December Parent Monthly Newsletter

December Newsletter

Dear Penguin Families,

Welcome back from our recent break and Happy December!  This month is a short one for us filled with many activities and happenings.  Considering the excitement that comes around special holidays, we extend our thanks in advance for helping students to remain vigilant and focused on classroom instruction.

Our staff extends their thanks to families who were able to meet with teachers during our window of conferences.  Your participation and communication with your son/daughter’s teacher is very important to us.  Whether by note, phone, or meeting, we invite you to contact us when questions or concerns arise.  This partnership will ensure the social and academic success of our students.

We are in much need of support from those who drop their learners off in the mornings.  It is very important that families respect the 9:10 a.m. drop off time.  Child care is not provided prior to that time and we cannot guarantee there will be supervision.  Please stay mindful of our school protocols for the safety of our children.

December’s habit from The 7 Habits of Happy Kids is “Put First Things First: Work First, Then Play,” which is so fitting for this time of the year.  The character word for the month is kindness.  Putting first things first means spending time on the things that are most important.  It may mean having to say “no” at times and setting priorities around the most important, BIG things in your life.  Making a schedule and following plans to stay organized will then allow for getting to the little things that take your time. Think of some things that may consume a lot of your time.  If those items take up too much time and are not beneficial, brainstorm ways to reduce them in order to get to the items that are important.

In the spirit of the season (and practicing kindness), our PTA and SCA have kicked off our annual Rawls Byrd Days of Giving.  This special tradition invites members of our learning community to bring in useful items that will be given to Penguin families who need assistance.  What a wonderful way to learn about the importance and joy of giving and serving others!  I have no doubt we will make this year as successful and wonderful as in year’s past; here is the list in case you missed it via the Penguin folder or online announcements:

  • Dec. 1–Snack Day – crackers & cheese, popcorn, graham crackers, pudding, etc.
  • Dec. 2–Breakfast Day – cereal, pancake/waffle mix, oatmeal, granola, etc.
  • Dec. 3 –Fruit & Veggie Day – canned fruit or vegetables, juices, dried fruit, sauces, etc.
  • Dec. 4–Canned Goods Day – canned meats & fish, soups, beans, nut butters, etc.
  • Dec. 5–Quick Meal Day – boxed dinners, pizza mix, pasta & sauce, etc.
  • Dec. 8– Condiments Day – syrup, honey, jams, mayo, ketchup, mustard, dressings, etc.
  • Dec. 9–Household Day – dish soap & laundry detergent, cleaners, paper products, etc.
  • Dec. 10–Toiletries Day – shampoo, soap, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, etc.
  • Dec. 11–Baking Day – prepackaged mix, flour, sugar, baking chips, evap. milk, spices, etc.
  • Dec. 12– Hat, Mitten and Sock Day – hats, gloves and socks for all ages

As a gentle reminder, Ms. White and I have been challenged to dye our hair PINK if we reach half of our PTA fundraising goal ($2500) by Thursday, December 18th.  Our students collected $626.81 for Penny Wars, and so far we’ve earned a grand total of $1656.71.  We are grateful to all of our families who have supported the PTA, which fully gives back to our learning community.  It is not too late to send a donation. You may send it through your student or contact our PTA President, Mrs. Trista Sikes.  We are so proud of our students and their work to make our school great!

Dates to remember:

  • Dec. 1 – Days of Giving begins
  • Dec. 5 – Grade 4 trip to Jamestown
  • Dec. 5 – Grade 5 trip to Regal Cinemas
  • Dec. 9 – Make-up Picture Day
  • Dec. 9 – Grade 3 play “December in Our Town”, 2:00 & 7:00 PM (MPR)
  • Dec. 11 – Interims/Progress Updates
  • Dec. 12 – Band, Chorus & Orchestra Strings Holiday Concert (10:30 AM)
  • Dec. 12 – Grade 3 trip to see The Nutcracker
  • Dec. 12 – PTA Family Movie Night; MPR
  • Dec. 13 – Sleighbell 5K
  • Dec. 18 – PTA Campaign Donation Challenge Deadline
  • Dec. 19 – SCA Spirit Day (Pajama Day); Meltdown at the Igloo (2:15 PM)
  • Dec. 22-Fri., Jan. 2 – Winter Break
  • Jan. 5 – School Reopens

If I do not see you before our winter break, have a restful and enjoyable holiday.

Very Warmly,

Karen Swann, Principal

Hour of Code

“Our children won’t be using Java, Python, or Ruby to chat with foreign strangers on trains in exotic locales, but these computer programming languages used in developing web pages and mobile apps may be the most important second, third, or fourth language your child will ever learn.” By Hank Pellissier 

Here are some available resources for your child to practice/learn coding at home.  Most of these resources are free or available in a “lite” version, which is free.

  5. Hopscotch App
  6. Daisy the Dinosaur App
  7. Kodable App
  8. Lightbot App

Veterans Day 2014

RBES Teacher Awarded DKG Grant

Tdap Grade 5 Parent Letter

Tdap G5 Parent Letter November 2014


Dear Parents/Guardians of Rising Sixth Graders:

The General Assembly passed a law requiring all students to present written proof of having received a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) booster shot, or proof of exemption, before entering the sixth grade.  We are notifying you this school year so that you can ensure that your child receives this booster in a timely manner.  Failure to comply with this state law will result in your child’s exclusion from school on the very first day of middle school in September 2015.

