From the Castle

Family Newsletter for Thomas Dale High School-December 2019

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Greetings from the Castle!

Knight Families and Community Members,


Thanksgiving Break could not have come at a better time! Your children have been working so hard during this first portion of the school year. We have completed a full grading period and a full THREE months of school! December is here, and with it come cold days and nights, long stints of darkness, and the chance to dig deep to develop grit, resilience, and perseverance. After two short weeks of instruction in December, your children will engage in their Winter Exams (Specialty Center Schedule). This is the perfect opportunity for your children to demonstrate what they've learned so far this school year. I wish them the best of luck!

We are working to develop our plans to deliver on the promise of Every Knight, Every Day and to make our vision reality. This includes incorporation of our SKILLS (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Citizenship, and Connection) and DISPOSITIONS (Grit, Resilience, Adaptability, Risk Taking, Compassion, Humility, Service, Gratitude, and Empathy) into our curriculum and instructional program.

To do so, we have clearly defined what it means to be a Knight be practicing Kindness, Accountability, Respect, and Engagement. I implore you to have a conversation with your child about these four aspects that we believe will be keys to their success at Thomas Dale and well beyond. Between our endeavor to develop the skills and dispositions needed to be future-ready, we also aim to motivate our Knights to be the best versions of themselves by holding the highest of expectations for who they are and how they show up in the world.

  • Kindness - We treat each other with compassion, gratitude, and empathy.
  • Accountability - We take personal and social responsibility for our decisions.
  • Respect - We hold ourselves and others in the highest regard, and we leave no trace.
  • Engagement - We are fully present in every experience and interaction.

In this issue, I offer up three additional and different conversations you can have with your child. Although the conversations are divided up by grade-level, you can engage in any of the conversations regardless of age! Additionally, mark your calendars with all our upcoming events at the end of this issue, connect with our calendars, and follow us on social media!!!

I believe in you, your children, and our staff. We are working as hard AND smart as we can to deliver on the promise of Every Knight, Every Day! Let's DO this!!!


Don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @GoTDKnights, Facebook: Thomas Dale, Instagram: @GoTDKnights, and Snapchat: @GoTDKnights. Our website is updated regularly for more information:

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  • Junior Class Fundraiser (Information). Eat Panda Express on December 13 and help the class of 2021 raise money! Click HERE for the flyer.
  • Thomas Dale is proud to be a high-quality public educational setting and center of the Chester community. Because of the nature of our service and purpose, there are a few reminders about what is not permitted on school grounds at any time: weapons, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products of any kind (including vapor).

Connect with Your Child

During Morning Meeting every Monday in Homeroom, our 10th-12th Grade Students engage in grade-level specific activities that align to our progression over 4 years to deliver on the promise of Every Knight, Every Day. We use most of this time to develop and sustain strong relationships. We do the same in our Freshman Seminar class for our 9th grade students.

We also use this time to implement a curriculum that is outside the realm of the basic requirements for graduation. To help you connect with your child and to give you content for dialogue, we intend to share those activities with you as well. This will allow you to extend the learning experience for your child, strengthen the home-school connection, and provide you with material to stay engaged in your child's life and education.

Although our focus to "reset" our approach to building a positive culture through Morning Meeting will be using a different set of lessons, I wanted to give you an opportunity to work through these elements with your child.

Here is this month's Sophomore Activity:

  • Earlier in the year, the Sophomores tood the John Tyler Community College Career Coach Assessment. If they were not able to do so, please ensure they take the "Detailed Assessment (60 Questions)" when they get to the site.
  • After taking the assessment and receiving the results, they selected their top 3 to 5 choices.
  • Engage in dialogue with your child about their top 3 to 5 choices and the implications over the next few days, weeks, months, and years.
  • Have them select one of their choices to dive deeper into. Research requirements, job descriptions, purpose of the work, etc. Engage in dialogue about what they notice about that particular choice. There will be a chance later in the year to research the other choices.

Here is this month's Junior Activity:

  • Review THIS 6 Cs DOCUMENT with your child.
  • Have them review the 6 Cs and do the short reflective activity at the bottom of the document. This was done in September; I wonder how they've worked to take opportunities to grow!
  • Engage in dialogue with your child about their strengths and opportunities for growth regarding our 6 Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Citizenship, and Connection.

