Astro News

Compass 2020: Power On Alanton & Reach for the Stars!

February 8-12

Lunch Changes - Starting February 16

FYI - Rachel will run a list of students with overdrawn accounts each morning and deliver a post-it note to you so you could privately inform the students to pick up a 'bag lunch'.

Student Cafeteria Debt - Information: The division cannot continue to lose the revenue from unpaid debts, operations must be adjusted while still providing each student a meal. To that end, the following practices will be put in place beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, following the Presidents’ Day holiday:

  • A debt limit of $20.75 will be set for all students. This allows for a full week of breakfast and lunch service while attempts are made through personal and Alert Now calls to notify parents and collect the unpaid balance.
  • Students with an unpaid balance at or exceeding $20.75 will receive a reimbursable bag lunch instead of the traditional hot lunch. This bag lunch will include a turkey/cheese sandwich, fruit, vegetable and milk.
  • Cafeteria staff will assist elementary and middle school students in selecting the bag lunch while high school students will be told by staff when their account has reached a negative balance. This will be done with the understanding that older students are more mature and able to select the bag meal on their own.
  • Bag meals will be placed on the serving lines with the salads and other cold items so they can be taken as an apparent option in order to minimize emotional impact on the student. Cashier will hit alternate meal key to track the number of these given.
  • •A breakfast bag containing a cheese stick, graham cracker, fruit juice and milk will also be available at both levels and will follow the lunch protocol. Managers will work with OFS supervisors and school administrators to set up pre-identification for schools participating in Breakfast in the Classroom.
  • At all levels, if a student presents the entire amount necessary for an individual meal, (s)he will be served a hot lunch or breakfast regardless of outstanding balance on the account.
  • Elementary balances will follow students to secondary schools.
  • Parents of students who have reached or exceeded the $20.75 threshold by Feb. 1 will be notified in advance of the need for their children to select the bag meal option until the account is paid.
  • OFS will offer a payment plan (not to exceed six months) for families with a severely overdrawn account. Parents will be required to sign an agreement with a detailed repayment schedule. During the term of the agreement and as long as payments are made on time, children will receive hot meals. If, however, payments are not made in accordance with the agreement, students will be served bag meals. In addition, balances which remain unpaid will be forwarded to the City for debt collection.
  • It is important to note that the reimbursable bag meal option will not add additional charges to the students’ meal account. Cost of the lunch bag is approximately $0.75 after federal reimbursement. The cost of the breakfast bag is $0.37 after reimbursement.

Celebrate Black History Month

The month of February is designated as Black History Month and is a time of celebrating and honoring the many achievements and contributions made by African Americans to the economic, cultural, and political development of America. The Virginia Department of Education, as set forth in Superintendent’s Memo #009-16 dated Jan. 22, has provided teachers and school divisions with Black History Month resources. These resources, which are listed below, support the History and Social Science Standards of Learning.

For more information about the above resources, please contact Betsy Barton, specialist for history and social science, Office of Humanities and Early Childhood, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 225-3454. Should you desire additional resources or curricular support, do not hesitate to contact the Teaching and Learning content coordinators Kris Troch at 263-1465 for secondary or Meghan Raftery at 263-1020 for elementary. Thank you.

Career Teacher Allowance Application Process 2016

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

Every teacher requesting consideration for a Career Teacher allowance needs to:

  • Complete the 2016 Career Teacher Application.
  • Collect supporting documentation as directed by the building principal to verify actions in each of the four categories of the form. (The teacher keeps all of the supporting documentation with a copy of the completed application for their records.)
  • Request the signature of the building principal on the cover sheet between Feb. 9, 2016, and the last day of school, June 20, 2016.
  • Include a copy of the National Board Certification if not already on file in the Licensure Office and is applicable to the application.

As last year, all applications are scanned by a designated school office personnel into LaserFiche and into the LaserFiche Document Drop folder using the Career Teacher Application Template. Once the legible scanning of the application is complete, and the Career Teacher Template is complete for the LaserFiche Drop Folder, the teacher should retain the original for their records. Applicants will be notified by email upon receipt of their application. Once the teacher’s Career Teacher application is reviewed and processed, they will receive another email and memo indicating approval or denial of the application.

