Astro News

Compass 2020: Power On Alanton & Reach for the Stars!

January 18-22

CLC Meeting Date Change

  • January 18-22 - No CLC Meetings - Team Planning
  • January 25-29 - CLC Meeting - Educational Technology Team (ETT)

MId-Year Goal Review & Formative Option 1 Reflection

  • Mid-Year Goal Review – Due January 29
  • Formative Option 1 Reflection – Due February 5

Please see my email sent on January 12th as a reference.

Mandatory Training

Please complete all Annual Mandatory Online Training.

Each school is asked to make sure all faculty and staff are in compliance with this requirement.


In spring 2016, the Standards of Learning (SOL) history tests will contain multiple-choice and technology-enhanced field test items that assess the current 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning. In spring 2017, the SOL history tests will contain multiple-choice and technology-enhanced field test items that assess the revised 2015 History & Social Science Standards of Learning. In order to support student preparation for technology-enhanced items (TEIs) that may appear on history assessments, sets of practice items have been developed and will be delivered via electronic Practice Assessment Tools.

The Virginia Studies and Civics & Economics practice tests each contain five TEIs. There is one end-of-course (EOC) practice test that contains 10 TEIs. The EOC practice test contains items representative of content from World History to 1500, World History: 1500 to the Present, World Geography, and Virginia and United States History. Each history practice test will be available in the existing Testnav 7 delivery system and all history SOL tests will be administered in TestNav 7 during the spring 2016 test administration.

The practice TEIs will provide students an opportunity to become familiar with the types of TEIs that will be administered on SOL history assessments. A practice item guide has been developed for each practice test and may be used by teachers or other adults to guide students through the practice TEIs.

The sets of practice items and guides are posted on the Virginia Department of Education website. Please note that the practice TEIs are examples only. They do not cover all history content for each course.


FYI - Additional online SOL tests will be transitioned to the TestNav 8 test delivery software during the 2016-2017 school year. Beginning with the fall 2016 test administration, online SOL tests typically administered in middle schools (grades 6 through 8 reading and mathematics, grade 8 science and Civics & Economics) will be the first online SOL tests administered in TestNav 8. Secondary students retaking grade 8 reading and mathematics for the 2009 and 2010 standards will take the SOL tests in TestNav 8 beginning fall 2016. Secondary students who require retesting under the 2001 and 2002 standards for the grade 8 reading and mathematics tests will continue using TestNav7.

These tests will be joined by the online SOL tests typically administered in elementary schools (grades 3 through 5 reading and mathematics, grade 5 science and Virginia Studies) which will be administered via a new online test delivery software beginning with the spring 2017 test administration. This new test delivery software, TestNav™ 8, supports the use of additional devices (e.g., Google™ Chromebooks, Apple iPads®, Android™ tablets), including touch-screen devices, while continuing to support the use of Microsoft Windows®-based and Mac OS®-based workstations for the delivery of online SOL tests.

For schools to become familiar with the TestNav 8 delivery system in advance of the fall 2016 test administration, the existing SOL practice item sets on the VDOE website will be made available in TestNav 8 during the 2015-2016 school year. These practice items will serve as an introduction to the new online navigation, online tools, item formatting and overall functionality and appearance of TestNav 8. To allow school staff to experience the technical changes and updated system requirements of TestNav 8 prior to fall 2016, a TestNav 8 Infrastructure Test will be made available in the PearsonAccess Training Center along with a TestNav 8 System Check application. Schools will be notified via the SOL Testing Site once the TestNav 8 practice items are available on the VDOE website and when the TestNav 8 Infrastructure Test and System Check are available for use.

It is important for all school division staff to be aware that all online SOL tests will continue to be administered in the existing TestNav 7 delivery system during the 2015-2016 school year. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Student Assessment at 263-1030. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

ED Camp Info

Teachers & Specialists, This message is about the Ed Camp professional learning opportunity I discussed with you during our November CLC meetings.