Here is this month's Senior Activity:

With a focus on the Dispositions (Grit, Resilience, Adaptability, Risk-Taking, Compassion, Humility, Service, Gratitude, Empathy) during Senior year, we will continue to explore them in this suggested activity. This time: Gratitude.

  • Watch THIS VIDEO.
  • Have your child retrieve his/her copy of the DISPOSITIONS DOCUMENT.
  • Engage in a reflective dialogue with your child regarding GRATITUDE and talk about a time in your life when you exercised GRATITUDE. Have your child share the same with you.

Connect with the Principal

Don't forget to mark your calendar for one of the "Coffee with the Principal" or "Sunset Snacks with the Principal" dates! See below for the dates.

Morning Coffees are held at 7am at the West Campus (use Door 9). Sunset Snacks are held at 7pm at the Main Campus (use Door 1).

I'd love to connect with you and learn about what's on your mind and in your heart!

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Winter Musical: White Christmas

Looking for entertainment? Look no further...the musical, White Christmas is here!!!! Four shows and a sing-a-long are available!

Additionally, veterans of our armed forces can enjoy the show for FREE! RSVP information is in the flyer.

Tickets can be purchased online in advance at
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Service Matters!

At Thomas Dale, we value good citizenship and community service. We are encouraging all students to complete 20 hours of community service this year, document those hours using this sheet, and turn the hours in to Dr. Grabham by May 15, 2020. Any student completing this requirement will receive a certificate of recognition. In addition, a senior who completes the following requirements can receive the Board of Education's Excellence in Civics Education Seal on their high school diploma.

The Board of Education's Excellence in Civics Education Seal is awarded to students who meet each of the following four criteria:

  • Satisfy the requirement to earn a Modified Standard Diploma, a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma
  • Complete Virginia & United States History and Virginia & United States Government courses with a grade of "B" or higher
  • Complete 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities, such as volunteering for a charitable or religious organization that provides services to the poor, sick or less fortunate; participating in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or similar youth organizations; participating in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC); participating in political campaigns, government internships, Boys State, Girls State or Model General Assembly; and participating in school-sponsored extracurricular activities that have a civics focus. Any student who enlists in the United States military prior to graduation will be deemed to have met this community service requirement.
  • Have good attendance and no disciplinary infractions as determined by local school board policies.

Please access the tracking sheet HERE.

Yearbook Information


Option one: Making your ad is simple. Pay online at with the code 4232 or type in Thomas Dale! -Choose which size ad you want

-Choose one of the two templates offered for that size - Then upload the amount of pictures that the template requires -Finally, place your text for the ad

Option two: E-mail us to pick your template, photos, and words for the ad. (Template options will be e-mailed to you) You will pay with a check made out to Thomas Dale High School.

Senior Ad Prices:

Full page (8 ½”x 11”)$ 250.00 (by Oct 29) or $300.00 (by Dec 3)

½ page (8 ½” x 5 ½”) $ 150.00 (by Oct 29) or $ 180.00 (by Dec 3)

¼ page (4 ¼” x 5 ½”) $ 110.00 (by Oct 29) or $130.00 (by Dec 3)

1/8 page (2” x 3”) $ 70.00 (by Oct 29) or $ 80.00 (by Dec 3)


Upcoming Events

Stay connected to OUR CALENDAR and mark yours!

December 2 - White Christmas Preview (In-School Field Trip)

December 3 - Vaping: Community Conversation (6pm, Davis MS)

December 4 - School Cleanup Day - Community Service (3:15pm, Door 2 at Main)

December 4 - White Christmas (4pm)

December 5-7 - White Christmas (7pm)

December 10 - Genius Hour at West Campus

December 10 - PTSA Meeting (6pm, Main Library - Door 3)

December 11 - Coffee with the Principal (7am, Door 9 at West)

December 11 - Genius Hour and One Lunch at Main Campus

December 11 - Chorus Winter Concert

December 11 - Sunset Snacks with the Principal (Door 1 at Main)

December 12 - Winter Band and Orchestra Concert (6pm)

December 13 - Not-So-Silent Knight Diversity Celebration (6pm)

December 16-20 Winter Exams (Regular Schedule and Specialty Center Schedule)

December 18-20 - Early Release for Exams (12:35pm Daily)

December 23-January 3 - Winter Break

January 6, 2020 - Welcome Back!

Stay In-the-Know! Click below for previous issues of From the Castle.