February 23, 2018

The Head's Heads Up

All year, I've talked about "Why Chesapeake?" It was the foundation for our launch of the school year, for reflections with students, faculty, and staff, and the very starting point for our mission revision process.  

As students have reflected on why this close knit community school means so much to them, I've shared highlights that speak to the special relationships among students, the connectedness and respect among faculty and students, the partnership with parents, and the educational opportunities that come from being part of a small school with a huge classroom.  

Recently, our fif th graders wrote about "Why Chesapeake?" Here are a few snippets of the wisdom these brand new middle schoolers shared:
  • "...Chesapeake Academy has so many great things about it, it will be hard to choose just a few things."
  • "My friends and teachers help me and everyone else. They are always so kind. We have respect and responsibility for each other."
  • "Chesapeake Academy is a fun place to learn, and the teachers make learning fun and important. I love how it is a small school so no one gets lost."
  • "Chesapeake Academy students are really positive and smart and nice."
  • "I come to school every morning not being able to wait for class and sports. I love all the classes!"
  • "In PE, Health, Mini-Economies, and Advisory, we learn about teamwork, which is really what Chesapeake is based on."
  • "Chesapeake Academy emphasizes the opportunity to improve in what you do in and around the community."
  • "Ms. Keesee dyed her hair blue to motivate us, and we have lots of fun!"
What is the answer to your "Why Chesapeake?" Are you engaged with the school because you believe in our mission and philosophy, in the values we instill in our students, in the connections we foster among our school community members, in the excellence of our academic curriculum, and in the vital role we play in the larger community?  I hope you can answer, "All of the above!"

Whatever the nature of your answer, annual giving is an important way to express your support of our school. The Bell Tower Annual Giving Fund touches every aspect of your child's school experience. From funding special projects...to providing supplies...to keeping the lights on...to making it possible for us to innovate and lead among independent schools in Virginia, annual giving closes the gap between tuition and the actual cost of the CA program.

Last year, we reached an unprecedented 100% parent participation in annual giving. This is so impressive and speaks volumes when I talk about the school to foundations and other grantors for additional financial support. Annual giving supports each and every student's experience at CA (athletic equipment to field trip funds to art supplies to classroom materials to technology).  

Join CAPPA, the faculty and staff, and the board in reaching 100% of parent participation once again. Regardless of the amount of donation you are able to do, you will want to make sure your name is on the donor roll of parents this school year. You are important to our efforts and I am forever grateful for your commitment of time and treasure.  
Class Acts...
What's Happening on the Halls?
Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix 

On Wednesday, February 14, Johnny Peers led over a dozen rescued-variety dogs through hilarious tricks, balancing acts, high wire routines, and ring tosses for an audience filled with young children from the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. This canine troupe, called the Muttville Comix, has appeared in numerous venues including the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, The David Letterman Show, and the White House. Chesapeake Academy's Performing Arts and Lecture Series is designed to make quality arts program widely available to the young children throughout the region. The series is primarily made possible through the generosity of the Nettie Lokey Wiley Foundation and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

First Grade Carries the Torch!

A real, live Olympic torch! First graders got to see, hold, and learn all about this cultural artifact! This particular torch was carried in the state of Virginia during the Salt Lake City Torch Relay.  Mr. Mark Favazza from the YMCA visited the class, sharing the torch with us and telling us some historical information about past Olympics. The class is currently reading Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne and doing a literature study as a class.  
Biographies Boost Research and Writing Skills!

After partner-reading biographies, second and third grade students created posters detailing their learning, created costumes using props and clothes found at home, and presented their information to their classes. Each presentation was followed up with a question and answer session. Students also made "Fact Files" detailing their presentation. Included in the fact file is a list of ten questions that students can answer after reading the file.

It all Began in Jamestown!

Our country's earliest settlements are always intriguing to young and old alike. Second graders, studying  Jamestown,  have created lapbooks, detailing key parts of this important, first permanent English settlement. As part of their study, students read articles about John Smith and, in groups, created posters detailing three main ideas about his life. As the posters were presented to the class, students had the opportunity to add detail to their lapbooks--deepening their learning.

Third Grade Creates Geometrocity!

Third graders are engrossed in their growing mathematics skills as they create their own geometric cities. After demonstrating their basic knowledge of shapes, angles, and lines, students were granted "building permits" and began to plan their city on graph paper. Students will ultimately construct the city they planned from actual geometric shapes! Once these masterpieces are complete, students will even try their hand at designing on a computer assisted design (CAD) program. Authentic math!

Financial Literacy Starts Young!

