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Discovery Elementary

5241 N 36th Street

Arlington VA 22207




Learning Logs are updated every Thursday:

Kindergarten | Ms. Anthony’s Montessori | Ms. Spierto’s and Ms. Jesukiewicz’s Montessori

Grade 1 | Grade 2 | Grade 3 | Grade 4 | Grade 5

Art | Music | Health & Phys Ed | World Languages | Computer Science

Google Classroom | How to Access Your Student’s Work Online | Canvas

Click here to see the latest messages and pictures on Twitter from @DiscoveryAPS!

Explorers learn, collaborate, and innovate with the world in mind.

April 12, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

Happy Spring Break! It’s hard to believe it’s already here! Don’t forget to share your Flat Explorer adventures with us. We had an exciting week with Sarah Weeks’ visit, crazy hair day, and our A-SPAN walk.


We hope you have a relaxing and restful Spring Break and take this time to recharge and spend time with family and friends. We look forward to seeing your children on Monday, April 22, 2019.

Our main office hours during Spring Break are 9AM-2PM, Monday-Thursday.

Kind regards,

Erin and Judy

Pyramid Parent Event- Staying Balanced

Join us at Yorktown High School on April 25th for our third Pyramid Event. Yorktown and Williamsburg staff and administration will share ways students can become involved in sports and extracurricular activities. A parent panel will share strategies and stories on how to help your child keep a healthy balance between academics and activities. All elementary feeder schools are welcome. Come with your questions!


The rain paused and all Explorers walked around (or through) the sidewalk puddles to raise money to end homelessness in Arlington.

Author Sarah Weeks inspired many young writers!

On Tuesday Sarah Weeks shared with students funny stories and insights on the writing process. She was impressed to see all the green aspects of our school building. Her parents were solar energy pioneers; she grew up in a solar powered house in the 70s in Michigan. She was thrilled to help harvest and sample some of our hydroponic lettuce. Here is a short video of our very own Mr. La getting some extra writing tips to share with students. We hope students find some time over spring break to write some of their own adventures.


Responsive Classroom & Second Step Parent Session

The Responsive Classroom approach and the Second Step counseling curriculum are two core components that build students’ social-emotional learning (SEL) skills.

Model of Excellence Award

Congratulations to Maddox Alfred, fifth-grader, who serves as a role model for Discovery Explorers. She leads by consistently demonstrating C.A.R.E.S., and she shows kindness to other students. For example, she served as tour guide for students, teachers, and parents of Hall’s Hill Wall, High View Park.

Thanks to Girl Scouts 6253 Troop

Thank you so much to 6253 Troop of the Girl Scouts, who donated Girl Scout Cookies to Discovery’s military-connected families! We appreciate your kindness, your generosity, and your service to our community! Discovery is proud to apply to be a VDOE Purple Star Designated school, which involves providing resources and assistance to military-connected families transitioning into and out of the Discovery community.

Growing a Generation of Urban Farmers

Discovery was invited to participate at the Friends of Urban Agriculture event about “Growing a Generation of Urban Farmers” on April 11, 2019 at Ashlawn Elementary. This event featured inspirational leaders, authors, and organizations from our local community helping students reconnect with their food sources through hands on learning about agriculture. Mr. Rusk presented the work that has happened with the Discovery Hydrogarden and will be bringing connections and ideas to our green laboratory.

School Counseling Corner

Attention 5th grade families: Next Wednesday, April 24th is middle school field trip day! Classroom teachers sent home the permission form for the middle school visit. Please return the permission form. All students will leave Discovery at 9:15AM and return around 12:15PM. Students will be greeted by cheerleaders and band performances; meet middle school teachers, counselors, and staff; enjoy lunch in the cafeteria (optional: buy lunch for $3); and enjoy tours and scavenger hunts to get to know their new middle school building! It is sure to be an exciting and fun-filled day!

New Policy for Non-APS Devices

The following message was sent via School Messenger this past Wednesday:

Over the last several months, we have seen an increase in the number of non-APS devices coming to school with students. Specifically, we have seen many more smartphones and smart watches. We understand and respect a family's right to allow their students to use personal digital communications and location devices for the various reasons families may choose to do so.

In order to ensure that all parties understand their rights and responsibilities around the use of non-APS devices during the school day, especially as pertains to the privacy and rights of others, we have created an Acceptable Use and Responsibility Agreement ("AURA") for for students and families.

If you allow your student to bring non-APS technology to school, whether it is worn during the day or kept in a backpack, please review the AURA with your student, sign it along with your student, and return it to your student's classroom teacher. This document will be kept on file at Discovery by the Technology Coach, Keith Reeves.

You can access the AURA online here: https://discovery.apsva.us/non-aps-devices-at-discovery/

Thank you in advance for facilitating this mutual conversation!

Upcoming Events

4/15-4/19 - Spring Break

4/22         Earth Day

4/22         Science Night (6-7:30PM)

4/26        Yearbook Club Meeting

4/25        Eco-Action Meeting (8:50-(9:35AM, Dining Commons)

4/25        Pyramid Parent Event (7-8PM, Yorktown HS)

4/28        Discovery & Carlin Springs Day at the Outdoor Lab (12-3PM, Outdoor Lab)

4/23        Progress Reports go live for Parents

5/1        Yearbook Club Meeting (8:15-8:50AM, Cloud Commons)

5/2        Game Night (6:30-8:00, Dining Commons)

5/6        Spring SEL Event on Responsive Classroom & Second Step  (Dining Commons, 6-8PM)

5/8        Bike & Walk to School Day

5/8        Instrumental Music Concert (7-8PM, Gym/Stage)

5/13        Standards of Learning (SOL) Assessments begin Grades 3-5

5/21        PTA Meeting (7-8PM, Dining Commons)

5/27        Memorial Day Holiday


April 5, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

Tonight is second-grade Folk Dance Night. Our second-grade students are showcasing the dances they learned in music class with Ms. Harris and Ms. Krupa.

Students attended our C.A.R.E.S. assembly this week to learn about assertion. The Explorer helped students practice assertion by giving them language to use in the classroom, Dining Commons, and playground. Students compared aggressive, passive, and assertive language. In addition, A-SPAN representatives explained to students the impact that their donations have on helping the homeless in Arlington.  


Erin and Judy

A-SPAN Walk to End Homelessness: Discovery’s Goal is 100% Participation!

Next Friday, April 12, at 2:45PM is Discovery’s annual A-SPAN walk to help end homelessness in Arlington. Discovery families are encouraged to donate through the following link: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/aspan Be sure to click on the “$20.00 Discovery” button.


At Thursday’s C.A.R.E.S. assembly, students watched a presentation from A-SPAN representatives that showed the exact impact that donations raised by Discovery (and other Arlington schools) have on helping the homeless.

Discovery’s fundraising goal for 2019 is 100% participation to raise $2500. Please consider making a donation before next Friday’s walk!

Responsive Classroom & Second Step Parent Session

The Responsive Classroom approach and the Second Step counseling curriculum

are two core components that build students’ social-emotional learning (SEL) skills.

School Counseling Corner

All school counselors throughout the district use the Second Step curriculum to provide research-based lessons about social-emotional topics, including the Skills for Social and Academic Success Unit, Bullying Prevention Unit, and Child Protection Unit. Beginning this month, students in all grade levels will have one lesson delivered by their school counselor (Claire Nawojchik for Kindergarten, third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade, & Debra Gaeta for first and second grade) from the Child Protection Unit about “The Touching Rule.” The lesson will include information about personal safety, appropriate personal space, and about wanted vs. unwanted touches. Please read the following letter for more information: Personal Safety Letter.  

Mark your calendar -  Game Nights Thurs. May 2

Come explore and stock up for your summer family game nights!

Checkout activity books to keep young minds engaged!

Science Night at Discovery Elementary School

Please join us for Family Science Night at Discovery Elementary School from 6:00-7:30PM on Monday, April 22—Earth Day!

We’ll have hands-on activities developed by Discovery teachers and visiting engineer, Dr. Stuart Jessup. Jessup is a retired propeller expert who spent his engineering career at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. He has been assisting grades 3-5 this school year.

The event will provide participants with the opportunity to explore the aerodynamics of flight; experiment with how turbines harness the power of the wind; design a neutrally buoyant plankton model; build a miniature hydroponic system; and explore all the features that make Discovery one of the largest zero-energy buildings of its kind anywhere in the world.

The focus will be on a hands-on discovery of the engineering design process. Participants will identify problems; plan solutions; build and test prototypes; evaluate performance; make adjustments; and then test again.

****Student and adult volunteers are needed. To volunteer, please contact Mr. Bridges, Discovery’s lead science teacher at andrew.bridges@apsva.us

Everyone has a story...Creating a more diverse teaching workforce

The Department of Education at Marymount University is hosting “Everyone has a story: Creating a more diverse teaching workforce”. Join panelists, including Discovery’s Ms. Upshur, as they explore a variety of topics, including the benefits, challenges, and importance of having a diverse K-12 faculty.                                

Thursday, April 11, from 6-8PM with refreshments following the event

Marymount University’s Ballston Center (Auditorium)

1000 North Glebe Road

Arlington, VA 22201        

Free registration and parking.

APS Transportation Study

Consultants from Toole Design Group and Quality Counts have been at Discovery to collect traffic-related data as part of a required study for Arlington County related to the school construction permits. The consultants wore safety vests and carried identification. They collected traffic data manually, and used video counters installed on utility poles. No personal information was used or stored as part of the study.

Upcoming Events

4/ 5-Second Grade Folk Dance Night (6:30-8PM)

4/9 - Author Visit

4/10 - Yearbook Club Meeting

4/11 - Diversity and Inclusion Meeting (4PM, Blue Sky Studio)

4/12 - Crazy Hair Spirit Day

4/12 - A-SPAN Walk

4/15-4/19 - Spring Break

4/22 - Science Night

4/26 - Yearbook Club Meeting

4/28 - Discovery & Carlin Springs Day at the Outdoor Lab (12-3PM)

March 29, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

We have a question for you?

“Why is social emotional learning important to your children’s development?” Your children’s social-emotional learning (SEL) walks hand in hand with their academic learning. Discovery staff develops students’ SEL through the implementation of the Responsive Classroom approach and teaching counseling lessons using the Second Step curriculum.

We have an announcement for you.

Discovery is planning a SEL evening event! On May 6th, we will host a Responsive Classroom consultant, and then view a webinar with a Second Step consultant.

We have an ask of you.

Please complete this SURVEY to ensure this May 6th SEL event meets your interest.

Please be mindful of our neighbors on 36th street. Many have young children and are entering or leaving their driveways at our same drop-off and dismissal times. Do not block their driveway. You will be ticketed. Even though you may intend to only be on Discovery campus for a few minutes, we have received numerous phone calls from neighbors who are blocked in their driveaway. Thanks you for being considerate of our neighbors.

Lastly, this week was filled with field trips and other fun activities. Click here to see more. Last Saturday was a cold but Friendship 5K and tonight we hope to see you at our number one fundraiser at Knights of Columbus. Thanks to all the volunteers who have made this night possible!


Erin and Judy

PTA Reflections Competition: Good Luck Mason!

Mason Mirable, third-grade student is representing all of Virginia in the US PTA Reflections competition. His film won Outstanding Interpretation Award and we look forward to hearing more. Go Mason!

A New Addition to the Hydrogarden

We have a new element in our Discovery Hydrogarden: A Tower Garden. This system is a self-contained unit that pumps water from the nutrient tank underneath to the top of the tower. At that point the nutrient water drips down through the sections through small holes, keeping the roots well fed. For our first crop, we’re growing 20 everbearing strawberry plants. Hopefully, there will at least be flowers before school is out for the summer. Check out this new addition in the upper level of the library! (And a big thank you to Cameronne Taillon for the donation of the tower)

Social-Emotional Learning - Anxiety

Several Discovery staff members had the opportunity to attend a 2-day intensive workshop on treating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents, presented by Dr. Paul Foxman. Dr. Paul Foxman is founder and director of the Vermont Center for Anxiety Care and the author of multiple books on anxiety, including The Worried Child. The training booklet included some helpful resources, which are scanned for your reference here. The packet includes reading lists on the topic of anxiety, helpful websites, guidelines for managing children’s media exposure, common/typical worries in children and adolescents, relaxation practices, sleep recommendations, and tips for managing test anxiety. It is a valuable resource, and we encourage you to check it out!

Claire Nawojchik, school counselor, and Katherine Stuver, special education resource teacher, are planning to present on this topic at a future Student Success Chat, so stay tuned!

Community Connections

As a Co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, I wanted to share a little about things we strive to achieve with this committee - growing a truly diverse and inclusive school community is priority number one!!

In this vain, our committee recently met with the Challenging Racism (CR) group, and as a certified facilitator and alum of this group, I wanted to share what I experienced this week.  There was a CR book club meeting to discuss the book "White Fragility:Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism."  This book was very interesting to me, but our book club discussion was even more interesting to say the least!  There was a waitlist to even take part in this book club and it is definitely worth reading - mainly to spark a much needed conversation.

I was one of a handful of people of color in the room and everyone seemed to have a similar perspective of the book until my table spoke up.  It turned out to be very eye-opening for a lot of people.  I would encourage you all to read the book, but also to sign up for a CR workshop as soon as you see one being offered.  It just might change the way you view things and help to grow our school community to truly be diverse and inclusive!!

I know that I did NOT tell about the book, because I want anyone reading it to look at it from their own eyes and not have my take already in the back of their mind.  However, I will say that I think it would benefit anyone reading it to make sure to discuss it with a person of color after reading it to get a fully-rounded perspective.

What prompted me to even write about it was what happened two days after my CR book club meeting.  I attended my local civic association meeting and one of our new batch of neighbors who happens to be a white couple totally showed the reason for this book in our meeting.  We had a family that just moved into our neighborhood come and join our civic association that night (a mixed couple - Hispanic mom and White dad with two young children).  We had a guest speaker from the County Board taking questions and the issue of illegal immigrants was raised by this white couple (and specifically about our county giving a "free education to these people" - and was said with such venom).  Anyhow, the couple ended up getting so ugly and out of hand that they actually told the new family to leave our meeting and that they'd never want to live next door to them - all of this ugly display in front of their kids!?!

I was so taken aback that I just started crying uncontrollably - the tears literally wound not stop falling from my eyes.  In 2019, in Arlington County, we have such ugliness still taking place (and in front of kids - making them feel so unwelcome).  Not to be on a soap box, but we have to change this dynamic.  I believe that Discovery Elementary School can be a trailblazer in showing the rest of the schools how diversity and inclusion really works!!!

Thanks for your time and I hope it helps someone to see that we all need to just be kind to one another - just like in my example, others can be affected by the way that someone else is being mistreated.  The new family actually had to come and console me after the meeting because I felt so bad about how that couple had treated them, and I didn't want them to feel that was a reflection of our loving neighborhood.  

I encourage everyone to practice CARES and to please help us reach our number one priority of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Tia Alfred, mother of 5th and 1st grader, D&I Comm Co-Chair

Folk Dance Night

Attention all 2nd grade families! Join us on Friday, April 5th for a fun night of dancing as 2nd Grade students show off their fabulous dances that they have been working hard on. Bring your families along as students showcase and help teach dances. The event will take place at Discovery in the gym from 6:30-7:30 pm. If you have any questions, email kathleen.krupa@apsva.us or caitlin.harris@apsva.us for more information.  Also, check the learning log and email for regular updates on this event!

2019 A-SPAN Walk to End Homelessness

Discovery’s annual walk to help end homelessness in Arlington is scheduled for Friday, April 12 starting at 2:45. Students and families are encouraged to donate through the following link: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/aspan Be sure to click on the “$20.00 Discovery” button.


In the past, we’ve raised $2389(2017) and $1665 (2018). Our fundraising goal for 2019 is $2500!


More info on A-SPAN: The Discovery Walk goal of $2500 will provide the funds necessary to purchase everyday household furnishings and supplies for five A-SPAN clients transitioning from the streets to a home. This will help A-SPAN turn an empty 1-bedroom apartment into a cozy place to call home. $3000 will help with the A-SPAN “Make it a Home Fund” that helps clients transition from homelessness to a home, from streets to stability. Think mattresses, pillows, bedframe, lamps, love seat, kitchen tables, cleaning supplies. Think Shower curtains and cleaning supplies. $3000 will also help their next 5 clients move into an apartment and have the everyday things we all need. These funds also allow clients of A-SPAN to purchase items for apartments so individuals have a place to eat, sleep, and rest.

March 22, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

Lace up those sneakers, there is still time to join the Friendship 5K! You can register on site tomorrow. You warmed up at Family Fitness Night, let’s see you tomorrow!

Thank you to our PE team and PTA for a fun fitness night on Tuesday. Another Discovery success was The Jungle Book Jr. Last weekend, many weeks of hard work and preparation were celebrated through four productions of the entertaining musical. Thank you Ms. Krupa and Ms. Harris for pulling off another successful community event. Our last PTA shout out also goes to our fourth grade team as well. Fourth graders have been working with Poet In Residence Reggie CAr. Students competed in classroom poetry slams after learning about, and experimenting with, different types of poems and poetic devices. Their deep dive into the world of poetry culminated in a fourth grade Poetry Slam. Students from all grades cheered on the brave and creative performers. While, every single performer, shined in creativity and originality, Eliza Conway was chosen as Poetry Slam Extraordinaire, with Edith Labriola, as runner-up. Those in attendance would agree that the entire student body was impressively supportive and performers were thankful for the encouragement.

We’ve just highlighted three awesome events sponsored by our PTA, there are many more in the coming month. New, this year, we are adding Second Grade Folk Dance Night and Science Night. Please consider your support at the PTA Auction next weekend. The night supports so many Discovery events and opportunities, not to mention teacher professional development. This year, we’ve sent over ten teachers to meaningful professional development opportunities that have directly impacted how we service students.


Erin and Judy

Discovery Hydrogarden Continues to “Produce”

We’ve had many harvests over the past month, almost daily. Ms. Valentin uses the lettuce, kale, spinach, and pak choi for salads, vegetarian wraps, and as condiments on sandwiches and burgers. Many thanks to the PTA for funding such a wonderful addition to our school. We have many expansion ideas for next year!

5th Grade EcoTech Club Applications

Due TODAY Friday March 22

We are beginning our third year of the Discovery 5th-Grade EcoTech Club in a couple of weeks. This after-school club gives students a chance to more deeply explore technology with a problem-solving goal. Students will have options of Lego Mindstorms robotics, Raspberry Pi, littleBits, and other technology systems. Sessions will be on Tuesdays, beginning March 26 and run through May 21, meeting from 3:45-5:00. If you would like to sign your child up, please visit this application form. There may need to be a lottery if interest exceeds capacity. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Rusk (greg.rusk@apsva.us).

Sarah Weeks Creativity Challenge

Win one of five $10 gift certificates to Barstons Child’s Play


Two ways to enter

Option 1 - Character Maker Challenge.

Option 2 - Character Drawing Challenge


Additional Details

      Deadline Monday April 8th - Go to SarahWeeks.com for more inspiration

      All entries must have your first and last name. Please turn into the library.

Did you miss out on ordering Sarah Weeks Books?

Student Success Chat

Friday, March 29, 2019 – 9-10am in the Blue Sky Studio

Come explore, face the facts, and begin to face childhood anxiety & worry with increased confidence and hope. Join Special Education Resource Teacher, Katherine Stuver, for an engaging presentation filled with activities and take-away strategies that you and your Explorer(s) can start RIGHT AWAY.  


Social-Emotional Learning

In counseling lessons with Ms. Nawojchik, students in the upper grades are learning about their brains and the relationship between the brain’s amygdala and feelings of anxiety. Students are learning that their amygdala may give them a “false alarm” - The amygdala can send an alert that a threat is in their environment, causing all of their neural connections to be consumed by this perceived threat, when in reality they are safe. When this happens, the brain’s prefrontal cortex (which aids in planning ahead, decision-making, and other higher-level thinking) is not able to function properly. Students learned that they can “reset their brain” by taking deep breaths (in through the nose; out through the mouth), focusing on one sense at a time (the 5-2-2 strategy: Look at 5 things; Listen to 2 things, Touch 2 things), or progressive muscle relaxation. As students get to know and love their brain, feel free to continue the conversation at home by reading the book, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak, and trying anxiety-busting mindfulness strategies such as guided meditation using the Mind Yeti app: https://www.mindyeti.com/v2/s/ 

Upcoming Events

3/23 - Friendship 5K (8AM, Discovery)

3/29 - Student Success Chat Topic: Anxiety in Children (9:15, Blue Sky)

3/30 - 3/30 - PTA Auction and Social (6:30-10:30PM, Knights of Columbus)

4/1 - No School

4/2 - PTA Meeting

4/3 - Yearbook Club

4/4 - SEL Working Group (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

4/9 - Author Visit

4/15 - Spring Break ALL WEEK

4/28 - Discovery & Barrett Day at the Outdoor Lab (12-3PM)

March 8, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

We hope you had a great time meeting with your teacher(s). As you may have heard, next year, APS elementary schools are embarking on standards-based teaching and learning as well as progress reports. As Discovery, Ashlawn, and Oakridge have experience, many of our teachers are helping to lead the work. While our community may be accustomed to the feedback students receive, we were reminded of the power of the this work during fifth grade student-led conferences. When a child can clearly communicate a glow and grow in their own learning in each subject, and teachers have the data of the specific standard to which the child is referring, it creates a strong synergy between child, teacher, and parent. We hope all grade levels experienced productive conversations.


Erin and Judy

Hydrogarden Lettuce, Spinach, Kale

We continue to harvest daily from the Discovery Hydrogarden, and Ms. Valentin uses it in many different recipes. She was experimenting with creating a vegetarian wrap using spinach and lettuce, which was popular last week. Also, recently the garden salads, Caesar salads, and the honey-mustard kale salads all used ingredients from the Hydrogarden.

New Addition to Discovery Hydroponics

We now have a cherry tomato garden in the front lobby. This is a Dutch bucket hydroponic system that uses a drip and collection system to recycle nutrient solution. As far as the plants, we are using red robin cherry tomatoes. This variety is a bushing indeterminate type of tomato that only grows to about 18” round. This garden has an interactive component. In order for the flowers to pollinate, they will have to be tapped on the back to release the pollen within the flower. They are self pollinating, meaning that everything they need is contained within the one flower. Paintbrushes and directions will be posted soon!

Parents Visiting for Lunch

We invite parents to dine with their children during lunch times. We ask that parents sit in the Dining Commons, as opposed to sitting at high top tables. We want to create a school culture of inclusion. When students invite other students to join them at the high top tables, the students who are not invited often feel excluded.

Mattie Miracle Toiletry Dive

On March 11th collection boxes for our next community service event. We are collecting for the Mattie Miracle Toiletry Drive. You can also donate from Amazon. The drive will continue through April 5th. Mattie’s Miracle is a foundation that helps families of children with cancer.

Musical Tickets Are On Sale

Every year we sell out of musical tickets. Don’t miss our fifth grade production of The Jungle Book. Tickets are sold before and after school for 3 dollars. Pay by cash or check. The students have worked hard and this is a show you don’t want to miss! Tickets will not be sold the day of the performances.

Beware the ides of March - is coming quick!

Book Orders forms - due March 15th

Author Sarah Weeks Visits Discovery Tues. April 9th

Annual Celebration of Arlington’s World Languages

Thank you to those who represented Discovery at the Annual Celebration of Arlington’s World Languages, Diversity & Cultures. All the participants showcased their learning with excellence, enthusiasm, and professional skills by singing or reading. Languages are indeed a key to the world.Thank you for supporting Discovery’s FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) program.

Ofelia Oronoz

Critical & Creative Thinking Strategy: Analogies

In grades 1-4, Ms. Blake has been working with students on analogies. An analogy compares two things that are mostly different from each other but have some traits in common. By showing a connection between two different things, writers/artists help to explain something important about one thing by using a second thing you already know about.

Consider how the items within the pairs are related to each other, the order, and how the entire set is related. Here are some common types of analogies:




End: final


Hot: cold

Same Class

Poodle: Collie

Part to Whole

Leaf: tree

Class and Example

Flower: tulip


Right: write

Doer to Action

Musician: plays


Great Wall: China

Object to action

Saw: cut

Students have explored word analogies as well as pictorial analogies. When you are in the car, are waiting in line, or at the dinner table, encourage your student to come up with some analogies or complete the analogies that you begin.


(This reads “Child is to family as key is to piano”)

(This reads “Washington is to Capitals as Detroit is to Red Wings”)

“What Did You Learn In School Today?”

Do you ever ask, “What did you learn today?” or “How was your day?” and get a short response and wanted more information? HERE is a link to an article with good tips on how to get kids to talk about their day and a reminder of the importance of modeling these conversations as adults. Below are some specific questions and prompts you way want to consider asking your Explorer:

Upcoming Events

3/12- Club Pictures

3/12- Kinder Information (12:45PM, Library)

3/13 - Early Release Day

3/14 - Diversity & Inclusion Meeting (4-5PM, Blue Sky Studio)

3/14 - The Jungle Book Musical (Gym, 7-8PM)

3/15 - The Jungle Book Musical (Gym, 7-8PM)

3/16 - The Jungle Book Musical (Gym, 3-5PM)

3/15 - Play Before Your Day (8-8:45AM, North Playground)

3/15 - Yearbook Meeting (3:50-4:45PM, Collaboration Common)

3/19 - Family Fitness Night (6:30-8PM, Gym)

3/20 - Poetry Slam (2-3:30PM, Library)

3/20 - Yearbook Club Meeting (8:15-8:50AM, Collaboration Commons)

3/21 - 3/21 - Eco Action Meeting (8:50-9:35AM, TBD)

3/23 - Friendship 5K (8AM, Discovery)

3/25 - Explorer Club Begins (3-5 Classrooms, 8-8:45AM)

3/30 - 3/30 - PTA Auction and Social (6:30-10:30PM, Knights of Columbus)

4/4 - SEL Working Group (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

March 1, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

TODAY is the last day to buy Discovery Auction tickets at the early-bird price of $50 per ticket. To purchase tickets go HERE. We hope you enjoyed today’s unexpected snow day!


Erin and Judy

Family Fitness Night 2019

Let Discovery pump YOU up. Family Fitness Night - March 19, 6:30-8:00 PM. Join us for activities and presenters to help the whole family get active! Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, Fitness Jenga, a Washington Nationals President, and so much more! And please consider VOLUNTEERING! We need YOUR help to make this a successful event: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090D4BABA928A0FB6-family2

Author Sarah Weeks Visits Discovery Tues. April 9th

Book Orders forms - due March 15th

Annual Celebration of Arlington’s World Languages, Diversity & Cultures

Ms. Oronozo, Discovery Spanish teacher, is looking for students to participate in Arlington’s celebration on Wednesday, March 6 from 4 to 6 pm at the Arlington Career Center at 816 S Walter Reed Dr, Arlington, VA 22204.

The first grade teachers, Ms. Healy, Ms. Upshur and Ms. Wright, are prepared to attend. Second graders in Ms. Kuleski and Mr. Stein’s classes are also prepared to attend. Interested students in Ms. Stoker ‘s and Mr. Bridges will share experiences about having a pen pal in Spanish class. If you are able to bring your child, please respond to this Google Form.

February 22, 2019

Upcoming Events

3/5 - PTA Meeting

3/6 - Yearbook Club Meeting

3/6 - Arlington World Language Diversity and Culture Celebration (Career Center, 4-6PM)

3/7 - Early Release Day

3/7 & 3/8 - P/T Conferences

3/8 - No School

3/13 - Early Release Day

3/14 - Diversity & Inclusion Meeting

3/14-3/16 - The Jungle Book Musical

3/15 - Play Before Your Day

3/15 - Yearbook Meeting

3/19 - Family Fitness Night

3/20 - Yearbook Club Meeting

3/21 - Eco Action Meeting

3/23 - Friendship 5K

3/30 - PTA Auction and Social

February 22, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

This week we celebrated the 100th day of school and World Heritage Night! Thanks to all the parents and students who cooked, created displays, and performed.

As we have in the past, we will use SignUp Genius for Parent Teacher Conferences. The SignUp will go live on our website, next Tuesday at 6PM. We will also send an APS School Talk with the link at 6PM. As always, our teachers look forward to partnering with you. Please be mindful that email is not always the best form of communication for sensitive subjects. We encourage healthy conversations when issues arise. Tone and intent may be misconstrued over email. Please respect the short conference time and we will work together to schedule time for longer conversations.


Erin and Judy

For more professional photographs, taken by teacher Danny La, please use this link to Dropbox. Thanks for sharing Mr. La.

APS Model of Excellence Honorees

As part of Black History Month, the APS Office of Equity and Excellence is recognizing Model of Excellence honorees in our schools and the community. These are African American students, staff and community members nominated by Principals for their outstanding achievements and pursuit of excellence in areas such as academics, athletics and civic leadership and involvement. Discovery 5th grader, Maddox Alfred, is honored! View a full list of honorees on the APS website and watch a short video of students sharing their perspectives on the meaning of Black History Month here.

Annual Celebration of Arlington’s World Languages, Diversity & Cultures

Ms. Oronoz, Discovery Spanish teacher, is looking for students to participate in Arlington’s celebration on Wednesday, March 6 from 4 to 6 pm at the Arlington Career Center at 816 S Walter Reed Dr, Arlington, VA 22204.

The first grade teachers, Ms. Healy, Ms. Upshur and Ms. Wright, are prepared to attend. Second graders in Ms. Kuleski and Mr. Stein’s classes are also prepared to attend. Interested students in Ms. Stoker ‘s and Mr. Bridges will share experiences about having a pen pal in Spanish class. If you are able to bring your child, please respond to this Google Form.

Social-Emotional Learning

In kindergarten and 1st grade, students recently had counseling lessons about calming down their strong feelings. Students learned to recognize signs that they are having a strong feeling such as frustrated, angry, or very excited, and to stop, name their feeling (i.e. “I’m so frustrated!”), then calm down. We practiced strategies for calming down including belly breathing, squeezing something, doing chair push-ups, counting, and using positive self-talk.

In their counseling lessons with Ms. Gaeta, 2nd grade students talked about respecting others’ differences and different preferences. We played the game “Step right up” and talked about how others may feel if we comment negatively about something they like. This was followed by a lesson about making mistakes and calming down our  strong feelings. Everyone makes mistakes, but we can learn to stop, name our feeling, then use a variety of different breathing techniques to calm down. Ask your 2nd grader to teach you belly breathing, five finger breathing, flower breathing, bunny, snake, or bear breathing! Our next lesson will focus on using positive self-talk to calm down angry feelings.

Upcoming Events

February 15, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

Many Buddy Classroom events took place this week as students shared notes of kindness.  

We held our first Kindergarten Information session this week. Kindergarten registration is now open. Please encourage your neighbors to come in and pick up a registration packet. Spread the word, we will accept partially completed packets. There is no need to wait until after you’ve completed the physical to return components. Getting students registered now helps us with our staffing needs. Our second Kindergarten Information Session will be March 12th at 12:45PM. We also had high attendance at the DJ Dance Party. Thank you to our PTA and volunteers for making it anther annual success. Our PE team is looking forward to Family Fitness Night.

Sadly, Dr. Russo forgot to wear her Patriots jersey, Explorers celebrated their favorites teams today. Check out pictures below.

