? Our teachers have been tasked with identifying areas where students need reinforcement or practice around a certain skill (writing/ reading/ math fluency etc.) or areas where students on grade level already can further accelerate their learning, and placing EVERY student on their grade level with a teacher, once a week, to get that extra help or push. Read more
January 16, 2019
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Of course it’s been another exciting week at Brandon with tons to celebrate and share, culminating in our 2nd quarter Hive celebration! I loved celebrating ALL of our students across both campuses, focusing on positive behavior, good attendance and students meeting their reading goals. By this point I’m sure you know the Orange Hive won, but, rest assured, Class DoJo points will be reset and students will once again have a chance to be recognized for being outstanding global citizens and students of Brandon throughout our 3rd quarter. One important aspect of our Hive rally is the bridge it builds between both campuses. Read more
January 10, 2019
Dear Parents and Community Members: And we’re back! It seems like forever ago that we last spoke and I hope everyone had an incredible, restful, family-orientated time off. I hope you were able to spend some valuable time with your children (I know I did!) and got lots of rest, rejuvenated for the New Year to come. While our staff came back a little earlier than the students did, everyone was buzzing about how restful and relaxing our time off was, especially with all of the end-of-year activities taking place before our break. Read more
December 19, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! We have had an amazing last few weeks of school, wrapping up first semester with a ton of engaging and fun activities for our students and staff! The week was highlighted by our Primary Center holiday performance, which blew my mind! The turnout was unbelievable (standing room only) and the hard work that our students put in was so evident. I said it before and I’ll say it again – I’ve never seen a holiday show in THREE LANGUAGES. I have to give all of the props to our amazing homeroom teachers for reinforcing all of the expectations needed to pull something like this off and especially our Specials teachers for coordinating the whole thing. Read more
December 12, 2018
Dear Parents and Community Members: Thank you so much for your patience with our shortened day on Tuesday! Since I’ve been in APS, I can’t remember a delayed-start school day, but, with careful planning and execution, we were able to get all 1020 students to school on time (for the most part) and ready to learn! Rest assured, all of our children, on an adjusted schedule, were still able to get breakfast, lunch, recess and 35 minutes of Specials, along with all core subjects and SEL lessons. Read more
December 5, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! I hope everyone enjoyed their first week back at work since Thanksgiving! You won’t believe the amount of cool things that took place at our amazing school since we last spoke. I never run out of things to talk about – the challenge is fitting it all in to one BeeMail! In just one week: Read more
November 28, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! And we’re back! Just like that, Thanksgiving has come and gone. I had a great time with family and friends during my time off but we’re back in the full swing of things at Brandon Elementary and I cannot believe how fast the year has gone. While there is only one more month left in the semester, there is so much taking place before we leave on 12/21. We have International Travelers Week where we’ll be going to South Africa, our annual holiday performances and holiday parties, and, of course quality daily instruction happening in every classroom, and so much has happened since we last spoke! Read more
November 14, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Another week is upon us and we are that much closer to Thanksgiving! It’s been a tremendous week with lots of happenings. I was able to share all of the good news, school priorities and amazing things taking place at Brandon during last week’s annual Principal Meet and Greet hosted by NAPPS (North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools) at Sarah Smith Elementary School. I spoke about our implementation of our new Wit and Wisdom ELA program and our focus around guided reading, as well as the awesome professional development we’ve been able to bring to our teachers because of generous donations from you! Read more
November 7, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Once again, so much has happened since the last time we spoke and, of course, I am happy to share! First and foremost, while our students were home from school yesterday, our staff was busy at work engaging in a day full of trainings and professional developments. Our entire faculty and staff came together at the Primary Center to learn once again from Brenda Fitzgerald, a leading expert in early literacy, writing and multisensory learning. She engaged our teachers in three hours of Understanding Dyslexia as we eagerly took notes and asked questions on how to best serve our students. One out of every five students has dyslexia and we want to continue learning everything we can about how to best support our students’ reading and writing. Read more
October 31, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Another week is upon us and lots of news to share! Since last Tuesday, our school has been celebrating Red Ribbon Week with all sorts of fun activities and dress-up days. The month of October is National Bullying Prevention Month and has been packed with events that unite students against negative behaviors and promote positive choices. Theme days are a fun and exciting way to integrate Red Ribbon Week and National Bullying Prevention Month Activities with No Place for Hate. I saw students wearing red in support of “RED-Y” to live a drug-free lifestyle, Put a Cap on Drugs Day (hat day), Sock it to Drugs (crazy sock day), Read more
