Galloping Gazette

A newsletter for the Faculty and Staff - Week 3/18 - 3/22

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

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Principal's Message for the week:

Here is a question I have thought a lot about…Where do I put my main source of “energy” and what gets the “leftovers?” When I refer to things as “leftover” are those things that should have received more energy? This quote from Jenny Anderson resonates:

“The thing that makes us happiest in life is other people. And yet other people are often the first thing to fall off our list of priorities.”

So when I look back at my career, from the beginning until today, I have shifted a lot of my focus on what fuels me and what depletes me of energy. Hopefully, some of the advice below can help others in their process.

  1. It is okay to enjoy things that take you away from your job. I had a conversation with an educator recently, and they shared that they were losing themselves in their job. My advice was that students connect better with people that are teachers, not those that only identify as teachers. Having those outside interests and hobbies makes you more relatable to students. Don’t get caught up in teacher guilt. Take some time to relax and have fun.
  2. You will never be done so quit acting like it is possible. Here is a little secret in education. No matter what you do, or how hard you work, there will always be more work waiting for you. There is no”done.” I have tried to provide professional learning opportunities for educators at times where school might be a little slower but they don’t exist! There are deadlines that we must pay attention to, but learn to take breaks. Email will still be there when you get back. Also, look for opportunities to hand over things in your school or classroom for students to lead. Not only does this take some stuff off your plate, but it also helps to give students more ownership over the school.
  3. You don’t have to try everything. There are great ideas and things you can implement every single day. That is awesome! But if you try to do all things, you will do no things well. Great ideas will be there in the future as well. Look to do more items of depth, rather than everything at a surface level.
  4. Find people that give you energy. I limit my circles to those that lift me up. This doesn’t mean they don’t challenge you to get better, but you know they have your back. You often are who surrounds you.

Not all days will be good in education. You might look back and laugh, you might look back and cry. That is part of the journey.

Just take care of yourself and get ready to have some fun this week!


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Shout Outs

Shout out to the SEC team, Kelly McNeely, Michelle Nicolosi, Michelene Kesner, Ally Crouch, and Kelsey O’Hanlon, for being absolute champions within the past two weeks. - Ashley

Shout out to Robin Mounce for being at my beck and call as a tech savior. You’re the best! - Ashley

Thank you Robin Mounce for troubleshooting my very troublesome SmartBoard. You’re an amazing SmartBoard Doc! - Suzan

Thank you Darlene Rodriguez for being so kind and patient with the students you work with and for making them feel special!! How lucky are they to have you on their side! - Jill

Shout out to Sharon Yager and Patti Porter for covering a meeting for me while I was out at the last minute! - Anna

Shout out to everyone who helped cover for me while I have been out. I was able to rest easy knowing everything was in good hands - Anna

September Johnson the hours your give to the students…the Angelic voices coming from your classroom is music to my ears! Thank you!!!! You are AMAZING!!! - Jill

Shoutout to EVERYONE for all the love, hugs, and encouragement during my first week back! It truly means the world to me! - Heather

THANK YOU, Mrs. Yoshida and Ms. Backer for bringing our class jelly donuts and reading to us! My kiddos have been looking forward to it ever since we found out we won the Kindness Challenge! - Megan B.

Shout out to Devyn Robinson, Sheri Douglas, and Ariana Recar from Mrs. Pagan’s room who are the first 5th graders to make jump ropes for the children in Tanzania. - Anne Y.

Shout out to my Farm Family for showing me so much birthday love! You make getting old easy! - Claire

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

Schedule for upcoming weeks

Mar. 18th - Mar. 22th

Math PLC Focus

Monday, March 18th

· 2nd Grade PLC

· 7a - 4:30p Sentera Mobile Mammo Van

· 2:40p - 4:20p Girls on the Run (Rm 7)

· 2:45p - 4p SCA Meeting (Cafeteria)

Tuesday, March 19th

· 3rd grade PLC

· 9:30a - 12:30p 4th & 5th Grade Kellam Field Trip

· 2:40p - 4:30p Talent Show Practice (Cafeteria)

