Soaring News

January 15, 2016

Principal's Message


Mediocrity is starting to creep into the world of education and specifically into the practice of teaching. I am afraid that it might always have been there and I am just now becoming increasingly aware of it. While many might want to place the full blame on teachers, I think there might be plenty of blame to go around. There are a handful of people that are responsible for the prevalence of mediocrity in the profession of teaching. When I think about mediocrity and how this may be the case in some schools, but certainly not here at Newtown. Every day I see the great things that our teachers are doing to continue their own professional learning to improve instruction and student learning:

  • teachers having reflective conversations with myself or their colleagues
  • teachers taking charge of their learning during CPLC meetings
  • teachers observing other classrooms to gain new ideas
  • teachers getting feedback from others that have been in their classrooms
  • teachers reflecting on their practice by watching themselves on video
  • teachers seeking out new strategies to try when they see their students are not getting or having behavior issues
  • teachers sharing ideas with each other in grade level/PLC meetings
  • teachers seeking/sharing ideas with teachers in their professional learning network outside of our school
  • teachers trying new strategies they just read about, saw in a YouTube video clip, or in another classroom

We do not have teachers teaching the same way they’ve always taught. We do not have teachers blaming the kids or the parents for not getting it. We have teachers that are constantly learning and sharing their passion for learning to inspire their students. We have excellent teachers that are constantly observing their students, reflecting and trying new things to meet their kids where they are. Our students and community are so fortunate to have such excellent teachers!

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Articles Worth Reading

Videos Worth Watching

Opening Doors and Hearts (6 min) *sure to make you smile
Josh - opening doors and hearts | WestJet Above and Beyond Stories
On the Road with Steve Hartman...AMAZING STORY! (2 min)
On the Road: Blind HS teacher's remarkable success
StopItDad (2 min)
Hashtags: #StopItDad


*A huge shout out to Jennifer Blais, Kristina Bradberry, Jesse Ellison, Karen Holl, Amanda Howse, Kevin Rickard, Ellen Shackley for their willingness to lead our first mini-conference style staff meeting. Excellent teaching by all! Through your leadership we will continue to grow as a Digital Learning Anchor School.

*So proud of Delores Simpson and Ellen Shackley for leading CLC Math meetings this last week! The use of Nearpod was a great tool to keep all participants actively engaged and hold everyone accountable throughout the collaboration time.

*Way to go Kevin Rickard for pitching in and assisting us all as Kenya Bailey was out sick last week. Through your assistance teachers and students still had access to their technology.

*Perseverance was Lacy Davis' middle name last week during all the technological glitches impacting the morning show. Thanks for making sure announcements continued on in spite of the technological issues.

Upcoming Events

Next Week

Monday, January 18: No School, MLK Day

Tuesday, January 19: Digital Anchor School Learning Walk (9:00-10:00 am)

Wednesday, January 20: Balanced Assessment Training (during CLC Meetings)

Coming Soon

January 25: PAC Meeting


~Mid-year update for Goal Setting in TalentEd is due January 29th.

~Don't forget to do your mandatory annual training. It's due February 5th!

~Formative Option 1 Reflection is due in TalentEd by February 5th!

~Check out the info on the new BE Well program VBCPS is offering. You can track your healthy habits and earn up to $500 a year!



The teacher of the month for January is Erin Owens! Mrs. Owens has helped out her grade level by taking a leadership role in collaboration. She is also willing to ask some of the tough questions that everyone is thinking. In addition, she is leading the Newtown Nuggets Cheerleaders! Several of our students are learning to cheer and perform and they are doing a wonderful job! Mrs. Owens, thank you for all you do for Newtown Elementary!

The teacher of the month will receive the following perks:

  • Free jeans day once a week for the month

  • Park in one of the AP parking spots

  • Name announced on morning announcements

  • Certificate

  • Picture on the Teacher of the Month poster in the foyer


I, Mr. Elliott, would like to pass the "I Make a Difference Award" to Cecilia Burns. Ms. Burns goes above and beyond for all her students. She truly cares about them and wants to make sure they do well. Thank you for making a difference, Ms. Burns.


~Thank you Erin Owens, Heather Messick, and Arlina Staton for helping to facilitate the 2nd grade collaboration sessions.

~Thank you Lydia Hallman and Laurie Harrison for helping facilitate the 3rd grade language arts collaboration sessions.

~Thank you to Ms. Messick for organizing the staff "holiday" party!

~Thank you to everyone who helped Ms. Messick plan the party and everyone who brought delicious food!

~Thank you Mrs. Panko for hosting the party!



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Patreena Hagans: 1/18

Kevin Rickard: 1/21

Cecilia Burns: 1/23

Jennifer Fernandez: 2/4

Clemm Stephens: 2/4

Kenya Bailey: 2/5

Lacy Davis: 2/28

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