Sunday, October 21, 2018

Voyager Academy Elementary School News, October 21, 2018

Dear VAES Families,
I hope everyone got some rest over the fall break, because our first week back has been very busy!


Due to the construction, some grade levels are using the space/road between the Hock House and the elementary school by blocking off that area with cones to use as an extra recess space.  If you see that road blocked with cones (and children playing) DO NOT attempt to drive through the cones. This has only happened a few times, but it is very dangerous! Before you reach the cones, please turn into the elementary parking lot and drive through our lot SLOWLY to reach the Hock House or the Middle School.

Next week, we will have our VAES Spirit Week!  Each day, we will also focus on one area of character development.   Listed below is the schedule:
Monday, October 22:  Citizenship - Voyager Day (wear your Voyager apparel or red or blue)
Tuesday, October 23:  Zest - Wacky Tacky Day (get wacky and tacky with what you wear)
Wednesday, October 24:   Integrity - PJ Day (wear your comfy & snuggly pajamas)
Thursday, October 25:  Teamwork - Favorite Sports Team Day (wear something from your favorite sports team) &
the Hero Fit Big Event in the Elementary Gym!!!
K- 8:10-8:55 am
1st- 9:10-9:55 am
2nd- 10:30-11:15 am
3rd- 11:25-12:10 pm
Friday, October 26:  Growth Mindset - Favorite Book Character Day (dress up as your favorite book character) & the 2nd Grade Character Parade at 8:00 AM

Please remember that when you volunteer, attend field trips, events, or project celebrations, etc., please do not take pictures or videos of other children and post them on social media unless you have permission from the children’s parents/guardians.  Many families do not want pictures or videos of their children posted on the internet and especially not on someone else’s facebook page.

This year, our big VAES fundraiser is the Voyager Viking Hero Fit! We kicked it off on Tuesday with a terrific Pep Rally!!  The students and the staff had a lot of fun!!


We hope that families have logged onto and have begun to gather pledges for every fitness challenge your student completes (30-35 exercises), and we’ll celebrate at the Hero Fit Challenge on Thursday, 10/25.
Our big fundraising goal is raising $18,000 for Lego Robotics, Grade Level Wishes, and any needed additional technology (such as replacing worn out document cameras)!!  This year, we want to focus on giving back to ALL of our K-3 students and grant Grade Level Wishes!!! VAES will give back 10% of the net raised to each grade level so we can purchase something special and/or needed for the students at that grade level!!  
The experts at Boosterthon will power our Hero Fit Challenge making it easier, more profitable, and more fun. Students will also experience an amazing character theme, MINDSPARK MYSTERY LAB! Boosterthon’s most exciting theme yet combines S.T.E.A.M skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) with character-building. While they're teaming up with the MindSpark Kids to solve mysteries, our students will learn five 21st-century character traits that will help strengthen themselves and our world. sure to read MORE VAES INFORMATION where you will find previous information covered in the weekly news, information about Remind text sign-up, fundraising, important dates, carline guidelines and rules, etc.  
Leslie Paynter
VAES Principal
PS – Don’t forget to collect pledges for our Hero Fit fundraiser (Goal:  $18,000 for Lego robotics and Teacher Wishes) and log onto!


**The PTO Fall Festival is Friday, October 26th! There will be games, food trucks, vendors, and a DJ!  Come support the Voyager PTO!!!
**The Scholastic Book Fair is back from November 30-December 7. The theme is the Enchanted Forest. There will be a contest run by Scholastic for the best decorations!!!   There will be more information to come soon.
Science Under the Stars
You are invited to attend the 14th Annual Science Under the Stars program presented by Duke’s undergraduate and graduate students as well as other organizations in the communities surrounding Duke. The program is appropriate for all ages, even adults.  At each table, guests will participate in hands-on science activities overseen by the presenters.  More than 20 organizations will be staging presentations. 
Where:  French Family Science Center @ Duke University
***  Free Parking Chemistry Lot off of Circuit Drive near Towerview 
When:  Tuesday, October 25 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Cost:  FREE

VAES Counselors:
Each year our counselors offer a range of different counseling groups to our students.  If you feel your student could benefit from a small group counseling experience, please sign them up using link to the form below.  Some groups will start in the fall and others in the spring.  You will receive a letter home with more detail before groups begin.
If you have any questions, please email Melissa Meckes at or Scott Tribotte  (the Elementary School Counselors).

SAVE the DATE for Voyager’s first Silent Auction and Fundraiser at Umstead Pines on Saturday, February 23rd from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (this is an adult only event).
Remind Texts:
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
Photo & Video/Media Release Form:
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.  

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

College Day & Voyager Spirit Day:
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!!  

Elementary Hours:
***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)
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:
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

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!