Best Year Ever

Why? #KidsDeserveIt (2nd Quarter)

For the Week of December 19th, 29th and January 2nd

We did it! We did it! Christmas time has come! I do hope you have enjoyed your festive week at school. Equally important, I hope you enjoy time with your family over the break. Rest, have fun, get your toes done (I know I will!), sleep, nap, do puzzles, play checkers, read a book, watch a movie, and whatever else you like to do!


We have several fun things planned this first week. I am so excited! First event, we are going to Lubbock tonight for my niece's graduation from Tech. We are going to the Nutcracker, having first Christmas gathering, celebrating our 30th anniversary, learning to make tamales and going to the museum. I am definitely going to feel like I'm on vacation. Woohoo!


If you need anything, I am a phone call away. Otherwise, enjoy and I'll see you on the 2nd at 8:00 - more details below.


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for our kids! You all rock! You are making a positive impact on their worlds, and I am grateful for all you do.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

I love snowmen! They always smile at you. Even this one whose eyes look a bit sad is still smiling. I praise you for making an impact on our kiddos who were like that this week. They smiled over the elf, but they felt uneasy on the inside. You were the one who smiled back at them. You were the one who warmed their heart with a hug. You were the one who patted their back, shared a story, listened to theirs, etc. I thank those did all of that for me this week. I think I had several spells like the kids do for various reasons. Thanks for being my listening ears and warm hugs. You all are the best!

Important Information and Notes

Monday, January 2nd - Please plan to be here at 8:00ish. The day is yours! Dress comfortably, go out to lunch with your teams, be productive, get ready for the new quarter, etc. Don't forget to post your cycle grades first thing to be done by 10:00. You can leave that day about 3:00 when you are finished working.


Wednesday, January 4th - Short Staff Meeting for all at 3:30 and Then Continued Data Meetings with 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grade Core Teachers


Thursday, January 5th - Report Cards Home


Friday, January 6th - 3rd Grade Lunch Bunch


Monday, January 9th - Staff Survey Due (I sent out Google Form on 12/15.)


We will have a new Smore for 3rd quarter. I reserve the right to begin the new one on January 2nd if other things come along that need to be shared.

Too Funny! I resemble this...

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Too True! Children are the best! Some of our Principal 100 kids shared just this...

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Have the best Christmas Vacation Ever! Why? #TeachersDeserveIt You all rock! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

For the Week of December 12th

You did fantastic! You have inspired students to learn for half of the days needed that I mentioned last week in order to receive two weeks off! Way to go! Now, just another half of the deal. I know you can do it!


I want to say a huge thank you for the birthday wishes this week! I thoroughly enjoyed receiving all the cards, hugs and sweet wishes from you and the children. I am very delinquent in writing thank you notes to specific people. Please know that I sincerely appreciate all the ways you made me feel special. I am thankful for each of you!


I hope you are getting to enjoy some fun with your families this weekend and having fun with the Christmas preparations. I am going to put up the tree and do some shopping.


Please be sure you have read the parent newsletter that I sent out Friday afternoon. The Principal's Pulse talks about a trial plan we are going to use this week with more detail than here. It mostly affects those who work in the cafeteria for breakfast. We are going to have a sign outside that allows those students who need to eat to enter through the cafeteria door by the flagpole instead of through the foyer.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

What is your vision for the perfectly decorated living room? I can say that mine won't look like this one. What I do know is that not all of our students will have a beautiful tree, etc. They won't all have festive moments with family decorating cookies and caroling. They won't all have extended family to make them feel special. All of this means that this week will not be as festive for some as it is for others. Many of our students will begin to feel more anxious as the week gets closer to Friday instead of excited for 1:05. Thank you for reaching out to these students who may seem unlovable this week to help them feel special and that they matter to you. I so appreciate that our kids have you in their corners!

Now, for those of us who are excited about 1:05 on Friday...

Check out how we can all make up for the lack of sleep during our busy weeks leading up to the holidays. Please don't ask me if I have had surgery when you see me on Monday. I am just trying to look perky!
Get rid of them bags under your eyes... - YouTube

Important Notes and Information

Quarterly Test Info - Kristi sent an email today with information regarding testing. She is working on the final details of the testing groups. She is going to send testing group info to you by Monday morning. She is going to meet with all people who will be testing small groups at 7:45 in her office on Monday. If that applies to you, she will email you on Sunday.


Wednesday's Staff Christmas Luncheon and After School Meeting - You will be able to enjoy a full hour for lunch on Wednesday in the library! A volunteer will take over your class/duty to allow this to happen. I have the volunteers and will be working on the schedule. I will send it to you by Tuesday morning. After school we will gather for our dessert and a visit from Dr. Spies beginning at 3:30. Please remember to bring your toy and/or donation for Julio's family if you wish to do so.


Early Release Bus Dismissal Times
- Please bump up the bus lines leaving hallways to the following times which are two hours earlier on Friday. K - 12:55, 1st - 12:57, 2nd - 12:59, 3rd - 1:01, 4th - 1:03


Christmas Parties - Parties may begin at 11:30. Please be sure you have told Danna if you want parents in your rooms prior to 11:30. If students leave early on Friday, they must sign out. Danna will be giving you exact directions about the process. If you are new to our campus, ask for information ahead of time from the office. Danna will bring the information to you on Thursday. You have to turn in your sign out sheet when the day is over. Please read all instructions when you get them.


RSVPs - Please send any returned RSVP forms to the office as soon as you get them. Danna will be working on printing badges ahead of time to help with the crowd coming into the building on Friday.


Early Release Specials Schedule - I posted it below in last week's newsletter. Please scroll down if you need to review.


Grades - Please have your grades posted by 10:00 on Monday, January 2nd.


Grade Level Chairs - Our meetings have been adjusted due to other meetings regarding the second elementary campus. I really need to meet with y'all briefly on Tuesday, December 13th at 3:30. We can gather in my office with the goal of being finished by 4:00. Please let me know if you cannot attend.


Staff Survey - I will be sending out the staff survey this week. You have the option to complete it this week or after the break by Friday, January 6th. Kristi and I would really like your very honest feedback to help us grow and improve. I will be sharing a Google form. You can complete your responses on the form with or without your name. You can print the form and handwrite your responses. You can type your responses and print instead of submitting. I want you to feel comfortable with how you respond. If you have a comment or concern that you personally need addressed, it does help us to know who wrote it. If you need to send this type of item in a separate email, that will be great. The bottom line is to help us grow. It's okay for us to be where we are, but it's not okay for us to stay there. We want to help and to support you the way you need. Thank you in advance for your time to complete the form which I will send early next week.


Thursday - Don't forget to go to admin for the district Christmas come and go!

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VAES Staff Members Matter to VAES

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2nd Semester

We are going to come up with a Google form to learn more about all of our staff members. Fun facts....coming soon!
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VAES Brag Board

I would like to ask you to try a little something new here this week. Think of someone who you have noticed that should receive some braggin'! Let them know in some way...a quick conversation in the hallway, post-it note in their box, a You Matter Gram, etc. Also, in your team meetings on Tuesday, spend a few minutes bragging on yourselves. Think about what is your biggest success this semester and share with your teammates.


I love being in Mattie's room this week when I knew a student was soaring that we have previously discussed. The student told Mattie after she bragged on her great work, "I did it all by myself!" Kudos, Mattie! You are building her confidence! I am glad I got to see that moment of success highlighted with you,

Have a wonderful week of learning and memory making with your students! Relax, be flexible and enjoy the moment! Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our students. I hope you feel the Spirit of the season as we get closer to our Christmas celebrations.