The Peninsula Health Department provides this Tdap vaccine free of charge.  You may contact them at 594-7410 or contact your primary care physician.  In addition, Olde Towne Medical Center (259-3258) has a walk-in immunization clinic every Tuesday from 9:00 – 11:00 and 2:00 – 4:00 for those with FAMIS or FAMIS Plus insurance or for the uninsured. Please contact them for further information of any fees.

Please ensure that this documentation is delivered to the main office at your child’s elementary school as soon as possible this school year or taken to your child’s sixth grade school (main office) over the summer but before the start of school in September 2015. 

 It is very important that you understand that the Code of Virginia does not allow a grace period for this booster shot  and clearly states that 6th grade students who have not received this booster may not come to school until proof of having received the Tdap, or proof of exemption, is taken to the school.  It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that this occurs. 

 Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.  If you have further questions or need any assistance, feel free to contact me at 603-6405.



Janice L. Fowler, MSN, RN

Supervisor of Health Services



November Parent Monthly Newsletter

November Parent Letter SY11415

Dear Penguin Families,

The first marking period of the academic year is complete with the new quarter beginning Wednesday, November 5th.  As a reminder Tuesday, November 4th, is Election Day, and it is a student holiday—students do not report to school.

With the close of the first nine weeks come report cards and parent conferences.  Information will be coming home (if it has not already) from your child’s teacher regarding conference schedules.  It is our desire that we establish strong partnerships with our families, and we hope you will take the opportunity to meet with your son/daughter’s teacher to discuss academic progress.  Students’ first teachers are their parents.  You’ve proven your love and care of your students and our learning community by attendance to Open House and other recent events. We value your participation and presence. Please continue to stay involved and do not hesitate to let me know if there is anything we can do to help.

This past weekend ushered in a shift in weather with much cooler temperatures, and it is predicted that the winter season will be quite cold.  Please keep in mind that our students go outdoors for recess to have physical activity and fresh air.  They also travel between buildings during the day for lunch and Centers.  Having a coat or jacket during the day to enjoy time outside without being cold is very important.  In advance, we thank you for making sure your son/daughter comes to school dressed appropriately.

We are finding there is a lot of congestion when vehicles parallel park directly across from the school’s entrance for morning drop off and afternoon pick-up. If you are not using the car drop-off/pick-up line, please try to avoid parking immediately at the bottom of our entrance to the parking lot.  This will assist with the traffic flow for our families, as well as those who travel the street within the community.

To our military families:  On Tuesday, November 11th, at 2:00PM, we will hold our annual Veteran’s Day assembly.  We welcome your attendance and wish to have a brief reception following the program in recognition and appreciation for your service to the United States.  We encourage students to wear red, white and blue in observance of the day.

Families new to the school may be unfamiliar with Sean and Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Happy Kids, which is one of the resources we use in fostering character education.  For November, we are continuing with Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind—Have a Plan.  This habit commits to the following: I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s mission and vision. I look for ways to be a good citizen. With the start of a new marking period, this becomes an opportune time to help your child write goals that are reasonable and attainable.  Help your student list what he/she need to do in order to achieve the goal.  Weekly, the goal(s) can be discussed to follow-up on progress toward accomplishing the goal.  With goal

setting, students will see that sometimes you must adjust strategies and add to the goal in order to meet it.

Important dates to remember:


  • 4th                    Election Day – Student Holiday
  • 5th                    Marking Period 2 Begins
  • 11th                   2:00PM Veteran’s Day Assembly (MPR)
  • 19th-21st          1:25 PM Dismissal (Parent Conferences)
  • 24th                  Report card not picked up at conference will be sent home.
  • 26th-28th        Thanksgiving Break


  • 9th                    Make-up Picture Day (morning)
  • 3rd                    Grade Holiday Program (2:00 and 7:00 PM)
  • 11th                  Progress Update to ParentVue/StudentVue
  • 22nd-31st        Winter Break


  • 1st-2nd              Winter Break (continued)

Thank you for your partnership and involvement!  If you have any questions/concerns, do not hesitate to contact me (757-229-7597;


Karen M. Swann

First Graders Learn About Pumpkins!

Getting Started with ParentVUE…

ParentVue Letter Oct2014

October 2014

Greetings Penguin families,

We’d like to take this opportunity to touch base with all of our families about Parent VUE.  ParentVue provides online access to help families stay up-to-date about their students’ grades, assignments and attendance. Additionally, ParentVue will provide families with another way to communicate with schools and for schools to communicate with families. ParentVue takes the place of Edline for WJCC families.  If you have not yet received an activation code, please respond back to this email and your code will be sent home with your child. If you prefer to have it mailed home, we can certainly do that instead.

If you have a Parent VUE account already set up, please take a minute to verify that all your contact information is correct.  You now have the ability to update phone numbers, email addresses and emergency contacts.

The link to our ParentVUE is:

Once you have activated your student’s account, the account will stay with that student as long as they are enrolled in a WJCC public school.  You will not have to reactivate when they move up to middle or high school.  Additionally, you should be able to view all your children, even if they attend different schools in WJCC, from one account.  If you have an account and you are not able to view all of your students’ profiles, please send me a detailed email so I can make adjustments.

VUE is also available as an application for smart phones, and can be downloaded either through iTunes (if you have an iphone) or Google Play for android users.

Once you have your activation code, please feel free to call or email with any questions, or if you need any help setting up your account! Your partnership matters!

Thank you,

Mary Dillon

Admin Assist/Registrar

Rawls Byrd Elementary

757 229-7597 (ext 48107)


To learn more about VUE, please visit:

Third Grader Hard at Work!