Galloping Gazette

A newsletter for the Faculty and Staff - Week 1/28/-2/1

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

Principal's Message for the week:

This week ends our first month of 2019 and did this month seem to fly by faster than most. January is the month that marks the New Year for most of us and which is always a new beginning. Every beginning prompts us to thoughtfully consider some past events which have accumulated to this present moment. For most this looks like setting goals and resolutions. Since this week is the last of the month, it asks us to reflect on our progress. Have we stuck to our goals or have they already fallen by the wayside?

These goals and resolutions are not immune to our school and classrooms as most mid-year assessments are completed during this time frame. So often we measure our personal and professional goals by numbers. Whether it is losing weight or getting a higher score on the RI - the first spot we look for progress are the numbers.

However, this week during one of my post-observation conferences, we focused more on the behaviors and found ourselves celebrating "non-scale victories". Two of this teachers' students came, so proudly, down to my office to celebrate not their raise in score, but rather that one completed all of the Ten Marks questions and the other one completed all of the Ten Marks questions with shown work for each one. Out of context, one might think what is the big deal - shouldn't this be the expectation? However, for each of these students this was huge gains in that they went from giving up and not caring about their school work to sitting down, respecting their teachers and giving it their best effort.

In a world in that numbers are important, let's not forget to celebrate those non-scale victories. This is in your classrooms and in your personal lives. When you have these non-scale victories, share them with your colleagues and with us, we are your biggest cheerleaders and want to celebrate right with you!

Girls on the Run needs a teacher sponsor? Interested..see me!

Shout Outs

Shout out to Al for spending lunch with some of our students interested in coding. - Katie

Shout out to Debbie V. and Kelly for spreading joy and laughter at our meeting this week. - Katie

Shout out to the 2nd grade team for making me making planning fun! - Katie

PBIS team you guys rock as a team! Thanks for all your hard work collecting data on Golden Tickets! - Sharon

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

Schedule for upcoming weeks

Jan. 28th - Feb. 1st

Great Kindness Challenge

Math Benchmarks - All students should be encouraged to use scratch paper!

No PLCs - Please use this time to work on report cards.

Monday, January 28th

· Ride the Kindness Wave (wear beach attire)

· 2:40p - 4:00p Newspaper Club (Innovation Lab)

Tuesday, January 29th

· Crazy for Kindness (wear crazy socks and/or hair)

· 7:00am - 7:45am Math SOL Tutoring (Library)

· 3:00p - 4:00p PAC Meeting (Library)

Wednesday, January 30th

· Happy Hump Day!

· Nothing Beats CFES Team Kindness (wear team jerseys or CFES spirit wear)

Thursday, January 31st

· Shine Bright with Kindness (wear neon)

· 7:00am - 7:45am Math SOL Tutoring (Library)

· 7:30am - 8:30am VBEF Board Meeting (Collaboration Rm)

· 8:20 One Book, One School Assembly KAM, 1st, 3rd, 4th

· 9:00 One Book, One School Assembly PreK, KPM, 2nd, 5th

· 10:00 – 1:00 Dancing Lunch

· 2:40p - 4:00p Stem Club Meetings (Rm 34/ Computer Lab/ Rm 38 Art Room)

· Specialist Grades Due

Friday, February 1st

· 5th Grade IB MYP & Middle School Program Applications Due

· Staff/ Virtual Learning Day* (No School) - All staff to attend

· Class Teacher Grades Due


Feb. 4th - Feb. 8th

Reading Benchmarks - All students should be encouraged to use scratch paper!

Math PLCs- Looking at quarterly data. Please look at your data ahead of time.

Monday, February 4th

· 3rd Quarter Begins

2nd Grade PLC

Tuesday, February 5th

· 3rd grade PLC

3:00p - 4:00p Leadership Meeting (Library)

Wednesday, February 6th

· Happy Hump Day!


· 9:30-11:30 4th Grade Sandler Center Field Trip

1st grade PLC

· Pet Readers (Library)

Thursday, February 7th

· Pet Readers (Library)

5th Grade PLC

· 2:40p – 5p Eco Club (Cafeteria)

· 2:40p - 4:00p Stem Club Meetings (Rm 34/ Computer Lab/ Rm 38 Art Room)

Friday, February 8th


4th Grade PLC


January 31st - Please note the time change of the second assembly @ 9:00

February 8th - Formative Focus and Goal Setting for Student Progress Mid-Year Review Due

February 1st - Staff Day Schedule

Our staff day will cover various topics to include reflection on PLCs, PBIS, Mindfulness, and Schoology. All Schoology sessions are optional and will be presented in a make and take format. They are meant for you to come with material to work on based on the topic. Choose the topics that will best fit you. Please be on the look out for an email on the different topics.

8:00 Staff Picture - please meet in the back on the playground in your black top and jeans.

8:15 All staff PD - light breakfast

9:30 Schoology Breakout Session 1

10:00 Schoology Breakout Session 2

10:30 Grade Level PLCs for all teachers. Specialists will meet as their own PLC. All TAs will meet in the library for PBIS training.

11:30 Mindful Minute - optional Yoga session

12:00 Lunch on your own

1:00 Schoology Breakout Session 3

1:30 Schoology Breakout Session 4

4:00 Staff Outing at Finn McCools :)

Staffing Updates!

