Bay Vista Bulletin

September 2020

A Note from the Principal

It has been such a pleasure to get the school year underway! There is nothing quite like the hustling and bustling of a school campus at the beginning of the school year! Our Jaguars, whether learning virtually or on campus, are definitely demonstrating they are ready to get back to work! This school year started much differently than any year before, but we have successfully adjusted to the "new normal" and revised protocols and our students are thriving already.

Thank you for your support and for your children as we navigate our new processes and procedures together. Our car line is running very smoothly in the morning and afternoon. Our afternoon dismissal of "walkers" is going well and I appreciate everyone's help with this new way of work. I especially appreciate your help in not dropping students off prior to 7:45 a.m. Adults are not on duty until that time and no student should be on campus without adult supervision.

It is important that all students are in their classroom, seated and ready to learn at 8:15 a.m. or online and ready to learn at 8:15 a.m. each morning. Teachers start the day right at 8:15 a.m. and every moment of the instructional day is filled. A few minutes really do have an impact on your child's day. Students also need to be picked up no later than 2:55. Our car line has been finishing no later than 2:50 each day so please plan accordingly. Arriving at 8:15 a.m. or picking up later than 2:55 p.m. will result in a tardy.

This week begins our first set of MAP testing in grades 1-5 and Star Literacy in Kindergarten, for ELA and Math. Our testing data will assist teachers in identifying areas for acceleration of learning impacted by our Spring and Summer slides. Below is a document teachers will be sharing with our online families regarding MAP and parent expectations/responsibilities.

Next month during our first round of parent/teacher conferences, teachers will review this data with you and offer suggestions about how you can support your student at home. CLEVER also offers several resources for your child to use at home for additional support and practice.

As shared previously, there is only one Required Meeting this semester which was our Virtual Open Open House. This Fall definitely looks much different for our school community than it did last year when we hosted many family functions and offered several meeting credit opportunities that drew our school community together. The feedback on our event opportunities was amazing and we will get there again! Our PTA Calendar for second semester will be released soon, so please stay tuned!

We have continued to embed our Guidelines for Success into our school culture. Feel free to ask your Jaguar about these Guidelines for Success as we are working to demonstrate those each day to become successful at school and in life.

Donna Hall


Welcome from the Bay Vista PTA

The Bay Vista PTA extends a warm welcome to the 2020-21 school year. For those of you who are returning to Bay Vista, we’re excited to continue working with you to support our amazing school community. For those who are new to the school, we are thrilled to have you join the Bay Vista family where you’ll find the most passionate teachers, staff, and families dedicated to making every child’s potential a reality!

The PTA is an integral part of the Bay Vista family. We work hard to engage students, families and teachers through school events and to provide funds and volunteers to support our community. Our fundraising efforts are used to purchase much needed resources for Bay Vista—computers, iPads, cameras, projectors, student agendas and folders, Sunshine State books, and much more—and to show teachers how much we appreciate them throughout the year. The funds raised last year are being used to buy new laptops and document cameras for the school this year!

While we are all navigating unchartered waters right now, the Bay Vista PTA remains committed to fulfilling our mission—to make every child's potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Our family engagement events and fundraising activities will look different this year, and we’ll be providing support to our school community in new ways. We are actively working to plan for this semester, and we are committed to keeping you informed about how you can get involved every step of the way. But we need your help! By working together as a community, we will ensure students and staff have everything they need be successful.

See below for ways you can connect with us:

Join and Support PTA

We all want the very best for our children, so please consider joining or renewing your membership and supporting the PTA. To make it easy, you can join online via our membership portal! There, you’ll also find opportunities for sponsorship and to purchase spirit gear. When you join PTA, you have the option to also be included int the PTA Directory!!!

Check out the attached flyer below for more information!

Attend PTA Board Meetings – All are Welcome!

PTA Board Meetings are the first Monday of every month from 5-6 PM. This semester, we will hold meetings virtually on Zoom. We encourage you to attend—everyone is welcome!

This month, we are meeting on Monday, September 14th due to the Labor Day holiday. Our focus will be creative and fun ways to engage families this semester, so bring your ideas! If you can’t join but have some great ideas, please email us at See below for meeting details:

Date: September 14, 2020

Time: 5 PM

Meeting Link:

Meeting ID: 268 984 8459
Passcode: 2iwRQR

Stay Connected with PTA

Check out the “Get Engaged” section on the Bay Vista website and follow our Facebook page at Email us anytime with your thoughts and questions at!