Please use the survey link below for the Ed Camp session slated for February 1, 2016. The deadline for entering your suggestions is January 15, 2016. All teachers and specialists are required to respond to the survey.

Please post questions for the February 1- EdCamp.

To access the site, teachers will need to click the link above. When they are on the site, they then enter their name (optional), and then post a question. Examples of questions could be –

1. Can we learn about Coding?

2. Can we focus on the Kindergarten Curriculum?

3. How about Google Apps for Education?

4. What’s new in SharePoint?

5. What strategies can I use to implement the new Science objectives?

Once questions have been answered, teachers can either 'thumbs-up/thumbs-down' the question. When you click on either thumb the question will either gain or lose a point. The questions with the most thumbs up will appear at the top of the list. Those with the least thumbs up will appear at the bottom of the list.

Those at the top of the list should be the topics that are discussed during the EdCamp. Jan. 15, 2016, is the deadline for entering your questions. This will then allow time for the questions to be sorted and a schedule to be developed.

Student Cafeteria Debt - Information

The purpose of this memo is to make you aware of a change in operations related to lunch services provided to students with overdrawn accounts. For the last 16 months, the Office of Food Services (OFS) has provided hot meals to all students regardless of their lunch account balance. This was done to avoid the stigma of a student receiving a “cheese sandwich” and with the understanding that the City of Virginia Beach would assist with the collection process of any debt incurred.

Knowing that the division cannot continue to lose the revenue from unpaid debts, operations must be adjusted while still providing each student a meal. To that end, the following practices will be put in place beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, following the Presidents’ Day holiday:

  • A debt limit of $20.75 will be set for all students. This allows for a full week of breakfast and lunch service while attempts are made through personal and Alert Now calls to notify parents and collect the unpaid balance.
  • Students with an unpaid balance at or exceeding $20.75 will receive a reimbursable bag lunch instead of the traditional hot lunch. This bag lunch will include a turkey/cheese sandwich, fruit, vegetable and milk.
  • Cafeteria staff will assist elementary and middle school students in selecting the bag lunch while high school students will be told by staff when their account has reached a negative balance. This will be done with the understanding that older students are more mature and able to select the bag meal on their own.
  • Bag meals will be placed on the serving lines with the salads and other cold items so they can be taken as an apparent option in order to minimize emotional impact on the student. Cashier will hit alternate meal key to track the number of these given.
  • •A breakfast bag containing a cheese stick, graham cracker, fruit juice and milk will also be available at both levels and will follow the lunch protocol. Managers will work with OFS supervisors and school administrators to set up pre-identification for schools participating in Breakfast in the Classroom.
  • At all levels, if a student presents the entire amount necessary for an individual meal, (s)he will be served a hot lunch or breakfast regardless of outstanding balance on the account.
  • Elementary balances will follow students to secondary schools.
  • Parents of students who have reached or exceeded the $20.75 threshold by Feb. 1 will be notified in advance of the need for their children to select the bag meal option until the account is paid.
  • OFS will offer a payment plan (not to exceed six months) for families with a severely overdrawn account. Parents will be required to sign an agreement with a detailed repayment schedule. During the term of the agreement and as long as payments are made on time, children will receive hot meals. If, however, payments are not made in accordance with the agreement, students will be served bag meals. In addition, balances which remain unpaid will be forwarded to the City for debt collection.

  • It is important to note that the reimbursable bag meal option will not add additional charges to the students’ meal account. Cost of the lunch bag is approximately $0.75 after federal reimbursement. The cost of the breakfast bag is $0.37 after reimbursement.

The Office of Food Services will work with the departments of Media and Communications and School Leadership to inform parents and staff of the change. In addition, information will be posted on and shared through newsletters and Alert Now messages.


The Virginia Department of Education will implement a computer adaptive test (CAT) for all online Grade 3 Mathematics Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. The CAT format will be available for regular, audio, Plain English and audio Plain English mathematics SOL assessments beginning with the spring 2016 test administration.

