We have entered the last few days of this school year and we have much to be thankful.
We now have one-to-one Chromebooks for grades 5 through 8 in content classrooms.
We made history and tested 1135 students online for Common Core using PARCC testing.
Our students have engaged in competitions throughout the year with huge successes including:
16 County National History Day Winners and Two State National History Day Winner competing in the Nationals this week!
Our Middle School Band and Choir securing distinguished and excellent rating in the County assessments and two regional competitions.
Our Middle School Girls Basketball Team winning first place for the County for two consecutive years.
Our Elementary School Boys Basketball Team competing in the finals.
Our Elementary School Girls' Basketball Team winning first place in the developmental county league.
The first year that we have participated in any string ensemble competition with the third year of string courses in our Middle School.
The first year that our Cheerleaders have participated in the large school category and earned Honorable Mention
We will say farewell to 17 Junior National Honor Society students and welcome 13 rising 8th graders.
We held our first Greek vs. Street Open Mic Night and our students demonstrated passion, articulation and deep critical thinking on difficult topics.
Over 80% of our Kindergarten through 2nd grade students scored on or above grade Reading levels at the end of the school year.
We held our first Computer Club engaging students in different gaming and programming.
These are just a few of the exciting and memorable activities of the school year. There are many others that we all cherish.
We are closing the school year with class cookouts and incentive field trips. Our major culminating activities of Pre K and Kindergarten graduations and our 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony are in the next few days. We are excited about our continued use of the Oxon Hill High School Gym for our ceremony and thank Dr. Jean Paul Cadet and his staff.
This year marks the end of the Mr. Tommi Makila's term as President of the PTSA. We are sad to see him move on, however, we recognize the commitment and dedication that he gave to position and making the partnership with the school a reality. So we say 'so long' as President but know that he will continue to make Accokeek Academy a priority. We welcome Ms. Tamara Caldwell as the new PTSA President and ask that you engage her in your wishes for the upcoming school year.
While we end this year, we are planning for next school year. The move into the renovated building is schedule for mid-year and we look forward to it. We also have made purchasing the the School Supply Kit for next year easier. You may order online until July 31, 2015 and have a choice to have it shipped directly to your home or to the school to avoid shipping charges. We hope that you will take advantage of this ordering method because it truly helps the school in not having front load the purchase. We will still have School Supply Kits at our Annual School Fair scheduled for August 20, 2015.
As we return your students to you for the summer, we ask that you continue to engage them in reading. Students that have been given access to Reading Eggs or Achieve 3000, please continue to read daily to keep them from having a summer reading loss. Research says that students can lose as much as 40% during the summer months. Please do not limit daily activities to Reading, consider that Math is all around us. Engage students in math projects around the house or while going shopping or create projects for them to use their knowledge. Finally, students are aware of the skills that they have struggled, turn to online resources to assist. Websites such as Khan Academy, Ten Marks, and others are available free of charge. Students entering 8th grade should visit resources for the new PSAT8 as all PGCPS 8th graders will take this assessment. Finally, there are exciting places in our community and metropolitan area, make this the year that your family explores these free venues, ie. the National Zoo, National Air and Space Museum, the Accokeek Library, Camp Schmidt, the Martin Luther King Memorial, or any of the other tourist sites. These trips enrich our children's lives and builds their background knowledge to add new knowledge each day.
I thank you for entrusting your children to us this school year and wish you a great and safe summer with family and friends!
It is an exciting time at Accokeek Academy! The Chrome Books are rolling into grades 5-8 classrooms. You can see your students collaborating and working in small groups. We are all learning the technology and how to use it to best support our students. It is important that you emphasize to your child to handle the devices with care because they must last for years to come.
Secondly, I am pleased to announce that we will be moving into the renovated middle school in August 2015. We will be planning the move of both buildings. We are all looking forward to our new homes and the ability to bring technology to every classroom. We may need your assistance moving forward and hope that you will reach out to your teachers to assist in any way as we prepare for this major move.
Finally, We are preparing our students for major assessments moving forward. In February, we will administer the second County MUST assessments in Reading and Math and in 5th and 8th grades also Science. Moving into April, we will have the first state Common Core Assessment prepared by PARRC for Maryland and many other states in the nation. The performance-based assessment will be in March and summative assessment will be in April. Both assessments will be taken online by our students. Our move to prepare our students with implementing technology and online testing will assist in our students performing at their highest level. However, we must all keep in mind that this is new testing requiring new instructional practices. As such, our students will not be prepared overnight - it is a process. Let's not be alarmed that our students are not at MSA levels of performance. We must reset our thinking about outcomes and look forward to growth in the years to come. The state of Maryland realizes this as the next two years of assessments are preparation years and AYP will not be calculated.
We sincerely thank those parents and community members that continue to donate copy paper and make contributions towards the Principal's Lunch Fund. We remain in need of both contributions and look forward to new partners in this effort to supplement our budget.
I will make additional details of the summer planning known when they become finalized.
We have entered 2015 and we are blessed by the many accomplishments achieved in 2014. To name a few: our Lady Eagles basketball team has 6 wins and one loss; we have a string ensemble of over 50 students that performed well at the Winter Concert joined by our MS Choir of 60 students and MS band members exceeding 100 members; Our ES band performed well with over 120 students along with our 4th grade choir and our 3rd grade recorders; we are building towards our performing arts department; Ms. Messick and Ms. Sarris, Kindergarten teachers were featured in the Washington Post for kindergarten assessment implementation and Ms. Sarris has been selected to represent the state of Maryland along with 9 other educators to collaborate with the Ohio State Department of Education; five members of our middle school choir were selected to sing in the PGCPS MS Honors Chorus; the National Junior Honor Society raised awareness of Breast Cancer by selling pink t-shirts that led to a $500 donation to Howard University Cancer Research; they also had a most successful holiday fundraiser in partnership with Honey Baked Ham with sales in excess of $3500; Chrome Books have been purchased and the distribution is in process allowing our students in grades 5-8 to have one-to-one access to the internet.
These are just a few of our accomplishments and we will work even harder to exceed these achievements as we are a professional learning community with a culture of continuous improvement. Our professional group of educators are making a difference in the lives of our students and in improving their professional practice. We have a cohort of 12 Accokeek Academy teachers working towards their National Board certification, the only nationally accredited organization for superior practice. The cohort is led by Ms. Greta Thomas and Ms. Pamela Stewart, both are already Nationally Board certified. The collaboration demonstrated by this group educators is highly commendable and recognized throughout the County.
It is unfortunate that as a precautionary measure, the CEO has found it necessary to freeze the budget. This may result in some difficulties for our school. We are asking that you continue your generous contributions to the Principal's Lunch Fund for our students in need of a hot lunch and cannot pay for whatever reason. We are also asking that you consider contributing copy paper to the school. Copy paper is our single largest necessary expense. Your assistance in this area can mean a great deal. Any amounts would be helpful. Please contribute to the main offices or to your child's teacher. I thank you in advance for your contribution.
