Sunday, September 9, 2018

Voyager Academy Elementary School News, September 9, 2018

Dear VAES Families,
Even though this has been a shorter week, it has been busy at VAES!!  C:\Users\lpaynter\Desktop\IMG_0544.jpg  C:\Users\lpaynter\Desktop\IMG_5397.JPG

Please remember that ALL families MUST go through morning and afternoon carline, even if you think you might be tardy in the morning.  Only Voyager staff and families with a walking waiver (families living or working within walking distance of the school) should be parking and walking their children to the school buildings.  The exception to this rule is if you have a meeting at the school or if you are bringing something to school that your child cannot carry or get out of the car during the carline. We plan to have a staff member or the SRO stationed between the elementary and the high school and they will ask parents to return to their car and get back into the carline.  Also, if you are bringing car seats for a field trip, please drop off your child in the carline and then pull around to the front office to drop off the car seat.

On Tuesday, we began our mClass Reading Assessments with all of our students, Kindergarten – Third Grade.  Some of you may ask, “What is mClass?” mCLASS is a universal screener that measures the development of reading skills of our elementary students through two main assessments: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and the Text Reading Comprehension (TRC) assessments.  These combined tests help teachers determine how students are performing on the important reading skills that children must develop in order to become proficient readers.  These skills are:

mClass Reading Assessments at Voyager Academy Elementary
Letter Naming Fluency (LNF)—ability to recognize and name capital and lowercase letters of the alphabet.
Kindergarten and 1st Grade
First Sound Fluency (FSF)—ability to isolate and pronounce the first sound in spoken words.
Kindergarten and 1st Grade
Phonemic Segmentation Fluency (PSF)
ability to separate words into their sequence of individual sounds.
Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF)— ability to
identify complete letter sounds (CLS) and
blend letter sounds in whole words read
1st – 3rd Grade
Dynamic Oral Reading Fluency (DORF)-
ability to read connected text fluently and
with accuracy in order to retell a passage.
3rd Grade
DIBELS Maze (DAZE)—ability to construct meaning from text using word recognition skills
to measure the reasoning processes that constitute comprehension.
Kindergarten – 3rd Grade
Text Reading Comprehension (TRC)—ability
to accurately and fluently read connected
text in order to comprehend oral questions
and answer written response questions.
Teachers gather this data by administering the TRC and specific DIBELS assessments to grade levels three times a year—in September, January, and April/May.  All of the assessments are administered individually. As you can imagine, this takes a long time which is why the state allows us three weeks to complete the assessments.  After a student is assessed, the program calculates scores and levels of proficiency based on the data provided. The program disaggregates the data; provides individualized assessment information about each student’s reading progress; and tracks the student’s progress during the school year.  A student’s scores give information about whether the student is on track for grade-level reading success. Teachers make decisions about instruction using the data for each student. At the Fall Conference Day on Friday, September 28, your child’s teacher will provide more information regarding your child’s mClass reading assessments.  The teachers will send home a link for you to sign up for a conference time.

This month's VAES Staff Back to School Luncheon is set for Wednesday September 19th   and the theme is a "Welcome Back BBQ” and picnic-type luncheon.  Grab those favorite recipes and help the VAES PTO Hospitality Committee show our wonderful teachers and staff how much they are appreciated!!  Please review the list below and sign up for what you are able to contribute.  They also need help with set-up and clean-up. Also, the teachers love to have lunch coverage!  Please check in with your child's teacher to make sure they have lunch coverage for that day so he or she may come down to enjoy the “spread” that the VAES families have prepared for them!!!
If you would like to contribute to the staff luncheon, please click on this link.
The Hospitality Committee hosts monthly luncheons for the teachers, staff and administrators at the Elementary School.  We are comprised of parent volunteers who donate food, paper products, as well as their time.   
A few important reminders from the VAES PTO Hospitality Committee:
1. Please be sure to specify what type of food and the quantity in the "comment" field to avoid duplicates and to ensure we have enough food for everyone.
2. Please deliver hot dishes in a crock pot or a thermal container.  Unfortunately, we do not have the means to warm dishes.  
3. All food needs to be delivered to the teacher break room by 10:45 am on the day of the luncheon. You may deliver items the day before and store in the break room refrigerator. PLEASE LABEL FOR "HOSPITALITY."    
4. Please label dishes clearly with your name if you want the dish returned.  We will wash and leave the dish in the teacher's break room for you to pick up.
5. If you wish to be added to the monthly email list or know someone who would like to be added, please contact Kathy Robinson at, Ellie Thompson at, or Susan Barkley at  Thank you in advance for your help.  We could not provide these luncheons without your assistance.

Don’t forget to click on the media release link below and complete a form for each of your children. This gives permission for photos, videos, etc. Also, be sure to sign that each family has read the Parent/Student Handbook.  