Lasty, our Pre-K classes enjoyed a wonderful interactive field trip to see Wake Up Brother Bear!


Erin and Judy

Grade 5 T-Shirts

ATTENTION FIFTH GRADE FAMILIES! Time to order your child’s class t-shirt! Each student will be given a class t-shirt with all the kids’ signatures on it. There is no cost to families, but parents need to fill out this form asap so we have the correct size for your child. T-shirts will be ordered early next week. Questions? Please contact Colette Chipman at colettecrabill@mac.com

Jungle Book Ticket Sales

Explorers, don't miss Discovery Elementary's Upcoming Musical: Jungle Book Kids! Performance dates are Thursday, March 14th and Friday, March 15th at 7 pm and Saturday, March 16th at 3pm. Tickets are $3 each (cash only) and go on sale February 26-March 11 at Discovery (before and after school). We will also be selling tickets on the evenings of February 26 and 27 from 5-6 pm to reach our extended day families. Please note: only 6 tickets allowed per family per show. We can't wait to see you there!

Social-Emotional Learning

The Committee for Children, the non-profit organization which spearheaded Second Step (the social-emotional learning curriculum implemented at Discovery and county-wide), has released a podcast which focuses on different SEL topics each month. Full episodes of the The Grow Kinder Podcast can be accessed here.

Family Fitness Night

How you doin' on those New Year's Resolutions? Let us help you out! Family Fitness Night is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, 6:30 - 8:00. There will be plenty of volunteer opportunities, keep an eye out in the coming weeks on how you can help! Questions? Reach out to PE teachers Melissa Bergen (melissa.bergen@apsva.us) or John Duffy (john.duffy@apsva.us).

Share the Love Community Service Day

Explorers and their families and friends will gather at Discovery from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 16. We will make cards, assemble snack bags, create pet beds and toys, and collect pet food! These activities will benefit local agencies including the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Homestretch, and Mattie Miracle, as well as area retirement communities.

To sign up to volunteer, use the link to SignUpGenius.

Parent Resource

The “Strengthening Families” series is starting on 2/27 at Drew Model ES for students in 4th-8th grade and their parents/caregivers, and there are a few spots still available.
Below is a brief summary:

Want to improve children’s behavior and strengthen family bonds?

Strengthening Families Program - Free program for Arlington County 4th-8th graders and their families to work together over 7 weeks on communication skills and stress management. Parents gain techniques in effective discipline while students learn to resist peer pressure, understand consequences, and solve problems constructively. Weekly sessions are highly interactive and include role-playing, discussions, learning games, and family projects.

·         Dinner and childcare are included. Classes are in English and Spanish.

·         Register Online, visit www.StrengtheningFamiliesArlington.com or contact SFP Coordinator Lainie Morgan at  Lmorgan@arlingtonva.us or 703-228-1529

Upcoming Events

February 8, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

This week we practiced cooperation at our whole school assembly. First graders did an excellent job teaching all Explorers ways to cooperate. If you missed Mr. Reeves excellent presentation on Healthy Tech At Home, we will repeat the presentation Friday, February 15th at 9:15AM.


Erin and Judy

Firefighters Visit the Froglets

First grade Froglets in Ms. Upshur’s class had some special visitors from Fire Station 1. Firefighter Jaime Jill, Dan Hoppin, Doug Abel, and their Lieutenant Kevin Hayden came to visit the classroom to share about their experience as firefighters and EMTs. They learned about how fast they have to get dressed, what keeps them safe in a fire, and the difference between a fire engine and fire truck. Students were even able to try on some of the gear on and had a blast! The station also provided an extensive goody bag for each kid to go home with, including pencils, wristbands, an ice pack, and a firefighter hat. Here are some pics from all the fun.

Celebrate CTE Night

If your child is loving Computer Science, consider coming to the Career Center, February 19th 6:30-8PM. Students will be showcasing their learning.

Discovery Hydroponics at the AFAC Spring Kick-Off

AFAC will be hosting their Spring Garden Kick-Off on Saturday March 2, from 10am-2pm, at the Arlington Central Library. The kick-off is a great way to learn about how to start a garden for AFAC, how to donate produce to AFAC, and hear from community garden coordinators and others about lessons learned. Also, Discovery was invited to present about the Discovery hydroponics system as inspiration for other gardeners. Say “hi” to Mr. Rusk at the kick-off and get some great growing ideas from all of the presenters!

Folk Dancing

Dear Second Grade Families,

Second grade has been working hard on their folk dancing unit since January. This unit will help us prepare for two exciting events - the World Heritage Night on February 21st, as well as the first annual Folk Dance Night on April 5th. We are currently looking for 2nd grade students who are interested in performing for World Heritage Night on Thursday, February 21st. All students have been preparing folk dances from around the world and we will be showcasing a fun dance from Russia called "Sasha" at World Heritage Night. If your child will be attending this event and would like to perform with other 2nd grade friends, please fill out the Google Form found on the Music Learning Log at your earliest convenience.


Kathleen Krupa and Caitlin Harris

Healthy Tech at Home (Repeat Presentation)

At 9:15 AM in Blue Sky Studio on Friday, February 15, Keith Reeves (Technology Coach) will repeat his presentation on “Healthy Tech at Home” that was given at the PTA meeting this past Tuesday evening. If you cannot attend, you can access the presentation materials on the Discovery Twitter feed and the Discovery Website. The session is approximately one hour long.

Critical & Creative Thinking Strategy: Visualization

We have been focusing on the Critical & Creative Thinking Strategy of Visualization in all K-4 classrooms with our Gifted Coach, Ms. Blake. Visualization involves forming mental images of something that is not actually present.

Description of Strategy:

Visualization can be implemented in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:

How might you support your Explorer with the Visualization strategy at home?

Upcoming Events

February 1, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

This week we celebrated our PTA Reflections participants. Check out their great work via video on our screens throughout the building. Mason Mirable has three items which will compete at the state level. Go Mason!

We also enjoyed meeting rising Kindergarten families at Kindergarten Night. Please encourage your rising kindergarten neighbors to come in and register. We will host an information session here at Discovery on February 14th at 9:15. Help us spread the word.

We are making an effort to streamline multiple sources of information. Please use the PTA calendar, and side links to find up to date information on things like Yearbook meetings and Spirit Days. Below is a screen shot. We will continue to list dates at the end of Parent News, but that has events for the whole school, not always individual groups.

Last night we held our second Pyramid Parent Night at Williamsburg. Despite the cold, we had more participation. The conversation focused on social emotional learning and supports. Please join us April 25th to learn more about executive functioning and the balance between academics and extra-curriculum.


Erin and Judy

Community Connections

February 5th will be the start of the Lunar Year, and in 2019, is year of the Pig. The Lunar New Year is usually known as the Chinese New Year, which is calculated by the cycles of the moon. It's also Korean New Year, Vietnamese New Year etc..., and celebrated all throughout Asia.

Growing up in a Korean family, I actually didn't celebrate Chinese/Korean New Year, and didn't know it was a big deal until I was 10 and spent the day with a Chinese-American friend. Friends and relatives visited all day, traditional foods like moon cakes were served, and best of all, red envelopes were given to children. These red envelopes symbolized good fortune and were stuffed with money, usually crisp bills. The day was so festive and fun, not to mention lucrative, that I insisted on my family celebrating Korean New Year too. Traditionally Koreans eat tteukguk, a soup with sliced rice cakes and dumplings on Lunar New Year, and for the rest of my childhood, my mother dutifully made these foods for my family on Lunar New Year.

Many people seem to think a Lunar New Year celebration includes parades, ceremonies, all manner of major fanfare. In reality, most celebrate with some simple foods, share some wishes for luck, and maybe if you're lucky, you get handed a red envelope. Not a bad way for any family to celebrate, whether your family has ever participated in a Chinese New Year celebration or not.

Robotics Event this Saturday Feb 2 @ CareerCenter

This Saturday, February 2, the Arlington Career Center will host the Adam Nesbitt Robotics Day from 8:30-12:30. Come out and see the high school VEX teams from Arlington County Public Schools prepare for the upcoming competition. Middle School teams will also be gaining new robotics skills at the event. Mr. Rusk (Discovery Computer Science Teacher) and Ms. Firster (APS STEM Coordinator) will be hosting an elementary robotics zone, including a Dash robot arena, Spheros, and Ozobots. Stop by for a few minutes to check out this inspiring event!

Discovery Black History Month Events

Our news teams have been researching important African Americans to feature on our closed circuit TVs. Information will be presented in a Guess Who format, with the answer appearing at 2PM. Grade levels are working on displays for the creativity walls. We are open to more suggestions. If you have items for us to display, bring them to the main office. We have several locking display cases throughout the building.

Local Chinese New Year Event

Dear Principal Erin Russo,

Happy New Year!

My name is Tiny, originally from China. As one of the organizers for the 12th Chinese New Year Celebration event to be held in the Luther Jackson Middle School on February 2, 2019, I am sincerely inviting you, your teachers and students to join the celebration event. We will also offer free teaching of Chinese etiquette and speech for special occasions, as well as legendary stories.

Our event will be held one week before the Chinese New Year (February 5, 2019).

Yours sincerely,

Tiny Tang, Vice President

Asian Community Service Center

Tel: 703-868-1509


Please like our facebook:


February Kindness Challenge

February kicks off our great Kindness Challenge! Classrooms have printed boards and we are encouraging full participation throughout the month. Encourage your child to try a challenge. Once each challenge is completed, students initial the chart. Challenges include sit with someone different at lunch or high five a friend for doing something well. The full classroom challenge Bingo board can be found here. As an optional out-of-school component, work together as a family to complete the kindness challenge checklist from the nation-wide Great Kindness Challenge. Here are the kindness challenge checklists for upper grades and lower grades. Have fun, and be kind! :)


Upcoming Events

January 22, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

This week we celebrated our Reflections winner at Washington Lee High School. As a reminder, we will celebrate all Discovery participants Tuesday morning at 8AM in the library. We also were treated to a great concert by our fifth grade wind and band ensemble. Please consider joining us on January 31st at Williamsburg to talk about and learn how all school across elementary, middle, and high are supporting students social emotionally. We will focus on anxiety, how it manifests, and how to support students.

Lastly, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you for all the handwritten cards for Principal Appreciation Week! We love our jobs and we love spending time with such great kids and staff.


Erin and Judy

School Information Sessions

Below is the final schedule for the 2019 elementary information sessions. In addition to being listed in the guidebook, the information sessions are available online by visiting the following link: https://www.apsva.us/school-options/elementary-school-choices/elementary-school-info-sessions.



Thursday, February 14, 2019

 9:15 – 10:45 a.m. – Abingdon, Arlington Traditional, Ashlawn, Barcroft, Campbell, Claremont, Discovery, Drew, Fleet (Henry), Glebe, Key, Tuckahoe

12:45 – 2:15 p.m. – Jamestown, McKinley, Montessori Public School, Nottingham, Oakridge, Taylor 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

9:15 – 10:45 a.m. – Arlington Traditional, Barrett, Claremont, Key, Montessori Public School, Randolph, Taylor

12:45 – 2:15 p.m. – Abingdon, Arlington Science Focus, Ashlawn, Barcroft, Carlin Springs, Discovery, Drew, Glebe, Hoffman-Boston, Long Branch 


Looking for Lunar New Year Festivities?

The National Ballet of China: Raise the Red Lantern – The visiting company returns with the award-winning ballet, performed with full orchestra as part of the Kennedy Center’s 2019 Lunar New Year festivities. (February 13, 2019 – February 16, 2019)

Community Connections

Arlington County has such a rich and diverse history and I've tried to share it with our DES community as often as possible.  That being said, I put out a Save the Date back in December for the Fire Station 8 Centennial Celebration being hosted by the John M. Langston Citizens Association of Halls Hill/High View Park.  

Well, it is upon us now - in fact it's being held tomorrow, Saturday, January 26, 2019, at NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) at 4301 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA  22203 from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.  The event is free, but we did want to have an RSVP at bit.ly/fs8centennialcelebrationevite if you would like to attend.  (Flyer attached)

As for other history from our neighborhood, the integration of Stratford (now renamed Dorothy Hamm Middle School) will be celebrated next month.  The four black students that integrated school back in February 1959 actually came from this historically black neighborhood in Arlington.  The 60th Anniversary of this desegregation will be held on February 4, 2019 at 6 p.m. at the actual school that this historical event took place.

There will be special guests (including some of the actual students who integrated Stratford), along with a visiting printmaker named Amos Kennedy.  He will create a commemorative print that honors the anniversary.  He does a great job with his art work.

I will have more to share in my next writing.  We hope to see you come out to celebrate these events with us if you can find the time.  Both events promise to be full of information regarding our rich history.  The events will be both fun and educational for all.

Lastly, look forward to hearing from us regarding Black History Month.  We will need the help of our entire community (i.e., students, families, staff) to make sure that we properly acknowledge and celebrate this month throughout our great school.  

Tia Alfred, mom of Maddox (5) and Mathias (1)

Upcoming Events

January 18, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

It’s been a crazy weather week. We have moved our MLK Day of Service to next Monday. We hope to see many of you there. We have also rescheduled the PTA Reflections Ceremony to January 29th. Lastly, our Diversity and Inclusion and Working Group meeting will January 24th. Thanks everyone for their flexibility.


Erin and Judy

Wanted: Computer Science Testimonial Videos

We are assembling a promotional video for our computer science program at Discovery, the first elementary-level CompSci program in the county. While we have great videos and photos of students at work, we’d love to have short (~15 seconds) videos of parents and/or students explaining what the computer science program means to them. Just take a selfie video and send it to Mr. Rusk (greg.rusk@apsva.us). Because these will be put into a compilation, the shorter the video is, the better it will work. Thank you!

Community Connections

This week, we wanted to highlight Arlington native Joan Mulholland, who was a Freedom Rider and lifelong Civil Rights’ activist, who was featured in this widely-shared photograph from the counter sit-ins, a nonviolent act of civil disobedience enacted to “fight for the equal access of space for all people.” This powerful photograph tells a rich story that carries many lessons with it. In this case, as we commemorate the life and heroism of Martin Luther King, Jr., this photograph (and the Washington Post article linked here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/the-lunch-counter-now-has-two-empty-seats-she-is-the-only-one-left-who-can-describe-what-it-felt-like-to-sit-there-that-hateful-day/2019/01/16/f4aecc00-19bd-11e9-9ebf-c5fed1b7a081_story.html?fbclid=IwAR1CX37nXZBp2xwgz39PQLljeHQSx3wiKFMABzGjtWI9cguC17F68mUnLls&utm_term=.858e5745f6da) can also serve as a reminder that when you fight for what you believe in, that fight can take many forms—allyship (standing alongside members of oppressed peoples) and nonviolent protest. As you read about Joan Mulholland in this brief piece, the fight doesn’t end with the frontlines. “For everyone on the front line, someone has to have their back,” Mulholland said. “I’m not marching anymore. My knees have been operated on too much. But I can make signs. I can offer to put people up in my house.”

So, to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, remember to fight for what you believe in and support positive social change in the ways that you can—no act is too small, too quiet, or without impact.

Purple Star School: Military Families

The Virginia Department of Education recently created the Purple Star School designation program, which is designed to scaffold and encourage schools to create resources that help military families while transitioning in and out of schools. Discovery is endeavoring to become the first Arlington school to be designated as a Purple Star school. As part of that effort, we have created the Military Families page on our website, located at http://discovery.apsva.us/military, and accessible through various points of entry, including under “About Us.” If you are a member of a military family, and have any suggestions for resources or information that would help other families, please feel free to share your thoughts with Keith Reeves at keith.reeves@apsva.us.

Social-Emotional Learning

The following Home Links from the Second Step curriculum summarize the topics that are being covered in grades 3, 4, & 5 throughout the month of January in once-a-month counseling lessons with their school counselor, Ms. Nawojchik. We encourage you to continue the conversation with your children at home and engage in at-home practice and discussion.

Upcoming Events

January 11, 2019

Dear Discovery Families,

Please join us in congratulating Discover’s Teacher of the Year, Mr. Timke, and our Support Employee of the Year, Ms. McGlothlin. Staff nominated these two well deserving individuals. If you or child would like to write a letter supporting either person, please email it Erin.Russo@apsva.us or bring it to the main office on Monday. We will add all letters to their packets, and submit them for the county selection process. Mr. Timke has taught fourth grade since we opened in 2015 and Ms. McGlothlin joined us as a kindergarten assistant. She is a certified art teacher, but has fallen in love with elementary and she is working on her certification to teach elementary school.

Welcome Tori Riss! Tori will be joining our fourth grade team as we say goodbye to Nikki Rollheiser. Ms. Riss has spent this entire week soaking in Discovery, and we are eager for her to start Monday. We will be planning a Meet and Greet for parents in the near future. Her bio is available on our website.

This week we also held our monthly CARES Assembly focused on self control. Students learned and practiced ways to exhibit and gain self control of their words and actions. The third grade team and Spanish teachers planned an interactive and engaging assembly. Eco Action members also shared information on Climate Change.

We hope you had a wonderful break and we look forward to the rest of 2019!


Erin and Judy

Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The next Diversity and Inclusion meeting will be Thursday, January 17, 4-5 p.m. The primary focus will be Black History Month plans and opportunities, but there is always room for new business, as well.

Second Pyramid Parent Night

Save the date! Our second Pyramid Parent Night is January 31st at 7PM in Williamsburg’s library. At our last meeting parents expressed interest in hearing more about social emotional learning, student anxiety and available supports. On January 31st will have staff present who can address this. The plan is for parents to rotate through three stations, an elementary, middle, and high. We will share trends related to student social emotional concerns and supports from each level. We are excited to include staff from Nottingham and Jamestown as well. You can find answers to the questions posed at our last meeting here. The next meeting will be April 25th at Yorktown. This is a great opportunity to begin building relationships with and learning about your pyramid schools.

Computer Science Corporate/Agency Partners

We are looking to continue enhancing our computer science program by finding corporate and/or agency partners. Given that computer science is essential to our technological future, we feel that exposing students to real-world organizations is a key part of the program. If you know of any organizations that would be interested in joining us on our computer science expedition, with material support or other, please put them in touch with Mr. Rusk (greg.rusk@apsva.us).

Community Service Club

Discovery's Community Service Club is collecting gently used household items, clothing, and toys (really anything!) for our Annual MLK Day of Service. Please bring your items to the school or just bring them on Monday, January 21, when we will sort and deliver the items to our two community partners: Borromeo Housing and ASPAN. Discovery's MLK Day of Service takes place in the Dining Commons from 11AM to 1PM. Please email communityservice@discoverypta.org with questions or for more information.

Rising 6th Grade Academic Planning Events

Academic Planning and Information Nights:

Gunston              January 15 7-8:30 (Spanish session)

                            January 24 7-8:30 (English session)

Jefferson             January 10, 7 p.m.

Swanson             January 16, 7 p.m.

Williamsburg       January 17, 7 p.m.

Kenmore             February 7, 7 p.m.


Dorothy Hamm Middle School (event to be held at HB Woodlawn)

January 10 – Middle School Information Session:  This is an opportunity for parents and students to meet the principal, discuss in general terms the plans for the school and tour the current facility.  This is the same presentation from Middle School Information Night.


In mid-February (date tbd) Dorothy Hamm will hold academic planning/course information sessions for parents and students.  This will be an opportunity to ask questions about particular courses, explore the options for electives, and consider long-term course planning.

Upcoming Events

December 21

Dear Discovery Families,

We wish everyone a wonderful Winter Break. Rest and recharge! Reflection on 2018 and as we look forward to 2019, think about the positive impact you have on your family, your school, and your community. We are looking forward to the new year and all the great things it will bring!


Erin and Judy

Light! Camera obscura! Activity!

The fifth grade class ended the fall in science with a unit on light. Students built their own pinhole viewers, which mimic how the camera and the human eye both work. To celebrate their hard work and curiosity, Mr. Bridges and visiting engineer Dr. Stuart Jessup transformed a Discovery conference room into a camera obscura, Latin for “darkened chamber.” Essentially a room-sized pinhole viewer, a camera obscura allows only a limited amount of light to enter the room through a quarter-sized hole. That light projects onto the opposite wall a live view of the scene outside. Because the light rays cross as they pass through the aperture, the projected image is upside down and reversed. See what fifth grade got to see first hand in these long-exposure images shot by Mrs. Standley.

Social-Emotional Learning

The holiday season is the perfect time to foster gratitude and generosity in your children. Over the break, consider some of these tips for cultivating  “little moments of gratitude” as we make our way into the new year!

2018 In Pictures

Upcoming Events

12/21 - Winter Break

1/17 - Social-emotional Learning (SEL) Working Group, (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

1/18 - The application window for middle school options and transfers ends

1/25 - Principal Chat: Teaching Responsibility (9:15, Blue Sky Studio)

2/5 - 2/22 - Window of time to accept or decline middle school option offers

2/21 - World Heritage Night (6-8PM, Discovery)

December 14, 2018

Dear Families,

Our Book Fair was a huge success. Who knew Explorers were so funny? A huge thank you to all the Book Fair volunteers, you helped make the fair a success! We are looking forward to another solid week of instruction, ending in PJ Day on Friday.


Erin and Judy

PTA Reflections Announcement

Discovery Explorer, Mason Mirabile, was awarded "Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme" in in the three categories of music composition, film, and photography for the Arlington County Reflections contest. He will now compete in the next level of the contest (Northern Virginia District).

Mason's film/music submissions (combined) each entitled "Through Your Eyes:"


Mason's photography submission entitled "Bee, My Hero."


How Can I Support my Gifted Learner at Home?

Thank you to all the parents who came to our Principal Chat today. HERE is the link to the presentation. We hope you find these everyday life hacks helpful as you extend learning for your Explorer at home.

Critical & Creative Thinking Strategy: F.F.O.E.

We are focusing on F.F.O.E. (Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, Elaboration) as our Critical and Creative Thinking Strategy for the next couple of weeks at Discovery. This is a thinking strategy and process that helps students brainstorm, make connections, and develop creative ideas.

Here are some samples:

Topic: Holidays (K-2)

Topic: Famous Americans (3-5)

Community Connections

As another successful Book Fair winds down today, our students have no shortage of options of books to read, many of which will find their ways into gifts for those who celebrate gift-giving traditions at this time of year. Discovery’s Library and librarian, Mr. Re, and the Arlington Public Library are great resources for books promoting diversity and inclusion, but if you’re still on the search for that perfect gift for a reader or  are simply looking for things to read with your Explorer over the break, we wanted share some resources with you. If you have more to share, please email them to diversity@discoverypta.org, and we’ll be sure to include them on our website

We Need Diverse Books: This site has book recommendations, resources for ways to find new books, and booktalking kits and support. https://diversebooks.org

Picture Books Promoting Diversity & Inclusion: https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2018/03/picture-books-promote-diversity-inclusion.html

Embrace Race: Children’s Books Recommendations: https://www.embracerace.org/childrens-books.html

Pictures of the Week

Upcoming Events

12/18 - Community Service Kids Club (8AM, Blue Sky Studio)

12/20 - Eco-Action Meeting (8:50-9:35AM, Dining Commons)

12/21 - Play Before Your Day (8AM, North Playground)

12/21 - Pajama Day

12/21 - Winter Break

1/17 - Social-emotional Learning (SEL) Working Group, (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

1/18 - The application window for middle school options and transfers ends

1/25 - Principal Chat: Teaching Responsibility (9:15, Blue Sky Studio)

2/5 - 2/22 - Window of time to accept or decline middle school option offers

2/21 - World Heritage Night (6-8PM, Discovery)

December 7

Dear Families,

It was so great to see so many returning Explorers at the Winter Choral Concert. Thank you to Ms. Krupa and Ms. Harris for their dedication to our students. They sounded wonderful and we look forward to hearing many of them again in the school musical. Also, thank you Mr. Re for running Battle of the Books and congratulations to Ms. Rollheiser’s class and all participants.

Dr. M.L. King, Jr. Visual Arts & Literary Contest

Students are asked to share their dream for our community and their future. Please encourage your child to participate.

For More Information: www.apsva.us/mlk-contest

All Entries are Due by 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018

The Discovery Art Department Presents:

A Family Day at the Museum at the Hirshhorn!

January 28, 2019 10:30-11:30AM

SIGN UP HERE! First come, first serve!

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
ndependence Ave and 7th St
Washington, DC 20560

Meet your art teachers at the registration desk in the front lobby at 10:15AM.

FREE EVENT—All Grades welcome! Parents accompany their students. Transportation is not provided.

ren accountable, but with understanding and curiosity for why The Book Fair December 10 to 14 - Times & Hours 

We will have Teacher Wish Lists posted on the glass wall outside the library conference room.

Book Fair Joke-O-Rama Extravaganza

Wednesday December 12  from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

More detail on how to win $100 book fair gift card, hydroponics presentation, hopes and dreams for 2019 below

Community Connections

Battle of the Books

Discovery in the News

Discovery was featured in a local cable TV news report about APS plans for putting solar panels on existing buildings:

Arlington County School Board will sign contract to bring solar to five more schools

 A huge thanks to Bridget Lohmeyer and Ciara Monteverde for representing Discovery at the School Board signing event. The fifth graders shared knowledge about Discovery’s solar panels and inspired those in attendance to focus on sustainability. You can view their presentation here.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Committee

Please attend our SEL Committee meeting on Thursday, January 17th from 9-10AM in Blue Sky Studio. In early January, we will post directions on our Discovery website on how to participate via Google Hangout. We plan to discuss responding to misbehavior and finalize a list of potential guest speakers. All are welcome! Join us!

Social-Emotional Learning

The following Home Links from the Second Step curriculum introduce the topics that are being covered in each grade level throughout the month of December in once-a-month counseling lessons with the school counselors, Ms. Nawojchik (Kindergarten, Third grade, Fourth grade, & Fifth grade) and Ms. Gaeta (First grade & Second grade). We encourage you to continue the conversation with your children at home and engage in at-home practice and discussion.

Additional Questions: Have you ever been hurt by gossip? Describe.

What are some ways gossip can be spread?

What are some good ways to deal with gossip?

What is a good way to stop gossip before it starts?

First Grade recently completed a series of lessons with Ms. Gaeta on solving small problems with peers independently. Students learned and practiced strategies including ignoring, walking away, using “a bug and a wish,” and making a deal to solve a conflict. Students learned that if someone asks them to stop bothering them, they should answer “okay” and then stop. Finally, Ms. Gaeta taught students the Responsive Classroom skill called “Apology of Action” when they make a mistake. Students learned that there are three steps to fixing mistakes: 1. Accept responsibility and admit you did it, 2. Apologize, and 3. Fix what’s broken. Students practiced giving an apology followed by “Are you okay? What else can I do to help you feel better?” Students are encouraged to practice these skills at home with siblings to solve conflicts!

Upcoming Events

12/10 - 12/14 - Book Fair

12/12 - Yearbook 8:30 AM

12/12 - Boys Gotta Run 8:30AM

12/12 - Early Release - Teacher Professional Development

12/12 - Book Fair Joke-o-Rama Extravaganza (6-8:00PM, Library)

12/12 - Be Green in 2019- Learn about hydroponics from Mr. Rusk &  how you can give the gift of “green” this holiday season 6:30-7:30PM

12/12 - River of Kindness- Help clean up our river!

12/13 - Diversity and Inclusion Committee (4-5PM, Blue Sky Studio)

12/18 - Community Service Kids Club (8AM, Blue Sky Studio)

12/20 - Eco-Action Meeting (8:50-9:35AM, Dining Commons)

12/21 - Play Before Your Day (8AM, North Playground)

12/21 - Pajama Day

12/21 - Winter Break

1/17 - Social-emotional Learning (SEL) Working Group, (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

1/18 - The application window for middle school options and transfers ends

2/5 - 2/22 - Window of time to accept or decline middle school option offers

2/21 - World Heritage Night (6-8PM, Discovery)

November 30

Dear Families,

This week we held our first Pyramid Parent Rendezvous. Staff from Discovery, Williamsburg, and Yorktown discussed school themes and answered parent questions. We are in the process of planning the next meeting which will be January 31st, 7PM at Williamsburg. We will share the focus as we get closer to that date. Child care and the opportunity to participate via Google Hangout will be offered.

Next week we are excited to begin the focus on empathy as part of our CARES program. The Discovery Voices will perform at our whole school assembly and again at 6:30PM next Tuesday. Consider staying for our PTA meeting at 7PM. Have a great weekend.


Erin and Judy

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Working Group

Please join us for our SEL Working Group meeting set for Thursday, December 6th from 9-10AM in Blue Sky Studio. If you would like to participate via Google Hangout, please contact Judy. We plan to discuss the survey results in regards to potential topics for the group to address, as well as coordinate a guest speaker for the Discovery community.

Social-Emotional Learning

This month in counseling lessons with Ms. Nawojchik, students in all grade levels are continuing to practice their empathy skills. In kindergarten, students were introduced to special guests Puppy and Snail who helped demonstrate that two individuals can have different feelings about the same experience. Students then listened to the song, “Everyone Has Feelings,” and played feelings charades where we worked together to guess how a classmate was feeling based on his/her facial cues and body language.

Fourth graders worked to resolve conflicts and ask for what they want or need in an assertive way. Students observed passive, aggressive, and assertive body language and tone of voice, and then worked with a partner to resolve problematic scenarios in an assertive way. Students role played and focused on facing the person, keeping their head up and shoulders back, using a calm, firm voice, and using respectful words.

Help your children recognize if their word choice, tone of voice, and/or body language is overly aggressive or too passive when they try to get what they want or need, and reflect with your children on how their style of interacting may influence others’ reactions.

Middle School Information

The application window for middle school options and transfers ends on January 18th at 4 pm. Schools/programs that are available through an application process at the middle school level include: H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, Montessori at Gunston, and Spanish Immersion at Gunston. All middle schools are open for neighborhood transfers. Families can apply through the online portal. The number of seats available at each school will be announced on January 10th. Parents must provide their own transportation if they accept a neighborhood transfer seat, but transportation is available for students attending option schools/programs.

Slots in the 6th grade class at H-B Woodlawn will be assigned based on the size of fifth grade cohorts in each elementary school. There will be four total slots available for Discovery.

Families should visit the Options and Transfers Online Application Portal at https://apsva.schoolmint.net to complete the application. Families must create an account using an email address or phone number. Families will be notified on February 5th, 2019 which option school/s their children have received a seat at, and will have until 11:59 pm on February 22nd to accept or decline any offers by sending a response through the application portal. If students have been accepted to more than one option program, once a commitment is made for the fall of 2019 the student’s name will be removed from any other admission and/or wait list.

Dining Commons Observations

Real Food for Kids is partnering with APS/Discovery on Lunch Room Collective’s Cafeteria Environment Assessment project. This project will evaluate how staff and students feel about the cafeteria and what factors create barriers to healthy eating.

On Thursday, December 6th,  researchers will visit our Dining Commons to observe students and invite students in grades 3-5 to complete a 12 item survey. Here is a copy of the student survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CNXYN6N. Also, here is a letter that further explains the project and offers a participation opt out option. Please return the form to your child’s classroom teacher if you decide to opt out.

