Critical Teen Issues workshop

If you have teenagers in your family, check out this free workshop coming up this Thursday evening, 11/30, at Hermitage High School! Topics that will be covered include Depression, Substance Abuse, Grief, Healthy Friendships, Internet Safety, and more! Register or get more information by clicking the link below.

Critical Teen Issues Workshop_Flyer


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Silence Hurts link

Did you know that every single Henrico County school has one identical link on its homepage? It’s called “Silence Hurts,” and it’s a way to anonymously report bullying, violence, or safety concerns to the school’s administrators. Can you find our link? Image result for clip art eyes Hint: it’s on the top left of the page.

Still can’t find it? How about now??? 

As School Counselor, I work hard to establish relationships in which students and parents feel safe coming to me with concerns, and our teachers and administrators do the same. Still, some people have difficulty sharing concerns, so I wanted to make sure I pointed out that link. School is a place everyone should feel safe and ready to learn!

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Change is in the air!

The leaves are changing colors and changes are in the air EVERYWHERE at Chamberlayne! Students in grades 3-5 have set goals and changed their biweekly test scores by double-digit increases in many cases; students in K-2 have changed behaviors to begin earning tickets to spend in our new “Roar Store”; and several classes are getting ready to change locations to the learning cottages so our school’s renovation can begin. We are on a roll changing in amazing ways here at Chamberlayne (or should I say Change-erlayne?)!

This week we are celebrating Red Ribbon Week with daily Spirit Days, and we’ll cap off the week with tomorrow’s Fall Festival from 5:30-7:30 pm. Next week, October 30-November 3, is College & Career Awareness Week for HCPS. We will celebrate at Chamberlayne by having College Spirit Day on Wednesday (students and staff should wear shirts/attire from their favorite college or university). We will also have mystery speakers on the morning announcements each day sharing about jobs they had before switching to the education field. Each mystery speaker’s name will be revealed on the afternoon announcements later that day. We will still have our annual career day later in the school year, but this will be a neat preview to get our students thinking about their career and college goals!

Stay tuned for more changes as the first quarter of school comes to a close in less than 2 weeks!

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Here comes Fall!

Chamberlayne’s Gamechangers are cool every day of course, but Fall is about to make us all even cooler… BRR! During the month of October, our monthly character focus school-wide will be RESPECT. Talk about this character trait at home to help your child make connections. What rules do you have for showing respect at home? What about at stores or restaurants? Why is respect important to you as a family?

We have TONS of fun activities coming up this month to build school community and learn about respecting ourselves and others:

  • Walk to School Day Wednesday 10/4
  • First Friday assembly Friday 10/6
  • Red Ribbon Week with daily Spirit Days 10/23-10/27
  • Fall Festival Friday 10/27
  • Mix It Up Day Tuesday 10/31
  • College & Career Awareness Week 10/30-1/3

…not to mention – picture day, a student half-day, and the kickoff to our Fall fundraiser! Keep checking your student’s Friday folder for more information on these events.

We will also host a district parent information session for Gifted Programs at Chamberlayne 6:30-8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4th. That is geared towards families of students already identified as Gifted in HCPS as well as families who are interested in the identification/referral process. One last thing – families of 5th graders, don’t forget IB applications are available now (due back November 6th)!

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Happy New Year!

We are getting so excited about the new school year here at Chamberlayne! One of my “new year’s resolutions” this school year is to update my blog more frequently. Last year I did not post as much as I intended to, and I know I can do better!

Our staff is also now using the Remind app to communicate with parents. Remind is a free phone app that allows teachers to send messages to students’ parents through the app or by text, either individually or as a whole class (such as “Don’t forget – field trip money is due tomorrow!). I will be exploring how to best use this app as well, and if you’d like to sign up for School Counseling messages from me, here’s the link: The types of things I may send messages about are upcoming spirit weeks, career day, community events, or deadline reminders for things like middle school IB applications or gifted identification referrals. Your child’s teacher will have a separate link/code to get messages from him/her. That link will be available at Open House!

Speaking of Open House… put it on your calendar! Open House is this Thursday, August 31st! PreK orientation is 9:00-10:00, Kindergarten orientation is 3:00-4:00, and Open House for 1st-5th grades is 4:00-6:00. Save the date for Back to School Night, too, which will be Thursday, September 14th starting at 6:30. We can’t wait to hear about your summer!