What would you do with $100,000? Would you spend it all at once? Would you think about putting some of it in the bank? Would it last longer if you invested it? These decisions call for a deeper understanding of financial markets! In January, Chesapeake Academy's Fifth Grade Teacher Mrs. Katie Parker attended the Stock Market Game (SMG) Workshop at Virginia Commonwealth University. The SMG is an engaging real-world opportunity for students to participate in a mock stock market exchange with elementary, middle, and high school students statewide and gain a fundamental understanding of investing and how to make your money work for you.

"When students participate in the Stock Market Game, they are in a real-world situation that practices the content and skills taught in math, English/language arts, economics, social studies, and other school subjects. Most importantly, the Stock Market Game will help students develop positive money habits and prepare them for the future," Parker enthuses. Fifth graders trade in small groups from February through early April with an opportunity to buy and sell stocks agreed upon by their group members.

Mr. Brian Manetz of Davenport and Company is sponsoring the program at CA. He reports that, "financial literacy should be encouraged at an early age through hands-on learning opportunities like the fifth grade Stock Market Game. Ongoing exposure to real world learning will help students become more comfortable with money and help them make better, more conscientious, decisions in the future."

Your Dollar Did This....

There is something perfect and timeless about growing a passion for reading. It does not happen automatically. A community of readers who set a good example, skilled guidance and support, engaging, high quality books to choose from, and time to read are all part of Chesapeake Academy's recipe for growing a passion for books. Thanks to 100 percent participation in the Bell Tower Annual Fund, all of these ingredients are at hand ready to inspire the magic of READING!  

Thank you for caring enough to make our participation unanimous! It matters!

Responsive Classroom Builds Constructive Community

Bubbling with enthusiasm, three Chesapeake Academy faculty members are sharing what they learned at a recent Responsive Classroom workshop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with colleagues and in their classrooms. Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). The Responsive Classroom approach empowers educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant.

There are four components of the responsive classroom: effective management, engaging academics, positive community, and developmentally responsive teaching. "These central components are firmly in place at Chesapeake Academy, so it was nice to see that alignment. But we brought home plenty of new ideas from this workshop that will help us maintain our positive learning communities," comments Sonja Smith." Class meetings have long been a strategy throughout Chesapeake Academy to set the positive tone for the day, establish expectations, and share daily reflections. But "brain breaks" and "energizers" are other useful tools for keeping brains fresh and engaged. Responsive Classroom suggests taking the time to stop and do some fun active breaks to increase motivation, focus, learning, and memory. We learned a few that I look forward to using with my class," enthuses Sonja Smith.
Kenzie Manetz adds, "Something that made a lot of sense to me was the idea that great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction. Collaboration is not only a life skill, it is an effective learning strategy.  Empathy plays a huge role, if we can try to understand others, we can work together in a more positive way." Molly Vanderpool concurs, "I appreciated the belief that social and emotional growth is as important as teaching academic content. The big picture is that helping students grow into happy learners is about teaching the whole child," concludes Vanderpool.

Punnets, Possibilities, and Clean Water

The Science Museum of Virginia hosted enthusiastic Chesapeake Academy sixth and seventh graders last week. Treated to a classroom challenge called "It's in the Genes," seventh graders found that this experience was a fascinating extension of their unit about genetics. Happy to get their hands into a project, students completed a punnet square, listed all the possibilities, and determined which traits were dominant to  create an unique flower offspring.  

Not to be left out, sixth graders enjoyed all the Science Museum had to offer.  They built an eco-friendly renewable water resource as a STEM challenge that correlated well with their unit of study from earlier in the year about clean water.  Sixth graders also enjoyed a demonstration about climate resiliency,  the "Be Fit" exhibits, and the "Speed" exhibits as they had plenty of time to tour all of the museum's exhibits.

Fourth Grade Explores Ancient Civilizations at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 

Fourth graders explored art and artifacts from the ancient civilizations they are studying in their Ancient World History course. Students who had learned previously about how ancient Egyptians created mummies actually got to see a real mummy and discover the different artifacts found in tombs. 

Currently learning about Ancient China, students were delighted to hear about Emperor Qin and see his Terracotta Army.  

As an added bonus, fifth grade students prepared to stage Chesapeake Academy's Artstravaganza and curate their own collections by observing exhibits, lighting, and labelling. Art teacher Sonja Smith challenged students to keep in mind what they wanted their personal collection to mean to them. Students looked for work that really jumped out and caught their attention and considered what made it notable, what was the artist's intention, and could it inspire a new creation? This trip had right brains and left brains dancing!
"Extra Billy" Smith was a lawyer and congressman, as well as the 30th and 35th Governor of Virginia
Fifth Grade Learns by Watching Government at Work

Gaining a better understanding of the setting for our state and local government, encourages students to learn more about how the legislative process works and how it affects their civic life. It never hurts to remind growing citizens of the importance of getting involved, even at an early age (such as the Page Program). Highlights of the trip included an opportunity to meet with a lobbyist for the fishing industry, Mr. Jeff Smith, who has worked at the Capitol for 40 years. Students toured the grounds and saw the Governor's mansion, learning about the statue of George Washington. 

