October 16, 2020
Chesapeake Academy's mission: to inspire each student to approach learning with 
curiosity and creativity, 
pursue excellence in all endeavors, 
and act with integrity--
so each can make our community and world a better place. 

The Head's Heads UP

The Power of Yet.....

Interim reports went out last Friday, which are a wonderful tool to give you and your child a “snapshot” of where your child is in progress. Most often, grades are a result of products that students have submitted for assessment. Educator Tyler Rabin wrote to colleagues, “You're not grading assignments. You're collecting evidence to determine student progress and point them toward their next steps.” 

As we look to Parent Partnership conferences in November, we will talk a lot about your child's process of learning, which includes reflection, feedback, improvement, challenges, successes, and a plan for what's next. In fact, the first line of our mission statement includes, “...to inspire each student to approach learning...” because we believe that the right approach to learning leads to the greatest progress, a love of learning, and an ownership by the students in their process.

One of the most powerful tools we have in working with a student's approach to learning is fostering a growth mindset. A growth mindset, rather than a fixed one, encourages students to see that even difficult skills are achievable with the right perspective, coaching, and strategies. Chesapeake Academy students learn to set goals and to manage those goals so that they can achieve them. Students grow to understand themselves as learners and know that while some things come more easily, their ability to pursue excellence when things are difficult is the key to their being great students.

We often talk at CA about the power of the word yet, and I had the privilege of sitting in on a fourth grade class meeting in which students worked with this concept. Yet has the promise of possibility and gives a framework for setting a goal. If a student is struggling to convert fractions to decimals, the student can shift from “I can't do it!” to “I can't do it yet!” That one word reframes the situation from a fixed place of frustration and defeat to forward momentum of engagement. The fourth graders were working on setting individual learning goals across several areas: their own personal interests (lots of goals around roller skating!), their goals as students, and their goals with technology. It was a joy to hear them talk about math challenges or reading skills from the perspective of what they wanted to conquer next. 

Parent Partnership gives all our students the chance to exercise and showcase their habits of mind as students. Our younger students reflect on their learning with their teachers so that they have a voice in communicating with parents about successes, challenges, and plans. Our Middle School students run their own parent conferences with their advisors. They are not always comfortable doing so, particularly the first time! But, they develop more confidence in speaking with adults about their learning. In doing so, students figure out how to get help appropriately, how to accept and incorporate feedback, and how to set, keep, and achieve their goals. They begin to take charge of their learning...

It all starts with the right perspectiv–that the power to keep engaging comes from that one little word yet. 

Class Acts...
Chesapeake Academy 3.0: Blended Learning
Tell Your Friends! CA's First Admission Deadline is Approaching!

Kelly Antonio, Chesapeake Academy's Director of Admission, has begun the enrollment process for next school year, and she is looking to enroll next year's Ospreys. Current families with younger siblings that are eligible for the 2021-2022 school year can receive earlier consideration for openings and financial aid.

The first admission deadline is November 1, 2020. Families that submit an application before that deadline could have the admission process completed before December 15, 2020--with first consideration for tuition assistance dollars. 

Ms. Antonio is happy to schedule a time to talk about the application process, explain affordability with more than one child enrolled, and answer any other questions you may have. In particular, should you be seeking financial assistance, you are encouraged to act by the early fall deadline. With each child enrolled at CA, the financial assistance qualification shifts!
Let it Shine, Let it Shine, Let it Shine!

Kindergarten is on a roll, and the PMA (positive mental attitude) in their classroom is contagious! Ms. Vanderpool and her merry band have discussed, at length, how masks may cover mouths and noses, but they don't cover all of our emotional facial cues. Far from it! The eyes speak volumes! There is no doubt that eyes reveal the light that exists inside each of us. Faces express just how bright the light shines through our eyes, eyebrows, and hands. The Kindergarten class sings "Spread a Little Sunshine" as their good morning song and chirp the first two verses of "This Little Light of Mine" as well. 

3D Maps with Moveable Parts!

Did you know that Columbus was not the first European to explore the New World? Chesapeake Academy's second graders do! Students are learning all about Leif Erikson, where he came from, and how he traveled to a new land to explore the continent of North America over 1000 years ago. To make history come alive, students created interactive 3D maps with manipulatable ships that can sail across the Atlantic.
Super Sleuths On the Hunt!

A group of fourth graders are reading Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer this month. Chasing Vermeer is the first book in a trilogy of books written to illuminate Renaissance artists and the mathematical world of pentominoes. Using clues from famous paintings and pentomino pieces, students help the main characters solve the mystery of a missing Vermeer painting. 
The Parts of Speech are Preaching!

