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July 2018

​Happy July! I am so excited to join the Stony Point community as Principal of Stony Point Elementary School! Over the past few weeks I have been busy meeting with teachers and staff to learn what things have been working really well at Stony Point, any opportunities for improvement, and how I can best support them in my role.  In addition, while our awesome custodial crew has been working to get the building ready for the upcoming school year, we have completed both a successful summer school (Camp Invention) and Kindergarten Camp experience for students.  As I reflect on the fact that school is only a little over a month away, I cannot help but feel excitement for all of the new opportunities that await myself and our community this year.  I look forward to the chance to meet and work with you all.p

Latishia Wilson - Principal
Stony Point Elementary School

August 2017

Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year! Our staff looks forward to meeting new community members and seeing you again if you are already a memb​er of our community. We have 32 families with children new to our school in grades PK-5. Our current enrollment is 240 in PK-5.

Even though our students have been away these last weeks, Stony Point School has been a busy place! Many people have pitched in to get ready for our students returning in a couple of weeks. Our custodial staff has been working hard to make sure that our building is ready and looks great. Special appreciation goes out to our Head Custodian, Gary Courtney, for his leadership and to his crew, Rob Watkins, and Edwina Brice. They put a phenomenal amount of work into stripping floors and applying new wax so our hallways, learning spaces, and cafeteria floors can sparkle and shine. They also cleaned every surface. Angie Brill and Gloria Oliver have also been working hard in our Administrative Office to enroll students, prepare files, help set up interviews, and taking care of uncountable details. Not only has the staff of Stony Point been busy this summer, but our Albemarle County Public Schools Building Services Department has worked hard to install a new generator that will provide internet service, telephone service, and most importantly running water during power outages! I recently learned that building services will also drill a new well soon. Our teachers have been working hard assisting with interviews, attending professional development and meeting to plan ways for making learning joyful for our students.

Please join me in welcoming the newest additions to our teaching staff, Shelby White, Kathy Anish, Katen Reynolds, Nathan Hipple and Lindsay Evans.

Shelby will be joining our staff from Cale Elementary and has previously taught at Woodbrook and Hollymead. Shelby will be heading up our new Early Childhood Special Education program for children ages 2-5 years old who have been found eligible for special education. We are excited that Stony Point was chosen to host this program.

Kathy graduated with a dual degree in Psychology and Elementary Education Nursery-6/Special Education K-12 (including Gifted) from the College of New Rochelle. Her master’s degree in Biological Sciences at SUNY, Stony Brook. She recently attained her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a major in Science K-14 from Concordia University, and has taught in Virginia, New York, and Florida. This will be her 10th year teaching. Kathy will be teaming with Keren Heckathorn in third grade. Kathy and Keren have also had a head start in planning the year for our third graders. They both took classes in Responsive Classroom this summer.

Katen will be teaming up with Sheller Bolton in fifth grade. She has earned her master’s degree in teaching at UVA, and has previously taught 2nd and 4th grade; this will be her 6th year teaching. She is excited to be a part of the Stony Point community. This year Katen and Sheller will be sharing our fifth graders, Sheller will be teaching Language Arts and Virginia Studies, and Katen will be teaching Math and Science. They have been hard at it already planning for the new year.

Nathan Hipple is a two time William and Mary graduate who is returning to the county after staying at home for a couple of years with his daughter. He previously worked at Red Hill Elementary as a 4th and 5th-grade teacher and is excited to be with us as our gifted resource teacher. He will also be an intervention resource teacher.

Lindsay Evans is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and received her master’s in art education from Boston University. She has worked in Waynesboro City Schools, the Charlottesville Catholic School and is a former employee of Albemarle County, having taught art at Burley Middle School for three years. Lindsay is a happy wife, mother to four children, and a resident of the Stony Point Community. She is very excited to have the opportunity to carry-on the creative legacy that Miss Mary Lou had created for the students at Stony Point.

Stony Point is fortunate to have all of these great people joining our staff—one they certainly all have in common is their love of learning, love of teaching, and most importantly, their love of kids!

We are looking forward to an incredible school year!  For more information on our August 21st Open House, Back to School Night and more, CLICK HERE for out August 2017 School News Letter.

Mr. Johnson

Principal

August 2016

Stony Point Families and Friends,

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year. Our dedicated staff has been working hard to prepare for an exciting year—sharing ideas and passions for student centered learning, problem solving, and creating optimal learning spaces.  At the heart of this work for students is sharing that learning is a joyful and fulfilling lifetime activity that is stirred by curiosity and answers questions-- while often inspiring new ones. This experience provides access to the tools we need in order to prepare for the future.

The idea is not a modern one, Socrates summed it up almost 2,500 years ago when he said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Our Media Center/Library has undergone lots of physical changes this summer, and we invite you to come by for a visit. I know that Ms. McGill, our new librarian, is looking forward to kindling many flames in the renovated space this year!

Everyday I am inspired by my work at Stony Point School. I see how staff and families join together to kindle that flame in each individual learner. I am humbled to be a part of this journey with all of you.

Looking forward to the best year yet!

