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!
Last week, John Baker, Kim Dynia, and I attended the Virginia Association of Independent School's annual Leading Learning Conference, along with Kay Vose, Chesapeake Academy's Board Chair. The keynote speaker was Charles Vogl, a writer and minister who writes about the art of forming community.
In our rural area and in our small school, it's clear that we have many advantages in creating and maintaining community. It also clear that our community forms the very model of connection that needs to be the cornerstone of our broader culture and national discourse.
Chesapeake Academy is a community institution built on mutual respect and connection for all constituency groups--teachers and staff, parents and grandparents, students, volunteers, contributors, and board members--but we cannot take those connections for granted. As I listened to Mr. Vogl speak on the core elements of community, it was clear to me that outreach and invitation
Community building starts with each of us and occurs every day. Communities need tending and require attention not only to our common values but to each other. Community connections need to be reinforced over and over again with kindness, integrity, empathy, inclusion, forbearance, outreach, grace, and courtesy.
I'm certain that if you ask your ospreys what they love about school, a good number of them will say recess! This will likely be followed by talk of their friends, of classmates, of teammates, and of teachers. Maybe they'll mention an academic subject if pressed! In other words, they will speak of connection and community, which are the strongest foundations for both academic learning and character development.
As I mentioned at Grandparents' Day, I see that leadership, empathy, and connection unfold in small and large ways at Chesapeake Academy: a pre-k 3&4 student reaches out a comforting hand to a nervous peer; a third grader invites a kindergartener to play soccer; a seventh grader teaches a fourth grader about integers in math; fourth graders work with first graders on computer coding; a group of girls writes daily affirmations for the rest of the Middle School girls on the bathroom mirrors; or the whole school does the limbo during assembly! Lifelong connections with each other form in these moments. And we each and all feel able to stretch, risk, learn, and grow in a safe environment.
I'm particularly proud that our mission statement incorporates the values that we believe and gives us a reason for working together--so each can make our community and world a better place. Our community is a small one, but we can have a big impact on each other and, I believe, the broader world.
With all the opportunities to feel divided in our larger culture, our Chesapeake Academy community is a beacon. While we will not ever be perfect, our strength lies in our ironclad commitment to each other. I hope that you will continue to reach out to new folks and old friends with intention, constantly include, engage with the school positively, support your child's education and development, and spread the news about the strength of our school far and wide. The future of our children and the future for our children depend on our ability to create every day the kind of community we want them to be a part of.
Thank you for "becoming" along side us. Thank you for bringing your best to all we share at Chesapeake Academy. And thank you for taking this spirit of community out into the world. Our children are watching, and it matters.
Head of School
What's Happening on the Halls?
They are furry and sweet with eyes like melted chocolate drops! And their fur is like the most cuddly sweater in your closet! What is not to love about an alpaca? Pre-K 3&4 visited Ms.Tonya Carter at the Lancaster Community Library to play some alphabet games, hear a great story about alpacas, and then experience and touch some real alpacas! What great fun!
Kindergarten Takes a Walk on the Wild Side!
Kindergarteners recently visited the Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge, Hutchinson Tract, in Tappahannock. Meeting wildlife biologist, Lauren Cruz, kindergartners hiked the trails, letting their scavenger hunt grid be their guide. W
ith loads of questions and lots of big theories about the wildlife present in the Northern Neck, kindergarten students were hungry to learn all they could. Ms. Cruz shared various taxidermied and
cast animals with students for them to feel and explore. Students learned to use binoculars and scopes and to use their five senses to experience nature.
Grandparents and Grandfriends Are Grrrreat!
Grandparents' and Grandfriends' Day is one of Chesapeake Academy's most loved traditions! This interactive event brings together beloved grandparents and grandfriends with eager students at Chesapeake Academy to celebrate the joy of learning. Starting in the morning with a reception and short update from the Head of School Julianne T. Duvall, grandparents visited classrooms, joining in active learning centers and sharing the joy of learning. The morning concluded with a performance, directed by Music Teacher Barbara Hays, honoring grandparents and grandfriends that included some feats of harmony and rhythm by the students.
An Important Safety note....
Not to put too fine a point on it....but too many school children's lives have been cut short in automobile accidents. The network news broadcast several reports of tragic accidents in recent past, and all who love children grieve alongside their families. It is time for us all to consider our driving habits on and off campus.
So, slow down. Put your phones away. Practice patience. Keep your eyes on the road. Keep a car length for every 10 mph between you and the cars around you. Never tailgate. And, of course, be polite. Practice safety like your life depends on it. It does.
