Sunday, December 9, 2018

Voyager Academy Elementary School News, December 9, 2018


Dear VAES Families,
We had a busy and productive week at VAES.  One of my favorite things is to watch our teachers and students in action during Reading Workshop as they have small guided reading groups with the teacher and the students rotate through their literacy work stations!  

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REMIND texts and Inclement Weather
Currently, approximately 85% of our VAES families have signed up to receive the REMIND text messages.  If you haven’t signed up, please do this, especially as we enter the season for possible winter weather (directions are listed below under Important VAES Information).  
I am confident that all of you have been hearing the weather reports for this weekend.  As we enter the winter weather season, please remember that we will follow the Durham Public Schools (DPS) inclement weather advisories including delays, closures, and early dismissals. So, if DPS is closed, we will be closed. If DPS has a two hour delay, we will have a two hour delay.  If DPS, has an early release due to inclement weather, we will dismiss early too.  If you see that DPS is closed, delayed, or releasing early and you have not seen something for Voyager, know that we will be doing the same thing as DPS. We will post these on our website, send a school connects message, and we will send a REMIND text, as soon as we can.

The Book Fair
The students and staff thoroughly enjoyed visiting and shopping at our book fair!!  Ms. Green and Ms. Zipes have been busy organizing all of the coins from the coin drive!!  That’s a lot of work!! Also, a BIG THANK YOU to all the PTO volunteers and Voyager staff that worked at the book fair and for coordinating all of the fabulous book fair events!  

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VAES PTO Hospitality Luncheon
The VAES PTO Hospitality Luncheon for the VAES staff is scheduled for next week on Wednesday, December 12th. This month's theme is Holiday Party! They will serve heavy hors d'oeuvres and holiday party food, so please sign up to help if you can!! Any and all help is definitely appreciated!!
The teachers also 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 we have prepared for them!!!

Holiday Hoop Camp
Coach Huff will again be running a basketball camp during the holiday break.  This is a great opportunity for boys and girls to work on their basketball skills and have some fun, and it gives parents some time to do that last minute shopping or prepare for holiday parties!
Dates:  December 20-21
Time:  9:00 - 12:00
Location:  High School gym
This camp is open to boys and girls in grades 3-8, and is open to both Voyager and non-Voyager students.  Sign up by sending an e-mail to Coach Huff at mhuff@voyageracademy.net.

The Giving Tree
As you know, 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.  Our special “Giving Tree” in the front office of the elementary school is empty of any tags. Thank you!!! Gifts must be turned in wrapped to the elementary school by Monday, December 10th. If we are not at school on Monday due to the weather, please send in your gift the day we return.  The tag has a special label on it you can use to mark who is to receive the gift.

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Lost and Found
We have a lot of items in our Lost & Found located on the first grade hallway!!  Please come and check the Lost & Found for your child’s missing jackets, clothes, etc.!!!  All items will be donated to a charity on Monday, December 17th.

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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.
Best,
Leslie Paynter
VAES Principal

MORE VAES INFORMATION:
**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).
Carline Letter sent to VAES Families and Staff on 12-7-18
I apologize if many of you are sick of hearing about carline.  However, we have had several issues arise that I felt needed to be addressed with the VAES families and staff.  This week the elementary staff and the Voyager Administrative team (Mrs. Lucas, our Managing Director, and the three principals) discussed the current carline traffic flow with the elementary and the middle school families needing to follow the same traffic pattern.  Furthermore, this week at the elementary, on three different mornings, we asked staff and parents to document the amount of time it takes if you enter the back of the carline on Ben Franklin Blvd. - until you reach the top of the hill (where Mr. Tribotte & Mrs. Meckes are stationed and the tardy signed is turned) - to the back of the gym and cars are unloaded - to exiting the Voyager campus at the traffic circle.  On the first morning, a parent entered the back of the line on Ben Franklin Blvd. at 7:35 (the line was at Lowe’s) and she passed Mr. Tribotte and Mrs. Meckes at the top of the hill at 7:40.  At 7:43, her children were being unloaded at the back of the gym, and then she exited the campus at 7:45 – 10 minutes total.  On the second morning, a staff member entered at 7:30 and it only took her 7 minutes from start to finish! On the third day, a staff member entered the back of the carline at 7:42, they crested the top of the hill at 7:47, the tardy sign was up, and they would have been tardy.  To ensure that your child isn’t tardy and that you do not get stuck between middle school cars, we strongly advise you to arrive in carline by 7:35.  If the tardy sign is turned at 7:45 or after, do not argue with staff members outside or inside the office, your child is tardy.  Please proceed to the front office and sign in your student.  Students should actually be in class and ready to learn at 7:45 and not in carline.  I am being very generous and lenient on this issue given that we are now sharing the same carline traffic pattern with the middle school.  We would like all students to be in their classrooms by 7:45 to begin Morning Meeting which is a very important part of our day.  From 7:15 to 7:25, the morning carline does not get backed up and you can “breeze” right through!!  

We understand that often the carline is frustrating for parents and staff (often the elementary staff are out in carline far longer in the morning and afternoon in very hot and/or cold weather than in the past) however, this is what we will continue to need to do until the athletic field is completed and we can resume the “normal” carline pattern.  We have been told by the contractor that the field should be completed in mid-February if there isn’t extreme weather, etc.

Please continue to display your ES RED (& MS BLUE) signs for AM & PM carline ALL YEAR!!  I am usually at the bottom of the hill most mornings and afternoons and when your sign is displayed, it makes it much easier for staff to know who should go where which means that carline runs faster.  
  • 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 from the gym 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).  
  • At 3:05, families that pick up at the Elementary and the Middle School are permitted to queue in the middle school line.  
  • At 3:20, families picking up at the middle school only are allowed to get into the middle school carline.

The Voyager Administrative team also discussed and expressed concern regarding parents parking at the high school and walking over to avoid the carline, and in the morning a potential tardy.  We all agreed that 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.  This is a huge safety issue and concern given the large number of cars on campus and the need to keep pedestrian traffic to a minimum, especially when adults are continuing to use cell phones even after being asked to not use them during carline. The exception to the parking and walking 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.

Do not use your cell phones during carline.  This means no talking, texting, or checking emails/Facebook.  Given the large number of cars on campus during the AM and PM carline, every adult needs to be focused and vigilant while driving on the Voyager campus.  We have ES staff positioned at various locations throughout the carline, in addition to MS staff, HS students, sports teams, etc. walking between buildings and crossing the lanes of traffic. Keeping all students, staff, and parents safe is our priority!

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!!
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:
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.  Given the large number of cars on campus during the AM and PM carline, every adult needs to be focused and vigilant while driving on the Voyager campus.  We have ES staff positioned at various locations throughout the carline, in addition to MS staff, HS students, sports teams, etc. walking between buildings. Keeping all students, staff, and parents safe is a priority! 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!