Thank Our Volunteers

Over the summer, volunteers were busy creating a sensory garden and getting shade trees for the playground. Please join us in thanking Molly Richardson for spearheading this beautification project and to the volunteers who spent some hot days at the school making these welcome improvements for the students and teachers!

We are also especially thankful to Dawn McCoy for coordinating the welcome back lunch for the teachers! We are happy to be able to provide teachers with lunch at different times throughout the year and appreciate the support of all the volunteers who make it happen!

-Your Bay Vista PTA Board

Meet your 2020-21 PTA Board members…

Megan Diehl, President

The 2020-2021 school year is the Diehls’ third as a Bay Vista family with their daughter, Amelia, moving into 2nd Grade. Megan served on the Board last year as Secretary and is excited to continue to serve the Bay Vista community, engaging families, supporting teachers and staff, and ensuring the students have the resources and tools they need to thrive. Professionally, Megan works with educators across the country by leading a national program to support the physical, social, and emotional health of students and staff. She is proud to have the privilege to directly contribute to the success of Bay Vista and encourages all families to get involved with PTA to make our school the best it can be! Reach out to us with your thoughts and ideas any time!

Dawn McCoy, Vice-President, Volunteer Coordinator/Community Outreach

This school year will make eight years at Bay Vista for Dawn’s family and her fourth year on the PTA Board as the Vice President of Membership. Being a PTA member has led her to meeting many amazing parents and teachers at Bay Vista. She looks forward to working with all of you as we continue to make Bay Vista the best school for our kids! If you have any questions or want to know how you can help the PTA, feel free to email PTA.

Shanna Godonis, Vice-President, Fundraising and School Programs

In Shanna’s professional career, she was a graphic designer and artist. She has been a stay at home mom for 12 years, and her three kids keep her very busy. Her children, Shelby in second grade, Sander in fourth grade, and Soli in eighth grade, have all enjoyed being students at Bay Vista Fundamental. Bay Vista has been her home away from home, and she has played a key role in supporting numerous PTA events and activities over the years. She is very excited to serve as chair of fundraising. She looks forward to seeing everybody back at school next year!

Kate Lamb, Treasurer

Kate is excited to start another year at Bay Vista. Ben will be in 3rd Grade, and Charlotte will be moving to 1st Grade. She has met so many great families and learned so much about the school through PTA. She looks forward to what this year will bring. Please feel free to email the PTA with any questions or issues.

Heather Duncan, Secretary

Heather is a St. Petersburg native, and product of Pinellas County Schools! Her oldest daughter, Liliana, just finished Kindergarten and her youngest daughter, Olivia is hoping to be a Bay Vista Jaguar in August 2021. As a professor of education, Heather is committed to providing access and opportunity to all students. As a PTA Board member, she is looking forward to connecting more meaningfully with the Bay Vista family, while assisting with efforts to engage and empower families and community stakeholders for the benefit of the students and staff at Bay Vista Fundamental School.

What's New in Kindergarten?

Our little kindergarten children are amazing. They are doing a super job in the classroom and online.

In classrooms, time is spent teaching safety for social distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks. But most of the time, children are learning beginning kindergarten routines, making new friends, and having fun. This week, all children participated in PE, Art, and Music.

Over the summer, Mrs. Cohn, one of our kindergarten teachers, gave birth to a beautiful little boy named Dylan. We are fortunate to have Mr. Thomson (also known as Mr. T) until Mrs. Cohn returns in January. Mrs. Webb, one our Gifted Teachers, has also been assisting in the start of kindergarten. This has created a little confusion with the children. When asked who his teacher was, one little boy replied; Mrs. Spider (Mrs. Webb). We are thrilled to have Mr. T on staff with us this semester!

Online, children and parents are doing a super job! It was a big learning curve for everyone with our new Learning Management System (LMS), called Canvas. Parents, teachers, and students have worked as a team to make this work. Children are navigating their way around the computer learning Dreambox, MyOn, and BrainPop, Jr. They miss being at school, but are starting to make friends online. Their parents, grandparents, and family are right there by their side guaranteeing their success.

