December 2019


Dear Voyager families and community members,

We are quickly approaching winter break. This is a very busy time at school, but can also be a stressful time for students, staff, and families. To promote conversations about school at home, consider asking your child the following questions:

1. How did you help a friend today?

2. What games did you play at recess today?

3. What was something that made you laugh today?

4. What did you write about today?

5. What books did you read today?

6. Tell me something that you did well today.

7. What would your teacher tell me about your work/behavior today?

8. Tell me something new that you learned today.

9. What is something that we need to work on today?

10. What is something you are looking forward to tomorrow?

As a school, we are working on phonics (reading) with our students. Here is how you can help your younger child (learn to) read:

  • clap syllables
  • listen to and make rhymes
  • use play dough to build letters
  • read alphabet books
  • practice beginning sounds in words

For more advanced readers, consider asking open ended questions beginning with

  • Why do you think…
  • What if…
  • How did that…
  • Which character would likely…
  • What might…


Dear Parents,

Are you planning a family trip for the holidays? As you think about your arrangements, we want to stress the importance of sending your child to school every day possible. Every year, absences spike in the weeks before and after the winter holiday as families squeeze in a few more vacation days. It’s time to break that cycle. We know that just a few missed days here and there, even if they’re excused absences, can add up to too much lost learning time and put your child behind in school. This is as true in kindergarten as it is in high school. Put simply, too many absences at any age can affect a student’s chances for academic success and eventually for graduation.

We recognize that holidays are an important time for reconnecting with families far away. The costs of plane tickets often influence when you want to travel. But keep in mind the costs to your children’s education if they miss too much school— and the message you will be sending about the importance of attendance. Even if you’ve got a homework packet from the teacher, it doesn’t make up for the interaction and learning that happens in the classroom. Our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning, right up until vacation starts and the first day back. You can help us convey that message. This holiday season, give your children the gift of an education and the habit of attendance.


Todd Dempewolf, M.A., Ed.

Assistant Principal and Treasure Hunter

Voyager Elementary School


December News:

  • Holiday Assistance: Please email Matt Summers-Smith or Rachel Farley if you need assistance this holiday season. and
  • Our Giving Tree is up and running (November 25 - Dec 6). Thank you for your support!
  • Have you heard about recess school? As part of our school-wide effort to increase student safety on the playground, we utilize this tool to help students reflect on recess incidents/behaviors that do not align with our SAIL expectations (4 sessions during recess). Recess school sessions focus on the following:

  • Review of playground rules
  • Review of behavioral expectations

  • Problem Solving practice using the STEP method from our 2nd Step Curriculum

  • Practice/Demonstration

Help your child solve problems. We use the STEP method for problem solving here at school:

· S: Say the problem without blame

· T: Think of possible solutions

· E: Explore the consequences of those solutions (positives/negatives)

· P: Pick the best solution


These last few weeks students have been learning about and playing Washington's own sport, Pickle-ball. While playing students practice serving etiquette and their forehand's and backhands while not volleying in the kitchen, the no volley zone. Pickle-ball is a fun family game that can be enjoyed across ages. Equipment is easily accessible and inexpensive enough that purchasing a set up for the driveway would be a great family activity.

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Our students are participating in a holiday sing along on December 20th. We invite all students to come in pyjamas that day.

K-2 will gather in the gym from 9:30-10:15,

3rd-5th grade will gather in the gym from 10:45-11:30

These times are approximate times, as this is our first sing along and these times are our best guess.

Please note that there will NOT be chairs for parents/families. You are welcome to come (in your pjs!), but know that this is very low key, for students, experience.


In Music, we’re getting better with our rhythms. All students are starting to learn songs for our Winter Singalong (morning of Dec 20th). The Viking Choir is learning new songs for the February District Festival.

A note from Mr. Burnes and Mr. Aston regarding parent pick-up and drop-off: Please remain in your car whenever possible and allow us to help your students in and out of the vehicle when necessary; keeping the line moving is crucial for getting the kids to class on time in the morning, and for getting families home in the evening!

- Mr. Burnes


We have learned a lot of fun facts about turkeys; just ask your child to tell you one or two.

We have enjoyed sharing our love of rocks and minerals with all students in grades K-3 and Energy in 4th and 5th. Rube Goldberg machines were so much fun to build! We still have more to learn, but will pause for a bit for all students to learn how to properly recycle in our school, participate in Hour of Code and remind everyone the importance of proper digital citizenship before the December break.