Finally, we need your assistance in ensuring that your child has all the necessary supplies to begin 2015. Please examine their binder to ensure order and that all color folders are available and that papers are neatly kept. Encourage your student to use their Cornell Notes to study each night. All students should read a minimum of 20 minutes everyday. Talk with your student about their reading. Consider reading the same book as your student to discuss during family time. If your child is 10 years old or younger, read to your child and take turns reading together. Consider having your child to write letters to out of town relatives. Students need to find their writing voice and the more real world practice they receive can make a difference. Finally, allow your child to engage in solving real world math problems. This would include counting change, deciding how much to give to a cashier, finding out how much several items will cost, measuring ingredients to assist in the kitchen, using an analogue clock to tell time, and even discussing how much time has passed from when you leave home until you return. Why you may ask. The Common Core curriculum is about application of everything we learn into real world situations. This is what all testing will be in the future. Please visit http://www.parcconline.org/ and take the time to take the practice tests in Math and Reading for your child's grade level. This will give you a true understanding of the expectations.
I look forward to seeing you visit your student's class this year as you are always welcome. Thank you for your support and Happy New Year to your family and the Accokeek Academy family!
I need your assistance and that of your children. We as taxpayers are investing millions of dollars in the new and renovated buildings. These are significant investments, and they will need to last for many years to come. We must all show respect for these investments by taking good care of the buildings and school property. Please emphasize this responsibility to your children. This is a facility we all should be proud. Once total renovation is complete, we will have one of the largest and most beautiful schools in all of Prince George's County. Unfortunately, there are some children that do not share our pride and are making every effort to destroy it.
We have had several incidents of vandalism in the bathrooms, writing on walls and even on Smart Boards. To stop these actions it will take the combined efforts of our overwhelmingly number of wonderful students treating the buildings accordingly, and encouraging their friends to do the same. When necessary, coming forward with the names of the students that disrespect our property and school community.
We also need to emphasize that chewing gum and sunflower seeds are not to be brought to school under any circumstances. We have found gum under desks, on the floors and other inappropriate locations. Sunflower seeds are eaten and the shells end up on the floor, causing a safety hazard.
It will also take your assistance in reminding your children of their responsibility to respect our property paid for by your tax dollars. Inform your children that these acts will not be tolerated and met with penalties to include restitution by their parents or guardians. Help them to understand that respect of property and of one another, makes us a better community.
I thank you in advance for your efforts of partnering with us in protecting our school community.
Our first month of school is coming to a rapid end. We have begun the school year on a positive
note with teachers working very hard for student mastery of the Common
Core. We were very pleased to discuss the
upcoming school year and expectations at Back to School Nights and the
curriculum at our Common Core Night.
Thank you for your attendance at the event and we look forward to our
continued discussions about Common Core.
Please keep in mind the three succinct elements of Common Core: focus, coherence, and rigor. The curriculum focuses on student mastery of
concepts and skills taught for deep understanding. The design of the curriculum was to backward
map to college and career readiness standards and provides those key elements
from kindergarten to 12th grade for success. Finally, academic rigor is the key to the
development of critical thinking and problem solving skills.
As we enter our first full year in the new building, the
number of vandalizing incidents by students saddens me.These incidents included:tearing a piece of the covering of the
partition in the instrumental music room; placing chewing gum on furniture and
doors; ripping soap dispensers from the bathroom walls; writing on desks,
chairs, walls and doors; and scratching the Smart Boards.We have a state-of-the-art building and
technology.We want to keep these things
in place for years to come.Please
advise your child that this is like having a new home and we would like to keep
it beautiful.We will pursue restitution
and punishment if these acts of disrespect for property continue.
Teachers have come to know your students and their
challenges.Many are offering additional
assistance during various times of the school day and before or after
school.Many teachers also offer online
assistance through the use of additional resources such as: videos, practice
items, reading materials and various software programs.Please ensure that your student is taking
full advantage of these opportunities.
A final word on literacy.Literacy is our primary goal of academic achievement.We measure reading literacy by Lexile
scores.By the time your child leaves
Accokeek Academy for high school, their Lexile score should be 1250 or higher.Please keep this score in mind and ask your
child their Lexile score.Reading every
night for a minimum of 20 minutes will help to improve your child’s vocabulary,
Lexile score and love of reading.Research indicates that while children are learning to read, they are
not reading enough to develop a love of reading and therefore will not reach
the goal of a 1250 Lexile.
Please be mindful of the 8th Grade Parent Night
for an introduction to the high school programs on October 1st.The following night on October 2nd
we will kick off the National History Day project that every student in grades
6-8 are expected to complete.This is an
interdisciplinary project for students to self-select a topic and work over a
10-week period to develop a deep understanding.For additional information, please go to National History Day Project.On October 30th, Ms. Sonya
Williams will host a forum in our multipurpose room on Bullying and
Harassment.All are invited to attend.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any concerns
or questions you may have.Let’s
continue to grow our partnership to create the most positive and academic rigorous
We are very excited
about the upcoming school year! Our
Administrative Team is ready to provide the leadership necessary to move us
towards our vision of becoming a child-centered professional learning community
with a culture of continuous improvement where respect, effort, efficacy and
excellence abound. Joining us this year
as our Assistant Principals are: Ms. Tenesia Crook in the Lower Campus and Ms.
Beth Grote-Morphew in our Upper Campus.
Both join us with extensive instructional backgrounds and will provide
the necessary support for their teams and our community. Mr. Donald King and Dr. Trevine Jelks remain
with Accokeek Academy as dynamic role models of success. Mr. King, Dr. Jelks, and I are very pleased
to continue in our leadership roles for our fourth consecutive year. We have new and returning members of our
staff as we welcome our students to the new school year. We believe that the
plans for this school year will create engagement for our students to become
successful by attaining critical thinking and organizational skills.
Parents, our quest to
provide your children with a rigorous and relevant instructional program is paramount
to us. We are school wide AVID
(Advancement Via Individual Determination).
We will focus on the WICOR
strategies of success. These strategies
are Reading and Writing in every classroom every day; delivering Inquiry-driven instruction; Collaboration in the classroom among
and between students and teachers between teachers and parents and teachers;
intense focus on student Organizational
skills through our color-coded binder system and daily agenda signing. We will continue with the standards of the
Common Core curriculum driving our instruction.
This curriculum will require students to problem solve and think
critically. Parents play a key role in
the academic success of our students; therefore, school/parent communication is
crucial. We appreciate all of your
support as we continue to push our students to excel at greater heights.
Make your child’s attendance and
prompt arrival to school a priority at our new time - INSTRUCTION BEGINS
PROMPTLY AT 9:05A.M. DAILY.
Students cannot arrive at school before 8:45A.M. Teacher duty day does not begin until
then and we do not wish any student to be unsupervised. If picking your students up at the end
of the day, please arrive by 3:40pm in Lower Campus and at Upper Campus by
4:00pm. Upper Campus pick-up is
accessible by entering the Lower Campus lot. No cars are allowed in the bus access
parking lot after 3:00pm each day.