Community Connections

As a Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee I try to share information that will keep our local black history and overall history of Arlington alive.  Back in April, I conducted a walking tour of the Segregation Wall located in the historically black neighborhood Halls Hill/High View Park.  There are other very significant contributions to the history of Arlington from that same neighborhood, which includes the first four black students who integrated schools at Stratford that came from Halls Hill and made statewide and National news.  Then we have the Fire Station 8 located on Lee Highway that still services that neighborhood that had to be built by the locals in order to even have fire services for blacks back then.  A few years ago, the County tried to relocate this station to better serve a white neighborhood that didn't even want it!  The Halls Hill/High View Park community rallied together to fight this effort and was successful in keeping it in its existing location.  There's so much rich history that has never been shared or discussed and I'd like to bring attention to it as much as I can because this is where I come from as a native of Arlington - these are my roots!  I am very proud of this and wanted to share with my Discovery community.

So today I'd like to extend an invitation to celebrate in some of our local Arlington history.  We will be participating in the "Winter Festival of Lights" tomorrow, Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at Langston Brown Community Center.  This event is being presented by the Lee Highway Alliance and will stretch the length of Lee Highway from the Lee Community Center to the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire House with various activities along the way.  In conjunction with the festival of lights, there will be an unveiling of the John M. Langston portrait at 12 Noon at Langston in the 1st floor lobby.  

Lastly, I'd like to share a save the date - Saturday, January 26, 2019!  The Halls Hill/ High View Park neighborhood's Fire Station 8 will be honored in a celebration.  The John M. Langston Citizens Association (JMLCA) will host: Arlington County's Halls Hill Fire Station 8, 100th Anniversary Celebration.  The event will be held at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) located at 4301 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA  22203 from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.  We would love to see you there.  The event is free, but we'd like to still have an RSVP at: bit.ly/fs8centennialcelebrationevite in order to get an accurate head count for our event. Flyers for all three events are attached to the APS SchoolTalk.

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!!

Tia Alfred, Mother of 5th grader (Maddox) & 1st grader (Mathias)  

The Book Fair December 10 to 14 - Times & Hours 

The Book Fair Joke-O-Rama Extravaganza!!!

Wednesday December 12  from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

It will include the following extra amazing activities:

Gifted Services Updates

2e Newsletter Shared from APS Gifted Services

HERE is a copy of the November 2e Twice-Exceptional Newsletter for families and advocates for 2e students. Make sure you scroll to the end of the newsletter for events and links to resources.

Showcase Your Literary and Artistic Talent!

Encourage your Explorer to participate in this annual literary and visual arts contest.  HERE is a link to the APS Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Contest. You can learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. through BrainPop and BrainPop Jr. Click HERE (for older Explorers) and HERE (for younger Explorers). Your Explorer can also use the digital tools provided on Discovery’s Library Services webpage HERE.

Upcoming Events

12/4 - C.A.R.E.S. Assembly (2:45-3:30PM, Gym)

12/4 - Chorus Concert (6:30-7PM, Gym)

12/4 - PTA Meeting (7-8PM, Dining Commons

12/10 - 12/14 - Book Fair

12/12 - Book Fair Open late (6-8PM)

12/12 - Early Release - Teacher Professional Development

12/12 - Book Fair Joke-o-Rama Extravaganza (6-8:00PM, Library)

12/21 - Winter Break

November 16, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Snow before Thanksgiving! We want to thank all our teachers and front office staff for spreading calm during the weather event. We hope everyone traveled safely. We will reschedule our Principal Chat after the Thanksgiving break. We wish you a great break! Tomorrow we hope to see many of you at the the Jennifer Bush-Lawson fundraiser.


Erin and Judy

Girls On The Run

We wish our girls the best on their run. They did a great job this morning!

Technology Updates

The Department of Information Services said last week that they had finally authorized iOS 12.1 to be updated and installed on student iPads, along with the latest version of GlobalProtect. Updating iOS AND GlobalProtect (the filter system) was supposed to have been made available by COB this past Monday. That didn't happen. At this time we have no new information, and have inquiries in to the Assistant Superintendent. We will advise you as soon as we have accurate information.

Community Connections

As I contemplated what to share with the Discovery Elementary School community for our newsletter, I thought I'd share about a topic that is very important and a growing concern throughout the nation - Housing!


This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.  In recognition of this milestone, I attended the 2018 Leckey Forum event called Confronting Diversity: Housing Policies for a Truly Inclusive Community organized by the Alliance for Housing Solutions.  The keynote speaker was Senator Tim Kaine and there were County Board members, Mrs. Leckey and other speakers in attendance.  There were various panel discussions on this growing issue.

I walked away having learned something new about my hometown of Arlington that truly blew me away.  To this day, there are communities in this county that still contain the verbiage that was used in deeds to homes on their current neighborhood websites that actually spelled out the groups of people that were literally excluded from ever purchasing homes in certain areas right here in Arlington County!  The fact that this awful practice was ever done is one thing, but the fact that it is still in print in 2018 is simply appalling!!

Here's a sample:  

No lot or lots hereby conveyed, or any interest in it or them, shall ever be used, occupied by, sold, demised, transferred, conveyed unto, or in trust for, leased, rented, or given, to negros [sic], or any person or persons of Negro blood or extraction, or to any person of the semetic [sic] race, blood, or origin, which racial description shall be deemed to include Armenians, Jews, Hebrews, Persians and Syrians, except that, this paragraph shall not be held to exclude occupancy of the premises by domestic servants of the owner or owners of said lot or lots, his or their heirs or assigns.

There were panelists that spoke of having this same wording listed on the deeds to their homes when they first bought them.  There were others (minorities) that spoke of realtors only showing them homes in certain areas back in those days, as they weren't wanted in certain neighborhoods here in Arlington.

This was an awesome, eye-opening event that shed so much light on a topic that is a basic necessity in life!  It is amazing that we even touched on the subject of housing and schools and how they all work together.  It is way too much for me to try to summarize, but I will attach a link to the organizer's page:


I would also like to leave everyone with food for thought, that my view is that the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is here to make sure that Discovery Elementary School's community is truly inclusive and NOT just on paper!!  Part of our mission should be to set an example for the rest of Arlington and APS and show them what inclusion actually looks like.  We should proactively implement a community that addresses the issues of inclusion, access, diversity, multiculturalism, and global & intercultural engagement!!!  We can do this all while providing an inviting, safe and supportive environment for people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives...  Access + Equity + Opportunity = Success for us all!!!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Author:  Tia Alfred, mother of a 5th grader and a 1st grader

Social-emotional Learning Working Group Survey

Are you interested in joining Discovery’s Social-emotional Learning (SEL) Working Group? This

group of parents and teachers strives to develop students’ social-emotional skills at school and in other settings.Here is the SEL Working Group survey to guide the initial planning stages of the group. Thanks in advance to responding.

Critical & Creative Thinking Strategy: R.A.F.T.

This month, our Gifted Coach, Ms. Blake is working with our students and staff on the R.A.F.T. strategy and the sustainability pathway of consumption and waste. R.A.F.T. stands for: Role, Audience, Format, Topic. Students learn about perspective by writing or creating something from one point of view (Role) to share with someone else (Audience). This can be used in any grade level and in subject area and is a great way to extend learning. Feelfree to use this activity with your Discovery Explorer. As a super challenge, you could have your child create his or her own R.A.F.T. ideas and bring the completed activity to show during Morning Meeting at school.

Here is an example of a R.A.F.T. related to Thanksgiving:






Family member

Thank You Card

Things you are Thankful for


Family member

Long List

Reasons why you should not be eaten for Thanksgiving

Canned Cranberries

Fresh Cranberries

Newspaper Article

Why Canned Cranberries are a holiday meal favorite


Art Museum

Art Masterpiece

Things you are Thankful for

PTA Reflection Contest: Winner Announced

Here are the results of Discovery's 2018 Reflections contest. While only the top entry in each category/division will move on to the county competition (i.e., those students winning "Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme"), Discovery Explorers are all winners for sharing their creativity with our school community.

The Discovery award ceremony is Tuesday, January 15th, at 8-8:45AM in the library for parents and their students. For those Explorers who will advance to the county competition, there is a county-wide awards ceremony Wednesday, January 23rd from 6:30 to 8:30PM at Washington-Lee High School.

Discovery Reflections Winners


Intermediate Division (Grades 3-5)

Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme: Mason Mirabile

Award of Excellence: Claire O’Sullivan


Intermediate Division (Grades 3-5)

Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme: Peyton Johnson

Music Composition

Intermediate Division (Grades 3-5)

Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme: Mason Mirabile

Award of Excellence: Aidan O’Connell


Intermediate Division (Grades 3-5)

Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme: Mason Mirabile

 Award of Excellence: Jonah Treitler

 Award of Merit: Austin Humes and Cate Lewis


Visual Arts                

Primary Division (Grades K-2)

  Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme: Eliana Villwock

Intermediate Division (Grades 3-5)

Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme: Ever Rose D’addio

Award of Excellence:  Madeline Mangi and Clara Shriner

Award of Merit: Zoe Byard, Paul Gulick, Clara Shriner, and Celia Zanni

Upcoming Events

12/21- Thanksgiving Break starts

12/10 - Book Fair starts

12/14 - Principal Chat: How to Support Your Gifted Learner at Home (9:15AM, Blue Sky)

November 9, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Hopefully, you have found time to come into Discovery and see our new school Morning Message boards. Morning Message is a research based way to increase student and staff connectedness to school. The Morning Message is a simple but highly effective technique for welcoming students into the school, setting the tone for the day, and reinforcing academic skills. We also want students to show responsibility and practice social skills by greeting adults by looking them in the eye and returning greetings. Together we want to create a positive start to our learning day.

We applaud the confidence in APS schools that voters demonstrated by passing the school bond by 82%. We also applaud student voters who voted on this year’s Yearbook cover. With overwhelming majority, QUARTZ is the 2018-2019 Discovery Yearbook Cover!!!  

This week we held our November CARES assembly focused on responsibility. After greeting each other with the turkey handshake and singing the Kindness Song, the school recognized the responsibility our Green Leaders and patrols demonstrate every day. We also watched and discussed a short video showcasing responsibility. The Discovery Explorer demonstrated how to follow our new Hallway Expectations signs. As we teach, learn, and celebrate ways to be responsible throughout the month of November, we ask you to include this in your dinner conversations. We also invite you to our Friday, November 16th Principal Chat at 9:15AM. In Blue Sky Studio we will offer coffee and information on how we teach responsibility at school and ways to support responsibility growth at home.

Discovery C.A.R.E.S.- The month of November is an excellent time to give thanks for all we have. There are many ways that Explorers can show they care about others. Please visit our front lobby. We have bins where students can donate candy to the Mattie Miracle Candy Drive. The treats will be delivered to six hospitals and 11 non-profit organizations that assist children with cancer and others in need. We also have bins for Items for Hurricane Michael relief. Gently used books and board games are welcome. New stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, slippers, socks, and PJs will also make a difference to those affected by the disaster. Finally, we have AFAC food boxes for non-perishable items. Talk to your child about the importance of caring for others.  

Thank you to all the students who entered the PTA Reflections contest. We plan to celebrate your work on January 15th at 8AM in our library.  

Thank you to the parents of the Social-Emotional Learning Working Group and The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. We had wo powerful meetings on Thursday and shared very inspiring ideas on how to improve our Discovery community. If you are interested in learning about the Social-Emotional Working Group please email judith.seeber@apsva.us and if you are interested in learning more about the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, please contact DiversityinclusionPTA@gmail.com . We welcome all parents. Please also consider writing for our Community Connections section.

Enjoy the weekend and thank you to all the veterans who shared their stories at Discovery and for those who served.


Erin and Judy

Community Connections

With the midterm elections mostly in our rear view mirror, it’s a great time to reflect on the historic gains people identifying as female made this past election cycle. A record number of women ran for office locally, regionally, and nationally, resulting in a record number of female governors, senators, and representatives representing political views across the spectrum and representing some firsts for Congress, including our first Native American,

Latinx, and Asian (first Korean-American) elected officials serving in Congress. What better way to show our Explorers of all genders that their voices matter than seeing themselves as heads of states and in the halls of state legislatures and Congress! To read more about the women who ran and the women who won, check out this LA Times article: http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-pol-women-elected/.

Lisa Harper Chang, Mother to a Montessori K and 3rd Grade Explorers

Social-Emotional Learning

This month in counseling lessons with Ms. Nawojchik, students in all grade levels are practicing their empathy by learning to recognize and respect each other’s differences. So far this month, fifth grade students discussed the definition of prejudice and played a community-building game where they worked to discover something they have in common with each of their classmates. Third grade students learned how to initiate and continue an appropriate conversation with a peer who may have different interests, created a “conversation chain” with a partner or small group, and listened to the silly yet catchy “Empathy Song”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rdA3wDamKc

Help your children practice taking the perspective of others by pausing and asking them how a character in a book, tv show, movie, or game may be feeling in a given moment, how they would feel if they were in that situation, and/or how one character’s perspective may be different from another.

For additional reading and information on cultivating empathy in children, consider Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba, Ed.D.  http://micheleborba.com/ 

Eco-Action launches TerraCycle

Did you know that the discarded fruit pouch container (like the popular Go-Go Squeeze applesauce) you pack in your child's lunch can be made into new things?  The TerraCycle program has been turning these pouches into many new products like tote bags, notebooks, duffle bags and even playground equipment.  Explorers can now recycle their empty fruit pouches in the Dining Commons. Eco-Action leaders will collect, weigh and ship the empty pouches off starting next week.  We'd love our Explorer families to pack lunches with reusable containers but if your student loves Go-Go squeeze or other healthy fruit pouches, please remind them to look for the new TerraCycle bin. For more information about TerraCycle programs, you can visit www.terracycle.com.

Discovery Hydroponic Wall Ready for Planting

The Discovery Hydroponic Wall is ready for planting (with a few final adjustments next week)! We finished on schedule thanks to the 60+ individuals who helped out over the course of 5 different community build events. We are now waiting on the seedlings that were sown two weeks ago in Ms. Spierto and Ms. Jesukiewicz’s Montessori/PreK classroom. The classrooms in the Hedge will be taking on the responsibility of planting seeds each week to have a steady flow of plants for the wall. This will happen with the help of the Seed Trolley that will travel to each classroom for a three-week farming rotation. The tentative planting date is Friday Nov 16, if the seedlings can put on two sets of true leaves by then.

Tonight at 6PM

Honor Flight:

Discovery families are invited to participate in the November 9 Honor Flight program in Washington, DC.  Honor Flights were created to bring older veterans to our area to visit the memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice. Students are encouraged to come share their cards, letters, and posters with the veterans and their families in person at 6pm at Knights of Columbus. Hope to see you there.

Our Explorer modeling responsibility             Patrols describing responsibility

Warrior Canine Connection service dog Sully.

Upcoming Events

11/12 - No School, Veterans Day

11/14 - Yearbook Club (8:30-8:55AM, Blue Sky Studio)

11/13 - PTA Meeting, (7-8PM, Dining Commons)

11/15 - Eco Action Meeting (8:50AM, Dining Commons)

11/15 - Make Up Photo Day

11/16 - Play Before Your Day (8:30AM, North Playground)

11/16 - Principal Chat (9:15, Blue Sky Studio) Topic: Learning Responsibility

12/10 - Book Fair starts

12/14 - Principal Chat: How to support your Gifted learner at home? (9:15AM, Blue Sky)

November 2, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

First Pyramid Parent Rendezvous

Please join Williamsburg and Yorktown staff and parents for an evening of discussion. A panel of parents and staff from the three schools will entertain questions on transitions, supports, workload, and expectations. Find out how all three schools collaborate to ensure students reach their highest potential. Elementary school preparation results in academic choice in middle school and beyond. Join us at Discovery Elementary School, November 27th 7PM.

Social-Emotional Learning Working Group

How can we support students who display concerning and challenging behaviors, such as teasing and name calling; cliques and exclusion; defiance; silliness and showing off; dishonesty; and/or tattling? What social-emotional skills do our students need to develop? What are the powerful actions to take to build a safe, caring school community that promotes positive behavior? Please join Discovery staff and parents to discuss students’ social-emotional needs and the development of their skills on Thursday, November 8th, in Blue Sky Studio from 9-9:45AM. Please RSVP.

Electronic Progress Reports

As we shared toward the end of last year, this year Discovery will be electronically sending home quarterly Standards-Based Progress Reports. This will be through Synergy, the APS student information system. Explicit instructions on how to access this secure, confidential system to view progress reports will be shared with Discovery families in the coming couple of weeks.

Yearbook Club & Election Day

Election Day is drawing near! Get ready to cast your vote for the 2018-2019 Yearbook Cover! Explorers will vote on the cover art on Wednesday, November 7th during Morning Meeting! Our next Yearbook Club meeting is Wednesday, November 14th in the Blue Sky Studio at 8:30 AM! Explorers will submit the cover design, and go over scheduled due dates and student responsibilities.

Last Hydroponics Build Day: Mon 11/5 4-6pm

Take a look at a time lapse video of the last build day! We are in the final stretch towards completion of the Discovery Hydroponic Garden. We will be working on some finishing touches on the last build day (Mon 11/5 4pm-6pm): sanitizing the nutrient tank/lines, touching up the paint, moving the wall to its operating position, and breaking down materials for clean up. Come join us for this working celebration. Note: Pre-K and Montessori classes are currently growing seedlings for the the first planting, which will occur on Friday 11/16. We will have spinach, kale, pak choi, and green lettuce.

Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

“An unfortunate week to remember”

The past week has been extremely difficult. Not just for me, but for millions of Americans who learned of the 3 unfortunate incidents that occurred in various parts of our country. In Kentucky, 2 African Americans were killed at random while shopping at a grocery store. Mail Bombs were sent to American citizens and a mass shooting occurred in a Synagogue in Pennsylvania.

Those 3 incidents that occurred in 3 days shared one thing in common: Hate. Unfounded and unwarranted hate. My initial response to this awful news was despair, and then anger, followed by sadness. I feel these emotions for the victims, their families, for our country and for the world.  As a parent, one of the hardest parts about experiencing incidents like this is that our children experience it too.

Our children experience these events through the television, social media, and radio. As a parent, your initial reaction may be to cover your children’s eyes, turn off the television or change the radio station. There’s no shame in this. I do this with the intention of monitoring my children’s exposure to unnecessary pain and suffering. In addition to ensuring that my husband and I are available to provide a sense of security, I feel obligated to continue to take it one step further and be open to answering our children’s questions pertaining to these events in a developmentally appropriate manner.

As painful as these conversations are, they are important to have in a safe space/ no-fail environment. We will try to shield our children from these events, but they will hear about these events with or without us parents. That being said, it’s probably better that they aren’t making sense of these senseless acts alone. Our kids will have questions about the event and they will want to have the unanswerable questions answered; such as “Why did this happen”? Today, I still have the same answer: There’s no reason for it. However; I am aware that some people have hate in their hearts and hate can fester and cause events such as these.

If you choose to have a conversation with your child or choose to answer their questions that may arise, I have found that it’s important for our children to know that they can do something about this misplaced hatred. Our children can show us adults how to treat one another with respect. Our children can show us how to disagree with others appropriately, and our children can use their energy for doing good for others. No act of kindness is too small.

If your child is anxious or sad about these events, you can help them write a thank you letter to the first responders that assisted. You can help them create a fundraiser for the victims, or brainstorm with them about ways to support citizens in our community that could use a helping hand.

Regardless of your child’s age, I hope that you find comfort in knowing that there are some basic things you can do to help them cope with the more disturbing aspects of the world in which we live. One of the most important ways to empower them is to listen to them. Let them talk about their thoughts and emotions and take them seriously when they do. Whatever the method, gently assist your child to express his or her anxieties IF they arise. I have learned through experience as a parent and educator to never try to force kids to open up. Be there for them. IF they have questions, answer them in a developmentally appropriate manner and provide them with an opportunity to make things better in our community and world.

I hope that this week brings news of hope, happiness and healing.

Kia Kinsler (Parent to a 3rd grade explorer and a future explorer)

New Instructional Assistants

Please join us in welcoming Katie Dewberry and Danny La. Both comes to us with experience and are excited to join the Discovery Team.

Astronaut Readdy Visits Williamsburg WolfBots

Mr. Boykin, Principal of WMS, Mr. Dudek and I, greeted Astronaut Readdy on the 20th anniversary of John Glenn’s flight on Discovery. Mr. Bill Readdy came to Williamsburg to give feedback to the WMS Robotics Club on their long term space travel research. The students are preparing for a an upcoming competition. Mr. Readdy offered stories and knowledge from his several space missions and had the opportunity. Read more about Astronaut Readdy here.

WTOP Junior Reporter Contest

Help 5th grader Ciara Monteverde earn $1000 for Discovery. She has been selected as a finalist for the WTOP Junior Reporter Contest. Winners are selected based on popular vote.

Upcoming Events

11/5 - Hydroponic Garden Build (4-6PM, Dining Commons)

11/6 - No School, Grade Prep

11/8 - Social-Emotional Working Group (9:00-9:45AM, Blue Sky Studio)

11/12 - No School, Veteran’s Day

11/13 - PTA Meeting, (7-8PM, Dining Commons)

11/15 Eco Action Meeting (8:50AM, Dining Commons)

11/15 - Make Up Photo Day

11/16 - Play Before Your Day (8:30AM, North Playground)

11/16 - Principal Chat (9:15, Blue Sky Studio) Topic: Learning Responsibility

11/29 - Flu Clinic (11:30-3:45)


October 26, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

It was so great to see so many of you at Parent Teacher Conferences. Thank you for sharing information to help us make this a successful year. There was a sea of orange for Unity Day on Wednesday. We will continue to teach students about kindness and inclusion and how to stand up for others. Wednesday is Halloween. Please have your child save his/her costume for the evening festivities. Also, please refrain from sending treats to school. We wish everyone a safe evening celebration. Please use lights if you are driving, use extra caution in neighborhoods.


Erin and Judy

Unity Day

Our Explorers participated in Unity Day on Wednesday October 24th, and it was great to see more orange than usual throughout the building and hear some of the class discussions surrounding the event. The goal of Unity Day is for students and staff all across the country to “wear and share orange to show we are together against bullying and united for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion,” and to create a visually-compelling expression of solidarity. Orange is a color associated with safety and community helpers, and we encourage you to have open conversations with your children about who their safe person is at Discovery - Is there a trusted adult your child feels comfortable talking to and asking for help?

This month in counseling lessons, students have been learning about how to be supportive bystanders if they witness bullying or unkind teasing at school. Students can use their “bystander power” by not laughing along, not joining in, and not keeping it to themselves. Students are encouraged to report their concerns to an adult and/or stand up in the moment by assertively saying, “Please stop, that’s not funny” or “Stop, that’s not kind.”

To learn more about bullying prevention in Arlington Public Schools and how to help your child cope, listen to the following What’s Up, APS? Podcast


We use Dreambox as a part of Math Workshop. Dreambox is an adaptive system to help students build their understanding of math at their own individual level. Teachers in grades 1st through 5th at Discovery use Dreambox in their classrooms to help make decisions about students’ individual needs. In order to save the integrity of the data teachers collect, students will complete Dreambox lessons only in school.


Ms. Krupa and Ms. Harris are searching for a volunteer accompanist for our choir concerts this year. The concerts are scheduled for Tuesday, December 4 at 6:30PM and Monday, June 10 at 7:00PM.   Please contact Ms. Harris at caitlin.harris@apsva.us if you have experience with accompanying an ensemble and would be interested in this opportunity.

PTA Reflections: Heroes Around Me

This theme is sure to get your child’s creative juices flowing! Please encourage your child to submit an entry. The deadline in fast approaching: November 2, 2018. Last year several Discovery Explorers were honored. Your child can pick up an entry form in the main foyer.

Gifted Services Updates: 2e Mid-October Newsletter

It was great to see some Discovery staff and families at the screening of the film, Angst, on Tuesday, which centers on the topic of anxiety.  Click HERE to read the Mid-October 2e (Twice-Exceptional) Newsletter from Glen Ellyn Media. This month’s newsletter focus is anxiety.

Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

This time of year means crisper air, beautiful fall leaves, scary and impressive and scarily impressive Halloween decorations, jack-o’lanterns, sugar, and the return of the annual debate of what Halloween costumes are appropriate for my child. Last year, the hot topic was whether or not white children could go as Moana, while this year, the options still include Moana and have expanded to include any number of phenomenal characters from Black Panther (Shuri, anyone?) or mimicking the forward fashion of Peik Lin from Crazy Rich Asians. The arguments against allowing just anyone, including children, in the costumes of another culture are grounded primarily in the concept of cultural appropriation, a term that you may have heard being thrown around with increasing frequency these days. In short, cultural appropriation refers to the adoption of elements of a culture by people who are not of that culture, e.g. a white child dressing as T’challa from Black Panther.

These debates can leave parents and people of all cultures asking themselves, “What are ‘safe’ costumes for my child or me to wear? Can I only dress in the costumes of my culture?” As in all issues of Diversity and Inclusion, I propose that the answer is never that simple and there are nuances to each and every situation that lead us to a variety of conclusions. Mostly, though, as a person who identifies as Asian American and specifically Korean American, I love it when people of all cultures find something beautiful in Asian and Korean culture to emulate, and I freely admit to giving extra candy to any Mulan’s who come trick or treating. Even if Mulan isn’t Korean, she is one of the few more widely-recognized Asian heroines of my childhood, and I love seeing others recognize just how incredible a character she is. I, for one, would not want anyone who loved Mulan or the characters in Black Panther, Moana, Crazy Rich Asians, etc… to be barred from doing so, and as Van Jones says in the Fatherly article linked below: “Generally, to have kids identify across those lines seems like a good thing.” That said, there are certain guidelines to follow in dressing like our heroes who represent other cultures, such as avoiding “blackface” or, for non-Asians, curb the urge to get creative with your eye make-up.

Furthermore, Van Jones posits, and I agree, that our conversations about race, privilege, and oppression need to be graded to the appropriate developmental stages of our children. He says, “You don’t want the first conversation about race to be about something they want to do and they can’t.” (with recognition that being able to choose the timing of this conversation is a privilege in itself)

Mostly, questions about cultural appropriation, respect, race, and privilege are great opportunities to not only expand how our children understand the world but offer parents the potential for learning much more about ourselves and each other, so I encourage you to not shy away from honest, direct, respectful questions and conversations with each other about diversity and inclusion.

Hey Van Jones, Can My White Kid Dress As Black Panther for Halloween?

Lisa Harper Chang (parent to Montessori K and 3rd Grade Explorers)

Upcoming Events

10/28 - Spirit Sale Ends

11/5 - Hydroponic Garden Build (4-6PM, Dining Commons)

11/6 - No School, Grade Prep

11/12 - No School, Veteran’s Day

11/13 - PTA Meeting, (7-8PM, Dining Commons)

11/15 Eco Action Meeting (8:50AM, Dining Commons)

11/15 - Make Up Photo Day

11/16 - Play Before Your Day (8:30AM, North Playground)

11/16 - Principal Chat (9:15, Blue Sky Studio) Topic: Learning Responsibility

11/29 - Discovery’s Flu Clinic for those who opted in.

October 18, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

This week we celebrated National School Lunch Week with a visit from  Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture. He is now known to our Explorers as “Buddy”. We celebrated our fantastic kitchen staff and talked with students about the importance of healthy eating habits. We started today with the healthy habit of Play Before the Day. It was a beautiful fall day for parents and students to gather on the North Playground.

We are looking forward to creative costumes and a fun filled Pumpkinfest! If you haven’t been before, this is one community event you do not want to miss!


Erin and Judy

It’s not too late! The PTA would love you to volunteer.         

Unity Day

Wednesday, October 24th is the nationwide day to celebrate unity against bullying during Bullying Prevention Month. Please encourage your child to wear  orange on October 24th to demonstrate that we are united together against bullying, and united for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion! For more information, check out the National Bullying Prevention Center website: https://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/unity-day.asp

Eco Action Team

Our Eco-Action Green Leaders were visited by Naturalists from the Long Branch Nature Center and Gulf Branch Nature Center on the Veranda on Thursday. They explored our Schoolyard Habitat pathway to sustainability. Our visitors played games about protecting our native species in their habitats. The highlight was a special guest turtle!  


Eco-Action Green Leaders did a tremendous job preparing the Discovery Vegetable Garden for planting. The Green Leaders and their families came for a second community service hour to weed and prune. Thank you to all of the students and families for making an impact on our schoolyard habitat. A special thank you to Mr. Sugiarto for helping clear the path around the beds!

Garden Tool Collection at Pumpkinfest

Cleaning out the garage or tool shed? Discovery is in need of yard tools to help upkeep in our vegetable garden, butterfly garden, Outdoor Classroom, and general grounds. There will be a box for unwanted tools at the front of the school at Pumpkinfest. No donation is too small. We are hoping for rakes, shovels, clippers, trowls, etc.

Next Hydroponics Community Build: Mon Oct 22 4-6PM and Fri Oct 26 9am-3pm

Come join us Mon, Oct 22, 4-6pm and/or Fri, Oct 26, 9am-3pm (Friday of Parent Teacher Conferences). We’ll be focusing on painting the frames, assembling the PVC towers, and building the reflective panels. Many of the tasks require close adult supervision, so your child must be chaperoned. Also, come with clothes that you don’t mind getting a little messy. We’ll be working in the Dining Commons and on the Veranda. Please indicate your intentions on this form so we can plan for the right amount of work and Mr. Rusk can communicate any last minute changes. If you have any questions, feel free to email greg.rusk@apsva.us.

Critical & Creative Thinking Strategy: S.C.A.M.P.E.R.

This month, Ms. Blake (our Gifted Coach) is focusing on the creative thinking strategy, S.C.A.M.P.E.R. (Kindergarten is focusing on P-M-I instead.) This is a great tool to use when you are trying to create something new, or taking a really long car ride and need a game to play. Have students try to S.C.A.M.P.E.R. a story, event in history, or a product. This is a way to encourage creative, divergent thinking. We used S.C.A.M.P.E.R. with bicycles and the Metro.

Upcoming Events

10/21- PumpkinFest Parade, 11:30AM

10/21- PumpkinFest,12-3 PM

10/24 - Unity Day- Wear Orange

10/25 - Early Release Day, 1:26PM

10/25 - Parent Teacher Conference, 1:30-4PM (Early Release Day)

10/26 - Parent Teacher Conference (8:30-4PM)

11/13 - PTA Meeting, 7-8PM,DIning Commons

October 12, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Fall weather has finally arrived. Please take the time to label jackets and hats, so that forgotten items can be returned. It was a short, but busy, week. Thank you to our fabulous Physical Education team for planning a great Walk and Bike to school day. It was fun and healthy, and teachers reported increased focus. We encourage you to bring your child to Play Before the Day, next Friday, October 19th at 8:00AM. Physical activity is a great way to start the day. This week, we also had our first hydroponic garden community build. Thank you to those who helped.

Lastly, let’s be courteous of our neighbors, especially those on N. 36th Street. There have been several complaints of parents blocking driveways at dismissal. We want to highlight that this is a safety concern. If the residents have an emergency, they need to be able to leave immediately. We want to encourage everyone driving to use the carloop. Note: pick up is going faster, now that we are in the second month of school. If you haven’t tried the loop in awhile, please consider it again.

Please check out your grade level learning log to see the great learning that took place this week. There are links at the top of this page.


Erin and Judy

Parent Teacher Conference Sign Up

Parent Teacher Conferences are Thursday and Friday, October 25th and 26th. Thursday is an Early Release Day with conferences in the afternoon, and there is no school for students on Friday with conferences from 8:30-4PM. You will have the opportunities to sign up for a conference time slot through our website. We will also send and APS School Talk with the link. The Sign Up will go live Tuesday, October 16th, at 6PM.