 Andy Johnson, Principal

April, 2016

I hope you had a great spring break. It’s hard to believe that we are now headed off to the final stretch of the year! It is getting close to the time when teachers and I will begin the work of creating class placement lists for next year. Many considerations come into play when making these decisions. Classroom teachers and teaching specialists take the lead in creating the class lists as they have great insight into student social and academic needs. As classes are formed, we will consider a number of factors to create a balanced learning community in the classroom-- including, but not limited to: previous academic performance, special needs, demographic balance, learning styles, gender balance, and social needs. If you believe there is additional information to be considered, I invite you to share it with me so we can be best informed of your perspective as we make these decisions.

Please note the following if you decide to share information about your child’s needs:

All information must be provided in writing to Angie Brill or myself by Friday, May 15. It is very difficult to make changes in the class roster after assignments have been made, moving one student has a ripple effect. You may either write a letter or email your thoughts to me at ajohnson2@k12albemarle.org. Please give your perspective related to the skills and attributes of your child that should be considered rather than requesting specific teachers, as grade level staffing is subject to change. Every letter will be read and considered carefully. Every effort will be made to best meet your child’s needs.

As always, if you have any questions please come by to see me, set up a time to talk, or give me a call at 434-973-6405.

I look forward to us hitting the home stretch in great form and look forward to making preparations for the coming year.

Thanks for all of your support in serving our students! Andy  

February, 2016

Dear Stony Point Families,

I am excited about our “Dinner and a Movie Night” scheduled for 5:30-8:00 on March 4th.  Please make sure that your calendars are marked and make it a point to come join this important Stony Point School event! There is no doubt that the thought-provoking film about learning priorities for the 21st Century, Most Likely to Succeed, will become a future topic of discussion in our community. To quote the Sundance Review,

“It quickly becomes clear that Most Likely to Succeed sees very little point in looking at education reform from a political standpoint. This is a film about parents, teachers and, most importantly, students, namely the grassroots participants that make up all the statistics we hear about on the nightly news. We see their victories and defeats, their excitement and anxiety.”

Childcare and a movie (to be announced) along with dinner will be provided for the children. Many thanks to our PTO for sponsoring this event!
There are also other exciting events on the calendar over the next few weeks:
Student Talent Show February 19, 6:00-8:30
Drama Club performance of The Jungle Book, March 8
Book Fair March 10-15   
Important Notice: I hope you enjoyed the Blizzard of 2016!!
Because of missed school days the following days are now make up days:
February 15, April 1, June 6-7 
Schools will also be closed on March 1 for the Presidential Primary.

Andy Johnson
Principal

December 2015

Greetings Families, Staff, and Friends

I get excited when I see kids engaged in learning during classrooms visits! It is a privilege to work with such dedicated and excellent teachers as their students discuss ideas, research, collaborate, and design projects,. But even more, I have recently been inspired to see so many of our kids reaching out with acts of kindness--chains of kindness in classrooms, the lending of a hand to help, passing out kind notes, messages of encouragement in the hallways, and compliments at morning meetings, just to mention a few of these expressions. It’s heart warming to see, and is most needed in today’s world.

Please continue to encourage your children to reach out in kindness to others!

It is hard to believe that we are approaching the half way mark in our school year! There have been a lot of activities going on at Stony Point School. The PTO again succeeded in sponsoring a very successful auction (the 80th) to support our students, teachers, and classrooms. A special thank you to Nina Caplan, our PTO Chair, and the Auction Committee for all of their dedication and hard work; also thanks to those who donated products and services such as teacher excursions, and all of the volunteers and students who made such wonderful class projects.  Although I have not heard exactly how much was raised by the event, I have heard that we met our budget needs. There are more events coming soon; please check the calendar on our web page. Here are a few highlights:

  • December 10, Holiday Make a Gift Maker Night
  • December 15, 4th/5th Grade Winter Program
  • December 21-January 3, Winter Break

Exciting news! What could be better than food, conversation and a night out at the movies with friends? We will be sponsoring a screening of the film Most Likely to Succeed in our gymnatorium on March 4th,  from 5:30-8:00 (snow date March 11th) Mark your calendar now! You won’t want to miss it! Here is a quote about it from the Sundance Review:

It quickly becomes clear that Most Likely to Succeed sees very little point in looking at education reform from a political standpoint. This is a film about parents, teachers and, most importantly, students, namely the grassroots participants that make up all the statistics we hear about on the nightly news. We see their victories and defeats, their excitement and anxiety.

This is a link to the website: http://mltsfilm.org

Plan to join us!

Wishing that you have a great winter break and enjoy some good and loving times together with yours.

Best, Andy

November 5, 2015

The challenges of our world and the skill sets our children will need to succeed in it are rapidly changing. Micro computer chips and Internet connectivity weren’t even dreamed in the recently past years of vacuum tubes and libraries with book stacks. I can’t begin to imagine what the world of our children will be like as they approach adulthood. The educational experiences that Albemarle County Public Schools strives to provide for our children today are vastly different from those of the past.  Classrooms and libraries are changing from a “shush, listen, read, print” mentality to a “search, connect, communicate, make accessible” mindset, reaching out to teach today’s children; encouraging them to “discover, uncover, create, communicate,” and yes--make mistakes everyday!

