From the Castle

Family Newsletter for Thomas Dale High School-September 2019

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Greetings from the Castle!

Knight Families and Community Members,


September has arrived! A good-bye to summer means hello to a new opportunity for us to create an AWESOME experience for our students! It is a new opportunity for our children to be the best versions of themselves and to take one step further in the current chapters of their lives. It is a new opportunity to dream big and set goals that allow us to live in the vision and not the circumstance. It is a new opportunity to be the person we say we want to be. It is a new opportunity for love, hope, and kindness to reign supreme in the way we treat each another. Join me as a collaborative partner to make this the BEST YEAR EVER!!!

In this issue of From the Castle, I've provided you with a September Survival Guide to help transition into the school year. We are a big school with a lot of moving parts, and we believe in transparent communication. We also believe in creating a small feel in a school that will serve just over 2,500 students this year! I strongly suggest you focus your time and attention to the moving parts that apply to you and your child only. Otherwise, your brain will start to me!

I believe in you, your children, and our staff. We are working as hard AND smart as we can to deliver on the promise of Every Knight, Every Day! Let's DO this!!!


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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  • Fee Collection. We will collect fees during lunches of the first week of school and also in the main office of both campuses as needed. For your reference, you can access the fee sheet HERE. Additionally, you can pay your fees online instead of in person by clicking HERE.
  • Parking Passes. Parking Passes will be sold during lunches of the first week of school, and then in the main office of Main Campus after that. ALL STUDENTS WHO DRIVE TO SCHOOL MUST HAVE A PARKING PASS; WE WILL BEGIN HOLDING STUDENTS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR PASSES ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9.
  • Dale-Gates. Dale-Gates are BACK and BETTER THAN LAST YEAR!!! Join us for the next Dale-Gate of the year on September 27 at 5:30pm before the football game versus Petersburg! Food, fun, and family. What a great way to connect!
  • 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).
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Transportation Survival Guide

  • During arrival, all buses will go to Main Campus first, and then to West Campus. Students who have classes at Main Campus (Grades 10-12 and Specialty Center Freshmen) will depart the bus in the Main Campus bus loop when dropped off. Upon departing the bus, students should enter through Door 2. No 9th Grade students with classes at West Campus should get off the bus at Main.
  • Students at the West Campus 9th Grade Academy will then be transported to West Campus for drop-off in the bus loop. Upon departing the bus, students should enter through Door 1 of West Campus and ensure all electronic devices are OFF and AWAY.
  • For departure, there will be 10-12 buses at West Campus to pick up students at 2:55pm and transport them to Main for the "station switch."
  • When all buses arrive in the Main Campus bus loop, 9th grade students will get on their correct buses and all students from Main will enter their buses.
  • All bus numbers will have an assigned lane. When your child's bus is not the bus available on a particular day, the correct bus number will be on the black placard to indicate the correct bus number.
  • Please have a conversation with your child about appropriate behavior on the bus during transport: Kindness, Accountability, Respect, and Engagement. Always! Bus drivers have the toughest job in the world, and I need your child's support to make it easier.
  • All bus routes can be found HERE. You can also use E-LINK.

Student Drivers.

  • All students who drive to school and park on school grounds must have a pass and utilize the student parking lot off of Old Centralia Road. No exceptions. HERE is the parking pass application.
  • Students must park in THEIR parking space as indicated on the pass. Again, no exceptions. If your child's spot is taken, they should park in the rear of the building and report the situation to the main office before going to class. (Don't worry, we will write your child a pass - they won't be counted tardy.)
  • All traffic signs and traffic rules and regulations apply on school grounds. Ensure your child is aware of and follows the guidelines outlined on the Parking Pass Application.
  • Students will only be permitted to leave at the end of the day through the student parking lot exit onto Old Centralia Road.
  • Please have a conversation with your child about appropriate driving behaviors. Kindness, Accountability, Respect, and Engagement. Always!

Parent Drop-Off and Pick-Up.