The online computer adaptive versions of the test will be shorter than the traditional versions of the Grade 3 Mathematics tests. Since computer adaptive tests are customized to each student’s ability level, fewer questions can be administered to accurately determine each student’s achievement level. Due to the implementation of the shorter Grade 3 Mathematics CAT, the SOL Test Blueprint for Grade 3 Mathematics has been updated. The blueprint contains the number of test items for the computer adaptive version of the online test and the number of items for the traditional version of the test that will be administered in paper/pencil format. The Grade 3 Mathematics CAT will contain 28 operational test items that are scored and 4 field test items, for a total test length of 32 items instead of the 50 total items on the traditional Grade 3 Mathematics test.

Several resources, including An Elementary Mathematics CAT Training Test, are available on the Department of Education Website. The Elementary Mathematics CAT Training Test may be used with third grade students so they can practice navigating through a mathematics CAT prior to the actual test-taking experience. Take some time to review the Comparison of a Computer Adaptive Testing and a Traditional Test and the Frequently Asked Questions about Computer Adaptive Testing. Share this information and resources with appropriate staff in your building. The Office of Student Assessment has posted a narrated PowerPoint for your review as well.

Anne Douglas will be sharing a question and answer document as well as strategies for preparing students with Grade 3 teachers. Please see AD if you are interested in seeing these documents. The Department of Teaching and Learning has uploaded the updated Grade 3 Mathematics Test Blueprint Summary Table to the grade 3 SharePoint site under additional resources.

January is READING Month - Get Ready & Get Excited!


  • January 19 - Grade 3 Skype w/Parthenon Museum 9:00 a.m.
  • January 21 - Wear Red for Reading
  • January 28 - Wear Red for Reading
  • January 29 - Tides Reading Long - Turn In
  • January 29 - Character Dress Up Day & Parade (End of Day)

SOL Schedule (Tentative):

  • Grade 3 Reading: June 2 & 3
  • Grade 3 Math: June 6 & 7
  • Grade 4 Reading: May 19 & 20
  • Grade 4 Math: May 23 & 24
  • Grade 5 Reading: May 25 & 26
  • Grade 5 Math: May 31 & June 1
  • Grade 5 Science: June 8
  • Grade 5 History: June 9

Half-Way There - Staff Party

Please join us for the Staff “Half-Way There” Party on Saturday, February 6th, 6:00-9:00pm at Finn McCools’s in Landstown Commons.

The cost is $5.00 for each member who paid into Staff Welfare and it’s $10.00 for non-members and guests.

(Staff Welfare has to pay $25 per person, so your cost of $5/$10 is a great deal!)

We will enjoy chicken tenders, fried shrimp, finger sandwiches, meatballs, crab dip, fruits, veggies, and cheese.

RSVP by Friday, January 22 to Heather Thomas for an accurate head count.

Please give your check (made out to Alanton Staff Welfare) or cash to Brenda Hogge by next Friday as well.

Finn McCool’s is a great venue that we used last year. What a great opportunity to socialize with our school family! We hope to see everyone there!

~Staff Welfare/Hospitality Committee

Weekly Happenings

No CLC Meetings this Week

EDK mid-year testing window: Jan. 19th - Feb. 5th

Monday, 1/18/16

  • All schools closed in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Tuesday, 1/19/16

  • Charlene is out today
  • 9:00-9:45 Gr. 3 Skype with Parthenon Museum, in library
  • 12:30-3:30 Katie Z. OOTB for training
  • 3:15-4:15 SCA meeting (officers & exec. council), room 3
  • 3:30-4:30 Principal’s Advisory Council (PAC) meeting – CANCELLED
  • 3:30-4:30 Staff Fitness Class, in library

