The Knightly News
Parent Newsletter for Kellam High School - September 2019
Happy New School Year!
Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! The Knightly News is a parent newsletter created specifically for you, the parent. On the final Friday of every month, your newsletter will arrive via email. It will include such information as Hot Topics in Education; Student Activities Highlights and Announcements; Information from the Staff Newsletter (The Knight Times); Counseling Department Updates; Sports and Club meetings, games, and celebrations; Instructional Highlights from what’s going on in our classrooms; Gifted news; Testing information; PTSA announcements; and Partners in Education opportunities. An editorial that celebrates the diverse community to which we belong called “Culturally Speaking” will be continued. Your feedback on this section, as well as anything else included in this newsletter, is welcomed. We look forward to keeping you updated and receiving your suggestions for improvements. Our SCA theme this year is "We are Knights, We are Bold. Let's Go For The Gold."
Don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @KellamHigh and Facebook: KellamHS. Our website is updated regularly for more information: http://www.kellamhs.vbschools.com/.
A Message from the Principal
Hello Kellam Families,
We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of over 1950 students to the Castle on Tuesday. We have truly missed the spirit our students bring to the building and cannot wait for them to get here. I hope that if you are new to the Kellam High School community, you were able to take advantage of our new student orientation held on August 21, 2019. We want our students to feel comfortable on the first day, so please reach out if there is anything we can do to assist with this transition. Hopefully, you have received information via AlertNow regarding bus transportation. If not, please refer to the Bus Schedules located on VBSchools.com. I would also encourage you to download the Edulog Parent Portal Lite to help in tracking the bus.
At Kellam High School, our mission is to provide a positive, safe school environment where students, teachers, and the community will accept responsibility for learning skills to meet present, as well as future challenges. To that end, our teachers and instructional leaders are working together to create authentic learning experiences that will both challenge and help our students grow in their mastery of communication, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, citizenship, and cultural competency. It is no longer adequate for students to earn good grades and score high on standardized tests. Through discussions with universities, trade-schools, and businesses, we know beyond the ability to perform well in school, our students must be competent in these skills. Please take an opportunity, if you haven’t done so, to take a look at our VBCPS Graduate Profile that outlines how we are preparing all students to be future ready.
As I mentioned, a safe school environment is an essential priority. One way we maintain a safe environment for learning is by prohibiting tobacco products, vapes, Juuls, and other electronic cigarettes. I want to make you aware of some changes to the discipline handbook regarding the possession of electronic cigarettes or similar items. Students who are found to be in possession of such items will receive one day of out of school suspension on the first offense. Additionally, that student will be required to complete a counseling session with the school nurse on the ill-effects of electronic cigarette use. Please note that the student will also be issued a summons to appear in court by our school resource officer for underage possession. We appreciate your support in helping us maintain a safe learning environment for our students.
In closing, I want you to know that you play a major role in making Kellam such a great school. Please find ways to get involved with the PTSA by becoming a member and through partnership and volunteer opportunities. We are always looking for ways to provide our students with real-world experiences. If you have a business or work for a company that would be interested in providing internship opportunities, we need you! No matter how big or small the commitment, we want to partner with you. Finally, I look forward to meeting you at one of our many Fall sports competitions taking place in the next few weeks. I will also be available during our PTSA Open House event taking place on September 24 at 6pm.
I look forward to an amazing school year!
Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA)
Please consider becoming a member and volunteering with the PTSA for the 2019/2020 school year, Membership is $7 and helps the PTSA support our educators and students. Forms are available on the PTSA website.
Participation in our Stress-Free Fundraiser is another way that we raise funds to support all the important events This is important to our PTSA and our school as 100 percent of funds donated go right back into being used for our school and our students.
Help the PTSA raise funds by placing your Amazon orders through www.smile.amazon.com. Once in your account, select “Change Your Charity”, and select Kellam High School. A portion of your purchase will be donated to the PTSA.
Don’t forget to relink your Harris Teeter VIC card to Kellam High School, use # 5968. You may do this in the store or online.
