Galloping Gazette

A newsletter for the Faculty and Staff - Week 5/6 - 5/10

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

Principal's Message for the week:

Normally I am not one that is short on words. However, this past weekend - I struggled to put into words the immense appreciation I have for everyone at Christopher Farms.

One of the very first things that I heard about was the family feel and tight knit community that is ever so present at CF. There have been different times of the year, where this is felt more than others and this past week was one of those weeks.

Field day, to put it lightly, is a day in which anyone could walk out to our field and look out to see all 680 students, staff members and volunteers laughing together, playing along side each other, and loving every minute of the day. The energy is like nothing I have felt or experienced before. Thank you May and the entire PE department for the eye for detail and countless hours that went into making Friday out of this world.

As we go into TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK this week, I struggle to find the words that appropriately capture the overwhelming pride and gratitude I feel in regards to the hard work you put in day after day to make our Christopher Farms students successful. YOU ARE ROCKSTARS!!

Truly, no trinket, candy with a cute saying, or food can truly capture how much you all do to enhance the lives of every child that crosses through our doors.

We hope you feel appreciated EVERYDAY and especially- during this week. Our PTA has some great things planned for you to honor your support of their efforts this year.


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Shout Outs

Thank you to all the staff who signed up and donated the Gift of Life during the Blood Drive. Thank you to the Custodians for all of your help getting the tables set up and break down!!! I TRULY appreciate you all! - Jill

Way to go May and PE staff for another awesome field day!!!! - Jill

Shout out to Stacey for letting me snag her computer charger earlier this week! - Ashley

Shout out to Ceci for acting as an interpreter for an incoming Spanish-speaking family - Ashley

Shout out to the Special Ed. teachers and assistants for working their butts off every day to do a job that can sometimes feel impossible. You are each amazing advocates for your kids! - Ashley

Shout out to May and the rest of the PE team for organizing a fun field day! - Jenny R.

Shout out to all the Cafeteria Ladies for just being FABULOUS! I appreciate everything you do!!!!! - Karen R.

A HUGE shout out to Holly Virella, Michelle Pace, Cheryl Holloway, and Laura Perez for all the hard work they put into making Field Day happen. you guys are AMAZING! - May

Shout out to all the PE teachers for setting up all the stations. The field day was amazing!

I want to piggy back on any shout-outs to May Robertson, P.E. staff, and all volunteers who helped make Field Day 2019 a success. - Donna

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

Schedule for upcoming weeks

May 6th - May 10th - Teacher Appreciation Week

Last week of PLCs

Monday, May 6th

· 2nd Grade PLC

· 2:40p - 4:20p Girls on the Run (Rm 7)

· 2:40p - 4:00 Newspaper Club

Tuesday, May 7th

· 3rd Grade PLC

· 1:30 - 2:15 SOL Training (Rm 36)

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

Wednesday, May 8th


· 8:30am Spring Concert (K-AM, 1,4,3)

·1:30p Spring Concert (PK, K-PM, 2,5)

· 1st Grade PLC

· 2:40p - 4:20p Girls on the Run (Rm 7)

·7:00p Spring Concert

Thursday, May 9th

· 5th Grade PLC

· 1:30 - 2:15 SOL Training (Rm 36)

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

· 2:45p - 4:00p Eco Club (Cafeteria)

Friday, May 10th

· 1:30 - 2:15 SOL Training (Rm 36)

· 4th Grade PLC


May 13th - May 17th

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

Monday, May 13th

· 2nd Grade PLC

· 2:40p - 4:20p Girls on the Run (Rm 7)

Tuesday, May 14th

· 5th Grade Reading SOL

· 3rd Grade PLC

· 1:30 - 2:15 SOL Training (Rm 36)

· 3:00p - 4:00p PBIS Meeting (Library) - Cancelled

Wednesday, May 15th

· 5th Grade Reading SOL


· 1st Grade PLC

· 2:40p - 4:20p Girls on the Run (Rm 7)

Thursday, May 16th

· 4th Grade Reading SOL

· 5th Grade PLC

· 3:00p - 4:00p PTA Meeting

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

Friday, May 17th

· 4th Grade Reading SOL

· 4th Grade PLC

Responsive Classroom Opportunity-- 2 Spots Left!

We understand a Spring announcement may be too late for your summer plans. We hope you can attend! If so, please email Ms. Backer no later than Tuesday, May 7th

I am so excited to share that VBCPS is bringing Responsive Classroom to us! Responsive Classroom conferences are pricey (mine was $700 last summer) and are offered all over the globe (but not in Virginia Beach…until now!). I am extending this opportunity to you all. As we know, finding the interplay between Responsive Classroom and PBIS makes the whole framework more palatable as we create and sustain a positive learning environment.

The city will cover 20 schools and, in order for Christopher Farms to attend, we must submit an application. If you are already implementing Morning Meetings or have read Power of Our Words, then you are already familiar with some of Responsive Classroom.