· 3:00p - 4:00p Faculty Meeting (Library)

Wednesday, March 20th


·1st grade PLC

· 8:20a - 1:25p Achieve 3000 w/ Sandy Ballard

· 9a - 12p 5th Grade Histories and Haunts (5th grade Classrooms)

· 10a Tornado Drill

· 9:30a - 12:15p 2nd Grade Kellam Field Trip

· 2:40p - 4:20p Girls on the Run (Rm 7)

· 2:40p - 4:30p Talent Show Practice (Cafeteria)

Thursday, March 21st

· 5th Grade PLC

· 8:30a - 2:30p 4th Grade Jamestown Settlement

· 3p - 4p PTA Meeting

· 2:40p - 4:00p Stem Club Meetings (Rm 34/ Computer Lab/ Rm 38 Art Room)

· 2:40p - 5p Eco Club (Cafeteria)

Friday, March 22nd

· 4th Grade PLC

· 9:15a - 11:15a IPT Testing

· 6p - 8:30p Talent Show (Landstown Middle School)


Mar. 25th - Mar. 29th

No PLCs this week

Monday, March 25th

· Grades 2-5 to meet with Katie Catania during PE block to review data and plan for quarter 3

· 2:40p - 4:20p Girls on the Run (Rm 7)

· 2:40p - 4p Newspaper Club

Tuesday, March 26th

· 9:30a - 12:00p Pre-K Portsmouth Children's Museum Field Trip

· 3:00p - 4:00p PAC Meeting (Library)

Wednesday, March 27th

· 2:40p - 4:20p Girls on the Run (Rm 7)

Thursday, March 28th

· 3rd Quarter Ends

· 8a-10a Career Day

· 2:40p - 4:00p Stem Club Meetings (Rm 34/ Computer Lab/ Rm 38 Art Room)

· 3p-4p Debbie Hall Baby Shower (Library)

Friday, March 29th

· Staff Day

· 11:30a - 12:30p Papa Johns Rep Visit

Colts Pride in Action

As part of our purposeful work to design a school culture where our PRIDE is encouraged and celebrated, each week a staff member or group of staff members will be highlighted for demonstrating one aspect of P.R.I.D.E

Huge KUDOS to Bevin for engaging her students in their five senses while exploring and celebrating the great outdoors. In a world full of technology, we often over look some simple ways to engage our students with authentic hands on learning. These 15 EDK students were over the moon with excitement all around a lesson on the five senses. BRAVO for continuing to be student centered and push yourself to create lessons that will meet your students needs! Bevin, also, wrote a fantastic article on this topic -

PBIS Tip of the Week -

Be intentional. Social and emotional skills come up all the time — at recess, in group work, in math class. Be intentional about identifying opportunities to practice the skills with your students. Role play conflicts that might arise on the playground or talk to students about listening and collaboration before group work. Before math class, talk about “mathematical courage,” or the idea that students should ask questions when they don’t understand something, be unafraid to make mistakes, explain their thinking, listen to how other people thought about a problem, and be open to suggestions. Don't worry about taking time away from academic material. Taking time to focus on how students interact with each other, how they're feeling, and how they're behaving, will help create conditions conducive for overcoming academic challenges. Being more intentional and taking the time to name and practice these skills, can help them stick.

Retention Comments

As a refresher of what is in the CFES Handbook, you are to inform the Principal of any students you are considering for retention prior to checking that box on the 3rd Quarter Report Cards (quarter ends on March 28th). At this point, if you have students that you are concerned about, you should have/had a meeting with Mrs. Porter to go over these students. From there, we will go over next steps.

Statewide Tornado Drill

Pursuant to the Code of Virginia section 22.1-137.1, all public schools shall participate in at least one tornado drill per year. Our Tornado Drill is scheduled for Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. Please take a moment to review the Tornado Drill file below so that we can all be fully prepared.

I know, Another Survey ...

