February 5, 2021
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

As a school, we cannot live into our mission at Chesapeake Academy without the coaching, modeling, nurturing, enthusiasm, high expectations, and love of this dynamic group of faculty and staff. Each one plays an important role in the lives of our students and families. This year, more than any other, school people are feeling the weight of education in a pandemic. And while we are so truly lucky to be in person doing the work we do, this marathon of a school year has required each of us to dig deep and meet our students needs in unprecedented ways. 

As we approach Valentine's Day, I hope you'll indulge me in my own reflection about the people who make up this community of professionals and allow me to share with you a little glimpse of what makes each one so special. 

Beth Clark has an intuition about people of all ages and she brings deep empathy to a child's journey. She affirms others' gifts and sees the best in each child. Her ability to partner with parents and her deep understanding of what makes the early childhood years special is a treasure.
Susan May has stepped into the librarian role to bring her love of literature to the children she loves. Whether in extended day or in the library, she responds with care and attention in any situation so that kids feel safe, valued, and understood. 
Rosetta Struse has embraced new roles this year in PE and art instruction, bringing her nurturing and creativity to every part of her day with students. Her love for children and her gentle nature shine through in every interaction with or about students. 
A pied piper of kindergarteners, Molly Vanderpool leads them on adventures of every kind in and out of the classroom. With an eye always on “what if we..?” Molly models creativity, joy, and inquiry with the students and adults throughout CA. 
Courtney Reisner, volunteer extraordinaire, has a connection to each student who has ever been in a classroom where she has worked in the last 11 years. Plus, Ms. Courtney send cards for every holiday, making each CA employee feel special. 
Ashley Duncan has jumped right into various roles and quickly made herself indispensable. She balances a positive spirit with her ability to engage a group of students no matter what the task. Always flexible and helpful, she embodies “team player.”
Catherine Emery has a natural gift for working with middle grade students and advisees. She is always patient, always kind, and always insightful. She is a passionate writer and wordsmith who shares her gifts with middle schoolers easily. 
A gifted musician and gatherer of children, Barbara Hays celebrates the rhythm within each child, bringing students together to create beautiful music. In COVID times, she has adapted what she does to make sure music is at the heart of things. 
An expert in learning support, Kenzie Manetz takes on new challenges eagerly, and sees ways to integrate topics she loves in new ways so she can share her enthusiasm. She supports each teacher and each student so that our students are successful, loving learning as much as she does!
Sonja Smith jumps right in with her creative thinking and problem solving. Sonja is always an upbeat and flexible team player who can work with anyone – student or adult--to yield great results. 
An amazing ambassador for CA, Kelly Antonio welcomes families with a warm smile, ready to help them see themselves at Chesapeake Academy. Kelly knows our program well and believes in everything we do–she shares that love easily!
Martha Rogers is the consummate cheerleader for her students and her colleagues. Always ready to try a new approach or a new project, Martha models risk taking and a “can do” spirit for her students. “Ok, cats, we got this!” 
Insightful and purposeful, Niki Allen is able to make first graders feel grown up and responsible without losing the fun and giggles of young learners. She shines a light on each student and helps parents see all the ways in which their children are rock stars.
Marshall Novak is a natural teacher, whether she is working with pre-k students, summer campers, or middle schoolers. She inspires students in Spanish, Algebra, and US History, all the while making learning fun, accessible, and relevant. 
Kaitlin Benson easily shares her love of technology, art, travel, history, and games with students. A team player, she helps teachers across the board with Canvas, taking photos, and working with students. 
Dean of Students, coach, advisor, math teacher, literature teacher, Hillary Smith wears every hat with the same commitment to the development of young people as learners and leaders. Hillary has an innate sense of what each student needs at any given moment. She pushes the students to bring the best each day and to approach their learning with creativity and curiosity. 
Ellen Crist is a woman with the strongest of work ethics. An Air Force vet, Ellen ensures that the school is ready for the students each day. She is friendly, kind, and helpful, always ready with a smile. 
Katie Parker brings imagination and resourcefulness to the classroom every day. Always with a smile, Katie pushes students to see that they can take risks and that it is okay to regroup. Katie gives and gets a lot out of her work with colleagues. 
An experienced educator who “fits” anywhere, Kelley Calkins has been so flexible in helping our teachers and students. Upbeat and fun, she keeps second graders on a path to success in math and language arts.
Connie Smith, the keeper of our world, is efficient and effective, and always seems to have every detail of the school in her head. Even more important, she is always kind, caring, and responsive to the those of us who rely on her capabilities. In 16 years of knowing her, I've never seen her lose her temper!
Catherine Emry has an encyclopedic knowledge of every child, family member, grandparent, special friend, and donor who has been part of the CA community. She has a devoted following of folks who want to help CA because of her–she is expert, organized, humble, and genuine. Catherine makes our events shine and makes supporters of the school feel so special.
Kim Dynia is the consummate innovator, never resting on her laurels but always engaging to lead what's next. Kim is a lead learner, and invites others to learn along with her. She supports the faculty in their work and always looks to what's next.
Always looking for how to best position CA for today and the future, Richard Abbott brings expertise as well as humor to his work. Richard is the backbone of operations in every sense and helps anyone who needs his help. 
Robin Blake, or “the Energizer Bunny” as I call her, is full of energy and enthusiasm. She jumps in with both feet to whatever will benefit the students and school the most. Spirited, engaging, and dynamic, Robin gets kids hands on with their discovery of the world around them.
Dave Buttram brings a life time of stories, adventures, and expertise to the middle school classroom. Dave appreciates the many nuances and challenges of the middle school years. And, he's always willing to help with any project or task!
Lily Reihs and Kayla Oren support our kindergarteners and Ms. Vanderpool, making sure that everyone is learning and smiling throughout each day in K! We're proud to have these future educators (fingers crossed) on our team!