To ensure that all families are clear regarding the afternoon carline pick-up times, we have made a large sign that is posted between the elementary and the high school.  The sign states:
Elementary Pickup ONLY:  2:45 – 3:05 (Mondays-12:45 – 1:05)
Elementary & Middle ONLY: 3:05 – 3:20 (Mondays-1:05 – 1:20)  
Middle School Pickup ONLY:  3:20 (Mondays-1:20)

Please continue to display your ES RED (& MS BLUE) signs for AM & PM carline ALL YEAR. If you have an ES student, you should arrive on our campus BEFORE 3:15 (1:15 on Mondays).  Our carline should be complete by 3:20 (1:20 on Mondays).  Staff will walk students to the front lobby at 3:20 (1:20 on Mondays) and your child will be sent to after school care if you have not arrived by 3:25 (1:25 on Mondays).  If you have an ELEMENTARY ONLY student, please try to arrive for afternoon carline on the front end from 2:45 – 3:00 (12:45 – 1:00 on Mondays).  Also, don’t forget that ALL Mondays are Early Release Days and school dismisses at 12:45.  

From 7:15 to 7:25, the carline does not get backed up.  You can “breeze” right through!! If you want to ensure that you do not get stuck between middle school cars and risk being late, we advise you to arrive in carline by 7:35.  
Be sure to read MORE VAES INFORMATION where you will find important dates, carline guidelines and rules, etc.  

Leslie Paynter
VAES Principal

If you mention the Menchie’s flyer, every Friday from 12:00 PM to close for the entire school year, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt Patterson Place located at 3604 Witherspoon Blvd. #109, Durham will donate 20% of your purchase to Voyager Academy!!

My Hot Lunchbox is excited for another great year of delivering school lunches!  Due to major improvements we have made this summer, families will need to create a new account.  Please note that whichever email address you use for account creation will be the email that receives ALL communications from My Hot Lunchbox.  ALL credits will roll over from last year after you create your account.  Click here for a flyer.

Thank you,
The My Hot Lunchbox Team

***Elementary Hours for the 2018 - 2019 School Year:
Monday:  7:45 AM - 12:45 PM (Every Monday is an early release for Professional Development for teachers and staff which begins at 1:15 PM)
Tuesday - Friday:  7:45 AM - 2:45 PM
AM Carline Monday - Friday:  7:15 AM - 7:45 AM
PM Carline on Mondays:  12:45 PM - 1:15 PM (while the field is under construction)
PM Carline Tuesday - Friday:  2:45 PM - 3:15 PM (while the field is under construction)

Sign up to receive the VAES Remind texts.  We have set up group text messages by grade level, K – 3, to ensure that if there is important information, an emergency, inclement weather, etc., we can very quickly and easily send a text message to all families.   I hope to send more reminders, etc. via text instead of email. So, if you want to receive reminders, important information, etc. - first, you must download the Remind app.  Next, join your child’s grade level group (you can join multiple groups if you have children in different grades) to receive the Voyager texts.  You MUST sign up each year.  Please click on the link/s for your student’s grade level and join Remind!!

VAES K 2018-2019

VAES 1st 2018-2019

VAES 2nd 2018-2019

VAES 3rd 2018-2019

One of our K – 12 School Improvement Team goals is to increase our school spirit school wide.  Last year, we had College Day on Thursday and Voyager Day on Friday. We will continue this tradition.  The College Day Thursdays are days that all staff, students, and parents can wear their favorite college apparel.  Also, some of you may have noticed that beside classroom and office doors, we display small signs stating where our staff attended college/university.  We hope these activities will promote great conversations about different colleges and college attendance, especially with our middle school and high school students.  
Last, but not least, every Friday is Voyager Spirit Day!  Wear your Voyager apparel and/or your school colors (red, white, and blue) to show school spirit and pride!!  

Important Dates for VAES Families:
** Please note that the elementary (K- 3) operates on trimesters (and not quarters or semesters) to better align with the mClass Reading assessments and the state math assessments. This means report cards will go home every 12 weeks and progress reports every 6 weeks.**
mClass Reading Assessment Dates:
BOY:  9/4/18 - 9/24/18
MOY:  1/9/19 - 1/31/19
EOY:  4/23/19 - 5/14/19

Math Assessment Dates:
First Math Assessment (only for 1st - 3rd graders - K does not have one):
October 22 - 26
Mid-year (K - 3rd):  February 1 - 8
3rd grade EOY:  April 8 - 12
K - 2nd EOY:  May 6 - 10

Project Celebration Dates:
1st Trimester:
Kindergarten:  November 7th at 11:30
1st Grade: October 25th at 1:00
2nd Grade:  November 6th at 12:30
3rd Grade:  November 9th at 1:00

2nd Trimester:
Kindergarten:  February 15th at 11:30
1st Grade:  February 15th at 1:00
2nd Grade:  February 13th at 12:30
3rd Grade:  February 13th at 11:30

3rd Trimester:
Kindergarten:  May 16th at 11:30
1st Grade:  May 2nd at 1:00
2nd Grade:   May 3rd at 11:30
3rd Grade:  May 21st at 11:30