First Graders Play Testing with ThinkFun

This week, small groups of Discovery first graders had the opportunity to work with members of the ThinkFun team. ThinkFun is located in Old Town Alexandria and they are well known for games such as: Rush Hour, Chocolate Fix, Gravity Maze, and Math Dice. Not only did our Explorers get to play test game prototypes for upcoming releases, but they learned about the jobs of game designers and product managers. This was a great opportunity for our students and we look forward to working again with ThinkFun!  

Next Hydroponics Community Build: Mon, Oct 22, 4-6PM

The first community build made fantastic progress towards our very own hydroponic lettuce farm at Discovery! Thanks to those who chipped in. The next event will occur on Mon, Oct 22, 4-6pm. We’ll be focusing on painting the frames, assembling the PVC towers, and building the reflective panels. Many of the tasks require close adult supervision, so your child must be chaperoned. Also, come with clothes that you don’t mind getting a little messy and meet in the Dining Commons. We’ll be doing the painting just outside on the Veranda. Please indicate your intentions on this form so we can plan for the right amount of work and Mr. Rusk can communicate any last minute changes. AND, you’ll notice in the form that a new date has been added on Fri, Oct 26 from 9:00-3:00. This is the Friday of Parent Teacher Conferences. If you have any questions, feel free to email greg.rusk@apsva.us.

Eco-Action Vegetable Garden Clean Up

Please join our Green Leaders to clean up the Discovery Vegetable Garden. We will work in the garden on Wednesday, October 17th from 4-5PM. Students can earn 1 community service hour doing this activity. If your child is in Extended Day please let us know.

Thank you for your support in greening Discovery! Signup HERE

Bike and Walk to School: Sign-Up Genius (SUG)

Do you already have an email list for your bus stop for block parties or last day of school celebrations? If "Yes", please check out this signup genius for coordinating more walk and biking days with your neighbors.


PumpkinFest: Volunteer SUG & Wristband Sales SUG

The link to Wristband sales is https://discoverypta.membershiptoolkit.com/packet/7732144


The link to the SignUp Genius is https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0849aaa829a3f58-games

Upcoming Events

10/16 - Parent Teacher Conference Sign Up goes live at 6PM

10/18 - Eco Action Meeting, 8:50-9:35 AM

10/19 - Play Before Your Day, 8-8:45 AM

10/21- PumpkinFest Parade, 11:30 AM

10/21- PumpkinFest,12 PM to 3 PM

10/25 - Early Release Day, 1:26PM

10/25 - Parent Teacher Conference, 1:30-4PM (Early Release Day)

10/26 - Parent Teacher Conference (8:30-4PM)

11/13 - PTA Meeting, 7PM

October 5, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Welcome to October! Students and staff smiled for the camera on Tuesday. Thank you to all our parent volunteers who helped on picture day. Today was a Discovery Spirit Day, and we saw many students wearing their grade level shirt. Remember to wear grade level shirts on Wednesday’s Walk and Bike to School Day. We will continue our tradition of a school wide picture in the shape of an O. (We started in 2015 with D!) This week we also had a community garden clean up. While there is still much to do, our garden is looking much better. Teachers spent time this week learning about the Design Thinking Process and will do so again during next week’s Early Release day. Discovery hosted an Education and Workforce Development forum Thursday. The panel of speakers included Margaret Chung, Principal of the Career Center; Dr. Mike Looney, Superintendent of Williamson County, TN Schools; and Steve Partridge, Vice President of Workforce Development, Northern Virginia Community College. The panel discussed topics related to problem-based learning experiences and critical thinking opportunities. Discovery’s Mastery Projects support this approach to learning. We look forward to sharing more about this work at our November PTA meeting.


Erin and Judy

APS News

We encourage you to engage in the many initiatives in APS. We are starting the 2020 Budget process early and you can learn more here. Facing a much larger budget gap means we should work together to make our priorities heard.

Walk and Bike to School Day: October 10

Walk and Bike to School Day is scheduled for this coming Wednesday! Students (and parents) are encouraged to walk, bike, or scooter to school. Students will meet their teachers on the field next to DES for a morning “celebration” that will allow students to walk the perimeter of the field and/or participate in a physical activity with their teacher and classmates. We will culminate the morning with taking an entire school picture in the shape of a the letter “O” to spell the next letter in “Discovery”. Bus students will also be dropped off in front of Williamsburg Middle School and will have the opportunity to walk to the field. Parents are encouraged to stay. If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering, contact John Duffy, our PE teacher, at john.duffy@apsva.us. Rain date is October 17, 2018.


Our next Eco-Action meeting will be held on October 18th. We will host an ambassador from the Long Branch Nature Center and continue exploring our Schoolyard Habitat pathway to sustainability. Our visitor will educate our Green Leaders about habitats through games and will provide a meet & greet with animals. We will meet on the Veranda outside of the Dining Commons from 8:50-9:35AM. If any of your students would still like to join Eco-Action, please have their parents email maria.burke@apsva.us or katherine.williams@apsva.us.

Eco-Action Green Leaders held a Community Day of Service and worked on cleaning up the Discovery Vegetable Garden as part of their efforts to improve our schoolyard habitat. This garden is a teachable space for our school. The garden will not only will provide our students with healthy delicious food, but beauty, too. Thank you to the families who volunteered their time tomake a green impact on Discovery!

Scouting Program Reminders

Dear Girl and Cub Scout Leaders,

We welcome you to Discovery and appreciate your work with our girl and boy scouts. We ask for your cooperation on two issues as you begin to hold your meetings.

The Discovery custodial team works to have the school building sparkle in the morning upon student arrival. Please remain in your reserved locations during your meetings and refrain from entering other areas, including the slide, the hedge outside of the Kindergarten classrooms, and the library. Also, many Discovery students have food allergies that require the school building to be free of food allergens. Please refrain from serving food and drink before, during, and after your meetings.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Erin and Judy

Hydroponics Community Build: Mon, Oct 8, 2-4PM

Discovery is building its very own hydroponics system (AKA: the lettuce wall). Would you like to lend a hand putting it together? We’re looking for community members, parents, and supervised students to join Mr. Rusk for three separate build events where you can put your IKEA skills to good use and make your mark at Discovery. Please come dressed to be messed (painting, PVC gluing, drilling, sanding, cutting). The dates are as follows. Please indicate your intentions on this form so we can match the work with the workforce.

Donation of Obsolete Devices to Computer Science

Do you have an old desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet that you are looking to get rid of? The computer science class would love to take it off of your hands. We will have a lesson or two, in about a month, where we take apart devices to see what’s inside them, identifying key components. We are looking for many different types of devices to explore with many different explorers. Please send your donations to Mr. Rusk, via the front office. We have received a few donations but would like many more. Thank you for letting us put your junk to good use!

Arrival: Parents Saying Goodbye at Door 6

While we welcome parents walking students to the classroom door in the morning, we do need you to make a speedy exist so that we can secure the building.

Enrichment Options on Early Release Days

Discovery PTA and Baroody Camps will offer half Camp Days on the following Early Release Wednesdays: October 10th, October 25th, and December 12th. In addition, Discovery will also offer a full Camp Day on October 26th. Please look for a Peachjar Flyer for more information.

Yearbook Club

Discovery’s first Yearbook Club meeting is on Wednesday, October 17th from 8:30-8:55AM in Collaboration Commons. This meeting is open to all interested students in grades 3-5. Students in grade PreK-2 will collaborate with students in grades 3-5. We welcome all Explorers’ ideas, drawings, and photos for yearbook submission. Daphne Schultz (daphne.geraghty@gmail.com) and Jennifer Taylor (jennifer.taylor2@apsva.us are leading this club.

Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Our first Diversity and Inclusion meeting is set for November 2nd from 4-5 PM in Blue Sky Studio. Please join us. We will meet monthly on the second Thursday of each month.

Community Connections

As first generation immigrant, my family didn't observe Hispanic Heritage Month. I can imagine my mother saying, why would we dedicate a month to traditions that were special all year round for us? Now that I'm a parent I can empathize with her. But I also appreciate the reminder that this national observation can be for all us.  

It's a reminder to look around at each other with open minds and hearts because we just may learn something new. This was never more evident than last year at Discovery's first World Heritage Night where our community shone so brightly with an array of beautiful cultural presentations, performances, and cuisines.

It's a reminder, for our family, to hit pause on our busy lives every now and then and enjoy the things that make life sweet and interesting-not just food, but music, art, and history. For us, it might mean getting our favorite empanadas from Luzmila's in Falls Church, taking a visit to the Museum of the American Indian, or just digging out the old photo boxes and looking at the pictures of all the cousins, aunts and uncles.

It's a reminder that the things that make us different are the things that can bind us together.

For more information and a wide variety of events in our area, visit https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov

Author: Daniela Sicuranza mother of Lucia (grade 1) and Gabriela (grade 3

Upcoming Events

10/8 - No School - Columbus Day

10/10 - Early Release, 1:26 PM

10/18 - Eco Action Meeting, 8:50-9:35 AM

10/19 - Play Before Your Day, 8-8:45 AM

10/21- PumpkinFest Parade, 11:30 AM

10/21- PumpkinFest,12 PM to 3 PM

11/13 - PTA Meeting, 7PM


September 28, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

We enjoyed our first beautiful fall today outside! We hope you each have great outdoor activities planned for this weekend. BINGO was super fun and we would like to thank our PTA and all the students and parents who helped clean up. Our PTA not only provides fun, free activities, such as BINGO night, but also many important resources that elevate the teaching and learning that happens at Discovery. Please consider the No Frill Fundraiser that ends this Sunday.

Highlights from this week include lots of reading, writing, and math partnerships in action. First graders explored the Six Thinking Hats while learning about a sustainability pathway. In Social Studies fifth grade students created cave art and learned about life during the Paleolithic Age and Neolithic Age. Remember, you can learn more about teaching and learning by clicking on the links above.

We also held the first Eco-Action meeting of the year. Our Green Leaders learned more about the scope of their work this year including a focus on Schoolyard Habitats: What aspects of our school grounds supports life for a diversity of species? What kinds of natural phenomenon does your school grounds provide for students to investigate? The questions come from the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco School Program. All students, not just Eco Team, will be learning more as they conduct audits and experience the design thinking process thought Discovery’s Mastery Projects. Parents will be hear more about these interdisciplinary learning experiences near the end of this quarter.

Next week we kick off the next segment of CARES with our assembly on Assertion. Students will learn the definition of assertion and what it looks like and sounds like in a variety of settings.


Erin and Judy

Gifted Services Updates

Gifted Playground Presentations

Thank you to all the parents who came out for the Gifted Playgrounds at Discovery the past two weeks. Learn more about Gifted Services by visiting our website and clicking HERE for copies of the presentations as well as links to resources.

2e Newsletter Shared from APS Gifted Services

HERE is a copy of the September/October 2e Twice-Exceptional Newsletter for families and advocates for 2e students. Make sure you scroll to the end of the newsletter for events and links to resources.

What Can I Do at Home to Support Learning?

Grocery Shopping and math?! Something as simple as paying using cash, instead of plastic, can support your young mathematician extend their learning! Next time you go grocery shopping, have your Explorer come up with a plan for shopping. Perhaps they write, categorize, and order the list. Maybe they make the route map of how you are going to purchase items. Or, maybe your child is going to figure out if “deals” are really saving your family money. Give your child a budget and allow him or her to pay for those items, counting out the correct money (and for our older Explorers, estimating the cost for items and making change).

Upcoming Events

10/2 - PTA Meeting @ 7 PM

10/8 - No School - Columbus Day

10/10 - Early Release @ 1:28 PM

10/18 - Eco Action Meeting @ 8:50 AM

10/19 - Play Before Your Day @ 8 AM

10/21- PumpkinFest Parade @11:30 AM

10/21- PumpkinFest @ 12 PM to 3 PM

September 21, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

We had another fabulous week of learning. Tomorrow is the Fall Equinox, so if it’s sunny come to our Solar Plaza. This week we harvested the lettuce from our hydroponic garden and students measured the roots at 32 inches. Kindergarten’s practiced their “turtle talk” in writing workshop and third graders set some reading goals.  


Erin and Judy

Join Eco-Action & Serve as a Green Leader

Please have your students join or renew their Green Leader Eco-Action Team membership on the student commitment form.  The deadline for signing up is September 21st. Maria Burke and Kate Williams will co-lead this year’s Eco-Action Team. Attendance will be taken during the meeting, so they do not need to go to their classroom first. The first Eco-Action meeting will be held Thursday, September 27th from 8:50-9:35AM in the Dining Commons.

Former Green Leaders: Please donate your gently used Eco-Action t-shirts in the bin in the front lobby. Please feel free to take one that fits your child. If your child needs a new shirt, please indicate so on the commitment form.

PTA No Frills Fundraiser

Now is the time to donate to our No Frills Fundraiser! The money you contribute goes toward school-based programs, including our hydroponic gardens, playground equipment,  and seat sacks. No Frills ends September 30, 2018!


Donation of Non-Useful Devices to Computer Science

Do you have an old desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet that you are looking to get rid of? The computer science class would love to take it off of your hands. We will have a lesson or two, in about a month, where we take apart devices to see what’s inside them, identifying key components. We are looking for many different types of devices to explore with many different explorers. Please send your donations to Mr. Rusk, via the front office. Thank you!

Computer Science Parent Helpers

Mr. Rusk is looking for a small team of parents that could be available to assist with various tasks with the computer science program. Most of these tasks have to do with materials prep, and most of them could be done at home. Please email greg.rusk@apsva.us if you are interested.

Upcoming Events

9/26 - Gifted Night for Grades 2-5 6:30PM

9/27- Family Bingo Night @ 6:45PM

9/28 - Eco-Action Meeting 8:50AM

10/2 - PTA Meeting @ 7 PM

10/8 - No School - Columbus Day

10/10 - Early Release @ 1:28 PM

10/18 - Eco Action Meeting @ 8:50 AM

10/19 - Play Before Your Day @ 8 AM

10/21- PumpkinFest Parade @11:30 AM

10/21- PumpkinFest @ 12 PM to 3 PM

Dear Discovery Families,

We had a great first full week of school. Thank you for coming to Back To School Night. Today we celebrated Dot Day inspired by the Peter H. Reynold’s book The Dot. The story is about making your mark in the world and is available in our library. As you can see, band lessons have started!

Grade 4 Band: First Lessons! (Julie Piedrahita, Faris Kiamie, Natalie Luongo)

Mr. Re and Ms. Wine are Dotastic!

We hope everyone stays dry and that loved ones affected by Hurricane Florence stay safe.


Erin and Judy

Eco-Action Team

The first Eco-Action meeting will be held Thursday, September 27th from 8:50-9:35AM in the Dining Commons. Please have your students join or renew their Green Leader membership on the student commitment form.  Maria Burke and Kate Williams will co-lead this year’s Eco-Action Team. Attendance will be taken during the meeting, so students need to report directly to the Dining Commons.


Former Green Leaders: Please donate your gently used Eco-Action t-shirts in the bin in the front lobby. Please feel free to take one that fits your child. If your child needs a new shirt, please indicate so on the commitment form found on our website.

Clarification: Volunteer Form vs. Chaperone Form

Paperwork sent out on Back To School Night said that chaperones needed to fill out the volunteer paperwork. This is not true. All volunteers must complete volunteer paperwork and watch a short video. Chaperones just need to fill out the chaperone form. All of this information is found on our website under the Families button, then Volunteers/Chaperones.

Parent Academies

We intend to plan informative Parent Academies this winter. A Parent Academy is a night to come learn how we teach concepts and how to support your child in either math, writing, or reading. Help has tailor our time together by answering three short questions. Submit here.

 Jennifer Bush-Lawson 5K & Family Fun Day

Please take a moment to consider joining TEAM DISCOVERY for the Jennifer Bush-Lawson 5K & Family Fun Day on November 17th from 9am-1PM.  This family-focused event raises awareness & funds for high-quality pre- and post-natal care for low-income expectant women and their babies.


Why Team Discovery? Well, the Foundation hosting this event was created in memory & honor of someone closely connected to our Explorer community. Many Discovery families & teachers have previously run in this event – but this year, why not grow our numbers and run UNITED as a TEAM?! There are lots of things to do throughout the morning making it perfect for the whole family to participate and have fun. There is a 5K run, a Fun Run for the kids, and a Fun Day Event. To learn more about the Jennifer Bush-Lawson 5K click here:https://jenniferbushlawsonfoundation.org/.


Don’t run or walk? No worries. You can show up in BIG WAYS for this 5K’s cause by joining the Team in action (get your running shoes ready!) or in spirit (no need to do a 5K if you don’t want to!)… It’s as easy as 1-2-3:


Learn more about this amazing event: https://jenniferbushlawsonfoundation.org/2018-5k-fun-day/

Become a part of TEAM DISCOVERY’s by “Joining” or “Donating”:  https://www.classy.org/team/188254


Look out for future emails to all registered TEAM DISCOVERY members for additional information about student spirit wear the Friday before/Monday after Race Day, where to meet pre-race for a Team Discovery Picture, and potential post-race breakfast ideas!


Library News

On this rainy weekend, you might want to explore our ebooks and audiobooks! We have over 5,000 ebooks and audiobooks available to Discovery students. To browse and checkout, you can go to mackinvia.com or download the MackinVIA app on your device.

On the sign-in page, type in Discovery and choose the Discovery Elementary, Arlington, VA option.

Enter your child’s student ID number in the User ID box.

Enter your child’s password in the Password box (all numbers)

Note: Kindergarten and 1st grade may not know passwords yet.

From the home page you can search for a specific book, or browse the books available in certain categories such as Adventure, Animals, etc. You can also search for just ebooks or just audiobooks.

If you have any questions about using MackinVIA, please contact Mr. Re or Ms. Wine.

In addition here is the current library schedule:







All 5th grade classes
























SAVE THE DATE! K-1 Gifted Playground 9.18.2018

Attention K-1 parents, please join us for Gifted Services Parent Information Night on Tuesday, September 18th from 6:30-7:30PM  in the library. Come and learn about APS Gifted Services, what that looks like in our K-1 classrooms, the referral and identification process, and how students receive services through an inclusive model. This session is for K-1 families who are interested in learning more about Gifted Services. Resources and sample differentiation resources will be set out for you to see and try.

Note: Our Grades 2-5 Gifted Playground will be September 26th from 6:30-7:30PM.

Extended Day iPad Usage

Students in grades 3-5 will have the opportunity to use their iPad for homework and other school work with parent consent. We recognize that many families choose to limit screen time. We ask parents of children enrolled in our Extended Day after care program to click here and complete this form. Karla Harris and Sicili McCoy, Discovery’s Extended Day supervisors, will assume that students do not have permission for iPad use if parents do not complete the form.


9/18 Gifted Services Information Night for K-1 (6:30-7:30PM, Innovation Commons)

9/26 Gifted Services Information Night Grades 2-5 (6:30-7:30PM, Innovation Commons)

9/27 PTA Bingo Night (7-8PM, Dining Commons) Doors open 6:45PM

9/27 Eco-Action Meeting (8:50-9:35AM, Dining Commons)


Dear Discovery Families,

Thank your students for a great first week! We celebrated this morning with our first C.A.R.E.S. assembly where we learned about cooperation. A fifth-grade class modeled the Discovery handshake and then helped the pre-school students as the rest of the school “Blasted Off” with a morning greeting and handshake. Next, students from all grades modeled a cooperation task with a hula hoop. Each classroom teacher was given a hula hoop to practice cooperation task with their student during morning meetings in their classrooms. We will continue to talk about cooperation in September. Ask your child what cooperation looks like and sounds like. In addition, staff shared their Hopes and Dreams for the 2018-19 school year. We also watched a Peter Reynolds video on cooperation, entitled Above and Beyond. Students learned about cooperation bracelets and passing them to peers when they spot cooperation in action.

This week we practiced routines and procedures across many aspects of the school day, math workshop, Dining Commons seating, morning arrival to respecting the learning environment in the halls. We will continue to teach, model, and review expectations in the coming weeks.

This week we also practiced our first fire drill. Students exceeded our expectations and exited the building quickly, quietly, and safely. We will practice one fire drill per week in September.

Thank you for joining us at the PTA Ice Cream Social and our first PTA meeting. We loved seeing so many new parents! Please continue to invite new parents to our PTA meetings. Forty plus staff members introduced themselves at the beginning of the meeting,  and they are all looking forward to a great partnership. Please note there is a link to the PTA newsletter at the top of this newsletter. Our next PTA event will be Bingo Night on September 27th. Please note that Bingo Night is a family night and all families will be expected to be in the Dining Commons. Other hallways and the slide will be off limits. Support our fabulous custodial team by having your child follow hallway expectations during night and weekend events. Hope to see everyone at Bingo Night! Doors open at 6:45PM with a start time of 7PM.

We are looking forward to Back To School Night on Wednesday, September 12th. Teachers will run through three 20-minute sessions. You can expect to hear a little bit about your child’s teachers and the grade level curriculum. Please schedule a separate time to discuss personal information. Encore teachers will be in their rooms. Please stop by and visit. Our Clinic Aid will be available to answer any questions. If you would like to borrow an elevator key to go between floors, please visit Ms. Brown in the clinic.


The are many new initiatives at Discovery this year, and we look forward to sharing them with you at Back To School Night. If you are new to Discovery, please schedule a meet and greet the admin team by calling or stopping in the main office. Our doors are always open to all Discovery parents.


Erin and Judy

Kiss & Ride Reminders for Car Riders

Morning Drop-off (8:40-8:55AM):

Afternoon Pick-up (3:41-4:00PM):

At all Kiss and Ride times:

All of these procedures are intended to increase speed and efficiency during Kiss and Ride times, and most importantly, keep our students safe.


Please feel free to tag @DiscoveryAPS on Twitter and use the hashtag #APSBack2School to share your pictures and stories of returning to school this September. We have been trending this week!

Open Doors in the Morning

As we messaged through various channels over the summer, Doors 9 and 10 (Veranda and Garden, east side of the building) are no longer open in the mornings, to ensure school safety and security. The signs now posted on those doors indicate they are not entrances. Please do not ask people inside the building to open exterior doors for you; we are modeling for our students the importance of not opening exterior doors for people, as this is a security issue.

As an alternative to the now-unavailable doors on the Harrison Street side of the building, instead of coming up onto the Veranda (to the left from Harrison Street), use the sidewalk between Williamsburg and Discovery (to the right from Harrison Street) and use Door 6. 

Doors 1 (front of school) and 6 (playground near Williamsburg) are the only two entrances in the morning, and are available to students from 8:45AM until 9:00AM. All visitors must enter through Door 1 and present ID at Reception. We appreciate your assistance in ensuring that Discovery is a safe and secure learning environment.

Meet Discovery’s New Counselor

Hello, Discovery families,

Happy first week of school! My name is Claire Nawojchik, and I am new to Discovery this year as your children’s school counselor. I am here at Discovery five days a week, and work with all grade levels. I will  provide counseling lessons in kindergarten, third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade once a month. Debra Gaeta will continue to be at Discovery every Friday, and will primarily be working with first and second grades this school year.


You can learn more about the counseling program here: https://discovery.apsva.us/counseling/ I can be reached via email at Claire.Nawojchik@apsva.us or by phone at 703-228-2690. I am happy to support Discovery students and families any way I can. I am thrilled to be a part of the Discovery community, and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone this school year!


Computer Science Classes Begin Monday 9/10 

To help students build advanced technology skills, Discovery is very excited to be offering our very first computer science class to all students this year (pre-K through 5th). This class is based on the 2017 Virginia Department of Education Computer Science Standards and will look into topics such as algorithms and programming, computing systems, cybersecurity, data and analysis, networking and the Internet, and impacts of computing. As far as format, students will have computer science class as a homeroom once every nine days for 45 minutes. Our instructor for the course, Mr. Rusk, is planning amazing lessons for students to become innovative creators of technology solutions. Class rotations will begin on Monday, 9/10. You can follow happenings in the course by checking out the Computer Science Learning Log or following @DscAPSCompSci on Twitter.

1:1 iPad Updates

For Grade 3, 4, and 5 Explorer families: Please be sure you have reviewed the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) document that came home in your first day packets with your student(s), that everyone has signed them, and that they have been returned to the teacher. iPads cannot be distributed to students without the signed AUP document per the new APS policy. Information about Discovery’s procedures and APS’s policies (including information about APS’s change to costs of repair caused by negligence or intentional breakage) can be found on our iPad Policies Page under the 1:1 Program heading. Any questions regarding this program can be directed to Mr. Reeves at keith.reeves@apsva.us.


August 31, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

It was awesome to see so many excited Explorers at our Open House yesterday. We are looking forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday. Please remember that Ms. Jesukiewicz’s students start Wednesday. We invite you to celebrate the return to school with an ice cream social at 6:30 PM on September 6. This PTA sponsored event is directly before our first PTA meeting. Child care will be provided during the PTA meeting.

New this year, we would like to emphasize that all classrooms are now nut-free classrooms. Please pack a healthy snack for your child that does not contain nuts. Nuts are welcome in the Dining Commons because we have approved safety procedures.

We are looking forward to seeing parents at Back To School Night, Wednesday, September 12.

Discovery teachers have spent time this week preparing classrooms and planning engaging lessons. The first weeks of school will be spent building classroom community and learning procedures.

APS Information Services informed us this morning that student accounts were accidentally “broken” yesterday. That department is working to resolve the issue. Until it’s fixed, students may not be able to log in to various APS systems, and may get “incorrect password” errors. This may last through the weekend. Thank you for your patience, and stay tuned to Twitter (@DiscoveryAPS) for any relevant updates.

Lastly, there will be many walkers, bike riders, scooters, and cars in the neighborhood on Tuesday morning and afternoon. Let’s all be vigilant and safe.

We are thrilled to start our fourth year!


Erin and Judy

June 15, 2018

Dear Families,

Happy Friday! We had two great events in one day! Discovery “Saves the Planet” Field Day kicked off with a warm-up dance, the passing of the globe, and our annual school picture. For those of you who are new to Discovery, we had all Explorers form the letter D on the Discovery/Williamsburg field, and then we photographed it from the top of a fire truck ladder. We’ve continued this tradition, and today formed the letter C and took a picture from the top of the ladder truck. Ask your Explorer what grade he or she will be in when we finish spelling DISCOVERY!?

Fifth-grade celebrated the conclusion of the 2018 Design Challenge. Students skyped with Brigett Luther from the Good Causes Cooperation (after her flight was unexpectedly canceled), and thoughtfully reflected on universal design and biomimicry. It’s been a true community building experience as parents, fourth-graders, teachers, and experts picked up drills, hammers, and saws to create an outdoor learning space for Discovery and Williamsburg students. Dina Sorensen and DLR  Group reminded students that we celebrate the process, not a finished project. It is our hope that future classes of Discovery students will add to the outdoor space in the coming years. Our students were fortunate to work with a plethora of experts from the design world. Students documented the journey, and we will celebrate this journey once again by watching videos at our final school assembly. This collaborative process has inspired many, and we’d like to thank all the teachers, including the fifth-grade team, art teachers, and instructional coaches. We would also like to thank Mr. Dudek, WMS Technology Teacher, for saving the day when our 3D printer jammed. WMS students also also helped by working with our Explorers on Tinkercad, a 3-D design tool. Fifth-graders had the opportunity to work side by side with Alex Gilliam from Public Worskop, Dina Sorensen from DLR Group, Michele Amt from VMDO, Bridgett Luther from Good Causes Cooperation, Nancy Wells from Cornell University, and David Stubbs from Shift Plus. Please take a moment to check out our new, outdoor learning space.

iPad Collection

APS has directed that all iPads, chargers, and cables be collected over the summer. Students in grades 2 through 5 should turn in their iPads, charging bricks, and cables to their classroom teachers by the end of the day on Monday, June 18th.

Discovery Summer Learning Opportunities

Summer Learning opportunities are posted to the Discovery Website at https://discovery.apsva.us/post/summer-learning-discovery/.

Highlights include:

Westover Library - Reading with Discovery

Come celebrate reading with Discovery teachers and students this summer! Westover Library will host Discovery reading nights on June 25th, July 23rd and August 20th from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Hope to see you there!

Overdue Books

Summer Battle Book Checkout for rising 4th and 5th

This summer students have access to 7,000+ ebooks

Rising Kindergarten Meet and Greets

We will offer summer meetings to all our incoming Kindergarten families. Parents will meet with Drs. Russo and Concha. Parents are welcome to bring their children if they choose. We will schedule these summer meeting through a Sign-Up Genius on our website.

Level the Playing Field

Former Discovery student, Dylan Lefton, has organized a donation collection of used sports equipment for Level the Playing Field (LPF).  LPF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to give underprivileged children the opportunity to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of youth sports participation. This project is important to Dylan because he loves sports and can’t imagine another kid not having the same opportunities simply because they can’t get the needed equipment.  More information about LPF can be found at www.leveltheplayingfield.org.

Donations can be dropped off at 3104 N Inglewood St (simply leave it in the box on the front porch) from now through June 24th.

Community Connections

June is Pride Month

Each year, June is Pride Month, honoring the June 28, 1969 Stonewall Riot that served as a touchstone for the queer rights movement in the United States. To learn more about the Stonewall Riot from the voices of those who were there, visit the American Experience archive from PBS by clicking here.

As stated by the Library of Congress, “[t]he purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Our gay and transgender students, parents, and families are part of this school community we love, and we have a responsibility as members of that community to be reflective, compassionate, and - we are a school after all! - educated.

School can be a particularly challenging place for transgender youth, and part of the reason why is that both children and adults are largely ignorant of what the many terms really mean. Dr. Fred Kaeser was the Director of Health for the New York City Department of Education, and wrote an extensive blog post for Psychology Today, providing guidance around discussions of sexuality with children, which you can access here.

Another resource you may wish to reference is from our neighboring Georgetown University, which provides a copy of Dr. Caitlyn Ryan’s Family Acceptance Project document, “Helping Families Support Their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Children.” You may access that document here.

One of the best things we adults can do when it comes to helping children understand and healthfully respond to encountering queer culture is not to overcomplicate the matter: It’s about love between people, about being honest with oneself, and about who people like to spend time with.

Take some time during June to help our community thrive in heart and mind by having the courageous conversations to make sure that the E in C.A.R.E.S. - Empathy - extends to everyone in this family we love!

Upcoming Events

June 18- Fifth-grade Promotion

June 20- Last Day of School (Early Release, 1:26PM)

June 25- Discovery Read Aloud (Westover Library, 6:30-7:30PM)

July 23- Discovery Read Aloud (Westover Library, 6:30-7:30PM)

July 28- Rising Kindergarten Playdate (9:30AM)

August 6- Rising Kindergarten Playdate (6:30PM)

August 18-Rising Kindergarten Playdate (9:30AM)

August 20- Discovery Read Aloud (Westover Library, 6:30-7:30)

August 22-Rising Kindergarten Parent Happy Hour @ Taqueria Poblano 7:30PM

June 8, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

It’s been a busy week with many outdoor activities. Extended Day students enjoyed an outdoor kickball game with Nottingham students, as well as Water Day complete with a dunk tank. We also enjoyed Discovery Voices at a whole school assembly followed by an evening concert for families. We loved the program highlighting journeys and exploration. At our PTA meeting, we approved the budget for next year and said goodbye to some of our officers and welcomed some new ones. We have appreciate all the hard work and dedication of those stepping down. They have been an asset to Discovery in so many ways, and shaped Discovery in meaningful ways. We are thrilled to collaborate with and get to know our new PTA officers.