I graduated from undergraduate college in 1976; the year that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Inc. and America celebrated its 200th birthday. The papers I wrote for my classes were either handwritten on notebook paper or painstakingly typed out on blank white paper rolled onto the rubber cylinder of an IBM Selectric typewriter. The Selectric had a ball with fonts cast onto its face; a big improvement over the earlier Olympia that had typefaces cast onto individual levers inevitably colliding and jamming. If my professor had a “typed written” requirement there was usually a “no more than three mistakes per page rule” and I knew that I would need to start over if I made more than 3 errors on a page. In luckier cases the professor would let us use “Eaton’s Corrasable Bond,” a paper that forgave mistakes because we could use a rubber pencil eraser. Back then “Cut and paste” meant that you literally cut up the paper draft and pasted sentences or ideas into different paragraphs for retyping. Research required filling and filing index cards, long days at the library and hauling stacks of books back home.

It was unimaginable then that I would be using this personal computer, allowing me to type, check spelling, grammar, and erase mistakes while also learning a cooking recipe from someone across the world at the touch of a button. Back then the possibility that I could cut and paste my ideas and send them out to the world on an electronic worldwide network was never imagined, even as a theme in the many science fiction books I loved to read.

In 1976 I was a studio art major with a concentration in printmaking and ceramics.  I spent most of my time working in the art studios at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) or in my basement studios at home.  I spent long hours in a darkened room with trays of developer and fixer.  This made me able to share a passion for seeing the world through the media of photographic paper and celluloid film coated with silver halide crystals suspended in an emulsion. Kicking a wheel and forming clay in my hands gave me the satisfaction of forming useful vessels. I poured over many books that taught me what I thought I needed to know. I still remember how I scoffed when I heard that in the future photographs might be made electronically (“pixel” wasn’t a commonly known term back then).

I have no idea what I might be doing today if I were given freedom and today’s powerful tools for learning. Looking back, to just under 40 years ago, I reflect that our world has changed in unimagined ways. What does that mean for the future of our kids? How does that change how we serve them?

If you have ideas my door is always open!

Andy Johnson

August 5, 2015

Dear Families and Friends of the Stony Point Community,

I hope you and yours had a great summer! I am very excited about starting my second year as the Principal of Stony Point School. Last year after visiting classrooms, talking with students and staff, and meeting with families, I would leave the day feeling thankful that I was the principal of such a wonderful school. I know that this year we will all continue to work together to do whatever is best to serve the learning needs of our students. Please feel free to stop by and talk if you have an idea, concern, or perspective to share—I have an open door. If I am out of the building or unavailable when you stop by please set up a time for us to get together through Ms. Angie Brill, our Office Associate IV, or send an email message to me at ajohnson2@k12albemarle.org (please try to remember the 2).

 

On behalf of the faculty and staff I would like to welcome you to the 2015-2016 school year. I know it will be a great one!

Andy Johnson


June 5, 2015

It's Thursday, June 4th , 9:00 pm, and Karen (my wife) and I are headed to Dulles International Airport to pick up our daughter, Melissa, who is traveling home from Yuma, Arizona, where she is a high school special education teacher. Melissa and I often converse on the phone about teaching, learning, and what 's important in life. Karen's at the wheel, so you don't need to be concerned about me texting while driving. Yesterday was my first grandchild's, Eva, third birthday. Emily, her mother is a family social worker who lives in Charlottesville. Seven weeks ago we welcomed

45 Kiya, Emily's second, into the world. I am incredibly proud of both of our daughters and their work with kids. We are all anticipating our two weeks together as a family until Melissa heads back to Yuma. While she is with us we will celebrate two birthdays and a 37th wedding anniversary.

It's hard to believe that the school year has so quickly drawn to a close. We've had great performances, a talent show, FunRun, and celebrated learning through QuestFest and pizza parties-tomorrow is Field Day, and Monday is the 5th grade promotion ceremony (I will miss them next year). It's been a memorable year, and I am very thankful to serve as the Principal of Stony Point. It's been a great year of learning and growing for me. But I am left with the thought that the most important teachers of the kids that walk our hallways and give us so much joy are you, their parents, guardians, and families. Have a safe summer, learn together, have fun, take care of each other and be safe.

>Best Wishes for a happy and safe summer,

Andy

February 5, 2014

Stony Point School is an amazing place to work and learn. I am happy to come here each day! We are fortunate to have such wonderful students to teach, supportive parents who advocate for their children, and a professional, caring staff. Stony Point is also fortunate to be a part of the Albemarle County Public Schools system that goes beyond the state standards and places such high value on life-long learning and the development of 21st skills.

Unfortunately, over the past six years the state of Virginia has reduced its financial support for education and left it to local government to pick up the slack. The single most negative impact on funding our schools is the actions taken by our state legislature. The state provided $3,655 per student during the 2008-2009 school year, but will only provide $3,368 per student for the 2015-2016 school year. If the state held their support for K-12 education the same as that of six years ago the division would receive $54 million per year, not the $45.5 that is projected for 2015-2016.

Despite making cuts in services and positions for next year, there is still a $3.1 million funding gap. Employee compensation will be frozen for the first six months. Even with minimal increases in compensation during the second semester, $1.3 million will be added to the budget during the first six months of the new fiscal year owing to increases in health insurance premiums and teachers will take home less pay than they do now. There have also been reductions in funding opportunities for professional development. I am increasingly concerned about our ability to retain, recruit and develop the quality of professionals we need to sustain excellence and broaden opportunities for students while the number of enrolled students across the division continues to rise.

