PandaGram May 2013
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope you take a moment next week to recognize our very special staff members at Greenbriar West during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6-10. I am so thankful each and every day for their hard work and dedication on behalf of the GBW students and community. Please take a moment to send your favorite classroom teachers, specialists, or other staff members a card or note of appreciation. You will make their day!
During the month of May, we will be hosting two student orientations. Our AAP orientation will be held on Monday, May 6 for all eligible AAP students and their families. On Monday, May 20, we will hold our Kindergarten orientation. If you know of any rising kindergarteners who will be attending Greenbriar West ES, please remind them to call our office to set up a registration date and to attend this special orientation event.
In next week’s Thursday folder, please look for a special “light blue” colored survey letter to parents. This survey letter gives you the opportunity to share information with us about your child that will assist us in the class placement process for next year. However, we do not accept requests for a particular teacher and we reserve the right to determine the final placement. If you would like to complete this form, please send it back to me no later than Friday, May 24.
Finally, we look forward to our students performing very well on their upcoming SOL tests later this month. Please make sure your children are well-rested during these important weeks. A hearty breakfast on SOL testing days would also benefit the students. Thank you for your continued support and partnership!
Finally, as Mrs. Cleveland recently mentioned, the School Board is reviewing a number of important changes to the Student Rights and Responsibilities policy that could potentially have a significant influence on your child’s educational experience. I strongly encourage you to review the recommendations regarding the “second chance” program related to discipline and specifically related to illegal drugs. The proposed changes state that students who bring marijuana, cocaine, or other illegal substances or paraphernalia to school will be suspended for only ten days and given a “second chance” to follow the rules. In other words, the drug-free environment our children enjoy as a result of the current policy may be changed in dramatic ways.
It is never too late to join the PTA! Joining the PTA is a symbolic and financial expression of your support for the children and wider community at GBW. If GBW families come together and contribute, we can continue to provide the programs our children enjoy and benefit from.
By becoming a member and making a pledge or donation, you can help ensure that our children continue to enjoy a world-class educational experience.
Many thanks and kind regards,
—Toni Bowman , PTA President
From May 14-June 6, students in grades 3-6 will participate in the Standards of Learning (SOL) Online Assessments. Please review the testing schedule below in order to avoid making appointments that may take students out of school during this time period.
Friday, May 17—Reading (AAP)
Thursday, May 23—Reading (Gen. Ed.)
Friday, May 24—Math Pt.1 & 2 (AAP)
Wednesday, May 29—Math Pt.1 (Gen. Ed.)
Thursday, May 30—Math Pt.2 (Gen. Ed.)
Friday, May 31—History (AAP)
Tuesday, June 4—History(Gen. Ed.)
Thursday, June 6—Science (All)
Tuesday, May 14—Reading
Tuesday, May 21—Math Pt.1
Wednesday, May 22—Math Pt.2
Wednesday, May 29—History
Wednesday, May 15—Reading (All)
Tuesday, May 21—Math Pt. 1 (Gen. Ed.)
Wednesday, May 22—Math Pt. 2 (Gen. Ed.)
Thursday, May 23—Math Pt.1 & 2 (AAP)
Thursday, May 30—Science (All)
Thursday, May 16—Reading
Monday, June 3—History
Wednesday, June 5—Math
Parents can help their children prepare for these test and decrease text anxiety. Below are a few tips to assist both parents and students.
June 19 through August 30 – Hours vary by site
NCS Community Center Sites
Summer RECQuest is a structured youth recreation program with an emphasis on developing lifelong leisure skills. Arts and crafts, swimming, cooperative games, community service projects, and field trips are a few of the activities participants enjoy. Snacks are provided. Participants must bring a bag lunch daily (if they do not participate in the USDA Summer Lunch Program) and wear comfortable clothing and footwear. The Summer RECQuest program is an 11-week session for children in entering grades 1 through 6 in the fall of 2013. The cost is $70 per week (sliding fee scale available).
To register, please contact your local community center. For more information, please call 703-324-5719, TTY 711.