  • January 25 - Ms. Backer sends out the 'Staff Intent' letters.
  • February 1 - Staff Intent letters are due to Ms Backer. Please only fill out the parts that apply to you.
  • February 25 - Registration opens for Transfer Meet and Greet event using Frontline Professional Growth, and vacancies begin to be posted on Intranet for all transfers
  • March 1 - Principals must notify individuals that they are priority transfers & share information regarding the Transfer Meet and Greet event.
  • March 11 - Online registration deadline for Transfer Meet and Greet event for all voluntary and priority transfers who wish to attend.
  • March 14 - Transfer Meet and Greet event at Green Run HS from 4:30-5:45 p.m.
  • March 22 - Ms. Backer may submit recommendations for vacancies.
  • June 27 - Last date by which principals can make hiring recommendations from other area school divisions (Region II) – Teachers currently under contract with neighboring school divisions must resign from those divisions before 5 p.m. on 6/27.
  • July 15 - Last date teachers may voluntarily transfer without approval from HR and a Senior Executive Director or Director for School Leadership.

National School Counseling Week 2019 - February 4-8

  • National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), will be celebrated Feb. 4-8, 2019, to focus attention on the unique contributions of professional school counselors within public school divisions. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students plan for a career and achieve life-long success. The ASCA has chosen “School Counseling: Providing Lessons for Life,” as its theme for the year.

    National School Counseling Week is an excellent opportunity to recognize and celebrate the very important role that school counselors play in the school and community.

    Let's make sure we celebrate Mrs. Yoshida, Mrs. Beda, and Mrs. Ricco during this special week!

Here comes the bus!

FYI - A fantastic new app for parents: Beginning Feb. 4, 2019, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) will be implementing an innovative mobile device app and website entitled, Here Comes the Bus®. This application allows parents to view the real-time location of their child’s school bus on any smart device.

Here Comes the Bus enables the parent to:

  • See the location of their child’s bus both before and after school.
  • Confirm that their child’s bus has arrived at the bus stop, at school or both.
  • Receive a notification when the bus is near the child’s stop, has been substituted, or when we have important information to relay.

Media and Communications will inform parents via a divisionwide Alert Now. Please let your school webmaster know that staff will also provide a slide to post on your school site that will link to the Here Comes the Bus landing page on That page will include information on how to set up accounts.

Revised February Collaboration Schedule

We have made a few changes to accommodate some of your concerns about the collaboration schedule. Please see below for the revised schedule. If you haven't already, remember to turn in your professional leave forms to Mrs Jacobs in the main office ASAP.
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PLC off Schedule

There has been some confusion on the schedule on weeks that we do not hold PLCs. The schedule will stay the same as if you had PLC. Your grade level will still go to PE on the day that you would normally have PLC and the PE staff will still dismiss the students.

Report Cards

Here are some important reminders about report cards:

  • Remember that VBCPS grading policy currently states that a DP or N should not be issued on the report card unless the parent has been notified prior to issuance.
  • Please remember, with Standards-based grading, the proficiency mark on the report card should reflect the student’s current mastery level on that standard. Various data points may be used to determine the student’s proficiency level (anecdotal notes, exit tickets, summative assessments, etc.)
  • Report card comments should not be the same for your entire class. They do not need to be super lengthy, but they should reflect that you know the student, and they should address any concerns especially any DP's or N's. Please make sure comments are tactful. Put yourself in the parents' shoes. How would you feel reading the comment if it was your child? Begin with something positive and include any quarterly awards earned by the student.

*As a reminder, Mrs. Porter and I will be checking all 650+ report card comments. Please take your time to edit your own comments and then swap comments with a colleague to check before submitting them.

We will once again recognize our students’ accomplishments each marking period with the following awards.

  • Extraordinary Colt – is in the Productivity, Part & Collab, & Citizenship- All Ps AND at least 1 AP (no DP or N
  • Academic Excellence- is 5 APs in core subjects with no DP or Ns anywhere on RC
  • Attendance Award will be awarded to students in grades PreK through 5 displaying excellent attendance.

· 2 tardies (excused or unexcused) = 1 absence

- Leaving school early – Teacher monitoring – please report any patterns of early dismissal to Robyn

Don't forget about trying out our Colt Tracker!

This link will, also, be in our handbook along with our flowchart!

Mid Year Testing Windows

Please look at these dates carefully. If you grade level needs to change a test's date range due to pacing, please let me know.

  • EDK & PALS Mid-Year Testing: Begins January 2nd – January 30th
  • Developmental Spelling Assessment DSA (Grades 3-5): January 7th--January 18th We will be using PALS data in conjunction to the DSA but not the quick checks.
  • DRA2 Assessment (Grades K-5): January 2nd--January 25th (All Kindergarten students should be tested. Students who were below grade level in 1st through 5th during the Fall testing window, should be retested. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not need to retest a student, you should enter his/her independent level in Synergy based on the student's current instructional level.)
  • Reading Inventory (Grades 3-5): January 2nd - January 25th
  • TenMarks Mid-Year Grade Level Assessment (Grades 1-5): January 22nd - January 31st
  • Quarter 2 Reading Benchmark (Grades 2-5): February 4th - February 8th (give it over 2 days like the SOL)
  • Quarter 2 Math Benchmark (Grades 2-5): January 28th –February 1st
  • Quarter 2 Content (Science and Social studies) Benchmark (Grades 2-5): February 8 – February 22

Career Day

Christopher Farms Elementary School will be hosting a Career Day on our school campus Thursday, March 28th from 8:00-10:00am. We are looking for men and women from a variety of occupations to share their careers with our students. If you know anyone who would be interested in participating please have them fill out the form below and return it to Mrs. Yoshida



1/28 - Amanda Van Wagenen


2/1 - Megan Zipprich

2/2 - Colleen Carvalho-Rhodes

2/9 - Kelly McNeely

Important Links from the principal packet

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Please note the changes!

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Fabulous teacher led PBIS training on our minor vs major behaviors!

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Look at that student engagement across the farm!

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Students and teachers engaged in personalized tutoring BEFORE school!

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Keep these coming!

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.