Coach York Attends VAIS Health and Wellness Summit

The Virginia Association of Independent Schools Health and Wellness Summit on February 8 at the Steward School in Richmond was attended by Chesapeake Academy Athletic Director, Ian York, along with teachers, coaches, administrators, and nurses from 38 schools around the state concerned about supporting student mental and physical wellbeing. The keynote speaker was Dr. Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist with over 20 years of experience. Dr. Brewer discussed his book The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Cupcakes to Smartphones, Why We Get Hooked and How Mindfulness Helps Change Habits. In addition to the keynote presentation, attendees chose from a selection of topics and speakers in breakout sessions.

"By the end of the day, I had pages of notes and resources to look into further. It was energizing to be around so many fellow educators as we networked and discussed research on wellness and mindfulness and how it can impact our individual schools," York reported.

Offering practical nuts and bolts ideas for planning that can engage students in movement to stimulate and refresh growing neurological systems, Jack O'Donnell, Director of Physical Education at St. Christopher's School in Richmond quoted Harvard researcher John Ratey who says, "Exercise is like fertilizer for the brain." O'Donnell walked participants through engaging planning for K-2 PE classes, He kept the emphasis on movement, participation, and fun while pointing out creative materials he has collected or created to facilitate his activities.

Focused on the role of physical movement in the healthy development of elementary age children, a session hosted by Preston Blackburn, Owner/Developer of Pop, Hop, and Rock particularly interested York. Blackburn focused on "Unleashing the Preschool and Elementary Age Child's Potential in the Classroom and Beyond: How Movement Powers Learning," citing several studies that show movement and play are integral catalysts for learning while increasingly across America children are required to sit longer and play and move less with the loss of PE and shortened recess.

Osprey About Town, Jackson Latell

Taking the road less travelled, Jackson Latell readily embraces new experiences! Jackson got a choice of treats after earning Most Improved Student for his grade in the second marking period, and Jackson decided to change his perspective! Jackson chose a trip to Carytown to an arial yoga studio called Fighting Gravity Fitness with his mom. Basically the experience involved doing yoga poses, mostly inversions, in silk hammocks suspended from the ceiling! Right up this gymnast's alley! Mom seems pretty happy to be hanging out, too!

"Call of the Wild" Resonates!

The Rappahannock Foundation for the Arts sponsored a travelling production of Jack London's
Call of the Wild at Lancaster Middle School, and Chesapeake Academy seventh and eighth graders who had read the novel were delighted to attend. Well prepared, students enjoyed this interpretation and the staging of London's work and got to talk with the actors before and after the play. 

Who done it?  Seventh graders are tracking down clues.  Here they determine blood types in genetics to solve a crime!  Hint:  Always check out the butler!
Basic Math--En Español!

Eighth grade Spanish students in two-person teams practiced taking dictation of math problems, solving them, and reporting the solutions--all in Spanish.  Looks like they had fun!

Great Books Build Life Skills....

What is there that holds eighth graders spellbound and focused? In eighth grade Literature, it's
Ray Bradbury! Remember the part of  Fahrenheit 451 where Beatty unveils his own knowledge of books? Gripping. Thought provoking. You could hear a pin drop--or a match strike.

Student Council Speaks....

Student Council offers a big "thank you" to everyone who participated in our Valentine's Spirit Day. We have raised $91.50 so far toward our goal of $500 to earn the designation of Food Bank Champions.  In celebration of Dr. Suess's birthday, the students will be participating in Read Across America Day on  Friday, March 2 . To further our Food Bank Champion goal, students are allowed to wear a hat or wear their hair "Cindy Lou Who" style for $1. Any students who donate $2 or more will have their names entered to win a chance to play the game "Pie Face" against Mrs. Keesee if we meet our $500 goal before Spring Break.

The next Student Council event will take place on  Friday, March 9. Middle school students are welcome to join us for an evening of snacks and a movie (Lilo and Stitch) on the big screen. More details will be coming home closer to the event, but save the date now!

