Griffins Connect

End-of-Year Edition #BuildingABetterGriffin

Thanks for a Great Year!

As the 2019-2020 school year comes to a close, I am tremendously grateful... grateful to serve as your child's principal, grateful to work alongside educators who work tirelessly to provide the very best, and grateful for the parents who unconditionally support and encourage. It is truly an honor to be a part of the Sterling School community.

While certainly challenging and unprecedented, this year has brought many successes.

  • Of 22 schools that applied, Sterling School was the sole recipient of this year's South Carolina ASCD Whole Child Award.
  • Sterling School received an EXCELLENT School Report Card rating (at both the elementary and middle school levels).
  • Sterling School achieved Palmetto Gold and Silver recognition (Silver in Elementary; Gold in Middle).
  • Sterling School was a 2020 recipient of a $5,000 Mullins Grant from Public Education Partners.
  • Every member of the faculty/staff was trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid (only school in the district and likely the first in the state).
  • Several members of the school faculty presented at district and state conferences.
  • And many other individual student and faculty recognitions and honors.

But our work is not finished. As a school community we must continue to see learning as a journey, not a destination. Our school, constantly evolving, must continuously adapt to meet the needs of each child. As we've seen over the last several weeks, to successfully meet our students' needs requires a progressive, responsive, #WholeChild approach. Together, we will continue in our collective effort to #BuildABetterGriffin.

Over the weeks of summer, please continue to keep our Griffins learning. Our school has provided a plan for reading over the summer (see in this newsletter below). Students can continue to access their DreamBox and Reflex accounts as well. Also, be on the lookout for communication from the school and our PTA. We will do our best to keep you informed of any need-to-know information. While much is currently unknown, I will continue to work with colleagues and district leaders to plan for the coming year. Once those plans are determined, we'll be sure to let everyone know.

In conclusion, I would like to wish everyone the very best for the summer break and look forward to welcoming you back, refreshed, for what will surely be an exciting new academic year. As always, it is an honor to serve as our school's principal. Again, thank you for your continued support and care.

Dr. P

What's Ahead...

June 1 & 2: Student Materials Pick-Up & Return (See note for details)

June 1: 5th Grade Sterling Virtual Awards Program; 6:00pm

June 3: 5th Grade Sterling Griffin Walk/Car Parade @ 4:00pm (See note for details)

June 3: 8th Grade CTC Griffin Walk/Car Parade @ 5:30pm (See note for details)

June 5: Sweet Summer Reading Chances Begins: Rising 5K-5th Students (Read, Read, Read!!!)

June 1st & 2nd Student Materials Pick-Up & Return:

Student materials pickups and returns will occur on June 1st and 2nd. It is important that all families come at their assigned time. Please read the following and make note of all the specific directions and details. Thank you, in advance, for your assistance and understanding with this process.

Student Materials Pickup & Textbook/Chromebook Return will occur on the following:

Monday, June 1st

8th Grade/Gym Back Drive/Bus Loop: 8:00-10:00

7th Grade/Gym Back Drive/Bus Loop: 10:30-12:30

6th Grade/Gym Back Drive/Bus Loop: 1:30-3:30

Tuesday, June 2nd

4K & 5K/Front Drive: 8:00-10:00

1st & 2nd/Front Drive: 10:30-12:30

5th Grade/Gym Back Drive/Bus Loop: 8:00-10:00

4th Grade/Gym Back Drive/Bus Loop: 10:30-12:30

3rd Grade/Gym Back Drive/Bus Loop: 1:30-3:30

Wednesday, June 3rd: Make-Up

All Grades/Gym Back Drive/Bus Loop: 9:00-11:00

Bring Back



Non consumable Text books

Library Books

Pay fees for:

Yearbook purchases, lost library books, lost textbooks, etc.

School-owned instruments (MS)

Pick Up


Personal belongings


Yearbooks (if ordered; available for purchase while supplies last)

T-Shirts (for certain groups/clubs)

Academic Locker contents (M.S)

Instruments (M.S.)

Procedures for Student Materials Pick-Up & Return

If you have kids in multiple grades, you may collect belongings for each at one time. You do not have to come during multiple time slots. Additionally, only one adult per child/family will be permitted entry to the building as we seek to limit the possibility of exposure/spread of the virus as much as humanly possible. If you have children in both age groups (4K-2 and 3-8), please go to the back car line/bus loop and enter the gym. Your younger child's belongings will be brought to you in the gym. Do not go through the front car line to retrieve items for kids in grades 3 and up.

For grades 4K-2 (June 2nd):

  • Please drive through the front car line.
  • Pull up to the tables but do not exit your vehicle.
  • A staff member will approach your vehicle to ask for the name(s) of your child or children.
  • The staff member will then retrieve the bag of materials belonging to your child/children and bring it to your vehicle.
  • Exit the carline carefully and have a great summer!