This next week we will finish SOL testing. We are proud of student effort and performance. Parents will receive official scores in mid-August through the mail. Discovery teachers shifted gears post testing season and are working on Discovery Makes projects. Items will be on display on Tuesday, June 12th, at Explorer Night.

Discovery Makes projects are a fun way to celebrate the maker movement and engage students in critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Kindergarteners are building bird houses and pollinators and  first-graders are building tree houses. The second-grade students are creating Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on saving the oceans. They are using their iPads as tools for learning by creating QR codes, all the while developing their public speaking skills. Third-grade students are creatively designing sustainability transportation vehicles. Fourth-grade students have the choice of building a bridge using reusable materials; creating a breakout game using their creative thinking skills, technology and/or reusable materials; or creating a coding challenge for Dash and Dot to complete. Fifth-grade continues to work with experts from the field following the universal design process to create a Discovery/Williamsburg outdoor learning space.

We will showcase all the Discovery Makes projects at Explorer Night. We encourage you to come celebrate learning, say goodbye to teachers, and and preview next year’s classrooms. Please encourage new neighbors and rising K families to attend Explorer Night. The evening will wind down with ice cream treats on the Solar Plaza, graciously provided by our PTA. It’s also a great night to purchase Discovery gear, swap a grade level t-shirt, and/or pick up the yearbook.

Boys Gotta Run

Thirty participants ran a practice 5K Wednesday morning. A huge shout out to the teachers, parents, patrols, and Girls on the Run who showed C.A.R.E.S. and kindness by cheering the boys on! Come cheer the boys on their final run this Monday morning.

“Discovery Saves the Planet!” Field Day

Field Day will take place next Friday, June 15! The schedule of events are as follows:

While most stations are dry events, there will be a few stations that involve water; students may get wet. You are encouraged to send a change of clothes with your Explorer. Students should also plan to wear appropriate clothing (light color, loose fitting) and footwear (closed-toe shoes), bring a water bottle to help stay hydrated, and apply sunscreen prior to coming to school (PreK-2) or bring sunscreen to apply later in the day (3-5).

There are also a few volunteer slots available! If you are available, please join us by signing up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090d4baba928a0fb6-field2

Discovery in the News

Check out this article by journalist Chris Berdik in Wired and The Hechinger Report.

We are also pleased to share that Discovery was selected as the 2017-2018 Connect the Dots Honor Award. This was a true team effort between the Eco-Action Leaders, the patrols, and Discovery staff. Our sustainable transportation initiative caught the eye of the judges. The award will be presented at the USGBC National Capital Region’s Awards Ceremony: A Midsummer Night’s Green on July 19th, hosted at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. from 6:00 - 9:00 PM. The Connect the Dots program challenges K-12 schools across the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia regions to develop and implement the most creative, effective, no or low cost sustainable practices for their schools. The program aims to increase environmental stewardship, strengthen community outreach, encourage creativity, and complement curriculum development. The awarding committee was particularly impressed with the unique approach of our school’s project and how it incorporated a process of having clearly defined guidelines supported by data and driven by creativity in project execution, especially in involving the greater community. Thanks to the many students who collected data and promoted sustainable transportation.

Extended Day

On Friday, June 1st Discovery Extended Day held its 2nd Annual Community Competition, last year Discovery hosted Key School Extended Day in a soccer game. This year we were graciously hosted by Nottingham Extended Day for a kickball game.

Extended Day staff spent many months practicing with both our kickball team and cheer squad. Through this experience, several Developmental Assets® where cultivated, including support, constructive sse of time, planning and decision making, resistance skills, personal power, self-esteem, and sense of purpose. Discovery defeated the Nottingham Knights 14-5. We would like to thank everyone for their support. GO EXPLORERS!

Discovery Well Wishes

Dear Parents,

I am writing to let you know that I will be leaving Discovery at the end of this year to return to Williamsburg Middle School next year to work alongside with Mr. Tuttle as one of the rising 6th grade school counselors. This was a difficult decision. I want to thank you for making my years at Discovery so wonderful. I am grateful that I am only heading across the sidewalk because I am able to continue working with so many wonderful families and can continue to collaborate with the Discovery community.

Claire Nawojchik will join the Discovery team as the new school counselor. I feel confident she will be a wonderful fit to the school and students. Claire and I will work together to make her transition a smooth one.

Your children have taught me as much or more than I have taught them. I am honored and feel fortunate to have been a part of the Discovery community.

Kind regards,

Elise Kenney

Dear Parents,

After seven years of teaching elementary school music, I am excited to share that I have accepted the position of choral director at Swanson Middle School. Although I have enjoyed every moment of my time here at Discovery, I am looking forward to pursuing my passion of teaching choral music. As a native Arlingtonian and former Swanson student, I have always held Swanson close to my heart, and I am excited for the opportunity to explore this new path in my career. I will miss the Discovery community and will always look back fondly on the memories we shared together.


Josie Walker

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 12 -Explorer Night (6:30-7:30PM)

Wednesday, June 13 - Early Release (1:26PM)

Friday, June 15 - Field Day, Discovery Field

Wednesday, June 20 - Last Day of School AND Early Release (1:26PM)- 5th Grade Clap Out

June 1st

Dear Discovery Families,

The final month of school has arrived and we have seen many of you marvel at the growth of our writers at grade level publishing parties. In addition, teams have enjoyed field trips to the National Mall and plays at George Mason University. While you can read more about the 5th grade Design Challenge below, know that all grade levels are engaging in Discovery Makes over the next couple of weeks. Students will create solutions to real-world problems and make their designs from upcycled materials. Projects will be displayed on Explorer Night, June 12th from 6:30-7:30PM. Thank you to the PTA for providing ice cream treats on the Solar Plaza to finish off our 2017-2018 celebration.


Erin and Judy

2018 Design Challenge

The fifth grade Design Challenge will take place in the Discovery Woods (by the parking lot) and on the Veranda from June 5-15th. Fifth grade students will be working as experts, beside experts to build a new outdoor learning space at Discovery using the design

 thinking process and biomimicry. The students, experts and staff will showcase the process on Explorer Night on June 12th on the Veranda. Some fourth grade students will have an opportunity to help out during the Community Build on June 13th. See below. Parents,

 if you are an expert or novice builder that wants to learn, please email

Maria.burke@apsva.us or Katherine.williams@apsva.us to join in the fun. Let’s make this a community event! Schedule-of-events

4th Grade Design Challenge Community Build, Wednesday June 13, 1:30-3:30pm

You and your students are invited to help build the new outdoor learning space at Discovery with Alex Gilliam from Public Workshop on the early release date June 13th from 1:30-3:30pm. There are 15 slots for students on the below Signup Genius for Community Build. Students will only be able to participate with a signed parental Tool Safety Permission Slip. Please join in the fun for the create/build portion of this design thinking challenge on the Veranda and Discovery Woods! Parents welcome! Transportation is not provided. Please make sure to pickup students at 3:30pm or indicate if students should go to Extended Day.

Field Day 2018 – Volunteers Needed!

The PE team needs your help in making this year’s Field Day another annual success! This year’s theme was revealed earlier this week - “Discovery Saves the Planet!” - and will be building off our school’s theme of sustainability and being eco-friendly! Volunteering can include running a morning or afternoon station (or BOTH!), helping setup in the morning, being a part of the “volunteer lounge”, or providing ice or cups for our water stations. Please click on the SUG link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090d4baba928a0fb6-field2

Rising Fourth Graders: First Lego League Jr Applications - Last Chance!!!

Attention rising fourth grade families! Discovery will be creating a First Lego League Jr team next year as part of the EcoTech initiative. To build the six-student team, we are looking for students to submit applications now. Assuming that we have more than six applications, the final selection will be made through a lottery. This activity will require a 12-week commitment at the beginning of next year, starting the second week of school. We will meet at Discovery on Tuesday afternoons from 3:45-5:15 PM. (9/11/18 through end of November, with a weekend day field trip to an expo). If you would like to be considered for this team, please submit an application no later than Monday, June 4, 2018. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Rusk (greg.rusk@apsva.us).

Community Connection

About a year ago I had the pleasure of hearing Marian Wright Edelman speak. Ms. Edelman is the founder of the Children's Defense Fund and long-time civil rights activist. One sentence she spoke, inspired by and drawing upon the wisdom of other great leaders focused upon child wellbeing, really stuck with me - there is no such thing as other people's children; all children are our own.

This will likely be the last Community Connection piece that I will be writing, so I want to sign-off and send you off into summer with one simple and universal message. When focusing on the work of diversity and inclusion, it doesn't get much simpler than this -  all children are our own.

You never know the impact you will have on a young person in your life, but it may be huge. Research has shown that it just takes ONE meaningful, trusted adult relationship to change the trajectory of a child's life for the better. We never know what factors or circumstances may be going on in someone else's life, but if you have a chance, remember that there is no such thing as other people's children. You may very well be THAT person who will make all the difference in the life of a child or young person.

Rebecca Hjelm

Parent of 2nd Grade Explorer

Blastoff to 2018

As part of Responsive Classroom Discovery wants to partner with you to set up your child for success next year. If your child is returning to Discovery, please take a moment to fill out this quick survey about how your student learns. Parent Input for 2018

Upcoming Events

Monday, June 4 - C.A.R.E.S. Assembly & Chorus Concert (3PM, Gym)

Tuesday, June 5 - Chorus Concert & PTA Meeting (7PM Gym & Dining Commons)

Wednesday, June 6 - Early Release (1:26PM)

Tuesday, June 12 -Explorer Night (6:30-7:30PM)

Wednesday, June 13 - Early Release (1:26PM)

Friday, June 15 - Field Day, Discovery Field)

Wednesday, June 20 - Early Release (1:26)- 5th Grade Clap Out

May 25, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

We wish you all a safe and restful holiday weekend!


Erin and Judy

Rising Fourth Graders: First Lego League Jr Applications

Attention rising fourth grade families! Discovery will be creating a First Lego League Jr team next year as part of the EcoTech initiative. To build the six-student team, we are looking for students to submit applications now. Assuming that we have more than six applications, the final selection will be made through a lottery. This activity will require a 12-week commitment at the beginning of next year, starting the second week of school. We will meet at Discovery on Tuesday afternoons from 3:45-5:15 PM. (9/11/18 through end of November, with a weekend day field trip to an expo). If you would like to be considered for this team, please submit an application no later than Monday, June 4, 2018. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Rusk (greg.rusk@apsva.us).

Spring Choir Concert

The Spring Choir Concert will be on Tuesday, June 5 at 7PM in the Discovery gym. All performers should meet in the music rooms at 6:30PM to warm up. We look forward to seeing you there!

Grade 5 iPad Collection

APS-issued 1:1 iPads currently with Grade 5 students will be collected the week of June 11, 2018. Those devices will be returned to the Department of Information Services, wiped, and retired from service. Students upon arriving at their APS middle school will be issued new devices by that school’s Technology Coach. Students who are involved in an APS summer school program will be provided devices at that site, and so will not be holding on to their current Grade 5 iPads.

Because these devices are being retired and resold as part of the Apple buy-back program, there is not an option to retain the devices. All APS-issued Grade 5 iPads must be returned.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Technology Coach, Mr. Reeves, at keith.reeves@apsva.us.

Know a 4th or 5th grader in need of a good book?

The first seven  Battle of the Books have been announced for rising 4th and 5th graders. 

Community Connections

May 16th marked the beginning of Ramadan, a month-long observation “by Muslims to commemorate when God revealed the first chapters of the Quran, Islam’s sacred text, to the Prophet Muhammad.” This holy month is marked by one of the five pillars of Islam—fasting, which takes place during sunlight hours and includes not only abstaining from food but from other activities and negative thoughts in order to bring oneself closer to Allah. Ramadan in the United States looks very different than it does in Islamic countries where government offices and commercial establishments have limited hours or may remain closed during daylight hours. Observing Ramadan in the U.S. can be somewhat more challenging, as government, educational, and commercial places may or may not make accommodations for those observing, and it can be even more complicated for students during May, a month of testing in many schools. This month is a great time to sit down and explore one of the world’s major religions during one of their most significant periods of purification, reflection, and celebration and to help your Explorer support their Muslim classmates and friends during this special month.

Five Things You Need to Know About Ramadan

Your Complete Guide to Ramadan, Including the Proper Greeting and When It Starts

How Teachers can support students during Ramadan

How to Study for Exams During Ramadan

Upcoming Events

Saturday, May 19th - Upcoming Kindergarten Playdate (Kinder Playground)

Monday, May 28 - Memorial Day No School

Monday, June 4 -C.A.R.E.S. Assembly & Chorus Concert (3PM, Gym)

Tuesday, June 5 - Chorus Concert (7PM, Gym)

Tuesday, June 5 PTA Meeting (7:30PM, Dining Commons)

Wednesday, June 6 - Early Release (1:26PM)

Tuesday, June 12 -Explorer Night (6:30-7:30PM)

Wednesday, June 13 - Early Release (1:26PM)

Friday, June 15 - Field Day, Discovery Field)

Wednesday, June 20 - Early Release (1:26PM)


May 18, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Today our fifth graders enjoyed a visit from Sally Ride and learned about her unique contributions to our world. Speaking of our world, ask your child about this year’s special Earth Day theme. Hints are all around, and we are looking forward to that sunny day. This week, our fifth-graders arrived at school well rested and on time. They rocked out their SOL tests and felt good about their efforts.Thanks to those who attended Play Before the Day and our Student Success Chat this morning. We want to hear from you! Please email Erin.Russo@apsva.us ideas for topics for next year’s Principal Chats. While we have some of our own ideas that we plan to outline at June 5th PTA meeting, we strive to form a true partnership that includes your voice. What topics in education would you like to know more about? What Discovery issues or concerns deserve dedicated time for staff/parent conversation? While the year may seem like it’s coming to a close, we are busy preparing for next year.


Erin and Judy

Community Connections

I'd like to share an observation that I made.  I truly hope that it does NOT offend anyone, because my intentions are genuinely meant to help and to share something in this current day and age of "See Something, Say Something."

So, I'm saying something!!

I was volunteering in the school recently.  While in the class, a little boy asked me to help him with a portion of the project that the students were working on.  I obliged him and saw a little girl sitting there at the same table watching me help him.  So I asked her if she also needed help.  She quickly looked away and put her head down in her hands on the desk.  I found out that the little girl was sad, but it had absolutely nothing to do with the project the students were working on.  It turns out that she'd originally been sitting at a different table and a few other kids had been very loud and rude towards her - apparently the other kids had told her to leave "their" table and told her she couldn't sit with them.  The little girl started to cry, but never told anyone.  This bothered me greatly to hear how these kids had excluded another child while they were all simply supposed to be working on a project.

I just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone of my very first post in this column about the Kindness Challenge.  Our school community can NOT mesh and come together if we tolerate bullying and/or disrespect towards one another.

Diversity and Inclusion isn't just about the topics on race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, etc. - it also covers the idea of NOT excluding people just because you feel like it or don't want to sit near them.  Being mindful of how your words and actions can affect another person really isn't so hard to do!  We can all be kind if we just simply put our minds to it!!

Tia Alfred (mother of Maddox - 4th grader, and Mathias - Kindergarten)

“The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.” Maya Angelou

Game Night: Big Hit!

A huge THANK YOU for the big crowd that came out last night to support Discovery’s premier Game Night! It was fun and educational. Thank you to our 5th Grade Game Leaders, as well as parent volunteers for all your hard work. We hope everyone found plenty of inspiration for planning their own summer family game nights!

Did we miss you at Game Night? Looking for Summer Books? Visit our online book fair until Tues. May 22nd


Your Voice Matters

Please be on the lookout for the upcoming Your Voice Matters survey. This survey is a collaboration between Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families (APCYF) to provide the Arlington community with a snapshot of school climate, staff engagement, and student and family well-being.

If you have questions about either the parent or the student survey, please contact Regina Van Horne at 703-228-2481 or regina.vanhorne@apsva.us.  

About the Parent Survey:

About the Student Survey:

General Survey Information:

Goals of the Survey:

Upcoming Events


May 11, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Happy Mother’s Day to all the important women in our lives! We also want to express sincere gratitude to the PTA for such an amazing Staff Appreciation Week! We love our jobs and we love working with your children.


Erin and Judy

Girls on the Run

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported our runners this morning! The girls will run a 5K on May 20th at Wellburn Square in Ballston. Come support our team!

DES-A-SPAN’s 2nd Annual Walk to End Homelessness

This week’s A-SPAN Walk to End Homelessness was a great success! Thank you to our students, teachers, and staff for making this 2nd annual event a GREAT success! Our students were proud walkers and super enthusiastic. To date, we have raised $1,825 in support of A-SPAN. Our goal is to meet or surpass last year’s total of $2,389. It’s not too late to donate, if you’d still like to contribute, use the following link:  https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/aspan

Instrumental Music Concert

Thanks you Mr. Glasner for treating our whole school and families with the fourth- and fifth- grade instrumental music concert!  It was evident that our students practiced hard for their performance. We encourage all students to consider the instrumental music program at Discovery. Third grader students will have the option to try instruments over the next few weeks. It’s never too late to learn to play an instrument. Mr. Woodson and Mr. Lunt are waiting for budding artists over at Williamsburg. Please reach out to Randy.Glasner@apsva.us if you have any questions.

Congrats to Susan Clark, Occupational Therapist

We celebrated and recognized the following individuals, teams, and programs for their outstanding contributions to the Arlington Special Education Community. One award will be given in each of the following categories. Click on the link to read more about that award.


Katherine Williams, Wakefield H.S., Maxwell Hiznay, Thomas Jefferson M.S., Justin Boatner, Arlington Career Ctr Rebecca Joskow, Yorktown H.S.

Educator or Support Staff

Ed Bracken, Kenmore M.S.

Daniele Miles, Kenmore M.S.

Latonja Bryant, Transportation

Susan Clark, Discovery E.S.

Maureen Nesselrode, Campbell E.S.

Jessica Everett, Tuckahoe E.S.

Lindsey Joyner, Oakridge E.S.

Sheila Majdi, Claremont E.S.

Cassandra F.Bates, Arlington Traditional

Susan Holland, Thomas Jefferson M.S.

Sara Binet, Glebe E.S.

Carolyn Riley, Swanson M.S.

Afton Cordoba, Barrett E.S.

Tamera Taylor, Taylor E.S.

Richel Hemmer, Reed

Sarah Garratt, Nottingham E.S.

Parent or Volunteer

Paul Patterson

Kia Haynes

School or Program

Campbell Interlude

Washington-Lee Best Buddies

Get Ready for Your Summer Game Night

Who: Discovery Families and Friends

When: Thursday, May 17th from 6:30-8:00 PM

Where: Dining Commons

Sponsored by Discovery’s Gifted Services & Library

Come, sample, observe, play 30+ strategy games to keep young minds challenged over the summer. There will also have several copies of 40 summer activity books relating to STEAM available to purchase. If you decide to make a purchase, payment is by credit card only.

5th Annual Children’s School Kids’ Stuff Yard Sale

The annual TCS yard sale is coming! For those of you with young children (or thinking of having them!), this is an opportunity for you to find baby equipment, toys, books, educational items, baby/kids clothing, bikes, strollers, etc! The sale dates are listed below, but it’s important to note that Thursday, May 17th is open to APS employees. The other dates will be open to the public.

Sale Dates:

Thursday 5/17: 3:30-6:00PM -Open to TCS/IS Families and APS employees only

Friday 5/18: 3:30-6:00PM -Open to Public

Saturday 5/19: 8:00AM-12:00PM -Open to Public

Bike and Walk to School Celebration

Thank you to the PE Team for organizing our Bike and Walk to SChool Celebration. Our patrols tallied 123 bikers and 206 walkers. Throw in a few scooters and call it a success! The warm weather makes it easy of us walk and bike to school, as well as enjoy the neighborhood scenery. Take pictures on your way to school and share them with your class during Morning Meeting!

Celebrate Filmmakers

The Discovery film entries from range from comedy to animation to student reflections. All these original films were chosen as official selections to screen for the public and are eligible for  awards in this year's Arlington Student Filmfest. APS is offering an all-elementary night on Thursday, May 31st from 6-8:30PM at H-B Woodlawn.  

Elementary filmmakers are also invited to the multi-age filmmaking workshop on Friday, June 1 from 4-8:30PM. We hope for strong Discovery representation both nights!

Here are our Discovery Explorers whose films will screen this year:

Fast Food Workers

Nate Levin

Tres Monteverde, Thomas O'Connor, Jackson McMahon

Mind Reading...

Nate Levin

Tres Monteverde, Thomas O'Connor, Jackson McMahon, Alan McCartney

Just Do It

Jonah Treitler

The ALEXA Family

Mason Mirabile

The Last Stone

Jonah Treitler

Curious George Auction Winners: GInger Lewis, Paul Gulick, and Clara Shriner (pictured below)

Upcoming Events

May 4th

Dear Discovery Families,

Tomorrow Discovery will host the countywide Math Dice competition at 9AM. Please come support our fifth-grade students as they represent Discovery. Roland Bridges, Jamie Hardie, Tres Monteverde, Laney Reiser, Ethan Sailer, and Ella Wager are ready for competition. In addition, we hope you will come to our Earth Day Clean Up tomorrow from 9-11AM. The Clean Up supports our fifth grade Design Challenge. In the event of a rain cancellation, we will send an APS School Talk by 8AM on Saturday morning.

At our PTA meeting this week, we shared our Profile of a Graduate work. Our Profile of a Graduate work is a journey that Discovery embarked on this school year to reflect on our strengths and areas for growth. Just like the Virginia Department of Education(VDOE) structured Profile of a High School Graduate, we systematically looked at the skills we want our students’ to possess upon their departure from Discovery. As we crafted the Profile of a Discovery Graduate, we looked at the competitive skills companies and colleges value; consulted with our feeder schools of Williamsburg and Yorktown; and examined our teaching and learning. We read research and had discussions. From this body of work, we identified five Discovery Fundamentals that we feel are at the core of what students need to become innovative thinkers and global citizens. Discovery’s five fundamentals include sustainability, design thinking, social responsibility, and computer science.

As a staff, we are committed to the growth of the five Discovery fundamentals. We do recognize that one area for growth for students is the application of the Computer Science Standards.  VDOE adopted these standards in 2017. We are committed to providing teachers with the professional learning to teach of these standards to students. We are currently seeking the best ways to infuse these computer science standards into daily teaching and learning.

An exciting element of our focus on the Profile of a Discovery Graduate is that it’s greater than just staff collaboration. Our intent is to continue collaboration with our PTA, industry partners, and the Department of Teaching and Learning to provide authentic learning opportunities for all our Explorers.

Montessori Bubble Magic

Kindness Initiative

While we enjoyed our The River of Kindness and C.A.R.E.S. assembly where we explicitly taught empathy, we recognize that our Explorers do not always choose kindness. We want to partner with families to decrease the number of unkind incidents. Our fifth graders recently took the APS School Climate Survey and our students in the other grade levels will soon take an age appropriate survey. We will analyze the data and share results with families. We will continue to teach and promote evidence-based strategies to increase a positive school climate. We will also share the data surrounding our School Management Plan.

Kindness in Action

Mental Health Awareness Month

Arlington Public Schools has provided a wealth of resources. Please check out these resources.

Community Connections

Growing up as an Asian American in the American South was to live with feet in multiple worlds, caught somewhere between kimchi and grits—neither Korean “enough” nor American “enough.” My family was among some of the first Korean families to settle in our small city in Alabama, and, as is the case with many Asian Americans of my generation, I didn’t learn to speak the language and have only visited my parents’ birth country twice in my life. If I feel unmoored in my identity, I can’t help but wonder about how my boys will identify with their Korean side and what being half-Asian American will mean to them as they grow.

Navigating our identities while stewarding our children’s explorations is complicated, but month observations like Asian Pacific American Heritage Month do help anchor those of us who can feel “not enough” of any identity. This is a great month to discover with your Explorer the many contributions and experiences of Asian Americans, including but not limited to the Chinese American workers without whom the westward railway expansion would not have happened or the Japanese Americans who lost so much when they were interned in camps during World War II. Locally, Asian Americans have helped define the landscape of our community with places like Eden Center or communities like Annandale. And to continue to take advantage of what is available to us locally, it is always a great time to visit the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and our various nearby Smithsonian institutions, many of whom are taking this month to pay “tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.”

To learn more:

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, A CelebrAsian Of Dual Identities

Lisa Harper Chang, mother to a Pre-K/Montessori and 2nd grader

Get Ready for Your Summer Game Nights  Event

sponsored by Discovery’s Gifted Services & Library

Who: Discovery Families

When: Thursday, May 17th from 6:30-8:00PM

Where: Discovery’s Dining Commons

Come, sample, observe, play a variety of strategy games to keep young minds challenged over the summer. There will also have several copies of 20 to 30 summer activity books relating to STEAM available to purchase. Please note that payment is via credit card only.

Please RSVP here. We like to know how many people to attend this new event.

Please click here, if you are interested in volunteering as a cashier or helping to monitor games.

Come, sample, observe, play a variety of strategy games to keep young minds challenged over the summer. There will also be several copies of 20 to 30 summer activity books relating to STEAM. Please note that payment is via credit card only.

We held our C.A.R.E.S. assembly this week and celebrated empathy. In addition, we had staff from A-SPAN speak to students about homelessness in Arlington. Last year, Discovery raised over $2,000 and this year we are hoping to raise $3100. The Discovery Walk goal of $3100 will provide everyday household furnishings for 5 clients to turn an empty apartment into a cozy place to call home. The $3100 will help with the A-SPAN Make it a Home Fund that helps clients transition from homelessness to a home. Think mattresses, bed frame, lamps, loveseat and kitchen tables. Think Shower curtains and cleaning supplies. The $3100 will help A-SPAN’s  next 5 clients move into an apartment and have the everyday things we all need.


Upcoming Events

5/5 - Math Dice tournament at Discovery (5th grades from across APS), 9AM

5/5 - Earth Day Clean Up 9-11AM in Discovery Woods

5/9 - Instrumental Music Concert Assembly (Gym, 2:45PM)

5/9 - Instrumental Music Concert (Gym, 7PM)

5/17 - Family Game Nights (Dining Commons, 6:30-8:00PM)


April 27, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

All year long students have been reading/listening to books nominated as 2017-2018 selections. This week Discovery students voted for what they thought was the best book in the state of Virginia. We are excited to see results. Ask your child about their vote! We look forward to celebrating our Military families this Sunday at 4PM. It should be a beautiful day. Lastly, we want to acknowledge all runners and especially the volunteers who helped make the Friendship 5K a success!


Erin and Judy

Bike and Walk to School

Our spring Bike and Walk to School date is set for Wednesday, May 9th. Students are encouraged to walk, bike, or scooter to school! The purpose of this biannual event is to encourage a discussion amongst students, teachers, and staff of the many benefits of walking or riding to school. If you bike or scooter, please be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear. All students who participate will receive a Bike and Walk sticker, a charm, and the opportunity to be randomly chosen to win a prize! Students should plan to meet the PE team for these items inside the school, net to the library. *Rain date in case of severe inclement weather: Wednesday, May 16.


Dear Parents,

The clinic is doing some spring cleaning and updating. Our “well child” table has a basket of books for students to read, but it is in need of updating. We are asking for book donations of various reading levels, preferably shorter books kids can finish while they wait here in the clinic. We would also gladly accept a few (less than 50 piece) puzzles.

Thank you for considering a donation. The clinic and our patients really appreciate it!


Field Day 2018

Mark your calendars! This year’s Field Day will be held on Friday, June 15! The PE team has already begun preparations and will be unveiling this year’s theme in just a few weeks! Volunteer help for morning and afternoon shifts will be needed. Be on the lookout for a Sign-up Genius in the coming weeks.

A-SPAN Walk to End Homelessness

This year’s A-SPAN Walk to End Homelessness in Arlington will take place on Tuesday, May 8, at 2:45. The school-wide walk brings students of all grades together to raise awareness and funds for A-SPAN to assist Arlington’s most vulnerable individuals. The suggested registration fee is $20; the tax-deductible donation can be made by visiting the A-SPAN webpage at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/aspan. 100% of walk revenue goes directly to programs and services at A-SPAN and the Homeless Services Center, which will help A-SPAN provide meals, warm beds, and permanent supportive housing for Arlington’s homeless. The walk, which follows the perimeter of the school with each student’s class, is a great way to engage children in helping those less fortunate in our community. All students who participate in the walk (regardless of registration or donation status) will receive an A-SPAN gym bag!


May 8 - A–SPAN Walk to End Homelessness – 2:45 pm

May 9 – Bike and Walk to School Day

June 15 – Field Day

Grade 5 Tdap Information

Attention 5th grade students and parents! Discovery’s clinic staff is holding Tdap clinic May 3rd for any student who has turned in a consent form. This is a great opportunity to fulfill the Tdap requirement for entry into middle school without having to schedule an extra appointment at the pediatrician or pay additional copays. Please turn in your consent forms no later than Tuesday, May 1st to participate. A copy of the form is available in the clinic. You are welcome to call the clinic at 703-228-2695 with any questions, concerns, or requests for electronic versions of consent forms.

Community Connections

The diversity at Discovery takes many forms, and as we approach the month of May, we thought it would be a good time to shed light on some different, frequently less visible ways in which we differ in our experience of the world. May is Mental Health Month, and in the spirit of growth mindset, we are acknowledging and exploring Brain Health during the month of May. We can celebrate brain health by talking to our Explorers about how our brains do much more than just retain information—they are like “the bosses of our bodies.” Our brains are not a static organ but rather grow with us and there are things we can do to support that growth like getting enough sleep, continuing to challenge our brains through learning, and making smart, healthy choices with what goes in our bodies. Finally, it is important to recognize that everyone’s brain, while serving the same primary function of managing our bodies, can differ in the way information is processed, which helps us understand that anxiety, ADHD, depression, and other diagnoses have biological roots, and the successful interventions of which range from medication to different forms of therapy and routine.

Your Explorer may see and experience the world very differently from you and their peers, and/or they may have a friend who does, so this is a great time to practice seeing and experiencing the world in someone else’s shoes. Below are some resources to help you talk about this with your child(ren).

Three Things All Parents Should Teach Their Kids About the Brain

ADDitude (Inside the ADHD mind)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Facts for Families Guide

Get Ready for Your Summer Game Nights - May 17th

Come to Discovery’s Game Night sponsored by Discovery’s Gifted Services & Library

Who: Discovery Families

When: Thursday, May 17th from 6:30-8:00 PM

Where: Discovery’s Dining Commons

Come, sample, observe, play a variety of strategy games to keep young minds challenged over the summer. There will also be several copies of 20 to 30 summer activity books relating to STEAM.

Digital Book Badging is coming to 4th and 5th grade

Poetry Slam

Our apologies to Maren Leonard, who was featured as Discovery’s favorite poet! We misrepresented in a previous newsletter. To all our budding poets, just because April is almost over doesn’t mean you need to stop write, write, writing and rhyme, rhyme, rhyming! Keep the poems flowing!

