Soaring News

May 30, 2016

Principal's Message

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Call For Consistency

"You cannot control what happens to you,

but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you,

and in that,

you will be mastering change

rather that allowing it to master you."

- Brian Tracy

Recently I met with a student and we discussed why he has been a frequent visitor to the office. The response got me thinking..

He said, "Ms. Panko, I've been doing the same thing all year, but now I get in trouble for it."

Hmmmm. He wasn't completely owning his actions, but he had me thinking. Had he changed or had the expectations changed?

What I have discovered is over the course of days, months and years it is quite normal for people to expect more. Basically our expectations increase over time. But do we communicate this to our students/staff?

Eons ago as an elementary education major I had a professor that stressed to us the importance of beginning the year very strict. This professor told us it was always easier to lighten up later, rather than try and get back a class you've lost.

These words have stuck with me, but I also knew my own personal style and I had to be true to myself. What I've always tried to pride myself in is consistency. It has always been about these main factors -

  • Attitude - We can't choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react.
  • Disposition - Body Language and the way you carry yourself matter. Remember the famous saying, "Never let 'em see you sweat!"
  • Communication - If a student is beginning to go sideways, stay away from the phone call or parent meeting where you have a laundry list of things the child did wrong. Be specific and reach out to parents just as though it was November.
  • Routine - Back in the days of my own classroom I always had a visual schedule on the board. To our kids the end of the year brings uncertainty and excitement. If we can provide stability and structure we are putting our students in a spot to succeed.
  • Follow Through - I come from a place where your word is your most important possession. As an educator if I said I was going to do it, I did it.
  • Relationships - I found that I had more classroom meetings in May than I did in November. We often would discuss friendships, effort, attitude and finishing strong.

We are now in the closing stretch of our school year. I urge you to finish stronger than you started. Now is the time to rise above, show patience, be compassionate and end the year with a positive impression to all of your students and families.

Articles Worth Reading

Videos Worth Watching

Donovan Livingston's Harvard Graduate School of Education Student Speech
modern family | "i waterborded our toddler, LOL"
Jim Gaffigan On Binge-Watching TV - CONAN on TBS


* I would like to thank Jennifer Blais, Heather Messick, Lacy Davis, Kristina Bradberry, Asia Mainor and Karen Holl for all their help with the Computer/Robotics Clubs this year. The kids really loved the experience. I would also like to thank Jennifer Blais and Heather Messick for helping out with the Great Computer Challenge truly an awesome experience for all. ~Kevin Rickard

* Congratulations Newtown! We did it! We have earned the Pearl School Award two years in a row! Thank you Colleen Kelley, Kevin Rickard, Karen Holl, Ellen Shackley, and our Growing Gardeners! We could not have done it without everyone’s help! ~Amanda Howse

*Way to go 3rd grade team! You have worked very hard all year preparing our students for the upcoming Reading and Math SOL tests. I know our students will show everyone how smart they are and how well you have taught them! ~Shannon

Upcoming Events

This Week

May 31: SOL Pep Rally, 1:45pm

June 2: Reading Part 1 SOL

June 3: Reading Part 2 SOL

Coming Soon

June 6: Math Part 1 SOL

June 7: Math Part 2 SOL

June 8: Oceans of Success Field Trip (10 selected 3rd graders)

June 13: PAC Meeting

June 13: Talent Show

June 16; End of Year class party (1:30 pm)

June 17: Early Dismissal, Last Day of School

News to Share

~Formative Option #2 in Talented is OVERDUE!

~There are planters that need adopting by classrooms in the courtyard. Please see Amanda Howse or Colleen Kelly.

~VBEF Grants are available!

Fall - applications due Oct. 7, 2016:

  • Sustainability Impact Project Grants - up to $1,000 for projects that involve math andscience and engage students in the process of researching aspects of our local watershed.

  • Innovative Learning Grants - up to $2,000 for innovative learning projects benefiting students.

~The Career Teacher Application for 2016 will be available for downloading from the Intranet (Forms/Human Resources/Career Teacher Application) beginning in February.

~Check out the info on the new BE Well program VBCPS is offering. You can track your healthy habits and earn up to $500 a year!


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Dr. Sedory has created a blog, My AP Tried It, where she will share out new ideas for using web sites and apps in your classroom. Some may help with classroom management while others may have instructional ideas. The blog will hopefully have new ideas each week!


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Paulette Brown: May 29

Wendy Lyle: May 31

Jamelia Fisher: June 5

Torie Garrett: June 14

Amanda Howse: June 25

Crystal Felton: June 30

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