From the Castle

Parent Newsletter for Thomas Dale High School - August 2018

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Greetings from the Castle!

The summer season is in full swing, and as July turns to August, it is time to start "gearing" up for the school year! I have enjoyed getting to know our staff, students, parents, and community members over the past several months and have appreciated the warm welcome into the Dale family. Please take a moment to view my introduction video shared earlier this month.

From the Castle is our monthly parent newsletter, issued at the end of each month. At Thomas Dale, we value trust, communication, and relationships. We believe that open lines of communication and a steady stream of information will assist you, your child, and our community with making decisions, engaging with the education of our students, and committing to a shared vision for Thomas Dale High School. You will receive each issue of From the Castle via email monthly, and you will be just two clicks away from being in-the-know. Our parent newsletter will include information about school operations, educational trends, Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA), counseling, testing and tutoring, announcements, community engagement, and upcoming events. Additionally, From the Castle will be posted on our website and social media outlets. Our intention is to strengthen the home-school connection and collaboratively work to create the conditions our students need to prepare them for college, career, or contribution!

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @GoTDKnights, Facebook: Thomas Dale, and Instagram: @GoTDKnights. Our website is updated regularly for more information:

From the Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA) President

The start of school is right around the corner, and the Thomas Dale Parent Teacher Student Association can’t wait to WELCOME BACK ALL OUR KNIGHTS, including our newest KNIGHTS, the class of 2022, and their families! We look forward to making 2018-2019 a fun and productive year.

The purpose of the PTSA is first and foremost to support our students. Children succeed when families, schools, and communities work together. In addition to the students, the PTSA supports the faculty, staff, and parents, as well as a wide variety of school events and needs. Last year, the PTSA provided four (4) scholarships to graduating seniors and one faculty scholarship. We also sponsored the Drive 4 UR School fundraiser with Haley Ford and the Baccalaureate service for the graduating class. Additionally, we provided support to Knights in Need, a program that offers support to students who are experiencing a traumatic experience (i.e. fire, homelessness, etc.).

An effective and successful PTSA requires the support and involvement of the entire school community. When families volunteer for the PTSA, not only do they support the school, but they are given the opportunity to meet other Knight families! Please support your KNIGHT and become a member of the Thomas Dale PTSA. We encourage each of you to show your commitment by joining and become a part of the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the country.

Second, we need families to participate in the numerous events and programs planned throughout the year. You may choose to be a committee chair, committee member, or volunteer. Whatever level of participation you choose, your time and involvement will be greatly appreciated. Whether you have 30 minutes or a couple of hours in or outside of school hours, your ideas, time, and talents are truly needed. There are endless ways you can help your student and Thomas Dale High School to be successful!

The Thomas Dale Knights family has been known for its diversity, friendly people, and strong community-building culture! Again, I hope all of you join this wonderful organization! Please contact me anytime about PTSA events and activities, I am here to assist! I wish you and your student a great school year and thank you for your support!

Warm regards,

Johnette Henderson

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Two Campuses, One School

At Thomas Dale High School, we have a unique opportunity with two campuses - Main and West. We are able to schedule most of our 9th grade students at West, giving them a small-feel environment and minimizing the impact of the transition from middle school to high school. Although this has traditionally been seen as a 9th grade campus, which we will continue this year, our team intends to host a committee of administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and students to re-imagine and re-design how West campus might be used in the future for years to come.

There are times when 9th grade students take classes that are offered on Main campus, and not at West. Scheduling may cause our students to travel from one campus to the other. We aim to minimize the impact on instruction and maximize the safety and security of all students. Intentional efforts are being made this year to reduce the need for student travel and to provide adult supervision as they move from one campus to the other.

Being home to two campuses is a unique feature that helps make Thomas Dale special. As we look to plan for the years to come, we dare to dream about how our school can best utilize Main and West.


  • Fee Collection will be Wednesday, August 22, from 4-7pm and Thursday, August 23, from 10am-2pm. On Wednesday evening, fees will be collected in the cafe commons at Main. On Thursday, fees will be collected in the front office at Main. For your reference, you can access the fee sheet HERE. Additionally, you can pay your fees online instead of in person by clicking HERE.
  • Thomas Dale is proud to be a high-quality public educational setting and center of the Chester community. Because of the nature of our service and purpose, there are a few reminders about what is not permitted on school grounds at any time: weapons, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products of any kind (including vapor).