Every year, sixth graders ask why they take a break from Spanish to study Latin for a year. It's a great question. Latin allows students to play with language, breaking words into parts and rearranging word order in interesting ways. It helps students think in an orderly, systematic way. It is predictable, and spotting and using those patterns elevates other studies like science and math. 

Ancient Roman history gives students an appreciation for history, literature, and art. Students recognize elements of the ancient world in the work of artists, architects, and authors--not to mention our political structure and rhetoric.

Latin also prepares students to learn other world languages, especially Romance languages such as French, Spanish, and Italian. The foundation they build around concepts of agreement, inflected nouns, conjugated verbs, and grammatical gender help make them successful in high school world languages. 

Finally, at least half of English vocabulary is based on Latin roots, and paired with knowledge of Greek and Latin prefixes, students who study Latin are able to decode more words when reading higher level texts as well as expand their vocabulary when writing. Because Latin is flexible when it comes to word order, students learn about cases, which are intuitive in your native language, and it requires them to solidify their knowledge of subjects, verbs, direct and indirect objects, subject complements, and other elements of sentence structure. 

To prepare students for a strong year, Chesapeake Academy sixth graders have spent the first 5 weeks of Latin reviewing parts of speech. Working in pairs, the students used a scaffolded review and the retrieval method of studying to practice for their upcoming test.

Canvas Proves Its Value

Often when assignments are returned to students, marked with feedback, students look for the grade, possibly skim the comments, and then it disappears into the bottom of a backpack or a recycling bin. Once those papers are gone, so is the feedback. This makes it difficult for both parents and students to spot and respond to long-term trends. 

With Canvas, CA's new learning management system, a copy of student work as well as teacher's feedback is saved all in the same place. While this does make it easier to keep an eye on grades, it also encourages students to pay more attention to the comments. Being able to compare multiple assignments next to each other helps students and teachers make a plan for shoring up weaknesses, and helps them see where they shine. It also helps parents see the work that makes up a grade, and it can open a dynamic dialogue between parents and students about academic effort and growth.

Sixth grade geography students spend time analyzing the work they have submitted in Canvas. They practiced asking questions about feedback using sentence starters, which could be used in any grade:

On ____, I missed ____. How would I find the correct answer?
You (the teacher) said _____ on _____. How can I fix it to make it better?
I'm having trouble with _____. What strategies can I use to work through it?
I don't understand ______. Can you (the teacher) explain it in different words?

Once students have identified recurring weaknesses in their work as well as notable strengths, they are able to make a constructive plan for their learning.
Exploring Watersheds with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Chesapeake Academy's seventh and eighth grade science classes are participating in three On-line Watershed Learning (OWL) lessons presented by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and funded by the Oyster Festival's Oyster Education Days.

The first OWL lesson students tackled was "Forests, Wetlands, and Healthy Waters.Trees and wetlands are among nature's most important natural filters, constantly cleaning our air and water. They also provide vital habitats for animals. Students learned to identify the ways wetlands filter water and how various ecosystems contribute to the process.

Each of these OWL lessons features power point presentations, as well as graphic organizers that the students complete as they listen to the lesson. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation provides videos and labs to complete after the lesson as well.

The next scheduled lesson will cover "Freshwater Ecosystems: Riparian Buffers and Clean Water." This lesson will focus on healthy freshwater streams. The experience will take a close look at the key indicators of health and the types of pollution that have the biggest impact on our tributaries. The students will study animals that live in fresh water, examine fish anatomy and uncover the strange world of freshwater mussels. 

The last lesson will be "Chesapeake Bay Ecosystems: Underwater Grasses." The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary, a place where fresh and saltwater mix to provide a unique habitat for a vast array of birds, mammals, insects and fish. Students will get a close up look at some of the Bay's coolest critters as they contemplate how each is adapted to live in this environment, 

These virtual classes are part of student's preparation for the field study Chesapeake Academy students undertake comparing the estuaries in the Chesapeake Bay and those in the Florida Keys. 
Faces and Our Cultures

Faces and Our Cultures is hosting an October webinar to share their Fall and Summer 2021 programs and invites middle school families in the Chesapeake Academy community to join to discover the lifelong benefits of cultural exchange.

The objective of the webinar is to identify host families for the 2020 group who will be traveling in October 2021 and also share information with families who would like to learn about the summer program and plan this wonderful opportunity.  

Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time 
  (45-minute webinar which will cover general information about the three topics)  
Attendees are welcome to Register Here    
When Times Get Tough, Find Your Power by Helping Others!

In a period of time that can feel uncertain, Chesapeake Academy fifth and sixth grade students are learning just where to find their positivitiy and power. Students spent time exploring the various ways acts of service can impact individuals and our community and concluded that they had the power to raise spirits of people who were isolated due to COVID 19.