First graders have been reading fairy tales the first few months of this school year and using these tales in projects across the curriculum. Last week first graders discovered that Ms. Clark is actually Goldilocks (She retired and began a second career when she aged out of Fairyland)! Once this secret was revealed, curious kiddos had the opportunity to interview Ms. Clark to find out her professional preferences in beds.
Using the intel from the interviews, first grade designers worked in teams to design, build, discuss, and refine the important components for a good night's sleep for the former fairy tale heroine. Designers planned for pillows (lots or just a few), height from the floor (high or low), and pet provisions (do any pets sleep with Goldilocks), etc.
Teams then worked with recycled materials, cotton balls, and other classroom materials to build a bed for Goldilocks. This was a wonderful project that focused on STEAM, the design loop, and collaboration of peers.
Practice with Puppets!
Second grade Spanish students completed their study of body parts by making a muñeca (puppet) and labeling his body parts in Spanish. Taking their studies to the stage, students learned a Spanish song, "Dance Puppet," and sang it to the front office staff and their teacher. Reviews were very positive!
Math Round Tables Wrap Up
No, they are not just socializing! That line of parents you've seen heading to The Residence was on a mission. Chesapeake Academy completed a program evaluation of our math program in the last academic year.
This Fall, Julie Duvall and John Baker outlined the findings of the study and answered parent questions relating to Chesapeake Academy's math program in two open Math Round Tables held at The Residence. T
he data confirms good results: as we examine student test scores on the ERB in the middle school, student scores by percentile routinely increase over the course of a middle schooler's time at Chesapeake, and surveyed students noted that they felt confident in their abilities as mathematicians.
In order to optimize parent understanding of student progress in math and enhance our partnership, teachers are communicating with parents proactively about math instruction in their classrooms, inviting parents into classrooms for Muffin Mornings to see math in action, and adding IXL as one tool in overall assessment of student mastery of math skills. Parents reported in round table discussions that these measures have elevated understanding of the differentiated mathematics curriculum.
Ms. Duvall and Mr. Baker welcome any questions or input as we continue to respond to the recommendations in the evaluation. Our teachers pursue excellence and our communication with parents helps us achieve that.
Fourth Graders Achieve Library Fame!
Fourth graders spend weekly library time building their understanding of story structure, developing presentation skills, and sharing their love of reading while creating "Book Commercials" for favorite picture books. Once created, commercials are videotaped and linked to a QR code that is affixed to the back of the chosen book. This code can then be used by younger students to learn more about a book before checking it out.
Want to see a book commercial?
You will be impressed!
Battle of the Books
Fifth and sixth grade students are in for some brain-stretching fun! Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program that encourages high quantity reading of high quality texts. The titles on the assigned book list were chosen because of their thought provoking nature: these books are intended to get kids thinking about new places, time periods, and/or points of view. Toward the end of the school year, the students get to show off all that they know as they participate in a "battle," which is a team-based, game show style book competition.
Students will read as many titles as possible (and some may find that the Libby App for cell phones can allow drive times to be spent listening to audio versions of books, maximizing time in text.) Books read for the competition can count towards RINGO (grade 5) and Book Talks (grade 6).
Students have formed teams within their classrooms and strategized how many books each person will need to read in order to have all books completed within their group. Of course, some readers may tackle the whole list, and they are welcome to embrace that challenge!
In late May, teams will take part in book battles. The winning teams will advance to the next round, where they will battle against other finalists. During the last week of school, we will have championship round and announce the winners of The Battle of the Book Competition!
Rockin' Out in Fifth Grade
During their study of mineral properties in science, fifth grade inquiring minds used a virtual on-line lab to help them identify minerals, using terms such as streak powder test, luster, color, hardness and cleavage/fracture. Applying these terms and skills, students identified 12 minerals using all of the tests.
Small House Project
Sixth grade Geography students have been pondering the relationship between an area's resources and lifestyle. They designed houses smaller than 400 square feet for themselves to think about how they could lessen their impact on the earth and about making wise decisions in their consumption habits. When Irvington architect Randall Kipp got wind of the project from a student who sought out his help, he and fellow architect Bradford Bond got excited about seeing the students' final projects. They visited class
, giving the students a chance to ask burning questions about careers in architecture, house design, and working with clients. Each student got a personal consultation to discuss their tiny house design decisions and to get feedback.
Got a Plan for your PPD Conference?
Your child's teachers are excited and ready to broach your favorite topic and theirs: Your student! These Parent Partnership Conferences bring together the insights and wisdom of a student's best advocates--their parents--and the perspective and experience of their teachers to discuss each child's growth. This powerful partnership one of the most important contributions you can make to your child's success so take a minute to make this time count!
- Collect your thoughts! What seems to be working? What opportunities exist for growth?
- Find out what is coming next in your child's curriculum. Knowing what is coming up will provide a context for what your child is working on now.