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The Great Kindness Challenge is here!

great kindness challenge

Chamberlayne is participating in The Great Kindness Challenge this week, January 23-27, 2017. This is a national event that reminds students and educators that being kind leads to a better school culture, fostering greater academic growth and enjoyment of school for everyone! On Monday, students in grades K-5 will be given a list of “random acts of kindness” for them to complete. Students who complete every act on their sheet and turn it in to their teachers by the end of the day Thursday will get to participate in a fun reward activity at the end of the week (or next Tuesday, depending on the student’s grade level schedule). Stay tuned for pictures and remind your Chamberlayne student that KINDNESS MATTERS!

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5th Grade Families: Important Dates!

If you have a 5th grade student at Chamberlayne, be sure to check tomorrow’s Friday Folder! Tomorrow a middle school information packet will be enclosed. This packet will give you helpful information about how to plan your student’s 6th grade courseload and electives, which actually must be done later this month (believe it or not!).

Our feeder middle schools, Brookland and Wilder, will host rising 6th grade orientation and information nights on Tuesday, January 17th (at Wilder) and Thursday, January 26th (at Brookland). Both events are 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Please plan to attend if you can!

**Remember that Wilder CRC applications are also due tomorrow, Friday, January 13th. If you have questions about this or any other middle school related question, please reach out – I am here to help!

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Gifted referrals are now being accepted for K, 1st, and 2nd graders!

If you would like your student screened to see if they can be identified as Gifted, the Gifted referral window is now open for students in Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade. Per HCPS policy, referrals must be in writing and sent to me between January 2-January 20, 2017. You can refer a student by emailing me, using the “contact” link above (which sends me an email), or sending a note in to me through your child’s teacher. After we receive a Gifted referral, the Gifted Identification Committee gathers data from you, the student’s teacher, and the student’s cumulative file. In most cases, the student does not need to take any additional tests to go through the screening process. A student can be identified as gifted in Math (“Specific Aptitude”), English/Reading (“Specific Aptitude”), or both (“General Aptitude”).

What does being identified as Gifted do for your student? Students identified as Gifted in HCPS receive clustered enrichment and differentiated instruction from their regular classroom teacher in elementary school, but they also receive weekly instruction from our Gifted Resource Teacher (Ms. Burriesci). In middle and high school, being identified as Gifted might expand elective options and of course looks great on specialty center and college applications! Questions? Check out the HCPS Gifted Services Page here:

*Please note that we are not allowed to accept any referrals outside of the referral windows set by HCPS. Please reach out if you have any questions!

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5th graders: time to think about middle school!

Believe it or not, the time for 5th graders to start planning for middle school is already here! Most Chamberlayne students are zoned to attend either Brookland Middle or Wilder Middle, although students who attend the I.B. program will attend Fairfield Middle. We have several middle school-related visits set up already:

  • Wednesday, January 4th: Brookland Middle counselors will be here
  • Friday, January 13th: Wilder Middle counselors will be here
  • Wednesday, January 18th: Wilder College Readiness Center (CRC) counselor will be here to meet with applicants*

*Wilder CRC applications are now available! Although the funding for next year’s CRC 6th grade program is not fully in place, they are hopeful that it will come through soon. The CRC website is, or click here to see a video of current CRC students putting on this year’s college fair as part of their program!

Soon, HCPS planning guides and information will be sent home about middle school course and elective options. In January, fifth grade teachers will enter course recommendations for each student into the computer, and then January 30th-February 6th, parents will log in to actually select their student’s courses for next year. Although course selections are not available for parents yet, you can get ready now by making sure you have registered on the PowerSchool parent portal (the same thing you use to view your student’s interim grades). More information will be coming home in January about this process, but don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your child’s teacher if you have questions!

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October, November, and December – oh my!

Time is flying by here at Chamberlayne Elementary! In October, our character trait of the month was Responsibility. In November, we focused on Teamwork & Cooperation. Tomorrow, our December character trait of the month (Open-Mindedness & Appreciating Diversity) will be introduced at our monthly First Friday assembly with all students grades PreK-5th!

Students are learning about why these character traits are important as well as how to demonstrate them appropriately both in and out of the school setting. At the end of each classroom lesson, I try to tie in students’ career goals with how they will use these traits to succeed in their chosen career fields. I love hearing about what the students dream of becoming one day! So far I’ve heard everything from NBA player to lawyer to movie director. Whatever students choose to do for work as adults, they will surely need to use every one of these personal and social skills in addition to their academic skills in order to succeed to their full potential. Thanks for reinforcing the importance of these positive character traits at home!

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