If you are interested in taking one of these three coveted spots (and 2 alternates) for this special opportunity, please do the following:

1. Read the attached memos

2. Email Ms. Backer to reserve your spot-- with your date preference for 4 day summer training (June 17-20 OR June 24-27 OR either…all of you must attend together)

PBIS: Tip of the week

One key to beating classroom stress is to start each day with a predictable routine. Morning Meeting can serve as this anchor, allowing you to begin each day in a consistent, reassuring way.

As you plan Morning Meetings, think about the tone you want to set for the day. Relaxed and low-key meetings can help students settle in. If students will be in testing all day, keep your meetings content-light.

That said, you may want to have students practice certain types of test questions in a relaxed way during Morning Meeting. You might also incorporate light-hearted, testing-style questions in morning messages. For example, use true/false, multiple choice, or fill-in-the-blank questions to have students think about the upcoming weekend, last night’s baseball game, or their favorite book.”

Do Quiet/Silent Energizers

Exercise and movement breaks are becoming more and more necessary during this time! Try a simple game like Silent Ball (using a soft ball or stuffed animal). To Play, students must remain silent while passing the ball from student to student using only non-verbals to communicate who they will be. If game is progressing slowly, add a challenge by limiting time to throw, having all players take spread out, asking everyone to keep one hand behind their back at all times and so on.

Check Your Own Stress Level

“We are all are under enormous pressure this time of you. Take care of yourself. Take a walk at lunch. Try not to overload yourself with other work during testing. Eat healthy foods. Get good sleep. In short, take care of yourself so you can take care of your students.”

(adapted from:


5/1 - Christine Hayes

5/6 - Denise Norred

5/8 - Anne Young

5/20 - Debbie Hall

5/21 - Melissa Raehl

5/21 - Michelene Kesner

Staffing Updates


- Heather Armstrong has accepted a position in kindergarten next year as an assistant

- Laura Perez has accepted the position as our new PE Assistant


- Alisha will be relocating home to Chicago this summer

- Damien will be heading over to Landstown Elementary next school year to be their Head Night Custodian

- Debbie Hall will be leaving to spend time with her sweet baby boy

Math Question of the Week

Teachers in grades 3-5: Please have your students check out the "sweets" themed math question of the week board by the bathroom near the Innovation lab. Questions will be posted each week for each grade level. Students just need a half sheet of scratch paper and a pencil. Have them write their name and teacher's name on their paper. They attempt the problem, show all of their work, and circle their final answers on their paper. Then they fold it and place it inside the grade level "mailbox" at the bottom of the board. At the end of the day on Thursday, all of the responses will be checked and a winner will be chosen at random. Each grade level will have one winner that will go on the announcements that Friday and receive a coupon for an ice cream at lunch.

SOLs start next week!

SOL Mandatory Training

With many groups being needed this year for testing, we will be needed more examiners and proctors than ever. All 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers will be trained during their weekly collaboration starting on Monday, May 6th at 1:30 in Room 36. Additionally, the following staff members MUST attend one of the training sessions as there is a likelihood you will be needed for testing:

  • All special education teachers and assistants (except room Speech)

  • General assistant and permanent substitute

  • All Coaches, School Counselor, library staff, and ITS

Dates are as follows. All sessions will start promptly at 1:30.

  • Monday, May 6th

  • Thursday, May 9th

  • Friday, May 10th

Thank you in advance to everyone to help make our testing season a success. Examiner and Proctors will be notified as soon as testing groups are confirmed!

SOL Building Preparation

Classrooms and hallways must be prepared for student testing by Friday, May 10th. This includes removing or covering any information that could be considered a testing advantage for a student. Some examples include: order of operations, vocabulary walls, reading skill posters, scientific investigation process, etc.

Also, students should test in an environment that is comfortable and allows works space to be utilized effectively. Teachers in testing grades are encouraged to make classroom seating arrangements finalized by May 10th. If additional seating is needed (i.e chairs, tables, etc.) please email Patti as soon as possible so that all needs are able to be met. Children MAY test in flexible seating options (buckets, backless chairs, etc) but should NOT test in seating that may be a distraction (wobble chairs, exercise balls, etc.).

Rooms will be checked on Monday, May 13 for testing conditions.

SOL Testing Throughout the Building

With the need for so many testing rooms, a full list of rooms that will be utilized in next week’s newsletter. We thank you for you patience if your room is being used and your quiet movement throughout the building.

4th quarter testing window

The 4th quarter testing window has already begun. Talk with your grade level teams to map out when you plan to administer each assessment. It would be best to assess students you are most concerned about closer to the end of each window.

  • RI - open now - May 10th (Grades 3 - 5)
  • Ten Marks - open now - May 10th (Grades 1-5)
  • Math Quarterly - Grade 2
  • DRA - May 1 - June 7th - the DRA must be administered to ALL students in grades K - 4. Students reading below grade level in grade 5 should be assessed. DRA must be recorded in Synergy no later than June 7th.
Don't forget about trying out our Colt Tracker!

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

Important Links from the principal packet

Digital Summit - Out of this world technology PLP - Sign up now

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Celebrating Our Teacher Of Year - Mrs. Cochran!

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Field Day Fun!

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Our first ever Color Run was a beautiful success!

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#Goodphonecalloftheday - We only have about 30 day! 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.