Good afternoon, Maggie Walker Community.
The New Year has begun with a flurry of activity as students and staff prepare for mid-term exams and the beginning of a new semester. At the Regional School Board meeting last week, we recognized several students and a staff member for their recent accomplishments.
The American Council of Teachers of Russian selected Clara Giorgis as a 2016 Russian Scholar Laureate. She is one of 43 top Russian language students in the nation. Congratulations to Clara and her teacher, Mr. Michael White.
Elizabeth Benos and Davis Coffey were recognized for their work with the National Honor Society, creating a program that provides tutoring and support for students at Oak Grove Elementary School in the City of Richmond. They planned a Christmas party for their students, including gift sacks to brighten their students’ holiday season. Congratulations to Elizabeth and Davis and their sponsor, Ms. Rachel Loving.
Ms. Wendy DeGroat, our librarian, was recognized for being nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She recently published a book of poems entitled Beautiful Machinery. Ms. DeGroat read one of her poems, “Snowshoeing in the Park.”
Congratulations to these students and staff for their outstanding accomplishments and for bringing great honor to our school!
The next two Saturdays will be assessment days at Maggie Walker. We look forward to greeting 1,160 prospective future dragons. I know you join me in wishing all of these middle schoolers the very best of luck in their efforts to join us. Many thanks to the PTSA for their assistance in making both these assessment days successful.
The Maggie Walker community welcomes Mr. Terry ‘Les’ Cook as our new Mentorship/Seminar Coordinator. Mr. Cook has many years of teaching and administrative experience. Most recently he was the coordinator of the specialty center at Hanover High School and program director for the Hanover Regional Governor’s School for Career and Technical Advancement.
We are implementing a number of new initiatives at Maggie Walker this winter, and I want to bring the school community up to date with these plans. In an effort to enhance campus safety, we are now locking the Bluestone doors from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day, and guests visiting school will ring the bell at that entrance. All other entrances will remain locked during the day.
In the afternoon the school day ends at 3:10 p.m., and students will be allowed to remain on the second and third floors until 4:30 p.m., at which time they will be asked to move to the Commons area on the first floor near the Bluestone entrance. Students involved in school programs with staff will be allowed to remain upstairs until the planned activities end, at which time they will be directed to the Commons area as well.
At 4:30 p.m., security will canvass the second and third floors and then move to the Bluestone entrance and will be stationed there until 6:00 p.m. Please note: By 6:00 p.m., all students not involved in school programs must be picked up at the Bluestone entrance; at that time security will move to secure the school before leaving at 7:00 p.m.
On evenings when Maggie Walker has athletic events at school, the entrance door at the Bluestone will remain open until the conclusion of the event. The on-duty administrator will attend the activity, and security will remain in the Bluestone until the event ends and the building is clear. Additional adjustments will be made to provide security at other events on a case-by-case basis.
Safety and security at school are everyone’s responsibility, and I invite your feedback and suggestions at any time.
Instructional time at Maggie Walker is extremely important and we are always evaluating the school day to ensure that we are making the most of the time we have allotted to teaching and learning. To that end, beginning with the new semester on February 2, public address (PA) announcements will only be made each morning. Teachers and activity sponsors wishing to have an announcement made must get the announcement to Ms. Paige Hawkins, Activities Director, by noon the day before in order for the announcement to be made the next morning. Requests made after noon will be added to the list for the following announcement cycle.
Announcements will no longer be made during lunchtime. There are many activities during lunch, and announcements interrupt scheduled activities and are often difficult to hear. Parents who need to reach their student during lunch may contact them by text message. In instances when this is not possible, parents should speak with their student about the location they typically choose for lunch, so staff can locate them if they are needed.
Announcements may be used during the day to communicate with students when school-wide assemblies or pep rallies are scheduled. The director or the director’s designee, at his or her discretion, may authorize the use of PA announcements at other times in cases of emergency.
Night of the Dragon Auction!
Finally, please be reminded that the PTSA will be holding its annual Night of the Dragon 2017 Auction at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa in Short Pump on Saturday, February 25 from 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm. To purchase tickets, please visit www.nightofthedragon.com/tickets. I hope you plan to attend.
Jonathan Lewis, Interim Director