Soaring News

May 1, 2016

Principal's Message

Appreciation That Lasts

"Gratitude is one of the most important human virtues and one of the most common human deficiencies. Gratitude does not develop without effort."

- Dieter Uchtdorf

How often do we cherish the moment? Do we tell people how much they mean to us?

Throughout my school career I enjoyed several caring and wonderful teachers. I also had my fair share of teachers that I simply didn't connect with. Looking back two teachers made an impact with me as a student & teacher.

As a sixth grade student I was placed in the room of Mrs. Littles. I had several friends in the room and at that time sixth grade was part of Junior High School. It was a Whole New World. When I think back to my sixth grade year several memories pop into my head.

It was the first time in my life I held a boy’s hand! I learned how to divide triple-digit numbers. I really got excited about science, and I found a true appreciation for consistency. Not to mention I got the chicken pox that year.

As I look back what I remember the most about sixth grade is that Mrs. Little was predictable, consistent, reliable, not to mention stern. I never remember her missing a day of school. I always knew she would treat everyone the same, and each school day was filled with routine and procedure. In the moment I likely thought sixth grade was boring, but thinking back I appreciate what my teacher put in place. My memories of sixth grade will be forever positive.

But isn't that how it always works? We don't truly appreciate what we have until time has passed.

Many years later I landed my first teaching job. It was exciting and odd at the same time. The excitement came from actually having my own classroom. It was truly a dream come true. The oddness was that I was teaching overseas in Japan with one of the teachers who taught at the same Elementary School I attended in Germany as a student. The story doesn't end mentor teacher was that teacher, Mrs. Dawson. What are the odds? I remember thinking multiple times that year that some of my colleagues treated me as a professional and others seemed to still think of me as a young whipper snapper.

Those early years I often felt as though I needed to prove myself. I think Mrs. Dawson recognized this. From time to time she would wander down the hall and check in on me. We would talk curriculum and she would ask me about things I was doing in my classroom. Her feedback was always positive, and she often times asked for my assistance. I now know what she was up to. Mrs. Dawson was encouraging me through our interactions. She was allowing me to share. Over time our conversations began to shift my thinking from, "Do I belong?" to "I do belong."

For 3+ years I taught with Mrs. Dawson. I remember trying to get her to use technology (quite antiquated technology looking back on it now). I remember laughing at her when she started a fire in her room because she was trying to cook something. I remember her constant support and ability to keep everyone on track. Mrs. Dawson was always the calm, consistent voice of reason. After I moved back to the states, I began to miss Mrs. Dawson more than I ever thought I would. What I missed was the consistency and reliability. Whether it was me in sixth grade as a student with Mrs. Little or as a teacher with Mrs. Dawson as my mentor, I knew exactly what I was getting.

Years passed and I got word that Mrs. Dawson was sick. Last year she passed away and I still remember her sweet face right up to her passing. We would correspond via email and even once she sent me a recent picture. She said she was embarrassed about wearing the bandana (she had cancer) but wanted me to see her with that smiling face I always cherished. Rarely did Mrs. Dawson talk about her, it was always about others.

Mrs. Dawson died too suddenly for me. At no point did I ever think she wasn't going to beat the disease. Mrs. Dawson was larger than life. She was a constant, a reliable friend and colleague. Her reach will last for years. The world has one less amazing teacher, but that doesn't mean we won't remember what she taught us. My appreciation will last forever.

We don't teach for money, we don't teach for the accolades, we don't teach for the pats on the back. We teach because we have a passion for kids and a desire to make the world a better place. Mrs. Dawson made an impact on me that will last the rest of my life. I hope she looks down from Heaven and knows that I'm grateful.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, I encourage you to show gratitude towards someone that has helped shape you as a person and as an educator.

