Galloping Gazette

A newsletter for the Faculty and Staff - Week 6/3 - 6/7

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

Principal's Message for the week:

Like many of you, I struggle to find the words or to comprehend the tragedy the Virginia Beach community has experienced. It is never easy to understand tragedy and when it is so close to home the pain seems to be magnified. In the middle of our end of year stressors, events such as these are harsh reminders of the things that truly matter in life. This week, I aim to send a message that encourages each of us to:

  • Hug our families, friends, and students a little tighter
  • Speak life into our students, colleagues, and friends
  • Let our actions communicate love and hope
  • Realize that we are a strong community who has the ability to work through pain with love. This translates into the school building. Even on the difficult days - take a step back and consider the power of our words and the lasting impressions of our actions... especially on those we serve each day.

One of the best things about our city is the "connectedness" we share. Just think about it... how many times have you met someone who knows someone - who knows someone- or is related to someone -you already knew? It's just like that here. There is strength in that connectedness. We are #VBSTRONG. We are #VBSCHOOLS. We are #Coltspride.

While we and our students have had some time to process this weekend, hug our loved ones a little closer, and ask the hard questions, we will still clip on our badges, drive to work, and interact with our littlest Colts on Monday morning. By now, I hope you have reviewed the message from our Superintendent and heard more about resources in the news. I would like to echo those strategies and encourage you to resume normalcy as much as possible on Monday when leading students. Also, take care of you. There are resources for you and your family, as well, in these difficult times.

Please do not share too much with students, regarding these recent events (avoid words like, "most horrible thing" and "death"). They are at an age where they may not understand, and we do not want fear to take over. I am sure parents will talk with children when they are ready. Reach out to Nicole, Patti or myself if there are students having a hard time and needing someone to talk to. May this time of reflection serve as an impetus for the social-emotional skills we teach each and every day.

I encourage you to maintain positive, structured classroom environments. Still stand at your door to greet students; smile, give them eye contact, and encouragement. Still conduct your morning meetings and create lasting memories in these final days of the school year. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you in advance for continuing to love on our students and for communicating hope on their behalf. Our school is a great place to be because of you.


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Shout Outs

Thank you Sra. Hall and Ms. Burok for all the inspiring messages and goodies you have provided our fourth graders during SOLs. - Fatima

Travis, thanks for helping us with our end of year projects!! They are awesome and so are you! - Abbe & Edie

Shout out to Miriam Rodriguez! Thank you for coordinating with Regal Strawbridge to have popcorn donated AND delivered for our Popcorn Day. - First Grade Teachers

Shout out to Danielle Minehan's class for being so quiet every time they are in the hallway. They are always so well behaved! - Robin

Shout out to Tennys Kane for putting together an exceptional yearbook! It looks fantastic! - Kelly Z.

Shout out to Linda Koetter, who has been subbing for Mary Anne Garland this year in the library. She’s been a terrific LMA and has gone over and above what’s been expected. She’s a hard-worker and has been such a tremendous asset in the library. - Anne Y.

Thank you to Patti Porter, Kelly M., and Tina for helping me get through and unplanned absence on Thursday morning involving an immediate need for car repair. I especially appreciated it given the fact that SOL’s were going on and coverage was limited. Thank you for going the extra mile on to help me out. - Susan

Shout out to Karen Ratner for always being so very kind to me. - Tammy

Shout out to Stacy Witherow's pre-k class for making my students feel extra special during SOL's! - Tammy

Thank you May Robertson for opening your home for our end of the year party!! - Jill

Sharon and Marissa, you get an award for being so patient!!! - Jill

Thank you to all the wonderful ladies in the front office for your help with distributing the yearbooks this week! - Tennys

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

Schedule for upcoming weeks

June 3rd - June 7th

SOLs this week. No PLCs will occur; rather if your grade is testing, you will have PE at 1:30 but teachers will dismiss their students.

Monday, June 3rd

· Last two weeks of school, you got this!