“Collaboration is not about gluing together existing egos. It's about the ideas that never existed until after everyone entered the room.” These folks give their all every day and come up with a magical mix of creativity, expertise, good humor, flexibility, and teamwork that I've never seen anywhere else. Send them lots of love this Valentine's Day!

Summer Camp is Just Around the Corner: Believe!

Voted top-rated in Eastern Virginia for the last six years, Chesapeake Academy Summer Camps combine adventure, the outdoors, and every variety of glorious summer fun. "If you are looking for quality summer experiences for kids in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula area, Chesapeake Academy has what you need!" explains Head of School Julianne T. Duvall. Camp Irvington for ages 4 to rising first graders, offers six one-week sessions and holds the answer to summer childcare needs. And Camp Chesapeake is perfect for rising second through eighth grade adventurers. Campers in both age groups will explore each week’s theme through age appropriate field trips and activities. All activities and entrance fees are included. All camps run Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and cost $250.00 per week. Space is limited, so sign up early. Register for all camps before April 1 to quality for zero registration fees. Registration opens Monday, February 8.

In addition to this lineup, Chesapeake Academy is hosting Girls, Gizmos, and Gadgets the week of June 28 through July 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as a specialty camp for girls in rising fourth grade through rising seventh grade. "Making full use of CA’s Arts & Innovation Hub, campers will design and code robots to perform a variety of tasks, create their own pieces using the 3D printer and laser cutter, and compete on fun challenges! This is a week that will inspire and energize your young inventor! We are pleased to offer a subsidized tuition of $100 thanks to generous donors," Duvall enthuses.

Fun Day Sundae- July 5-9 $250
Nothing is more patriotic than a cool ice cream after a hot summer day of adventure! Campers will participate in daily trips and activities such as bowling and beach time. Each day will include a cool treat at new, local ice cream destinations. Of course, expect splashes of red, white, and blue celebrations all week long! 
Northern Neck Explorers- July 12-16 $250
Find adventure in and around the water! This favorite camp is back with new activities and destinations. Campers will swim, paddleboard, and explore parks --a perfect way to see the beautiful waterways the Northern Neck has to offer!

Farm to Table- July 19-23 $250
This exciting and delicious week is back! Campers will travel around the Northern Neck learning about local foods and harvesting and growing techniques. We will also seek the expertise of local chefs to learn more about how our food is prepared and try our own hands in the kitchen. New cooking experiences combine with old favorites to make this a can’t miss week of delicious meals! 

Mystery Tour- July 26-30 $300
Chesapeake Academy’s famous mystery tour is back! New destinations and surprises make for a thrilling week where no two days will be the same. There is something for everyone at this camp. Mystery Tour will keep campers guessing what fun is to come each day! 

Animal Adventures- August 2-6 $300
Calling all animal lovers! Campers will travel to local zoos and farms to see regional and exotic animals. Each day is sure to be a unique adventure as we see awesome animals up close. This is sure to be an exciting week! All entrance fees are included. 
Mad Science- August 9-13 $250
Come experience the fascinating world of science at this new camp offering. We will explore astronomy, meteorology, and more through experiments on and off campus. New destinations and activities make this camp unlike anything offered before. Embrace your inner scientist and join the fun! 