Join us for a "Dale"-gate before the Battle of Chester vs. Bird on August 31! The game starts at 6:30pm. We will pre-sell tickets for $8 (cash only):
  • Monday, August 27 (9am-5pm front office at Main)
  • Tuesday, August 28 (9am-5pm front office at Main)
  • Wednesday, August 29 (9am-3pm front office at Main AND at the JV football game from 6-7pm)
  • Thursday, August 30 (9am-5pm front office at Main)

No pre-sale tickets will be sold on Friday (game day). Tickets will be $10 at the gate on Friday night, August 31. See you there!

Bell Schedule

Our bell schedule reflects a commitment to high-quality instruction, support and challenge based on students' needs, and a focus on the social-emotional development of our Knights. Balancing the rigors of academics with the realities of teenage life in 2018 and beyond, we aim to provide a learning environment where students can pursue their goals, dreams, and personal pathways in a place that is welcoming, connected, and full of joy!
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Enrichment is a period of time when we increase our focus on individual student needs. For 2018-2019, we will leverage Enrichment to support and challenge students in academics and to create an inclusive, positive school culture. To do so, we needed to strategically create a longer period of time on fewer days (to protect instructional time) and to provide structure on those days.

  • Wednesday and Thursday Enrichment will have an academic focus.
  • Monday Enrichment will be focused on social-emotional development, relationships, mental health, and connection.

Specific details regarding logistics will be shared at a later date as we refine our structure and plan for implementation of a high-quality approach to Enrichment.
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Freshman Orientation

Freshman Orientation:

Since mid-April, the administration, teachers, and Knight Mentors have been preparing for the arrival of the Thomas Dale Class of 2022. We are all so excited to welcome our newest Knights to Dale! Orientation will be a time to get to know your mentors, meet your teachers, counselors, and administrators, and start to build relationships with your fellow classmates. We hope to see all of the Class of 2022 at this important event!

  • Date: Thursday, August 30, 2018
  • Time: 1–4pm, followed by a tailgate from 4-6pm
  • Arrival: Please arrive no later than 12:30pm, park in the student lot (entrance on Old Centralia Rd.) and enter through Door 10 at the Main campus. Program will begin promptly at 1:00pm. (Agenda)
  • Dress: Dress comfortably in order to participate in the team building activities, pep rally, and meet and greet tailgate.

New Student Orientation

Thomas Dale High School

New Student Orientation

Thursday, August 30, 2018

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Greeting New Students and Parents!

We would like to publicly welcome you to the Knight Family at our New Student Orientation. This orientation will be held at Thomas Dale main campus’ (3626 W. Hundred Road, Chester, VA) small auditorium on Thursday, August 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Please enter through door #10 (student parking lot) from Old Centralia Road. You will be greeted by some of our outstanding students who will direct you to the auditorium. School Counseling uses this orientation to give students and parents a general overview of Thomas Dale, its many extra-curricular options, the Chester Community and the opportunity to ask questions that may have arisen since your initial meeting with your counselor. As well, we are excited to introduce you to our new leader, Dr. Christopher Jones, Principal and the School Counseling Team! We hope that this intimate setting will help you feel even more at ease as you begin your new journey as a Knight. We conclude the orientation with a tour given by some of our student leaders. Here is a copy of the event’s agenda for your convenience.

Dress Code

August is the perfect month to get those back-to-school clothes. To help you make decisions about what to purchase, please follow the dress code guidelines outlined by Chesterfield County Public Schools (click HERE for the direct link). Please pay particular attention to the dress code, as we intend to hold students accountable to the expectations.

All students who attend any public school in Chesterfield County are expected to dress appropriately for a K-12 educational environment. Clothing shall fit, be neat and clean, and conform to standards of safety, good taste, appropriateness, and decency. Any clothing that interferes with or disrupts the educational environment is prohibited. Among other things, the following are prohibited:

  • Clothing with language or images that are vulgar, discriminatory, or obscene;
  • Clothing that promotes or depicts illegal or violent behavior or items prohibited in a school setting, such as weapons, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or drug paraphernalia;
  • Clothing that contains threats such as gang symbols;
  • Clothing that exposes cleavage, private parts, the midriff, or undergarments;
  • Sagging or low-cut pants;
  • Tube tops, halter tops, tank tops, backless blouses or blouses with only ties in the back;
  • Clothing constructed of see-through material; and,
  • Head coverings, unless required for religious or medical purposes. The parent(s) of any student required to wear a head covering based on religious beliefs, medical needs, or other good cause, should contact the principal of the student’s school.