We are especially thankful for our kindergarten parents. The first days of kindergarten can be stressful in the best of circumstances. You worked with our kindergarten team with patience, kindness, and understanding to make the first week a success. Thank you! It’s going to be a great year!

First Grade Frolics

First Grade is super excited to kick this year off by revisiting learned skills from Kindergarten, practicing good habits, building a warm and inclusive community, all while learning new rules and procedures. We have been busy establishing our classroom rules, building a positive classroom and school environment, and learning what makes each one of us unique!

In reading, students will be reading realistic fiction stories, asking and answering questions and describing settings, characters, and events.

In writing, students will start off by orally telling stories and move to writing stories about people they love, places they like to go, and things they like to do.

In Unit 1 of math, students will be extending their understanding of adding and subtracting within 10. In science, students will be learning about the night sky and then gravity.

Second Grade Learning

Welcome to Second Grade for the 2020-2021 schoolyear! The students have done an amazing job adjusting to our new normal. They are doing so well with wearing a mask all day long. We have been amazed at their attitude, determination, and perseverance. We think they have done fabulous in moving on to grade 2. Our online students have adapted well to learning new programs and maneuvering through the different learning modes. They stay motivated and participate throughout the day.

We will be moving through our units of study: ELA we are studying narrative text and writing; in math we are learning about adding and subtracting numbers with sums and differences up to 20; and in Science our unit is Earth Rocks! We look forward to meeting you all in all the various ways we stay in touch. Please let us know how we can help you. We know the key words here are flexibility, patience, and kindness. Thank you so much for all the positive support we have received so far! The Second Grade Teachers

Third Grade Update


3rd graders are working on identifying and understanding key details and character feelings in a fiction story. We are exploring character motivations and actions that create the sequence of events. And we will be using these details and motivations to determine the central message of the stories we read.


Third grade starts off the year with narrative writing. Students will be writing about important people, places, and things in their life. They will be deepening their skills to develop real or imagined experiences in their writing pieces. One of our focuses during narrative writing will be to use descriptive details. They will learn to “show” us their stories rather than just tell us their stories. Students will begin to use rich vocabulary which will enhance their writing. We will be helping students to work on their conventions in writing as well (spelling, punctuation, grammar). We are looking forward to a great month of writing in third grade!


Third graders are getting into a math mindset! We are doing number routines and learning how to have a growth mindset when it comes to math. We will then be moving on to place value: adding, subtracting and rounding numbers.


Students are learning about how scientist use the scientific method to investigate the World around them. We are also learning about the tools scientist use. Our first branch of science we will dive into is Earth Science. We will be learning about the stars in a unit called Points of Light. Students will understand how our sun is similar and different to other stars and how the Sun’s energy affects objects on Earth.

Fourth Grade Learning Fun

In Module A-Unit 1, fourth grade readers and writers will focus on the characteristics of traditional literature. Students will be learning multiple strategies in order to describe characters, settings, and events in traditional literature in depth. They will notice that there are similar topics, themes, and patterns of events in traditional literature. This will support their work in comparing and contrasting multiple stories. In writing, students will write quick-write narratives based on what is important in their lives and will also develop imagined events in a tall tale.

Fourth grade mathematicians will continue to develop their math problem-solving strategies. Our first units will focus on place value, rounding, and fluently adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers. It’s important for students to be practicing their multiplication facts now, too…multiplication is our next unit!

In Science, fourth graders will begin our first unit of Earth Science with “Patterns in the Sky.” Students will examine how the earth’s rotation and revolution affects the appearance of the sun and stars in our sky. In our second unit, “Gazing at the Moon,” we’ll be learning about how the earth’s rotation and revolution affects the appearance of the moon as it progresses through its monthly phases.

Fifth Grade Learning Updates

Happy New School Year! We are excited to be starting another year off with the award winning novel, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt which gets its name from this quote by Albert Einstein; “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.” This is a novel about a girl who has many strengths, but school and learning have always been miserable for her. Then she meets a teacher who changes everything for her. In the second week of school we will also be starting reading logs and an emphasis on independent reading.

In Science, 5th grade has kicked off the year with our first unit on the Solar System.

In Math we’re working on revisiting what it means to have a “math mindset” and putting processes in place for math journals. We’d like to emphasize to the families of our at home/myPCS learners that it is very important that each student has a space set up for learning (preferably at a desk or table, not on beds) so that we maintain a feeling of it being the school day.