There will no early dismissals after 3:00 in Lower Campus and 3:30
in Upper Campus.
Please ensure that all information
on the right side of the folder is signed and returned to school the
first week. Additionally,
please read, sign, tear and return the Student Rights &
Responsibilities Agreement on page of the Handbook. All items on the left should remain home
and posted for reference.
Families are encouraged to complete a confidential
free/reduced meals application for this school year. You may go to the PGCPS website to
complete the application this school year or complete the enclosed one.
Expect homework and projects on a
Plan to sign the Agenda Book on a
Ensure that your student is
following the AVID Binder organization plan by reviewing the binder and
the backpack daily.
Register on the Parent Portal (enclosed
instructions) and visit the Parent Portal in School Max weekly for graded
work, missing assignments and attendance.
Make contact with your child’s
Visit our school website frequently
And most importantly, allot time for
reading, practicing math facts and ensuring homework completion with your
children on a nightly basis.
Join the Parent Teacher Student
Review the new required
immunizations for Kindergartners and 7th graders.
Please mark your calendars:
·School Closed for Labor Day on September 1st.
·Lower Campus (Pre K – 4th Grade) –
Back to School Night is Tuesday September 9th at 6:30pm.
·Upper Campus (5th – 8th
Grades) – Back to School Night is Wednesday September 10th at
·PTSA 1st General Meeting – ALL ARE
INVITED – 7pm in Upper Campus Multipurpose Room
·Common Core Curriculum Night (All Grades) –
Tuesday September 16th at 7pm.
·Our Fall Fundraiser begins Wednesday
September 17th and continues until October 8th.
WE NEED YOUR PARTICIPATION!
·Talented & Gifted Parent Night Thursday
·School Closed for Systemic Professional
Development Friday September 19th.
·School Closed for Rosh Hashanah Thursday
·Lower Campus Scholastic Book Fair Begins
Friday September 26th.
Dr. Kevin Maxwell, CEO
of Prince George’s County Schools, has embraced the motto of “Great by Choice.” We at Accokeek Academy plan to adopt this
in all we do this year. My staff and I
will walk in the door everyday prepared to meet the ultimate goal of educating
your children. Please send your children to us well behaved, on-time, equipped with
the proper materials and encouraged. We,
in turn, will send them home to you prepared to meet the demands of the future. Your presence is not only welcomed, it is
My staff and I look
forward to working with each and every one of you! Let’s work together to make this an awesome
Dear Accokeek Academy Parents, Guardians, and
I hope that you are
enjoying your summer with family and friends. I am humbled and honored to have served
this community for the past three years and am anxiously preparing for the
beginning of the new school year. We have collectively engaged in activities
and changes that have brought us closer to our vision to become a
child-centered professional learning community with a culture of continuous
improvement where respect, effort, efficacy and excellence abound. As we embark
upon this new year we wanted to keep you informed.Our high expectations for the success for all
students have prompted this summer’s communication.Research reveals that during the summer,
students can lose up to 50% of their content knowledge and even more of their
reading comprehension efficiency rate.Mitigating this summer loss can be achieved with your assistance.Please visit our website: www1.pgcps.org/Accokeek
.There you will find information
on the Accokeek Academy Summer Reading Plan and the County’s Summer
Packets.Consider having your child to
complete both their current year packet and their rising grade’s packet.
Students will receive credit for returning it at the beginning of the school
included in this mailing are some important items that we wanted to get into
your hands early in the summer and it will enable you to plan accordingly:
Please pardon our
progress during the continuation of construction.For the summer, the entrance to both
buildings will be the old Ferguson (old elementary school; Lower Campus)
Hours:9:00 am – 5:30 pm in the
Upper Campus only (new building).
2014-2015 School Hours:Grades K – 5: 9:05 am - 3:25 pmGrades 6 – 8: 9:05 am – 3:55 pm
The Uniform Policy for Grades 6-8 is
graders will have gold collared shirts with navy blue pants.7th graders will continue
their heather grey shirts and 8th graders will continue with
their red shirts; all grades will continue with navy blue pants. The
entire uniform policy is available on our school’s website.
We will continue as an AVID School this
year.AVID requires every student
to organize using a specific color-coded binder system. School supplies,
Agenda Books, and sturdy Staples Binders will be available for purchase. The
requirements per grade level are attached.School Supply Kits are prepackaged by grade.The School Supply Kit is $30.The Agenda Book and Binder are offered
for $10 or $5 each.Please see our
website to order in advance. Agenda Books remain mandatory so that we may
strive for 100% daily signing. We have arranged to once again have
available for purchase heavy-duty binders, which last the entire year from
Staples.The price is at a
considerable reduction from retail. All prices do not include tax.Please click School Supply Kit
Pre-Order[D1] to go directly to the order form.
You are encouraged to join our PTSA (Parent
Teacher Student Association) and suggest your ideas.We are delighted to continue working
closely with Mr. Tommie Makila for the second year as our PTSA President.
Bus schedules will be mailed directly to your
home in August from the Transportation Office. Bus information will also be
available on the PGCPS website in August.
Please mark your calendar:
oThursday, August 21, 2014 5:30pm – 6:30pmBack to School Fair
Tuesday, August 26, 2014First Day of School
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 6:30pm – 8:30pmBack to School Night (Pre K – 4th)
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:30pm – 8:30pmBack to School Night (5th
– 8th) Upper Campus
Please visit our school’s website, www1.pgcps.org/Accokeek, or our Twitter or
our Facebook page for updates and announcements.The teachers, staff, and administration look
forward to working with you and continuing to build our Accokeek community as
Soar to Excellence...THE ACCOKEEK WAY!
this be sent electronically or in the mail?If mailed, I would remove this sentence.
It is time for family and friends and relaxation. However, please know that research shows that children can lose up to 50% of the knowledge gained during the school year. You must make every effort to prevent this knowledge loss. One way is to follow the Accokeek Academy Reading Plan found on our website: www1.pgcps.org/accokeek Students will be given credit upon their return from summer break. Additionally, the County has prepared some wonderful Summer Packets in all subject areas. Student Summer Packet give weekly assignments can do. Please make every effort for students to work on the site on a weekly basis.
We will continue to be an AVID school. With that in mind, we will continue the organizational system of AVID requiring a binder color-coded system. We have specific School Supply Kits prepackaged for each grade level along with a heavy duty binder and the required Agenda Book. All are offered for sale on the website. The School Supply Kits are $30 each; the binder is $5 each compared to $19 at Staples; and the Agenda Book is $5. Please order on our website in advance to ensure the correct number are ordered.
We are excited about the upcoming school year. We look forward to a year of learning and working with our Accokeek community to continue our mission as we Soar to Excellence...THE ACCOKEEK WAY!