Many parents have asked about camps for the summer. Please visit the website for both Fairfax Parks and Recreation, www.fairfaxcounty.gov.living/parks and Fairfax County Public Schools, www.fcps.edu for summer camp suggestions. The Virginia Association for the Gifted has a list of camps both locally and throughout the state of Virginia for Elementary, Middle and High School age students at www.vagifted.org . George Mason University has many programs for children ages 5 – 18, www.gmu.edu The Smithsonian has a spy camp at www.spymuseum.org.
Parents of Gen Ed students who were in the pool or were referred for Level IV AAP Services will be receiving letters from the AAP office in May. If you choose to appeal a decision, please follow the directions in the letter. Remember that NEW information that was not part of the original file may be submitted. This may include reports/activities done outside of school.
—By Judy Gartlan, AA P Resource Specialist
Things to Focus on for a Big Finish!
Greenbriar West has adopted implemented the Responsive Classroom approach to learning through Morning Meeting (gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead); Positive teacher language (using words and tone to promote children's active learning and self-discipline); and a positive approach to student discipline.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) takes proactive measures to protect the safety of all our students and staff members. In the fall, Greenbriar West moved the sign in desk into the front office. This change has been a smooth transition. Thank you to all of our guests for adhering to this important procedure. Our school recently completed our lockdown and tornado drills, and fire drills are conducted each month.
It is important for students to wear comfortable shoes that provide foot and/or ankle support. Students throughout the school week are active, between Physical Education and Recess students participate in a number or moderate to vigorous activities. Wearing proper footwear helps ensure that students have a safe and successful experience during activity and can prevent unwanted injury. Sandals, slippers, dress shoes, or any other type of non-athletic shoes are not encouraged as they do not provide the proper support or protection.
—Mr. MacMillin and Mr. Crede
The Sixth Grade Music Assessment took place during the week of April 9-12 in the General Music classes. All Fairfax County Sixth grade students participate in a music assessment during the year. As part of the assessment, students created their own song to advertize a pizza restaurant. The scores from the assessments are sent to the county’s fine arts office and are used to evaluate the county’s general music curriculum.
Also in May, our Fourth grade students will be participating in a Recorder Karate Unit. The unit is designed to foster good tone quality in recorder playing with an emphasis on note reading. Students play a series of songs that get progressively more difficult. For each song that they master, they are awarded a “recorder belt” just like they would receive in a regular Karate class. The final “black belt” song is Beethoven’s Ode to Joy!
—Laurie Barber and Bene’ Dodd
Virginia Readers Choice
Our Virginia Readers Choice program for 2012-13 has now been completed. Many GBW students participated in this reading program sponsored by the Virginia State Reading Association. Almost 500 of our students read 4 or more titles from the offered book selections. Several students read all 10 of the books at their level. Seven third grade students even read all 20 of the books from both the Primary and Elementary groups! Students were required to complete Reading Review Cards after reading each of the books. Voting Day was celebrated with certificates, prizes and an ice cream party in the library!
Our Success Night was a success! The hard work and creativity from our students and teachers filled our hallways. Thank you parents for attending!
Start thinking summer!
Hunt for books that match your child's interests. When you make a point of finding books on subjects dear to your child's heart, you not only stimulate their interest in literature but let them know that you value what they think and do.
Congratulations to the GBW Cyber Pandas who have won 1st place in the State of Virginia for the 6th grade division in this year’s eCybermission challenge. The eCybermission challenge is a nationwide STEM competition sponsored by the U.S. Army for students in 6th to 9th grade. The Cyber Pandas team consists of Diego Gutierrez, Aditya Koneru and Ravi Dudhagra, who have been coached by GBW parent Felipe Gutierrez. As the winners of the state competition, each team member will be awarded a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond. The team has also been selected to participate in the eCybermission Regional Competition this month because they were ranked as one of the top four 6th grade teams in the Northeastern United States. The winner of the Regional Competition will go on to compete at the National level. Good luck Cyber Pandas!