Monday, August 26, 2019

Voyager Academy Elementary School News, Aug. 25, 2019

Hello from VAES!
We continue to work hard, both students and staff, to ensure students are our first focus and that the focus is on safety and learning.  We are so grateful to all of you who comply with our requests about car line procedures.  When a few don’t follow through, it is off-setting to those who are following the routines.  I apologize for their rudeness and encourage you to remain on the high road and to continue serving as an example to others and especially your children.  

Along that line, several middle school students are being dropped off in the morning at the elementary school.  A middle school student can only be dropped off if they have an elementary sibling at the elementary school.  This adds cars to our line that should be entering at the middle school drive and not our elementary line.  Please correct this if you are confused about who is allowed to drop off middle school students early at the elementary school.

For safety reasons, you must stay in car line and not drop you child off on the road between the high school and elementary school,  on Ben Franklin Road, in the middle of heavy traffic or park in the high school and walk over.  The staff members from all three buildings are the only folks who have permission to walk students over from the parking lot from which they work.  I appreciate you for making the effort to not be tardy, but a tardy is better than an accident.  Everytime someone crosses, we also slow down the flow of our car line traffic making others who follow the rules later getting their child unloaded.

Project Based Learning
First grade’s first project of the year will incorporate responsive classroom and school values to have the students determine what kind of classroom we need to help us learn.  With our hopes and dreams for the school year in mind, we will figure out what we need in order to make them happen.  This project will set the students up to build their classroom community, be accountable for their learning environment, and lead us to success for the remainder of the year.

Third grade will present their project on plants at 11:00 AM on October 25.  Mark your calendars now for this celebration.  Also, plan to park in the high school parking lot as there are not any spaces available at the elementary school.  Our spaces are numbered and reserved for staff.  We do have visitors and handicapped spaces available. They are limited in number.

Specials will present their project, Patterns and Rhythm Around the World,  on Dec. 6, in the high school gym.  More specific information will come later.

Science:  Duke Energy is offering it’s  support from Duke Energy Foundation to allow (NC Science Festival and Science Center) to produce the STEM activities and materials that will be sent at no cost to 170 schools.  We are optimistic that Voyager Academy will be one of those schools.  Our science teacher, Mrs. Borcik, is applying for the grant. This event will be held in April. Look forward to updates in the future.

In addition, we are meeting to start planning Science Olympiad next week.  Kristin Jantz, a parent, will be volunteering and seeking other parent support and assist us.  Thanks to Kristin and Mrs. Borcik for ensuring the success of this important program.

Training:  Mrs. Wilcox, the additional assistant in first grade and Mrs. Davis, art teacher, just received special training from our Title I teacher, Mrs. Davis.   Beginning next week, Mrs. Davis will begin pulling small groups in the afternoon to help students who are behind in reading.  Mrs. Wilcox is already supporting low readers in first grade.  This is an effort to get our students caught up and to improve reading. Mrs. Wilcox is also working with first grade students in math. 

Labor Day:  We will be closed for Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 2.  Enjoy your long weekend and be safe.

Pictures:  Our school pictures at the elementary school will be taken for the yearbook on September 17!  Please put this date on your calendar.

Car Line:  Beginning Tuesday, September 3, after our Labor Day holiday, we will begin dismissing our students from the classrooms instead of the gym.  The middle school uses this process successfully as well as several elementary schools in Durham.  Next Wednesday, August 28, your child will bring home a new red placard card for you to place on your dashboard.  Please replace this with the one given to you earlier this year. In addition to your child’s name, the student will have a 4-digit number that will show up on the teacher’s smart board in the classroom to signal them to come to the gym.  The student will walk to the gym with staff throughout the hallway to guide and direct them to the gym.  When they get to the gym, the student will go to their zone. This should speed up car line. It will go smoothly, if everyone places their card on the dashboard.  Some of you may have more than one student at the elementary school. Both kids will receive a card with the child’s name and number on it. You can show both cards or consolidate their names onto one card. If more than one person picks up your child(ren), please give one of the consolidated cards to them.  Thanks so much!  Look forward to a more efficient and faster car line soon!  

Third Grade:  The Beginning of Year (BOY) test was scheduled to be given on Tuesday, August 20.  When the air conditioner broke, we rescheduled the test to be given on Friday, August 23.  Please make sure your third grader gets plenty of rest and breakfast before taking the test.  

Making it Work:  That is exactly what our third grade team this week. When the air conditioner went out on Monday on the third grade hallway, the teachers and I planned for the following two days until the air conditioning part came in to repair it.  The teachers treated moving students to a cooler location as if was an adventure.  I want to thank the media center staff and Mrs. Dodson at the high school for making space available. The teachers continued to work and students continued to learn. We are happy to have them return home to their classrooms today.
I am especially grateful to the third grade team and students for making a bad situation positive.  They rock!  Check out the pictures of our third graders learning!