October 24, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! What a week we’ve had since we last spoke! While we continue to see amazing work and student-centered learning in every class, I’m amazed by the awesome activities that we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time! Several of our teachers were out last week finishing up their Focus on Phonics workshop and have returned with a wealth of knowledge not only in teaching how to read, but also in filling in the gaps for students who may have missed key concepts in K-2 and are now in the upper grades. Our teachers are learning how to “break the code” when it comes to reading, with an emphasis on using a multisensory approach to learning and full implementation of guided reading. We are continuing to make strides in teaching our teachers how to teach phonemic awareness at all grades, and that starts with meaningful professional development paid for by your generous donations to our Foundation. This would not be possible without YOU! Read more
October 17, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members!! We’re Back!!!! It was so great to see all of our families arriving back to school on the 15th, refreshed and ready to learn! I hope everyone had a wonderful time off, relaxing with friends and family. It even seems like many of our students grew in height over the short break 🙂 We left for Fall Break with some of the best news I’ve heard all year – together we raised $258,000 during the annual BEE FUND CAMPAIGN! I am still in awe of the amount of support our community and families show for our school. Read more
October 3, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! So much has happened since the last time we spoke! Two of the highlights over the past week were special recognitions that Brandon received from APS. First, at last week’s expanded cabinet meeting where EVERY leader in APS attends, Brandon was recognized as having the highest student attendance for the month of August! While this may not seem like a big deal, when you compare us with EVERY other school in APS (not just elementary), it’s great to see us recognized not only in front of every APS leader but also ahead of a middle school (Young) and high school (Grady). There are tons of studies that show that attendance in elementary school sets the tone for middle and high school. Students who are at school each day and ready to learn are more likely to perform better in school – it’s not rocket science! I hope that, together with our attendance team, we can win this award every month and ultimately for the year. Remember, it is our expectation that every student is present at least 90% of the time he or she is enrolled at school and is here each day by 8:00am ready to learn and grow. Second, I have to give a special shout-out to our Special Education department and co-teachers who were at Brandon last year. Read more
September 26, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members! Can you believe another week has passed since we last spoke?? Before you know it, it will be Fall Break (10/8-10/12) and we will be well on our way to the second quarter of the school year. I make it a habit every day to visit every single classroom at either the Primary or Main Campus (and so does my team). I love seeing the learning taking place everywhere I go and especially the morning circles that our teachers always begin each day with. A lot has happened since the last time we met! Read more
September 19, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members: Another week has passed since we last spoke and the amount of learning and engagement we’ve seen in the classroom has been tremendous! It has been a big week for not just our students, but also for our staff as well. We were able to come together for our PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) last week and learn from district resource Dr. Katelyn Plescoe as we took a deep dive into interpreting our data. We learned that for grade 3-5 students, the best predictor of Georgia Milestone achievement is actually how they did the year before! We took that knowledge and are beginning to learn about the correlations of past performance on GMAS with past STAR assessments. Did you know that a student’s Fall STAR score is HIGHLY correlated with how they will do on their end-of-year assessment 8 months later? When teachers know this data, they can begin to really drill down on what students need while keeping the anticipated end result in mind. Read more
September 12, 2018
Greetings Parents and Community Members: We are back to another full week of school with lots of exciting happenings around the building! One of my favorite things that took place last week was our grade level check-ins that happened across the school in grades k-5. Our admin team took the time to meet with ALL of our students in order to reinforce our Essential Agreements and conduct a check-in with students to see how the first month of school has gone. I love this time because we are able to focus in on individual grade levels in a small, quiet environment as we continue to speak about what it means to be kind, accepting and well-behaved no matter where you are, what building you are in, or what school bus you ride. There are always times when children do not follow our behavior expectations, but understand that we are here to TEACH and MODEL what is expected of a Morris Brandon student as our children often learn lifetime behaviors during the early years of education. Read more
September 5, 2018
FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – Greetings Parents and Community Members: It’s been an exciting (and short) week since we last spoke. I hope everyone had an amazing and relaxing Labor Day weekend. Even though Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer, we’ve been back and rolling now for quite a while. Can you believe that we have been in school for one whole month? The time has flown by! We celebrated by rewarding our hard-working teachers with donuts and coffee hand-delivered by our admin team last Friday. Needless to say, they loved it!! In just the short amount of time since we last spoke, some amazing things have taken place outside of and within our building. Outside of the building, our school leadership team (made up of all of our grade-level chairs and specialty lead teachers, including Gifted, ESOL, Specials and Special Ed.) participated in a great day of learning and collaboration downtown at APS’s Instructional Services Center. Funded by our Foundation, we learned about how to effectively lead grade-level conversations and collaborate with our teammates in a way that will help us get results! Read more