Students not complying with this policy will be asked to take appropriate action including, but not limited to, covering the noncomplying clothing, changing clothes, reporting to in-school detention, or being sent home. Repeated infractions will result in disciplinary action. This policy is intended to constitute the minimum expectation for student attire throughout the school division. However, individual schools may adopt more restrictive expectations. In CCPS middle and high schools, we also restrict leggings, yoga pants, and other tight-fitting leg coverings unless worn under a skirt, dress, or other similar garment.
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Parking Passes

Parking on school grounds is a privilege we are honored to extend to our students. Please click HERE for the Parking Application Form. We are excited to offer a few chances before school starts to purchase parking passes. We will sell parking passes to SENIORS on Monday and Tuesday, August 20 and 21 from 11am to 1pm in the Main Campus Front Office. Juniors and Seniors can purchase their passes on Thursday, August 23 from 10am to 2pm in the Main Campus Front Office. We will also sell parking passes during lunches throughout the first week of school. We will begin holding students accountable for having their parking pass hang tag visible in their rear-view mirror on Monday, September 10, 2018.

This year, students will be assigned a numbered parking space. Please note that students without a decal or students who park in unauthorized parking spaces, including any space assigned to others, are subject to the following consequences:

  1. The first time, students will receive a warning sticker and have an opportunity to purchase a parking pass.
  2. The second time, a student will receive another warning sticker and another opportunity to purchase a parking pass.
  3. The third time, the student will receive another warning sticker and will be redirected by an administrator, with a warning that another offense will lead to a vehicle immobilizer being applied. The student will be highly encouraged to purchase a parking pass.
  4. The fourth time, the student will have a vehicle immobilizer applied to one of the vehicles wheels. Students will need to notify administration and will have another opportunity to purchase a parking pass.
  5. The fifth time, the vehicle will be towed at the operator's expense.

Parents and Students, please do not put us in a position to go this far. Parking privileges may be revoked at any time, without a refund. Vehicles parked on school grounds are subject to search.

Please bring the following documents to purchase a TDHS parking decal:

  • A completed Parking Application Form (PAF) signed by the student AND THE PARENT/GUARDIAN
  • Vehicle registration for cars listed on the PAF
  • Valid driver’s license (NO learner’s permits accepted)
  • $50.00 check made payable to Thomas Dale High /School or Cash

Community Engagement

We value community engagement and believe in powerful connections to bring home and school closer, to provide students with authentic learning experiences, and to give our Dale family in Chester multiple opportunities to give back to our beloved school.

Please consider how you might contribute to our shared vision.

This summer, there have been, and will continue to be, multiple opportunities for your engagement:

  • August 2. Colonial Ridge Apartments Meet-and-Greet (6:30-8pm)
  • August 7. National Night Out at Greenleigh (6-8pm)
  • August 9. Greenleigh Meet-and-Greet (6:30-8pm)
  • August 16. Broadwater Meet-and-Greet (6:30-8pm)
  • August 30. 9th Grade Parents Meet-and-Greet at our "Dale-gate" (4:00-6:00pm)
  • August 31. "Dale-gate" before the "Battle of Chester" Football game vs. Bird
  • September 10. Back-to-School Night (6:30-8pm)
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Upcoming Events

Stay connected to OUR CALENDAR and mark yours!

August 13 - Parent Meeting for Fall Sports (6:30-7:30pm)

August 20, 21 - Parking Passes (11am-1pm)

August 22 - Fee Collection (4-7pm, cafeteria at Main)

August 23 - Fee Collection (10am-2pm, front office at Main)

August 23 - Parking Passes (10am-2pm, front office at Main)

August 30 - New Student Orientation (10-11:30am)

August 30 - Freshman Orientation (1-4pm, "Dale"-gate @ 4:30pm)

August 31 - "Dale"-gate before the Battle of Chester vs Bird

September 4 - First Day of School

September 10 - Back-to-School Night (6:30-8pm)