For the Week of December 5th

Thank you for a fast and furious week back to school after the break! I am going to give you two weeks off if you can keep it up for just 10 more days! I have enjoyed how many of you have connected the fun of the holiday celebrations with research and writing making students dig deep to keep them engaged and focused at this time of year. The more meaningful the work, the more engaged the student, the happier the teacher will be!


Thank you for your participation on Wednesday afternoon while we discussed your students and their progress. It was so fun to hear all the stories of how you shared your genius with one another. I know you will all get your students beyond a year's growth by focusing on small Smart goals and various strategies that will reach each child. Thank you for making a difference in each of their lives.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

What does this squirrel bring to mind? Is he just preparing for winter or is he caught doing something he shouldn't be doing? Is he a hoarder and just problem solving ahead of time? Should he have been working out more often to loosen up those muscles? Should he blink to avoid acorn dust from getting in those big eyes?


I have not been preparing for winter yet as I am still living in the moment and not looking ahead to the impending tasks that must be done before Dec. 24th. I have definitely been filling my cheeks as wide as I possibly can though. January and I have a date after the holidays and trying to get back into a healthier shape. My problem solving should kick into high gear by next weekend for sure! I am kind of like the squirrel. I like to try to keep my eyes open, so I don't miss anything. It doesn't work well from the recliner though. I hope you enjoy your own musings while laughing at this pic!

Speaking of not being prepared...

Jeff and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in December. I have been trying to think about what to get him for a gift. Yes, I am waiting until the last minute for that too. However, Kristi shared this gift idea with me. It will be perfect as the date is Dec. 20th!

Important Notes and Information

Pajama Day - Let's help our Reagan and Grant's Scholarship! For a donation of $5, $10 or more, you may wear your pajamas on Friday. If all students give $1 and staff at least $5, we should reach $1,000 with little effort. It's a great day for the kids to participate as that is PTA Movie Night too. Come join us that night for Finding Dory! (Please wear only your G rated jammies!)


Dacia McBryde - Please let Dacia know of any special activities, lessons, projects, PBL units, experiments, etc. that you are doing with your students. She would love to come take pics and advertise the great things you have going on with your students. Contact her at dmcbryde@vanalstyneisd.org.


Library Schedule - Kristi will need the use of the library for quarterly testing groups the week of Dec. 12th. We also need the use of the library for our luncheon that Wednesday. So, we will be canceling classes that week. Please let Cindy know if you want to schedule flex time in the afternoon to check out books on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday of that week. Thank you for being flexible when we need to use that space for other things. There will be two days in January affected for UIL writing and grading, the 10th and 11th. Cindy will communicate a plan for adjusting classes for those dates.


December 15th - District Christmas Party!!!! Go by the admin office during your planning time that day. They will have delicious snacks and lots of door prizes! It was a lot of fun last year. Wendi sent out an email earlier today with the invite on it. Let me know if you didn't receive it.


Early Release Day Specials Schedule for the 16th - Please see the schedule below. Jenni will be able to get to campus early that day to help us begin sooner.


Grea Garden - Mattie received the beautiful metal sign donated from Jimmy Don for our garden. For those that don't remember, Grea stands for "Grant and Reagan". Karen said their names so fast together, and they seemed like twins with the "one" name. Maintenance will get the sign hung soon. If you didn't see the sign...

And yes...that is a certificate of authenticity...

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Math Problems to Get Them Thinking...

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Check Out the Video on Innovation and Design Thinking.

Taking a Risk....

Staff Members Matter to VAES

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Bre'Ana Whiting Matters to VAES

Bre'Ana is one of our new 1st grade teachers.


Tell us about your family.

I have a wonderful husband named DeeJay and we have been married for 3 years (this coming January). We have a mini schnauzer named Maxwell.


What do you like best about being here this year at VAES?

Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. It's evident that the staff care about one another. Everyone has also been very helpful and has made things a lot more manageable my first year.


What do you like to spend time doing outside of school? Hobbies? Talents?

I LOVE music! My husband and I write music and play instruments. We are apart of a Contemporary Christian Band called One1Way. We love traveling and ministering different places.


Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day would consist of relaxing with no obligations, eating brownies with ice cream (without gaining weight), and creating inspiring music with other musicians.


Complete this sentence. I want everyone to know that...

I am very grateful to be at VAES! It's an answered prayer!

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VAES Brag Board

I would like to thank the following staff members that I noticed were in attendance at the 3rd and 4th Grade Choir Program who didn't have their own children performing. Thank you to Stephanie Urban, Kathy Black, Claire Thomas, Bree Landers and whoever else I am missing. I know there were a few others there. Thank you to those who had children singing who are supporting our fine arts program - Kristi, Sara, Heather, Shelley, Causby and whoever else I am missing. We had quite the crowd of VAES family, and we owe it all to Megan Beard, who has given of her time after school to work with the choir.


Thank you to those that have filled in for duty stations when we have had people out sick or for other reasons.


Kudos to 1st grade for turning the tree trip into a compassionate learning experience as students donated money to purchase a tree for someone in need.


Blessings to all who have chosen to adopt a Christmas angel including those who are including your students in the process to ensure all of our kiddos have a wonderful Christmas.



Throughout the year, we will brag on you here! If you would like to brag on a colleague please complete the form below.

http://goo.gl/forms/jQZj85YnWv

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The journey is almost half way over. Focus on the process you are using. Fine tune those areas that will help you adjust your path. This journey we are on is totally worth it! Why? #KidsDeserveIt Have a wonderful learning with your kiddos and soak up the minutes with each one!

For the Week of November 21/28th

I want to most of all wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving break! You have definitely earned a week off! I hope you and your families have a fantastic time together. Make memories, share laughter, play a game, talk a lot, rest more and have fun!


I am including all that I believe needs to be covered for the week after the break, so you can digest the information when it is convenient for you.

Which one of these described the beginning, middle and end of your day today! I personally am feeling pretty yellow about now!

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

I am thankful for each of you! You work tirelessly each day from dark to way past dark all to help your children. Thank you for loving on each one of them. You are the heroes in their lives. Thank you for mattering to them! You matter to me! Who are you thankful for this week? Who needs to hear your voice the most? Make a call, spend some time with them and cherish the reasons you are grateful!
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Important Notes and Information

Donors Choose - We found out this week that we need to treat Donors Choose like any other fundraiser. Before you post one, please send all the info to me, including your profile description and the items you are requesting. These should be items that are above and beyond the scope of what our budget can handle and are not consummable items. Think big! Thank you for helping us with this.


VAHS Jazz Band - The Jazz Band will be on campus on Friday, December 9th at 2:00 p.m. to perform for our students. Please plan to bring your students to the gym prior to a 2:00 start. April will have our seating arrangements all ready for us again.


Staff Christmas Luncheon - We will have an extended staff Christmas luncheon again this year in the library on December 14th. We will have a volunteer to cover for you for 30 minutes on either side of your lunch, so you can enjoy a full hour to eat and relax! This includes everyone! I will send out a schedule by the 12th for you.


Budget and Activity Account Money - Please make sure you are thinking about how you want to spend your grade level and/or special area budget money. All POs should be turned in by January 13th. Please get with your grade chair and let them know items that you may need. If you run out of budget money, you may use your activity accounts. Activity accounts should be spent down to around $500 by the end of the year. POs will need to be turned in for these accounts by the end of February. Let us know if you have any questions.


Citizenship Grades - The only citizenship grade that will be on report cards now will be the one for your homeroom class. Please enter it in the post cycle grades screen. Let us know if you have questions. Grades will be due the morning of January 2nd.