Those teachers with questions about the Career Teacher Application or those who need assistance with the completion of the application may contact Dianne Kinnison, human resources specialist, in the Department of Human Resources at 263-1133 or

Verify Your Employment Intent

VBCPS Employees, Please complete this very short 2016-2017 Employment Intent online form to secure your employment for next school year here. Once you have finished, please click the “Save” button at the bottom right of the screen. Please complete this form on or before February 23, 2016.

Completion is required for all VBCPS employees who are not substitutes or on annual (temporary) employment agreements. This information enables us to budget effectively and ensures that our students begin the year with fully staffed schools.

Please be aware that the Code of Virginia requires teachers to notify their school divisions by June 15 at the latest if they plan to resign or retire before the next school year. Resignations or retirements received after June 15 require special authorization. This authorization is dependent on finding a suitable replacement; therefore, your resignation may not be accepted, and you would be required to continue in your assignment until a suitable replacement is found.

Follow the Alanton Staff on Twitter:

  • Charlene Garran @AlantonAstros
  • Fara Faust @ftfaust
  • Heather Thomas @hpage1432
  • Brianne Nelson @briannen10
  • Lorena Wornom @ASpanishProgram
  • Kendra Randolph @kendra_randolph
  • Amy Calicchio @AMIller2855
  • Lynnie Fand @lynnie_fand
  • Donna Stockburger @donna4peace
  • Amy Paulson @acpaulsonvb
  • Donna Kovalcheck @donnakov
  • Caye Harvey @cayeharvey
  • Coleen Bonney @ColeenBonney
  • Anne Douglas Sessoms @adsessoms
  • Debbie Torres @DeborahLTorres1
  • Cynthia Housianitis @ReadingAstros5
  • Melissa Johnson @Melissa09418978
  • Linda Gardner @lsgardner22
  • Kathryn Davey @giftedastros
  • Lori Clarke @loriclarke93
  • Wendy DeMartini @wendy_demartini
  • Kristin Lineberry @krislineberry
  • Mary Nutter @ MaryNutter1
  • Beth Fogelgren @BethFogelgren
  • Jennifer Miller@ Jim14444
  • SCA @AlantonSCA
  • Alanton PTA @AlantonPTA
  • Alanton Library @alantonlIbrary (Not sure if she uses this anymore.)

Fara scheduled Twitter training on Monday, February 22 @ 3:30 – 4:30 pm in the Computer Lab.

Please let me know if you have a Twitter account and I missed you on this list. :)

Join the Alanton Twitter Family!

New Teachers LIteracy Academy - February 16 @ 3:45-5:45

This session will provide training for first-third year teachers on aligning independent reading and writing tasks to standards and objectives and to the whole group learning target.

Weekly Happenings

CLC Focus: Language Arts

Monday, 2/8/16

  • Chinese New Year

  • Report cards issued for 2nd quarter

  • 8:00-3:30 Anne Douglas OOTB for Math Lead Professional Learning session

  • 9:35-10:50 Grade 3 CLC

  • 11:00-12:15 Grace 4 CLC

  • 1:00-2:15 Grade 1 CLC

  • 3:15-4:30 Newspaper Club meeting, room 37

  • 3:30-4:30 Staff Fitness Class, in library

Tuesday, 2/9/16

  • 8:00-10:30 Charlene OOTB for Elementary Principals’ Meeting w/Dr. Spence
  • 1:00-3:30 Charlene OOTB for a Curriculum Alignment Meeting
  • 8:55-10:10 Grade 5 CLC
  • 1:45-3:00 Grade 2 CLC
  • 3:15-4:00 All City Chorus rehearsal, in music room
  • 3:15-4:00 Running Club, in gym
  • 3:30-4:30 PAC meeting, in library

Wednesday, 2/10/16

  • 12:10-1:10 Kindergarten CLC

  • 3:15-4:00 Battle of the Books meeting, in library

  • 3:30-4:15 Special Ed meeting with coordinator, room 14

  • 6:30 Parent Connection Workshop: Fitness with Families, at Glenwood ES

Thursday, 2/11/16

  • 100th DAY OF SCHOOL!
  • 8:00-3:30 Bruce OOTB for a meeting (need to confirm)

  • 12:30-3:30 Heather OOTB for LMS meeting

  • 2:30-7:00 Charlene OOTB - Spanish Immersion Interviews with Division

  • 3:15-4:00 All City Chorus rehearsal, in music room

  • 3:30-4:30 Staff Fitness Class, in library

Friday, 2/12/16

  • Valentine's Day Card Exchange Day!