This school year is coming to a rapid close as we enter the 4th quarter. Our staff and students have worked very hard demonstrating our core values of respect, effort, efficacy and excellence. Demonstration of these values are evidenced by the following successes:
Accokeek Academy won too many categories to name in this year's History Day County competition. We have eleven students now going on to the state competition to be held at the University of Maryland this month. We were very well represented and the hard work and insistence to follow national guidelines demonstrated the value of such a rigorous project. Thank you Ms. Huff for your commitment and vision for this project along with all the staff members that assisted, judged, worked with students individually, and supported this school wide effort.
The Accokeek Academy Band under the direction of Ms. Whitfield, earned Superior ratings in all categories and will compete in the state competition.
The Accokeek Academy Middle School Chorus received Excellent ratings at the County competition.
The first year of the Accokeek Academy Elementary Boys and Girls Basketball teams met with great success under Coach McIntyre and Assistant Ohlson for the boys and Coach Brown and Assistant (Parent) Caldwell. The Boys team won the elementary Championship. The Girls made it to the playoffs. Coach McIntyre was named Coach of the Year by the League!
Our first year with a Cheerleading Squad, led by Coach Sarris, took 4th place during the County competition.
Our Dance Team competed this weekend in the DC Area Competition and placed 2nd!
Congratulations one and all!
We have just completed the PARCC pilot assessments and will begin MSA Science testing in grades 5th and 8th. Both of these assessments are online and is the first time many of our students have tested online. Thus far, students are calm and focused. Testing this year with the County wide shift to Common Core, now called College and Career Readiness Standards by the state of Maryland has been intense. Ms. Stewart our Testing Coordinator has done a fabulous job of scheduling, planning, returning books, providing the data, and assisting teachers and students along the way. Thank you Ms. Stewart.
The PTSA has really made every effort this school year to become our partner in the best interest of our students. We successfully provided a forum on Social Media that was well attended last month. The upcoming meeting will display our History Day projects for all to see the work our students have accomplished. This General Body Meeting will be Thursday April 10th at 7pm. Additionally, the session will feature discussions on the financial literacy of our students. It is also that time of year when candidates are needed to serve on the PTSA Board. I invite you to contact the PTSA to express your interest to serve.
The first week of May is Teachers' Appreciation Week. The PTSA and I ask you to make a small donation to your child's homeroom teacher with a card of appreciation. The donation can be $3 for coffee and up to $20 to show our appreciation for the work they do everyday. We often overlook the monetary investment teachers make in their classes every year - from the purchase of pencils to candy to special certificates. Let's all show our appreciation in some small way.
Finally, Spring Break is April 14 - 21. Please enjoy this time with your students. As a reminder continue to read with your children during the break and practice Math facts if they have not been mastered. We know that a student leaving Accokeek for high school, must read with a Lexile level of 1200 to ensure success and be eligible for AP courses. To ensure that your students will be reading at this level, they must read everyday and move to higher level text along the way. This is the practice required for students to be successful with the College and Career Curriculum. Their ability to close read a text, analyze the text, and ask critical questions of the text are all skills that improved their comprehension level. Improving one's reading level comes from practice. Let's instill a joy of reading into every student!
I would also like to thank the number of volunteers that has assisted with answering the phones, testing, bagging snacks, organizing papers in the classroom, bringing your child to practice or after school sessions, and other ways to numerous to list here. Together Everyone Achieves More.....THE ACCOKEEK WAY!
Grades 5-8 have successfully settled into our new building and our
temporary buildings to give contractors the next 14 months to renovate the
middle school.In August 2015, we will
move back into the renovated middle school and our elementary students in Pre K
– 4th grades will move into the new elementary building.So as we enter this phase, we again ask you
for your patience and cooperation as we continue our construction of our 21st
A priority is to provide more opportunity for students to be engaged
with technology.As we move in this
direction, notebooks, such as, Chrome Books, require students to have Gmail accounts.This requires the permission of parents and
guardians for students to be assigned these accounts.Attached you will find the permission forms.Your immediate attention to this request is
greatly appreciated.As these devices
are required as we enter online testing and online academic programs, your
permission is requested.Please review
the information provided.
One of our major changes is that we are located both inside the new
building and outside in temporaries.There are not lockers for students.As a result, we encourage students to have rolling book bags to relieve
the weight of books carried by our students.
Another change is the improved parking facilities.We ask that you adopt the following changes:
1.Buses take priority during arrival
of students in the morning.We ask that
if you drive your child to school, please follow the buses and wait behind them
when unloading.While everyone is in a
hurry in the morning, it is unsafe to unload anywhere but against the curb and
passing the buses also poses a safety problem.Please consider having your child to ride the bus if this is an
inconvenience for your schedule.
2.Dismissal of car riders has
changed.Since the elementary school
(old Ferguson) dismisses earlier than the middle school, we ask that all cars
enter through the elementary building entrance.Come down into the parking lot by following the arrows and picking up
your students at the curb.Students will
be called by name from the Media Center upon your arrival.
I would also like to ask for your assistance in reminding students that
it is our responsibility to maintain our new building and eventually our new
campus.Our stewardship of this building
is the best way to thank the state of Maryland, Prince George’s County, and
Prince George’s County Public Schools for their multi-million dollar
contributions to our new building.Let’s
treat it as our “home away from home.”
Please join me on Wednesday February 4th for our Second Cup
of Coffee discussion and brief tour of the new building.We will meet in the Media Center.
As always, please feel free to contact me or any other administrator if
you have any questions.Thank you for
your cooperation and continued support.
We thank you for your support as we enter the holiday season. We have had many successes and challenges since the beginning of the school year.
It is with great sadness that I announce the death of one of our second grade students, Tyli Higgs. He died in a car accident over the Thanksgiving weekend. We will celebrate his life on Tuesday December 10th at 10am National Church of God in Fort Washington. Our continued prayers are extended to Tyli's family and to Ms. Cruz, Tyli's teacher, and her students. We have provided a crisis intervention team to students and teachers in need of support.
The new elementary building is nearing completion. We will begin slowly moving into the building and preparing for our first class day on January 21st. The middle school students in grades 5-8 will move into the new building and the temporary buildings in the back of the building. We will have 2 Lodges with one housing 6 rooms and the other 10 rooms. There will also be 12 villas for classrooms, as well. During the next 15 months, the middle school building will be completely renovated. In August 2015, grades Pre K - 4 will move into the new building and 5-8 will move into the renovated middle school. Both buildings will be connected by a corridor.
In preparation for the January move, we ask you to consider purchasing rolling book bags for your students in that we will not have lockers. Rolling bags will make it easier to move from building to building. Students dressing appropriate for the weather will become even more imperative. We are currently looking at other alternatives for textbooks, as well.
Academically and over the holidays, middle school students should be completing their History Day Project and their STEM Fair Project. Please continue to use this time wisely to complete these rigorous projects.