For grades 3-5 (June 2nd) and 6-8 (June 1st):

  • Please be patient as we work to ensure the safety of our students, families, faculty, and staff. We will work to assist you as quickly as we can safely do so.
  • Please drive to the back bus loop and follow the directions of our staff directing traffic who will direct you to park in the parking lot or along the sidewalk.
  • Upon exiting your vehicle, please put on a mask
  • Line up and stand at the chalk ‘X’ at least six feet apart from the next parent/student on the sidewalk heading toward the rear gym doors near the bleachers/restrooms.
  • Prior to being admitted into the gym, a staff member will be checking for possible exposure to COVID-19 and checking temperatures and masks, as well as limiting the number of people entering the gym at one time. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance to and exit from the gym as well.
  • Once in the gym, people will move through various stations - Remaining on the thick black painted line on the gym floor:
  1. Drop off Chromebooks
  2. Drop off textbooks
  3. Drop off library books/instruments/and other school-owned materials
  4. Collect prescription medications from the nurse if applicable
  5. Collect bagged personal belongings from lockers/classrooms
  6. Collect any miscellaneous personal belongings
  7. Pick up or buy yearbooks/T-Shirts if applicable.
  • All staff will be wearing gloves and masks while collecting or distributing items with as little personal contact as possible.
  • All stations will be a minimum of six feet apart, more likely 10-15 feet apart.
  • Upon completion of all stations, students or parents will exit the gym through the rear doors nearest the locker rooms to return to the parking lot/car line via the butterfly garden.
  • Exit the parking lot/car line carefully while following any directions from our staff.
  • Have a great summer! :-)
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2020-2021 Sterling School Faculty/Staff Changes

Every year, for various reasons, we anticipate a few changes to our school's faculty and staff. As you may already know, two Sterling School teachers have announced their decision to retire: Ms. Pam Dechau (5th Grade, CTC) & Mrs. Jan Moretti (School Counselor). Mrs. Sue Anderson (front office clerk) is also retiring this year. Mrs. Lauren Nifong (5th Grade Sterling) will become the new instructional coach at Brook Glenn Elementary. Congratulations to each of them!

Due to next year's projected enrollment within our Sterling Program, we will lose one position in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade. Ms. Amanda McLaine (1st Grade, Sterling) and Ms. Amanda West (4th Grade, Sterling) will transfer to another school in the district. Ms. Sarahi Paz (2nd Grade, Sterling) has accepted a leadership position at an international school. We thank them for their service and commitment to Sterling School and wish them all the best in the coming year!

Effective next school year…

  • Mrs. Hope Howard (3rd Grade, Sterling) will become an Academic Interventionist
  • Mrs. Candi Coffman (Academic Interventionist) will teach 3rd Grade Sterling
  • Ms. Katalin Bartz (Resource) will teach 1st Grade Sterling
  • Ms. Joyce Reed (3rd Grade, Sterling) will teach Resource

Many thanks to the four individuals who will be transitioning into new roles/positions! I am grateful for their willingness to step outside their “norm” to fill our internal vacancies. This speaks volumes to the dedication and commitment they have for our students and school community. As a school community, please join me in celebrating and supporting them in their transition. #BuildingABetterGriffin #WholeChild
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Carly Tan, Front Office Clerk

My name is Carly Tan and I have been a part of the Sterling family as a parent for the past thirteen years as my four children have moved through the school. This makes it all the more meaningful to have the opportunity now to work at the school where my heart has been for so long!

I grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State, but, with two sons at Clemson, I cheer for the Tigers now! When I’m not working, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. Some of the activities that I most enjoy doing with them are hiking, camping, visiting new national parks, worshiping at Grace Church, playing board games, and playing Ultimate Frisbee together. Having worked as a clerk in the Greenville County Schools for the past two years, I am excited to support the staff, students, and families at Sterling School!

Virtual Field Day: NEXT WEEK!

Sterling Griffins, GET READY for Virtual Field Day! Next week (June 1-4), Sterling School will partner with Oakview Elementary in our first ever Virtual Field Day! In the comments section of the following YouTube link (shared below), you'll find all the information you'll need, including event details as well as the participation form. Be sure to check it out!

Sterling and Oakview are competing to see which school can rally the greatest school-level participation! Virtual Field Day is open to all students K4-8th grade. We look forward to bringing the 2019-2020 school year to a close with this exciting event!

Also, tag #BuildingABetterGriffin in all your social media posts to share with everyone in our school community! #WholeChild

2020 Sterling School Virtual Field Day

5th Grade Sterling Awards Program

Last night, we held our 8th Grade Awards Program. Though it was virtual, it was a great, celebratory event to honor our wonderful, outgoing 8th graders. On Monday, June 1st @ 6:00pm, we will recognize our 5th Grade Sterling students. While the program is prerecorded, we hope all 5th grade Sterling families will join us in viewing the premiere. All certificates and other award items will be included as part of the Materials Pickup and Return Day next week. After the viewing celebration, the video link will be emailed to all families.

