From the Castle

Parent Newsletter for Thomas Dale High School-May 2019

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Greetings from the Castle!

Knight Families and Community Members,

Can you believe it is May already!?!? It is hard to believe that this is the 10th monthly newsletter I've sent to parents and community. Our journey this year has been amazing, and although it is tempting to reflect and "coast" to the end, there is still much work to be done. It is imperative that we finish, you, our students, and our entire school!

With May comes the testing season - from AP Exams, to SOL Testing, rolling into Final Exams. For Seniors, just 35 calendar days to graduation. We are experimenting with a few new things during this testing season, including our bell schedule and the implementation of "One Lunch." Being able to incorporate a "One Lunch" in our schedule allows for many advantages:

  • Students have access to their teachers for scheduled tutoring or make-up work;
  • Students can participate in Genius Hour activities;
  • Students can participate in Club/Activity meetings;
  • Teachers can work collaboratively with one another during a common planning time;
  • There is no need to interrupt the 3rd block with lunch rotations embedded within, also allowing us to spread the minutes evenly each block throughout the day;
  • And my personal favorite, no student has to eat alone. For some of our students their best friend(s) have a different lunch period than they do. With "One Lunch," they all eat together, giving everyone a chance to connect.

More details about our adjusted schedule on SOL testing days and our "One Lunch" are in this issue. I appreciate your engagement in our school activities and your involvement in your child's education. The home-school connection is more important than I could ever explain!


Don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @GoTDKnights, Facebook: Thomas Dale, Instagram: @GoTDKnights, and SnapChat: @GoTDKnights. Our website is updated regularly for more information:

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  • EXAM SCHEDULE. Please click HERE for the Exam Schedule.
  • KNIGHT MENTOR APPLICATIONS: The Thomas Dale Knight Mentor program is seeking mentors for the 2019-2020 school year. All interested students should apply, including those students who were mentors last year. The applicationis due to Dr. Grabham by May 10, 2019.
  • COMMUNITY SERVICE CERTIFICATE: Any 9th grader who has completed 20 hours of community service this year needs to turn in their service log to Dr. Grabham by May 24, 2019. Students who turn in this log will receive a community service certificate at the 9th grade awards ceremony. If you have any questions please contact Dr. Grabham at 768-6145.

  • SCHOOL CLEANUP DAY: The final school cleanup day will be May 18, 2019 from 9-11am. Anyone interested in helping to keep Thomas Dale clean, should meet at Door 2 of the Main campus.

  • Volunteer Opportunities. Many hands make for light(er) work. Operating a school with 2,400 students and 220 adults creates a tremendous workload, and we need your help. Are you in a position to donate a bit of your time to assist with the heavy lifting required to operate a large, comprehensive high school? Just email ME, and I will ensure we get you linked in. For quick access to volunteer information from CCPS, click HERE.
  • Thomas Dale is proud to be a high-quality public educational setting and center of the Chester community. Because of the nature of our service and purpose, there are a few reminders about what is not permitted on school grounds at any time: weapons, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products of any kind (including vapor).

Kindness and Integrity

Now, more than ever, our children need strong, empathetic, and patient leadership!

During my time at Thomas Dale, I've noticed that we could use improvement in how we treat each other. Recently, our Homeroom teachers during Monday Morning Meeting engaged our students in dialogue about Kindness and Integrity.

Although a teenager's greatest source of influence is their peers, you still have the power to impact their choices - particularly in how they treat each other. I ask you to engage your child in dialogue about how they treat others in face-to-face situations, social media and electronic means, peer group interactions, and addressing and advocating in a respectful way with adults.

We will continue to use Morning Meeting time to explore other topics and issues that we face and how to work through them and be a better version of ourselves as a result of watching the videos and talking with their peers.

I intend to heighten our awareness of self in relation to others, particularly in how we treat each other in the coming years at Thomas Dale. Each interaction we have contributes directly to our school culture and to the future of our society within and around Chester. This matters to me, and I need it to matter to you as well. If you would like to keep the conversation going with your child's teachers, counselor, administrator, or ME...I encourage you to do so!

Click HERE for the video: How You Treat People Is Who You Are.

Click HERE for the facilitation guide, there are 5 good questions to use when having this conversation with your child.


From the PTSA President

Our Annual Yard Sale was a success! Thank you, Knights, for supporting this fundraising event.

NOMINATIONS NEEDED for 2018-19! The following positions will be open for nominees:




Please submit your name or suggestion to: by 5/10/19.

Our teachers are the BEST in the UNIVERSE! Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

2019 and #ThankATeacher with is May 6-11!

Teachers change the lives of millions of children every day, and their work and impact

extends far beyond the boundaries of the classroom—“Out of This World.”

Use this thank you note to share a heartfelt message with all of our stellar

educators! Notes will be available during lunch that students can complete or

use this colorful card courtesy of the National PTA. We want to make sure all of

our teachers receive thank you notes!!

Your PTSA is on social media…Check us out on Facebook. Just type in Thomas Dale High

School PTSA!!



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Job Shadow Day Success!

On Wednesday, April 24, roughly 36 juniors participated in a Job Shadow Day event at John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. The day was designed to give Dale students a chance to experience their career choices in action. During the visit, students met staff members, had the opportunity to ask questions pertaining to their areas of interest, tour the hospital, and have lunch with staff personnel. Our students were rock stars; they did an excellent job representing Thomas Dale High School.