Wednesday, 1/20/16

  • Staff Jeans Day ($5 to Susan A. to participate)
  • 8:00-9:00 ESL Parent Outreach meeting, room 29
  • 12:00-3:30 Fara OOTB for SchoolNet training
  • 1:30-4:30 Charlene OOTB for EPL meeting @ Plaza Annex
  • 3:15-4:00 Battle of the Books meeting, in library

Thursday, 1/21/16

  • Bruce OOTB for conference in Williamsburg
  • 3:30-6:30 ED Camp Meeting - Charlene & principals
  • 3:30-4:30 Staff Fitness Class @ Ms. Sadowski's Classroom
  • § 4:00-8:00 Dine with Alanton, Panera Bread @ Hilltop

Friday, 1/22/16

  • Bruce OOTB for conference in Williamsburg

Future Events -

CLC Meeting Focus - Educational Technology Team (ETT)

Monday, 1/25/16

  • 9:35-10:50 Grade 3 CLC
  • 11:00-12:15 Grade 4 CLC

  • 1:00-2:15 Grade 1 CLC
  • 3:15-4:30 Newspaper Club meeting, room 37
  • 3:30-4:30 Staff Fitness Class, in library

Tuesday, 1/26/16

  • 8:55-10:10 Grade 5 CLC
  • 1:45-3:00 Grade 2 CLC
  • 3:30-4:30 Staff Seminar: Math Differentiation, in library

Wednesday, 1/27/16

  • 11:30-1:30 Gr. 3 field trip to Greco-Roman Museum at ODC/Kemps Landing Magnet School
  • 12:10-1:10 Kindergarten CLC
  • 3:15-4:00 Battle of the Books meeting, in library
  • 6:00-8:00 Annual Services Awards Dinner @ VB Convention Center

Thursday, 1/28/16

  • 3:30-4:30 Staff Fitness Class, in library
  • 8:00-12:00 Charlene OOTB for a meeting @ Christopher Farms ES
  • 12:30-3:30 Bruce OOTB for special education training @ Laskin Road Annex

Friday, 1/29/16

  • End of 2nd grading period (52 days)

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Happy Birthday to...

January Birthdays

  • Charlene Garran - 18th
  • Melissa Johnston - 18th
  • Jessy Fuchs - 18th
  • Kristin Lineberry - 27th
  • Patricia Ebron - 27th
  • Kendra Randolph - 29th


  • #WonderfulWillie - A huge thank you to Mrs. Willie for just being so awesome! You always are supportive in the most difficult situations. What would we do without you?!?!
  • #MathReadiness - Thanks to the fourth grade teachers for sending students to us with great math readiness skills. Students hit the ground running in Grade 5! Well done! ~Grade 5 Teachers
  • #BigManToTheRescue - Thanks to Mr. Clarke for supporting us with difficult behaviors. We truly appreciate your support.
  • #PoetryCafe - Thanks to Mrs. Nolette, Mrs. Davey, & Mrs. Paulson for creating a fabulous Poetry Cafe (with 'Mocha & Pastries') for our third grade students. They loved it! Thanks to Mr. Clarke for an impromptu performance as well.
  • #PerformanceTaskSuccess - Thanks to the Kinder teachers for designing a terrific performance task for the students. They rocked the research and had so much fun learning. Wahoo!
  • #AllAboutTheKids - Thank you Mrs. Garran for being all about the kids-they know you care!

  • #WonderfulWildman - Leslie, you have been such a great part of the 4th grade team-we will miss you but are beyond excited for you as you begin your new adventure!

  • #MagicMatt - Matt, welcome to the 4th grade team! We are excited to have you! Let the games begin!

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Mrs. Anderson's first graders were working on a STEM activity to go with a Making Meaning book, Peter's Chair. The students were working very hard and having a lot of FUN!

Grade 3 - Poetry Cafe - Bravo!

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Students making their own music - so cool!

Alanton is Rocking Reading Month!

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Teaching & Learning Framework - Alanton teachers living the life with the VBCPS framework.

Click on the link for the video:

Learning It, Living It, Loving It

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