5th (Sterling) & 8th (CTC) Griffin Walk/Car Parade

This year, we will hold 2 installments of our celebratory "Griffin Walk" tradition. The 5th Grade Sterling car parade will start at 4:00 pm while the 8th grade parade will begin at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, June 3rd. Parents are instructed to drive their students around our car line while faculty and staff cheer and dance to send them off. Parents are instructed to keep all passengers in their vehicles--No high-fives, hugs, or any other contact will be permitted.

All families will enter the front carline as space allows the same way you would for drop off or pick up. Please stop at the orange cones. When the carline is full, there will be spill-over space at Phillis Wheatley Community Center. Please ensure that all participating students arrive in a vehicle and remain in the vehicle for the full duration of the parade.

Pictures from 8th Grade Awards Night

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Summer Learning Challenge! #FightTheSummerSlide

Studies indicate that a typical elementary student's academic achievement declines approximately two months over the summer. Additionally, summer learning loss is cumulative and over time can contribute to a student's potential success. This year, we are encouraging our Griffins, 5K to rising 5th grade, to join us in our fight against the "Summer Slide." #GriffinPride #WholeChild

Here, you will find Sterling School's Sweet Summer Reading Chances information. You can also find this information in your child's brown pick-up bag, on our school's webpage, and in forthcoming summer editions of the Weekly Griffin. The Sweet Summer Reading Chances will begin at dismissal on Thursday, June 4th. With this summer learning experience, students will have the opportunity to win exciting prizes and participate in a start-of-year celebration! There are several ways to participate: READO, Camp Wonderopolis, and the Greenville Library Summer Reading Program. To learn more information, see the following flyer (CLICK HERE!).

Virtual Summer Story Time

Elementary Students are Invited to Sterling School to Escape with Books this Summer!

Join us virtually on our school's Facebook page every Tuesday from 11:00-11:30am to participate in a read-aloud provided by special guest readers. Summer Story Time will begin on Tuesday, June 9th and continue through Tuesday, August 4th. #BuildingABetterGriffin #WholeChild

Registration for 20-21 Extended Day Program

If you're interested in enrolling your child in our after school program, before the end of May, you must email the after school directors at Tell us your child's name and grade and we will hold your spot for the fall. Since we are currently facing an unknown as to when we will return to school, we ask that you wait until August to turn in your registration form and fee. To keep your child's spot, the registration form and fee must be submitted by the first day of school.

If you have any other questions please see the after school website (CLICK HERE!) or email Maxi Henry at or Candi Coffman at Thank you so much and we look forward to seeing you in August!

Greenville Drive Reading All-Stars Update

Congratulations to our 162 Sterling School All-Star Readers! To date, this is the greatest participation our school has had. we are proud of each students who joined to read! Due to COVID-19 and its impact on the Drive and our community, the Greenville Drive has rescheduled this year's celebration to Sunday, August 9th. All qualifying students will receive a voucher that they will receive during next week's materials pick-up/drop-off. Be sure to look in your child's bag!

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Teachers & Students Publish Article

Congratulations to nine members of our school community who were recently published in the National Association of Gifted Children's (NAGC) peer-reviewed publication, "Teaching for High Potential." The article, "Empowering Student Autonomy Through Inquiry and Reflection" was co-authored by teachers Sara Newell and Cara Nyvall along with the following middle school students: Harper Bright, Leran Fu, Ellie Kate Grant, Hannah Izumi, Sierra Kremenliev, Natalia Lopez, and David Ropp.

The idea for the article came after students researched the efficacy of PBL units for a class Harkness discussion and found that none of the articles they read contained student opinions or feedback. Mrs. Newell and Mrs. Nyvall worked very hard to teach their students to consider multiple perspectives when they approached an issue; however, the group was surprised that no one had considered student input in the research about teaching methods. The teachers brainstormed ways to address this omission, including voices of willing students who contributed their own perspectives in an attempt to make up for the missing voices.

"I'm so proud of these students for adding their voices to the research on PBL units," Mrs. Newell said. "They worked diligently on their writing and revising to be sure they had writing that was publication-worthy. I am also grateful to "Teaching for High Potential" for working so graciously with us and publishing this fairly unorthodox article. I would love to see more student voices included in future research and publications!" Mrs. Nyvall stated, "What a wonderful opportunity to give kids the tools and knowledge to assess their own thinking and learning so that they could then articulate ideas about their own education!"

As a school, we seek to provide every student with a personalized, student-centered education. We are very proud of their work and this prestigious accomplishment. #BuildingABetterGriffin #WholeChild

6th Grade: Flying Lessons CultureGrams

Since the shutdown, 6th graders have read a collection of short stories by diverse authors in an anthology titled Flying Lessons. A class set of books was purchased through a combination of school and PTA funds, so each student was able to check out a copy of the book. Each story in the book highlights an author and/or setting from a different cultural background, and the cover of the book features a paper airplane that sparked the idea for our culminating, virtual project. Students chose their favorite story, researched its cultural setting using CultureGrams, and then created their own paper airplane featuring cultural elements from the country of origin. CLICK HERE to view their uniquely creative designs!