Dorothy's Tree - Someone brought something to my attention today. I mentioned that the PTA donated the tree and bench to the school in Dorothy's memory in last week's newsletter. For any of our new staff, Dorothy Loftice, was killed in a car accident last May. We have her two girls on campus, and her son is on the MS campus. Dorothy was extremely involved with all of the family fun events sponsored by PTA, and all the kids knew her. Elizabeth and Janna know that the tree was planted for Dorothy. However, I didn't say anything to y'all about telling your kids. Apparently, there were some boys who were "playing" on the bench, and it may be upsetting to Dorothy's girls. The person suggested that we might want to talk to the kids about it being in honor of Dorothy to help them see the purpose better and promote the bench as a "buddy bench" with your kiddos. Let me know if you have any questions.


Picture Retakes - Wednesday, November 30th - Danna will pass on any information to you when we get back.


Faculty Meeting - Wednesday, November 30th - Please bring your RtI Information with you. We will be working on brainstorming strategies to try, collaborating on next steps, looking at data from whole semester, etc. The goal of this day will be to share ideas and to get some answers. Our aides will work with teachers who have students about which they are the most concerned.


Lunch Bunch for Support Teacher Group - December 1st - I have only requested 4 volunteers. Your lunch is from 11:00 - 12:30. The volunteers will cover any of you who have lunch duty and Keri's room. I am thinking the rest of you will be good without someone in your room. If that is incorrect, please let me know. The list is in the schedule section of the Staff Notebook.


Choir Concert - Come support Megan on December 1st at 7:00 and see our choir perform. She has been working with kids after school this semester.


Clinic - Tiffany Chartier did a fantastic job in the clinic for us this week. We hope to have her sub in many areas on campus. You might want to add her to your preferred list. We did want to secure nurses for that position when at all possible, so we will have another switch after the break. Tiffany will be here on the 28th. Devon Jennings and Casey Storment will be alternating days between Thanksgiving and Christmas helping us with their nursing skills. Thank you for your patience as we fill this position until Mackenzie returns.


Quarterly Tests - Schedule for the week of December 12th is in the Staff Notebook under Instruction.

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This link worked from home for me this morning but is not working now at school. I hope it works for you at home. The article talks about ideas for making a classroom more student-centered.

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VAES Staff Members Matter

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Christa Wilson Matters to VAES

Christa is our newest instructional aide that works primarily with 3rd grade.


Tell us about your family.

My husband and I have been married for 13 years. The first 9 were spent in the Navy. We have two human children and three 4-legged children: Camden 4th, Elyssa K, Sky Baby, Rebel, and Raku.


What do you like best about being here this year at VAES?

The people! The staff has been amazing. I have been welcomed with open arms. The kids have been so fun to be around and I enjoy my hugs from them every day.


What do you like to spend time doing outside of school? Hobbies? Talents?

Spending time with my family. I enjoy going out to my parents’ house in the country with my kiddos and husband and spend time in nature. I love to crochet, watch movies, read, go camping, and cook.


Describe your perfect day.

I love a cold day with a fire going, hot chocolate, and a good book.


Complete this sentence. I want everyone to know that...

I love chickens! They make the best pets.

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Dana McLerran, our GT/VAULT teacher, did a fabulous job of creating a fun-filled night not only for her learners and their families but also to other students who shared in the enjoyment. Dana's students created arcade games as part of the Cardboard Challenge. Thank you for hosting this after hours event for your kiddos.


Krystal Harbert, our 3rd grade teacher/nurse, did a phenomenal job for us this week helping out in the clinic! Krystal trained our substitute and our aides to handle nurse things for us this week. We are blessed to have her expertise! Thank you very much to Candi Ceykovsky and Katrina Stegall for pitching in extra this week in the clinic! I appreciate you going above and beyond in the clinic.


Chelsea Serio, 2nd grade teacher, has kindness mobiles hanging in her room. The students have been writing when they notice kindness in others on leaves to hang from the branches with each child's name. Super way to build these character traits!


Lisa Harrelson and Gloria Darnell - These ladies gave up their class time to offer some additional training to our new teachers. Thank you for sharing your genius! Our new teachers learned more about Moby Max, Istation, Google Classroom, teaching strategies and more. Ask them to share new learning with you on topics of interest.


All teachers and staff - I received a thank you note from one of the college students who has been observing here. She said, "Everyone has been so helpful and supportive! I cannot say enough good things about everyone at VAES. I can honestly say that I observed the best teachers in the best school!" Kudos to all of you for your hard work, dedication, and love to our students! It is noticed by me, and it is noticed by others.


Throughout the year, we will brag on you here! If you would like to brag on a colleague please complete the form below.

http://goo.gl/forms/jQZj85YnWv

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Enjoy your vacation! I know you all deserve every second of peace and quiet. Thank you for loving on our kids! I wish you a great week back to learning after the break. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you!

For the Week of November 14th

Can you believe it is almost Thanksgiving break? This year is flying by! I know you are all ready to be thankful this week and then get to some relaxing the following week. Let's be mindful of the instructional minutes we have this week, as in every week, to make a difference in the lives of our students. Let's make every minute, every second count to further their skills, their thinking, their confidence, their emotional well-being, etc. Each day matters! Why? #KidsDeserveIt


Thank you so much for making much of our Cross Country Athletes this morning. Rachel Sevarino, MS Teacher and Coach, shared a short video of the kids shouting, "Thank you. We love you so much! Thank you!" It last just a couple of seconds. I can't get it converted to a file that will play through Smore. Her accompanying text stated, ""Thank you SO much for the send off. It meant so much to my runners. They are still talking about it and how cool it was. They felt so loved and special. They kept talking about all the signs made. Thank You!!!!!" Your small acts of kindness made a HUGE impact on the kids.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

As we have discussed previously, many of our students will not be looking forward to this coming Friday. Being home for a week, out of their routine, is not what they would choose to do. You are their rock! They will miss you and all the procedural routines that form the structure of their lives right now. So, they may be a bit out of sorts and act differently from those students who will go to homes filled with love, routines, fun, time with family, etc. How can you connect with your kiddos this week? Have you reached out to your Panther Partner lately? Do they know you are thinking about them? Is it time to write them an "I am thankful for you because..." note? Let's be love! Why? #KidsDeserveIt
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Important Notes and Information

RSVP for November 18th - Please send any RSVP forms to the office as soon as you receive them, so Danna can get badges printed for Friday, especially for the 4th grade feast. The feast will begin in the cafeteria at 11:30. All grade levels are free to eat in their rooms whenever; however, your lunch recesses must be taken at the normal time under grade level teacher supervision. 4th grade teachers - Danna will send more info out about how students may be signed out through teachers only if it is a parent using our sticker system.


Special Area Behavior Notes - If you receive behavior notes from one of the specials teachers, please send these notes home with the student in his/her daily folder. This is the system they created to communicate with parents and to be a support to you, especially for those students struggling behaviorally. Parents can see that it happens in multiple locations if that is the case. Thank you for your help.


T-TESS Notes - The favorite part of our day is getting to visit classrooms to see the learning taking place with our kids and the fabulous job you do with them each day. It keeps us energized and focused on the important things. We are starting to notice a few items with T-TESS that we want to share in order to help you understand the rubric, grow and hopefully answer any concerns you may have.


Please look over your walkthrough documentation to see which descriptors may not be marked at all for you. In a ten minute time period, there is no way we would see all the descriptors. However, when it comes time to complete your observations, we have to mark something for each descriptor. Check out those that haven't been marked for you. Be sure you routinely do those things, preferably in a student-directed framework. T-TESS is different from PDAS. We have to have evidence to justify each performance level. If there is no evidence or little evidence, one of the lower performance levels would be marked. On PDAS, you could assume proficient. In T-TESS, evidence rules. Let us know if you have any questions. We want to help you be successful.


