Discovery Weekly Newsletter

Week of December 14

Administrative Update

Greetings Trailblazers!

Well, 100% Distance Learning (DL) looks like it may be a reality again. If metrics stay above the threshold on Monday, we will all again be engaging in 100% DL as a county and this may occur off and on throughout the next few months. Whatever your feelings about this, parents and teachers can help their students have a positive mindset. Your children are watching you and listening to you. This time is crucial as we have a chance to show children the importance of working together, being respectful, building connections, and putting an emphasis on learning. What’s different today, as compared to September, is your children have built relationships with their teachers and classmates, so show your excitement for them to “sign on” and reconnect with their teacher and class. We've reflected on some important steps to keep in mind as you embark on the DL adventure again. Even if you have been engaging in 100% DL the whole time, these are great reminders and you may find some of these areas may need a reboot in your home.

Here are the ABC's of Successful Distance Learning!


1. Make a Good Space for Learning

  • Gather and make a place for all the materials needed every day.
  • Do all you can to make the space quiet and free from distractions.
  • Where possible, find a table space for most of the learning time, but also try to identify a reading corner and a space to create a project.
  • Allow your child to personalize the space for themselves by putting up some of their artwork, learning charts, schedules, reminders, etc. Getting their own space ready will help your child feel ready to learn.
  • Make sure you are checking in throughout the day to ensure that your child is engaging in their learning time.

2. Set a routine.

  • Help students get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, etc. instead of lying in bed or on the couch in pajamas during class.
  • Make sure your child is ready to learn with their class on time.
  • Keep normal bedtime routines.
  • Build in additional breaks and teach your child what good breaks look like.

3. Review expectations

  • Don’t forget to state the obvious: when your class in online, so are you, participating with your class!
  • Keep your camera on (if you allow that) and use the chat box responsibly. It is nearly impossible to build a classroom community when you can't see and talk to each other.
  • Practice good digital safety.
  • Keep doors open in a closed room.
  • Set goals for the day.
  • Check in on and reinforce the value of completing the asynchronous work teachers provide.


1. Help students ‘own’ their learning

  • Provide support and encouragement and expect your child to do their part. Struggling is allowed and encouraged! Don’t help too much. Becoming independent takes lots of practice and is a vital part of growing as a learner. Talk to your teacher about what level of independence is expected for their age.
  • Encourage your child to self-advocate for what they need.
  • Check in at the end of the learning day, maybe even at family dinner. Don’t forget to also model communication about your day, including the positives, challenges, and kindnesses. You might ask:

- How far did you get in your learning tasks today?

- What did you discover? What was hard?

- What are you proud of today?

- When were you kind today?
- What could we do to make tomorrow better?

2. Encourage!

  • Give detailed positive feedback. Instead of saying "good job," try giving specific details about your child's work. If they tried hard, let them know you noticed. Have they made progress? Used a new technique? In what ways are their efforts kind, clever, beautiful, or insightful?
  • Encourage a growth mindset, reminding your child that it's not about being good or bad at something but working toward getting better at it...always trying.
  • If intrinsic motivation is hard to come by, you can incentivize effort and progress in a way that makes sense. Come up with ideas with your child, set benchmarks, and praise the process along the way. Utilize the LCPS Parent Resource Center by viewing their ideas at the bottom of the webpage: Supporting Behavior at Home


1. Focus on Social-Emotional Learning.

  • Pick activities that strengthen emotional health and resilience
  • Children are still learning about kindness, working together with their community, problem solving, and flexibility during the pandemic – values which are hugely predictive of future successes.
  • Everyone needs some quality alone time where you are caring for yourself. You can't fill a bucket if there is nothing in yours!

2. Be a good friend to yourself.

  • If your child gets caught up saying negative things about themselves, encourage self-kindness by asking them what they would say to a friend in the same situation.
  • The same goes for you: We often beat ourselves up as parents, but what would a good friend say to you? What would you say to your friend?

3. Try to gain a fresh perspective and focus.

  • Help your child start a gratitude journal.
  • Perform acts of kindness (while maintaining safe social distancing).
  • Set small goals for each day to help your child focus on one things.

4. Get help when you need it.

  • Communicate with school about how things are going, leading with positives first. Everyone's doing their best, AND it's important for teachers to know what's working and not working for your kid so they can get the help they need.
  • Reach out to your school counselor or your parent liaison.

5. Use movement and humor.

  • Sometimes we just need to move our bodies. Physical activity can lift our spirits, get our minds refreshed for learning, help everyone reset, and bring new energy to the day.
  • Finding the funny right now is helpful on every front, including learning and well-being. Be silly, laugh, make wacky connections, come up with crazy answers so your kids correct you -- whatever works!

We hope these thoughts help your families and know that we are continuously thinking of you and how we can help. Keep up with the communication from LCPS and Discovery, so you don't miss important changes in this fluid world we are all living in. May your families enjoy this time together and stay safe and healthy!


Debbie Ragan

Your Assistant Principal

Save The Date

PTO Update

We want to first think all of our Discovery families for participating in our first ever online silent auction! It went great and we raise $3000! Congratulations to all of our winners.

Our first snow of the year is predicted for Wednesday, fingers crossed we all get a virtual snow day! I’ll be waiting with bated breath for a call from my favorite Loudoun County employee Wayde Byard.

As all of our families move back to distance-learning this week we wish everyone good luck and patients. We are just over a week away from our winter break which we can all use this year. Good riddance to 2020 and cheers to a good New Year 2021!

Erin Sullivan & Kristin Stephens

PTO Presidents

Stay Connected:

Instagram @discoveryPTO

FB @discovery.pto.trailblazers

Twitter @discoverypto1

Last Call for Discovery's Virtual Giving Tree

Our Virtual Holiday Giving tree is stillup! Please consider donating a gift! You may drop them off in person by our deadline of tomorrow, Monday, December 14 (details noted in the Sign Up Genius link below). Click the button below to contribute. We thank you in advance!

If you are in need of assistance for the holidays, please do not hesitate to contact Neremaan Qureshi. All communication is always confidential!

From Your Parent Liasion

My Dearest Discovery Family,

I want to thank everyone who donated to our Holiday Giving tree this year! One of my favorite things about our wonderful school is the community. I am always humbled by the love and support that our Discovery family offers and am forever grateful to you all for helping us continue the tradition of giving during this time of year.

Please stay safe and stay well.

Happy Holidays!

Neremaan Qureshi

Parent Liaison

Ph: 571-252-2370

Holiday Card Discount

As you begin thinking of your holiday cards (or any special occassion need), don't forget about this sale being offered to Discovery Elementary. Minted is one of our favorite sites. Use our code and get 20% off and we get 15%. in return Win win!

Holiday Shopping Reminders

With the holidays here and as you do your online shopping and grocery shopping remember to take advantage of the various opportunities of which Discovery can earn money. Be sure to link your Harris Teeter card up so that your items count, scan your receipts for any Box Tops you may have earned and Shop Discovery through AmazonSmile. See below on further detail behind all of these options.

Ways to Support Discovery Elementary

Parent Resources

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