Chesapeake Academy camps will follow recommended COVID safety protocols in consultation with the Three Rivers Health District. In the event that CA must cancel a camp, registrants will receive a full refund.
Online Book Fair Just in Time for Winter Reads!

On your mark! Get set! Read! Mark your calendars for Monday, February 8 when Chesapeake Academy's first online Book Fair begins! Just log in, shop, and watch your mail for great books to fill Winter's last cold stretch!

Class Acts...
Chesapeake Academy 3.0: Blended Learning

Grab it! Graph it! Learn it!
Learning to collect and organize data cannot start too early! Kindergarten is graphing their dental care for Dental Health Month, plotting their twice daily tooth brushing. Taking care of those pearly whites is important! They have to last a lifetime!
This Little Piggy is Painting!

Crossing the midline, vertical surface, exercising little legs and toes, understanding pressure and control of strokes through application and experience are all covered by...painting with your toes. Not to mention the practice of taking off and putting back on your socks and shoes. Oh, and the silly fun of it all! You never know what kindergarten will be doing to learn something new.
We Make the Sunshine!

Second graders are learning the importance of kindness and consideration when working in a community. They recently filled their “Compliment Jar,” indicating that solid behavior has been used throughout the school day in the various locations that our learning occurs. Now, expectations are being stretched to include a focus on kind actions and thoughtful deeds. Second graders are challenged to find ways to brighten someone else's day. Observed, positive interactions are rewarded with a pom-pom for the class jar and a reward will be offered once the jar is full. The first reward was a trip to The Local for treats!

To help youngsters better understand about kind, friendly interactions, students are reading picture books that highlight good behavior like Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson are also taking part in role playing that focus their attention on considerate actions.

We've Got Rocks!

In second grade science, students are chipping their way into a new unit, focusing on rocks and minerals. Students have learned about the three different types of rocks and how those rocks are formed through the rock cycle. They even delved into looking at the different layers of the Earth and how they are connected.
Birthday Books are Arriving!

Birthday Books are all the buzz on the Chesapeake Academy campus this week. Books purchased to honor a specific student are starting to arrive! Students honored in this way get to be the first to check out the gifted books which enter circulation in the James Library. Each Birthday Book is outfitted with a book plate that tells who gave the book, to whom, and when. Sound like just the perfect tribute for a child you know? Contact Susan May at

Students who have received their birthday books will get a thank you card to send to the special donor who gave the books to CA in their honor.
The Story of My Life...thus Far!

Second graders are writing and illustrating autobiographies! They began with exposure to a variety of picture books that show how writing and pictures can form interesting stories about real people. Parent interviews helped flesh out stories of early life as students organize their ideas and publish them alongside carefully created colored pencil illustrations. This project focuses students on creating meaningful sentences that share interesting details and colorful descriptions. Writing will be used to fashion illustrations that support the text. Once completed, student writing will be published and shared with others and at home.

The Silk Road

There are those magical moments in teaching when a lesson clearly engages intense curiousity and students take the reins in there quest to find answers! Fourth grade students are studying Ancient China and the many traditions of this rich civilization. Fascinated by the Silk Road and how silk was crafted, learners decided to dig further for more information! Several students decided the best way to deliver the information was through Google Slides. It was a great learning experience, as many students had never used the application before. They quickly got the hang of Google Slides and learned new facts about the Silk Road and the delicate process of making silk. 
4H Watershed Projects

Fourth grade students were excited to receive watershed kits from Ms. Tara Brent at the 4-H Virginia Cooperative Extension. Each kit provides four STEM activities that can be completed at home or school. Lessons include How to Be Water Wise, Build Your Own Center Pivot, Modeling Pollution in a Watershed, and How Do We Clean Our Drinking Water? Students are excited to continue to learn more about the importance of water! 
Zoom into The Room in Latin

How can a class on an "antiquated language" be so compelling, useful, and fun to a broad generational spectrum? Sixth grade Latin students were joined by several parents and grandparents for a "Zoom into the Room" session that brought learning alive. Working together, guests learned some translation skills as adults and kids teamed up to read a short story in Latin.
Iron, In My Cereal?

"What? I am not eating that!" Sixth grade science students are learning about magnetism, so they tackled the challenge of determining which of three cereals of their choice contained the most iron. Students mashed up the cereal and, using a magnetic wand, captured the iron. They then calculated the mass of the iron for each cereal and compared their results with their hypotheses.
The State of the State--of Matter!

Eighth grade science students are discovering the properties of matter by exploring seven substances, including a stereo, oobleck, gak, shaving cream and others to determine in what state of matter each object belongs.
Student Council Update!

