December 4, 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

I know that this holiday season, it is easy to feel emotional about missing out on traditions or gatherings with family and friends. But, rather than bemoan the loss of some beloved activities, I hope you will look for ways to create joy from gratitude and thankfulness. 

I recently listened to an episode of “Hidden Brain,” a podcast that explores the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior. The appropriate subject of the episode was gratitude–why we should practice it, how we can cultivate it, and how we can express it. 

The researchers interviewed at first made typical connections between a developed habit of gratitude and other markers of well-being. Those indicators of well-being included a sense of connection with others, increased empathy, and an appreciation for the opportunities, advantages, talents, and gifts we have. As we frequently are called to remember, a sense of gratitude begets more to be grateful for. Zig Ziglar said, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” 

However, the additional correlations between gratefulness and well-being were also important. Being grateful was linked to better physical and mental health. And, as our gratitude grows, the researchers also found that there was a connection between the habit of gratefulness and the ability to self-regulate.

Gratitude is an emotional skill, and as such, can be exercised and developed. As the gratitude practice takes hold, we demonstrate a greater ability to reach our goals, resist the temptation of instant gratification, and manage negative emotions. Why? Researchers theorize that focusing on gratitude changes what our minds value, which makes it easier to control where our minds go. 

Whether through notes of appreciation, prayer, reflection, observation, or heartfelt expressions, gratitude is an inward and outward meditation that creates a ripple effect of well-being. This winter, I hope you find ways to build gratitude into your habits and to share those with children in your life, too. 

Here is a short list of things to be grateful for:

  • teachers and staff 
  • our school community
  • medical professionals
  • books, libraries, and time to read
  • pets
  • the ability to serve others
  • fresh air and open spaces
  • music
  • technology that keeps us connected
  • laughter
  • good food
  • art
  • children

Welcome, Lydia Hudson!

Lydia is the daughter of Ashly and Josh Hudson of Weems, VA, and she has joined pre-kindergarten 3&4.

Both parents are first responders. Ashly is a nurse at RGH, and Josh is in law enforcement with VA State Police.

Please welcome the Hudson family to the CA community!
Class Acts...
Chesapeake Academy 3.0: Blended Learning

How does Chesapeake Academy respond to curve balls? 
With a great team ready to knock it out of the park!
In September, Chesapeake Academy opened the doors to 131 students for in-person learning. We are all adjusting to the curve ball of educating children in a global pandemic, and hope you will join the team!

CA has been able to address the initial pitches thrown by COVID-19 so that our community is as safe as possible, our learning systems are dynamic and flexible, and our teachers have the tools they need to deliver the mission.
The challenges of in-person school are great, but so are our supporters!

An investment in Chesapeake Academy’s Bell Tower Annual Giving Fund makes a difference each year, but now more than ever. 
With your donation, you can help us with the impact of COVID on so many areas:
· $350,000 in requested tuition assistance for our students
· $25,000 in instructional supplies, software and technology hardware, 
· $7,000 in safety and protective equipment for in person instruction 
· $1,500 in additional cleaning supplies
“Thanks for everything you and the Chesapeake team have done! Thank you for investing in our children's futures with us!”- parents of a CA 1st and 3rd grader
You are a critical team player in meeting our 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.
Clash of Cans!

This year, Student Council is proud to sponsor Clash of Cans to support the Healthy Harvest Food Bank in Warsaw! As is traditional, classes will collect money for the cause, trying to come out on top. Coins in a class's bucket accrue positive points ($1 in coins is 100 points), and dollar bills in a class's bucket amass negative points, offering a great way to sabotage other classes!

The added twist this year is that canned goods and other non-perishable food items are also positive points (1 item is 100 points). Student Council's Landmarks Around the World theme is sure to inspire classes to a vigorous and fun spirit of giving! Clash of Cans will run from December 1 through December 16. Dig Deep! And watch some genius strategy unfold!

See below for a list of Healthy Harvest Food Bank's most needed items:
  • Peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
  • Lean canned protein (tuna, salmon, or chicken in water)
  • Canned vegetables (no salt added or low sodium)
  • Canned fruits (own juice or water)
  • Tomato products (spaghetti sauce, dried tomatoes, etc.)
  • Beans (canned or dry)
  • Whole grain cereal (hot or cold)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, pasta)
  • Healthy snacks (fruit cups, raisins, granola bars)

CA welcomes non-perishable food donations from community members to the Healthy Harvest Food Bank!

