Galloping Gazette

A newsletter for the Faculty and Staff - Week 10/1-10/5

Put Students First • Seek Growth • Be Open to Change Do Great Work Together • Value Difference

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Colts P.R.I.D.E in action

Principal's Message for the week

October is a month full of beautiful foliage, pumpkin spice lattes, apple cider donuts, and reflection. I often find myself during October, stopping at random times and just admiring the beautiful landscape that is around us.

Recently I reflected on the question, which is worse, mediocrity or failure? If you have read/watched/attended any professional development on innovation or differentiation you have probably heard the clever acronym, “FAIL” = First Attempt in Learning.” This means that we must fail in order to learn and grow. The best scientists and athletes have attested to how much they have learned through failure. I, myself, would rather have a school full of learners who make mistakes through their efforts rather than playing it safe and sailing on the current of mediocrity. When we settle for no better than our average sailing altitude, we are cheating ourselves and those who we teach. If we instill the love for average in our learners, then we are robbing them of their potential, as well. That is why we need to ensure that, as educators, we seek to facilitate learning not only of our young learners but of ourselves as well. We are growing young minds for an unlimited future.

During this month that just breeds reflection, take a risk in the classroom not for fear of failure but for the idea of it creating a learning opportunity. Create strong learning targets that not only go beyond just identifying and describing but breed inquiry. In your learning targets, communicate to the students how they can measure their progress so that they can self assess. Then create rich tasks and authentic learning activities that align with this target so that our students can not only reach their target but start to wonder on a deeper level. If you are trying something new or taking a risk and going outside your comfort zone, I would love to hear about it!



Please check out our form below to see how Mrs. Porter and myself will be celebrating our students and continuing our positive culture and environment.

Morning Meeting Moment

TIP OF THE WEEK: Many teachers are using wonder walls to encourage student agency and inquiry in different academic areas. Consider having an "other" side of the wonder wall so that students have a place to put their questions that don't fit into an academic subject. Then allow those questions to guide a share portion of a morning meeting weekly. Check out Susan Cucuzza's wonderwall to see an example of this!

Colts Pride in Action

As part of our purposeful work to design a school culture where our PRIDE is encouraged and celebrated (Innovative Leadership Disposition, Transformational Learning), each week a staff member or group of staff members will be highlighted for demonstrating one aspect of P.R.I.D.E

Innovation, Design, and Engagement highlight:

BRAVO to Kelly McNeely for not only trying her first inquiry claim task, but facilitating a successful science seminar with both classes together. Through this task, the students used their online tech book for the first time, researched a claim, and defended their position. Kelly took a chance on something new, allowed the students to make mistakes and through feedback allowed them to figure out their own answers. So proud and impressed!

Virtual Learning Days

Teachers, Please view the Virtual Learning Day (VLD) Screencast link below. You must be logged into your VBSCHOOLS Google account to view the screencast. It is important that all students receive a task (please do not refer to it as homework) on each Virtual Learning Day. Two tasks are already created for you and posted in Schoology/Courses/Resources/Virtual Learning Day. You may use the tasks created, modify the created tasks, or create your own task. You will have a 10 day window – you may consider using 5 days leading up to the VLD and then 5 days afterwards to follow up and for students to share their final product. It is important that we follow through on this new initiative as we are so lucky to have this opportunity vs. making up days. *Prior to the VLD, please make sure students have supplies at home. (construction paper, markers, etc.) This is a GREAT opportunity for students to have voice & choice!

I would like for each grade level to be consistent with the tasks they assign. All grade levels should be putting their agreed upon task in the PAC notes.

Lock Down Drill

We will have an Internal Lockdown Drill on Monday. Review your Emergency Procedures Guide for this drill.