Balance, 2020-2021 Gifted Program with Darcy Webb and Kelly Gertsch

Q.U.E.S.T = Question, Understand, Explore, Serve, Think

We hope you have had a great summer and are ready for another wonderful year of learning. We realize we are in unprecedented times and we are prepared to exercise lots of patience and flexibility. We are excited about our study of Balance this year!! We will explore a variety of topics that all have one concept in common, balance. There should be something for everyone. We’ve attached the video that we shared last spring to further explain how we will study this concept. We will continue to focus on creative and critical thinking helps us with the problem-solving process. We’ve planned many wonderful learning experiences to enrich your child’s education and in order to meet the rigor required through the Florida Standards for Gifted Learners.

The goal of the Gifted Program in Pinellas County is to go beyond the general education curriculum, to challenge students to reach their learning potential, and to stimulate their multiple intelligences. Students’ unique abilities are strengthened through various activities as we develop the following 7 gifted goals based on the Florida Standards for Gifted Learners:

~Complexity of Knowledge ~Leadership ~Goal Setting ~Multifaceted Questions ~Research and Exploration ~Authentic Products and Performances ~Creative and Critical Thinking

The 6 Thinking Hats and CoRT Thinking Skills are frequently integrated into many lessons to promote cooperative learning and higher order thinking skills. Public speaking, group dynamics, creativity, and leadership skills are also practiced and strongly encouraged. Mathematics is also one of our focus areas, and problem solving is an integral part of the gifted curriculum. We will alternate math with homework related to the theme or other gifted skills. Please make sure to check the homework folder each week for any information.

The schedule for this year (for both online and in person students) is as follows: (This could change in the event we return face to face fully)

Mon.: K-1st grades

Tues.: 2nd grade

Wed.: 4th/5th grade

Fri.: 3rd grade

LUNCH: 11:45-12:15

Please help your child be successful by adhering to the following policies:

Fundamental policy: Our class follows the same rules of fundamental policy.

Homework: In an effort to simplify things, we will be suspending homework for QUEST for the first 9 nine weeks. This will be for both face to face and online students.

Absentee policy: If a child is absent on his/her gifted day, it is his/her responsibility to come on the next day he/she returns to school to turn in homework and get the homework for the following week.

Newsletter: We will be sending out a monthly newsletter containing information about what your child is learning, project dates, field trips and upcoming events and schedule changes.

Email: This is the easiest and fastest way to ask questions regarding information that is not addressed in the newsletter.

Mrs. Darby Webb:

Mrs. Kelly Gertsch:

Art Update from Mrs. Morrison

In Mrs. Morrisons’s art class, we are so happy to be back! I am excited that we will be working here in our fantastic art room, as well as online.

In all of our grade levels, we will spend some time team-building, as well as learning our routines and procedures for this year, many of which include our COVID safety measures. You don’t know how much I have missed the smiling faces of our wonderful children and seeing the absolutely brilliant artwork they create!

In the art room this year, we will also be doing some activities centered around the children’s social and emotional learning. It is important for the children to see art as a means of expressing all the thoughts and feelings they’ve had about some of the recent dramatic events which have been happening in our world. I hope we can use art as a way to process some of the traumas we’ve all been facing.

As we begin doing our art projects, I will introduce the students to our first element of art – Line. We will learn about all the different types of lines there are, how to draw them, and… how to act them out. That’s right! We will be standing up and using our bodies to act (dance?) out the different types of lines we can use to make art. Perhaps we will even do some video of these activities to make it more interesting!

I plan on doing some fun things in Nearpod as well, and taking a virtual field trip to some interesting art museums - both local and abroad. Also, our itinerant, Mrs. Wiggins, will be doing some amazing things in her art classes as well. I’m so glad she is joining us again this year!

In short, I’m looking forward to working with you again, and I hope you will stay safe and healthy in the meantime. Thanks, and we’ll see you soon!

September Dates

2 Required Virtual General Meeting & Open House (K-5)

Grades K-2 6:00

Grades 3-5 6:45

7 Labor Day – No School

14 PTA Board Meeting-Virtual, 5:00 p.m.

14 SAC Meeting-Virtual, 6.30 p.m.


5 PTA Board Meeting-Virtual, 5:00 p.m.

5 SAC Meeting -Virtual, 6.30 p.m.

23 End of First Quarter

26 No School