Galloping Gazette

A newsletter for the Faculty and Staff @ CFES

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Put Students First • Seek Growth • Be Open to Change Do Great Work Together • Value Difference

Look at our Colt's P.R.I.D.E

Principal's Message for the week

Thank you for a fantastic opening of school! I have heard many stories of happy kids and great beginnings, with staff and students willing to pitch in to help each other solve each dilemma or just make the day better for a friend.

As I spent the weekend and week enjoying the outdoors, I looked around at the different tools people have designed and invented to make work easier and more efficient. For example, wheelbarrows made specifically for the beach with wider wheels to have enough to surface to roll on the sand or ChuckIt! To help dog owners throw balls farther and without touching the slobbering balls. Another would be the latest iPhone X release that is now waterproof and a face sensitive unlock button that with different pressures will take the user to different programs. But really the bottom line to all of these things I have observed this week is, the individuals that invented these things, that operate them and that understand them, have had great teachers. Teachers that have inspired them to keep learning, inventing and understanding. I am so thankful for you and the many teachers that touched our lives this week! Thank you for the work you do each day to inspire kids to love to learn, create, and wonder. Keep up the great work! ~Robyn

Help Wanted!

We are still in need of SCA sponsor or co-sponsors. This is a stipend position and a ton of fun! It is a way for our students to show their leadership and spread their school spirit!


As a reminder, it is imperative all staff understand that Section 504 is a civil rights law designed to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities and ensure that children with disabilities have equal access to an education through an eligibility process and the development and management of a Section 504 Plan. As recipients of federal education funding, Virginia Beach City Public Schools is subject to compliance with federal regulations for Section 504 as determined by the Office of Civil Rights.

Please be sure to review and distribute Section 504 Plans to teachers in a timely manner as to ensure implementation. Please emphasize that staff should pay close attention to all Section 504 Plans with special attention to students with Life Threatening Allergies. This is particularly important when food is consumed in classrooms. Your Section 504 teams should identify accommodations that address foods shared in the classroom during celebrations and put in place measures to protect students with food allergies. Please be reminded Section 504 students are protected during school hours and while participating in extracurricular activities.

Professional Learning Opportunities!!

The Department of Teaching and Learning is pleased to provide three sessions of the Struggling Reader Academy professional learning opportunity through the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education during the 2018-2019 school year. The noncredit course, designed to teach educators the basics of literacy instruction, will be tailored to each stage of literacy development.

The course consists of four full days of instruction. Topics to be addressed during the course include: an overview of literacy development, reading disability and Response to Intervention (RTI), phonological awareness and phonics, using assessment to guide instruction and strategies to increase fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The dates and locations for the course sessions are within the Google Form.

The Department of Teaching and Learning will provide funding for the cost of the course and for substitutes for the teachers who will be attending. All classroom teachers of core content and special education in grades K-5 who have not participated in a Struggling Reader Academy for any grade level in the past are eligible to attend. Teachers who complete the four full-day sessions will receive 30 licensure renewal points, including four points for homework assignments completed outside of class time. The three sessions will provide a total of 90 seats, which will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

Please complete the Google form, Elementary Teacher Participation Request, no later than Sept. 14

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BOY Assessments

Ten Mark Reminders:

All students have been assigned the Ten Marks Baseline Assessment to monitor growth towards our math PCI goal. The assessment will open beginning Monday, September 10 and close Friday, September 14th.

A few important things to remember:

  • The assessment should be completed at school, not at home. If possible, try to have them finish it in one class session to prevent the chances of them accessing it from home that evening.
  • This baseline assessment will cover all math objectives for your grade level. There will be questions the students don't know because they haven't been taught yet. Please stress to students that they will not know a lot of answers, and that is normal. They should just guess and move on. Naturally, we expect baseline scores to be low.

Reading Assessments:

The testing windows open on September 5 for DRAs and RIs. Independent DRA level need to be entered into Synergy by October 5 and RIs need to be completed by October 12.


  • Begin testing one level up from where they were at the end of the year.
  • Be sure to complete the Teacher Observation Guide and Student Booklet completely. These will be collected.
  • ·Make a list of students with a significant fluency issue so we can give them the PAST assessment.
  • ·If you have questions/concerns about the DRA testing, please let Patti know.

Elementary Instructional Minutes Requirements

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Schoology Overview Course for Non-Instructional Staff

This course will help provide non-instructional staff with basic Schoology navigational skills as well as providing a first look of Schoology.

The overview course should take between 20-40 minutes to complete. It is self-paced and does not need to be completed all at once. The course remains open for staff if they need to review any of the information at a later time.

School Access
An overview course has been created for each school. Instructional technology specialists (ITSs) have been added as the administrators for each school’s course. The ITSs have been made aware and are expected to share the Join code with staff members. The course is self-paced and very intuitive.