It's not too early to plan for summer. We will hold our 5th annual Camp Invention July 6-10, 2020. Imaginations will soar this summer in the all-new Camp Invention® program, Elevate! Campers in grades K-6 will spark their creativity and build collaboration skills while controlling their very own flight simulation robot, protecting Earth’s ecosystems, designing the ultimate sports complex and learning the value of their ideas! Local educators will lead fun, hands-on STEM activities inspiring children to ask questions, overcome obstacles and be confident in their innovative ideas. Visit or call 800-968-4332 to register. Use promo code SUM25 to save $25 (expires 3/31).

We have put two bird feeders in the trees outside the big portable. Once the birds have figured out their new food source, we will start a bird unit using our wonderful binoculars. It is important to note that the bird seed is spicy, and can burn your eyes if you touch it and then touch your eyes. Please remind your child to not touch the bird feeders or the bird seed. We are doing our best to avoid attracting pests in our buildings.

As we engineer and build in STEM, we are always in need of the following items:

Snap Circuits


Yarn, buttons and material

Please email us with any questions, suggestions or concerns.

Mrs. Haug & Mrs. Schwab


Attitude of Gratitude!

I only met with 6 out of our 30 classes last week, but I want to share some of the ideas we discussed. Each group gathered in a circle to discuss favorite Thanksgiving foods, without repeating. (I am thrilled to report that asparagus and salad came up, unprompted!) Then we went around again to discuss which things bring us gratitude. "Family and friends" came up a lot. So did "home" and "electronics". An affectionate second grade class repeatedly said they were thankful for their teacher. I am grateful to be a Voyager Viking, working with a supportive staff, involved volunteer community, and, of course, the smiling students.

We ended our lesson with a Mind Yeti ( meditation on gratitude. I remind you, as well as myself, to take time during the holidays to slow down for a moment. I was honked or gestured at while driving twice last week, evidence of the frantic pace of this season. With tension high, it's even more important to make a point of carving out a time to be still. It's harder for some, but it's a practice that's worth it. Here are some ideas to try:

With gratitude,

Ms. Johnson, Character Education

5th grade Market Place

Please join us Friday, December 13th, 9:15am-11:45am for our school version of a winter market!

Marketplace is a fundraiser to help fifth graders pay for fifth grade camp. Our fifth grade students make and bring items to sell. Most items cost between $.50 and $5.00. Some examples of items sold in the past include stress balls, ornaments, dog treats, hot cocoa, and many more!

Students may bring money to school with them.

Questions: Please contact the 5th grade team

Update from Mrs. Falconer (Library)

Thank you to our wonderful parents for another successful Book Fair. It takes the time you volunteer to the Library to pull off this week long event and the students love it! Without each of you playing a part in the set up, day to day, and take down it couldn't run as smoothly as it does!

Thank you again from the students and myself!

Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy - VOTE BY FEBRUARY 11, 2020

The Peninsula School District will ask voters to approve a three-year Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy, to replace an expiring levy that was approved by voters in 2016. The replacement levy accounts for 18% of the District’s annual budget.

State and federal dollars do not fully fund day-to-day operations, so the District must rely on local residents to make up the difference. The levy funds many critical areas, such as teachers, nurses, para-educators, counselors, custodians, music, athletics, extra-curricular activities, safety and security, special education, highly capable, and preventative routine maintenance projects. Athletics and extra-curricular activities are 100% funded by levy dollars.

The current levy will expire in 2020, so this will not be a new tax. The replacement levy must be passed by voters to continue the programs listed above. The levy is for a fixed dollar amount and the District cannot collect more money if property values increase. The estimated levy tax rate is $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Please remember to vote by February 11, 2020.

More information is available at

Yearbooks on sale

Yearbooks are on sale online ($20/each). Starting February 1st, the cost will increase to $24. After March 1st, all sales will be first-come, first served.

The best way to order is online so you can track your order. Please visit to order your yearbook.

You can still order via order form hard copy (order forms available from the office) with cash or check made out to Voyager PTA.

Parking Lot Safety

We have been made aware that cars are speeding through the parking lot during drop off/pick up with little regard to pedestrians.

We have, at a minimum, 100 students who come through our doors, including families with younger siblings. We ask that you yield to pedestrians when you are in our parking lot and the drive through lane. Please use caution when driving and be on the lookout for children.

Parking continues to be scarce at Voyager and we understand that you have to utilize the main road for parking. Please exercise caution in those areas, especially at the beginning and end of the day.

Please know that our staff is not able to regulate traffic. They are responsible for the safety of students, ensuring that students are matched with the appropriate parent(s)/caretaker(s). We rely on all of you to use common sense and caution when driving to and from school.

Thank you for your support.

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Congratulations to all the students on taking their Spell-a-Thon tests! We had 300 students receive a 100 on their test!