  • Safety and Traffic Rules and Regulations apply to you too!
  • Main Campus Drop-Off procedures: Enter Main Campus from Route 10 and travel around the right side of the building until you get to Door 14. That is where you drop your child off. Continue around the building through the outside lane of the student parking lot and exit onto Old Centralia Road. There is a map for directions below.
  • Main Campus Pick-Up procedures: Enter Main Campus from Route 10 and travel to the staff parking lot. You are welcome to park in empty spaces or fill the lanes as appropriate. Do not use the lane alongside the building; that is a bus lane! Do not stop in front of the building either, please.
  • West Campus Drop-Off procedures: Enter West Campus from Route 10 on the side closest to Old Centralia Road and Main Campus. Do not use the small staff lot on the side closest to Chester Road. Turn left into the staff parking lot; do not enter the bus loop. Drop your child off at Door 9, and continue around the staff lot to exit the way you entered.
  • West Campus Pick-Up procedures: All students who get picked up in the afternoon will be released at 3:00pm, which is different from their peers who ride the bus. They will go to Door 9, where you should be waiting in the staff parking lot for pick-up.
  • Another friendly reminder that our expectations on school grounds apply to you as well - Kindness, Accountability, Respect, and Engagement. There are few things more embarrassing than an adult who does not follow rules and procedures, especially those pertaining to safety and traffic law.
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September 3rd Survival Guide

Let's make the BEST YEAR EVER start off with the BEST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL EVER!!!

New this year, only students who are new to Thomas Dale should come to school on September 3. Of course, ALL 9th grade students are new, and we have some upperclassmen coming to TD for the first time.

The bell schedules for both Main and West are below, and I've also included a map of both campuses. There will be so many adults ready to help your child find their class. I know I cannot completely relieve the anxiety of the first day of school in a new building. Let me make a will be okay! Thomas Dale is the most amazing place on Earth, and we have the most kind, caring, and loving staff who will ensure your child is safe and feels loved and cared for.

West Campus. All 9th Grade Students (with the exception of Specialty Center) will be on West Campus and report to their Freshman Seminar class. This will be their 1E class on their schedule. This block of time will be extended for September 3rd, because their so many cool things we want to do.

  • Build relationships and homeroom community.
  • Take a picture with cap and gown.
  • Tour the West Campus.
  • Learn a few things about being a Knight.

Following the extended Freshman Seminar block, students will go to all of their classes for 25 minutes to get a chance to meet all their teachers and get accustomed to traveling around West Campus.

Main Campus. All 9th Grade Specialty Center students and students who are new to Thomas Dale in grades 10-12 should report to their 1E class on their schedules. This block of time will be extended for September 3rd as well. Specialty Center 9th grade students will engage in similar activities as those 9th grade students at West Campus (above).

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September 4th Survival Guide

New this year, we get TWO 1st Days of School, and we will make them both the best "first" day of our students' lives! On the first day of school, we will build relationships, establish trust, open lines of communication, and connect with each other and our school. ALL teachers will see ALL of their students, and ALL students will see ALL of their teachers...on the first day! All class assemblies will be part of the first day to set the tone and expectations for an AMAZING year! To end our day, we will rock out at a PEP RALLY!!!

Let's make our first day of school count... making it all about relationships, connections, excitement, and joy! An overwhelming feeling that school really is an AWESOME place!

To do so, we will adjust our bell schedule so that students attend all of their classes on the first day. This day is not an "Even" day or an "Odd"'s an "ALL" Day. Let's make September 4 AMAZING! See below to unlock the schedule for our first day of school!

Survival Guide for September 5th and 6th

After two AMAZING days to set the stage for the BEST YEAR EVER, we will begin to gain a sense of normalcy and routine! Yes, we are running three separate bell schedules simultaneously. You and your child only need to focus on the one that pertains to you. Otherwise, your brain will begin to me!!!

West Campus 9th Grade Academy will begin to follow our REGULAR WEST CAMPUS BELL SCHEDULE. As a note, EVEN Day and ODD Day mean that the day corresponds with the date. For example, September 5th will be an ODD Day, because 5 is an odd number.

Main Campus will follow a slightly altered bell schedule for September 5-13. During these days, students will report to their Homeroom classes after 1st period EVERY DAY. The bell schedule for those days is below. On September 16, we will begin to follow our REGULAR MAIN CAMPUS BELL SCHEDULE.

Specialty Center Students will follow a similar bell schedule as the REGULAR WEST CAMPUS BELL SCHEDULE and will do so on Main Campus. When all other students on Main Campus finish 1st period and move into Homeroom and Engagement, students in Specialty Center will continue instruction in 1st block.