I am asking you to advocate for the support of your child's education at Stony Point School. The major goals set forth in Dr. Moran's budget are to:

  • Preserve the current quality of student services.
  • Meet the service demands of student enrollment growth.
  • Move closer towards maintaining future market competitiveness.

How can you help? The Board of Supervisors public hearings begin at 6 p.m. in the Lane Auditorium located in the Central Office Building on McIntire Rd. For people wishing to speak at the public hearings (students are also encouraged), there is an option to sign-up online (county web site) a few days prior to the hearing. Come out and be seen and heard!

Here are times that are scheduled:

Monday, February 23: Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on County Executive's Proposed Budget

Wednesday, April 1: Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on Proposed Budget

Wednesday, April 8: Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on Proposed Tax Rate

The February 23 and April 1 public hearings by the Board of Supervisors are particularly important. The February public hearing has the advantage of occurring before the Board of Supervisors advertises a proposed tax rate. The Board of Supervisors will adopt a budget and tax rate for 2015-16 at their meeting on Tuesday, April 14. Come out and wear your Stony Point t-shirt!

For additional information please visit the 2015-16 Budget Development page on the county website:

http://www2.k12albemarle.org/dept/osp/fiscal/budget/Pages/2015-16-Budget-Development.aspx

Sincerely, Andy Johnson

December 1, 2014

It's hard to believe that the school year is close to being half over. So much has happened at Stony Point School this year, and each day has been filled with surprises. The Putt-Putt Maker Night in October was a great success; many students, families, and teachers came out to join in the fun. The cafeteria was crowded with engineers and their assistants working on designing and constructing unique marble putt-putt golf courses. We are looking forward to having another Maker Night in January-stay tuned to our webpage and the PTO's Stony Point Eagle to hear more about when and where. If you have a great idea for something you would like to do on the Maker Night in January please pass your idea on to me. Carnival Night was also a delight! Stony Pointers young and older came out to get their faces painted, join in the cakewalk and win at Bingo; thank you to all of the dedicated volunteers who worked to make that night such a great success.

Our fifth graders celebrated the premier of their films at UVA's Campbell Hall on November 8th , their collaborative efforts and creativity were evident in the movies they made. Again, many thanks to the volunteers and teachers who assisted our students in so many ways, and to the Virginia Film Festival and the Unive177rsity of Virginia fo118r providing such an

48 authnentic venue. Filmmaking is a maker opportunity that is multi-faceted and includes opportunities for problem solving, critical thinking and technical skills is a true "maker" endeavor.

Wishing you all the best as we move into winter break and the holiday seasons.

Andy Johnson

November 1, 2014

Dear Stony Point Elementary School Families:

Albemarle County Public Schools has high expectations for students and is dedicated to ensuring that all students succeed based on multiple measures. One measure is student and school performance based on the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. The state of Virginia under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) waiver has established a set of measurable objectives that are common for all schools across the state. These objectives, which are based on our students' performance on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, replaced the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets schools were previously required to meet under the federal education law.

On August 20, Virginia released a report based on the 2013-14 SOL results. To meet Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO), each school's SOL test scores in math for students in the following membership groups were considered: all students; White students; African American students; Hispanic students; limited English proficient students; students with disabilities; and economically disadvantaged stude178nts. In addition to119 the test scores, a

49 mínimum of 95% of the students in each group must take the SOL test.

For 2014-15, Stony Point Elementary School did not meet the state's math objectives for several membership groups. This qualifies them as a Focus School. Focus Schools become eligible179 for additional support from the school

50 división and state as they work to improve. Federal funds will be used for intensive staff professional development as well as a state-designated contractor. As part of Stony Point's improvement plan the following will occur:

  • A review of curricular planning documents and their alignment to the Virginia Standards of Learning;
  • Ongoing progress monitoring to assess student growth;
  • Observing interventions; and
  • Infusing technologies to accelerate learning.

The leadership and faculty of Stony Point Elementary continue to seek ways to provide the highest quality education for each child in the school. Stony Point has much to celebrate and, like all schools, has areas that can be improved upon. It is our desire to continue working with you and your child during the upcoming year, and we are firmly committed to achieving our goal of success for every student. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail Andy Johnson, your Stony Point principal, at 973-6405 or ajohnson2@k12albemarle.org

Sincerely

Pam Moran,

51 Ed.D., Superintendent

October 2014

Dear Stony Point Families,

These first couple of months, as Interim Principal at Stony Point, have been amazing. Each day I am inspired by the dedicated adults and delightful children that surround me. If you haven't been able to meet in one of our community building conversations, there is another one scheduled for November 4th at 1:00, please contact me if you would like to get together and talk about our school (also let me know if you would like to meet but that time does not work for you). The conversations I have had with staff and parents at these meetings have helped me gain a deeper appreciation for the Stony Point School Community and how it nourishes the growth of our children. I will also be meeting with students in the near future.

During our Day of Caring, volunteers from the NGIC worked hard to make great improvements in our Japanese Garden and the landscaping that greets us as we enter our school. The work continues as parent volunteers make improvements to the garden's fishpond; additional landscaping will get underway in the spring. If you haven't seen our new Learning Circle that is underway on the asphalt of the bus circle, please stop by and take a look. The Circle includes a variety of games, a compass rose, a dragon and an interactive sundial. It will be completed soon. Students are already using it for playful learning.

