March 23, 2018

The Head's Heads Up

At Chesapeake Academy, we have worked for several years on purposefully creating a culture in which students approach new and sometimes difficult tasks with a "growth mindset." In fact, our new mission statement articulates this idea in the first section, which says that we inspire each student to approach learning with curiosity and creativity. Students with a growth mindset see opportunities and ways to develop their skills in new areas rather than thinking of themselves as having a fixed identity, such as "I'm not an athlete" or "I am good at art." A fixed mindset shuts down learning and motivation, even if the fixed identity is a positive one. However, as a life-long educator, nowhere have I seen the negative impacts of a self-imposed static mindset have a more deleterious impact than in attitudes toward math.

Throughout my career, I have taught every academic subject at the elementary or middle grades. Math has always been my favorite class to teach, but not because I was a stellar math student myself. In fact, to be honest, I didn't care for math as a student. I could memorize, but I couldn't apply those steps to new scenarios because I simply did not know why I was doing the steps. It wasn't until graduate school when I was part of a team that piloted an integrated math and science program did basic number sense concepts and mathematical relationships finally become clear to me. Talk about an a-ha moment! 

Many adults in the U.S. do not see themselves as "good at math." I have often heard parents say, at times in front of their young children, that they themselves hate math and avoid it at all costs. Math anxiety among adults is rampant, and unfortunately, it promotes math resistance among our children. I've attached several articles on math anxiety transfer from parent to student that are worth looking at if you have a negative response to math.  

Fortunately, students at Chesapeake Academy typically have a positive attitude toward math.  Through a variety of multi-disciplinary experiences, applications, projects, games, and journals that rely on mathematical communication and strategic thinking, our CA students project a can-do approach to complexity in math. I am so thrilled to hear so many kids at CA say they love math. This engagement helps us develop students with both broad and deep mathematical skills.

So, as we move forward with the math program evaluation under Dr. Hall's direction, we want to communicate best practices in math so we can all ensure that students feel capable, competent, and excited about math. To that end, I hope that you will give us feedback, listen to our professional knowledge, and partner with us for continual improvement in this and in all aspects. As a school, we live our mission and pursue excellence in all endeavors. We know that our approach as adults has repercussions for our children's success and we must tailor this approach to position them for their greatest growth.

"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up."
Stephen Hawking

Chesapeake Academy Classes Showcase Auction Projects!
For Your Oyster Roast...
Brought to you by CA's own Pre-K 3 & 4, this Oyster Table has been handmade and is stylish, practical, and ready to function as your own personal raw bar!
Chesapeake Academy Pre-K 3 & 4

Not Your Typical Picnic Table...
Built with three-generations of expertise and finishing touches by the Chesapeake Academy's first grade class, this solid pine picnic table will continue to bring many together for multiple special gatherings to come. Special features include a removable trough that runs the center length of the table for cooling beverages. This picnic table is versatile. After the party, drain melt water with a small spout and cover the trough with a specially designed lid, to be used as a regular picnic table. A hit at any event, from birthday party to crab feast, this table is a must for your outdoor entertaining needs. 
Chesapeake Academy First Grade 

Sit a Spell...
Your deck will look spectacular with a matching pair of white, wooden, farm house looking Front Porch Rocking Chairs.  In between the rockers, enjoy the flowers or herbs blooming from the tiered planter that the students helped in creating.  So relax and sit a spell!
Chesapeake Academy Second Grade

A Cruise and Dinner for Six...
An incredible Evening for Six adults begins promptly at  3:00 p.m. with a two hour Carter's Creek Cruise on  May 27, 2018. A four course dinner will follow the Creek Cruise at the Rappahannock River Yacht Club to include an assortment of cheeses, mixed greens salad, yellow fin tuna tacos and delicious chocolate mousse all served by the fabulous sixth grade students. Beer and wine will be served.
Chesapeake Academy Sixth Grade Class

And there are more class projects to come!
100 Percent Just Says it All!

Did you know that the Chesapeake Academy faculty has benefitted from $16,000 in professional development this year because of successful grant applications?  

Chesapeake Academy's forays into coding and robotics are thanks to another successful grant application. The outdoor classroom that our students use for so many purposes is the combined result of several grants.  