An overall area that may need more attention campus-wide would be real-world applications. Helping students make those real-life connections and letting them experience real-life situations increases achievement levels. We would also like to know when you are using the Lead4ward engagement strategies, so we can see them in practice. If this is an area you haven't tried yet, please choose one strategy and use it once a week for a month or so until you own it.


Let us know how we can help you with the T-TESS process. We want to help you grow and perfect your craft.


Istation - Remember, Tier 3 students should be on Istation 90 minutes per week for the biggest benefit. You can send students to the library at 7:20 until 8:00 and/or have them stay in the computer lab after school on M, T or Th until 3:45. Communicate with those on duty, so they know who to expect. Ask parents to help by getting students on at home. We are happy to help you brainstorm other thoughts to make this happen.


Grant Opportunity - http://www.directpackages.com/teachers-grant/ Lisa H. shared this link if you would like to gain more tech for your class. The deadline isn't until February, so you have plenty of time.


Safety Audit - The final safety audit had lots of positives to say about what you are doing. We are looking at all the suggestions to see how we might improve. We will be working on these and getting that info out to you as decisions are made. One adjustment we would like to make is to lock your classrooms doors when you leave with your students. Please try to get in the habit of taking the magnet off the door when you leave and taking your keys with you when you go. The purpose behind this is to keep unauthorized people out of the room that could be "surprises" upon your return. This is one of the suggestions that was made to keep you and our students safe.


UIL - How are your practices going? Are your teams still full? Let's be sure we are practicing enough to win! Give your kiddos information to practice during Panther Den and at home to prepare themselves. Elicit the help of the students' teachers to encourage the kids to study.


Campus Improvement Plan - Your CIP representative will be sharing strategies from the plan on which we all need to be focused to ensure student success. This was going to be on the faculty meeting agenda this week, but that meeting was cancelled for the Elementary Planning Committee. Thank you for taking the time to familiarize yourself with all parts of the plan as we move forward a little at a time. For the first thing, do you remember the graphic below and how it relates to all we do with our students?

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Happy Birthday to Kristi on Sunday! Send her a sweet birthday wish!

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GREA Gardens Help from the Greenhouse

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In Honor and Memory of Dorothy Loftice...always remember..."You were her favorite"!

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We need to get a longer hose and replace the one that is already leaking. While you are caring for your gardens, it would be great to water the tree as well when needed. If you would like for your class to be "in charge" of this task, please let me know. We don't want to over-water.

How are you doing with moving from teacher-directed learning to student-directed learning? Thoughts below may give you something to ponder.

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VAES Staff Members Matter

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Michelle Valentine Matters to VAES

Michelle is one of our new kindergarten teachers.


Tell us about your family.

I have 3 boys!
Braylen is almost 9 and will be in 3rd grade.
Rhylan just turned 6 and is going into 1st.
Paxton is almost 4.


What do you like best about being here this year at VAES?

I absolutely love the environment and relationships that VAES has established. The entire staff is positive and supportive. I feel blessed to be a part of such an amazing team! I can’t wait to see what this year brings!


What do you like to spend time doing outside of school? Hobbies? Talents?

Anything as a family, taking the boat out to the lake, tubing, racing (Outlaw Modified Series), riding RZRs, camping, traveling.


Describe your perfect day.

Life is always so busy and we do a lot as a family (which I love!), so my perfect day would probably be something relaxing like a spa day.


Complete this sentence. I want everyone to know that...

I am so excited to be here, and I can't wait to learn and grow as a professional!

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VAES Brag Board

Megan Beard - Thank you for your tireless efforts to create fantastic musicals for our students to perform for their parents. The kinder show was great!


Kathy Black, 4th grade teacher, has created a Boys Writing Club during lunch. They focus on boy topics of interest, and they are begging to come write! Of course, you can't tell because the girls can't know about it. Thank you for giving extra time to your kids.


All Teachers - Thank you for taking the extra time to meet with your parents! It makes such a difference to explain to them about helping their children be successful and how they have an impact on achievement. Kudos for a job well done!


Keri Morris - Thank you for attending the conferences for your students to support the classroom teachers and to provide extra insight to parents.


Christa Wilson - Thank you for your willingness to finish your afternoon duty and then come relieve your 3rd grade teachers out front to give them extra time. What a treat!


Colleague Shout Outs

Bree would like to recognize Nicole Minchey. "I love that Nicole came to VAES with so many new fresh and creative ideas! She is determined and creative and I love that I'm able to be on the same team as her! Thanks for being the best RDG Planner with me!"



Throughout the year, we will brag on you here! If you would like to brag on a colleague please complete the form below.

http://goo.gl/forms/jQZj85YnWv

Have a wonderful week of learning with your students this week! Make the moments count instead of counting the moments! You are who they are thankful for each day. Thank you for being a blessing in their lives!

For the Week of November 7th

Thank you so much for your energy, enthusiasm, effort and excitement during the Boosterthon. I know it takes a lot of extra time and work, and I appreciate everything you have done to make it a huge success. We have a little more work to go as we attempt to collect 100% of the pledges. Thank you for your continued effort!


I know you are working hard also on parent conferences. Thank you for taking the time to communicate the strengths and growth areas your students have with their parents. Please update all information with your RtI information as appropriate and share with your RtI contact. Thanks for creating plans to fill those academic gaps that some of our learners have to ensure their ultimate success.


Enjoy the extra hour of rest tonight! It's always fun to fall back. Hopefully, it will make a difference next week not being so dark at dropoff in the mornings.



A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

As we have definitely gotten into the depth and grind of learning, are we still finding ways to inspire our students? Are they excited to explore new concepts? Are they pumped to practice and master objectives that have already been presented? Do the activities in your classroom invigorate a love of learning? How about our passion for learning? What book are you reading? What new article has elicited thoughtful reflection in you? Let's think of ways to continue to ingite that passion this week!
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Important Notes and Information

Grades - Your grades should be entered and ready for progress reports by Monday at 8:00. Your grade chair should have discussed citizenship grades with you. Please do not create an assignment for these, so the citizenship grade will post in the correct place on the report cards. If you have any questions, please ask.


Greeting Students in the Mornings - Please ensure you are in your classroom no later than 7:30 to greet your students. If you are running late due to an emergency, please ask a team member to watch your students. We need to be vigilant about monitoring our kiddos.


Teachers Observing Teachers - Due this Friday. The form to complete is in the Staff Google Classroom.


VAES Election - Junie B. Jones vs. Clifford the Big, Red Dog - Voting will occur on Monday. Lauri or another designee will hand papers to your students as they walk down for lunch. The students will place their "ballot" into the appropriate box decorated for each candidate in front of the library. Yea - no pencil required! Please discuss with your students before they leave for lunch, so they know who they are choosing. 2nd grade may do this on the way to specials. We will announce the winner on Tuesday. Lauri will place "I Voted" stickers in your boxes for children to wear home.


Absences - Please enter absences for Aesop before 8:30 in the evening or before 5:30 in the morning when at all possible as soon as you realize you are sick. We struggled to fill all absences this week when they are entered later. Thank you for your help.


Elementary Planning Committee - Dr. Spies and the Board have established an advisory committee as we move forward with plans for a second elementary campus. This committee will help to create strategies to keep the "small town" feel and Panther pride as we grow. The committee will give input for other topics such as building naming policies. Our teachers on the committee are Carole Deaver, Triva Gentzler and Leigh Wood if you would like to share any thoughts with them. Kristi and I are also on the committee along with parents and community members. If you have any questions, please let me know.