Celebrating our Military Families

April is the Month of the Military Child. Join us this Sunday April 29th 4pm – 5:30pm to celebrate our military students and their families!

There will be ice cream, music, art projects and a chance to meet and thank these amazing Explorers!

Even if you are unable to make the ice cream social, please show our military students support by having your student WEAR PURPLE on Monday the 30th!

Upcoming Events

4/29 - Ice Cream Social: Celebrating our Military Families! (Discovery Playground, 4-5:30PM)

5/1 - PTA Meeting (Dining Commons, 7PM)

5/5 - Math Dice tournament at Discovery (5th grades from across APS)

5/5 - Earth Day Clean Up 9-11AM in Discovery Woods

5/9 - Instrumental Music Concert Assembly (Gym, 2:15PM)

5/9 - Instrumental Music Concert (Gym, 7PM)

5/17 - Family Game Nights (Dining Commons, 6:30-8:00PM)

April 20, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

We ended our week with a River of Kindness assembly.The whole school gathered outside on the veranda to celebrate being kind to one another. We had an Earth Day greeting, and a student from each grade level wrote a poem that reflected,What does kindness mean to you?  We closed the assembly singing Kindness is Everywhere. Our River of Kindness was inspired by Earth Artist Andy Goldsworthy, and the book Only One You by Linda Kranz. Our Discovery artists painted the beautiful blue and purple rocks while reflecting about what kindness meant to them. Our Discovery artists based this on the book which taught us to “make this a better place”. The River of Kindness, ebbing and flowing, throughout Discovery reminds us to be kind. We hope that just as water reflects light, may it reflect the goodness in all of you, bring joy to all who come to Discovery, and always be a reminder to you to be kind.

Model Kindness! Happy Earth Day!


Erin and Judy

Leadership opportunities for rising 5th graders:    

    Newsteam application due April 26th

   Patrols online application due 27th

Digital Book Badging is coming to 4th and 5th grade

Battle of the Books for rising 4th and 5th graders

Are you ready for your summer family game nights?

Please come to Discovery’s Game NIght on Thursdady, May 17th from 6:30 to 8:00 PM in the Dining Commons.

Library Overdue Book Notices coming by e-mail

Upcoming Events

4/21 - Friendship 5K with Nottingham Nights (Nottingham, 8AM)

4/29 - Ice Cream Social: Celebrating our Military Families! (Discovery Playground, 4-5:30PM)

5/1 - PTA Meeting (Dining Commons, 7PM)

5/9 - Instrumental Music Concert Assembly (Gym, 3PM)

5/17 -  Getting Ready for Your Summer Family Game Nights (Dining Commons, 6:30-8:00PM)


April 13, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

We hope you enjoy the warm sunny weekend! We had 4th grade at Jamestown today and 5th grade cleaning up Rock Springs Park.


Erin and Judy

River of Kindness

Students are learning songs and painting rocks in preparation for our River of Kindness art installation and assembly. Our art teachers could use some help next week. Please use the Sign Up Genius if you are interested in volunteering.


Poetry Slam

Fourth graders worked with poet Regie Cabico over the last several weeks. Fourth and fifth grade students were treated to original work by poets at our third annual Poetry Slam. Finalists Shira Dorf, Elizabeth Gray, Maren Leonard, and Cara Van Gieson were then given the almost impossible task of composing on the spot. The theme “egg” was tricky, but they all did a fantastic job. Cara Van Gieson’s poem became the judges favorite. Hats off to all writers and performers.Their bravery and risk-taking was tremendous.

Family Museum Day

On Monday April 9th, during the teacher work day, students and their families joined Mrs. Burke and Ms. Williams at the Freer Sackler Asian Art Museum. They were lead on a tour of the gallery by two docents and were able to appreciate the artwork on display. Students were engaged with discussion about artwork from other cultures. One of the highlights of the tour for most students was peacock room designed and painted by James Whistler.  


2018 Elementary School Art Exhibit

A selection of student artwork will be on display at the Education Center (1426 N. Quincy Street.)  There will be an opening reception on Tuesday April 17, 2018 from 6:30-8:00 pm. There are many schools including Discovery that will have work on display including Abingdon, Ashlawn, Campbell, Carlin Springs, Claremont, Key, Log Branch, Minkley, Oakridge and Nottingham. If you are by the Education Center please stop by and see what students around the county are doing in Art, the show will be up until May 9th. Gallery hours are from 7:45 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

2018-19 Patrol Application Process

Attention parents of rising 5th graders! The application for rising 5th graders interested in becoming a 2018-19 Discovery Safety Patrol is now available. Fourth graders met with Mr. Duffy yesterday to discuss the application process and qualifications to becoming a patrol. The application is available through the DES website by going to the “Students” section and clicking on “Patrols”. You can also access the web page by clicking here: Patrols The application process has two parts this year and part 1 is due Friday, April 27 at noon! If you have any questions, please email Mr. Duffy at john.duffy@apsva.us.

Community Connections

We want to start this week by extending a special thank you to Tia Alfred, Discovery parent and Diversity and Inclusion co-chair, who led a walking tour of the Hall's Hill neighborhood and segregation wall. Thank you also to all of the teachers, admin, parents and students who took the time to join us. We hope to have additional materials available on the PTA website so please check back soon!

Representation Matters and Autism Awareness

Back in early February the Diversity and Inclusion Committee kicked off this column and accompanying online blog with an early post about racial representation in the media and why it matters. In acknowledgement of April as Autism Awareness month we would like to revisit this topic focused on representation of autism in print and film media. Around this time last year Sesame Street made news with the addition of a new character, Julia, who has autism. Additionally, last year the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers franchise also made headlines for the inclusion of Billy, the Blue Ranger, who is on the autism spectrum. While these may have been blips that hardly registered for the majority of parents or viewers, representation matters for people who have been historically marginalized. Seeing characters like oneself resolve everyday problems, interact with neurotypical peers or, in the case of the Power Rangers, be an onscreen hero, can do great things for building empathy and self-worth for all viewers.

In addition to these groundbreaking moments on the screen, books have been breaking ground in helping readers understand autism, autism spectrum disorder and a myriad of other cognitive differences for quite awhile. Research has proven time and again the power literature has in building empathy and understanding, so to that end, we wanted to share a list of recommended reading compiled by Signature for this year's Autism Awareness Month (most choices geared toward adult readers). And, as always, be sure to chat with your friendly school or local librarian for reading recommendations that best suit your Explorer.

By Rebecca Hjelm (parent of a 2nd Grade Explorer)

Upcoming Events

4/19 River of Kindness (2:30-3:30PM, Discovery)

4/20 Play Before Your Day (8:30AM)

4/20 Student Success Chat: MIndfulness (9AM-Blue Sky)

4/21 Friendship 5K with Nottingham Nights

4/29 Ice Cream Social: Celebrating our Military Families! (4-5:30PM, Discovery Playground)

5/9 2:45PM Instrumental Music Concert Assembly

April 6, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Not sure if you will spend this weekend planting a garden or sledding, but we hope you enjoy! We loved hearing about family adventures and relaxing moments from Spring Break. We did take some time to review school routines and procedures as we get back into the swing of teaching and learning. We did take time to enjoy today’s weather with most classes going outside this afternoon. The fourth grade team enjoyed a field trip to the US Science and Engineering Festival. Your family can check it out this weekend. There are other STEAM opportunities listed below. Please remember that there is no school on Monday; it is a Grade Preparation Day.


Erin and Judy

Family Museum Day

Join your art teachers Mrs. Burke and Ms. Williams at the Freer Sackler Museum specializing in Asian Art, Monday, April 9th. We will be lead by a docent on an Exploring the Arts of Asia tour. The tour starts at 10:15am, please plan to meet at the museum entrance by 10am for us to break into groups.

The Museum is on the Washington Mall and is metro accessible by the Smithsonian Station- orange/blue/silver lines. There is metered street parking near the museum as well.

Use this link to sign up! There are still 15 spots left.

Third Annual Dream, Explore, Create Your Own Path

Good afternoon,


This year, I will host the Third Annual Dream, Explore, Create Your Own Path Event on April 14 at Wakefield High School. Last year, we hosted over 500 students and families and already have well over 200 registered thus far for this year’s event. The design team led by Pam McClellan has been hard at work creating a full-day of wonderful activities.

Learn learn more about academic planning with hands-on experiences. We have also added a component to showcase our teachers and their expertise. I have also attached a rough draft of the program to give you a sense of the day’s activities. We have many exciting things planned and our families have shared that this event is invaluable from the feedback we have received post-event.



Patrick K. Murphy, Ed.D.

Walking Tour on Monday Morning

The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group invites you to join us for a walking tour of the Halls Hill/Highview Park neighborhood, led by Discovery parent and Working Group co-chair Tia Alfred, on Monday, April 9, 2018. Take this Grade Prep Day to learn more about the complicated racial history of north Arlington. We will meet at 9:15 a.m. at Gateway Park (brick structure directly across from the KFC next to Calloway Church).

Please note that the walk will take about 1.5 hours and includes a very steep hill. If you prefer to drive to spots along the tour and meet us, please join us at Gateway Park and we can give you a map and directions to the next spot.

Given the weather forecast, we will confirm that the tour is still happening by Sunday at 5:00 p.m, so please check APS School Talk and social media for confirmation. If it does rain, we will try again on Wednesday (Early Release!) at 2:00 p.m. Same location.

Marymount STEAM Event

Come to the Marymount STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Event on Saturday, April 14th from 10am - 12pm. It is being held at Marymount University's Main Campus and is open to the public. It is completely free. The event is primarily designed for grades K-6, but we welcome all!

Community Connections

Yes, we've already celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. back in January.  But let us not forget him this month as well.  As April 4, 2018, marks the 50th Anniversary of his death.  It is worth noting his message of peace and love, especially in a time when there is a great divide with regard to race and class amongst people in our world today.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN.  This spurred a rethinking of gun laws and was a cornerstone of Gun Control in the U.S. back then.  Amazingly, fifty years later we are dealing with very similar issues.

Also, Dr. King said that segregation harms us all.  Which leads to something that is very close to home with our Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  Right here in Arlington, to this day, there are remains of an actual "Segregation Wall" located in one of the oldest enclaves in Northern Virginia that was settled by newly freed slaves shortly after the Civil War.  This "Segregation Wall" is located at North Culpeper Street and 17th Road and separated the black neighborhood (Halls Hill/High View Park) from the bordering white neighborhood from the 1930's to the 1960's.

One of the Discovery Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs, Tia Alfred, is set to lead us on a walking tour this coming Monday, April 9, 2018, at 9 a.m.  She plans to lead us from Gateway Park (located at Lee Highway and the top of Cameron Street) down to the "Segregation Wall" and back with a few stops along the way to share about some of the history right here in Arlington.

Now that there has been a forecast of inclement weather, this tour may be postponed.  Regardless of postponement of the walking tour, please feel free to go and view the "Segregation Wall" for yourselves, as there is a historical marker located in front of some of the remnants of the wall.

Though this is a very significant part of Arlington's history, we need to remember that it is our past and be careful to continue to move forward and be progressive in our great city.

Let's take this time to rekindle Dr. King's message regarding love for one another.

Let's hope for great weather, and see you on the tour!

Tia Alfred (mother of Maddox - 4th grader, and Mathias - Kindergarten)

A Discovery Author

Maria Burke, art teacher, was recently published in the Catalyst Quarterly

Upcoming Events

4/9 No school (grade prep day)

4/9 Walking Tour of Halls Hill & High View Park (9-11AM) with Carpool in Discovery Parking Lot) We will canceled via School Messenger by 5PM on Sunday if weather doesn’t cooperate.

4/10 Family Fitness Night (6:30-8PM)

4/11 Early Release (1:26PM)

4/12 Community Service Club meeting (3:41, Discovery)

4/19 River of Kindness (2:30-3:30PM, Discovery)

4/20 Play Before Your Day (8:30AM)

4/20 Student Success Chat: MIndfulness (9AM-Blue Sky)

4/21 Friendship 5K with Nottingham Nights

4/29 Ice Cream Social: Celebrating our Military Families! (4-5:30PM, Discovery Playground)


March 23, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Today Mr. Bubbles visited our pre-school classrooms. He taught about water safety and the students practiced their water pull arms and kicking feet. Students learned to always be with an adult and what to do if they hear “Help.” Speaking of Pre-School, we are very excited to announce we are getting a new Montessori classroom next year! We welcomed the teachers and parents from the Reed Montessori program to Discovery. We are very excited Ms. Spierto will be able to collaborate with Ms. Anthony next year. Ms. Barnas, Ms. Spierto, and Ms. Anthony will share the two rooms with another small room for small group instruction.

Today, we also welcomed the District Taco Bike Team as a surprise visitor to our C.A.R.E.S. assembly. Students learned about the Earth Day Pledge and our sustainability transportation data. A visit from Eco-Action Hero and our bike team friends inspired students to get outside, move, and enjoy fresh air.

As safety and security remain a top priority, we wanted to ensure you that we will be included on all WMS communications concerning safety. In addition, please know that APS and Arlington Police Department recently created a working group to review the district’s safety practices.

We wish you all a fun and relaxing Spring Break. We look forward to the adventures of Flat Explorer! Use #FlatDESExplorer. Backyard or beach, write send us a postcard!

Discovery Elementary

5241 N. 36th Street

Arlington, VA  22207


Erin and Judy


Dear 5th Grade Parents,

It is vaccination time! Tdap is the vaccine all students need to receive prior to middle school entry. Be on the lookout for Tdap letters in your students’ Friday folders. It will have information about the vaccination, a consent form should you choose to vaccinate in the school clinic, and a letter from School Health. Please return the bottom portion of the Tdap letter indicating your plans for vaccination by April 13th, 2018. The clinic looks forward to hearing from you!



Inna Whelan, MSN, RN-PHN

Public Health Nurse

Arlington County School Health Bureau

Discovery Elementary School

703-228-2694 (Clinic)

703-237-6269 (Fax)

Community Connections

This week, we continue our dive into Arlington History with a recommendation for visiting the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, Virginia (located at 3108 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA, 22204). Previously a "museum without walls" (i.e. solely virtual), the museum recently opened a temporary physical space on Columbia Pike. The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington celebrates the African American Journey to Freedom, providing a focal point exhibit on Arlington’s Freedman’s Village and contributions made by its residents and their descendants to local and national history.

Open by appointment or scheduled hours only throughout the month of March.

3108 Columbia Pike, Arlington, Virginia 22204 (703) 271-8700


2018 Earth Day Pledge

Our Explorers learned about our 2018 Earth Day Pledge at our Pre-Earth Day Assembly today.

Classroom teachers will invite students to pledge the following about kindness and sustainable transportation.



By signing this pledge, I am being a responsible steward of my earth and a cooperative member of my community.

Eco-Action is asking for room parent help distributing the following sign up genius. Please encourage your families to take a look at this link so they can start planning for a post Spring Break push for walking/biking/scootering pools through your bus stop neighbors.


Honors Band & Honors Chorus

We are excited to recognize two students in Honors Band. Congratulations to James Hardi and Madeline Kamholz on clarinet! Furthermore, we are excited to recognize one student in Honors Chorus. Congrats to Katherine Sullivan! Our Explorers performed on Thursday evening, March 22, at Kenmore Middle School. Thank you Mr. Glasner, Ms. Krupa, and Ms. Walker for their dedication to Arts instruction.

Follow Arts Education on Twitter @APSArts #APSArtsAmazing and on Instagram @APSArtsEd.

Green Apple Day of Service: Donate your Bikes

Image result for USGBC Green apple day of service logoImage result for phoenix bikes logo

Our Explorers have focused on Discovery’s sustainable transportation initiative this year. To support this initiative, our Green Apple Day of Service will consist of a bike drive. All donated bikes will benefit Phoenix Bikes in Arlington with the help of the District Taco Cycling Team and Trek. We will hold Green Apple Day of Service bike drive on Tuesday, April 10th in conjunction with our Family Fitness Night from 7-8:30PM at Discovery. Please mark your calendar and save your used bikes for our Earth Day outreach in support of Phoenix Bikes!

What is a U.S. Green Building Council Green Apple Day of Service?  
The Green Apple Day of Service gives students, families, teachers, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service events (The U.S. Green Building Council).

Upcoming Events

26-30 March - Spring Break

3 April- Principal Video Chat with Nancy Wells: Children in Nature: How Access to Nature Benefits Human Health and Well Being (3:00-3:30 PM, Blue Sky Studio)

3 April- PTA Meeting (7PM, Dining Commons)

9 April- Grade Prep Day- No School for Students

9 April- Walking Tour of Halls Hill & High View Park (9-11AM, Carpool in Discovery Parking Lot)

10 April- Family Fitness Night (6:30-8PM)

10 April- Green Apple Day of Service Bike Drive (6:30-8PM, Discovery Parking Lot)

11 April- Early Release (1:26PM)

20 April - Play Before Your Day (8:30-8:50AM, North Playground)

20 April- Student Success Chat: Mindfulness (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

21 April Friendship 5K (8AM)


March 16, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

We are enjoying the talented actors, actresses, and crew members who make the story of Peter Pan come alive! Our performers sing “We Can Fly”, and they are truly soaring! Explorers showed perfect audience behavior at our two morning viewings and have been congratulating their peers. A huge thank you to Ms. Krupa and Ms. Walker for their dedication and talent! Also, we recognize all the parent volunteers who have made the performance a success. We so appreciate your hard work. We have our second evening performance tonight with doors opening at 6:15PM.

This next week is chock-full of teaching and learning, including our author visit on Tuesday and our poetry slam on Thursday. These two exciting events will usher us into Spring Break!

Kind regards,

Erin and Judy

Welcome Lisa Simmons, Kindergarten Assistant

Hi. My name is Lisa Simmons. I am so happy to join the Discovery Elementary team and am enjoying getting to know my class and the amazing teachers and staff. I was born in DC and have lived in the area ever since. My husband, four kids, and I moved to Arlington in 2010 and love the people, museums, bike paths, and food!

At the University of Maryland, I studied English, and took education classes any chance I could get. I love working with children and am passionate about engaging their curiosity and imagination to inspire a love for learning. I have felt so welcomed in joining this amazing community!

Family Fitness Night

Please join Discovery’s PE team along with the PTA Health and Wellness Committee members for our 2nd annual Family Fitness Night on Tuesday, April 10 from 6:30-8:00 PM! We will have a variety of activities and presenters for families to engage with, including Yoga instructors, Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon DO, Fitness Jenga, and MUCH more! Phoenix Bikes will also be on hand to accept bike donations in support of Discovery’s Green Apple Day of Service. We need volunteers for this evening event, please keep an eye out for a Sign-up Genius in the coming weeks to see how you can help!

Second Grade NNAT3 Assessment Mailing

We mailed home the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT3) letter and score report today.

HEADS UP! Safe Routes to School PSA Contest

APS Safe Routes to School is sponsoring a Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest. Recognizing that students are the experts on getting to and from school, we are asking them to use their experience and the theme “HEADS UP!” to create a Video or PSA that encourages students to stay alert and safe when travelling to and from school.

For more details on the PSA contest, got to:  https://www.apsva.us/safe-routes-to-school-overview/heads-up-psa-contest/  or    http://bit.ly/APSHeadsUp

DEADLINE for video and print entries is Thursday, March 22 at 5 p.m. This is the day before SPRING BREAK! Contact Safe Routes to School Coordinator Lauren Hassel if you have any questions. lauren.hassel@apsva.us

Community Connections

In honor of Women's History month, and in keeping with our local history theme, we wanted to take a moment to highlight a resource of the Arlington Public Library. Online you can find some curated oral history accounts from Arlingtonians. Here is an interview with Elizabeth Campbell recorded in 1984: https://library.arlingtonva.us/2018/02/28/oral-history-interview-with-elizabeth-cambell/.  Mrs. Campbell was the only woman elected when the county adopted an elected school board, she started one of the earliest cooperative pre-schools in the area, and she became president of the Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association (GWETA) during its founding.

This interview kicks off a new digital collection about Arlington women and their achievements. More information about the Center for Local History can be found at: https://library.arlingtonva.us/center-for-local-history/ 

New Safety Signs on Discovery Doors

We posted new safety signs on several of our exterior doors. These signs inform all visitors to report to the main office (Door 1) to sign in during school hours (9AM-3:41PM). We welcome and invite all families and community members to visit Discovery, and ask that everyone follow our safety procedures.  

Upcoming Events

17 March - Peter Pan Jr. (3PM, Gym)

20 March - Author visit (Library)

20 March- Elementary Honors Chorus (gr. 5), Jr. Honors Band (gr. 4-6), and Jr. Honors Orchestra Concert (7PM, Kenmore Middle School)

22 March - Eco-Action Meeting: Frank Niepold on Climate Change (8:50-9:35 AM, Dining Commons)

26-30 March - Spring Break

3 April- Principal Video Chat with Nancy Wells: Children in Nature: How Access to Nature Benefits Human Health and Well Being (3:00-3:30 PM, Blue Sky Studio)

3 April- PTA Meeting (7PM, Dining Commons)

9 April- Grade Prep Day- No School for Students

9 April- Walking Tour of Halls Hill & High View Park (9-11AM, Carpool in Discovery Parking Lot)

10 April- Family Fitness Night (6:30-8PM)

10 April- Green Apple Day of Service Bike Drive (6:30-8PM, Discovery Parking Lot)

11 April- Early Release (1:26PM)

20 April - Play Before Your Day (8:30-8:50AM, North Playground)

20 April- Student Success Chat: Mindfulness (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

21 April Friendship 5K (8AM)


March 9, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Peter Pan Jr.

We hear you loud and clear. Everyone is excited for the Discovery musical! We are thrilled that so many want to see the play, so in response, we are opening up more seats per show (see below for details). Please use this Google Form to order your tickets. You will then pay for the tickets at Will Call on the day of the show. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Actors and Actresses will perform an abridged version of the show for PreK-2 grades on Thursday, March 15th at 9:15AM. Grades 3-5 will see the entire performance on Friday, March 16th at 9:15AM.

Thank you for all the support. We are already planning to make accomodations for our sold out show next year!

Tickets for full shows are $3. Tickets for the abridged morning show is $1

This Google Form closes Sunday at 5PM, so please buy tickets now!

Twitter Chat: Elementary Boundaries

Join @APSVirginia for a Twitter Chat at 1-2 p.m. on Friday, March 9, that will focus on the Elementary School Planning Initiative. APS is working with School Task Groups comprised of civic association and PTA representatives to identify potential safe areas to expand elementary school walk zones. Use #EngageAPS to join the conversation!

STEM Grant

Thank you and congratulations to Ms. Kuleski who received a STEM grant for our students. She earned 12 Hess dump trucks to share. These dump trucks will be used for STEM activities in regards to simple and compound machines, a grade 2 science standard.  

Principal’s Chat with Nancy Wells

Nancy Wells is an environmental psychologist at Cornell University who studies people's relationship to the built and natural environment through the life course.  Her studies have focused on residential environments -- housing and neighborhoods -- and more recently schools. Look for a  flyer in Peach Jar this next week.

This chat will discuss the following:

Join us on Tuesday, April 03 from 3:00 - 3:30 PM in Blue Sky Studio.

Extended Day Dismissal

This message is to inform you that starting Monday March 12th Extended Day will be changing their dismissal process.

Sustainable Transportation

APS Safe Routes to School is sponsoring a PSA contest for K-12 students in efforts to promote safety and awareness. The Heads Up! Contest Prompt is focused on staying alert and safe when traveling to and from school each day. Students are asked to create a video or print PSA that reminds students to pay attention and look out for themselves and others when traveling.  The deadline for submission is Thursday, March 22 at 5:00pm and details can be found on the Safe Routes to School Webpage. For questions, please contact Lauren Hassel at 703-228-2132 or lauren.hassel@apsva.us.

Fire Drill: Temporary Change in Procedures

This week the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services directed all schools to announce fire drills in advance just prior to the alarm sounding or directly after the alarm sounds.  The Fire Marshal has approved this temporary change in procedure and does not believe it will significantly affect evacuation times. Here is the language:

Community Connections

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."—Gloria Steinem

On March 8, the world will recognize International Women’s Day (IWD), a day established in the early 1900s to “celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” This year’s theme, #PressforProgress, aims to inspire people to continue to be vocal and active in pushing for parity and equality across genders. In honor of this year’s IWD, take a moment to talk to your children (not just daughters!) about the evolving roles of women in different societies or ask your child to identify some women who have made difference in their lives (personally or historically). To take it a step farther, take a pledge for parity (e.g., valuing women and men’s contributions equally) as a family and talk about how you might fulfill that pledge over the course of this next year. It is becoming increasingly easier to provide books and media that tell the stories of powerful women taking action and making a difference so our children can see models of how to own and use their power to not only fulfill their own potential but to also support their peers in fulfilling theirs.

A Note on Intersectionality

With the beginning of March also comes the end of February and the end of Black History Month. It is important to highlight, as Becky mentioned last week, that just because the month is over, the importance of learning about and recognizing the profound impact black Americans have made on this country cannot be contained in one month. We thought this would be a good time to touch on the concept of intersectionality. If this is a new term for you, intersectionality is a term introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a legal scholar and theorist, who sought to explain how different types of discrimination interact and intersect and are difficult to isolate in terms of their impact on the individual experiences discrimination based on multiple factors—gender, sexual orientation, race, ability, etc…. In the context of International Women’s Day, consider, for example, the impact of gender discrimination on women of color versus the impact of gender discrimination on white women. Our individual experiences of the world are the confluences of so many factors (race, age, gender, ability, personality) and defy generalizations and categorization, which is a good reminder to enter each opportunity to know each other's experience with an open mind and heart.

To learn more about the origins of the day and how to celebrate this year, check out https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/international-womens-day-did-start-important/.

The International Women’s Day website: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Some neat ideas for how to celebrate International Women’s Day with your child(ren): http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/celebrating-international-womens-day-with-kids/

To learn more about intersectionality: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2015/09/21/intersectionality-a-primer/?utm_term=.0b169f0b3210.

Grade 2 Bike Unit Begins Monday, March 5th

For the first time at Discovery, 2nd graders will participate in a Bike Safety Unit during PE. This is a new initiative from the APS Health and PE department, coordinated through the Safe Routes to School program. Students are encouraged to bring their own helmets throughout this 3-week unit. Please click on the following link for more information: DES Bike Safety Unit  

Upcoming Events

10 March - Discovery Auction Night

13 March - Google Classroom How to Session for Grade 4 Families (8:30-9AM, Blue Sky)

14 March - Google Classroom How to Session for Grade 4 Families (8:30-9AM, Blue Sky)

14 March - Pi Day @ Pietanza

14 March - Early Release at 1:26 PM

15 March - Peter Pan Jr. abridged version (9:15AM, Gym)

15 March - Peter Pan Jr. (7PM, Gym)

16 March - Play Before Your Day

16 March -Student Success Chat- Test Anxiety (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

16 March - Peter Pan Jr. (9:15AM, Gym)

16 March - Peter Pan Jr. (7PM, Gym)

17 March - Peter Pan Jr. (3PM, Gym)

16 March -Student Success Chat- Test Anxiety (9-10AM, Blue Sky Studio)

20 March - Author and Illustrator Zachariah Ohora 

26-30 March - Spring Break


February 23, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Last night, teachers, parents, and extended family members celebrated our first World Heritage Night. The event celebrated our diverse backgrounds and cultures with performances, food, and exhibits. Students collected stamps on their passports, flags from different countries, and had their name written in a variety of languages. The buzz inspired many to think how they can contribute World Heritage Night in 2019! A heartfelt thank you to all parent and teacher organizers and volunteers, as well as the Yorktown student AV team. Help us plan for 2019 by joining our Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

APS School Talk Messages through School Messenger

Do you want to receive text messages from School Messenger, formally known as School Talk?  If your cell number is in the school's database, just text the word YES to 67587. This action will verify that you want receive text messages to that phone. If this action does not work, please call Discovery to verify that we have your current cell number in our system.

Be Internet Awesome

Students in Grades 2 through 5 will be learning and exploring in the online safety and digital citizenship curriculum “Interland: Be Internet Awesome” in the coming two quarters. Led by Mr. Reeves and delivered through Google Classroom to 1:1 devices, “Interland” helps to teach safe behaviors online, and one of the tools in the curriculum is the free-to-play “Interland” game world. Families should feel free to explore Interland together and have conversations around privacy, safety, cyberbullying, and more. Families can also find a plethora of resources and tools around good technology habits at the Discovery Parent Media Academy. If you have any questions about this program after you’ve had a chance to look at it, you can email Mr. Reeves at keith.reeves@apsva.us.

Loading New Webpages: P/T Conference Sign-Up

Some parents had trouble accessing the Sign-Up Genius once it when live on our website. Here is one possible explanation.

Most computers and internet browsers save copies of the websites you visit frequently. If you visit and revisit a page regularly, many of the parts of that page are being loaded from saved copies on your computer, rather than downloading new from the internet. This locally-saved set of resources is called a “cache.” (Pronounced like “cash.”) Depending on your computer and the way you access the internet, you may want or need to force your computer to look for the very latest version of a website. For example, if you want to see the very latest post on the Discovery website, you might need to “force refresh” the page or even clear your cache. On many computer setups, it is as easy as holding the left shift button on your keyboard while pressing the “refresh” button in your browser.

Here are some links that might help you do this:

Force Refresh / Bypass your Cache

Clearing your Cache

The above-linked webpages may contain links to websites that are outside of the Arlington Public Schools network. APS does not control the content or relevancy of these outside sites.

Community Connections

Thank you to everyone who helped make our first annual World Heritage Night an amazing experience! Special thanks to Rasha Al-Ali and Tulsi Mehta, who worked all year to pull together those impressive performances, beautiful displays, and delicious food. We are excited to carry this celebration of our community into next year.

Black History Month Hero of the Week

This week, we feature James West as our Black History Month Hero of the Week. Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on February 10, 1931, James West attended Temple University before working for Bell Labs. Along with Gerhard M. Sessler, he developed the foil electret microphone, an inexpensive, compact device that is now used in 90 percent of all contemporary microphones. A prolific writer as well, West has more than 250 patents and became a professor at Johns Hopkins University.

 As Black History Month comes to a close the Diversity and Inclusion Committee would like to take a moment to set the stage for the remainder of the school year. As someone born and raised in Alexandria, VA, steeped in American history, I still often had a sense of "not in my backyard" - that the issues and concerns and history of racism that we are taught in school occurred somewhere "over there" and had long been put to rest.

So as we move forward this year, we would like to focus quite literally in our own backyards, on better understanding African American heritage in Arlington County. This includes better understanding the history and impact of Hall's Hill wall, a barrier constructed to segregate the black neighborhood of Hall's Hill from adjacent white neighborhoods. Remnants of the wall and an historical marker can be found at 17th and Culpeper. We plan to schedule a walking tour of this marker in early April for any interested parents, students or teachers.

More information can be found online at:




Rebecca Toni Hjelm (parent to a 2nd grader and a rising K)

LUNAR NEW YEAR Continues! 

Check out how Discovery Parent Ben Chou celebrates the Chinese New Year with his family.

For Chinese New Year, we celebrate by making and eating dumplings. In Chinese, dumplings (饺子—jiǎo zi) sounds like 交子(jiāo zi).  (Jiāo) means “exchange” and (zi) is the midnight hours. Put together, jiāo zi is the exchange between the old and new year.  By eating dumplings, you are sending away the old and welcoming the new.   There is also the traditional exchange of red envelopes with money inside.  By giving the money to children, elders are hoping to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings. Another version is given by the younger generation to their elders as a blessing of longevity and a show of gratitude.