Survival Guide for the Rest of September

Take a deep breath! We made it through the survival guide for the first week!!!

First, make sure you are connected with our CALENDAR of events. You can also keep an eye on the calendar of our Home Page on the website:

September 11 - Coffee and Sunset Snacks with the Principal. Join me to make connections, build and sustain relationships, and to share what's on your mind and in your heart. I've included all the dates for this monthly event below.

September 12 - Chromebook Distribution. Please ensure you have paid your child's Chromebook fee and signed the use agreement. If those are good to go, your child will receive his/her Chromebook. If not, there will only be delays.

September 16 - Back-to-School Open House. Please join us from 6-7:30pm for an Open House. We will not hold a formal meeting nor will we follow a schedule. Simply come and go as you need. I've included the flyer invitation below.

September 26 - Dr. Jones Book Club. For the first time ever, I am hosting a book club! This semester's book is Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath. The book club will meet in the Main Campus Library at 7pm for our kick-off!

September 27 - Dale-Gate. Join us for our second Dale-Gate of the year before the Football Game vs Petersburg!

September 28 - ChesterFest. Join the Chester community on the Village Green!

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Parking Passes

Parking on school grounds is a privilege we are honored to extend to our students. Please click HERE for the Parking Application Form. iF YOU MISSED THE CHANCE TO GET YOUR PASS BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS, We will sell parking passes during lunches throughout the first week of school. We will begin holding students accountable for having their parking pass hang tag visible in their rear-view mirror on Monday, September 9, 2018.

Students who purchase a parking pass will be assigned a numbered parking space. Please note that students without a decal or students who park in unauthorized parking spaces, including any space assigned to others, are subject to the following consequences:

  1. The first time, students will receive a warning sticker and have an opportunity to purchase a parking pass.
  2. The second time, a student will receive another warning sticker and another opportunity to purchase a parking pass.
  3. The third time, the student will receive another warning sticker and will be redirected by an administrator, with a warning that another offense will lead to a vehicle immobilizer being applied. The student will be highly encouraged to purchase a parking pass.
  4. The fourth time, the student will have a vehicle immobilizer applied to one of the vehicles wheels. Students will need to notify administration and will have another opportunity to purchase a parking pass.
  5. The fifth time, the vehicle will be towed at the operator's expense.

Parents and Students, please do not put us in a position to go this far. Parking privileges may be revoked at any time, without a refund. Vehicles parked on school grounds are subject to search.

Please bring the following documents to purchase a TDHS parking decal:

  • A completed Parking Application Form (PAF) signed by the student AND THE PARENT/GUARDIAN
  • Vehicle registration for cars listed on the PAF
  • Valid driver’s license (NO learner’s permits accepted)
  • $50.00 check made payable to Thomas Dale High School or Cash

This Year's Bell Schedule

Our bell schedule reflects a commitment to high-quality instruction, support and challenge based on students' needs, and a focus on the social-emotional development of our Knights. Balancing the rigors of academics with the realities of teenage life in 2019 and beyond, we aim to provide a learning environment where students can pursue their goals, dreams, and personal pathways in a place that is welcoming, connected, and full of joy!

Please find the bell schedule for both Main Campus and West Campus below. As noted above, we will have a different bell schedule at the start of school. Any time we have an alternate schedule, we will use the newsletter and our social media outlets to communicate. Make sure you connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat!

From the Libraries (Information)

It's not too late to participate in the TDHS library's summer reading program. Complete bingo on the summer reading bingo sheet, have a parent/librarian initial the boxes completed, and turn in to a TDHS librarian by the end of September. You will be invited to the summer reading celebration where you will enter to win prizes. Print out the bingo form here, or visit either TDHS library to pick one up. See you soon!

For more information on the Thomas Dale Library Summer Reading Program, check out this link.

Upcoming Events

Stay connected to OUR CALENDAR and mark yours!

September 3 - First Day of School (New Students Only)

September 4 - All students report to school

September 11 - Coffee with the Principal (7am - Door 9 at West Campus)

September 11 - Coffee with the Principal (7pm - Door 1 at Main Campus)

September 12 - Chromebook Distribution

September 16 - Back to School Night

September 26 - Dr. Jones Book Club Meeting

September 27 - Dale-Gate before the Football Game vs Petersburg

September 28 - ChesterFest

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