Additionally, we have been using the Common Core Curriculum. Many things are changing as students are asked more about learning strategies to solve problems in Math and Reading. Homework assignments are becoming more authentic problem solving versus rote practice. Many teachers are using websites and other technology to given students more opportunity for practice and even visiting websites that provide videos for students to hear alternative explanations.
I am pleased to announce that our fundraiser was a huge success! I thank each of you for making us a stronger community. These funds will be used for our student needs. Thank you for your support!
Finally, I end this post by wishing each of you a Happy, Prosperous and Safe Holiday Season!
It is hard to believe but we have entered October of the 2013-2014 school year. You have already begun contributing in such a positive way to assist all of us in reaching our vision: We will become a student-centered professional learning community with a culture of continuous improvement and respect, effort, efficacy, and excellence abound. Allow me to share just a few:
We have two regular volunteers in the office to assist with phones and greeting students and visitors. All volunteers are welcome in the office and in your child's classroom.
The Principal's Lunch Account continues to receive donations to help our families that are struggling financially. The account allows children to eat a hot lunch. However, the need is great and all contributions are welcome.
We have partnered with the PTSA to present two trips for our students during Spring Break and at the end of the school. Please see our website for additional information.
The attendance to Back-to-School Nights were excellence. This outpouring of support demonstrates our school-home partnership.
We began this past week with our Second Cup of Coffee, an opportunity for parents and I to discuss the school's progress, our challenges and how collectively we can improve our school from a good one to a great school.
The Middle School Athletics program has resumed this year led by Ms. McMillan. We currently are in Cross Country with a team of 20 students. Shortly, we will begin Cheerleading, led by Ms. Sarris. Also, Basketball returns for girls and boys in grades 6-8. Information is forthcoming. The boys' team will be led by Mr. Smith and Mr. Branch. The girls' team will be led by Ms. Wooden and Ms. Brown-Lee.
We have already begun a Girls' Basketball Club led by Ms. Brown-Lee.
Tutoring conducted by teachers has also started. These tutoring sessions are being offered by teachers seeing a need for their students. The teachers are not being compensated additionally for their time. I appreciate their dedication to our students.
Our school wide AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is in its second year. AVID is designed to provide a systemic approach as a school to student organization, study skills and teaching strategies. With the introduction this year of the Common Core State Standards nationwide, AVID principles and expectations of the new standards make a marriage that is exceptional for student achievement.
As we enter October there are a few items to bring to your attention. On October 14th, the PTSA will host Men Make a Difference Day. All men with a significant influence in the student's life are asked to attend. Spend the day with your child in their daily routine. Research supports that when men play an active role in their children's education, students are much more successful. The general meeting of the PTSA will be Thursday October 10th at 7pm. Please join the PTSA and assist in their activities for the year.
Individual picture day is Friday October 11th. Please plan for your student to take an individual photo to remember this year of their school life. We are currently in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month. On Friday, our Spanish teachers: Ms. Vargas and Ms. Sjulin, are hosting a Latino Dance. All 6-8th graders are invited.
As we prepare our students for high school, we will have an 8th grade parent night at 6pm on October 8th. Most of the high schools have been invited to attend. Additionally, we are only one of two middle schools offereing the PSAT to our 8th grade students. The test will be given on Wednesday October 16th. We will also have all AVID 8th graders taking the Redistep assessment offered to provide additional information on their academic strengths and weaknesses as they prepare for high school.
We are moving closer to completiion of the new school building. In preparation for that move, we have formed a Green Team to begin the thinking necessary to become a Green School. As we have for the past 2 years, we will have a Clean-up Day on October 19th. All are invited to participate. There will also be more information to come on the construction once it is finalized. We thank you for your patience during this process.
Please continue to encourage your children to remain organized and complete homework nightly. All students through 8th grade need your involvement to make them as successful as possible. We appreciate your committment because it is true that it takes a village to raise a child.
very excited about the upcoming school year!Our Administrative Team is ready to provide the leadership necessary to
move us towards our vision of becoming a child-centered professional learning
community with a culture of continuous improvement where respect, effort,
efficacy and excellence abound.Joining
us as our new Resident Principal this school year is Ms. Veda McCoy.Ms. McCoy is an experienced educator and is
now training with New Leaders for New School.Our Assistant Principals:Mr.
Donald King and Dr. Trevine Jelks remain with Accokeek Academy as dynamic role
models of success.Also joining us this
year is Mr. Frank Collins, an experienced administrator, with significant
knowledge to offer our community.We
have new and returning members of our staff as we welcome our students to the
new school year. We believe that the plans for this school year will create
engagement for our students to become successful students attaining critical
thinking and organizational skills.
that we will build upon our successes of last school year.Those successes included: making Annual Measurable Objectives in all
categories and for the entire school except in Special Education; reducing
suspensions by 20% from the previous year; both the school band and chorus
being recognized for Countywide at the Distinguished
Level of performance; partnering with Root Cause to continue the exciting
hands on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) opportunities for our
students; and our Talented and Gifted program being recognized by the state
with the Excellence in Gifted Education
Award (EGATE), a prestigious certification only awarded to nine schools in
the state last year.
please know that our quest to provide your children with a rigorous and
relevant instructional program is paramount to us.We will be delivering the Common Core
curriculum to our students this year.This curriculum will require students to problem solve and think
critically.You hear more about this
challenging yet rewarding curriculum moving forward.Parents play a key role in the academic
success of our students; therefore, school/parent communication is
crucial.We appreciate all of your
support as we continue to push our students to excel at greater heights.
Make your child’s attendance
and prompt arrival to school a priority at our new time - INSTRUCTION
BEGINS PROMPTLY AT 9:15 AM DAILY.Students cannot arrive at school before 8:45AM.Teacher duty day does not begin until
then and we do not wish any student to be unsupervised.
Expect homework and projects
on a regular basis.
Plan to sign the Agenda Book
on a daily basis.
Ensure that your student is
following the AVID Binder organization plan by reviewing the binder and
the backpack frequently.
Review the Parent Portal in
Schoolmax periodically for graded work, missing assignments and
Make contact with your
Visit our school website
frequently at: www1.pgcps.org/Accokeek
And most importantly, allot
time for reading and practicing math facts with your children on a nightly
Join the Parent Teacher
Student Association (PTSA).
my staff and I will walk in the door everyday prepared to meet the ultimate
goal of educating your children.Please send your children to us well
behaved, on-time, equipped with the proper materials and encouraged.We, in turn, will send them home to you
prepared to meet the demands of the future.Your presence is not only welcomed, it is needed!
and I look forward to working with each and every one of you!Let’s work together to make this an awesome
Accokeek Academy Parents, Guardians, and Students:
We hope that you are enjoying your summer with family and friends. I am
humbled and honored to have served this community for the past two years and am
anxiously preparing for the beginning of the new school year. We have
collectively engaged in activities and changes that have brought us closer to
our vision to become a child-centered professional learning community with a
culture of continuous improvement where respect, effort, efficacy and
excellence abound. As we embark upon this new year we wanted to keep you
informed.Our high expectations for the
success for all students have prompted this summer’s communication.Research reveals that during the summer,
students can lose up to 50% of their content knowledge and even more of their
reading comprehension efficiency rate.Mitigating this summer loss can be achieved with your assistance.Enclosed you will find our Summer Reading
Plan for rising 5th-8th graders that we hope you will
incorporate into your summer plans.Elementary students are reminded to continue working on your Summer
Packets and to read the attached letter from your Reading teachers.Students will receive credit for returning it
at the beginning of the school year.
also included in this mailing some important items that we wanted to get into
your hands early in the summer and it will enable you to plan accordingly:
Please pardon our
progress during the continuation of construction.There will be changes to parking and the
location of middle school classrooms this school year.