Grade Chairs - Our grade chairs have had two meetings with Dr. Spies on ideas for the architectural design of the second campus. Your grade chair can share info on the ideas proposed so far if she hasn't already done so with you. They will be meeting again with the architect sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday.


These additional meetings for either of the above groups in regards to the additional campus may affect our Wednesday meeting schedule. Please see the schedule in the Drive for any adjustments. Note that the faculty meeting on November 16th is cancelled due to the EPC (elementary planning committee) meeting. I may have to get creative in scheduling. We may change some to virtual meetings as we did our grade chair this past week. I won't make you change to another day after school unless it is an emergency.


Cross Country Going to State Send Off - Friday, November 11th - We will go outside along Newport on Friday to send off the HS Cross Country team to state. Hannah Taylor is going for the girls along with her twin brother, Jacob, and the boys' team. They are making VA history! Please fill free to let your students make signs, etc. to wave and cheer as the bus passes along Newport in the front of the school. Rachel Sevarino, the coach, thinks they will be coming by the elementary about 8:25, so please plan to be outside at 8:20.


#100 Wednesday - We will be recognizing some of the students who receive Principals' 100 on Wednesdays on the announcements and/or in the cafeteria during lunch to further promote students who are using their Panther PRIDE.


Dress Up Days for Scholarship Funds - We will hold a dress up day (such as hat or pajama day) once per month where students can pay $1 to wear the item. We will ask staff members to pay $10 to participate. Our goal will be to raise at least $500ish each time. The funds will go to the Reagan and Grant Scholarship fund.


Boosterthon - Pledge collection flyers will go home on Tuesday. Encourage students to bring money to school by Wednesday. A lot of the pledges were collected online, so many students may not have anything to bring. PTA will have their first collection count on Thursday morning. Please send money to Lauri each day. Please send any money received on Thursday morning straight to the office, so it can be counted. The second collection counting day will be November 18th. We are shooting for 100%. Thanks for your help in getting pledges collected from your students.


Lunch Plans for November 18th - Please make sure you have given your grade level lunch plan to Danna for the day of the 4th grade feast.


Staff Fun Event - Kristi, Sara and I are planning to have an evening out this Saturday, November 12th beginning around 4:00ish. We would love to turn this into an entire staff event! Let us know if you can join us. You can always catch up with us later in the evening if 4 is too early for you. We are thinking dinner, toes, movie, bowling, etc. We can do whatever we want! The group can set the plan. We look forward to having some fun together!

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8 Strategies to Keep Informational Reading Fun

Teacher Speak Help for Parent Conferences

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtUQfeCkMjg

VAES Staff Members Matter

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Andrea Bigham Matters to VAES

Andrea is our new art teacher.


Tell us about your family.

I am married to the love of my life and have three wonderful children. We live on 30 acres in Van Alstyne. We have lots of animal family members as well. We have 5 dogs, 3 cats, 5 horses, 3 chickens, and 5 fish. I am also blessed with a beautiful step daughter and two darling grandchildren who live in Gainesville.


What do you like best about being here this year at VAES?

I love our small town and the family atmosphere at VAES best. It is a wonderful place to work and raise a family. Everyone genuinely cares about one another and always is willing to offer a helping hand.


What do you like to spend time doing outside of school? Hobbies? Talents?

I love to spend time with friends and family, spend time outside, garden, travel, camp, exercise, ride horses, watch movies, go out to eat, and shop of course.


Describe your perfect day.

One of my perfect days would be on a beach somewhere enjoying the warm sun and relaxing atmosphere. Another perfect day for me would be on a trail ride on my horse Cheyenne enjoying the outdoors.


Complete this sentence. I want everyone to know that...

I believe anyone can do anything they put their mind to and work hard to achieve. We all start somewhere and can be BIG at anything we strive to accomplish.

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VAES Brag Board

Lisa H., Megan, Jenni and April - Thank you for the extra work and effort it took over the past two weeks to ensure the Boosterthon events were successful in specials time. Thank you for your all day energy during the Fun Run!


Lauri Butler - Thank you for making us all laugh! Thank you for your creative ideas and for establishing an election atmosphere that was easy and child-friendly!


Devin Hill and Chelsea Serio - Thank you for completing RtI forms of your choice and getting those shared with us. Your students are going to grow so much with this intense effort to fill their achievement gaps!


Candi Ceykovsky - Thank you for keeping our website, staff calendar and marquee updated so quickly and efficiently! Your speed and attention to detail is amazing!


Colleague Shout Outs

Claire would like to recognize Stephanie Woods. "Stephanie has helped me again and again this semester. As I juggle work and grad school, Stephanie regularly checks in with me to see how she can help our team and what she can take off my plate! Thank you so much, Stephanie!"



Throughout the year, we will brag on you here! If you would like to brag on a colleague please complete the form below.

http://goo.gl/forms/jQZj85YnWv

Calendar Items

Monday, November 7th - Grades due, 1st and 3rd Late Night Parent Conferences


Tuesday, November 8th - Be sure to go vote if you didn't vote early!


Wednesday, November 9th - CIT Meeting


Thursday, November 10th - Kindergarten Music Program, 2nd Late Night Parent Conferences and Progress Reports Home


Friday, November 11th - Mother/Son Dance


Saturday, November 12th - Staff Fun Event


Friday, November 18th - 4th Grade Thanksgiving Feast and Others Eat in Rooms

Have a fantastic week with your learners! Inspire them and let them inspire you! You are the light that makes all the difference in their lives. You can ignite the fire in them to be everything they are meant to be. Thank you for investing in our kids and making a difference!

For the Week of October 31st

I hope you have enjoyed this weekend! I hope you had some fun moments to make memories with your families.


Thank you for all you are doing to ensure the Boosterthon is a great success. I know it takes time to send out the information to parents and encourage your students. Hopefully, all that hard work will pay off with a big check!


I know some of our emotions may be high this week, many for different reasons. Let's all work hard to show each other grace as we move through the week. Thank you for working hard to show our students the love they deserve each and every day. I will be thinking about each of you throughout the week. We can do all things through Him who gives us strength.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

How do I forgive myself when things don't go as planned? How do I show students (and teachers) that it is okay to make mistakes? How do we use the mistakes we make to cause us to change and become better? How do I let those mistakes go and accept myself as "perfectly imperfect"? It is okay to make mistakes! Remember, as I say to myself, it's okay to be where I am; it's not okay to stay there.
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Extra, Extra - Read all about it!!!

Congrats to Triva Gentzler for being named as Teacher of the Month!

Triva was nominated for the Herald Democrat Teacher of the Month. I found out from our Student of the Month nominee, Sophia Baez, that they both received the award as published in the Van Alstyne Leader. Congrats to both!

Important Notes and Information

Boosterthon - The grade level Huddles will continue during specials through Wednesday. On the day of the run, we will have shortened conference times in the morning to make it as equitable for all as long as the weather cooperates.



Kinder 8:30 - 9:00

1st 9:00 - 9:30

2nd 9:30 - 10:00

3rd 10:00 - 10:30

4th 10:30 - 11:00


The specials teachers will eat from 11 - 11:30 and then be at the Fun Runs in the afternoon. Core area teachers will be at the Fun Run with their grade levels. Pull-out teachers need to come help with the Fun Run when they are not with children.


11:30 - Kinder, 12:30 - 1st/2nd, 1:30 - 3rd/4th


If it rains or is muddy, then the Fun Run will take place during each grade level specials time. It would be nice if teachers would participate for at least part of that time. Maybe y'all could split the time up between you. Let's hope for beautiful weather!