Maker‐work continues to grow and flourish in classrooms and in our new

52 makerspace. Please mark your calendars for our first Maker Night of the year: Tuesday, October 28th from 6:00‐7:30. Students, families and teachers will create miniature putt‐putt marble courses out of cardboard and recycled materials (please begin saving any materials that might come in handy). If you would like to know more about this movement that has inspired engineering and problem solving across the country, please join us for a pare182nt discussion in the library at 6:00. Miss

53 Passman will be in the cafeteria facilitating the work with children. You may drop off your student/s there while you attend the parent session; at 6:30 we will all go to the cafeteria to join in the fun. If you are familiar with the concept of "making to learn" and don't183 feel a need to attend the discussion, Ms.

54 Passman would love to have your help in the cafeteria.

Thanks for all you do to support the growth of our students!
Andy Johnson

August 2014

Welcome to an exciting new year for our learning community.

Although Stony Point dates back more than 100 years, our school and our students are on the front edge of innovation today, from our outdoor environmental classrooms and nature trails to our emphasis on authentic learning through design, creativity, teamwork and problem-solving. Our excellent staff is dedicated to each child they serve and continuously strives to bring what is best to our students.

We were one of the first schools to pilot the division's maker curriculum in 2013. Students of all ability levels become more engaged in their learning, they enthusiastically share wonderful ideas with their peers, and apply their knowledge to create projects of their own design. I am encouraged, too, by the support from members of our community, who have collaborated with staff to bring engineering and design opportunities to our students and by the stories parents tell me about how this work continues at home.

Before beginning my career in education, I had the privilege of serving Mr. Jefferson's Monticello for 15 years as a Restoration Specialist/Architectural Conservator. I developed a strong appreciation for values that are timeless, an appreciation that grew over the past five years, as I came to know Stony Point and its very special community.

As an educator, you have the opportunity to bring all of your life learning into the classroom. The time I spent at Monticello gave me a unique perspective on one of those timeless values--the educational power of being a life-long learner who is thoughtful, creative and collaborative in one's work. I've seen the enthusiasm and excitement this power delivers to our students as they come together to turn their ideas into finished products and to master the challenges of problem-solving through design work and critical thinking.

I'd like to thank each of you for your ongoing contributions to our students and to tell you how valuable you will be to them in the future. Together, I know we will expand the innovation we bring to our classrooms and expand, too, the foundation of academic excellence that has made our school a leader since 1908.

I look forward to getting to know you better in the year ahead and to share ideas that will improve the learning environment for each one of our students.

Sincerely,

Andy Johnson, Interim Principal

June 2014

Recently, our fourth and fifth grade students gave an amazing end-of-year musical performance which included many solo and small group highlights, both instrumental and vocal. It reminded me how important it is to provide our students with opportunities to take risks in a supportive environment that will honor and celebrate their learning and performance.

On my way to work, I was thinking about the chorus concert, and I remembered summer camping trips with my family and a close group of friends. We camped on the James River and there was a rock structure that was about 20 feet high in the bend of the river on our canoe/tubing trip. There were several folks climbing up to the top and jumping off into the water below. The first year we went camping, we watched other folks doing this. The second year, my sons, then 10 and 12, wanted to try it. Luckily, one of our friends on the trip was a professional fire fighter and was scuba-certified. He assured me that he would survey the scene below the water to make sure it was safe. Still a little nervous about it, I allowed my sons to jump (I should add that my husband also jumped-I did not!). As I watched them from a sandy spot across the river, I held my breath and was relieved and excited for them when there were shouts of pure joy that followed.

With summer here, I hope that you will encourage your child to take risks when they are supported by a measure of safety. That measure of safety might come from a lifeguard teaching swimming lessons or a parent's encouraging words before a piano recital. It could also come from you modeling taking your own risks. Whatever the form, when we offer a supportive environment that encourages growth, great things happen.

I wish a wonderful summer for all of you and I hope you include time for going on those happy adventures that involve the accomplishments of trying something new. Life-long learning is really one risk after another, but the reward is beyond measure.

Thank you for another year with these awesome students,

Carrie

April 2014

It is hard to believe we are already in our last quarter of the year! Last year, I received a lot of positive feedback from parents related to sharing our process for requesting a teacher for the upcoming year. Please read below, as I know many of you are beginning to think about this. Again, I believe it is helpful to understand how we make placement decisions, as well as the many considerations that come into play, in order to create balanced learning communities.

At Stony Point, our teachers take the lead role in determining class placement for the upcoming year. There are many aspects that I have them inten

55(boys:girls, academic levels, social/behavioral development, various services provided during the school day including special education, gifted identification, and Title I Reading support). I have found that since the teachers are the adults who work most closely with your child and with groups of children during the school day, they have a rich perspective to draw on when it comes to placing students in the best setting. That being said, as a parent, I know there are times when you want to make sure we are aware of a particular learning need in relation to your child, and I want to ensure you continue to have an avenue to do that.

Please contact me directly by email or phone before May 30th, if you have a request related to the 2014-2015 school year. Please keep in mind that it is most helpful if you share particular information related to the specific learning needs of your child, rather than requesting a specific teacher. I feel very confident in our top-notch teaching staff at Stony Point, and we generally are not overwhelmed with specific teacher requests, which leads me to believe our parents share that confidence as well!