Hours:9:00 am – 5:30 pm in the
Upper Campus only (Middle School Building)
New School Hours:Grades K – 59:15 am - 3:25 pmGrades 6 – 89:15 am – 3:55 pm
The Uniform Policy for Grades 6-8 is
graders will have heather gray as their shirt color.
School supplies required by grade are also
attached.We will have school
supply kits available for purchase at our Back to School Fair.Due to budget concerns, we will have Agenda
Books available for purchase for $5 each.Agenda Books remain mandatory. Also, we have arranged to have
available for purchase heavy-duty binders, which last the entire year from
Staples.They will be offered at a
substantially reduced cost to continue our AVID Binder system.
Join PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association)
and suggest your ideas to your PTSA.We are delighted to welcome
Mr. Tommie Makila as the new PTSA President for the
Bus schedules will be mailed directly to your
home in August from the Transportation Office.
We are excited planning trips for June 2014 with information
included to encourage participation.
Please mark your calendar:
oThursday, August 15, 2011 5:30pm – 6:30pmBack to School Fair
Monday, August 19, 2013First Day of School
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 6:00pm – 8:00pmBack to School Night (5th
– 8th)Upper Campus
Thursday, September 19, 2013 6:00pm – 8:00pmBack to School Night (PreK – 4th)Lower Campus
Please visit our school website www1.pgcps.org/Accokeek and our
Facebook page for updates and announcements.The teachers, staff, and administration look forward to working with you
and continuing to build our Accokeek community as we
Our beloved elementary Assistant Principal, Mrs. Mischa Dorr-Ames was eulogized on Thursday March 28, 2013. Mrs. Ames was a dedicated professional with a sincere love of children and passion for ensuring that each child received a quality education. She studied instructional practices and made theories and strategies real for all teachers. She was a giving individual with much to give.
She was known in school for always smiling and her fast
paced walk to ensure every class was covered.As she passed she gave everyone her signature greeting:“Mauning!”
Our staff shared some of their thoughts this week and I
would like to share them with you:
“She never once
expressed that something couldn’t be done – there is always a way.She’d get it for us, model it, make it, lend
it to us, document it, post it on Pinterest, share it, or find it.We learned that there is always a way.”She
was a servant leader.
“I was so excited to
learn that my room was going to be across the hall from her this
year. Some people might not like being right across from an assistant
principal but I was thrilled! I was thrilled so we could share what we
were doing in class and I loved to talk to her.”She
was a friend and mentor.
“She did not hesitate
to substitute for a class when we were short.She would forget she was in the room to conduct an observation and
participate.She exuded confidence, not
just in herself and her own abilities but in others and theirs.She always lifted you when you were in doubt.”She
was an encourager.
“True inspiration in
reading and willingness to share what she knew made you want to work
harder.A breath of fresh air.”She
was a teacher.
Most importantly it was about the children – she loved the
She made sacrifices that demonstrated her commitment to
children.She felt so strongly about
kids’ ability to read. She would work long hours and then take work home.We could always count on her.
Phrases posted on her door were:That's incredible! Amazing effort! You made
it happen! All to praise kids. She
believed in these words; she lived them, and our students believed her affirmations because
Ms. Ames made them feel nothing, but special.
Children will share their feelings and you can see by the
outpouring love on the many cards and banners prepared by our
children. A few of them are listed below:
“You were a
wonderful person. And you helped all the
troubles.I love you and will try to do
what you said and try to be a good person.”
“If you know
smiles – you know Ms. Ames.”
visualize you in my mind everyday.”
for being and making me feel happy and safe.”
help people when they need it.”
for always being there and helping me when I don’t understand.”
“I will miss
her because she was kind, nice, and cute.”
Ms. Ames loved quotes. She shared this one with many staff
expressions of small children:“Its not
my fault… They made me do it…I forgot.”Some favorite expressions of adults:“Its not my job… No one told me…It couldn't be helped.”True freedom begins and ends with personal
accountability.”She lived by this.
This is what she would want us to do.This is the last stanza of the poem that was
on her door all year:
The human heart is
like a snowflake
Each moment when we
Like a drift destined
For despite life's
Much promise can be
When our hearts unite
In a blanket of
While a certain loss to our community, what a blessing she has been in our lives and to the hundreds of children whose lives she touched!
This week we begin the Maryland State Assessment or
MSA.We will begin on Tuesday March 5th
and 6th with Reading with Math on March 12th and 13th.This will end testing before Spring Break but
grades 5th and 8th will begin Science testing on April 8th.While Math and Reading are paper and pencil
tests, Science will be online and may extend for over a week.These tests are used to determine our
progress against last year’s scores.We
are aiming for progress in all subgroups.We encourage you to advise your child of the importance of MSA and its
seriousness.We have made every effort
this school year to prepare all students to perform well on this test.Please let them know that we know they are
prepared, we know that they can succeed, and their effort and self-efficacy
will determine their individual success.
While MSA is one data point, there are others that we engage
in each day.First, I am very proud,
honored and humbled to announce that our Talented and Gifted received state
recognition as one of only nine schools in the state to receive the coveted
EGATE Award in Talented Education.A
proclamation was given to the school from Governor O’Malley and our delegate,
Mr. Proctor.In addition, one of our
teachers, Ms. Barbara Pirtle, 6th grade Reading, received
recognition as one of the honored teachers for gifted education in the state of
Maryland.While these awards represent
recognition of our school and Ms. Pirtle, it is very clear that our teachers
are working everyday to bring your child the best education possible.
I am also pleased to announce the following victories:Boys’ Basketball Team, coached by Mr. Smith (8th
Grade Math) and Ms. Wooden (8th Grade Science) won 1st
Place; Girls’ Basketball Team coached by Mr. Branch (Security) and Ms. Lee
(Elementary Resource) won 2nd Placed; Girls’ Cheerleaders sponsored
by Ms. Payne (Middle School Special Education Coordinator) took 2nd
Place in their competition; Accokeek Academy had three middle school teams
entered in the Destination Imagination competition held at Flowers High School
on March 2nd and two of the three teams won 1st place in
their division and will compete at the state level on April 13th.I am also excited to announce that Accokeek
Academy sponsored for the first time a Ballroom Dancing team sponsored by Ms.