Foundations and grantors care deeply about the percent of participation a school reports.  When we can say that the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, and 100 percent of parents all support the mission of the school through annual giving, grantors feel the energy of that level of enthusiasm and commitment.  Our belief in Chesapeake Academy and its mission is infectious! We can not fail to deliver this message again and again because it directly impacts our children's education!

Field trips, class supplies, technology...there is no facet of the educational experience for our children that does not benefit from the Bell Tower Annual Giving Fund.  It is that important.

Only seventy percent of the cost of your child's education is paid for through tuition.  Think about that. That means we are ALL receiving some sort of subsidy. One hundred percent of us.  

I want to encourage each parent to thoughtfully consider their gift to the Bell Tower Annual Giving Fund for this year.  As this year's campaign enters its final months, we need to respond. Every dollar matters, but more important than the amount of your the fact of your support.  

100 percent just says it all.

David Dew
Parent of 
Leyton '20
Izzy '24
Board of Trustees

Class Acts...
What's Happening on the Halls?
Leprechan Traps Set to Catch Sneaky Critters

Combining several curricular initiatives, first graders set out to catch Ireland's darling wee folk, and they clearly took this challenge seriously! Using what they learned from studying forces (push/pull) and simple machines, as well as all they gleaned from the history of St. Patrick's Day (shamrocks, the blarney stone, and leprechauns), students designed leprechaun traps that incorporated at least one simple machine into the design. Have you seen any leprechans around? The traps must have worked!
Partner Reading Builds Skills....

Developing fluency in reading is the name of the game in first grade. And what better way to do that than to practice with a friend? Second grade students spent some time listening to first graders read this week. First graders then took AR quizzes on the books they had read to measure comprehension and capture their reading history. Second graders then shared a favorite book with their emergent reader peers.

The Virginia Opera's "Billy Goats Gruff"
 Delights PALS Audiences 

Chesapeake Academy's Performing Arts and Lecture Series hosted The Virginia Opera's performance of "Three Billy Goats Gruff" on Wednesday, March 14 for an audience filled with early childhood, elementary, and daycare programs from around the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.  In their operatic adaptation of this classic Norwegian folktale, singers portrayed an after school game of hide and seek that was ruined for the goats when a bully blocked the bridge. The message of kindness was perfect, the acting was engaging, and the music was just amazing! Chesapeake Academy's Performing Arts and Lecture Series is made possible through the generosity of the Nettie Lokey Wiley Foundation, as well as the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men. 
Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl Keeps Readers Rolling in the Aisles 
A spy, ace fighter pilot, chocolate historian, and a medical inventor, Roald Dahl was primarily a British novelist, short story writer, poet, and screenwriter whose books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide.  Author of children's lit standards like  The BFG James and the Giant Peach Matilda , and The Witches, Dahl is a standard in  children's literature worldwide.  

Third and fourth grade students are exploring Dahl's wacky world as they complete novel studies in mixed literature circle groups. Students dig into activities and questions after each section of their reading and use post-it notes to record and discuss their responses.  Along the way, they are developing an understanding of literary elements (like plot, setting, theme, point of view), understanding the roles characters play in the development of a story (like protagonists and antagonists), and getting some practice writing summaries after visualizing a scene.  Where can we sign up?

"Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world" 
                                                                                                        Matilda, Roald Dahl

Pi Day Packed with Digitilicious Math Activities

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter " π") is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant--the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter - which is approximately 3.14159.

Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi's infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

Middle schoolers, working in mixed-aged groupings, joined Mrs. Alice Riviere, Mrs. Hillary Smith, and Mrs. Katie Parker for activities designed to delve into the mysteries of Pi that included searching the infinite sequence to find their birthdays, determining if a number were rational or irrational, and making bracelets of beads sequenced as Pi to help memorize the number.  

Yes, there was pie.
Girls, Gizmos and Gadgets

Chesapeake Academy recently hosted Girls, Gizmos, and Gadgets, a STEM competition for girls in fourth and fifth grades in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region. Held on the Chesapeake Academy campus in Irvington, the event featured teams of girls competing in five 30-minute challenge tasks. Chemistry, mathematics, logical reasoning, building and design, and physics challenges required girls to question, collaborate, collect and analyze data, create and evaluate conc lusions, redirect, reboot, and regroup to refine solutions.

Each of the five challenges was scored by three independent female judges using a rubric designed specifically for each task. Judges drawn from local high school science programs, governors' schools, colleges, and the broader community awarded points for each task. 

