Sunday, November 18, 2018

Voyager Academy Elementary School News, November 18, 2018


Dear VAES Families,
Often as we enter the holiday season, we can get caught up in all of the bustle and focus on unimportant or negative things. Many of you know that this has been a difficult year for my family with the loss of my father.  I know that other staff and families have also experienced great loss and difficulties this year. So, I encourage all of us to stop, focus on the positive, and think about all we have to be thankful for as we near the Thanksgiving holiday.  I am truly thankful for all of you – VAES students, parents, and staff!!

Many parents have asked how they can support their children academically at home.  So, on November 29th at the Elementary school, our Voyager Academy Support Services Team will have a K-12 Parent Night focusing on this topic! The K-12 Parent Night will start with a meal provided by our culinary arts program at 5:30 PM.  At 6:00 PM the presentation will begin.  It will feature information on how you can help your student(s) academically from home.  There will be specific information for each grade level presented by the K-12 School Counselors and our School Social Worker.  Child care and a meal will be provided.  In an effort to best plan for your needs please sign up by letting us know how many adults and children will be attending in K-12 Parent Night.  Please sign up by next Tuesday, November 20th using the link below:
Sincerely,
Voyager Academy Department of Student Services

This is a time that we can take an active role in teaching empathy and showing more compassion towards others by setting an example for the children in our lives.  Starting on Tuesday, November 20th, we will have our special “Giving Tree” in the front office of the elementary school.  On it will be gift tags for our families in need.  The tag will have information about the child's size, age, and gender.  The “Giving Tree” will be ready with tags by Tuesday, November 20th.  If you would like to show empathy and generosity to a Voyager Elementary child in need, please come get a tag and purchase a gift.  Gifts must be turned in wrapped to the elementary school by Monday, December 10th.  The tag has a special label on it you can use to mark who is to receive the gift.
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Next week we will attend school on Monday and Tuesday, but we will be out of school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for the Thanksgiving Day Holiday.


This year, North Carolina changed some of the Math and English Language Arts standards.  Therefore, since the elementary (K-3) report cards are standards based, we had to develop new report cards reflecting the new standards.  Unfortunately, we have had some technology glitches with the new report cards. We have been working with the report card designer/developer this week and have fixed the majority of the issues, however some teachers are still having some difficulties. Therefore, all families will receive their child's report card between Friday and Monday.  We apologize for the inconvenience, but all issues should be resolved by Monday afternoon.

We need your help designing the 2018-19 Voyager Elementary School Yearbook! Any VAES

Student may participate. Simply create your own original color artwork that portrays that Viking Spirit and life at VAES. (click here for flyer)

Contest Rules Checklist:
--Submissions should be completed by a single student on a plain white sheet of 8.5” x 11” paper.  Entries are due Monday, November 19th. No late entries will be accepted.
--All submissions must be in color using either Colored Pencils or Marker – please do not use crayons.
--Artwork may optionally include the school’s name and the year: “Voyager Academy
Elementary School 2018-19”
--If you do not include the school name and year, it will be added to your artwork digitally. If you do choose to include it yourself, please make sure it is neat and legible.
--Please print the artist’s name, grade and homeroom teacher on the BACK of the artwork
in PENCIL
Ensure your artwork meets the guidelines above, then please send in entries to your teacher via your student communication folder.  Entries are due Monday, November 19th. Unfortunately, no late entries will be accepted. Questions should be directed to Kendra Lockamy at kelockamy@gmail.com

**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!!! The PTO will send materials and more information home with your child in the next few weeks.  
PTO Scholastic Book Fair Information and Calendar for Parents:
Saturday, November 24thOnline sales open and parents can preview for their student, purchase online, and/or build an e-wallet account for their student for the in-school fair (click here for e-wallet information)

Friday, November 30th: Students will preview the book fair & the in-school book fair begins
Sunday, December 2nd from 1:00 pm - 4:00pm:  Weekend Family Event. There will be a few food trucks, so you can grab some lunch and shop at the book fair!
Wednesday, December 5th: Voyager Spirit Night at Zaxby's and extended hours for the book fair. The book fair will close at 8:00 pm and families will have an opportunity to win a gift card!
Friday, December 7th: End of the in-school Scholastic Book Fair
Saturday, December 8th: End of the online Scholastic Book Fair

Be 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.

Don’t forget that we will attend school on Monday and Tuesday, but we will be out of school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for the Thanksgiving Day Holiday.  I hope everyone has a fun, safe, and restful Thanksgiving holiday and break!!

Best,
Leslie Paynter
VAES Principal

MORE VAES INFORMATION:
Because we met our fundraising goal of $18,000 for Teacher Wishes and Lego Robotics, Ms. Hofmann, Ms. Cutts, and I (& maybe some other staff friends will join us) will SPEND the NIGHT at SCHOOL and we will video all of the fun things we do at night while the school is closed and will send you the video links to watch!!  We plan to spend the night sometime between November 26 and December 15. The night we choose will be a SURPRISE!!!  

**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.  

CARLINE PICK-UP:
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.  

PTO FUNDRAISER:
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!!
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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.

Thank you,
The My Hot Lunchbox Team
888-894-8295
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:
2nd Grade 1st Benchmark Assessment: November 7th, 8th, & 9th
Mid-year/2nd Benchmark Assessment(K - 3rd):  February 1 - 8
3rd grade EOY:  April 8 - 12
K - 2nd EOY:  May 6 - 10

Project Celebration Dates:
2nd Trimester:
Kindergarten:  February 22nd 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

OTHER DATES:
Report Cards Go Home:  Nov. 16 (we have had some technology issues with the new report card and families will receive report cards between Nov. 16 and Nov. 19 – no later than Nov. 19)
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 for 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!