Shorter (4th Grade Math and Science) and Ms. St. Clair (Elementary
TAG Coordinator) over a 10-week period.The team brought home three trophies of recognition!
We continue to need your support this school year.We are looking for grant writers to assist in
securing grants to impact our technology.This week we were informed that we were awarded a grant from Councilman
Mel Franklin in the amount of $5,000 to be used to purchase 20 Chrome Books for
our intervention classes.If we could
secure more grants of this type it would be of tremendous to assist in our
Speaking of budgets, we are within the budgeting cycle for
all Prince George’s County schools.We
have become a Student Based Budgeting system and we at the school level has to
provide a budget with a relatively quick turnaround.All budgets are down and with the sequester
in place may be further impacted.Other
ways to assist besides writing the grant would be finding those opportunities
available for a school and forwarding them to my attention.Donations of new or gently used televisions
with built-in cable readiness.Your
donation of used and old cell phones will impact funds donated to the school.
Finally, please continue to make contributions to the
Principal’s Lunch Fund.Many families
use this fund during this difficult economic environment we live.The monies are used on both campuses to
ensure that all students have a hot meal daily.
I ask that you remind your child that their behavior on the
buscould affect their bus riding
privileges.Yes, the bus ride is a
privilege and can be revoked.We are hearing
and seeing many acts of teasing and behaviors interfering with the safe travel
of our student.
As I close this month blog, I ask that you send your child
well rested and fed for our testing days.We know our students are ready to demonstrate to the state that Accokeek
Academy teachers and staff provide a great learning environment for all
students to succeed.
As we enter
the New Year, we must revisit our vision to ensure that we have a constant eye
in our direction.
“We will become a child-centered
professional learning community with a culture of continuous
improvement where respect, effort, efficacy and excellence abound.”
To accomplish this vision, we must partner together in our efforts to
learn together as partners.We must
focus on becoming a professional learning community of administration,
teachers, parents, and our students.This is a paradigm shift that is happening more and more everyday.I see it with the PTSA and there wonderful
contributions to teachers’ wish lists over the holidays.I see it with daily Parent/Teacher
Conferences where through collaboration we develop the best learning strategies
and behavioral plans for our students.I
see it when I go to classrooms and students’ binders are well organized and
Cornell Notes are utilized to give our students consistent organizational
skills and study habits.I see it when
parents have come into classrooms, into the office, come to basketball
practice, and to games providing the assistance for our concessions.I see it at IEP meetings where parents,
teachers, counselors, resource teachers, and additional specialists review
testing and classroom data and collaborate to develop and individual
educational plan for the student.Let’s
continue to strive toward our vision.
The measurement of our new changes is revealed in accomplishment of our
goals.Last year we set out to have our
exceptional Talented and Gifted program recognized by the State of
Maryland.This past weekend we were
awarded along with only 7 other schools in the state, to receive the coveted Excellence
in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) School status.The emergence of our TAG program along with
the implementation of the Primary Toolkit, the Comprehension Toolkit, content
integration, and Common Core curriculum utilizing the Springboard texts, have
led to this recognition.The EGATE
awards reception and awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, February 28,
2013 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Kossiakoff Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins
Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD.
We are approaching the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) date.We have eight weeks to prepare our students
for success.We will provide you and
your student with the strong and weak standards from our second FAST assessment
that will be given this month.We ask
that you assist your student with understanding these skills and focusing extra
time at home practicing these skills using software programs provided by the
school such as:Study Island, Achieve
3000, First in Math, and FASTT Math.Additionally, many teachers offer other websites and other materials to
assist your student in their weak areas.
We will be implementing a positive behavior program.Students in elementary will have the
opportunity to earn Eagle Feathers and in Upper Campus to earn Eagle
Bucks.These items will be used to
purchase items in the new School Stores.The School Stores will only be open from 8:30 to 9:00am.Currently, stocked with school supplies and
homework passes.Any contributions of
small items such as:ear buds would be
Additionally, you will be hearing shortly about our new
fundraiser.With everyone looking for
ways to dispose of their old telephones, we offer this opportunity.You are asked to bring your old cell phones
to school and we will ship them to a company that will reimburse us with
different amounts per phone.We hope
that you will take this opportunity to assist Accokeek Academy and
simultaneously, our environment.
I would finally, like to thank each of you for your support in the many
efforts this school year.We continue to
need your support with the Principal’s School Lunch Funds at each campus to
assist in providing lunch to those students without funds.This happens frequently and the demand is
becoming very difficult to keep up.Our
recognition of this problem is helping struggling families everyday.
It is with great pleasure that I write this blog for the
month of December. We have seen some very important changes take a firm
grasp within our school community. We are school wide AVID (Advancement
Via Individual Determination) utilizing the AVID binder for organization and
the use of Cornel Notes in our classes to create consistency for our
students.We want our students to begin
young, developing habits of the mind that research supports as moving students
to become College Bound!These two initiatives are very much
synonymous with our mission to prepare all of our students for AP classes upon
reaching high school.Additionally, we
are moving steadily towards 100% Agenda signing everyday.This is to create an on-going communication
device with our families to ensure student compliance with expectations.
We have implemented Primary Toolkit, Comprehension
Toolkit, and Springboard reading curriculums this school year.These are all curriculum requiring a higher
level of rigor, which translates into higher order thinking skill development
of our students.Our goal is to begin
our students as early as kindergarten to comprehend text.Students learning that reading is thinking
about text at that age will consistently have students reading earlier.These curriculums focus on comprehension
strategy instruction.These reading
curriculums led to consistent scores on the County’s first FAST assessment of
the year.Our students scored very much
as they did last year during first quarter’s FAST assessments.
Math continues to be our struggle school wide.We have adopted the Springboard Math
curriculum for the middle school grades of 6th – 8th.In the primary grades, we have begun to focus
on the Common Core curriculum that gives students more conceptual foundational
knowledge and understanding.We believe
that these foundational steps will assist our students in having the necessary
understanding to successfully perform in math in their later years.I ask that you have your son or daughter to
practice and study Math every night.This is a habit that will assist students in building their own
expectations of what is required to be a successful Math student.
We have several important projects that have begun school
wide.The first is the annual STEM
Fair.All information can be found on
our website.I ask that you encourage
your student during this project by making sure that they are providing the
necessary details to their teachers along the way.Do not wait until the last minute to show the
teacher the question, then the hypothesis and then the steps of the
experiment.This will keep the student
engaged in their project and the teacher able to grade their project along the
way. The Social Studies teachers have also begun History Day
projects and we are really looking forward to conducting History Day for the
first time. Some have asked why so many projects this year. Extended projects provide students with more rigorous work - synthesizing information and making generalizations.