Have you Considered Faces and Our Culture's Cultural Exchange Program?

Faces & Our Cultures is a cultural exchange experience between Guatemala and the U.S. that partners with 100 schools in 13 different states. Each year more than 160 cultural ambassadors from Guatemala travel to the U.S. to share their culture with school communities and learn from the American culture. 

This year, we hope to welcome Guatemalan students to the Chesapeake Academy campus through the Faces and Our Cultures Program for the third year. These young participants spend nearly two months (7.5 weeks) living with a host family while attending classes and participating in extracurricular activities at school. The program has led to wonderful friendships and has provided our students and our Guatemalan guests with valuable cultural experiences.

In order to participate in the Faces Program, Guatemalan students apply to be Cultural Ambassadors of their country and are carefully selected by the Faces & Our Cultures Team. They go through a preparation process during the year and also prepare cultural projects to share with their host family and school. Parents in Guatemala cover the cost of their child's program.

This sort of cultural exchange has innumerable benefits.  Aside from the exchange of cultures, students expand their world view beyond our narrow shores, accomodate and celebrate diversity, and get valuable practice showcasing the best of our way of life. Children of host families have the option to participate in a Guatemalan Cultural Exchange Program which can be customized from two up to four weeks during the summer. Should we find interest in hosting this cultural exchange, young cultural ambassadors would arrive October 16 , stay with their host families and join our school community for the following 7.5 weeks, and depart December 9 .

If you are the parent of a rising sixth, seventh or eighth grader who is interested in hosting a student, contact Hilary Scott to find out more.  Jackson Pyles' family hosted Julian in the fall. Jackson's  mom says,
 "Hosting Julian was a great experience for our family. Faces of our Culture helped to faciliate communication with Juli and his family before his arrival so we were all very comfortable when he arrived. Julian was enthusiastic about practicing English and he enjoyed the students in his class at Chesapeake Academy. He also enjoyed playing with the kids in our neighborhood. Juli's  favorite activity was fishing. Donny and the boys were able to get on the river several times while the weather was good. We have been in touch with Julian and his famliy since his departure and hope to connect more in the future. Hosting a student through Faces of our Cultures allowed our family to show the best of our place and learn more about Guatemala." 
 Kim Olsen

Tunnel Books Showcase  Study of Southeast Asia

A traditional test cannot accurately encompass the wide range and depth of discussions that take place in sixth grade Advanced Geography. So instead of taking a traditional test at the end of their South Asia unit, students were asked to pick the five things they felt everyone should know about South Asia and represent these concepts visually in a tunnel book with an accompanying paragraph. Not only did the students have the ability to showcase what they learned, but they also benefited from evaluating what content was the most important to them and why. 

Faye Society Plays Unique Role in Chesapeake Academy's Future

Operating quietly under the radar, a group of committed supporters of Chesapeake Academy continue to impact the school's long-term sustainability through estate gifts to the school. These are the members of Chesapeake Academy's Faye Society.  From all ages and stages and all walks of life, these far-seeing individuals realize that the future springs from the present and they believe in Chesapeake Academy's role in a growing and thriving Northern Neck community.

Head of School Julianne Duvall Keesee explains, "Members of the Faye Society have made a personal commitment to help ensure the economic, educational, and social vitality of the Northern Neck community. Maintaining an independent educational option allows parents the opportunity to seek the best match in learning settings for their child and helps to ensure that the region remains an attractive professional destination. Chesapeake Academy's vigorous and dynamic curriculum focuses on authentic, place-based learning that develops vital 21 st century skills. With a priority on developing good citizens who answer the call to leadership, the Academy has been a strong contributor to the local community for fifty-two years."

The Faye Society, founded in 2001, recognizes contributions and charitable bequests for the long-term growth and sustainability of Chesapeake Academy. The society is named in honor of Captain and Mrs. James Faye who generously included Chesapeake Academy as a beneficiary of their estate in 1987. Their foresight, thoughtful consideration, and charitable planning made a tremendous impact on the Academy's future and fiscal stability.
Faye Society members are passionate about ensuring their legacy contributes to the community. Faye Society member Eric Nost explains,  "Independent schools are just that... independent! They are free to make decisions about education that continuously keep individual student needs a priority. They are free to embrace essential character education, and they can act with autonomy to create and maintain constructive and rigorous learning environments. We may not be able to change the world today, but Chesapeake Academy has created an inclusive, just, and excellent academic option in our local community, just the sort of place our community's children need. This is why Margaret and I chose to support the Academy in our estate planning through the Faye Society. Strong students today build a strong local and global community in the future. In this way we can act now to support the future."