- How can you best support the process? Use this conference to determine how to focus your efforts to best support your child's growth.
- Follow through on recommendations and stay in touch to share results. Feedback helps fine-tune better strategies!
- Support your partners!
Oyster Education Days
Chesapeake Academy seventh grade students attended Oyster Festival Education in Urbanna on Thursday before the Oyster Festival. Oyster Festival Education Day brings the expertise of local non-profit, government and private organizations to local students with focus on watershed science and history. It is a cooperative effort of the Marine Science Legacy Program, the Oyster Festival Waterfront Committee, and the Oyster Festival Foundation.
Students traveled to nine stations, and learned about different aspects of the Chesapeake Bay's keystone species, the oyster. Chesapeake Bay Governor's School seniors showed students how oysters filter two gallons of water per hour, and the students explored tanks holding oysters and other organisms within the ecosystem, learning of the symbiotic relationships between the organisms.
Christchurch School science students illuminated the different body types of fish that live in the Chesapeake Bay, and students were tested on identification to demonstrate their knowledge.
Volunteers from the Friends of the Rappahannock demonstrated how to test the water quality of Urbanna Creek by measuring turbidity.
is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by suspended solids that are usually invisible to the naked eye.
They discussed how the plants, which are the basis of all the food chains in the Bay need the sunlight in order for photosynthesis to occur, need the water to be clearer. Run off, pollution, sediment and nitrates are all major causes for the turbidity level that impacts the Bay's delicate ecosystems.
Students boarded America's Privateer
a tall ship replica, and the
Poquoson-style Chesapeake Bay log-built deck boat,
and learned about the life of early sailors and oystermen. "Our students were fascinated by dredging oysters, living on an oyster boat on the water. And they loved the idea of the tall ships protecting our shores. Not only did they learn the different parts of the boat from the Yorktown Watermen's Museum staff, but they got to build the floor of a boat," explained Chesapeake Academy middle school science teacher Robin Blake.
Archeologists from the Fairfield Foundation in Yorktown showed students how to clean artifacts found on the bottom of the Bay and discussed clues to the artifact's origins. Blake reports, "This sort of inquiry excites students and really motivates some excellent thinking. Students learned new things, made some good connections with material they already knew, and enjoyed hands-on demonstrations that allowed them to experience all aspects of the oyster!
Education day exhibitors included the Virginia Gamefish Tagging Program, Middle Peninsula Archaeology with the Fairfield Foundation, Tidewater Soil, Water and Natural Resources Conservation District, Friends of the Rappahannock, Chesapeake Bay Governor's School, Christchurch School/Restore Urbanna Creek, Deltaville Maritime Museum, Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Middlesex Elementary School, and Oysters For Life/Oyster Company of Virginia.
Polish Your Parenting!
- How to Be a Strength-Based Parent (By focusing on our children's strengths, we can help them flourish--and stop being so critical and worried.) Click to read the article.
- The new Digital Divide: The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected (America's public schools are still promoting devices with screens--even offering digital-only preschools. Other schools are banning screens from class altogether.) Click to read the article.
Student Council Scoop
Student Council will once again be supporting the Lancaster Community Christmas Project with a Clash of Coins Competition to raise funds to buy presents for local kids who otherwise wouldn't have a Christmas. Our event kicks off after Thanksgiving and will run for two weeks. But it is never too early to start collecting coins!
In this fun schoolwide competition, classes can earn points by adding coins to their class's container (a quarter would be worth 25 points, a dime worth 10 points, etc.). Students can also subtract points from other classes by sabotaging them with dollar bills ($1 subtracts 100 points, $5 subtracts 500 points, etc.).
After all the coins are counted, the class with the highest number of points wins! Middle school students will then go shopping for Christmas presents with the proceeds, making the real winners the children in our wider community! If you have any questions, please contact Kimberly Dynia.
Independent High Schools Showcase Programs for CA Graduates
A flourish of visits from high school admissions offices has kept Chesapeake Academy's seventh and eighth grade lunch periods interesting for students as they ponder options for high school. Visitors from St. Mary's, St. Margarets, Woodberrry Forest, and Chatham Hall have all regaled our students with the highlights of their programs. And our students have regaled them with stories of all they love about Chesapeake Academy!
Thank you to everyone who supported the CAPPA apple sale. It was another successful year and the apples were just as tasty!
- November 14, CAPPA meeting, 8:30 a.m.
- November 16, Bridge Luncheon Event
As always, please contact Shelley Ritter at
to find out how to get involved! You will enjoy every minute--and support your children's experience at Chesapeake Academy!
|Ian York, Athletic Director
The Most Improved Player Award (MIP) goes to the athlete who has shown the most improvement from the first practice to the last event. The Coach's Award goes to the athlete who works the hardest every day in practice and in events, shows a strong desire to get better, and who leads his or her teammates. And the Most Valuable Player (MVP) goes to the athlete whose contributions are deemed most valuable to the team.