Attendance in Gradebook - We are continuing to struggle to get the attendance marked correctly each day. A wrong student is chosen, and parents receive a call that their child isn't at school. A student isn't marked absent at all, and we don't know until we receive the absent note from the parent. Yikes! Attendance is a VERY IMPORTANT part of our day. Please take the extra time to check yourself and ensure it is done correctly. Thank you!


PTA Art Refections Info from Diana McAfee - 5 students participated in the 2016-2017 National PTA Reflections Program through the VAES PTA. Students created 9 works in visual arts, photography, and musical composition in response to this year’s theme, “What Is Your Story?” The following students participated in the program: Ayla Armstrong (4th), Sophia Baez (2nd) Kendall Henderson (4th), Carolina Kendrick (4th), and Paisley Needham (4th). A note of thanks along with a Reflections spirit stick will be placed in their teacher’s boxes for inclusion in this week’s Thursday folders. Projects will soon be on display in the VAES library. Judging will take place prior to Thanksgiving, and all participants will be recognized at the general PTA meeting at 7:00 pm on December 6th. We are so grateful that they chose to share their story through artistic vision.


Parent Conferences - These may start this week. We have at least 3 grade levels holding a late one night session to schedule as many as possible that evening. Please let me know how you like that process.


Kinder Music Program - Please make sure you have noted the change in dates for this event. It is now being held on Thursday, November 10th to avoid election night.


Teachers Observing Teachers - Due November 11th - The form you need to complete is the last assignment in the Staff Google Classroom.


Grade Due for Progress Reports - 2nd - 4th grades - Be sure you have grades entered for progress reports by November 7th. Reports will be sent home on Thursday, November 10th. K and 1st - You will need to send letters to those students who are below grade level.


Citizenship Grades - Do not enter these yet! We need to make a change on how this was done from the 1st quarter. I will be getting information from grade chairs.

Premier Definition

I wanted to be sure you have all seen this if you missed Dr. Brown's presentation last week. Feel free to share out with parents in newsletters in the weeks to come.
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Two Great Articles for your Reading Pleasure - Growth Mindset and Empathy

VAES Staff Members Matter

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Krystle Harbert Matters to VAES

Krystle is one of our new 3rd grade teachers.


Tell us about your family.

I have been married to my husband, Jeff, for twelve years. He is a teacher and football coach at Frisco High School. We have two boys, Cobyn, who is in 3rd grade and Cruz, who is in kindergarten. Most of our family still lives in Oklahoma and we enjoy going to see them on the weekends and school breaks.


What do you like best about being here this year at VAES?

I love the people at VAES. They are so loving and helpful. They have welcomed my boys and me and made us feel a part of the VAES family.


What do you like to spend time doing outside of school? Hobbies? Talents?

I enjoying watching my boys play sports, spending time with my family, and watching movies with Jeff. I also enjoy working outside in the flower beds and sewing.


Describe your perfect day.

Sleep in, wear no make up all day, dress in lounge clothes for the day, and just hang out at my house with my family, working outside, watching movies, and eating some Mexican Food, followed by a DQ blizzard for dessert! Is that too much to ask?!?!


Complete this sentence. I want everyone to know that...

I love Jesus, my family, Raccoon football, and VA!

And another pic...

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VAES Brag Board

I would like to brag on our core classroom teachers for spending time with students creating Boosterthon flags and for sending out all the information to parents via email, Remind and newsletters. Thank you for your time!


I would like to brag on EVERYONE for the great safety audit review we are receiving. We still do not have the official report, but we did receive an email with commendations, recommendations and a summary statement. Kudos to all for keeping our students safe! The Paw Patrol was specifically mentioned as an outstanding program, so fantastic job, April and Lisa H.! He said our school is way ahead of other rural schools our size, and we are well on our way to being a model school in terms of safety.


Colleague Shout Outs

Keri would like to brag on Claire Thomas for utilizing a student's personal situation in such a way to build empathy among the classmates during morning meeting times allowing the child to express feelings and for others to share in the grief. What a great class community!


Sara would like to brag on EVERYONE! I want to take a moment to brag on the staff as a whole for helping and welcoming Quigley to our campus. It took time and effort to reinforce expectations with students and I appreciate all they have done along the way!



Throughout the year, we will brag on you here! If you would like to brag on a colleague please complete the form below.

http://goo.gl/forms/jQZj85YnWv

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Calendar Items

Thursday, November 3rd - Boosterthon Fun Run


Friday, November 4th - Megan's Baby Shower


Thursday, November 10th - Kindergarten Music Program and Progress Reports Home


Friday, November 11th - Mother/Son Dance


Friday, November 18th - 4th Grade Thanksgiving Feast and Others Eat in Rooms

Have a wonderful week of learning and fun with your students! Make them feel like your room is a candyland and a place filled with learning opportunities they enjoy! Don't forget to take the little moments to give a high five, way to go, smile or whatever it takes to make each one feel special this week. I know you will rock it with your kiddos!

For the Week of October 24th

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend in this beautiful weather!


Thank you for working with your students so diligently each and every day to make a difference in their lives. You are the most significant influence they have apart from their families. Sometimes, you are the most positive influence they have in their lives. Keep your eyes on the prize as you continue to impact your students.


This next week we will have the opportunity to engage in conversations encouraging students to make excellent decisions in staying drug free and healthy for the rest of their lives. Let's use this time wisely and listen for topics in the Boosterthon rallies that might tie in and emphasize those character traits that will help our students be successful.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

What does the mirror of your week reflect? Which reflections are clear and showed excellence? Which reflections are a little fuzzy and need some clarity this week? How much beauty did you find last week? How can we seek beauty in all things this week? Let's spend some time gazing on the splendor in the world this week.
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Important Notes and Information

Red Ribbon Week - Spend time encouraging your students to remain drug free this week. Let's participate in the dress up days to show our support for the theme of the week. The dress up days and themes are in the pic listed below.


Safety Audit - Monday is our safety audit. The auditor, Don Newsom, will be on campus most of the morning. Thank you for your diligence each day in keeping our students safe. Thank you to our "volunteer" staff (Lauri, Claire, Monica, Lisa H. and Brandy) for participating in completing documents and talking with him.


Boosterthon - Kickoff Assembly will be on Tuesday at 2:00 in the gym. Please begin bringing your children down to the gym beginning at 1:55 starting with Kinder. We will try to place the students in locations in the gym to allow for easier dismissal to allow two grade levels to leave at the same time.


Please take time to decorate your class flag as soon as possible if you have not done so. Beginning on Wednesday, take your whole class to the gym for specials as they will have Boosterthon Rallies each day leading to the Fun Run. Also, thank you for sending the emails Boosterthon shares with you along with Remind texts to parents during the fundraiser. The Fun Run will be on Nov. 3rd with Kinder at 11:30, 1st/2nd at 12:30 and 3rd/4th at 1:30.


Quarterly Tests - 2nd-4th Grades - Please review your tests when Wendi shares them to ensure it matches your S&S for 2nd quarter. The best way to review the test is to take it yourself, and then you will know the target. Also, be sure the low TEKS from 1st quarter are being reviewed as well. Use the first quarter data to continue to drive instruction decisions, spiraling and small group needs over the next few weeks.


GREA Garden - The "Grant and Reagan (GREA) Garden" will be "officially" opened this week. We are going to have flats of flowers for all grade levels to plant ready for you on Monday. We are still waiting on the sign, but we want all the gardens to have something in them by Friday before Nov. 1st. The spigot was installed this week, so watering will be much easier. It is located by the outside door to the library. We have hoses, shovels and most anything you will need. Send me some pics, and I will advertise in our newsletter this week. Let me know if you have any questions.