We continue to find a need to ask you for your support of
our students needing lunch money each day.Your contributions are used for needy students whose parents work but
are finding it difficult in these difficult economic times.Your donation in any amount to each campus is
greatly appreciated.We are also looking
for donations of 3in. to 4in. binders for students.These are replacement binders requiring
immediate attention.Additionally, the
PTSA has so gracefully started a Teachers’ Wish List for the holidays.They are seeking persons to make
contributions towards their requests.Please see Ms. Dempson, PTSA President, in this effort.Finally, we are trying to get the School
Stores open by January 1st.We need volunteers to come and break down the school supply kits and
arrange the stores.Your assistance
would be wonderful to help get us started.
Finally, my thanks are extended to the PTSA for their
fabulous assistance all school year.The
PTSA has been a true partner and we are grateful for this partnership.The current PTSA fundraiser is to continue to
collect box tops and turn them in to your homeroom teacher.These proceeds last year secured a couple of
listening centers, racks, and book shelving.
We have several weeks before the end of the calendar
year.Let’s keep our students
focused.We will have goal-setting
conferences with each student in grades 3-8 beginning this week.We want our students to know their data and
to set high expectations of themselves and to realize what is required to
achieve a higher level of success.
I am very excited about the start of this school year. We have instituted changes that are designed to create a culture of learning from Kindergarten to 8th grade. This culture for learning is intended to promote habits of the mind into our children. Children that become organized and possess a system to study for every class will lead to success. Students are being taught their learning styles that also promote students being responsible for their own learning. These AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) principles are research-based with proven results that align with our vision and mission.
I thank Mrs. Zabrina Dempson, President of the Accokeek Academy PTSA and the member and volunteers that have joined together to provide the beginning of a strong partnership. Thus far this school year we have collaborated on all of our events and activities resulting in strong participation and attendance. We began the year with the introduction of our School Supply Kits which was an overwhelming success! This has allowed students to be uniformed and furthered our efforts to have a uniform student organizational plan for all students. It enabled us to provide kits to those students that could not afford them and to assist in supplementing those students that had a partial supply. Donations from many of you also has allowed us to assist in some replenishing of supplies for students that are finding it difficult to stay on track. We then joined together to have our Back to School Fair introducing everyone to our changes for the school year. There were in excess of 250 parents in attendance. Many parents signed up for membership in PTSA at that time. This event was followed by our Back to School Night that was supported by the majority of our parents. Teachers were pleased with your support to strengthen our partnership with the goal of improved student academic, social, emotional, psychological, physical and ethical success. We also joined together to have Back to School dances. The 8th graders to begin raising funds for their end of the year activities. The PTSA offered to plan the dance for our elementary students. On the same night we held both events together - one in the middle school and the other in the elementary. Both were a success! We then brought the PSAT exam to Accokeek Academy for the first time. Over 125 students are scheduled to sit for the exam on October 20th. The PTSA saw this as an opportunity to search for a tutoring company to provide test taking strategies to students for a fee for the last few weeks. The PTSA then sponsored Men Make a Difference Day this past week. We had nearly 100 men in attendance! This type of support from our men was a wonderful statement of support for our students and staff. Now, upcoming on Saturday October 20th, the PTSA has joined with the school to sponsor the County's Clean Up Day. We will be gathering at the Lower Campus at 9am. We will work to mulch, trim, plant and collect trash on the front grounds and the Courtyard. Thank you parents and constituents for a great start to our school year and partnership.
This week we will begin FAST testing in Reading in grades 3-8. Next week testing will be in Math. The following week, we will test in Science. All are two days of testing. These are County designed exams to assist us in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our students. Please encourage your students to get a good night sleep and have breakfast in the mornings before the tests. Additionally, it is extremely important that all students be on time for school in order to be timely. Encourage your child to do their very best. Remind them that this is not about what they remember, but each test is determining their abilities to think. They must remember their background knowledge and apply it to the questions asked. Also remind them to read carefully then to STOP, THINK, AND REACT to each question asked.
I would like to close by thanking so many of you for lending a helping hand thus far this year. We have had so many of you volunteer in the library and office; the Book Fair; Men Make a Difference Day; and allowing your children to participate in soccer, basketball, and the school dances. Teachers are now preparing to begin after school activities for National Junior Honor Society, 5th Grade STEM Club, Student Government, STEM Club, Math Club, John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Art Club, Geography Club, Rocket Club, Imagine Learning for ESOL Students, Chorus, Jazz Band, Band, and other after school activities. I encourage you to have your child to participate in one or more of these. We know that student involvement in other activities makes them a stronger student with a vested interest in their academic success.
I am very pleased to have the Principal Page to communicate with you about the successes, challenges and progress of our school. Everyday we are moving closer to our vision of becoming a child-centered professional learning community with a culture of continuous improvement where respect, effort, efficacy, and excellence abound. As you enter our buildings you see evidence of our efforts to demonstrate to our students that they are college bound. We want our students everyday to think about their future and about their success. We want them to know that we are planning that future together now.
We will have a continuous focus on our students' organizational skills and study habits. There is to be 100% Agenda signing daily. Students are expected to maintain a color-coded binder and are learning and using Cornell Notes. These three habits we want to instill in every student this school year. When students come home, I ask that you review their binders and their notes from each day's classes. No longer can there be an answer to the question of "What did you do today at school?" by saying, "Nothing." Please take the Cornell notes and fold the left hand side, asking the questions and having your student to answer with the notes found on the righthand side of the paper. This is developing students' habits of mind. For our younger students, please reinforce our color coding system with them. We want those colors to be a habit with them each year to organize themselves continuously. Please also remember that reading and practicing Math facts everyday is highly encouraged of every student.
Thank you for the overwhelming response to our school supply kits! This program was designed to get all of our students to have the same materials and for our organizational plan to get off to a great beginning and it did because of your support. It has also allowed the school to provide needed supplies to our less fortunate students. Additionally, we will be able to have the school store opened and fully supplied with replacement items that our students may require. We invite your continued support of this valuable program.
We are also in the midst of our gently used books drive. We are asking you to look through your books, determine grade level appropriateness and donate them to our classroom libraries. I thank the many parents that have already done and encourage others to join in this effort. This allows other students to read these wonderful books and reduces the costs of teachers purchasing books or coming from the school budget. Our PTSA is also encouraging a uniform drive of gently used uniforms to assist our families in need and also to have a supply on hand in the school when accidents occur. Additionally, classroom teachers have individual wish lists. I encourage each of you to make a contribution to your child's classroom. Items like hand sanitizer is welcome as we approach flu season. Finally, as we know economic times are difficult. Families that had never found themselves in financial peril are experiencing difficulties. There is a assistance available for student breakfast and lunch through the County by completing the Free and Reduced Lunch form. The forms were sent home at the beginning of the year and are available in each office. Your information remains confidential and your students can be assured of eating breakfast and lunch daily. Please complete a form as soon as you can. The response time is approximately two weeks.
I look forward to a year of growth in all the developmental pathways of our students and moving closer to our vision as a school of excellence.