Chesapeake Academy prioritizes athletic character and sportsmanship as highly as skill. Every Chesapeake Academy athlete is expected to:
- Treat opponents with respect
- Play hard but play within the rules
- Exercise self-control at all times, setting the example for others to follow
- Respect officials and accept decisions without gesture or argument
- Win without boasting...lose without excuses....and never quit
- Always remember that it is a privilege to represent CA and the community
Each of the students who earned athletic awards consistently exemplifies these character traits. Congratulations to all athletes for a productive Fall athletics season!
Most Valuable Player--Landon Reihs
Coach's Award--Spencer Cammarata
Most Improved Player--Leyton Dew
Junior Varsity Soccer:
Most Valuable Player--Porter Pittman
Coach's Award--Harrison Hinton
Most Improved Player--Quenton Harding
Most Valuable Player--Calista Nelson
Most Improved Player--Auriannia Henderson-Jones
Coach's Award--Anna Carey
Most Valuable Player--Claire Beitel
Coach's Award--Lawrence Veney and Jarett Platsis
Most Improved Player--Mason Walker
|Ap Pollard, Lorry Manetz, and Jarett Platsis enjoy the new score table!
THE Attitude is Gratitude
- Chesapeake Academy is abundantly fortunate to enjoy grandparents and grandfriends who care about our students and come to see what their school days are all about.
- A hearty thanks to friend of the school Jeff Szyperski who won the $250 Northern Neck Burger Company gift card raffled off at the Oyster Roast. He has donated it back to the school for the faculty and staff to use. Yes, please!
- Thanks to the Athletic Boosters, concession sales, and the proceeds earned by Kids on the Run last year, we have a snazzy new scoring table in time for basketball season!
- Thanks to room parents and their squads of parent volunteers for fabulously ghoulish Halloween celebrations!
- Thanks to all who supported the Enchanted Forest Bookfair! Good books are in enthusiastic hands, and the proceeds will support the James Library! Win/Win!
- Thanks to Irvington architects Randall Kipp and Bradford Bond for their interest in the sixth grade's small house design project. They were rock stars!
- The Ginko trees out front are nearly ready for their annual golden light show--quickly followed by their petulant leaf spitting contest. They defoliate very quickly. Thanks to Dr. Deborah H. Newman who orchestrated the campus landscape plan that planted these landscape divas. Tree geeks await with wonder and awe.
- For all the predicted severe weather that did not materialize, we are very thankful.
- Chesapeake Bank sponsors the Junior Acheivemnt Program for Chesapeake Academy eighth graders, sending employees Julia Alderman and Amy Wilson to present the program. This contribution provides students with essential and very practical economic education!
- Ms. Aline Gawlik, Andrew and Alex Fulmer's grandmother, loves to supply Chesapeake Academy classrooms with the gift of excellent books to enrich student reading! Reading rocks! Thank you!
- A huge thank you to parents Jen Clair, Whitney Shelton, Jennifer Benchley, Whitney Lang, and Lisa Minor for their incredible help with the refreshments for Grandparents Day!
- Thanks to local businessman Jimmy Carter and parent Lara Brown, Chesapeake Academy recieved supplies for the Golf Program that will be put to very good use!
Don't Miss the Dates!
11/10 SSATs at Chesapeake Academy, arrive at 8:30 a.m., test begins at 9:00 a.m.
11/12 through 11/15 Parent Partnership Conference Days
11/12 through 11/14 Basketball hosts open gym, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
11/14 PALS presents "Sleeping Beauty," pre-k 3&4 through third grade, 9:30 a.m.
11/16 Bridge and Mah Jongg Tournament, gymnasium
11/19 Basketball Tryouts, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
11/20 Basketball Tryouts, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
11/20 "Turkeys on Strike" presented during assembly by third grade, 10:05 a.m.
11/21 Thanksgiving Break
11/28 Tag Day
11/28 Academics Awards, gymnasium, 10:05 a.m.
12/5 Dress Uniform
PALS presents "Holidays Around the World," pre-k 3&4 through third grade, 9:30 a.m.
12/6 Varsity Boys Basketball at New Community School, 4:00 p.m.
12/12 Basketball hosts Peasley Middle School, 4:00 p.m and 5:00 p.m.
12/12 Faculty Professional Development, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
12/19 Tag Day
12/21 Holiday Program, early dismissal
12/21 through 1/8 Christmas Holiday
1/7 Faculty Professional Development Day
1/10 Basketball hosts Light of the World Christian Academy, 3:30 p.m.