Over 100 juniors participated in Job Shadow Day offering them the opportunity to observe and learn about various careers, network with professionals, and experience what the workforce has to offer. The success of our students during Job Shadow Day has built mutually beneficial community partnerships with surrounding businesses who have expressed a keen interest in supporting and expanding this program next year.

Please take a few minutes to enjoy photos of our amazing Knights from March 26 and April 24.

Click here for pictures

Finally, if you have an interest in working with the JSD committee next year please email: ,, , , , or .

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SOL Testing Season is Coming in May!

Thomas Dale Families:

TD families, as we move quickly into the month of May, this also brings the Spring SOL Test Administration for Non-Writing SOLS, and AP Exams. All testing will be on the Main Campus, with an adjusted bell schedule. Students who are testing should report directly to the Main Campus upon arrival to school. Also, a "One Lunch" Block will be implemented on both campuses on test days, which will allow students the opportunity to grab lunch and then get tutoring, participate in "Genius Hour" activities, or just have "quiet" time in designated areas with friends.

This Testing Bell Schedule (HERE) will be used for all SOL test days and can also be found on our website. (Click on Resources, Testing, May SOL Testing Bell Schedule). Students who are not testing will report to: Main Campus (10th-12th) and West Campus (9th). Tech Center students will report to Tech as scheduled. For the West Campus, students who are not testing will be operating on an "altered" bell schedule during the Main Campus Testing Block. Click HERE to review this schedule. Attendance for all students will be taken in Block 1 (11:45 a.m.) which is after the "One Lunch" Block.

Chromebooks will be used for SOL testing so it is extremely important that the Chromebooks are charged the night before testing and that students bring their chargers to school. Students are expected to report to school and to their testing location on time, well rested and prepared to test. Cell phones, smart watches, electronic devices and backpacks are not allowed in the student's testing area. Students will be instructed to turn off all cell phones and electronic devices and place them in the front of the room, away from their testing area. Any student that violates this procedure will be issued discipline consequences and the incident may be reported to the Department of Education as an irregularity. Please review these procedures with your child to ensure that all school and test security guidelines are followed. Please contact your student's teacher if you have any questions about the schedule.

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we partner to promote student success.

You will find the bell schedule for our 7 test days below. I've also included expectations for students during our "One Lunch" trial period.

Be Respectful:

  • Respect yourself.
  • Respect others.
  • Respect your surroundings.

Be Responsible:

  • Use good judgement when making decisions.
  • Contribute to an environment that is physically, psychologically, socially, and emotionally safe.
  • Seek help when you need help.

Be Your Best:

  • Hold yourself accountable to the absolute highest standards.

During One Lunch:

  • No food will be allowed in any gym or auditorium.
  • Off limits areas will be unsupervised classrooms and stairwells.
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Order a Yearbook Now!

Time is running out to buy a yearbook! Although online ordering closed April 27th, we are still selling yearbooks in person at Main Campus Room 205. Yearbooks will be $65 until sold out, and they are first come first serve. To purchase during the month of May, please have your student bring cash or a check made out to Thomas Dale High School with your student's name in the memo.

Seniors may collect their yearbooks after a class assembly on Friday, May 24th.

Underclassmen may collect their books during lunches on Tuesday, May 28th.

We will continue to share this information as Distribution Day approaches, but in the meantime, don't forget to buy your book before it's too late! Please email Ms. Vaughn ( if you have any questions.

Upcoming Events

Stay connected to OUR CALENDAR and mark yours!

May 1 - SOL Test: Reading (BELL SCHEDULE)

May 1 - Spring Play (6pm, Small Auditorium at Main)

May 3 - Spring Play (7pm, Small Auditorium at Main)

May 4 - Spring Play (2pm, Small Auditorium at Main)

May 6-10 - Teacher Appreciation Week - Show your love for your teachers!

May 6-17 - AP Testing (CALENDAR for Exam Dates)

May 8 - Coffee with the Principal (7am, Door 9 at West)

May 8 - SOL Test: Algebra 1, Algebra 2 (BELL SCHEDULE)

May 8 - Sunset Snacks with the Principal (7pm, Door 1 at Main)

May 8 - Spring Concert (7pm (Large Auditorium at Main)

May 9 - SOL Test: Geometry (BELL SCHEDULE)
May 10 - Drive 4 UR School Event

May 14 - PTSA Meeting (6pm, Library at Main)

May 15 - World History 1 (BELL SCHEDULE)

May 15 - Career Signing Day (6:30pm, CTC@Hull)

May 16 - World History 2, VA/US History (BELL SCHEDULE)

May 18 - School Clean-Up Day (9-11am, Meet at Main Campus-Door 2)

May 20-24 - Senior Spirit Week

May 21 - Earth Science (BELL SCHEDULE)

May 21 - Spring Chorus Concert (7pm, Large Auditorium at Main)

May 22 - Biology, Chemistry(BELL SCHEDULE)

May 22 - Jazz Concert (7pm, Large Auditorium at Main)

May 23 - Senior Community Awards and Scholarships Night (6pm, Large Auditorium at Main)

May 24 - Senior Day

May 27 - Memorial Day (No School)

May 28-31 - Senior Exams

May 28-31 - Spirit Week

May 29 - Musician Studio Recital (7pm, Large Auditorium at Main)

May 31 -Underclassmen Awards during the School Day

Stay In-the-Know! Click below for previous issues of From the Castle.