  • Have a fabulous Friday & a wonderful weekend!

Future Events -

CLC Focus: Math

Monday, 2/15/16

  • All schools are closed in honor of Presidents’ Day

Tuesday, 2/16/16

  • 11:00-1:30 Grade 2 field trip to Sandler Center for performance of The Monster Who Ate My Peas

  • 8:55-10:10 Grade 5 CLC
  • 1:45-3:00 Grade 2 CLC
  • 3:15-4:00 All City Chorus rehearsal, in music room
  • 3:15-4:00 Running Club, in gym
  • 3:15-4:15 SCA meeting for officers & room reps, room 3
  • 4:30-6:30 Achieve 3000 Professional Learning Session for teachers of grades 3-5, Plaza MS

Wednesday, 2/17/16

  • Staff Jeans Day ($5 to Brenda Hogge to participate)
  • 8:00-3:30 Fara OOTB for Microsoft Innovative Educators Training
  • 10:30-1:00 TBD - PTA Book Swap, in cafeteria during class lunch times
  • 12:10-1:10 Kindergarten CLC
  • 1:30-4:30 Charlene OOTB for EPL meeting @ Plaza Annex
  • 3:15-4:00 Battle of the Books meeting, in library

Thursday, 2/18/16

  • 8:00-3:30 Fara OOTB for Microsoft for Innovative Educators Training
  • 10:30-1:00 TBD - PTA Book Swap, in cafeteria during class lunch times
  • 3:15-4:00 All City Chorus rehearsal, in music room
  • 3:30-4:30 Staff Fitness Class, in library

Friday, 2/19/16

  • 8:00-3:30 Linda G. & Jenny M. OOTB for Literacy Leadership Meeting

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Happy Birthday to...

February Birthdays

  • Julie Macalusa - 15th
  • Lorena Wornom - 16th
  • Lori Clarke - 18th
  • Tasha Pitts - 23rd
  • Margaret Graff - 25th


  • #TerrificKendra: Thanks to Kendra for giving up her planning to meet with the anxious parents of a new student coming in to her classroom- you are awesome

  • #VBPLEmpower - Thanks to all staff for your positive energy and professionalism during our EdCamp style meeting on Monday. I was so impressed by the collaboration in every room.

  • #ForTheLoveOfChildren - Martha Smith’s students know she really cares. Martha stays after school on certain days with anyone bringing in a permission slip to give them the extra help and attention they may need.

  • #NewTwitterFriend - Welcome to Lynnie Fand to Twitter world! She had her first Tweet during our PD meeting on Monday. Woot Woot! Follow Lynnie @lynnie_fand

  • #EditEditEdit - Thanks to Kate Z. on her editing skills for the report cards! (*I second this shout-out. We truly appreciate her support with editing every single report card in this school.)

  • #ExtraGraceRequired - Shout out for April Vassar handling “extra grace required” children.

  • #Core Click Pros - Thanks to the kindergarten teachers for embracing Core Clicks and having me in their rooms to learn how it can be used whole group.

  • #SuperPETeam - Thank you to the PE team for just being so amazing! I am always so amazed how they figure out who goes on what bus when we are down a few.

Check out what Scarlet Grace is holding in her hand!

(Whitney Simmons' Little Cutie)

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Congrats Whitney! :)

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We can't wait to find out if Scarlet Grace will have a little brother or sister!

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#OysterPros - Thanks for bringing hands on real word experiences for our kids!

Donna's daughter made this great sweater for her - wearing it with love and pride! :) LOVE it!

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Getting Excited for the Shamrock Run!

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Alanton knocked Dr. Spence's 'Socks Off' - Woot-Woot!

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School Board Recognition

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Teaching & Learning Framework - Alanton teachers living the life with the VBCPS framework.

Click on the link for the video:

Learning It, Living It, Loving It

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