Chesapeake Academy Contributes to the
YMCA's Festival of Trees

Longstanding and enthusiastic supporters of the YMCA's Guardian Program, Chesapeake Academy classes contributed three very special items for the Annual Festival of the Trees Auction. "Not only does the money raised in this event give access to Y programs to all local children through the Guardian Program, but the process helps our students understand and embrace service to their community. What is not to love about children supporting children?" explains Head of School Julianne Duvall.

The Early Childhood contribution can be either a door wreath or a centerpiece for your holiday table. A vine wreath embellished with white lights provides the setting for Pre-Kindergarten's handmade strings of Christmas butterfly ornaments all made from the pecans they collected from the school's generous trees.

The Lower School contribution springs from fallen branches from the school's ancient historic oak. Fashioned into a grouping of rustic cyllindars, the branches are hand-painted by students to feature the jolly old elf, Santa! these versitile pieces of art both celebrate the season and provide a keepsake of one of the region's most ancient and historic trees.

The Middle School contribution is a rustic, vintage table given new life by students who painted it dark blue and stencilled waves and shells in silver in celebration of the Rappahannock River and the festival theme. This piece will look fabulous, whether it's holding hot chocolate and cookies for Santa at Christmas, or holding your iced tea on the porch next summer.

And...that is not all! An anonymous donor has donated a CA tuition for the auction! This could become the perfect win/win for a CA parent and the Guardian Program!
Pre-K 3&4 Does a Drive-by Thank You to Cathy Polhamus, The Butterfly Lady!

Each year, Cathy Polhamus shares her passion for Monarchs with Chesapeake Academy's Pre-Kindergarten students. She delivers Monarch butterfly larvae to the class so students can witness the miraculous pattern of transformation firsthand. Eggs hatch into larvae and larvae munch for days! Then the magic begins--carefully attended by fascinated peeps! Pre-K counts the days till each hatch and gives each new butterfly a rousing send off on their journey to Mexico!

To thank Ms. Polhamus, Pre-K wrote her a book about butterflies and delivered it to her (safely distanced) at her home. Small thanks for igniting a passion!
Choose Your Perspective!

First graders read Ish, The Dot, and The Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzburg. The characters in these intriguing tales are children who aren't pleased with themselves and are ready to give up. Little do these characters know, their friends thought they had created works of art!

Perspective is everything! And it is this year's character theme at Chesapeake Academy.

First grade teacher Niki Allen and her students discussed the value of not being perfect and decided that the most important thing is that you always give the best version of yourself. After reading the stories and delving into the topic, students responded by turning a blob of paint into something marvelous and imaginative. Students took to pencil and paper to further describe their creations. 
CA's Holiday Program Goes Virtual!

Nothing is the same this year. But it has been exciting to watch the spirit of innovation and persistence bring wonderful new things to life!

Chesapeake Academy's Holiday Program is going to be an exciting variety of creative choreography and familiar songs presented virtually by the student body!

Lower School songs include "Jingle Bell Rock," "Jingle Bell Jazz," "Jingle Bells," "Mr. Santa," "Up On The Housetop," "Reindeer Hokey Pokey," and "12 Days of Christmas." The Middle School will share four Christmas tone chime songs including "Jingle Bells," "Up On the Housetop," "O Come All Ye Faithful," and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Finally, the seventh grade will perform Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" as the Silent Covid Monks in a humorous nod to one of the most popular Holiday program performances ever.

Dynamath Delights Third Grade!

Both a magazine and website that focuses on third, fourth, and fifth grade math topics and skills, Dynamath has become a popular resource in third grade math. The kids love the cool articles and at the end there are math problems to solve that have to do with the reading. There are often videos and games that tie into the topic. Because it has a digital component, it is a really nice resource to use both in person and for distance learning.

The paper magazine and the website are updated monthly (It’s by Scholastic), so it stays fresh. Check it out

Multiplication Bingo!

Multiplication tables are fundamental steps in developing mathematical literacy! Everyone remembers their personal quest to master them. These days there are many engaging and effective ways to commit them to memory! Third grade math students practiced their multiplication again this week in the A&I Hub, this time by playing one person multiplication bingo. To play, students began by placing their game piece on one of the circles around the outside of the board. Then they rolled a die and moved their piece clockwise the appropriate number of spaces. They then solved the multiplication problem and crossed the number off on the bingo board, if it was there. Students played independently until several students had a bingo. Some students aimed to fill their board completely! Fun repetition is key to memorizing math facts!

Download and print the PDF if you want to play at home, or find it at
Fifth Graders Get to the Point!