We need volunteers:
Gradfest for the graduating class of 2020 -, This isn’t only for the parents of seniors! We also need help from the parents of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Kellam PTSA is looking forward to a successful year! Please help us to give back. Also, please contact us if you would like to be a part of the PTSA Board. We welcome new folks to our team and would love a chance to get to know you better.
We look forward to seeing you at Open House on September 24th at 6pm.
For updates and information about PTSA sponsored events, please follow us on Facebook and on Twitter @Kellam_PTSA.
Welcome Back, Parents!
The counseling team is excited to have students back in the building, bringing it back to life. For this first edition, we want to let you know that there have been no changes to the counseling staff this year. Listed below are the counselors’ contact information and a calendar of important counselor-sponsored events this month.
Senior One-to-One Visits:
Beginning the third week of September, counselors will have one-to-one check-in meetings with each senior to discuss college applications, military recruitment, career search, or any other ways we can support their post-secondary planning.
College Panel and Financial Aid Information Night: September 17, 6:00-8:00pm
Information will be provided about how to enhance your college applications and plan for college from admissions officers! Representatives from Virginia Tech, JMU, William & Mary, ODU, and Virginia Wesleyan will be in attendance, as well as TCC representative Kelsey Warren and ACCESS counselor Sarah Gastler, who will discuss Financial Aid information. THIS IS GREAT INFORMATION FOR ALL GRADE LEVELS OF STUDENTS WHO ARE CONSIDERING APPLYING TO COLLEGE.
Open House: Tuesday, September 24, 6:00pm
LAST DAY TO ADD A COURSE FOR A SEMESTER CLASS: Friday, September 13, 2019
LAST DAY TO ADD A COURSE FOR A YEARLONG CLASS: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
LAST DAY TO DROP A NON-AP CLASS WITHOUT PENALTY: November 4, 2019
FIRST DAY TO DROP AN AP CLASS: November 6, 2019
Culturally Speaking: Kindness is a Culture
Did you hear that Kellam High School had a post on Twitter that went viral? It was about being the “I” in KIND. In these times, where meanness and incivility often grab the headlines, the Kellam Knights have inspired a ripple in social media around kindness.
Culturally speaking...kindness is a culture!
What if KINDNESS became our culture? What if we all were all thoughtful, friendly, considerate, helpful, and caring toward others? Some say we would feel better, boost learning, have more energy, and reduce the stress in our lives. Sounds great, right? Everyone can be kind. There are so many ways to exhibit kindness, such as offering encouragement, expressing appreciation, offering assistance, and being respectful and friendly. These acts take little or no time and cost nothing.
But if it is so easy, why isn’t everyone doing it? It is hard to be kind when others are not. It is difficult to be caring when you’re being bullied or teased. Kindness doesn't come easily when you just don't like a person, or you’re in a fight with someone who used to be your best friend. What happens then?
Kindness is a commitment that one makes to themselves regardless of the consequences or situation. If you want your sons and daughters to become kindness ambassadors, you have to really help them get prepared for those times when it will be hard to be kind. Have them imagine those situations and plan their response—their KIND response. They may feel silly imagining being kind when someone else is being mean. You may even have to role play with them. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to walk away or get help from an adult. You can talk about those times too.
Let’s not kid ourselves; it is NOT always easy being kind, but it is a worthy goal!
Dress Code Changes
The dress code has always been a point of contention between students and staff. The staff says that a dress code sends the message that school is a place to learn. While we want students to be comfortable, we also want them to be safe, respectable, and able to perform in the learning environment. All places of importance have some sort of dress code. Customer service workers may be asked to wear just one pair of earrings or to don a tie. Fast food restaurants have a store-issued uniform. Even stores on the beach ask for the minimum of shirts and shoes.
Students say that the dress code attempts to rob them of their individuality and freedom of expression. Some young ladies have said that the dress code unfairly targets the girls, and may even target girls with curves more harshly. The dress code has been blamed for loss of class time, embarrassment and discrimination.With all of this in mind, some adjustments have been made to our dress code. In an attempt to empathize with the students’ concerns, yet respect our core values of putting students first and being open to change, we will unveil a KINDER dress code. Please know that teachers reserve the right to ask for a student to be looked at more closely regarding a clothing item that they feel falls out of line with expectations.