Please keep in mind, while we "cluster group" students so that all children have an appropriate peer group, our goal is to create balanced, heterogeneous classrooms where children bring a variety of perspectives to a thriving learning community.

As always, thank you for your support!

Carrie

March 2014



Almost eight years ago I participated in my first Stony Point PTO Auction "experience." I remember heading out on a Friday night in the fall and wondering what the evening would bring. My only associations with auctions were those of my childhood, where I remember sitting very still after someone told me if I moved too quickly, the auctioneer might think I was bidding. I recall being amazed by the quick-talking-cadence of the auctioneer. I also remember thinking I really wasn't interested in the antiques that seemed to capture the attention of the adults in the audience…so, I was thankful for the homemade pies and sweet lemonade of diversion that allowed me to sneak out of the auction tent for a bit. Who knew my Stony Point Auction experience would be so different?

I am certain that when you attend our auction, you will find many beautiful items, but I hope you will also find this to be a terrific experience! Once you have the opportunity to explore, you will notice the amazing amount of work that has gone into creating this extraordinary evening. From auction chairs, Nina Kaplan, Caroline Cook, and Kristen Martel, to room parents and PTO members, to local businesses, to teachers and staff members, to students---there are many in our learning community who have done the "up front" work of putting our hearts into this event. We now turn the evening over to the larger community and ask for your support.

We hope you have a wonderful evening, whether or not you leave with a treasure or two (or more!). Thank you for putting your heart into this event and for attending tonight. We are fortunate to be an elementary school that reflects the incredibly generous community of Stony Point!

Happy Bidding!

Carrie

56 Neeley

January 2014

I'd like to begin by giving a huge shout-out of "THANKS!" to our incredible PTO for supporting our maker-work at school by purchasing a fully-stocked cooking cart and a brand new double-oven. As soon as our oven arrived in the spring of last year, our teachers began to incorporate this additional tool to enhance student learning experiences. Below are some of the creations made using our new appliance:

apple pies, cupcakes, soup, pumpkin pies, roasted pumpkin seeds, corn muffins, sugar cookies, alphabet cookies, egg rolls, pizzas, kale chips , strawberry muffins, scones (England), brownies, gingersnaps, Chocolate Croissants (France), Bread Babies (Ecuador), Vasilopita, Gluewhein (Germany), Magdalenas (Spain) gingerbread, Cheese biscuits (France)….and more!!!

As you can see, it is being put to good use! Those of us who love to cook (and eat!) can certainly identify a host of learning opportunities involved in cooking experiences. When students are creating, mixing, and baking, they are engaged in hands-on experiences that enhance life-long learning in content areas such as science, math, social studies, art, health, language arts, and even some foreign language/geography experiences! To this day, I still remember making "Stone Soup" in my second grade classroom. I would predict that our students will remember many of these experiences for years to come.

As we move into February, I would like to invite all of you to join me for an upcoming conversation related to our School Improvement Goal surrounding our maker-work. The new oven is just one example of a tool we are using to leverage student engagement in authentic learning experiences. I hope you will save the date for "Coffee and Conversation" at 6:30 on February 20th. As many of you know, we began an emphasis on increasing maker-opportunities for our students last year, and we are continuing our efforts this year. Please join me, along with several of our teachers, for an opportunity to ask questions, share feedback, and most importantly, learn more about this aspect of your child's educational experience here at Stony Point Elementary.

Thanks again for your amazing support! Hope to see you on the 20th!

Carrie Neeley


November 2013

Dear Stony Point Families,

This past Tuesday, Stony Point's Drama Club presented to a packed house for two performances of "Aladdin." The students did a fabulous job! I have to admit, our yearly drama performance is one of the highlights of the school year for me. As a young person attached to performing at an early age, I have always appreciated the many valuable lessons I learned during my years in community theatre (specifically, nearby Four County Players). Although I could choose from MANY, today I'd like to share three:

1.) The Lesson of: Overcoming disappointment when you don't get the part you were going for

This scenario usually involves reading some sort of written cast list. There is something very formal and permanent about this process. You know it is not negotiable. The decision has been made. Even though at times I was going after a larger part, there have been MANY times I didn't get the "lead" in the play. I would go through some typical thought stages that usually went something like this: 1. I wonder why the other person was chosen instead of me? 2. Maybe I won't accept the role assigned to me…(although usually during auditions I had to check a box that asked if I would accept any role or not-I always checked "yes!") 3. But… I really don't want to miss out on the joy of the practices (yes, I thought practicing was fun, even though it was hard work) or performances, and there seemed to be a lot of new people who are in the play that I'd like to get to know better…4. How can I make this role enjoyable/worthwhile? Once I reached this point, I was all-in.

2.)The Lesson of: One person doesn't make a great play (Unless it's a one person show!)

We've all heard the expression: "There are no small parts, only small actors." As corny as it sounds, this is a very central theme to the work in theatre-and arguably, in any collaborative effort. One person can't carry the show, no matter how awesome that person is. In fact, sometimes that person just seems out of place if he/she doesn't blend in well with the rest of the cast. Putting on a production involves tapping into the strengths of many in order to shine, collectively. I like to think of life that way as well.

3.) The Lesson of: Adding Lib/The Show Must Go on!