August 29, 2018
FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – Dear Parents and Community Members: Another week has passed with so many exciting activities taking place! For this BeeMail post, I’d like to focus on some of the wonderful items our Foundation has been able to approve and fund in order to help us in our mission of providing the best, most well-equipped teachers in front of our students and your children!! Just last week, the amazing board approved so many exciting programs, ideas, innovative practices and curriculum supplies that only a very lucky school like Brandon, with an amazing supporting cast of parents and community members, would be able to accomplish. The board approved Ipads for Ms. Fellows’ class, LOTS of DLI materials for our 2nd grade cohort of students and teachers, ceramic supplies for our art teachers, instructional materials for our music program and even a new printer head for our high-tech poster-making machine! The funding didn’t stop there! Read more
August 22, 2018
FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – Greetings Parents and Community Members: We are rocking and rolling at Brandon Elementary School. As we are moving into week three, the amazing things that are happening in both buildings are evident across all grade levels and content areas. In our Specials classes, Mr. Carr, our PC art teacher, has been teaching Kindergartners the power of teamwork and collaboration (a common theme at Brandon this year) as students learn about the color spectrum. Coach Wyman, our MC Physical Education teacher, is on the same page as she engaged her students in cooperation and creativity, building teamwork through cooperative games seen during her new Super Specials block. Ms. McCarren had her students drumming to a beat set to some of their favorite music, and the always fantastic Ms. Ingram helped her students at the PC channel their book character of the week as they read “Rosie Revere, Engineer.” I loved seeing Ms. Halliday’s class (and the rest of Kindergarten) participating in “questions only” Socratic Seminars as students engaged in meaningful academic conversation throughout their Wit and Wisdom unit. Ms. Espinoza and the rest of our DLI k-2 teachers continue to AMAZE me, teaching phonics in English AND Spanish! Ms. Murphy’s class continues to “Notice” and “Wonder” what they read (and see) as they used their magnifying glasses to identify words that require capital letters. I loved seeing Mr. Freeman’s 3rd grade class learn about (and review) the scientific method as they asked questions about their discoveries (inquiry based learning at its finest!) and Ms. Windle’s 4th grade class learn about the King and his Parliament members as they taxed the rest of the class with M&M’s! Learning can be fun and our teachers work hard to make sure our students leave each day not only with “filled buckets” but also a thirst to learn more. Read more
August 15, 2018
FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – Greetings Parents, Faculty and Staff! A lot has happened since the last time we have chatted! My family and I had an INCREDIBLE time at the Backyard Bash last Friday. It was great to see all of our families on campus, having fun, meeting new people and of course playing! In fact, my son was so disappointed he had to leave that I had to promise I would take him back to the playground another time!
As a leadership team, we continue to be incredibly impressed by the teaching and learning that is taking place each day and in every classroom. Our teachers are wrapping up Module 0 and starting Module 1 of our new Language Arts curriculum, Wit and Wisdom. I saw Socratic Seminars, silent “chalk talk” activities and even art analysis in Ms. Stansbury’s and Ms. Richards’s 5th grade classes. I love this curriculum because it really encompasses much more than just reading and writing. Our students are exploring parts of the world, delving deep into literary and information texts and engaging in an IB-infused curriculum that’s surely going to help them become global citizens. Ask your child’s teacher how Wit and Wisdom’s Content Stages utilize visual art as a learning tool! It’s amazing to watch students describe what they “Notice” and “Wonder” about famous artwork that many of us have seen before! Read more
August 8, 2018
FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – We’ve had a great start to week two! As we begin to move away from beginning of the year rules, routines and procedures, we are now making way for Eureka math, Social Studies Weekly, Stemscopes (science) and our new ELA curriculum Wit and Wisdom. I’ve loved getting into classrooms and seeing all the wonderful activities that are taking place at both campuses. Students are analyzing texts at the upper grades, recording “what they know” and “what they wonder” about stories they’ve read, and engaging in meaningful academic conversation while also writing out their thoughts and ideas on paper. I’m also seeing handwriting at the lower grades, some beginning cursive and always our Saxon Phonics piece. I was SO impressed walking into Ms. Fallon’s 2nd grade class today. Her students were able to identify whether vowel sounds were long or short and able to mark them with Breves and Macrons! We had a fantastic room parent meeting (and it was HIGHLY attended :), a great new teacher mentor meeting and we are all anxiously awaiting our back to school night when we can come back together and discuss whole class and grade level logistics! A couple of notes below: Read more
August 3, 2018
Greetings Brandon Families and Community members!!