Here are some reminders:

-the drill will be announced (no alarm will sound)

-check the hallway and bring students into class and then close your locked door

-turn off lights

-hide, have students remain quiet and maintain calmness

-the end of the drill will be announced

-DO NOT walk to your classroom from any distance, get into the closest room

See Mrs. Porter for any questions

Picture Day

SMILE! Picture Day will be Wednesday, October 3rd. Grades 1-5 will have their picture taken during PE class time in the gym. Mrs. Robertson and her staff will assist with this process. Pre-K and Kindergarten classes have been scheduled a time.

Ms. Kane would like for you to have your picture taken as this will appear in the yearbook!

Progress Reports Due– October 9th

The DOT timeline for progress reports is as follows:

  • Thursday, October 4th - Art/Music/PE grades/comments finalized by 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 5th - Homeroom teachers finalize grades/comments by 5:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 9th - Issue progress reports to students struggling or not meeting grade level expectations.

* Remember that you only have to issue progress reports for students struggling or not meeting grade level expectations. You do not have to send a progress report to all students, unless it is your preference to send a report home to every student.

Please send Robin an email when your progress reports are complete. Thank you!

Please consider checking this out - Equity Consiousness Workshop w/ Dr. Yvette Jackson

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Things that are worth a second look

Looking to go deeper with your understanding of the LA curriculum; check out all of the different PL opportunities.

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Start the countdown!!!





Get ready for a day of CREATING.

Watch the live stream, ask the presenters questions

and MAKE all day.

Create what you wish existed!

Share what your students create using #GlobalMakerDay on Twitter.

Check it out here...

Calling all artists!

It is time for Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) employees to enter their 2-D artwork for consideration to be the 2019 Commemorative Print. The Virginia Beach Education Foundation (VBEF) sells annual Commemorative Prints to raise money to fund innovative learning programs for which the VBEF awards to VBCPS teachers. Artwork submissions must be emailed in a high-resolution (300 dpi+) image by Oct. 22 to and include:  the title of the art work and a brief description of the piece (25 word maximum); and  name of the artist. where they work in VBCPS and their title Approved images will be posted online for public voting to select the winning 2019 Commemorative Print. Voting will take place Nov. 9 - Nov. 25 and the winning piece will be announced at the Teacher Grants Improve Futures Celebration Nov. 29. The event, hosted by the Virginia Beach Education Foundation, will include recognition of teachers receiving 2019 Schoolwide and Innovative Learning Grants.

Do you want your voice heard on the district level? Are you interested? Let your grade level chair know!

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October 20, 2018 - 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM @ Salem High School

  • 7:30 Registration, vendors, & breakfast
  • 8:00 Welcome & featured speaker
  • 8:30 Breakout sessions
  • 9:30 Keynote speaker: Kelly Cartwright
  • 11:45 Breakout sessions

Featuring Dr. Kelly Cartwright-Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Teacher Preparation at Christopher Newport University; Expert on reading comprehension, children’s thinking, and the development of literacy processes. Author of Executive Skills and Reading Comprehension: A Guide for Educators and Word Callers: Small Group and One-to-One Interventions for Children Who Read but Don’t Comprehend

BOY Assessment

Ten Marks Reminders:

All students have been assigned the Ten Marks Baseline Assessment to monitor growth towards our math PCI goal. The assessment will open beginning Monday, September 10 and close Friday, September 21st.

A few important things to remember:

  • The assessment should be completed at school, not at home. If possible, try to have them finish it in one class session to prevent the chances of them accessing it from home that evening.
  • This baseline assessment will cover all math objectives for your grade level. There will be questions the students don't know because they haven't been taught yet. Please stress to students that they will not know a lot of answers, and that is normal. They should just guess and move on. Naturally, we expect baseline scores to be low

Reading Assessments:

The testing windows open on September 5 for DRAs and RIs. Independent DRA level need to be entered into Synergy by October 5 and RIs need to be completed by October 12.


