Monday, January 30, 2012

January Birthdays OOPSIE!!!

I told you January is full of family birthdays!  I left off two of my favorite people in the whole world...How in the world does that happen? I even visited with these two Saturday and am looking forward  to them being with me this next weeked.  So again how does this happen?  I'll tell you, someone is TOO busy or just on brain overload.  My life has been extremely enriched by my precious Katharyn McKinley Evans and John Sullivan McCartney Evans.  These are two people you must meet!

January 2:  Kate, Wow!  My very first grand daughter.  What a little red head!  She is really a strawberry blonde with a red head attitude!  You don't hold down Katharyn.  If there is attitude she'll handle it; if there is a job to be done she'll get it done; if there's a contest she'll put her best foot forward.  She is a winner!  She is beautiful, sporty and smart.  It doesn't get any better than my Kate!

January 14:  Sully Mac attack, attack, attack...  Sully is all HEART!  He gets along with EVERYBODY!  You know the show, "Everybody Loves Raymond"?  Well the truth is everybody really does love Sully.  He beats his own drum and really doesn't worry about the marching part.  He is a whole heapa bunch like his Pappy.  These two just think different from most people.  You ought to see the look of confusion they'll give you and then hear their wonderful explanations for things.  He is his mama's baby, even though there is now a younger child.  Sully Mac will tell you in a heartbeat he's never going to leave  his mama.  Precious, loving, wonderful child!

The journey is sweet and mine is full of  slips and slides.  Thank you Lord for these two precious people!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January Birthdays!!!

Wow!  January is full of family birthdays!  Actually, as fast as our family has grown and is still growing every month is full of birthdays...But these people do kick off the year well.

Russell, Christy, Trent and Jax

January 1  Christy Sanderson White, Aunt Jane's oldest granddaughter, Liz's oldest child. Christy was born January 1, the same year as Ben. Just like Aunt Jane and Liz, Christy is a happy golden nugget in our family and more importantly the family of God.  She is a beautiful, delightful young woman.
Bridget, Charlotte, Jacquie, ACE and Chase

January 7  Charlotte:  What a wonderful person.  My daughter, Tafta, describes her best.  She is like a great literary character: full of life, diversity of interests, unafraid and ready for the next adventure.  Too bad 2012 is the "Year of the Dragon"; I'm sure Charlotte is convinced it is the year of the Goat!  Visit her at  You'll enjoy her one acre downtown farm. 

Matthew Rogers is the big guy!

January 11  Matt:  The Alliance.  Matthew is my first son-in-law.  He is my best son-in-law.  He is my alliance.  If we vote out the rest of the family, Matt and I will remain.  Tafta says we are a lot alike.  I know for sure we both agree on one thing, I'm awesome...He is too.  He loves my daughter and he is a good father.  The alliance is strong.
William Dezell Evans, the 3rd

January 19 Dez:  My old-man grandson.  Dez turned three this year and he was born old.  This little fellow talked with Ken the other day on the phone and didn't really know how to end the conversation so he just said, "Well, it was good to meet you."  With that he was gone.  Ken has chuckled over that for days.  The young man is going to bring a lot of happiness before he truly turns old.

January 27 PaPa Evans:  Would have turned 105 this year.  He's been gone since the late 1980s.  Ben is named after him, so is Dez.  PaPa was the original Dezell.  He was so very excited about Ben.  I will always remember how he kept telling me, "The third one is the charm."  What a wonderful PaPa he was.
January 28 Ben:  Truly the charm.  Ben has always been a delight.  He is the son of his father's right hand.  Ben has grown into a fine young man.  A man that honors God, loves his wife and guides his children in the way that they should go.  I love my charmer.

Jane Peterson
January 29 Aunt Jane:  What a lady!  80 years old and still going strong.  God has blessed her immensely.  And He has blessed me immensely by letting her be a part of my life.  

I love these people.  January felt a little warmer just thinking of them.  Hope all of your birthdays were the absolute bestest and that all of your journeys have only just begun...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well What Do You Know...I'm Effective!

I know you can't read this but it is a 6 line formula followed by a 6 line calculation
that leads to a Standard Deviation followed by a Z-Score that leads to a Standard Score.
This is used to figure an teacher's rating Ineffective, Effective, Highly Effective...
I know I feel better...
I attended a meeting this evening conducted by a representative from the LA Dept. of Education.  She baffled us with jargon, said a lot about schools and ratings, gave a formula that took into count some 20 variables or more in order to figure a teacher's Value Added Score.  Seems there are three overall ratings a teacher can achieve based on test scores:  Ineffective, Effective, Highly Effective.  Here's the problem, we received our "score" without a rating last week.  My score was a negative.  My percentile below what I as an educator would deem even vaguely successful.  But this evening it was all explained.  Here it is!  If you have a percentile rating as a teacher below 10% you are Ineffective.  WHAT????  I immediately scooped out my scores.  I raised my hand while I stared at my score.  I said would you please repeat that?  She did.  I hollered well WHOOPEE!!!  I WON!!!  I'm Effective.   Even though I believed what the facilitator said and I had witnesses, I had her repeat it again!  "If your composite percentile score falls between 11% - 90% you are rated Effective!, she restated."   WOW!  Now granted at this point my competitive spirit did rise within me because everyone knows I want to be at the top.  In order to be ranked Highly Effective you have to have a composite percentile score of 91%.  Another WOW!  Remember this is all still WRONG!  Because we are talking about one test versus what I know I have delivered over a year and what I know my student's have learned.  All of this still is a whole lot BOTHERSOME, but I feel better...It's great to know that I've been EFFECTIVE on this journey...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Help! I'm an Ineffective Educator!