Attendance Matters: What You Do Helps!
Know the Kellam High School Attendance policy and procedures: click on the quick links below:
Encourage your student’s attendance and inform them of the impact it makes for a successful academic year.
Communicate with your student’s Administrator, School Counselor, or Teacher if you notice sudden changes in behavior or have issues that can potentially cause attendance issues.
Check on your student’s attendance periodically. To access your student’s attendance profile, log into Parent Portal or ParentVue Mobile App.
- Provide parent verification of absences, by email or handwritten note, to prevent Unverified Absences (UNV) to Lizette.Driscoll@vbschools.com.
The Making of the Kellam Master Schedule
Have you ever wondered how the Kellam master schedule is created? The ten-month long process begins each school year in November, and continues until January when counselors meet with students one-on-one. In these meetings, counselors review students’ progress towards graduation and potential course options, which match students’ career and academic interests. Students then complete course request forms, which are entered into our computer program by February.
Course verification forms are sent home in the March quarter progress reports. Students wishing to make changes to their course requests must submit them by the end of the school year in June. Students and families are notified of the deadline on their course request forms, on social media, and on multiple Alert emails that are sent home. From March through June, critical personnel decisions are made based on student course requests.
In July, a computer program takes all course requests and creates a schedule that optimizes many factors, including minimizing the number of conflicts in students’ schedules and leveling class sizes. In August when counselors return, they review every single student’s schedule to ensure each schedule meets the academic and career plan for that student. When adjustments are needed, counselors contact students and families to talk through options and collaboratively develop appropriate course schedules.
Finally, in late August, schedules are made publicly accessible on Student and Parent VUE. Acceptable reasons for changes to schedules include having already passed a class, missing a graduation requirement, having two classes in one block or missing a block, not passing a prerequisite class, failing the class previously with the assigned teacher, enrolling in less than six credits, or having two academic supports (study hall) on the same day. Counselors process the allowable requests and make final adjustments. And then…
School begins in September and students follow their schedules! And we start all over again in November!
Digital Devices: Chromebooks
Kellam High School continues to transform the instruction your child is receiving at our school. A significant part of this transformation is the regular use of a variety of digital resources and tools. To meet the needs of all students, we are now able to provide a Chromebook to every student in grades 9-12. Students will be responsible to have their fully charged Chromebooks at school every day and will keep their assigned device for the duration of their years at Kellam High School, to include summer, until graduation or relocation.
Additionally, they may be responsible for any damages done to the Chromebook, as well as loss or theft. Details of student responsibilities are delineated in the Student Digital Device Agreement, which is included in the Parent Acknowledgement Form sent home at the start of school. Parents will be contacted to register to receive their child’s internet browsing history, and may further restrict access to sites when the device is in use while off campus. Parent adjustments to student access do not impact the filtering in place while on school grounds. You are encouraged to review the expectations with your student. Please click here to access the expectations to include the Acceptable Use Policy and the Code of Student Conduct.
First Days of School - Alternate Schedules
New Student Orientation
Student Parking and Decal
All student drivers are required to have a decal to park their vehicle on school property.
Applications are available online. Decals may be purchased in the Main Office during the designated times and dates for the price of $45 cash or check.
Seniors and juniors with a valid driver’s license, registration, and completed online application may purchase decals from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm on September 3 through September 6.
Decals will also be sold throughout the year in the Main Office on Tuesdays, only until all available spots have been sold.
- Parking in spots marked Handicapped, Visitor, Staff, Office Staff, Reserved, Principal, or Assistant Principal is prohibited. Any car parked in a marked spot, yellow/fire zone, grassy area or white/gray paved area is subject to be ticketed, booted or towed.
Stay connected to our calendar and mark yours!
For all Beach District and VHSL sporting events involving YOUR Kellam Knights, click HERE.
September 3 - First Day of School
September 4 and 5 - uKnight Advisory Block day
September 10 and 11 - Underclassmen Picture Day
September 24 at 5pm - ESL Open House
September 24 at 6pm - PTSA Open House
September 27 - Next issue of The Knightly News