Nurse - Please be sure to complete the nurse pass forms when you send a child to the clinic. It is especially helpful to our substitute nurses to know the child's first and last name along with the homeroom teacher. Thank you for your help with this. Debbie Webster will be subbing in the clinic for us this week. Mackenzie is resting well at home.


Who Will Be the Next President? - In the light of election fun for our students, Lauri came up with a cute idea. We are going to let the children experience the election process by choosing between two book characters. We will have Clifford the Big Red Dog vs. Junie B. Jones in our Presidential Election. I will refrain from making any comments comparing them to our current choices.


Mrs. Albert's class has announcements next week. They have 5 Clifford books and 5 Junie books to look at to prepare for their 'campaigning' to start during announcements on Monday. Each day they will give 2 sentences on why we should vote for their candidate. Then on Monday, November 7, we'll give each homeroom teacher a stack of ballots for their students to each drop in the appropriate ballot box, as they make their way down the hall to the cafe for lunch. After the last class has voted, Danna & Lauri can tally the votes, and we can announce our new President on Tuesday morning during announcements. Lauri will have the two ballot boxes ready, with pictures of each candidate on the outside along with the ballots.


Additional Flu Shot Clinic - City Drug will be having another "Flu Shot Clinic" next Thursday, October 27th. It will be at the Middle school in the teacher's lounge from 7:00 to 8:30 am.


If you are interested, please complete the proper forms and return to City Drug no later than Tuesday, October 25th. Danna or Lauri can get you a copy if you need it.


Vertical Team Meetings - We will meet with our teams again on Wednesday. Please plan to make this a productive time for our students.


Grade Chair Meeting - Remember, we put this Thursday on the calendar to meet again with Dr. Spies regarding architect plans for the second elementary campus. Please be ready to begin in the library at 3:30.


Parent Conferences - The window for parent conferences to count for exchange days begins the week of Oct. 31st. It is in our CIP for all teachers to have fall and spring conferences. Be sure to keep documentation to show when you are meeting with your parents. Some of our grade levels are choosing to have one late night evening together to hold many conferences at one time. I will be placing a copy of the School-Parent Compact in your boxes this week. Please sign and date it, and then make a copy for each of your students. Please have parents sign these when they come in for the conference. When you have your whole stack completed, send them to the office.

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Writing Resource with Workshop Lesson Plans

Looking for More on Number Talks

Panther Partners

Have you been connecting with your Panther partner? Do they know you are thinking about them? Send them a note or go by for a hug this week.
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VAES Staff Members Matters

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Becca Demel Matters to VAES

Becca is one of our new 1st grade teachers.


Tell us about your family.

My husband Dave is outgoing, genuine, athletic, and has a great sense of humor. If you want to see his face light up, talk about sports...especially Crossfit.
We have three beautiful girls: Ainsley 11, Bennett 8, and Taetum 5. We are partial to them and tend to think they are sweet and hilarious.


What do you like best about being here this year at VAES?

I am truly and absolutely thrilled to be at VAES this fall! We moved to VA in January and fell in love with this community. I am excited to join the team!


What do you like to spend time doing outside of school? Hobbies? Talents?

I LOVE to cook, spend time with my family, Crossfit, and be outdoors.


Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day begins waking up at a beach house to the sound of the waves, selah yoga at sunrise (before the kids wake up), kayaking and hiking around the islands (the children paddle their own kayaks, don't fight, are excited to be outdoors, and tend to their own needs), and finally a dinner with friends and family (at an expensive restaurant that someone else is paying for).


Complete this sentence. I want everyone to know that...

Even if she tells you her name is Avery...that third grade Demel's first name is Bennett.

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VAES Brag Board

2nd, 3rd and 4th Grade Teams - Thank you for the extra time that it takes to analyze your data after quarterly tests and the time it takes to review the upcoming tests. I appreciate the focus on letting data drive our instructional decisions and keeping the target in mind before starting the race.


Megan Beard - Thank you for your vision for our music program. It was so fascinating watching our 2nd graders sing, play instruments and manuever all over the stage to get to different spaces seemingly with no effort. The program "I Love My White Shoes" was adorable! Thank you also for your work with your choir students after school and your UIL students working on Music Memory!


Colleague Shout Outs

Lisa Harrelson, April Hernandez, Jenni McMurray, Natalee Gomez - Thank you so much for taking such great care of the 2nd graders as they got ready for their program. Also, thank you for your help this week making it a smooth transition coming back to work. It means a lot to me and I appreciate it more than you know. Thank you! <3


Chelsea Serio and Triva Gentzler - Thank you for your help during choir dismissal!


Kathy Black would like to recognize two colleagues. Rajonia Carnley - Thank you for sharing your bats with my classes, for all your hard work, and passion you put into this unit (and everything you do). The students and I are absolutely having a blast hanging out with these critters! Leigh Wood - Thank you for being a partner that has a heart for kids and works with me every moment of the day to do whatever is best for our children. I want to thank you for being my pillar when the tide gets high and rough.


Kristy Colvin would also like to recognize several colleagues. Erin Albert - Erin is an amazing addition to VAES and the 4th grade team. She always has great ideas to help our students and her team. Her math teaching skills rock and our students love her. Thanks for being such a great teaching partner! Gloria Darnell & Cindy Gallaher - Thank you both for working so hard to put together MakerSpace for our students. My students really enjoyed it and can't wait until our next visit. The activities reach all learners and provide an amazing outlet for creativity. You girls rock!!



Throughout the year, we will brag on you here! If you would like to brag on a colleague please complete the form below.

http://goo.gl/forms/jQZj85YnWv

Calendar Items

Week of October 24th - Red Ribbon Week - See Dress Up Days Above


Tuesday, October 25th - Boosterthon Kickoff


Wednesday, October 26th - Vertical Team Meetings


Thursday, October 27th - Grade Chair Meeting with Dr. Spies


Thursday, November 3rd - Boosterthon Fun Run


Thursday, November 10th - Kindergarten Music Program and Progress Reports Home


Friday, November 11th - Mother/Son Dance


Monday, November 14th - School Board Meeting

Have a wonderful week with your learners! Make the most of each moment! Dig deep and give your all each day! Let them know they are loved and they can be and do anything with hard work and determination. Thank you for showing your Panther PRIDE each day!

For the Week of October 17th

Welcome to the 2nd Quarter! You made it! Way to go! Please note that this is a "new" newsletter with a different link from the 1st quarter newsletter. The link for the first quarter newsletter is https://www.smore.com/app/pages/preview/bb905 if you want to view anything from it. Hopefully, this will help with less scrolling down throughout the year.


I wish y'all could see me typing this in the car today on the way to College Station. I am not driving! My husband is the tech guy at GCEC, so he gets me set up well. However, today the ride is particularly bumpy, the glare is bad, and I have dropped this small laptop several times. Apparently, the heavier laptop for some reason worked better. I have to say I have had diffculty keeping my cool! However, it's the best day ever because I get to see my baby soon! It's all about focusing on the positive and what we "get" to do! (This does serve as a disclaimer for any and all typos today. Ha!)


Thank you for focusing on the positive this past quarter. This week we don't have to teach children - we get to teach children! This week we don't have to plan engaging lessons - we get to plan engaging lessons! This week we don't have to tutor kids, coach UIL, serve duty stations - we get to tutor, get to coach and get to serve! Let's feed the positive!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Weekly Reflections

As we begin the second quarter, which of your "Plan A" procedures are working like a well oiled machine? Which ones do you want to throw out with the bath water? Monday is a perfect time to make adjustments. It's a new day! It's a new start! It's a new quarter! It's a new beginning! Give yourself permission to change and make things better for you. Need an idea? Ask a teammate or one of us. Two heads are always better than one!