  • Begin testing one level up from where they were at the end of the year.
  • Be sure to complete the Teacher Observation Guide and Student Booklet completely. These will be collected.
  • ·Make a list of students with a significant fluency issue so we can give them the PAST assessment.
  • ·If you have questions/concerns about the DRA testing, please let Patti know.
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Open enrollment - action needed!

Open Enrollment is Oct. 1 through Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. This is the annual opportunity for staff to review and make changes to benefits and covered dependents.

It is required that staff elect or re-elect the following benefits through the BENEFITFOCUS platform during Open Enrollment to have coverage in 2019: health, dental, legal, identity theft protection, health savings account, health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts. (Please note: any other benefit plans do not require re-election.)

The Consolidated Benefits Office (CBO) is available to assist staff in enrolling and understanding their 2019 benefits at the following events:

• Understanding Your Benefits: The VBO is offering two Vendor Fairs. These will be fun and informative with a chance to win an iPad with an Apple Pencil, gift cards and more.

  • Thursday, Sept. 20 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Building 19
  • Saturday, Sept. 22 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Plaza Annex

Shout Outs

Thank you to 5th grade teachers, staff members, and chaperones that supported students in the Oceana Air Show field trip!

I just wanted to send a BIG thanks out to the kindergarten team, specialists, administration, front office, and all CFES staff members who helped me transition back into the classroom and get the EDK program up and running! We're ready to roll come Monday! You guys rock! - Bevin

Shout out to the PBIS team members that worked diligently after school on Tuesday!

Thank you to Megan Jones and September Johnson on being flexible in working with a variety of schedule changes starting next week.

Kudos to Sharon Yager for your leadership skills in PBIS!

Thank you to my 2nd family here at Christopher Farms for all the support, kind words and hugs that I needed during this time. I was an only child but since I've been here I've gained many brothers and sisters. Thank you for being there when I needed you. - Miriam

Tina, the nursery rhymes in the hallway are a hit. Thank you! - Danielle

Robin, You made my morning so “sweet”. Thank you! - Danielle

Megan Jones & Jackie, you guys are going to rock the SCA! - Marissa & Danielle

Karen Ratner, I can’t thank you enough for all your help! - Danielle

Colleen, you are so “berry” sweet! - Danielle

Patti Csenar, Thanks for all your help! - 2nd grade

Ms. Mercyd for always taking care of us at the farm! - Al

Mrs. Rockwell for being a Rockstar Math Coach! - Al

Mrs. Ratner for always being helpful and keeping the kids and classes straight in Synergy! - Al

If you have any shoutouts, please send them to Mrs. Backer and Mrs. Jacobs by Thursday.

Hashtags of the week






Schedule for upcoming weeks

Monday, October 1st

  • Lock Down Drill @ 9:45

  • Girls on the Run 2:40p - 4:20p

  • Bus Safety lesson during PE this week

Tuesday, October 2nd

  • Leadership Meeting @ 3p (Library)

Wednesday, October 3rd

  • Fall Picture Day

  • Girls on the Run 2:40p - 4:20p

Thursday, October 4th

  • Keep on trucking you're almost there!

Friday, September 5th

  • 4th Grade IPT Testing 9a-11a


Monday, October 8th

  • Virtual Learning Day

  • Staff Day

- PBIS Training @ 8:15a - 9:15a

- Schoology Training @ 9:30a -10:15a



* Specialists choose grade level

- Personal Pathways @10:30a - 11:15a

Tuesday, October 9th

  • PBIS Meeting @3p (Library)

  • Progress Reports Go Home

Wednesday, October 10th

  • Girls on the Run 2:40p - 4:20p

  • School Improvement Meeting @11:00 - 12:15

Thursday, October 11th

  • Spanish Grade Level Meeting @ 3:00p
  • Stay positive, work hard and make it happen today!

Friday, September 12th

  • Navy's 243 Birthday!!! ( If you would like a special guest reader in your classroom let Ms. Backer know.)
  • Today is "Free Thought Day". Inspire your students to be free thinkers!