It happens. You are on stage and you draw a blank. Your body temperature rises and your head feels like cotton is getting in the way of your ability to remember the correct line. At this point, hopefully, one of two things happen: You either remember your line, or someone gives you a cue to help you remember. If done with confidence and finesse, the audience never even detects a missed beat. When I was in this position, I knew it was never an option to just "quit" on the show or on my cast and crew. I learned to work through the uncomfortable moment and was able to build up resilience when I had moments of failure. I also learned to be thankful for a supportive team. I knew they'd have my back if I fell short. Finally, there is a celebrated moment when you are back in the groove of the performance and all begins to move in sync once again! Whew-that's a great feeling!

In this season of being mindful of life's gifts, I'd like to extend a HUGE shout out to the cast and crew of Aladdin! Your brilliant performance reminded me of some life lessons for which I am truly THANKFUL!

Happy Thanksgiving

Carrie Neeley, Principal

September 2013

 

Dear Stony Point Friends and Families,

Welcome back to a school year full of new experiences! As you can see from the pictures on our website, our students are already busy integrating building, making, and creating into an exciting year of learning! As part of our staff development, Stony Point Teaching Staff is reading, "Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom," by Martinez and Stager. This in-common text will provide an anchor as we discuss how to engage our students in an atmosphere that builds on each child's strengths and curiosities. In a recent staff meeting, we had the opportunity to "tinker" with our new Android Tablets that will be dispersed into classrooms this week. We will be looking for opportunities to use these new technology tools as students create and connect. As we collaboratively tinkered in programs like

61"Skitch" and "Picasso" we wondered about the many uses for such programs as tools to help our students set their imaginations in motion. We hope you'll mark your calendars for our Stony Point Maker Fair, November 16th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. We have a planning team, consisting of staff and parents, who will be working on bringing this exciting event to our school. Stay tuned to hear more about joining us for what promises to be a mind- motivating afternoon! Many thanks to your support for our amazing group of learners! A good start to the school year depends on many factors, and we are super-appreciative of the collective effort from our staff, parents, community members, on behalf of our students!

June 2013

 

Dear Stony Point Friends and Families,

Yesterday was a special day for Stony Point Elementary! A group of representatives traveled to Washington D.C. for the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Award Ceremony, where Stony Point Elementary was one of two schools in Virginia to be recognized for this achievement. According to the DOE's website, the selected schools were

62 recognizedfor their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including STEM, green careers and civics.

The summary below is an excerpt from the Green Ribbons Highlights for Honorees:

Stony Point has a greenhouse, a nature trail, a student-created Japanese garden, and a cold-weather garden planted by second graders. Students are designing a math garden that will provide hands-on learning opportunities. In addition, students track the weather through Stony Point's weather station. Third graders have created a self-guided iPod tour of the school's nature trail. Fourth graders dissect flowers from the school's garden, and track the growth of their plants by monitoring and measuring the height and weight of various plants. Students have sold flowers grown from the garden for fundraising events. In addition, students use Stony Point's nature trail to create podcasts, and use the Japanese garden for quiet reflection and sketching. These explorations of the environment and natural world are the subject of many Stony Point art projects and writing assignments. For instance, the school's library has hundreds of student-created books on everything from lizards, to identifying trees. In addition, Stony Point teachers have started to use National Geographic Explorer magazine to teach reading comprehension through nonfiction coding. Over the years, Stony Point has invested in salon learning, where students at all levels come together, using Explorer as an in-common text to explore the natural world.

Stony Point's cafeteria offers tasting days to promote healthy eating habits among students. One of the most popular lunch items is hummus, purchased from nearby Farm at Red Hill, and served on a platter. Hummus is not the only cafeteria item that is locally grown. Stony Point participates in a Farm to School program, and buys much of its food from local farms. Stony Point has also integrated nutrition education with outdoor sustainability activities. For instance, second-graders planted a cold-weather garden which includes radishes, beets, and lettuce, and celebrated their work by eating home grown Stony Point salad. The garden also allows students to learn about the various parts of a flower, and how seeds germinate and grow. Many students choose to work in the garden for recess, digging with trowels, watering, and weeding. Students also have opportunities to participate in club activities including dance, taekwondo, and running. In addition, Stony Point has an Eyes on Nature Club, which engages in outdoor activities including walking, observing, and learning. According to the EPA, Stony Point demonstrates IAQ best practices.

Stony Point has received the EPA's ENERGY STAR certification twice, in 2009 and 2011, and currently rates at an 89. From 2009 to 2012, Stony Point reduced energy usage by 17 percent, which equated to utility savings totaling $4,600. In addition, Stony Point has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 9 percent over a three year period. Stony Point has participated in the Go Green Virginia Public Schools Challenge, which rewards schools that take steps to improve energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It placed 3rd in 2010, 3rd in 2011, and 2nd in 2012. The school's landscaping consists entirely of native plants that do not require irrigation beyond natural rainfall."

Hopefully, you can see your own child's work in several portions of the summary above! Whether it is our arts-infused curriculum or our commitment to taking care of and learning about the world around us, Stony Point takes great pride in being part of a very special place in your child's education.

Thanks to our friends in Building Services (including Environmental Compliance Manager Lindsay Check Snoddy, who encouraged us to apply), Food Services, and all of our incredible parent volunteers who have contributed much of their time to helping us achieve this national recognition! This is certainly a team-effort on many levels and we greatly appreciate your support!