As some of you may know the recess committee is seeking input/feedback from administrators, classroom teachers, school counselors and parents. Therefore a short survey has been developed and sent out today from the Office of Research and Evaluation. Know that I recognize the burden an additional survey can place on you, but if we truly want to give everyone the opportunity to share their input/feedback on this important topic, we must use this methodology. Thank you for understanding and your support in this request!

Colt Tracker

It is back in action! Keep using them for tracking those major and minor behaviors.
Don't forget about trying out our Colt Tracker!

This link will, also, be in our handbook along with our flowchart!

Staffing Updates

  • We welcome Mrs. Otero back to fill in for Mrs. Doyle as she is out on leave. ALso, Mr. Bellamy has resigned and we will be actively looking for hire a replacement to finish out the year.
  • March 11 - Online registration deadline for Transfer Meet and Greet event for all voluntary and priority transfers who wish to attend.
  • March 14 - Transfer Meet and Greet event at Green Run HS from 4:30-5:45 p.m.
  • March 22 - Ms. Backer may submit recommendations for vacancies.
  • June 27 - Last date by which principals can make hiring recommendations from other area school divisions (Region II) – Teachers currently under contract with neighboring school divisions must resign from those divisions before 5 p.m. on 6/27.
  • July 15 - Last date teachers may voluntarily transfer without approval from HR and a Senior Executive Director or Director for School Leadership.

Maker Space Jump Ropes for Tanzania

Calling all 3rd-5th grade students and their parents! We will

be making jump ropes out of trash bags to send to an orphanage in Tanzania. Students will come down to the library for 20-minute sessions to work on making them.

Teachers, I hope you will also jump on board with this project by setting aside times for your students to come down to the library to work on this. I will begin by training a group of 4th graders during the Fun Friday PE in conjunction with May Robertson and the “Jump Rope for Heart” program. I will work with Mrs. Zajac to train a group of 5th graders during her Power Hour rotations on Thursday. The 4th and 5th grade students, along with parent volunteers, will then train the 3rd grade students.

Pictured to the side is an example of what one of the jump ropes looks like and they are surprisingly sturdy considering the materials they are made out of. We are hoping to make between 50-60 jump ropes by the end of May.

Important Notes regarding the choice PLP classes.

There has been a change to the process for publishing choice professional learning sessions for teachers. As part of the Professional Learning Program (PLP), instructional staff, including teachers, counselors, and specialists, engage in both essential (required) and choice professional learning sessions. In previous years, the majority of sessions for the upcoming school year were released for registration at the same time during the first week of May. This official launch and registration day was intended to enable staff to plan their professional learning for the following year so they could ensure they met the 22-point requirement. With the elimination of that requirement, the publication of choice sessions can be ongoing, released for registration throughout the year to allow staff to better make decisions based on their schedule and needs at that time, rather than registering for sessions months in advance. Essential sessions, however, will continue to be published with an official launch day of May 2.

  • Publication of choice sessions will occur throughout the year in Frontline.
  • All Essential sessions will be published and opened for registration in Frontline May 2. Additional information will be shared April 25 via a principals’ packet memo.
  • It is vital that profiles in Frontline be set to accurately reflect the current teaching assignment and to allow notifications. This ensures that as relevant sessions are added, an email notification will be sent. Attached directions are provided below to assist in setting up individual profiles.

If staff members need assistance with setting their Frontline profiles, please direct them to call the Office of Professional Growth and Innovation at 263-6972.

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Career Day

Christopher Farms Elementary School will be hosting a Career Day on our school campus Thursday, March 28th from 8:00-10:00am. We are looking for men and women from a variety of occupations to share their careers with our students. If you know anyone who would be interested in participating please have them fill out the form below and return it to Mrs. Yoshida


3/8 - Barbara Steinel

3/10 - Holly Virella

3/11 - Whitney Sinnen

3/12 - Claire Love

3/12 - Megan Bullard

3/13 - Amy Goodman

3/24 - Wende Phillips

3/26 - May Robertson

3/30 - Tasha Prosha

Important Links from the principal packet


Keep these coming!

Please check out our form below to see how Mrs. Porter and myself will be celebrating our students and continuing our positive culture and environment.