All tests have been sent home and you can start turning in pledges. The final date to turn in pledges is Wednesday, December 18th. This year we are also offering an online pledge option - great for family who live far away! Follow the link below to set up a page with a link you can email to friends and family.

This year all pledges received will go towards the purchase of a new play structure. Our Phase 1 Fundraising Goal is $40,986.44.

We also many great prizes for this year for all pledges received per student:

$25 - $49.99 – Bee Finger Puppet*
$50- $99.99–Voyager Spell A Thon t-shirt *
$100 - $249.99 –Cuddly Spell A Thon Bee*
$250 – $399.99 – Hand Drone*
$400 + - LED Light up Scooter*
*each prize level get that prize and all from above
Top Fundraiser for entire school will also win a Family Night Out in Uptown compliments of Kvinsland Dentistry!

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If you enjoy kids and driving, become a school bus driver. Peninsula School District Transportation Department is seeking candidates to become substitute school bus drivers.

Peninsula School Bus Drivers transport over 5,500 students daily and travel more than a million miles per year. We are a great team, who take pride in transporting our students to and from school safely.

We offer a comprehensive paid training program. With completion of our training, you will become a CDL licensed driver and a valuable member of our Transportation Team.

Interviews are being scheduled for the week December 10th for our winter class.

Class begins January 6th

apply on-line:

Or call 253-530-3900 for more information

This is a very rewarding occupation and an excellent source of supplemental income.


Visti this LINK to view the latest Gig Harbor Fire News


Highly Capable Referral Notice for Annual Testing

Open November 4th, 2019 - January 15th, 2020

Online Highly Capable Referral form for Parents and Teachers

Direct link-

Please note: single online referral form for teachers and parents for more information

¡Aviso importante!
Las aplicaciones al examen anual del Highly Capable Program (Estudiantes de Nivel Avanzado) ya están abiertas
Cuando: del 4 de noviembre del 2019 al 15 de enero del 2020.
Dónde aplicar: el formulario para referir a un estudiante se encuentra en la liga
Quien debe referir a un estudiante: los padres y profesores del alumno.
Para más información por favor visita
¡Recuerde! enviar un solo formulario diligenciado por los padres y profesores del estudiante.


Every year we ask parents to log into their ParentPortal account and complete the year-round update. If you do not have a ParentPortal contact the school office.

Please click HERE to view the instructions on how to access/use your ParentPortal. If you have not completed this process, please do so as soon as possible, as this is the information we use to contact you. We would like you to complete this form even if you do not have any changes.

Thank you to everyone who has completed their update for this year.


With winter approaching, we would like to remind you to dress your child(ren) for the weather. We go outside for recess as much as possible, including rain.



To make credit card payments (field trips, book fines, class shirts etc) and access purchase history, follow the instructions below: Credit card payments are accepted on-line only. (Processing fees will be applied at time of checkout)

1. Go to

2. Click on Bookkeeper

a. Consider bookmarking this page for quick access in the future

3. Log in using your student's ID number as the User Name and student's last name (ALL CAPS) as the password.

4. Click on your student's name

a. Any fines and fees due will be RED just below your student's name.

i. Click on View.

ii. You can View the fine or fee in more detail or Select the items you wish to pay.

iii. To complete, click on Pay Selected Fines/Fees. (if your child has outstanding fines, they will show up)

5. Add items to your cart and click on Checkout to complete your payments.

6. To see Purchase History or reprint a receipt - Look under Reports.

When contacting the Office Manager, please consider using email as your first method of contact; Lynn Tachell,

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* If your child will be absent or late, please contact our attendance line at 253.530.4807.

* Please call or send a note to the office when your student has an afternoon transportation change, this includes clubs.

* After school transportation changes need to be made by a parent/guardian and needs to be submitted before 2:45 pm each day. Please be sure to include the name of the teacher, and the first and last name of child. If your child is riding the bus with someone, please include the bus number and stop.

* When picking your child up early, please plan on arriving at least 10 minutes early, so that we have time to locate them and get them to the office. We do not call students down until you check them out at the office.

* To ensure the ongoing safety of the students at Voyager, we require ID from any individual we do not know.

* If you ARE NOT a parent/guardian and you wish to have lunch with a student, you must have prior approval from the parents/guardian. Please send a note with your child or call the office to inform us if you're planning on having someone visit your children during lunch.

* Please remember that helium balloons are not to be brought or delivered to school. They are a distraction in class and we have students with allergies to latex and other issues.


The Peninsula School District does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. Inquiries regarding compliance and/or grievance procedures may be directed to the District’s Title IX and Compliance Officer, Dan Gregory, at (253) 530-1009, email or the Section 504 and ADA Coordinator, John Yellowlees, at (253) 530-1081, email . Mailing address: 14015 62nd Ave. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332.