Happy Chinese New Year!

Benjamin C. Chou (father to 2nd and 4th graders)


Upcoming Events

27 Feb - Discovery Community Meeting on School Security (7PM, Dining Commons)

27 Feb - Read Across America Day

1-2 March - Parent-Teacher Conferences

2 March- Staff Appreciation Lunch

10 March - Discovery Auction Night

14 March - Early Release

26-30 March - Spring Break

February 16, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Our hearts are with the families and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and all residents of the Parkland community. I have had several conversations with parents these past days, and I appreciate each and every one of these conversations. It is clear that our community is caring, responsive, and vigilant. I want to reassure you that safety is our number one priority at Discovery, and we will continue do all we can to maintain security in our building.


All of our exterior doors are locked during the day, and at 9:00 AM when the bell rings our front door is closed and locked, as well. Those of you who have visited the building know that we have a routine and required sign-in process for visitors and that we require all visitors to wear a visitor badge for the duration of their visit. This information is captured in a database and monitored. Our front office staff is great about recognizing visitors who have valid reasons for entering the building, and question visitors whom they do not recognize.


We practice safety drills regularly throughout the year, including Lockdown, Secure the Building, Fire, and Tornado drills. In the unlikely event that we need to put these drill procedures in place, staff and students have practiced what to do multiple times. Each school also has a School Resource Officer (SRO) who is shared among a few schools. Corporal Brent Olson is our SRO and visits Discovery frequently, has attended school assemblies and events, and is recognized by staff and students. He works to ensure that our safety procedures are in place and assists if anything needs to be done. He is a member of the Arlington County Police Department.


As a strong community, we can learn and grow from the recent and devastating news. Please respect our safety procedures. Please check in at the main office when you enter the building, and take the time to use the check-in system. Also, please refrain from entering a door when students exit. Please understand how seriously we take the safety of our students and work to keep them focused on what’s important here at school; that is, their academic growth and kindness toward one another.

Please join us on Tuesday, February 27th at 7PM at Discovery for a community meeting. Corporal Olson and Dr. Russo will review DIscovery’s safety procedures and respond to questions you may have about how to best partner to keep our students safe. In addition, a Discovery parent and member of Be Smart will share tips on keeping children safe outside of the school day.

Many parents have expressed concern on how to talk to their children. This link provides information on ways for parents to talk to children about violent acts. With around the clock news coverage on the incident, it might feel good to turn off the television, assure your children they are safe, and enjoy the 3-day weekend doing something fun. Please know we, along with and our school counselors, are available to help answer any questions you might have.


Erin and Judy

Saying Goodbye

Dear Families,

It has been a true honor and privilege to be a part of Discovery Elementary, and I have had so much fun!  With much thought and counsel, I have decided to pursue another course in my life, and I will be joining the United States Coast Guard. In every season of life, I like to “Enjoy the Journey” and I have truly enjoyed my time at Discovery with everyone who I have come into contact with. The many friends that I have had the privilege to effect never ceases to amaze me with their kindness, intelligence, and humor! They always know how to put a smile on my face.  With that said, I am excited to take on my next journey moving forward and I will miss you all so much!

Mr. McClain, Kindergarten Assistant

Book order due date - extended to Tuesday Feb 20

Safety Patrol Camp

Attention parents of rising 4th and 5th grade students! The Arlington County Police Department School Resource Officer Unit is currently accepting applications to its 2018 Summer Safety Patrol Camp. This is a week long summer program in which ACPD officers teach students various responsibilities of being an effective safety patrol member. The cost of each session is $95 per student. To access the application, click here. For specifics on Discovery’s safety patrol program, please visit the “Patrols” page under the “Students” section of the DES website or click here. The DES safety patrol program is only available to rising 5th grade students and the application process will begin in the early spring. For questions, contact John Duffy, DES PE Teacher and Patrol Sponsor at john.duffy@apsva.us.

Parent Teacher Conferences: Encore

Please contact your child’s Art, Music, P.E., and Spanish teachers if you’d like to schedule a conference.

Our First World Heritage Night is Around the Corner

We're counting down to our first World Heritage Night and would like your help to ensure its success! Please sign up and give 15-30 minutes of your time for set up or clean up. Also, there is still time to sign up to share your favorite dish at the potluck. Finally, please feel free to attend World Heritage Night in the national dress of your choice! We sincerely appreciate your assistance and are excited to welcome you at the event of the season!  

Community Connections

Black History Month: Hero of the Day

This week’s featured hero for Black History Month (timed perfectly for the Olympics) is Wilma Rudolph. Born prematurely on June 23, 1940, in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, Wilma Rudolph was a sickly child who had to wear a brace on her left leg. She overcame her disabilities through physical therapy and hard work, and she went on to become a gifted runner. Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics at the 1960 Summer Games in Rome. She later worked as a teacher and track coach.

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year, celebrated by roughly one-sixth of the world’s population, begins this Friday, February 16, 2018. Depending on the country, these celebrations can last anywhere from three days to two weeks and are family-centered celebrations filled with honoring ancestors and deities, firecrackers, gift-giving (red envelopes filled with money or hongbao throughout China), and an abundance of delicious food. To read more about the Lunar New Year for yourself and to learn a little bit more about what the Year of the Dog means (hint: It’s not as lucky as some of the years that preceded this one!), check out this link. And to read more about Lunar New Year with your explorer, check out the following titles:

Members of our Discovery community will celebrate the Lunar New Year in a variety of ways, based on country of origin, family tradition, and other factors. Continue reading to hear from a couple of our Discovery families!

In Mongolia, “Lunar New Year” or “White Moon”  is one of the oldest and biggest celebration. Not only Mongolians, many Asian countries celebrate Lunar New year including China, Korea, Singapore and so on. The date of the celebration is determined according to Lunar Calendar every year and people start to prepare many days before the actual celebration day. Every family prepares thousands of dumplings called “buuz” and freeze them for the guests. During the festivity, people wear Mongolian traditional costume called “deel” and visit the elders in the family first and exchange gifts.

Urangoo Bat-Erdene (mother to a K/Montessori)

The beauty of being a multi-cultural family is that we form our own traditions, blending the new and old. For the Korean Lunar New Year, we will be eating the traditional dduk guk (soup with glutinous rice cakes that symbolize prosperity), just like my mom used to make, and we will honor our ancestors and give gifts of money in crisp new bills to the boys. We will also be making lucky mandu (dumplings). (Sharing some recipes, in case you want to celebrate in your family!)

Lisa Harper Chang (mother to a 2nd grader and a Pre-K 4/Montessori)

Random Acts of Kindness-Ms. Stoker’s Class

Did you know that acts of kindness are happening at Discovery?  In Mrs. Stoker’s classroom, students took on the challenge of knitting hats for babies born in February. Mrs. Stoker read an article about the Heart Foundation’s program called Little Hats, Big Hearts. She asked her students if they wanted to participate and make some hats. Her students responded happily with a big, “YES!” Their parents generously donated all of the supplies. Students worked cooperatively and made more than 10 hats. They enjoyed learning this new hobby so much, that some of them have started to make hats for themselves and other friends and family. Here is what the students had to say about this wonderful service learning project.

Students Celebrated the 100th Day of School on February 15th

And we are gearing up for Discovery’s 500th DAY!


Discovery In the News

News Channel 4 Doug Kammerer spoke to fourth graders about his love for weather and the amazing work he does as a meteorologist. Students asked questions and interacted with real time weather models. Students number one question was: “Are we going to get a snow day?” This educational opportunity stemmed from staff modeling kindness to each other. Ms. Upshur arranged the visit after learning about her colleague’s love for all things weather. Mr. Timke was surprised to see his favorite meteorologist walk into our Discovery library!

Upcoming Events

19 Feb. - Presidents Day, Holiday

20 Feb. - SignUp Genius for Parent Teacher Conferences goes live (6PM)

22 Feb. - World Heritage Night (Dining Commons, 6-8PM)

27 Feb - Discovery Community Meeting on School Security (7PM, Dining Commons)

1-2 March - Parent-Teacher Conferences

2 March- Staff Appreciation Lunch

10 March - Discovery Auction Night

14 March - Early Release

26-30 March - Spring Break

February 9, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

We hope you will join us tonight for a DJ Dance Glow Party. Students in all grades have been practicing their moves in Physical Education and are excited to share their love for the groove! What might be a rainy afternoon, offers a wonderful opportunity, to teach your children that they can make a difference for others: Our Share the Love: Community Service Project. Our third through fifth graders are invited to prepare and bag meals for A-SPAN’s Homeless Bagged Meal Program. Our younger students can create and decorate Valentine’s Day cards that we will deliver to the children at Inova Children’s Hospital in Falls Church. Please RSVP here. We will host both events on Sunday in the Dining Commons from 3-5 PM.

Thanks to Gifts That Give Hope and all community members who supported the event. The organization donated over $600 to our Functional Life Skills Program. Our appreciative teachers will use the funds to enhance classroom instruction.

Please join us in congratulating Mason Mirabile and Peyton Johnson. Mason’s music entry, “Within Reach”, earned first place and Peyton’s art entry, “The Masterpiece of Trash” earned second place in the Northern Virginia PTA District. Mason entry will now represent Discovery in the state competition. Well done, Mason and Peyton!

Valentine’s Day is next week, and teachers are in the midst of planning many classroom activities to show kindness, such as writing thoughtful cards and poetry. Please refrain from sending food to school with your child, including candy.

Lastly, thank you to those who participated in our recent Principal Chat on Building Resilience. The PTA has short survey for you to complete that asks about your preferences in regards to topics, times, and communication. Please take a minute to complete the survey.

We look forward to dancing with you this evening at 7PM. Bring your dancing shoes!


Erin and Judy

Mason and Peyton: District PTA Reflection Winners

Parent Teacher Conferences March 1 and 2nd (March 1st is an Early Release)

Our SignUp Genius will go live on Tuesday, February 20th at 6PM. You can access it via our website. Spring conferences are a great time to discuss summer school options. Please inquire with your child’s teacher.

Our First World Heritage Night is Around the Corner

Dear Discovery Community,

We're counting down to our first World Heritage Night and would like your help to ensure its success! Please sign up and give 15-30 minutes of your time for set up or clean up. Also, there is still time to sign up to share your favorite dish at the potluck. Finally, please feel free to attend World Heritage Night in the national dress of your choice!

We sincerely appreciate your assistance and are excited to welcome you at the event of the season!  

Thank you,

Rasha Al-Ali and Tulsi MehtaC:\Users\Griff\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Zachariah-OHora.jpg

Book Order forms due Thursday Feb 15th

Author/Illustrator Zachariah Ohora 

Don’t wait until the last minute. There are only 6 more days! You can find the 20% off book order form here and in Peach Jar. The online form also includes active links to his website and his online videos and book trailers, such as the Read the Book Lemmings book trailer

Community Connections

Black History Hero of the Day

Keep an eye out for our featured Black/African American Hero of the Day! Today, we are featuring Madam CJ Walker, one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire by creating specialized hair products. Please feel free to share other Black/African American Heros by sending information to diversityinclustionpta@gmail.com. We’ll be sure to add them to the rotation! For more resources and extended posts, please visit Discovery PTA’s Diversity and Inclusion Website.

Representation Matters

By Lisa Harper Chang (mother to 2nd grade and Montessori Explorers)

As a parent of two multi-racial children (half Korean and half white (Scots-Irish-German)), I struggle to find protagonists of television, film, and books that look like my boys. Two current examples come to mind: the brothers in Big Hero 6 and the sisters in Andi Mack, both produced by Disney. It is easier to find more diverse representation in children and young adult literature. I am sure I am overlooking some books, and I am always open to hearing about others. Why does seeing ourselves reflected in media, specifically positively portrayed, matter? Media representation helps broaden our horizons, introduces us to people and experiences outside of our own, and redefines what is normal, acceptable, and admired. This week, I challenge you to think of a specific race/culture or combination of races/cultures, and think of FIVE mainstream media examples of when that race/culture was a positively portrayed protagonist without browsing the web. If you are interested in learning more or thinking more about this topic, please check out the following links:

Who Gets to Be the Hero? by Embrace Race blogger Taliah Mirmalek


Black Panther, Wonder Woman, and the Power of Representation by Alan Jenkins, Ebony, July 15, 2018


Martins and Harrison; Racial and Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Children’s Television Use and Self-Esteem: A Longitudinal Panel Study; Communications Research, March 16, 2011.

Please keep the conversation going with us by emailing diversityinclusionpta@gmail.com.

Please check out the Diversity and Inclusion new web page.

Earth Day Celebrations UnderWay

Our launch of Earth Month Initiative from March 23rd to April 22nd will arrive before we know it. During these weeks, Explorers will make a Transportation Pledge and attend a school-wide assembly with surprise guests. We are reaching out to the community to identify any biking or walking pools that exist in our community. Please email us the street location and timeframe in which the students meet to bike or walk. We plan to announce these locations to encourage more biking and walking on warm spring days. If any parents are interested in volunteering to chaperone students as they bike or walk to school, please contact Maria Burke.

Discovery Auction.

Get early-bird tickets through February 18th! Only 29 days until the BIG Night!

Upcoming Events

9 Feb. - Family Dance Glow Party (Gym, 7-9PM)

11 Feb. - Share the Love Community Service (Dining Commons, 3-5PM)

14 Feb. - Early Release

15 Feb. - 100th Day of School

16 Feb. - Play Before Your Day (North Playground, 8:40-8:50AM)

16 Feb. - Student Success Chat: Organization (Blue Sky Studio, 9-10AM)

19 Feb. - Presidents Day, Holiday

20 Feb. - SignUp Genius for Parent Teacher Conferences goes live (6PM)

22 Feb. - World Heritage Night (Dining Commons, 6-8PM)

1-2 March - Parent-Teacher Conferences

2 March- Staff Appreciation Lunch

10 March - Discovery Auction Night

14 March - Early Release

26-30 March - Spring Break

February 2, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

The groundhog saw his shadow, so please send students with appropriate outdoor clothing. We follow the APS guidelines and students will go outside on most days. Remember to label hats and gloves and to check the lost and found (located under the grand staircase) for missing items. This week Discovery planned exciting activities to celebrate our 100th day of school on February 15th, as well as our 500th day as a school! Please join us for our February PTA meeting to hear our exciting Responsive Classroom news. In late January, a Responsive Classroom consultant visited and walked through our classrooms and common spaces. We are excited to share her data and her recommended next steps at our February PTA meeting. In addition, we will share some of the ways Discovery teachers incorporate Responsive Classroom strategies in academics and social emotional lessons. We hope leave the meeting understanding why the Responsive Classroom approach thrives in so many APS schools.


Erin and Judy


If you are able to help hang a school project on our Dining Common’s glass on February 14th, please email Dr. Russo.

Book Order forms due Thursday Feb 15thC:\Users\Griff\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Zachariah-OHora.jpg

Author/Illustrator Zachariah Ohora 

You can find the book order form here. 

The online form also includes active links to his website and his online videos and book trailers.

Read the Book Lemmings book trailer

Ame & Zach read Read the Book Lemmings  video

Wolfie the Bunny book trailer

Horrible Bear book trailer

Ame & Zach read Wolfie the Bunny video

Zach teaches how to draw Wolfie the Bunny video

Stop Snoring Bernard book trailer

Community Connection: Diversity & Inclusion Feature

Each week, Discovery News will feature information, experiences, resources, and opportunities to help us learn more about ourselves, our community, and our world.

We extend a special thanks to last week's author, Tia Alfred, mother of Maddox in grade 4 and Mathias in Kindergarten. This week’s author, Renita Upshur, grade 4 classroom teacher, writes about two, up-coming opportunities. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is highlighting Black History Month in our Discovery community during February and will continue to highlight black heritage in Arlington throughout the school year.

Black History Month

February is nationally celebrated as Black History Month. We will have a wide variety of book options available in the library for students and teachers to check out. We have included a list of book titles that you can check out from the public library and read at home. Additionally, the Discovery News Crew will showcase well-known and lesser-known African Americans who have changed the way we all live today. Please encourage your students to not only read about different historical people, but try fictional books that have more diverse lead characters.

African American Book Options:

100 African Americans Who Shaped American History

Bedtime Inspirational Stories:50 Amazing Black People Who Changed the World

1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Black History

Black Pioneers of Science and Invention

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Duke Ellington was not a Street

The Big Bed

Other Opportunities

Is there a part of your culture you would like to share with our Discovery community? Classroom teachers invite parents and community members to enhance students' education by sharing personal expertise, cultural heritages (e.g. Diwali, Lunar New Year, Dia de los Muertos, Passover, Easter), and/or work experiences related to diversity and inclusion We are building a family and community resource that teachers can access to bring different perspectives, experiences, and knowledge into their classrooms. Please fill out this form to share your knowledge. We know our community has much to offer. Please take a moment to think how you can contribute.

We are also looking for guest writers! Each week, Discovery News will feature experiences, perspectives, stories, resources, and opportunities intended to help increase awareness of the rich diversity of our school and to build a more inclusive community. Potential guest writers are encouraged to contact the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at diversityinclusionpta@gmail.com.

Reading Parent Academy

If you attended out Parent Academy and want another look at shared resources, please click here. The files contain all the slides used during both sessions.

Share the Love Community Service Event

We invite you to join us for a fun afternoon of service on Sunday, February 11th from 3-5 PM. Teach your child the power of kindness, community, and care. The Discovery PTA will be in the Dining Commons to make bagged meals that A-SPAN will distribute to Arlington's homeless.  They will also make Valentine's Day cards for children at INOVA Fairfax Hospital. This is a great opportunity to give back to our community! Let's show our neighbors just how much Discovery C.A.R.E.S. and let's SHARE the LOVE!  Stay tuned for more details & Sign Up Genius links via room parent emails!

Seat Design Challenge

As we prepare to create an amazing learning space in our woods, check out our trail cam that caught local wildlife in action.

Parent Teacher Conferences

The SignUp Genius for March Parent/Teacher Conferences will be live on our website at 6PM Tuesday, February 20th. Conferences will be held in the afternoon of March 1st and on Friday, March 2nd.

Upcoming Events

6 Feb. - PTA Meeting (Dining Commons, 7PM)

9 Feb. - Discovery Family Dance Glow Party (Gym, 6:30-8:30PM)

11 Feb. - Share the Love Community Service (Dining Commons, 3-5PM)

14 Feb. - Early Release

15 Feb. - 100th Day of School

16 Feb. - Play Before Your Day (North Playground, 8:30AM)

16 Feb. - Student Success Chat (Blue Sky Studio, 9AM)

19 Feb. - Presidents Day, Holiday

20 Feb. - SignUp Genius for Parent Teacher Conferences will go live at 6PM

22 Feb. - World Heritage Night (Dining Commons, 6-8PM)

1-2 March - Parent-Teacher Conferences

2 March- Staff Appreciation Lunch

10 March - Discovery Auction Night

14 March - Early Release

26-30 March - Spring Break

January 26, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

There are only 43 more days until the Discovery Auction. Creative and inspiring items are rolling in! Mark your calendar for March 10th and get your early bird tickets!

Happy end of quarter two! Time is flying and students are growing in their knowledge and skills. This week second graders spent time with Technology Coach, Mr. Reeves, and talked about digital citizenship. Second graders also continued expanding their knowledge of famous Americans. In pre-school, students danced and sang during Spanish class, while first graders practice their dance moves in Physical Education. Discovery is an active place!

Lastly, we are pleased to introduce Coaches Corner, a great way to connect with our coaches and support your student at home. Coaches Corner can be found on our website along the top, under Teams and then under Coaches Team. Just scroll to the bottom. A link is also available at the top of this newsletter. Coaches Corner will be updated bi-monthly, and we’ll always feature it in Parent News. We hope you find it useful.

As we have reached the half-way mark, take some time to set some individual learning goals with your child. Goal-setting is a research-based way to improve achievement.

Enjoy the warm weather,

Erin and Judy

Diversity & Inclusion Committee

The purpose of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is to grow diversity awareness and inclusion within our Discovery community. Our goal is to build cultural competence through a variety of events and activities that will take place throughout the school year. So far this school year, we've viewed, HIdden Figures, at Movie Night, and we supported our Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr Day. We look forward to celebrating Black History Month and World Heritage Night in February.

We will continue dialogue among Discovery parents, staff, and administration to make our community an inclusive place. One way to accomplish this goal is to participate in the Kindness Challenge. We will continue to help students think of concrete ways that they can show kindness, such as playing with another student at recess whom they may not play with on a regular basis. We will continue to teach students to interact and engage with each other to promote a community of respect that honors diversity and trumpets inclusion.

Here's a link from our Diversity and Inclusion Committee. We know our community has much to offer. Please take a moment to think how you can contribute. We are also looking for guest writers. Each week, Parent News will feature a thought, story, or resource intended to increase diversity awareness and inclusion. Guest writers are encouraged to contact Lisa Harper Chang.  

by Tia Alfred, mother to Maddox (4th grade) and Mathias (Kindergarten)

Eco-Action Meeting

Alexis Dickerson of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation met with our Eco-Action Green Leaders on Thursday morning. Students learned about our watersheds and how pollution impacts the water cycle. Green Leaders participated in a hands-on activity entitled, “Who Polluted the Potomac?” They listened to a story about the Potomac River and the pollutants that enter the water cycle, thereby contaminating the watershed. They also learned about The Clean Water Act. Our Green Leaders left the Eco-Action meeting wanting to make an impact on our environment.

Families Tour The Phillips Collection Art Museum

Discovery families joined Ms. Burke and Ms. Williams at The Phillips Collection to view art.

Parent Reading Academy

Thanks you to the PTA for two successful reading academies. We received positive feedback from parents. The goal was to provide a window into the teaching of reading across the grade levels and to provide ideas to support your child’s reading development at home. We will share the slides in Discovery News this next week.

PTA Reflections Award Ceremony

A sincere thank you to April Maddox and Teresa O’Connell for making our PTA Reflections Ceremony a memorable event. We had many Explorers in all grades participate, and we celebrate their creativity and talent.

Upcoming Events

6 Feb. -PTA Meeting (Dining Commons, 7PM)

9 Feb. -Discovery Family Dance Glow Party

14 Feb. -Early Release

16 Feb. -Play Before Your Day (North Playground, 8:30AM)

16 Feb. -Student Success Chat (Blue Sky Studio, 9AM)

19 Feb. - Presidents Day, Holiday

22 Feb. - World Heritage Night (Dining Commons, 6-8PM)

1-2 March - Parent-Teacher Conferences

10 March - Discovery Auction Night

14 March - Early Release

26-30 March - Spring Break

January 19, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

This week we were treated to a music concert featuring fifth-grade instrumental and band students and fourth-grader Mathew Meinert. Thank you Mr. Glasner and all music students. Our students enjoyed the concert during the day and families attended the evening concert. We also celebrated our Explorers who auditioned and were selected to be members of the Junior Honors Band: Jamie Hardie on trumpet, Madeline Kamholz on clarinet, and Margaret Morris on trumpet. The APS county-wide concert will be on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 7:00 PM at Kenmore Middle School. Kate Sullivan will also perform as a member of the Junior Honors Chorus.

Colin Demir was recognized Thursday night by the School Board for his Friend Wheel designed for the Martin Luther King Visual and Literary Arts competition.

We have patiently waited and are thrilled to share video of our Explorer’s hard work in the PTA Reflections Contest. We will air the video next Monday at the reception and throughout the week on our morning news show, as well as on our common screens. All students who participated in the Reflection contest, and their families, are invited to attend a reception Monday morning at 8AM in our library.

Last Friday, the Diversity and Inclusion Working group met and discussed many great ideas to celebrate diversity  at Discovery. Many ideas will help teachers expose students to diversity through books, lunch bunches, and other planned activities. We are excited for our first World Heritage Night in February!

Thank you to those who attended our noon Principal Chat on Building Resiliency with WMS counselor Johanna Boyers. Ms. Boyers shared eye opening statistics and from a recent Site-Based Survey, such as 73% of students feel stressed at school and 20% reported feeling sad or hopeless in the past year. Ms. Boyers shared research from Kathy Caprino’s 7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors and Lulie Lythcott-Haimes’ How to Raise An Adult. Parents who attended the session shared their own successes and struggles. You can view this informative session on Twitter @RussoErin. We will share a link to the Powerpoint presentation soon. Thank you Ms. Boyers and all those who attended virtually.

Lastly, it’s that time of year...to start thinking about NEXT school year! Please encourage families of rising Kindergarten students to come to Kindergarten Information Night on Monday, January 22 at 7PM at Washington-Lee High School.

Parent Reading Academy

Please join us for Discovery’s first Parent Reading Academy! This PTA sponsored event will focus on “Getting To Know our Readers.” Teams of teachers will engage parents in building and strengthening their understanding of the sophisticated work readers do in order to make meaning from text. Teachers will share instructional components of reading workshop that engage and support all readers. Parents will actively participant in our breakout sessions.  We hope you can join us!

K-2 Reading Academy: January 23, 2018 (Blue Sky Studio & Cloud Commons, 6:30-7:30 PM,)

3-5 Reading Academy: January 24, 2018 (Blue Sky Studio & Cloud Commons, 6:30-7:30 PM,)

Upcoming Events

22 Jan. - PTA Reflections Ceremony (Library, 8AM)

22 Jan. - Kindergarten Information Night (Washington-Lee HS, 7PM)

23 Jan. - Reading Parent Academy (K-2) (Cloud Commons, 6:30-7:30PM)

24 Jan. - Reading Parent Academy (3-5) (Blue Sky Studio, 6:30-7:30PM)

25 Jan. - Eco-Action Meeting (Art Room, Music Room, 8:50-9:35AM, )

26 Jan. - Student Holiday

2 Feb. - PTA Meeting (Dining Commons, 7PM)

9 Feb. - Discovery Family Dance Glow Party

14 Feb. - Early Release

19 Feb. - Presidents Day

22 Feb. - World Heritage Night

1-2 March - Parent-Teacher Conferences

10 March - Discovery Auction Night

14 March - Early Release

26-30 March - Spring Break

January 12, 2018

Dear Discovery Families,

Happy strangely warm day! We took advantage of the weather and practiced our fire drill on Thursday. We also completed a Lock Down drill on Tuesday. Students responded appropriately to both drills and we are proud of their attention to safety. On Sunday, join us at Wakefield from 5-6:30PM for a Martin Luther King Celebration. Discovery second grader, Colin Demir, earned second place in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary and Visual Arts. Several Explorers were recognized on Tuesday at the PTA Reflections Ceremony. We will celebrate and view their works on January 22 at 8AM in our library. Please join us here at Discovery on Monday, January 15th, for our MLK Day of Service. We will sort donated items (e.g., clothing, toys, books) for the Borromeo House.

Thanks to everyone who came out on a cold Movie Night! Also, special thanks to our PTA for making the Staff After Holiday Party memorable.


Erin and Judy

New Recess and Lunch Schedule

Our new schedule is working well. Here it is.

APS School Talk Messages through School Messenger

Did you miss receiving yesterday’s text message about the 2-hour delay? If so, there’s an easy fix. As long as your cell number is already in the school's database, just text the word YES to 67587. This will verify that you can receive text messages to that phone. If you think the school does not have your cell number, please call Discovery to verify.

Matching Day Photo

Spirit Days in 2018

February 16: Jersey/Sports Team Day (Friday before Presidents’ Day Weekend)

March 23: Hat Day (Friday before Spring Break)

April 20: Eco-Action/Green Day (Friday before Earth Day)

May 25: Red, White, and Blue Day (Friday before Memorial Day Weekend)

10 Questions to Develop a Growth Mindset in Children

  1. What did you do today that made you think hard?
  2. What happened today that made you keep on going?
  3. What can you learn from this?
  4. What mistake did you make that taught you something?
  5. What did you try hard at today?
  6. What strategy are you going to try now?
  7. What will you do to challenge yourself today?
  8. What will you to improve your work?
  9. What will you do to improve your talent?
  10. What will you do to solve this problem?

Upcoming Events

12 Jan. - Diversity and Inclusion Working Group Meeting (Blue Sky Studio, 4:15PM)

15 Jan. - Holiday, Martin Luther King Day of Service (Discovery, 11AM-1PM)

17 Jan. - Instrumental Music Concert (Gym, 7PM)

19 Jan. - Student Success Chat: Special Education Process (Blue Sky Studio, 9-10AM)

19 Jan. - Principal Chat: WMS School Counselor (Blue Sky Studio, 12PM)

23 Jan. - Reading Parent Academy (K-2) (Cloud Commons, 6:30-7:30PM)

24 Jan. - Reading Parent Academy (3-5) (Blue Sky Studio, 6:30-7:30PM)

25 Jan. - End of Quarter 2

January 5, 2017

Dear Discovery Families,

With the cold weather, please ensure your child wears his/her hats and gloves. APS policy required indoor recess on two days this week. We will have outdoor recess weather permitting. Also, please understand that when it is this cold, safety patrols are not outside to help with arrival and dismissal. Despite the cold, our first-graders visited the Planetarium.

In this New Year, Discovery selected the following staff members for Employee of the year: Kristen Zarkowsky (Grade 5 Classroom Teacher), Lidia Gomez (Head Custodian), and Sandra Amores (Administrative Assistant). We strongly urge you to write letters of support if any of these talented and dedicated Discovery staff members have impacted your child’s school life.

Wishing you a Happy 2018!

Erin and Judy

MLK Day of Service- January 15th 11-1PM

Come celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day of Service on January 15th at Discovery from 11AM to 1PM. Please join us to sort and pack donated items which will help Borromeo House families. Thank you to all the families who donated items. On January 15th, families will hear an Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (ASPAN) speak about making a difference for others in the community.

Helping Children Build Resiliency

In today’s highly competitive world (especially in Northern Virginia), and in the ever-changing world of technology, we find our middle school students more and more stressed, and less equipped with the coping skills needed to manage social and academic concerns. The good news is that you as parents can take specific steps now to help your child build the resiliency they will need to meet these demands. Johana Boyers, Counselor at WMS, will present to parents at noon on Friday, January 19th. This Principal Chat will be streamed live using Periscope and recorded on Twitter@RussoErin. Join us in Blue Sky Studio!

New Recess and Lunch Schedule

We will start a new recess and lunch schedule to ensure safety and maximize time on Monday, January 8th. Here are the new times below lunch times:

Upcoming Events

5 Jan. - Diversity and Inclusion Working Group Meeting (Blue Sky Studio, 4:15PM)

5 Jan. - Movie Night (Gym 7-9 PM, Running Time 1 Hour, 49 Minutes)

10 Jan. - Early Release Day (1:26PM)

15 Jan. - Holiday, Martin Luther King’s Day of Service (Discovery 11AM-1PM)

17 Jan. - Instrumental Music Concert (7PM, Gym)

19 Jan. - Student Success Chat: Special Education Process (Blue Sky Studio, 9-10AM)

19 Jan. - Parent Principal Chat with WMS School Counselor (Blue Sky Studio, 12 Noon)

23 Jan. - Reading Parent Academy (K-2) 6:30-7:30PM

24 Jan. - Reading Parent Academy (3-5) 6:30-7:30PM

25 Jan. - End of Quarter 2

Dear Discovery Families,

We wish everyone a wonderful restful winter break! It’s been a busy week with Explorer Lunches. The students shared thoughtful insights into the highs and lows of life at Discovery. We thank them for the conversations and look forward to more Explorer Lunches in the new year. Please join me in congratulating second grader, Colin Demir, for earning second place in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Visual Arts contest. Today we announced Cars 3 will be shown on Movie Night! We also approved the new traffic pattern of exiting Discovery. The trial is over and starting in the new year you will always be able to exit Discovery’s front parking lot by turning right or left. This has relieved much of the backup on 36th street. Thanks everyone for driving cautiously.