I feel like I'm a casualty of war and quite frankly I wasn't prepared.  I thought I was, but that's because I play fair.  Others do not.  The biggest problem in this war is that our children and our grandchildren are at stake.  I am a teacher.  I am one of those dedicated educators deemed "ineffective" by Mr. Jindal.  Yet, I am also the same educator who was rewarded Teacher of the Year for my parish in 2010 and Regional Technology Teacher of the Year.  I have facilitated dozens of workshops for different systems in our state and even spoke at the National High School Association on communication skills that cross personality barriers.  In years past I have been celebrated by my principal for the excellence of my student's scores.  I've received awards from several organizations as well as letters from Presidents of Universities stating former students named me as a teacher that made a difference.   I have ALWAYS received the highest evaluations from any and all of my superiors.   Yet I am ineffective...How did I sink so fast, so low?  One test on one day...
I've been an outspoken critic for years on high-stake testing.  One test, one day...versus a whole year...I have witnessed how it has affected students and teachers.  This has worked so well let's put the whole system under the burden.  This makes no sense.  If you really want to reform education, get rid of high-stake testing.  Get rid of tenure and let the profession govern itself.  Let professional principals hire and fire.  Allow professional teachers to give homework, teach, and test as they deem necessary.  KEEP politics out of education.  In short, LET LEGISLATORS LEGISLATE AND EDUCATORS EDUCATE!  Mind your own business, it's not doing so well...

Monday, January 2, 2012

"Designing Women" Ain't Got Nothing on the Murphy Family!

Since I've been out of school with Christmas Break, I must admit I've DVRd every episode of "Designing Women".  I watch it in the middle of the night if I can't sleep.  I love it.   My extended family (mother, mother's husband, sisters, brother, in-laws, cousins, grandchildren, great-nephews & great-nieces...etc)  all gathered Saturday and I swear I thought I had walked into an episode of my favorite show.  For a moment I thought maybe it was simply DW Overload but then I noticed all the characters were present and then some.  All the names have been changed, as noted in other blogs to protect the innocent and the ignorant, but here are a few of our own DW Murphy Style scenes!
Happy Birthday Kate, throwing leaves!!!

All of the children were outside in the hosts yard playing in the leaves.  I slip out my phone to take a few pictures.  I hear the Doo as she also is trying to take pictures, only she has an "expert" camera. 

Doo:  "T", get out of my way.  I'm trying to get a picture of the children and all I can get is your butt.

"T":  Ok, grandma...

Mr. C:  Well, if you get a picture of that butt, you'll have to use landscape on your computer.

"T":  Look Mr. C, I'm not afraid...(She added something I didn't hear...)

"S - girl":  T, you better tell him, he's just one hip fracture away from the nursing home.
Safer to build a pyramid than to get in the way of  Doo & her picture taking...

Cut in action

Time to play "Dirty Santa" Murphy Style!  Now I fondly refer to this as the Murphy Family Fight.  Santa would never play as dirty as us.  Every year someone gets a little on the hyper side.  I have to admit it can be over just about anything.  Different family members have been known to have "side" conversations where they tell each other what they brought or who drew # 1 and how much it can be bought for.  Different ones have also been known to make off side deals.  I call it off side, 'cause I don't think they are all that legal, but usually no one throws a yellow flag.  This year, the flags were thrown and the gloves came off!  No one was stealing gifts, it seemed everyone was happy to just open and then came Doo.  She approaches the gifts, picks up a few, settling on one sack.  She removes the colorful red paper and then stuffs it back in, puts that gift down and opens another.

Doo:  (as she drops first gift)  Oh, I don't want that!

Large Elf acting as MC:  You can't do that, you opened it.  You have to keep it.  Maybe someone will steal it.

Doo:  No one is going to steal it and I'll be stuck with it and just's candles.  You know I'm allergic.

Large Elf:  Ok, just this time.  No one else gets to do that.

Much disension from the game players.  And wouldn't you know it.  She DID it again with another gift at the end of the game.  Someone stole her gift, there was only one more gift to open.  She opened it and lo and behold, scented candles,  scented spray, scented soap...a lovely gift...the works.

Doo:  Nope not taking that, I'll just steal this. 

Large Elf along with all game players that were still in the room:  YOU CAN'T DO THAT.  THE GAME IS OVER. 

Doo:  No, it's not over til I get a gift I want.  No one should bring something like that when they know someone is allergic.

S-girl:  Well I brought it and I think it's a great gift.  If you dig in there you'll see I included a bottle of Benadryl.

Doo:  Well, I don't want it.

We allowed this, it was easier than hog tying her...

End of scene

Later in the dining hall/wine cellar:

Large Elf:  Hey Bro., next year you should put a bottle of your home made wine into the Santa Game.

Male married into family:  If he does, I'm opening it and taking a swig before the game gets out of hand again!  Hey I think T just stole one of the Doo's Christmas presents out of her car.  She must think the game still on!

The journey is sweet even if it goes through Swartz instead of Atlanta...