Articles Worth Reading

Videos Worth Watching

An Open Letter to Teachers From a College Professor
Behind the Scenes of "If I Knew Then" (Teacher Appreciation Video)
Is Everybody's Kid Fantastic? | Sebastian Maniscalco: What's Wrong With People?
A Teacher Appreciation Story that Inspires
Teacher Appreciation Song: A Song for Teachers - You Have Made A Difference


*Thank you to all faculty and staff who supported the Growing Gardeners Club by purchasing a raffle ticket(s) for the flower fanging baskets. The funds will be used for garden supplies, plants, soil, etc. for student use. -Colleen Kelley and Amanda Howse

*Thank you to Home Depot for donating the 4 hanging baskets, 50 small plants for students to "make and take" during club showcase night, and a 100 foot hose! -The Growing Gardeners Club

*Special Thanks to Jessie Ellison who painted the cinder block planter decoration located in the Herb Garden #9 in the courtyard! -Colleen Kelley

*Thank you to all the clubs and sponsors and PE staff for a wonderful club showcase and PE Night! -Dr. Sedory

*Thank you to the custodians for all your assistance with setting up and cleaning up after the Club Showcase and PE Night!-Dr. Sedory

*Thank you Marlena Parra, Geniece Hyman, and Kevin Rickard for leading great, informative parent sessions during the Math Hour of Power. -Dr. Sedory

*A hug thank you to Wendy Lyles, Crystal Felton, Mary Garnier, Marlena Parra, and Geniece Hyman for their leadership during the collaborative 1/2 day planning. ~Shannon

*Outstanding job to the 2nd and 3rd grade teachers for their data analysis, planning for remediation for the month of May, insightful dialogue, and positive attitude. ~Shannon

Upcoming Events

This Week

May 2: Ice Cream Sundae bar in lounge during lunch hour

May 2: Spring Concert Dress Rehearsal for 3rd grade students at 2pm

May 2: Field Day Info Meeting, 3:20 in the Library

May 2: Formative Reflection 2 is due in TalentEd

May 3: ESL Parent Night, 5pm in the Library

May 4: Spring Concert for parents, 2pm

May 5: Shannon to Principal Meeting (8am)

Coming Soon

May 10: 3rd grade 2 part system check for SOLs

May 20: Field Day

May 23: PAC Meeting

May 25: Mandatory Staff Meeting for SOL training

May 27: Digital Anchor School Team Meeting, 8am-10am at LRA

News to Share

~Teacher Appreciation Week is upon us. Each day there will be a treat to thank you for your dedication, excellent teaching, and always going above and beyond for our students.

~Formative Option #2 must be completed in TalentEd by May 2nd!

~There are planters that need adopting by classrooms in the courtyard. Please see Amanda Howse or Colleen Kelly.

~VBEF Grants are available!

Spring - applications due May 6, 2016:

  • Schoolwide Grants - $2,000 to $5,000 offered for projects that impact at least 25 percentof the school’s student population or one grade level.

  • Innovative Learning Grants - up to $2,000 for innovative learning projects benefiting students.

Fall - applications due Oct. 7, 2016:

  • Sustainability Impact Project Grants - up to $1,000 for projects that involve math andscience and engage students in the process of researching aspects of our local watershed.

  • Innovative Learning Grants - up to $2,000 for innovative learning projects benefiting students.

~The Career Teacher Application for 2016 will be available for downloading from the Intranet (Forms/Human Resources/Career Teacher Application) beginning in February.

~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!


I, Clemm Stephens, would like to pass the I Make A Difference Award to Lori Schools. Thank you for the difference you make in the lives of the students and teachers at NES. The TLC you give as you bandage the wounds, ice the heads of students and the Tylenol you give teachers for headaches are very much appreciated. You make a difference!


Dr. Sedory has created a blog, My AP Tried It, where she will share out new ideas for using web sites and apps in your classroom. Some may help with classroom management while others may have instructional ideas. The blog will hopefully have new ideas each week!

This week's post is about This web site will help you easily unsubscribe from spam email and you can organize emails that are not a priority for you into one email per day. It is an awesome tool you can even use for your personal email accounts!


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Charles Gregory: May 3

Linda Holton: May 5

Colleen Kelley: May 6

Elizabeth Barkley: May 9

Shannon Panko: May 16

Anna Keane: May 16

Candice Siwek: May 20

Alexandria Blackwell: May 22

Darnita Pearce: May 25

Paulette Brown: May 29

Wendy Lyle: May 31

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