Departmental Access
Information on how to access the overview course will be sent to department heads, via email, to share with staff. The email will include how to access Schoology and how staff members add a Join code to access the course


The Department of Human Resources has reviewed the process used by VBCPS employees to make up inclement weather days. In the past, to make up time lost due to inclement weather, staff were required to work additional hours over a designated period of time. This was particularly challenging for non-exempt employees working 40 hours/week who needed to make up time without incurring overtime. Furthermore, administration also acknowledged teachers routinely work beyond contract hours to evaluate assessments, grade student work, complete lesson plans, meet with parents, support school events etc. With that in mind, school administration explored other options related to makeup time and determined that a change was needed. Beginning with this school year, VBCPS will align its employee makeup requirement with those used by the City of Virginia Beach and all of the other school divisions in Hampton Roads. The chart below details these practices.
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The second annual Navigating the Journey, a Pre K-12 Resource Fair, will be held Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Virginia Beach Convention Center from 5:30-8 p.m. The purpose of this event is to inform students, parents and community members of opportunities offered to students across the division. Information tables will be set up in the main ballroom and information sessions will be held in the second floor meeting spaces. The flyer below will be sent to all parents through an Alert Now during the third week of September.

Please help publicize this event via your classroom communication newsletters/planner pages.

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Shout Outs

-Big shout out to Mary Stewart and her first grade students as they were ready, responsible, and respectful in the cafeteria each day this week!

-Thank you to all the teacher assistants helping with bus duty during the morning, midday, and afternoon.

-High-five's to Stacy Witherow, Lisa Gollihur, Amy Goodman, and Viola Olds as they transition the Pre-K class to lunch. Students also carried their own lunch bags on the 2nd day of school.

-Thank you to Jennifer Pleasant and the 5th grade team as they assisted with making plans for Donna's classes this week.

-Thank you to my first grade team! It is a pleasure working with all of you! - Edith K.

-Thank you Kelly McNeely for doing a great job keeping our grade level informed. She's organized, efficient, and promoted strong communication within our team. - Michelle N.

- Thank you to the first grade team for welcoming me so enthusiastically. - Cynthia

- Pre-K would like to thank Mrs. Olds and Mrs. Goodman for all of their help with our little ones during lunch and the fire drill. We couldn’t have done it without you both! - Stacey & Lisa

-Everyone deserves a shout out for surviving the first day - Ceci

-To the amazing wonder women on our office and security team: you handle forms, supplies, student and parent needs, dismissal changes and constant interruptions splendidly and you are still smiling at the end of the day! - Edith K.

If you have any shoutouts, please send them to Mrs. Backer and Mrs. Jacobs by Thursday.

Hashtags of the week






9/8 - Mary Anne Garland

9/9 - Ceci Fantano

9/9 - Kelly Zajac

9/12 - Anna Shuttleworth

9/14 - September Johnson

9/14 - Marcia Commodore

Things that are worth a second look

Do you have an Innovative Idea? Do you have a passion project you are ready to explore?

For the 2018-2019 school year, $150,000 will be awarded to Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) in Virginia Beach Education Foundation grants. VBCPS staff members are encouraged to apply for these grants if they have ideas for innovative projects they wish to implement to engage students in hands-on learning activities not already funded by the school division. The Innovative Learning Grant application is available on under Hot Topics and is due Oct. 12, by 4 p.m. Each approved grant awards up to $2,000 for innovative learning projects that benefit students. If you are interested in more in applying, please see Ms. Backer.

Announcement of Constitution Day Resources

Public Law requires that Sept. 17 be designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Constitution Day commemorates the day on which the Constitution was signed in Philadelphia in 1787. Traditionally, each year since 1952, the President proclaims the seven days beginning on Constitution Day as Constitution Week. Constitution Week will be from Monday, Sept. 17 through Sunday, Sept. 23. During this time, all citizens are encouraged to celebrate our Constitution and reaffirm the rights and obligations of citizens.

All educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution on that day. Schools may determine what kind of educational programs are appropriate for their students. Some informational resources pertaining to the Constitution that may be useful in planning educational activities are listed on the USED’s website. The team at iCivics has a curriculum unit with lessons, visit the website here. Information about citizenship and civics is also available at other nonpartisan websites including the Bill of Rights Institute.

Schedule for upcoming weeks

PLCs start this week!

Monday, September 10th

  • Today is Nation Swap Ideas Day! Share teaching ideas with your coworkers and inspire them!

  • Fire Drill @ 1pm

  • 2nd grade PLC

Tuesday, September 11th

  • PBIS Meeting @ 3p (Library)

  • Yankee Candle Fundraiser Begins

  • 3rd grade PLC

Wednesday, September 12th

  • Happy Hump Day! Its downhill from here.

  • K and 1st grade PLC

Thursday, September 13th

  • Today is positive thinking day. Keep telling yourself I know I can!
  • Smarty Ant Rep is here for K-2 to meet during P.E
  • 5th grade PLC

Friday, September 14th

  • 5th Grade Gifted Testing
  • International Dot Day! - See Mrs. Csenar's email for more details
  • 4th grade PLC
  • Enjoy your weekend


Monday, September 17th

  • New Monday...New Week...New Goals!

  • Gifted Parent Meeting @ 4p (Rm 36)

  • Ms. Backer and Mrs. Porter in PE to discuss school wide expectations.

  • 2nd grade PLC

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Faculty Meeting @ 3p (Library)

  • 3rd grade PLC

Wednesday, September 19th

  • AM Fire Drill

  • K and 1st grade PLC

Thursday, September 20th

  • PTA Meeting @ 3pm (Library)
  • 5th grade PLC

Friday, September 21st

  • 5th Grade Air Show Field Trip

  • 4th grade PLC