Have a wonderful, GREEN SUMMER!

Carrie Neeley

For more information, visit www.ed.gov/green-ribbonschools


April 2013

Dear Stony Point Families,

As we head into the last quarter of the school year, our staff is already setting time aside to plan for the 2013-2014 academic year. I know parents are beginning to think about that as well, and it is also around this time when I begin to receive requests for the upcoming school year. I would like to take this opportunity to share how our class placement process works, as a great deal of thought and planning goes into creating balanced learning communities.

At Stony Point, our teachers take the lead role in determining class placement for the upcoming year. There are many aspects that I have them intentionally consider

66(boys:girls, academic levels, social/behavioral development, various services provided during the school day including special education, gifted identification, and Title I Reading support). I have found that since the teachers are the adults who work most closely with your child and with groups of children during the school day, they have a rich perspective to draw on when it comes to placing students in the best setting. That being said, as a parent, I know there are times when you want to make sure we are aware of a particular learning need in relation to your child, and I want to ensure you continue to have an avenue to do that.

This year, I am going to ask that you contact me directly by email or phone before May 31st if you have a request related to the 2013-2014 school year. Please keep in mind that it is most helpful if you share particular information related to the specific learning needs of your child, rather than requesting a specific teacher. I feel very confident in our top-notch teaching staff at Stony Point, and we generally are not overwhelmed with specific teacher requests, which leads me to believe our parents share that confidence as well!

Please keep in mind, while we "cluster group" students so that all children have an appropriate peer group, our goal is to create balanced, heterogeneous classrooms where children bring a variety of perspectives to a thriving learning community.

As always, thank you for your support!

Carrie

March 2013

Hello, Stony Point Families!

I am excited to share several reasons to celebrate Stony Point's latest accomplishments! For starters, Stony Point teamed with 3 small schools in the Southern Feeder Pattern (Red Hill, Yancey, and Scottsville) and applied for the Division's 2015 Grant for funding to create a maker space opportunity for our youngsters. If you were able to attend our recent arcade-creation event (or the carnival where the games were in action), hosted by teachers Matt Caduff and Andy Johnson, you got a sneak preview of the incredible energy for learning that comes when students are allowed to make decisions related to their own sense of curiosity. Stony Point has a Design Team devoted to the development of this work, so stay posted to find out how our maker space, aka: Stony Point's "i-space," evolves!

Another recent recognition for Stony Point, the "Green Ribbon" Award, comes from Virginia's Department of Education. Stony Point is one of 3 schools in the state to be advanced to the federal level for efforts to conserve and to tap into the natural resources surrounding our school as part of educating our students. Several of Stony Point's favorite learning spaces were highlighted, including our recently renovated Japanese Garden, our Nature Trail, and the up and coming Math Garden. Stony Point will be moved forward to represent the state in this effort. Stay tuned to see how we fare at the national level!

Finally, it is once again an honor to be recognized as a "Distinguished Title I School" in Virginia. Although Stony Point has received this particular award several years in a row, we continue to be proud of this accomplishment. As I have mentioned previously, when prospective parents tour our building, I am often asked how Stony Point addresses the "Standards of Learning." When I share the incredible artwork, research, and writing displayed throughout our building shows how we do business at Stony Point, I usually see a change in their expression. You see, Stony Point does adhere to the state standards, but it can look different from previous experiences, and we are about much more.

Please feel free to come and visit our little school that has often been referred to as feeling like a "private" public school. We welcome visitors, and I'll be happy to give a tour! Call our front office at 540-973-6405 and Angie will arrange for a visit. Honestly, I don't have to talk a lot when I give tours (although, I sometimes do!). Our outstanding staff, students, and the "evidence" in an atmosphere dedicated to a healthy, creative, learning community pretty much do the talking.

Carrie Neeley

October 2012

 

Dear Stony Point Families,

This year, Stony Point will be doing some research around the theme of "learning spaces." If you have not had a chance to visit our new i

71-space (formerly known as the computer lab), we hope you can check it out on your next visit. As I mentioned in our State of the School Address, one of the things I look for as I do learning walks in our classrooms is, "To what extent are students engaged in learning?" Are students engaged in a lesson to the point where they would continue working even if they thought no adult was watching? Hopefully, all of us can think of a time when we were so involved in learning a new concept or subject that learning in and of itself, was its own reward. Providing a learning space that allows students to experience choice and provides students with a variety of technology to assist in the learning process can greatly increase student engagement, which in turn makes learning fun (even/especially when it is challenging)!

In addition to the i-space, our United Way Day of Caring Volunteer Group (a UVA Technology Team) worked to clear our "Sculpture Garden," which had become overgrown and unavailable for learning. We are looking forward to creating another outdoor space (in addition to our Japanese Garden and our Nature Trail) for learning, possibly with a math theme. If you are interested in working with us on this project, please contact Allison Mitchell at mitchellmimi@gmail.com. We are looking forward to this new endeavor in our learning community!

When the attention to the learning environment pairs with the attention to a carefully crafted learning experience, great things happen for students. We know that our children will go on to engage in careers we can't even imagine at this point in time. Our goal is to prepare learners to take on any challenge their passions inspire!

As always, THANK YOU for the incredible support you provide for Stony Point Elementary!

Carrie Neeley

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