"At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey." 
                                                                                                                         Lemony Snicket

Ian York, Athletic Director
Coach's Corner

The Winter season is over for Chesapeake Academy athletics, but it was a dynamic season filled with skill development and good growth. Osprey basketball teams competed in the ISAC tournament with first-round games at Ware Academy on February 13. The girls' team got CA off to a winning start by defeating Ware Academy in a tight contest that came down to the last few moments. Clutch free throws down the stretch secured the victory for the Ospreys! 

Following the girls' game, the boys' team played Aylett Country Day School in the first-round matchup. The boys played hard and continued to improve their passing and finishing around the basket!

On Thursday February 15, the Chesapeake Academy Girls Basketball Team played in the ISAC championship against Aylett Country Day School. The game went back and forth during the first half with the Ospreys taking a one point halftime lead. Aylett came out of halftime strong and took a small lead midway through the third quarter. The Ospreys battled back to tie the game and even take the lead, but in the end Aylett was able to survive a last second three attempt to secure a 2 point victory. What a game!

Kids on the Run, Tennis, and Golf are the spring sports that will begin March 12. 

On another note, your child will be coming home with an order form for butter braids. Butter braids are an annual fundraiser to raise money for the athletics department. The money raised benefits all our children. In the past the money has been used for sports equipment, the balls the kids play with during recess and outdoor time, and sports uniforms.

Butter braids are a frozen pastry dough that is available in different flavors and is kept frozen until ready to use. When you are ready to enjoy the delicious treat, you allow it to thaw and rise overnight, and then bake it in the oven. It is very easy and tasty!

If your family is able to purchase and/or sell butter braids to friends and neighbors, please make the check payable to Chesapeake Academy. Payment in cash is also acceptable. Please have the orders and money returned to Miss Connie by  March 12

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear."  Mark Twain

CAPPA Countdown!

CAPPA is busily promoting participation in the Bell Tower Annual Giving Fund and encouraging volunteers for Chesapeake Academy's annual auction. There is a role for everyone in both initiatives! 

Don't hold back! Dive right in!

The next CAPPA meeting is  March 14 at 8:30 a.m. in the conference room .  Come and find out how you can help!

Thank you,

Shelley Ritter

"Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own." 

THE Attitude is Gratitude
  • Thanks for all the flexibility faculty brings to covering classes during the cold and flu season. This is one great team!
  • It is often parents who make our celebrations sing! Thanks for all the goodies for Valentine's Day parties! 
  • Thanks to Ms. Connie who wears so many hats! We are especially grateful for all the boo boos she fixes up...she has the touch!
  • Hardworking auction teams are procuring auction items, planning, organizing mailings, putting together the auction catalog, and having a ball doing it.  Many thanks!
  • Barbara Hayes took some wee riffs from pre-k 3&4 and some lyrics they had drafted and helped make their vision of a song of their own come to life!  Thanks for sharing your skills!
  • Thanks to the workroom fairy who left sweet buns in the faculty study!  Gobble!
  • Thanks to Mr. Branson who always seems to fill the gap, driving for field trips, training faculty drivers for CDLs, and serving on our Board of Trustees!

"Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness." 
                                                                                                     R.J. Palacio Wonder

Don't Miss the Dates!

2/24 PALS, Merman, The Magician, 2:00 p.m.
2/24 STEM Summit at Foxcroft, eighth grade girls
2/27 Sheila Arnold Jones, Storyteller at LMS, grades four and five, 9:00 a.m.; grades six      through eight, 1:00 p.m.
2/28 Tag Day
2/28 "Little Red Riding Hood," presented by fourth and fifth grades, 10:00 a.m.
3/1 Richmond Symphony Trip, grades four through eight
3/2 Trustees and Guests Tour, 9:00 a.m.
3/2 Dr. Seuss's Birthday/Read Across America Day
3/3 Girls, Gizmos, and Gadgets, grades four and five, 10:00 a.m. through 2:30 p.m.
3/3 National History Day Competition, grades seven and eight
3/7 Dress Uniform
3/9 Student Council Movie Night, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
3/14 CAPPA Meeting, 8:30 a.m.
3/14 PALS, Virginia Opera Presents "Billy Goats Gruff"
3/15 Trustees and Guests Tour, 9:00 a.m.
3/23 Third Marking Period Ends
3/27 Mini-Economy Market Days
3/28 Faculty Professional Development, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
3/28 Tag Day
3/30 Good Friday, No School

Announcement:  The 2018-19 school calendar dates have been added to the Google calendar for your long-term planning.

"Courage is found in unlikely places." 
J.R.R. Tolkien

Chesapeake Academy | | chesapeakeacademy@chesapeakeacademy.org
 Post Office Box 8   107 Steamboat Road    Irvington, VA 22480