To put their ideas into practice, these young people created colorful messages of hope for community members who are shut in at home during the Covid 19 pandemic. And while they were at it, they learned a life lesson: helping others reminds you that you have the power to create change.

The pictures (which have been admired by Chesapeake Academy faculty) will be collected by librarian Susan May and delivered to members of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. 
All School Read!

Over the course of three Thursday evenings (started yesterday), Julie Duvall is delighting young audiences with an animated rendition of The Worst Halloween Ever. Remember the Herdmans in the Best Christmas Pageant Ever? Well they are back. Expect some twists and turns and the rollicking antics that made the Herdman's famous! A Zoom registration was sent via email to pre-k through fifth grade families.

"Great Caesar's Ghost, That's Bloody!"

The Bard, they say, never loses his relevance. And student enthusiasm and engagement in Ms. Smith's eighth grade humanities course seems to prove this true. Of course, reinacting Caesar's assassination with real stage blood could have something to do with it! This macabre pre-Halloween fun, is also a serious analysis of stage blood in Act III, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's famous play. The physical presence of the blood transforms key moments like Antony's handshakes from mere lines to poignant visual symbolism. The Bard knew what he was up to.

From mixing the stage blood to placing the squibs to saying the iconic lines with vigor, students are immersed in Shakespeare's powerful art! And the nuanced and insightful messages on power, relationships, and government resonate for another enthusiastic audience.

Practice May Not Always Make Perfect....But it will Help! Mark your Calendars! Distance Learning Practice Day, November 6!
At the advice of independent schools across the Commonwealth some of whom have been forced to adopt temporary distance learning, Chesapeake Academy will hold a distance learning practice day on November 6 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. (This has traditionally been a half day with Grandparents' and Grandfriends' festivities in the morning and a teacher work day to write report cards in the afternoon.)

Teachers will help students and families prepare by sending a schedule of instruction, brain breaks, and activities along with the essential zoom link. School will convene via Zoom at 8:30 a.m. in group meetings.

Look for guidelines for online etiquette, Zoom tips and tricks, and advice on how to submit assignments from Director of Instructional Technology Kim Dynia that will be coming soon or attached here.

We understand that going to distance learning, even temporarily, is not anyone's favorite possibility. The school community is carefully adhering to protocols to keep us together learning in person. But CA is a can-do community, and we will embrace this day of practice to rehearse logins, make plans for adequate internet service, check our devices, and ask questions to ensure we are ready to make instruction engaging and effective if we need to move to distance learning to protect the health of the school community. If this is something we need to do, we want to do it well.

Looking for CA Spirit Wear for the cooler weather? CAPPA will have a Pop-up Shop on Saturday, October 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the gym. We have hoodies, zip-up fleeces, PE uniforms, CA T-shirts, some used uniform items, CA ball caps (great stocking stuffers), CA socks, and a few clearance items. Please wear your masks, and bring your own shopping bags if you have them. 

Keep an eye out for apple updates. The plan is for the apples to be delivered to the school the weekend of 10/24 and may be available for pick up 10/25 or 10/26. Stay tuned for exact pick-up date as we get closer to delivery time!

Save the Date

10/21, Faces and Our Cultures Webinar, 7:00 p.m.
10/22, Zoom with St. James' Admission Staff,
seventh and eighth grade, 12:30 p.m.
10/23, Pre-k's Pumpkin Party at Townley Farm, 9:00 a.m. to noon
10/28, Tag Day
10/27, Zoom Meeting with St. Margaret's School, seventh and eighth grade girls, 12:30 p.m.
10/29, Zoom meeting with Episcopal High School, seventh and eighth grade students, 12:30 p.m.
10/30, Halloween activities, Pre-K through fourth grade
11/4, Dress Uniform and Shoes, Picture Make up Day
11/6, End of MP1
11/11, PALS presents, Barb Lawson, Wild and Wonderful Storyteller, 9:30 a.m.
11/13 Report Cards Emailed
11/16 through 11/20 Virtual Parent Partnership Conferences
11/18, Tag Day
11/25, 26, 27, Thanksgiving Break
12/2 PALS presents Virginia Reperatory Theatre's "The Shoemaker and His Elves"
12/11 Interims Home
12/18 Half Day

Polish Your Parenting

An Attitude of Gratitude

  • The weather, the weather, the weather! Aside from that unfortunate stretch of dreariness over fall break, Fall in Virginia's River Realm is trotting out her best qualities.
  • Creative, resourceful and dedicated staff and volunteers from the Development Office made the Shuck-it Bucket event a rousing success.
  • Congratulations to science teacher Robin Blake on the birth of her second grandchild!
  • Thanks to Julie Duvall for scheduling a day to practice distance learning!

The Gift of Time and Talent is a Treasure!