· Team Lead Planning Conference- cancelled

Tuesday, June 4th

· Talent Ed Goals Due

*5th Grade Science SOL

·4th Grade Expedited Math

Wednesday, June 5th

· 5th Grade History SOL

· 4th Grade Expedited Math

· 3rd Grade Remediation Math

· 2nd Grade Family Life Lessons

· 1:30 Liz Scott Skype Session

Thursday, June 6th

· 3rd Grade Expedited Math

· 5th Grade Remediation Science/VA Studies

· 9:00a - 4:30p Stem Trifecta Challenge Field Trip

· 2nd Grade Family Life Lessons

Citizen of the Month Lunches on the Stage

· 2:40p - 5:00p Eco Club Meeting (Cafeteria)

· 3:00p - 4:00p PTA Meeting (Library)

Friday, June 7th

· 3rd Grade Expedited Math

· 5th Grade Expedited Science/VA Studies

· 9:00 - 2:00 MOCA Programs

· 2nd Grade Family Life Lessons

· 5th Grade Family Life Lessons


June 10th - June 14th

Monday, June 10th

· 5th Grade Family Life Lesson

· SOL Make Ups/Expedited

· 1:00p 5th Grade Author's Tea

Tuesday, June 11th

· 9:15a 2nd Grade Animal Habitat Expo

· 9:30a - 1:30p 5th Grade Field Trip (VB Field House)

· 9:45a - 10:50a Pre-K Nursery Rhyme Parade

· SOL Make Ups/Expedited

Wednesday, June 12th

· Hump Day! We're almost done!

· SOL Make Ups/Expedited

Thursday, June 13th

· 8:30a Kindergarten Celebration (All Kindergarten students dismissed after celebration)

· 1:30p Grad Walk

· 12:00 - 2:30 5th Grade Celebration Events

Friday, June 14th

· Last Day of School (Adjusted Dismissal)

· 9:30 5th Grade Celebration

End of year celebrations !

Please send any and all EOY schedule changes and classroom celebrations to Mrs. Fantano and admin. Please include a description of the event, if parents were invited, and the start times and end times.

Grad Walk

Kellam High School Seniors will visit Christopher Farms on June 13th at 1:30 for a final walk through the halls of our elementary school. The Grad Walk will be similar to our Grade 5 Walk of Fame. It would be great if our students and teachers could wear college shirts on this date. We will gather in the hallways, play Pomp and Circumstance music on the intercom, hold up signs, and cheer them on for this final walk! The kids will be excited to see the 'big kids' in their cap and gowns. Please ensure the students who cannot be photographed are grouped appropriately.

***Staff members can wear jeans with a college shirt***

Changes to Recess

In the 2019-2020 there will be changes to Recess in accordance with the School Board Policy. We will discuss specifics when you return in August. For now, here is what the memo outlines:

Recess in all elementary schools will increase to 40 minutes daily for full-day kindergarten students and to 30 minutes daily for students in grades 1-5. The remaining schools with half-day kindergarten should maintain the same kindergarten recess schedule as this year. When developing master schedules for the 2019-2020 school year, the following expectations regarding recess should be implemented:

1. For full-day kindergarten, students will participate in 15 minutes of recess immediately prior to or immediately following their physical education class, with the PE teacher and PE teacher assistants serving as monitors. The remaining 25 minutes of recess will take place at the opposite time of the day from physical education during core instructional time (language arts and math), with the kindergarten teacher assistants serving as monitors.

2. For grades 1-5, students will participate in 15 minutes of recess immediately prior to or immediately following their physical education class, with the PE teacher and teacher assistants serving as monitors. The remaining 15 minutes of recess will take place at the opposite time of the day from physical education during core instructional time (language arts, math, science, social studies), with the classroom teacher serving as the monitor.

All staff who will monitor recess will be required during teacher workweek to participate in a 30-minute online mandatory professional learning module, which will review expectations and best practices for recess activities and monitoring, recess safety, and weather guidelines for outdoor recess. Principals will receive more information regarding how to access the modules via memo prior to the end of summer.

In addition, a recess implementation guidelines document will be available at the start of the 2019-2020 school year for all elementary school administrators and teachers.


5/1 - Christine Hayes

5/6 - Denise Norred

5/8 - Anne Young

5/20 - Debbie Hall

5/21 - Melissa Raehl

5/21 - Michelene Kesner

Talent Ed!!! - Goals are Due!

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Important Links from the Principal Packet

Celebrating our Reading Teacher of the Year !

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Look at all of those smiles between our mentors and their mentees!

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Colt Staff members celebrating a great year!

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#Goodphonecalloftheday - We only have about 30 days left - Who can we highlight?!

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.