WOW!! We did it, we made it through our first week TOGETHER! It was amazing taking it all in, watching our children come off the buses, out of cars, walking to school and most importantly seeing their friends and teachers again! We are back in full swing and ready to learn and grow. We have been busy, setting expectations, establishing routines, building our learning communities and making new friends! I’ve seen teachers conducting all sorts of ice breakers with their classes, giving building tours, implementing Social Emotional Learning day 1, and using morning circles to prepare our students for the day. Here’s a quick snapshot: Read more
August 1, 2018
FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – Dear Parents, day one is here! It has been a long road to get here and I am so excited that we are gearing up for an amazing school year. I was so impressed with the turnout at our Celebration of Learning. It was great to meet new students (and returning), tons of families, and even grandparents! The love of Morris Brandon in this community is palpable and I’m so glad I’m here! I want to give a BIG shout out to our teachers. They have been absolutely phenomenal in dealing with an almost all new admin team. I loved seeing old students come back to see their teachers, many of whom are in high school and even college. That’s how you know our teachers are fantastic! We have worked tirelessly since they returned last week in planning and organizing the school year to be ready for your children. With that said, please continue to know that the first few days of school can be a little hectic when it comes to arrival and dismissal. We are asking that all parents continue to follow our parking and drop off rules. This allows all of our students to enter the building safely and be ready to learn at 8am. I look forward to continuing to meet our families but most importantly, our students. After all, they are the reason we are here!
To a great day one-
July 25, 2018
FROM PRINCIPAL BLAND – Greetings Parents, Staff, and Community Members…WE ARE ALMOST THERE! It’s been an amazing last couple of weeks with all sorts of awesome activities taking place. I am excited to say that we are making great progress in being 100% ready to open our doors to our students in just one week! Can you believe how fast the summer has flown by? Our buildings are spotless, the classrooms are set, our teachers are ready, and my team is anxiously awaiting DAY 1! A lot has happened since the last BeeMail went out:
- We had an awesome meet and greet with our community. The Primary Center hosted over 100 people all anxious to meet our new admin team and new school leadership. It was great to finally shake hands, meet some students, and share good conversations about what to expect this year. Thank you to those who came out!
July 16, 2018
Greetings Brandon families, parents and community members!!
It has been a BUSY summer up at school. As you may or may not know, there have been many new additions to the Morris Brandon family and I am extremely confident and excited in the faculty and staff that are joining our family. To give you an idea:
- There are thirteen new teachers and support staff
- One new Program Administrator
- One new Assistant Principal
- One new Literacy Coordinator
- And one new Principal 🙂
Totaling SEVENTEEN NEW BEES joining the hive!!!!
While I understand this is quite a change all in one year, I want you to know that the absolute best staff have been chosen based solely on one overarching theme, WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR STUDENTS. Read more
June 25, 2018
Greetings Morris Brandon families and community! I am so happy to be here as the Interim Principal and can’t wait to get started on another amazing year. While the last month has been summer break for many of you, the leadership team has been hard at work, hiring for open positions, planning out the school year ahead, attending professional development sessions and helping me immensely as I transition into my new role. I have already met so many wonderful staff, parents and students and can’t wait to meet everyone else as we inch closer to the start of the school year. Before I go further, I want to extend a special farewell to Ms. Tiffany Momon, Program Admin at the Morris Brandon Primary Campus. Ms. Momon has been selected to be the new Principal of Cascade Elementary and we know she is well deserving and will do amazing things there. We wish her all the best on her new journey and she has promised me she will come back and visit!!
What’s Bee-n Happening? Read more