Effective reading comprehension is nurtured and developed over time through consistent sequenced activities that help readers identify and make connections with information in their reading! Fifth grade readers hunted for clues to find the main idea in non-fiction paragraphs as part of their study of informational texts.

Working in pairs, students read five excerpts of text and then set off to find and answer questions about each text, which were hidden around the classroom. Correct answers revealed the letters needed to unscramble a secret word. Incorrect answers sent students back to the clues to reconsider their answer so they could demonstrate understanding of main idea and ultimately unlock the mystery!

Geology Rocks On!

Fifth grade science students completed a unit on minerals and are now learning about the three types of rocks and the rock cycle. Using their previous knowledge of minerals and the definitions of the three types of rocks, students identified the rock type for fourteen rock samples. Pretty impressive!

Students also created sedimentary rocks by shaving bits of crayons and using the filings to demonstrate the four steps (erosion, deposition, compaction, and cementation) to make a sedimentary rock!
First Marking Period Academic Awards
Congratulations, Ospreys!

Most Improved
Sixth Grade--Quenton Harding
Seventh Grade--Harrison Hinton
Eighth Grade--Kayla Wills

Teachers' Award
Sixth Grade--Chase Carneal

Head of School Award
Fifth Grade
Yvelisse Cabocel
Matthew Harte Hackney
Ryan Kenner
Izzy Dew
Alex Fulmer
Skyler Casey
Jake Hodsden

Sixth Grade
Chase Carneal

Seventh Grade
Liz Bowhey
Sam Antonio
Trevor Haynie
Harrison Hinton
Thomas Emery
Porter Pittman

Eighth Grade
Robert Cunningham
Reagan Harding
Namiyah Andrews
Lorry Manetz
Auriannia Henderson-Jones
Anna Carey

Susan May is an Osprey About Town!

The anchor of the James Library, Susan May, wears many hats! In fact she may need a special wardrobe! May is the program leader for Chesapeake Academy's licensed extended day program in addition to her role as the school's Librarian. That alone is more than enough for most mortals, but outside of school, May has still more hats! After serving on the Pastoral Nominating Committee at St. Andrews Presbyterian, May learned how truly difficult it is to find pastoral leadership for churches in rural communities. 

May began considering ways to solve the pastoral care problem while keeping her "third act" interesting and meaningful. So in addition to her considerable role at Chesapeake Academy, she began a series of courses through the Presbytery of the James and Union Presbyterian Seminary. When she completes her studies next November, May hopes to be a Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE). A CRE is laypastor with the ability to lead a congregation.

Another hat May dons regularly is coordinating the Little Free Libraries (LFL) Program supported by the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Community Literacy Project. In 2013, the church committed to building, stocking and maintaining four Little Free Libraries. St. Andrews now supports thirteen libraries accross the Northern Neck. In addition to the libraries, May works with Lancaster Sheriff's office by providing books the department distributes to local children.

May explains, "We are especially committed to having a diverse collection of books. Through the years we have been awarded a number of grants to purchase new books for children. We are also dependent on the community to share gently used books with the program. LFLs are for all ages, and we have many adult readers visiting our libraries! We gladly accept donations of books for this program and any donations from the Chesapeake Academy community can be dropped off at school!"

Hat tip to this Osprey who is making her community and world a better place!
Past is Prologue!

Seventh grade U.S. History has been learning about the creation of our nation, focusing on the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Students are exploring why the Articles didn't last and how the Founders fixed those problems in the Constitution. To organize what they learn from this study, students are working on a graphic organizer that shows the major weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. 
Writers are Made by Writing, Writing, Writing!

Seventh grade lit students are currently reading John Steinbeck's novella, The Pearl and will soon be diving into three written responses to this evocative text.

In Writer's Workshop, seventh grade writers are writing about Thanksgiving from some very unique perspectives, including that of the turkey. The writing involves developing a detailed outline along with rough and final drafts as students work on higher level writing skills.

CAPPA Supports #GivingTuesday!

CAPPA volunteers braved a chilly morning as they celebrated #Giving Tuesday, encouraging givers with appreciation and good cheer. If you missed #Giving Tuesday, CAPPA wants you to know that it is not too late to make your mark in the Bell Tower Annual Giving Fund. You can donate online at .

Unanimous participation makes CA more competitive when applying for grants that support the school program. This year in particular, strong financial support is vital as CA continues to keep vigorous COVID-19 mitigation procedures in place. Any amount is appreciated! The CA Community has a lot to be thankful for!