Membership in the Faye Society recognizes patrons who have made Chesapeake Academy a part of their planned charitable giving. Since its founding 15 years ago, 61 individuals have taken a leadership role by making a commitment of planned giving to Chesapeake Academy. Gifts are invested in the school's endowment or allocated to school projects of the donor's choosing. Funds received by the endowment are professionally managed by institutional asset managers. These gifts provide the Academy with a well-diversified portfolio for optimum performance and growth potential.

Chesapeake Academy's Faye Society offers estate planners broad flexibility for donors that can solve a variety of estate planning needs. This sort of legacy gift is an option for all income brackets. The options are many and varied, and the outcome ensures the Academy continues to be a vibrant, academically challenging, and sustainable educational alternative in the Northern Neck community for the next 52 years and beyond.

More information about Chesapeake Academy and the Faye Society is available by contacting Head of School Julianne Duvall Keesee at 804.438.5575 or .

Resources to Polish Your Parenting

Nutrition and Brain Development-- The effects of different foods on our behavior and cognitive performance have been known for years without needing to be examined closely--caffeine stimulates the  brain ; when kids have too much sugar, they turn "hyper"; and chocolate makes us all feel good. For centuries these experiences have been known and our dietary behaviours reflect this.

In recent years the idea of nutritional effects on the brain have been developed further and extensive research into effects of food on brain functions that are not clearly evident or observable have emerged. This article showcases some of this new research and may inspire parents to consider careful food choices for their children!

Aiming for Discipline instead of Punishment-- Discipline, unlike punishment, is proactive and begins before there are problems. It means seeing conflict as an opportunity to problem solve. Discipline provides guidance, focuses on prevention, enhances communication, models respect, and embraces natural consequences. It teaches fairness, responsibility, life skills, and problem solving. This is the article for you if you find yourself challenged to eschew reactive parenting and want to take a more proactive role in teaching constructive choices.

How to Raise a Lifelong Learner-- Some research  indicates that 40 percent of U.S. high school students have  little or no interest in school . How do they get to that place? For some kids, school becomes less about learning and more about achievement, right answers, and grades. When that happens, they can start to think learning isn't fun. This article outlines some workable strategies that fuel a life-long love of learning.

Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did For You-- If your parents ever submitted you to regular music lessons as a kid, you probably got in a fight with them once or twice about it. Maybe you didn't want to go; maybe you didn't like practicing. But we have some bad news: They were right. It turns out that all those endless major scale exercises and repetitions of " Chopsticks " had some incredible effects on our minds. This article presents some facinating new research on the power of music on brain development. Pardon the aspersions toward other "arts." The author may have a bias, but he cites credible research!

National History Day Inspires Deeper Scholarship

"Conflict and Compromise in History" provided a tantalizing theme for National History Day competitors in Arlington this year. Chesapeake Academy seventh and eighth graders joined more than half a million students across the country to participate in the National History Day (NHD) Contest. Students chose a historical topic related to the annual theme, and then conducted primary and secondary research, consulting libraries, archives, and museums; conducting oral history interviews; and visiting historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting sources, students drew conclusions about the significance of their topic, and presented their work in one of five ways: as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a website. Competition organizers explain that the intentional selection of the theme for NHD provided an opportunity for students to push past the antiquated view of history as mere facts and dates and drill down into historical content to develop perspective and understanding.

Kim Dynia, Chesapeake Academy History Teacher, enthuses, "National History Day gets kids excited about history, and we all know that history informs the present and even the future. But just as important, the NHD competition goes beyond simply developing traditional research skills, to promoting 21st century design loop thinking. Researching, drafting and redrafting, practicing, presenting, receiving feedback, and then incorporating those ideas into the work serve to make it the best possible product. This competition allows the students to have a little trial and error as they learn about the process, and it puts the responsibility on them for fine tuning their projects. Students see the value of taking the time to fully develop their work and learn that this is a skill that translates into every part of life."