Important News and Information - This section is completed each week in lieu of adding faculty meetings to cover this type of information. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

Grades - Your grades are due by 8:00 on Monday for first quarter. You must "post" your cycle grades for this task. Remember, you may choose from the list of comments (2nd-4th) if you want to make a notation about accommodations or work habits. If you are new to campus and haven't done this before, please see a teammate for assistance or let me know you need help. We are happy to support you in any way. Lauri will be out this week, so let me know if you have questions. I will find someone to help us.


Lockdown Drill - We are going to conduct a lockdown drill on Monday first thing about 8:00. The wording on the intercom will be, "Lockdown. Locks, lights, out of sight." Remember, for this drill, you need to ensure your door is locked and kids are away from the door/window. Don't worry about the black paper on the window; just turn off the lights.


Tardies/Detentions - Beginning next week, when your students earn a detention for tardies or discipline, you will be receiving an email that will serve as a reminder for you to bring them to the office during lunch. We really need your help to implement these consequences consistently. Thank you for your help!


Magnet Clip and Pink Sheets - Any transportation changes will be placed on the magnet clip on your door frame at the end of the day. The delivery person will look to see if backpacks are in the room before leaving the note. If the backpacks are gone, they will locate the class to personally deliver. Please make it a habit to look at your clip each afternoon before dismissal. "If it ain't pink, it ain't so!" Thanks!


Background Checks - Did you notice this item addressed in the parent newsletter? I noticed something wrong as 3rd grade started getting their volunteers checked for their field trip and began asking questions. I had not been told that the checks from last year had been deleted, and we were starting over. I think we all feel better that is the case. It had just not been communicated, and I have been advertising our procedures incorrectly from what I specifically had checked on before the year began. I apologize for any inconvenience for you and your parents. Feel free to copy the blurb I put in the parent newsletter with the link in your own parent newsletters. Thanks for your help.


Specials Time - Please ensure you are getting your students to specials on time. It is difficult to try to begin class without the whole grade level there. Also, when you walk them to class, do not leave them unattended waiting on the teacher until she gets to the room. Thanks for your help.


Flu Shots - If you are going to the HS to get a flu shot on Tuesday morning, please make your own arrangements with a teammate to cover your duty/watch your class. If you are at the HS ready to go at 7:00, I would think you could get to campus by 7:30. However, I would rather you have a plan in place in case you are late. We don't want to leave students unattended.


Aide Meeting - We will have a brief meeting on Tuesday at 7:45 with all aides in the conference room to discuss concerns, needs, questions, etc. Feel free to email anything you want to discuss ahead of time if that is better for you.


Picture Day - Wednesday in the library - Danna will be sending you a schedule with more information on Monday.


Faculty Meeting - Wednesday at 3:30 in the library. Dr. Brown will be presenting information on the District of Innovation, and then we will hear from the Boosterthon people. If you have not shown the Boostherthon video to your homeroom, please do so on Monday. I have inserted the link below for all staff to view if you haven't done so.

https://vimeo.com/166838508


Data Meetings for 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grade Teams - I will send out questions to consider prior to our meetings by Monday morning. 2nd/4th - Thursday during conference and 3rd - Friday during conference.


It Pays to Go to College - Please wear your A&M shirts on Thursday to celebrate payday and advertise to our kiddos the best place to go. Just kidding! Wear your own Alma Mater shirt and discuss the importance of higher education with our students.


Cameras - Thank you for your patience on Friday as the video camera men worked in the building pulling wire for our additional cameras. They did not finish and will be back next week. They should just have to be where the actual cameras will be placed and not quite so spread out over the building.


Also, this is very important. The camera above Danna's desk is going to be a camera with sound. We need to be very careful about confidential conversations in the office area and/or other things we wouldn't want others to hear. :-) The sound will not pick up beyond the closed doors of the conference room or other offices up front. The purpose is to have sound recordings of the public if needed in cases of emergency or conflicts.


2nd Grade Specials Time Change - They will meet at 8:00 again on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for the performance on the 18th.

It's all about our passion for the kids!

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Praising Effort Makes All the Difference

Carol Dweck - A Study on Praise and Mindsets

Building Strong Vocabulary - Are you working on those 2,000-5,000 words?

VAES Staff Members Matter

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Natalee Gomez Matters to VAES

Natalee is our new sped aide this year.


Tell us about your family.

I have been married to my husband, Ferrin, for six years. We have two boys, Karsyn (5) and Karter (3). We also have two Weimaraners, Archie and Hallie, and one chihuahua, Marco.


What do you like best about being here this year at VAES?

I am so very excited to be at VAES! I was born and raised in VA, and so happy to now be working for the best ISD!! I am ready to get my new career started at VAES and learn as much as I can from this wonderful staff! It is also a plus my son will be in Kinder at VAES this year.


What do you like to spend time doing outside of school? Hobbies? Talents?

I love watching baseball of any kind, but my favorite is watching my son play as a Panther.


Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day or envolve watch a baseball game or two. Then, spending the rest of the day at the lake with my family.


Complete this sentence. I want everyone to know that...

I am proud to be a Panther, and to be a part of this awesome staff at VAE!!

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VAES Brag Board

Nancy Kerr, our intervention teacher, stepped in literally at the last minute this week for early morning bus duty for Megan and has continued to cover that spot. Thank you, Nancy!


Lisa Harrelson and April Hernandez, our deputized music teachers, have stepped in for Megan to ensure our 2nd graders are ready for the show to go on Tuesday night! Thank you ladies. Natalee Gomez used her inner cheerleader to get the signs ready listing the order of the performance for the students to see. I love our team spirit stepping in to serve beyond comfort zones to support one another!


Colleague Shout Outs

Mackenzie wanted to acknowledge Keri Morris for getting the nurse pass from an idea on Wednesday to reality on Thursday. Thanks Keri for stepping in to help out across the board!


We have lots of quotes in our brag board this week!

Mattie Mullenix - You always have such a positive attitude! Your students know that they are loved and it shows!!!


April Hernandez - You work so hard to make sure everyone has a special assignment for Paw Patrol. We are so blessed to have you here and you are such a great asset to our school. We are so thankful for the knowledge you bring to the table. You have such great ideas!!!


Megan Beard - I am amazed by the progress of your musicians! Your students have such confidence when playing their instruments. I love to see the excitement on their face when they are working on their program. Great job!!!


Danna Jackson - You are always the bright spot in my day! I love coming into the office and feeling welcomed and appreciated! You are always a ray of sunshine! Thank you for always taking the time to stop and let us all know that we matter!!! You are such a blessing to our campus and we could not do it without you!!!


Stephanie Lewis - You are always so positive! I love that you are always so sweet to the kids!!!


Throughout the year, we will brag on you here! If you would like to brag on a colleague please complete the form below.

http://goo.gl/forms/jQZj85YnWv

Calendar Items

Monday, October 17th - School Board Meeting


Tuesday, October 18th - 2nd Grade Music Program and PTA Meeting


Wednesday, October 19th - Picture Day and Boosterthon Teacher Meeting/Dr. Brown after school


Thursday, October 20th - College Day, 3rd Grade Field Trip and DIT Meeting


Tuesday, October 25th - Boosterthon Kickoff


Wednesday, October 26th - Vertical Team Planning


Thursday, November 3rd - Boosterthon Fun Run

Have a fantastic week with your students as you embark on this first week of the second quarter. Remember, first days are great times to readdress procedures that you wish were working better. Review those Champs expectations. Practice routines in your room and have children race the clock to beat their last time. Enjoy learning together!