From the Castle

Family Newsletter for Thomas Dale High School-November 2019

Big picture

Greetings from the Castle!

Knight Families and Community Members,


Yes, it is November. The leaves are changing, and the first grading period is coming to an end. In case you find it difficult to is, in fact, reality. Each year, it seems to go faster and faster. Perhaps it is the nature of aging and the perception of time, or perhaps we are all living and working in a world that is extremely fast-paced and full of access to information, connection, and a never-ending task list. Maybe, it is both.

There is a whole new set of competencies I believe our students need to ensure they are ready for what's next. Of course, some of them have withstood the test of time, and they are those that have been needed all along. Some of them, however, are important now more than a time when the pace and the "noise" have taken over our lives.

  • Think, create, and apply (not new)
  • Solve problems and make decisions (not new)
  • Respond, regulate, and reflect (not new)
  • Focus and get things done (important now, more than ever)
  • Get and stay healthy (important now, more than ever)
  • Relate and engage (important now, more than ever)

The test for our school and community is to redesign our school for readiness - to stretch the boundaries of what has been known and accepted for many, many years, and to create experiences for your children that provide them with the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and competencies that prepare them for what's next. Stay tuned as we #RedesignforReadiness in the coming months and years!

In this issue, I offer up three 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!

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:

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture


  • Chromebook Chargers. Please ensure that your child has his/her Chromebook Charger, and that he/she is going to school each day with a full charge. If your child is missing his/her charger, the school sells them for $25 and Amazon sells them for less (just ensure you are buying the right one).
  • Dale-Gates. Dale-Gates are BACK and BETTER THAN LAST YEAR!!! Join us for our last Dale-Gate of the year on November 1 at 5:30pm before Senior Knight versus Granby! Food, fun, and family. What a great way to connect!
  • 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).
Big picture

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.

Here is this month's Sophomore Activity:

  • Part of our focus for Sophomore Homeroom will be self-management. In this suggested activity, students dove into their Habits and how they impact who they are and who they become.

Here is this month's Junior Activity:

  • With a focus on Career-Readiness and Work-Based Skills, this suggested activity centers on developing a resume. Sometimes, students do not know where to start and are not given advice on high-quality resumes.

    • Show THIS VIDEO.
    • Share MY RESUME with your child. This is the resume I used when applying for this job as the principal of Thomas Dale. You will be prompted to make a copy before editing.
    • I recommend reviewing it together and digging into its strengths and weaknesses before asking your child to create a copy and begin working on his/her own.
    • Make it a working document and add to it as your child gains expertise and experience. Later in the year, I will also share a cover letter sample.

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: Compassion.

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

Connect with the School

Our Annual Registration Knight is now on two in English (November 19) and one is Spanish (November 20).

Mark your calendars so that you and your child can attend to get the latest information on graduation requirements, our instructional program, and what courses your child will take next year (and beyond)!

Please see the flyer below...we look forward to seeing EVERYONE there!

Big picture

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!

Big picture

Connect with Success of the School

At 7:27pm on Monday, November 4, Dr. Jones will host a Facebook Live presentation on the state of our school. We will be 45 days into the school year, and he will give an update on how the school year is going and share some of school's successes. We have so much to be proud of, and you definitely want to celebrate with us!

Facebook Live: 7:27pm, November 4!

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)


Connect with the TD Libraries

The Barnes and Noble Book Fair is coming to the Thomas Dale Main Campus Library!

Check out information HERE and see the flyer below for everything you need to know!

Big picture

Upcoming Events

Stay connected to OUR CALENDAR and mark yours!

November 1 - Dale-Gate, Bermuda Schools Knight, and Senior Knight Football vs Granby

November 4 - End of First Grading Period

November 4 - Vaping: A Community Conversation (6pm, Main Library)

November 5 - Election Day, No School for Students

November 6 - Specialty Center Open House for Prospective Students

November 7 - Dr. Jones Book Club, Switch (7pm, Pietro's)

November 12 - Community Partners Meeting (1pm, Main Library)

November 12 - PTSA Meeting (6pm, Main Library)

November 13 - Coffee with the Principal (7am, Door 9 at West Campus)

November 13 - Sunset Snacks with the Principal (7pm, Door 1 at Main Campus)

November 18 - Winter Sports Parent Meeting (6:30pm, Main Campus Auditorium)

November 19 - Registration Fair (6pm, Starting in Main Campus Auditorium)

November 20 - Genius Hour (Main Campus)

November 20 - Spanish-Only Registration Fair (6pm, Starting in Main Campus Small Auditorium)

November 22 - Genius Hour (West Campus)

November 22 - Beautiful Tomorrow Assembly

November 25 - Parent-Teacher Conference Day (11am-7pm), No School for Students

November 26 - Parent-Teacher Conference Day (7:30am-3:30pm), No School for Students

November 27-29 - Thanksgiving Break, No School

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