It's getting COLD! Do you need an extra CA hoodie? CAPPA is placing an additional order for the ever popular hoodies that should be in just in time for Christmas Break. Please email or text Lara Brown ( or 804.436.2752) if you would like to place an order. They are $29 each. Sizes range from Youth XS to Adult XXL. 

Save the Date

12/1 to 12/16 Clash of Cans
12/9, PALS presents Bright Star Theatre's live stream of "Holidays Around the World," 9:30 a.m., prekindergarten through eighth grades
12/11 Interims Home
12/16 Tag Day
12/18 Half Day, Holiday Break Begins (no extended day)
1/4 Faculty Professional Development
1/5 Classes Resume
1/6 Dress Uniform and Shoes
1/18 MLK Day
1/25 through 1/29 Exams, seventh and eighth grades
1/25 CAPPA presents "The Impact of a Digital World" Zoom
1/29 Half Day for Students/Teacher Workday, End of Second Marking Period
2/3 Dress Uniform and Shoes
2/5 Report Cards Emailed

Nourish Your Parenting!
Let's Talk Food!

  • We all know there are those times when life disrupts our best laid food plans. Those times happen more often during the holidays! Want to be present with your family without stressing over food? Be proactive! Stock up on quick solutions!
  • Did you know that Kate Atwell (mother of Conrad and Constance) is a food blogger? She specializes in quick, healthy meals with simple clean up! Sounds worth a click! Check out Kate's Clean Plate!
  • Know someone who is searching for expert advice from a seriously sane independent nutritionist? Check Out Petersen Nutrition .
  • Are you curious about ways to streamline the process of getting healthy meals on the weekday table? Consider food prepping on the weekends! Food Prepping 101
  • Cooking with kids is not only fun, but it offers a perfect opportunity to share your family's unique food customs while making memories and teaching life skills. Check out the Food Network's advice on Cooking with Kids.
  • What About a Kids Cooking Club? Check out!
  • Grandparents can get in on the act by sending family recipes and any special ingredients needed to children! (And grandparents love to get the photos and descriptions of the delicious results!)
  • Consider sharing food prepping chores with a family member to streamline the work and double the variety!
  • While we are thinking about food over the Holidays, it won't hurt to consider food insecurity in our community. How can you help? Check out the work of the Healthy Harvest Food Bank.

An Attitude of Gratitude

  • Thanks to the classes who donated to the YMCA's Guardian Program! Kids helping kids!
  • Those intrepid staff members who ensure all ospreys arrive and are dismissed safely in all sorts of weather deserve our gratitude for their fortitude, diligence, resilience and sense of humor!
  • For the friendliest and kindest cleaning support! Ellen Christ keeps CA humming and sparkling.
  • The Three Rivers Health District has been a continual support, offering data driven insights as Chesapeake Academy implements protocols to keep students learning in person.
  • The daily diligence of the CA community to health protocols often seems sacrificial. But the health of the Osprey Nation and our ability to learn in person is still secure! Thank you!!
  • For all those who chose to support the Bell Tower Annual Giving Fund on #Giving Tuesday, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Your generosity secures a robust school program and as well as all the things we need to keep CA students in school and healthy!
  • Thanks to CAPPA's elves who were cheerleaders for #Giving Tuesday. You make CA strong!
  • Scrooge himself could not fail to be moved by the spirit of giving that Clash of Cans creates while raising money for the Healthy Harvest Food Bank! The Clash of Cans, lead by Student Council, gives us all a way to learn to give back and it is so much fun!
  • For the safe and healthy arrival of Maclain Anderson Reisner, Courtney Reisner's third nephew (and son of alum John Reisner).
  • Thanks to whoever left a tricycle for the Bike Path Brigade on the Wiley Porch! Our merry band of easy riders thanks you!
  • For white knights who pose as business managers and save the day with a jump start....we are grateful!
  • Thanks to Henry Dixon, Richie Harding, Broadus Blake, and Peale Rogers for contributing their cultural wisdom to the the eighth grade video project and to Luke Rawls (for videoing the interviews).
  • Thanks to Julie Duvall and the CA Board of Trustees for their support of the CA faculty and staff!
  • For the gift of seeing the world through a child's eyes, we are grateful!
  • For the golden light of our beautiful ginko trees and their magical showers of golden leaves...
  • For Kid President!
  • For paw pads, puppy breath, and all the lessons in love our pets teach...
  • For the showers of pecans and the swirling hoards of happy squirrels....
  • For books....and more books....and more books...and the time to read them!

The Gift of Time and Talent is a Treasure!