The entire Discovery staff thanks you for all your support and partnership. Thank you PTA and all the amazing bakers! Staff enjoyed the Cookie Exchange!!! Looking forward to 2018!


Erin and Judy

Temporary Crosswalk Closures

Starting after Winter Break in January 2018, Arlington County will be installing a “Green Street” rain garden in the median of Williamsburg Boulevard between N. Edison and N. Harrison Streets. The green street will collect stormwater runoff from the street and remove pollutants from the runoff before it flows into the storm sewer. Construction is expected to be largely completed by March 2018.

County staff want us to know that this project will result in some temporary crosswalk closures, which may affect some Williamsburg students’ routes to school this winter. Specifically, the east crosswalk for Williamsburg Boulevard will be closed for the duration of the construction. The sidewalk on the North side of Williamsburg Boulevard between N. Harrison Street and N. Emerson Street will also be closed intermittently. The contractor will post signage with a detour for any sidewalk closures.

If you have any questions or need more information about this project, please contact Watershed Outreach Program Manager Aileen Winquist at awinquist@arlingtonva.us or visit https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/williamsburg-boulevard-green-street/

Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is a global movement to introduce students to the basics of computer programming.  While Hour of Code is usually celebrated for an hour on one day in December, we are celebrating coding and computer science throughout the month of December and will continue to integrate coding activities throughout the year.  

Did you know that coding doesn’t always have to be on a device?  Ms. Blake first introduced our students to “Un-plugged” activities-- learning about directional commands, loops, and partner programming.  Then, she added code.org and robotic activities.  We have been using code.org for both plugged and un-plugged activities as well as robots.  Here are just some of our activities:

Grade 1:

As part of an un-plugged lesson, students worked on coding a re-telling of the story, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Students used directional commands on a grid and used pictures of the story to code their way through a retelling of this story.

After reading, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, students created their own bus routes and coded the bus stops using Ozobot robots.

Grades 2 & 3:

Students learned about: algorithms, programs, and loops through a series of un-plugged lessons.  They practiced programming in pairs to find the mystery images and created their own codes with partners.

Students navigated a series of challenges of Minecraft: Hero’s Journey by writing lines of code on their devices.

Students in Grade 2 coded pathways with 5 key elements of code patterns based on familiar texts as a story extensions using the Ozobot robots.  Students in Grade 3 coded food webs, reinforcing science vocabulary using the Ozobots.

Many classrooms throughout the school have been doing additional coding activities as well.  HERE is a link where you can explore code with your Explorer at home.

Discovery Voices Spreading Joy

This week 5th grade members of the Discovery Voices visited the Walter Reed Adult Day Health Care Center here in Arlington to perform their winter concert program. The students beautifully sang and enjoyed visiting with several of the residents after performing. We are proud to say that this is the start of a new friendship with Walter Reed and we look forward to continuing this new tradition in years to come.

Upcoming Events

22 Dec- 1 Jan- Winter Break

5 Jan.- Movie Night

10 Jan.- World Heritage Night (deadline to sign up)

18 Jan- Family Fitness Night (April 10)

19 Jan.- Principal Chat: Helping Children Navigate Difficult Times (12PM, Blue Sky)

23 Jan.- Parent Reading Academy K-2 (6:30-7:30PM)

24 Jan.- Parent Reading Academy 3- 5 (6:30-7:30PM)

December 15, 2017

Dear Discovery Families,

Thank you so much for driving with caution, in and out of Discovery, as we all become comfortable with the trial traffic pattern of the option to turn right out of the Discovery driveway. Our initial data suggests that the traffic plan is working.

We had our second whole school assembly on Wednesday. Our focus was Eco-Action and Green Flag Pathways and hearing our Choir Perform. The 4th and 5th grade Discovery Voices worked hard to put on a wonderful performance. Our surprise for the assembly was bringing our mascot - Eco Explorer to life. Students loved our Eco Explorer! The Discovery Voices performed again to a packed house on Wednesday evening. Thank you, Ms. Krupa and Ms. Walker for leading our student in song.

Explorers Take First Place

Check out our two Discovery Explorers who took first place in their categories/divisions at the county level Reflections contest and are moving onto the district level competition. Congrats to Peyton Johnson and Mason Mirabile!

Peyton Johnson - Primary Division - Visual Art

Mason Mirabile - Primary Division - Music Composition

This is Peyton’s statement:  

I went on a walk around my neighborhood and noticed a lot of trash. Me and my mom and my dad picked up all the trash. When we got home, I made a hand out of trash. I can't believe how much people litter. My goal is to make our world a cleaner place. If everybody does their part, my goal is within reach!!!!

Peyton’s piece is entitled Masterpiece of Trash

This is Mason’s statement:  

I am 7 and have taken piano for 2 years. I divided my music into 3 sections: sad, medium, and happy, to show how I feel when I reach a goal. On sad sections, I used minor chords and slow drums. On the happy sections, I used major chords and fast drums. I made up the tune for the bass and piano and played it to match the chords. I have written a whole lot of music and I like this one the best!

Mason's piece is entitled "Within Reach”. (Use the link to hear the music!)

Eco-Action Team

Eco-Action Explorers had a full week! Several Eco-Action Green Leaders presented the pathways to sustainability to the entire school along with a grand introduction of our new Discovery mascot…Eco-Explorer!  

During this month Eco-Action meeting, K-2nd grade Green Leaders studied the climate change pathway and participated in the climate change audit. 3rd-5th grade Green Leaders studied the water pathway of sustainability, the importance of water conservation and how our Discovery rain barrels benefit our school and gardens. The  Leaders then designed ideas for how we could paint our Discovery Rain barrels with an environmental theme. Students will vote on the top two designs and paint them in the spring. A team of 4th graders participated in a water audit of Discovery and investigated several classrooms and bathrooms. These audits play an important role in us maintaining our Green Flag status at Discovery.


Parent Reading Academy: Getting to Know Our Readers

Please join us for Discovery’s first Parent Reading Academy! This PTA sponsored event will focus on “Getting To Know our Readers.” Teams of teachers will engage parents in building and strengthening their understanding of the sophisticated work readers do in order to make meaning from text.  Teachers will share instructional components of reading workshop that engage and support all readers.  Parents/guardians will be active participants throughout our breakout sessions.  We hope you can join us!

K-2 Reading Academy will be held on January 23, 2018 from 6:30-7:30pm.

3-5 Reading Academy will be held on January 24, 2018 from 6:30-7:30pm.

MLK Day of Service Collection

The Community Service Committee plans to collect new and gently used clothing, toys, and books and gather on MLK to sort and distribute to the Borromeo House.

With winter break quickly approaching and many families cleaning out closets, we'd like to start immediately collecting items for donation.  Please consider contributing to the box in the main office and join us on Martin Luther King Jr.

Discovery has earned EPA’s Energy Star certification with a score of 100 (out of 100).

Strengthening Families Program

Want to improve children’s behavior and strengthen family bonds?

Strengthening Families Program at Campbell ES - Free program for Arlington County 1st-3rd graders and their families to work together over 14 weeks on communication skills and stress management. Parents gain techniques in effective discipline, giving clear directions, and organizing the family. Students learn to resist peer pressure, understand consequences, and solve problems constructively. Sessions are highly interactive and include role-playing, discussions, learning games, and family projects.

Class for 1st-3rd grade children and their parents is on Thursday nights from Feb. 1 – May 17 from 6:00-8:15 pm at Campbell ES. Dinner and childcare are included. Classes are in English and Spanish.

Register: Online or at www.StrengtheningFamiliesArlington.com, or contact Lainie Morgan (SFP Coordinator) LMorgan@arlingtonva.us or 703-228-1529


Student Success Chat

Thank you Ms. Stuver for hosting today’s Student Success Chat. We are sharing this resource as part of our continuing conversation on building a strong home school connection to raise resilient and kind children. This resource offers advice on how to talk to your child about feelings. We will continue to share common language to support children.

Upcoming Events

9 Dec.- Gifts that Give Hope Alternative Gift Fair (10AM-2PM)

11 Dec.- Lost and Found items donated

13 Dec.- Winter Concert (Gym, 7PM)

15 Dec.- PTA Gift Card Donation

19 Dec.- Staff Holiday Cookie Exchange

21 Dec.- Spirit Day Pajama Day

22 Dec- 1 Jan- Winter Break

5 Jan- Movie Night

10 Jan- World Heritage Night

18 Jan- Family Fitness Night (April 10)

December 8, 2017

Dear Discovery Families,

Snow might be headed our way. We wish you a warm weekend. This week we practiced another fire drill and everyone exited in 1:10 seconds. Second graders enjoyed their field trip. We also have had much traffic through our Book Fair. We are excited to know that Discovery Explorers read books for fun and enjoyment.


Erin and Judy

Trial Traffic Pattern

There have been ongoing concerns with the traffic backup on 36th Street during drop-off and dismissal. For this reason, Discovery is piloting a new trial traffic pattern beginning Monday, December 11th.


On Monday morning, cars will be able turn left or RIGHT when exiting the Discovery parking lot at arrival and dismissal. We ask all drivers to use caution, as westbound cars will be turning left into Discovery’s parking lot. This trial will occur for the two weeks before the winter break, December 11-21. Please be aware that 36th Street and Kensington is a four way stop.


Safety is our number one priority.

Arlington County police will be on site to ensure safety. APS staff will monitor the traffic during this trial period. Again, we ask for your cooperation and patience during drop-off and pick-up to ensure community safety.  We will update parents and the neighborhood on results before the return to school on January 2.

Grade 2 Naglieri (NNAT3) News

After receiving numerous reports from schools and divisions regarding what appeared to be erroneous scoring, Pearson looked into the scoring issue and will update the norms of the NNAT3 test. Pearson will rescore students’ tests and new score reports and APS will send out in January. APS apologizes for this delay in receiving accurate scores. Discovery will send the reports home to families as soon as we receive them.

Girls On The Run

It was fantastic fall season for our Discovery Girls on the Run teams! Twice a week, girls in grades 3rd through 5th grade have learned about their “star power,” what makes a good friend, how to communicate their feelings, empathy, cooperation and compromise, that “words matter,” and much, much more. They have also discovered how strong and able they are by training for a 5k. After a lot of hard work, their season culminated this past Sunday with the 5k race in Sterling, Virginia. Each one of them made their coaches, teammates, families, and friends very proud as they enthusiastically ran on a very early and chilly winter morning. Congratulations to them all!


Morning Team:

Clara Amundson

Ari Bhatt

Ava Check

Eliza Conway

Alexandra Gomez

Edith Labriola

Maren Leonard

Natalie Leung

Bridget Lohmeyer

Raika Louis

Olivia Manney

Anna Mohanty

Marely Neff

Alexa Newman

Julie Piedrahita

Lena O’Geen

Nora Read

Taylor Reardon

Mackenzie Smith



Kathy Martin

Ashley Leonard

Melissa Jurgens

Rasdy Louis

Ginny Gomez

Afternoon Team:

Kendall Amori

Alexis Chou

Shira Dorf

Audrey Gagnier

Grace Gagnier

Claire Higgins

Ginger Lewis

Ciara Monteverde

Gianna Pearson

Kate Sullivan

Lauren Upadhyaya

Allie Urdanick

Maya Umerov-Todoroki

Coaches: Ms. Coulouris

World Heritage Night

We are very excited to announce our first annual World Heritage Night on February 22, 2018 from 6 to 8 PM. We look forward to a fun filled night of cultural performances, delicious international cuisine, and beautiful displays created by our students and their families. The purpose of this event is to celebrate the diversity within our school. We all have our own traditions and we believe this will be a wonderful opportunity to share our individual cultures and to learn from each other. World Heritage Night will a great opportunity to strengthen our community and we look forward to your participation.

Building Community

Thank you for an engaging PTA meeting last Tuesday. Many great ideas were generated on how we can continue to build a stronger community and use common language to support our children when they encounter meanness and/or partake in misbehavior. We are planning more parent sessions and will share that information soon. In addition, we will begin featuring examples of how we model and talk to students when poor choices are made in Discovery News.

Gifts That Give Hope

If APS closes tomorrow, due to weather, the Gifts That Give Hope’s alternative gift fair will take place on Sunday, December 10th from 1-4PM. Our PTA Book Fair will also be Sunday 1-4PM. Hope to see you there!

If APS is open Saturday, Gifts That Give Hope and the Book Fair will be open 10AM-2PM. Be sure to checkout the teacher classroom wish lists posted on the glass outside of the library.

Upcoming Events

9 Dec.- Gifts that Give Hope Alternative Gift Fair (10AM-2PM)

11 Dec.- Lost and Found items donated

13 Dec.- Winter Concert (Gym, 7PM)

15 Dec.- PTA Gift Card Donation

19 Dec.- Staff Holiday Cookie Exchange

21 Dec.- Spirit Day Pajama Day

22 Dec- 1 Jan- Winter Break

5 Jan- Movie Night

10 Jan- World Heritage Night

18 Jan- Family Fitness Night

Dear Discovery Families,

It was an exciting week with warmer weather and many outdoor activities. We took advantage of today’s weather and completed our December Fire Drill. Students quickly and quietly exited the building. We also began classroom discussions on empathy. We will continue to teach and practice empathy through December as part of our CARES program. We teach that empathy means thinking of other people’s feelings. We have books on empathy in our library. Please encourage your child to check them out and read them. A few titles include Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, and Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper.

Battle of the Books

We started the day with all third, fourth, and fifth graders in the gym for the much anticipated reading celebration! Fourth and fifth grade teams decked out in team costumes. Team names included Rusk’s Raccoons, Zarkowsky’s Zillionaires, Bridge’s Butlers, Ahler’s Airlines, Olmsted’s Outcasts, Mini Timkes, Frankin-Steins, Vincent’s VIPs, Upshur’s Unstopables, and Appaiah’s Adventures. Students answered tough questions, and teachers helped in the second round of questions. Third graders judged team chants and everyone celebrated their knowledge of the books. Mr. Re unveiled the next book badging challenge. We look forward to sharing more details with you soon. Congratulations to Bridge’s Butlers for earning the most points and to Ahler’s Airlines for best cheer!

Eco Action Team

Grade 3-5 Eco-Action Green Leaders learned about alternative energy sources with Jim Egenrieder from the Qualcomm Virginia Tech Thinkabit Lab. The leaders learned about Discovery’s alternative energy sources of geothermal wells and solar panels, as well as how they function. Students observed a real biogas machine and solar passive systems built by the Thinkabit Lab. One thing that really stuck with our Green Leaders is that we need to move away from thinking of our waste as “yucky” and utilize its potential energy and nutrients. We are planning for Mr. Egenrieder to return to continue working on building passive solar systems with our Green Leaders.

Kindergarten and Grades 1-2 Eco-Action Green Leaders met with Arlington for a Cleaner Environment and participated in energy sources and conservation activities from NEED (National Energy Education Development).

Biogas machine

Biogas instruction                                        

Solar Passive machine/instruction

Discovery in the News

The following links feature Discovery. A Brighter Future and Education Week.

Upcoming Events

4-9 Dec. Book Fair - browse days Mon and Tues - Buying Wed to Sat.

5 Dec.- PTA meeting (come early and shop at the book fair 4-7:30 PM)

9 Dec.- Gifts that Give Hope Alternative Gift Fair (10AM-2PM)

11 Dec.- Lost and Found items donated

15 Dec.- PTA Gift Card Donation

19 Dec.- Staff Holiday Cookie Exchange

November 17, 2017

This week teachers in K, 1st, and 3rd grade teachers participated in powerful learning on the teaching of reading. Thank you PTA! Hannah Kolb from Teacher’s College worked with teachers for three solid days on a variety of subjects, including meaningful strategy groups for struggling readers, as well as, ways to grow comprehension strategies with above level readers.  

This morning we had another well attended Play Before the Day and Student Success Chat. Angela Torpy, our math coach, and Kristen Zarkowsky, our math lead teacher, facilitated an engaging session on growing math mindsets, the math instructional framework at Discovery and in APS, and ways to support mathematical learning at home.

With no newsletter last week, we want to make sure we say a heartfelt thank you to all our Veterans. Many of our students shared their family members’ experiences and showed gratitude for all those who serve our country. In addition, we would like to thank those who participated in our Discovery Clean Up. First, second, third graders came out on a cold, cold day. We are planning our next clean-up day for Earth Day, April 22nd.

Movie Night is this evening. We are showing Hidden Figures (rating PG) at 7PM. Also, Dr. Barb Gruber, Supervisor of School Programs at the National Air and Space Museum, will lead students in a hands-on activity to demonstrate how the Apollo program’s guidance computers were coded. Pizza will be available for sale. Join us at 6 PM for this fun activity, and stay until 7PM for Hidden Figures.

Progress reports are finished. Let’s make second quarter even better. Please reflect with your child and set goals for growing content skills and processing, as well as social-emotional growth C.A.R.E.S. You will receive a progress report in your child’s backpack on Tuesday, November 28th.

As we keep the safety of our students in the forefront of our minds, please know that we will ask “How may I help you?” prior to your entry into our building. We may ask you to state your name, your child’s name, and/or the reason for your visit.


We want to say BRAVO to all our talented students who took a risk and shared their art in the PTA Reflections. We will celebrate our talented Explorers on Monday, January 22, at 8AM. Please join us in congratulating the following artists:

Peyton Johnson, Sajni Desai, Leah Kamholz, Lucy Dean, Natalie Anderson, Sophie Chang, Hayden Schultz, Maxwell LaBonte, Gavin Kline, Addison Smith, Austin Humes, Caitlyn Loke, Edith Labriola, Clara Shriner, Aidan O’Connell, Kayla Johnson, Owen Atkins, Maya Umerov-Todoroki, Cara Van Gieson, Skye Van Gieson, Gavin Haughery, Aryana Bhatt, Alexander LaBonte, Alexandra Gomez, Claire O’Sullivan, Georgina Newell, Parker Schultz, Paul Gulick, Ever Rose D’Addio, Lauren Upadhyaya, Jonah Treitler, Blake Arden Thorsen, Lauren Arnold, Morgan Flood, Ben Gulick, Will O’Sullivan, Charlie Dantzker, Julie Piedrahita, Amelia Warlick, Ada Zanni, Marian Gutierrez, Elliana Romero Rainey, Lena O’Geen, and Mason Mirabile,

Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation's Annual 5k and Family Fun Day

Please join us this Sunday, November 18th, for the family fun event. Come out to support Discovery's Lawson family while raising funds to assist Arlington's most vulnerable expectant mothers and children through their partnership with Virginia Hospital Center and Arlington Pediatric Center.

PTA Directory Information

Discovery PTA is switching from AtoZ online directory to Membership Toolkit. In order to have your child listed in the directory and receive communications from room parents and the PTA, you MUST register here. Unlike in previous years, data from APS first day packets will NOT be automatically uploaded in the online directory (but it will be used for our paper directory that will be distributed to all parents). So, if you would like your child to be in this year's online directory, you must register here.

All PTA members now have access to the online directory via the PTA website and the Membership Toolkit App (found in your app store).

Update On Nagleri (NNAT3) Scores

We are waiting to hear more information about the NNAT3 score reports from the Office of Planning and Evaluation and the Office of Gifted Services. Thank you for your patience.

Upcoming Events

17 Nov.- Movie Night (6PM,  Dr. Gruber in Dining Commons, 7PM, Hidden Figures, Gym)

18 Nov.- Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation’s Annual 5K and Family Fun Day

22 -24 Nov.- Student Thanksgiving Holiday

5 Dec.- PTA Meeting (7PM, Dining Commons)

5-9 Dec.- Book Fair (Library)

9 Dec.- Gift That Gifts Hope (Dining Commons)

11 Dec.- Donation of Lost & Found items

November 3, 2017

Dear Discovery Parents,

We hope you found the Gifted Playground and Math Parent Academy sessions engaging and informative. Thanks for all your participation and feedback. Students are beginning to celebrate their published pieces and are setting new writing goals. We continue to work on stamina and description at all grade levels. Check out Learning Logs to learn more.

It's sign-up time for Odyssey of the Mind! In this program, teams of 5-7 students apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. If your child is interested in joining a team that will meet weekly from December to March, contact Karen Harned at kharned89@gmail.com before Nov. 21.

We are hoping for a gorgeous day Sunday for the Outdoor Lab Open House. Come check out
  the 200-acre outdoor education facility in Fauquier County, Virginia, that is owned by the Arlington Outdoor Education Association and used by APS during the school year to run education programs for its students. This is a chance for Discovery families to explore it together! Fish, canoe, hike, and roast marshmallows, too!

Peter Pan Jr. auditions kicked off! The first rehearsals were fantastic! We love that so many students want participate in the performance. The show will be in March, and we guarantee it will be a showcase of talent!


Erin and Judy

Spirit Wear- Last Chance

This is your last chance to order Discovery Spirit Wear for the 2017-18 school year! Orders are due on Sunday, November 5th. No exceptions. Order here. Don’t miss out!

Tree Lovers

Please join us NEXT Friday, November 10th from 9-11AM. Our trees need your help. We welcome shovels, gloves, and loppers. We are counting on a beautiful fall day to care for our trees. We also welcome mulch bag donations. We need standard shredded hardwood- not colored mulch in bags. For more information, please contact Gretchen Davis at 202-531-0011. We will meet on the Solar Plaza. The PTA will provide hot coffee and donuts.

Picture Retakes

Make-up day this year for students and staff members who missed having their picture taken is on Tuesday, Nov 14th from 9:30-11am. Remember, only students and staff who had pictures taken will be included in the yearbook.  

Students who would like a retake must bring their original portrait packages with them to the camera on Make-Up Day. Retake order forms are in the front office for new students or anyone who missed picture day and would like to order pictures. An announcement will be made when the photographer is ready and students/staff can make their way to the Cloud Commons.

If you or any of your students had a picture taken on picture day but did not receive anything on Tuesday, please email: pictures@discoverypta.org


Transportation Initiatives

We continue promote and increase participation in our transportation initiatives of students walking, biking, carpooling, and bus riding to school. Next week, our Eco-Action Team will distribute stickers to students in the morning to stick on their bikes when they arrive at school on their bikes. These stickers will increase the accuracy of our data gathering process, as we continue to upload data to our Discovery Dashboard. The stickers match the grade specific themes of Backyard, Forest, Ocean, Atmosphere, Solar System, and Galaxy.

If you bike and/or walk to school and are interested in connecting with other families who also bike and/or walk to school, please contact Ms. Burke and Ms. Krupa, our Eco-Action Team Coordinators. Our Eco-Action Team wants to connect families to facilitate neighborhood walking and biking ‘carpools’. Let’s hope for more amazingly warm days like we had this past week so our Explorers continue to walk and bike in November and December.

Upcoming Events


11/5 Merchandise Sale ENDS

11/7 NO SCHOOL: Restaurant Day at Joe's Pizza and Pasta Place

11/8 PTA Meeting (7PM- Wednesday Evening)

11/9  Twice Exceptional Students (7-8:30 PM, Syphax Education Center)

11/10 NO SCHOOL-Veterans Day

11/10 Discovery Fall Clean Up

11/14 Picture Retakes

11/17 Play Before Your Day (8:30AM)

11/17 Student Success Chat: Math Workshop & Resources (9AM)

11/17 Movie Night: Hidden Figures

11/18 JBLF 5K & Family Fun Day

October 27, 2017

Dear Discovery Families,

Many thanks to the PTA and the numerous volunteers who made Pumpkinfest a huge success! We had many families participate in the Parade, Pumpkin Carving, Day of Play, Cake Walk, Bake Sale, and Games. Great weather, great costumes, and great times!

At our Kindness Assembly students celebrated the many ways we show kindness. Students did an awesome job with their audience expectations and participation. We launched our Kindness Challenge. The intent of the challenge is to model for students how to demonstrate kindness, as well as inspire them to show kindness at school and at home.

We had students and their families from Germany visit Discovery on Wednesday morning. They attended our Kindness Assembly and then toured the school. Discovery has the highest number of families participating in the exchange. We loved sharing our school with our visitors.


Erin and Judy

Share Your Knowledge With Discovery Teachers and Students

Help Discovery teachers include more guest speakers by filling out this Google Form. If you knowledge or experience and are willing to share, we would love to hear from you.

Upcoming Events

30 Oct. - Gifted Playground (2-5) (6:30-7:30PM, Library)

1 Nov. - Math Academy for K-2 Families (6-7 PM, Cloud Commons)

2 Nov. - Math Academy for 3-5 Families (6-7 PM, Cloud Commons)

7 Nov.- No School For Students, Grade Preparation Day

9 Nov. - Twice Exceptional Students (7-8:30 PM, Syphax Education Center,

8 Nov. - PTA Meeting (7 PM, Dining Commons)

10 Nov.- No School, Veterans Day

October 20

Dear Discovery Families,

It’s almost time for PUMPKINFEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Looking forward to our third annual AWESOME community event. Parade kick off at 11:30!

It’s been a busy, but wonderful fall week at Discovery. We had many parents and teachers join us for the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group meeting. We brainstormed many different ideas and had thoughtful conversation with people committed to help educate and celebrate all aspects of diversity.

The warm fall weather drew a crowd for Play Before the Day. We had our highest attendance to date. We also had a full house in Blue Sky Studio for our Student Success Chat. Susan Clark and Katherine DeCrosta shared information and answered questions on how we support learners with ADHD.

The excitement in kindergarten was palpable. Parents helped our learners make predictions, collect data, and practice counting.

We hope to see many families taking advantage of the rare opportunity to visit Langley. On October 21, 2017  the NASA gates will open to the public for their Centennial Celebration Open House. For more information about the NASA Langley Centennial, see: openhouse.larc.nasa.gov. Discovery will screen Hidden Figures on Friday evening, November 17th.

Thank you for your support in keeping Discovery students safe. We saw a drastic reduction in students arriving before 8:45AM. Please remind your child to bring a book for morning reading.

Calling All Tree Lovers

Please join us Friday, November 10th from 9-11AM. Our trees need your help. We welcome shovels, gloves, and loppers. We are counting on a beautiful fall day to care for our trees. We also welcome mulch bag donations. We need standard bagged shredded hardwood- not colored mulch. For more information please contact Gretchen Davis at 202-531-0011. We will meet on the Solar Plaza. The PTA will provide hot coffee and donuts.

Eco-Action Team: Green Leaders

Our Green Leaders met with a sustainable farmer and discussed gardening. Students learned about seasonable growing and completed the Discovery Sustainable Food Audit.

Upcoming Events

22 Oct. - Pumpkinfest (11:30AM-3PM, Discovery)

25 Oct. - Early Release (1:26 PM)

25 Oct. - Challenging Racism: Learning How Through Stories and Conversations

26 & 27 Oct. - Parent/Teacher Conferences

30 Oct. - Gifted Playground (Grades 2-5) (6:30-7:30PM, Library)

October 13

Dear Discovery Families,

If your child is a car rider or walker, please plan for an 8:45 AM arrival and entry into school at this time. We have noticed children arriving prior to 8:45 AM. Please know that our hallways are unsupervised until 8:45 AM. When students arrive, we expect them to bring a book, not a device, to read or look at from 8:45 to until teachers invite them into the classroom and greet them. If you need to have your child arrive prior to 8:45AM, please sign up for Extended Day. The Extended Day number is 703-228-2699.

Please join us at our World Heritage Planning meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 17th at 4:15PM in Blue Sky Studio.

Explorers celebrated Spirit Day by wearing all kinds of Discovery gear. We are looking forward to new spirit wear being released by the PTA soon. As we experienced a dip in temperature and the jackets came out, please remember to put names on all student items. Wonderful volunteers work hard to return items from our Lost and Found located under the grand staircase.

Want to see picture from the Outdoor Lab trip? Which Explorers worked on strategies such as say it, slide it, hear it, write it, use snap words, and listen for little words inside? Who is learning about the Neolithic Age? What musical will star Explorers? And did you know that your kindergartener is gearing up for pattern work? Please check out Discovery Learning Logs to hear more about classroom lessons.


Erin and Judy


Thank you PTA and Mr. Duffy for an exhilarating night of Bingo. Our first ever Bingo Family Night was filled with music, cheers, and great camaraderie. Everyone left a winner. We look forward to more game nights!

No Frills Fundraiser

If you enjoyed Bingo Night, keep in mind that our PTA is an active organization supporting teacher learning, community events, and student success. Consider donating today. No Frills ends next Sunday at Pumpkinfest. The average family donation was $125 last year, but the PTA would greatly appreciate a donation in any amount. Our main goal this year is for 100% family participation. Our Explorer’s have benefitted from some amazing programs and services and we would love to be able to continue that tradition.

Anthony Horowitz

World renowned author, Anthony Horowitz, captivated students today with his powerful messaging, engaging storytelling, and tantalizing words. Explorers heard a new Alex Rider passage and asked honest questions. Thank you Mr. Horowitz for inspiring teachers and students! Thanks Mr. Re for bringing him to us, and thank you PTA (and No Frills donors) for bringing us Zachariah Ohora in the spring!

Upcoming Events

17 Oct. - Gifted Playground (K-1) (6:30-7:30PM, Library)

20 Oct. - Play Before Your Day (8:30AM, North Playground)

20 Oct. - Student Success Chat (9:15, Blue Sky Studio)

22 Oct. - Pumpkinfest (11:30AM, Discovery)

25 Oct. - Early Release (1:26)

25 Oct. - Challenging Racism: Learning How Through Stories and Conversations

26 & 27 - Parent Teacher Conferences

30 Oct. - Gifted Playground (2-5) (6:30-7:30PM, Library)

October 6

Dear Discovery Families,

Please click on the links above to see what your child learned this week. Our Learning Logs are updated every Thursday. They are great way to engage in conversation with your child. We are looking forward to Parent Teacher Conferences. Please use a Sign-Up Genius to schedule your conferences. The Parent Teacher Conference Sign-Up Genius will go live on Tuesday, October 10th at 6 PM. You can access the Sign-Up from our website. We will also send a School Talk reminder.

S is for Walk and Bike To School Day success! It was a great way to get our heart rates up at the start of our day. We thanked Fire Truck 106 for helping us with our traditional picture. We officially recorded 308 bikers and 150 walkers.

Two Wheel Tuesday is a Discovery campaign to increase bike ridership throughout the school year. We want our Explorers to ride on all days, and choose Tuesdays as the day to promote and celebrate biking to school. Our safety patrols will begin to count the number of Discovery bikes locked to our bike racks each and everyday, including Tuesdays. Then, the patrols will upload these data to our Energy Dashboard. Teachers will distribute Discovery stickers to students this next week and help students place them on their bikes. These stickers will assist our patrols in counting Discovery bikes, as opposed to WMS bikes.

We hope everyone enjoys the three day weekend. It might be a great time to encourage your child’s creativity and to submit an entry to the PTA Reflections Within Reach contest. The deadline for entries is November 3rd. Find more information here. We also have entry forms in the main hallway.