On Thursday, February 11, Student Council will be holding a free-of-charge Red/White/Pink Valentine's Tag Day. Students may wear non-red pants, as long as they have at least one major article of red, white, or pink clothing. Students may not dye their hair or wear hats, face paint, or pajamas. We can't wait to see you in spirited clothing!

How to Prep for Parent/Teacher Conferences?

Make a List! The parent/teacher collaboration is too important to leave to chance! So take the time to prepare!
  • What is working?
  • What goals/growth areas should be discussed?
  • What factors could impact your student's growth?
  • What information do you need?
  • How can you support the process?

Open the conference with connection. This has been an unusual year! Your child's teacher feels it! And you probably do as well. Share a smile, wish each other health, and acknowledge that we are all looking forward to simpler times! We truly are in this together...and our common goal is to keep our students growing well!

Conclude on the same page. Students are best supported when parents and teachers work together from a common play book.

And follow through. If your conference reveals ways that you can support the process without taking over for your child, share those goals with other adults in the family and work together to make it happen!
Chesapeake Academy will present our 44th Annual Auction, Go for the Gold, online on May 1, 2021 at 7 p.m. While we all love our traditional gala under the tent, we know it is safest for our supporters to once again turn to a digital format for 2021. We have learned a lot about online auctions and virtual events in the last year, so Go for the Gold promises to be a competitive and inspiring event to support the mission of Chesapeake Academy!  

What a year it's been! Chesapeake Academy opened our doors on September 2 to all our students in person and have successfully managed all the unpredictable twists of operating in a global pandemic. We've delivered on our dynamic educational experience and provided a safe community for our students. Our supporters celebrated and honored the work of teachers at our Sequins and Spurs Auction in June 2020 -- these champions have done a fantastic job running the marathon of the 2020-2021 school year. 

We invite you to join our team as we Go for the Gold this year! When you participate in this exciting evening by sponsoring and/or donating to the school's largest fundraising event, you help us ensure that our students are winners! Auction proceeds provide funds for a wide variety of educational experiences as well as financial assistance for CA students who would not otherwise be able to attend. Our success depends on each team member.

Our sponsors and donors receive exposure and name recognition in the following ways:

  • Appreciation of early sponsors on the auction invitation mailed to hudreds of CA families and supporters
  • Online promotion of donated unique items via the Chesapeake Academy Facebook pages
  • Local exposure through the keepsake auction catalogue distributed to all sponsors and local businesses with the online version available to all
  • Recognition of donors via the mobile bidding software used by all auction attendees and remote bidders
  • Inclusion inthe post-event Rappahannock Record Honor Roll of Gratitude
  • recognition as donor in the Annual Report

Please help us Go for the Gold!  Whether you are a rookie or a long-time team member for CA, your generosity has an impact. We look forward to lighting the torch to start the festivities!
CAPPA will have a meeting on February 10 at 8:30 a.m. for all parents--room parents, new parents, and returning parents! There is a lot to discuss and a lot of ways to connect. Please join us via Zoom (info sent out the week before via email) to find out how to get involved and support the teachers, students, and school!
Save the Date

2/8 to 2/11 Parent Partnership Conferences
2/9 Academic Awards Assembly, broadcast on FB Live @10:20 a.m.
2/10 PALS Presents "The Wacky Science Show" by Cris Johnson, 9:30 a.m.
2/11 Student Council Sponsors Red, White, Pink Tag Day
2/12 to 2/15 No School, Mid-Winter Break
2/24 Tag Day, Faculty Professional Development
3/3 Dress Uniform
3/5 Third Marking Period Interims home
3/24 Tag Day, Faculty Professional Development
3/29 through 4/5 Spring Break
4/9 End of 3MP
An Attitude of Gratitude

  • Thanks to the Three Rivers Health District and to Julie Duvall, the CA faculty and staff have had their first dose of the COVID vaccine!
  • Thanks to room parents for finding new ways to make class parties fun. Valentines sounds like it will be fun!
  • Thanks to all the folks who have stepped up to make a donation to the Go for the Gold Auction!
  • Thanks to Rosetta Struse for the donation of a new bike for the bike path!
  • Thanks to Tara Brent for sharing watershed kits with Chesapeake Academy's fourth grade class.
  • Thanks to the Rowe family for gifting second grade students with the most useful pouches!
  • Thanks to The Local for treating second grade to an ice cream treat to celebrate their many acts of kindness.
  • Thanks to Chesapeake Doughnuts for treating Ms. Rogers' third grade to doughnuts in honor of their winning Clash of the Cans.