Progress Reports Sent Home:  Sept. 17
Fall Conference Day/No School for Students:  Sept. 28
FALL BREAK/No School for Students and Staff:  October 8 - 12
1st Trimester Ends:  Nov. 6
2nd Trimester Begins:  Nov. 7
Veteran's Day Holiday/No School for Students and Staff:  Nov. 12
Report Cards Go Home:  Nov. 16
THANKSGIVING BREAK/No School for Students and Staff:  Nov. 21 - 23
WINTER BREAK/No School for Students and Staff:  Dec. 20 - Jan. 3
Required Teacher Workday/No School for Students:  Jan. 4
Progress Reports Sent Home:  Jan. 18
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday/No School for Students and Staff:  Jan. 21
Required Teacher Workdays/No School for Students:  Feb. 18 & 19
2nd Trimester Ends: Feb. 20
3rd Trimester Begins:  Feb. 21
Report Cards Go Home:   March 1
Required Teacher Workday/No School for Students:  March 11
Spring Conference Day/No School for Students:  March 12
Progress Reports Sent Home:  April 5
SPRING BREAK/No School for Students and Staff:  April 15 - 22
3rd Grade Reading & math EOG (End–of-Grade)Tests:  May 13 & 14
3rd Trimester Ends: May 24
Last Day of School & Report Cards Go Home:  May 24

IMPORTANT Carline Reminders:
ALL families MUST go through morning and afternoon carline, even if you think you might be tardy in the morning.  Only staff and families with a walking waiver (families living or working within walking distance of the school) should be parking and walking their children to the school buildings.  The exception to this rule is if you have a meeting at the school or if you are bringing something to school that your child cannot carry or get out of the car during the carline.

If you are bringing car seats for a field trip, please drop off your child in the carline and then pull around to the front office to drop off the car seat.  

Students need to be ready to pop right out of the car in morning carline with backpacks already on their shoulders and lunch boxes, etc. in their hands.

As you are pulling into your unloading zone in the AM, teach your child to unbuckle quickly so they are ready to get out of the car once it stops.

Parents are not to get out of their car to unload their child.   Parents may pull up and over to the side and assist their child, if needed.

When there are other children in the car who are not unloading at the elementary, the student's car seat needs to be behind the passenger seat so that the child can unload quickly and doesn't have to climb over the other children in the car.

ALL Kindergarten - Third Grade students MUST be dropped off in the morning carline from 7:15 - 7:45, unless you have a walking waiver stating that you live and/or work within walking distance of the school.  

Do not block the crosswalks or the entrances to the elementary in AM and PM carline.  We need to keep the crosswalks open so students and staff can cross safely and the entrances open so cars or emergency vehicles can enter and exit.

DO NOT use your cell phones during carline.  This means no talking, texting, or checking emails/Facebook.  We will have MS children walking between buildings in the AM with the before school program and staff and their children walking between buildings in the AM and PM.  It is very dangerous to use your cell phone in carline. If one of our carline staff see you on your cell phone, they will ask you to put up your phone, or to pull around to the front office to drop off or pick up your student.

We have families (many of them new Kindergarten parents) and staff new to Voyager and they may not understand all of the traffic logistics.  We do not want their first experience at Voyager to be an unpleasant one. So, please be kind!!!  

For AM and PM Carline, you MUST have a RED ES sign in your car window/windshield that lists the names of each student you are dropping off and picking up.  Place the card/s on your dashboard as you are coming down Ben Franklin Blvd. and entering the Voyager campus.  We are still learning names so; this also assists the staff as they call names and load students into their cars.

For PM carline, if you do not have a RED sign in your window with the student names, you will be asked to pull around to the front office to pick up your children.  Having a sign with the names of the students riding in your car will make carline run more quickly and effectively.

The safety of our students is our number one concern.  If a student is to ride home with someone other than their regular caregiver, the teacher must have had written or verbal confirmation from the parent or guardian.  Those carline changes will be on a daily grade level list which will be given to each grade level teacher that is on duty in the gym during PM carline. If your child’s name isn’t on this list with a carline change, the child WILL NOT be placed in the person’s car.  The person picking up will be asked to pull around to the front office and the office will call the parent/guardian to confirm this person has permission to pick up your child.  If you know that your child will have a PM carline change, I would advise you to write a note, send an email, or call the teacher the day before.  Often it is difficult for teachers to check their email or voicemail during the day when they are teaching. If it is an emergency or last minute change, please call the front office and the front office staff will let the teacher know so that the student is added to the grade level list. We appreciate your help and support implementing this new procedure so that all students are safe!

Do not cut in front of someone to avoid having to wait in the carline.  This includes NOT making a U-turn in front of the middle school.  First, you could potentially cause an accident and this is inconsiderate and often makes the driver that has been following the rules and waiting their turn very angry.

Remember to be kind to your fellow drivers, staff, students, and volunteers during carline!  We are all trying to work together to make carline efficient and safe!!

Please be understanding and respectful to our carline staff if they notice that a driver is breaking one of the rules.  They are doing this to ensure that our students and drivers are safe!! Our goals are to make carline safe, quick, and efficient!