Ian York, Athletic Director
Coach's Corner

S pring sports are off to a good start even though March weather continues to impact practices.

Please note: the Kids On The Run group will have a  5:30  pick up time on Wednesdays since they are going off campus to run. 
CAPPA Countdown!
Roomparents are getting organized to make some calls to bring class totals in the Bell Tower Annual Giving Fund up to 100 percent! Be ready to answer their call with a resounding, "Yes, I will support my child's education through annual giving!" When the shool reaches 100 percent participation, CAPPA will host a celebration for the students!  Let's do this!

CAPPA is excited to announce after school programs for Spring!  First, our Golf Clinic will be held at King Carter Golf Course. Pro Chip Sullivan will lead students through the basics of the game of golf while having fun!  Dates: Tuesdays,  April 10 and April 17 , and Tuesdays,  May 1 and May 8 .   Cost:  $60.00

Next, we are happy to partner again with Premier Sailing, as they celebrate 20 years of teaching sailing on the Northern Neck, to offer three afternoons on the water learning sailing techniques and water safety. Just in time for summer!  Dates:  Tuesday, May 15 Thursday, May 17 , and  Tuesday May 22 . Participants are also invited to a  Saturday  of fun at the Rappahannock Yacht Club on  May 28 Cost: $95:00   Flyers for both events will be sent out via email. 

CAPPA will no longer be collecting used ink cartridges. The time, labor, and new restrictions on types of cartridges accepted have made this an unsustainable project for us at this time. If you have any suggestions, please let Shelley Ritter know and hopefully we can revisit this endeavor in the future.

The Osprey Nest has a new item-- CA Athletic Socks!! These socks are perfect stuffers for Easter Baskets.  The Osprey Nest will be open every Monday, Wednesday and Fr iday from 8:15-8:45 a.m. or by appointment.  CA Socks are $14 a pair or 2 pair for $25. 

And lastly, if you are interested in taking on a leadership role in CAPPA for next year, please feel free to contact me to discuss upcoming opportunities.!

THE Attitude is Gratitude

  • It takes a special person to come out to judge a STEM competition for girls on a chilly Saturday in March. But these are the smart people who are changing the face of STEM fields by encouraging girls to dive in! A hearty thanks to Nina Thompson, Eliza Carr Schmidt, Claire Keesee, Brittany Clairborne, Isabelle LeJeune, Jean Poole, Marivic Mitchell, Barb Fentress, April Faulk, Sheila Branson, Anita Mergener, Betty Otley, Mari Bonomi, Jen Clair, Emily Bauer, Jackie Scialabba, and Jessica O'Leary!  Their gift of time and talent made this event shine!
  • Thanks to Grover Branson for sharing our school with members of the community! Sometimes the most important way to support CA is to share the news!  Invite a friend for a tour!
  • Our annual auction is truly an example of a well coordinated team effort!  Like a hive of busy bees, our volunteers are busily compiling the auction catalog, procuring items, planning decorations, setup and cleanup. 
  • Gratitude goes out to Joe Souders for driving a car to Arlington for the National History Day competition. This is one wonderful Osprey dad!
  • Thanks to all the classes who are working together to produce a gem to auction at A Grand Affair!  There are going to be some wonderful things!

Don't Miss the Dates!

3/23 Third Marking Period Ends
3/26 Jamestown, second grade, 8:00 a.m. departure
3/27 Mini-Economy Market Days, third, fourth, and fifth grades
3/27 National Spanish Exam
3/28 National Spanish Exam
3/28 Academic Awards Assembly, 10:05 a.m
3/28 Faculty Professional Development, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
3/28 Tag Day
3/28 National Spanish Exam, 11:10 a.m.
3/30 Good Friday, No School
Spring Break 4/2 through 4/6
4/11 Dress Uniform
4/17 Jefferson Labs Field Trip, eighth grade
4/18 PALS Billy B presents The Rock-Knocking Native Americans, 9:30 a.m.
4/23 through 4/27 OLSATS, kindergarten, first, and second grades
4/24 through 4/27 DC Trip, seventh and eighth grades
4/25 Tag Day
5/1 Jefferson Labs Field Trip, eighth grade
5/2 Dress Uniform
5/5 Auction

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." 
Roald Dahl


Chesapeake Academy | |
 Post Office Box 8   107 Steamboat Road    Irvington, VA 22480