Hornet Happenings - October 4, 2019



October 4, 2019


October Be Kind


You’re invited to Halley’s first…


Cardboard Challenge


The Cardboard Challenge is an event to celebrate child creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it. The Halley Cardboard Challenge is inspired by the Global Cardboard Challenge, which is a year-round campaign where kids of all ages are invited to build anything they can dream up using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination.


Groups of 4 or less (can be friends, family or a mix of both!) will work together to build whatever they wish out of cardboard. Teams have 65 minutes, one box cutter, one roll of duct tape, and lots of cardboard to make their design come to life. Each team must have at least one adult participant!

Why Participate?

The Global Cardboard Challenge gives children an opportunity to collaborate, learn, and build the things they imagine through a simple process called Creative Play. The Challenge lets children explore their interests and passions; teaches critical thinking, resourcefulness, perseverance, teamwork and other 21st century skills; and brings communities together to foster and celebrate child creativity!

*For safety, only the adult participant may handle the box cutter.


When: Friday, October 11 from 6:00-7:30 pm

Where: Halley Cafeteria


If you wish to join, complete the registration below and return it to Mrs. Symionow by Monday, October 7th.  Registrants will be notified of participation by October 8th. Space is limited to 20 groups so register today at this link!

*If you have any boxes you wish to donate or use, please feel free to bring them on the night of the Cardboard Challenge or drop them off at Room 211 any day before then.  



School Planning Day/Teacher Work Day


Monday, October 14th, is a School Planning Day/Teacher Work Day. Students do not report to school that day. SACC and the office will be open regular hours. Please make sure this schedule change is on your calendar. For more upcoming work days and schedule changes, see the FCPS 2019-2020 school calendar.


Safety Reminder

Student safety is of the utmost importance to us at Halley.

We would like to take a moment to review safety procedures that we follow:

  1. When visitors ring the bell to enter the school (Entrance 1), office staff will ask the purpose of the visit prior to buzzing the person into the building.
  2. All visitors must check in using the Visitor Management System which requires a photo ID.
  3. When a visitor comes to the school to volunteer in a classroom or meet with a staff member, the office staff will call the staff member to confirm the meeting and let him/her know the visitor has arrived.
  4. All visitors must have a visitor’s sticker issued by the Visitor Management System or an FCPS issued badge. 
Safe School Notice



  • Arrival
    • Students enter the building at 9:10 am. For your child’s safety do not leave them unattended in the Kiss and Ride loop. Your child should stay in the car until a staff member is on duty.
    • The staff member and patrols will arrive on duty at 9:07 am. At this time you may release your child from the car.
    • For students' safety, please refrain from passing cars in the Kiss and Ride loop and follow the directions of the staff member on duty.
  • Dismissal
    • Remain in your car as you pull up to retrieve your child.
    • Please do not park in the fire lanes where cones are placed (Front Kiss and Ride)
    • For your child’s safety, students should enter the car from the passengers’ side.
    • For students’ safety please refrain from passing cars in the Kiss and Ride loop and follow the directions of the staff member on duty.


We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in following these procedures.



Advanced Academics Parent Meeting


A parent information meeting will be held at Halley Elementary on October 11th at 5:00 p.m. in the Library. Our Advanced Academics Resource Teacher, Mrs. Katie Symionow, will provide information about levels of service and examples at Halley, as well as explain and answer questions about the screening processes for part-time school-based and full-time Level IV services.



Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) offers a continuum of advanced academic services for all students in Grades K-8. Learning experiences are designed to develop higher-level thinking through enrichment, acceleration, and extension of the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs). Teachers, administrators, and Advanced Academic Resource Teachers (AARTs) work together to provide the following levels of services. A video showing each level of service in action, as well as information about middle and high school services, are available at https://www.fcps.edu/academics/elementary-school-academics-k-6/advanced-academics.

  • Critical and Creative Thinking Lessons, Grades K-6 (Level I)

Level I services are provided to all students in Kindergarten through Grade 6. Level I services includes teaching students to use critical and creative thinking skills to process content. It also includes periodic opportunities to use advanced academic curriculum throughout the year. Student responses to these lessons are used as part of the identification process for Levels II-IV. Parents may practice the nine strategies during family conversations and activities. Descriptions and videos of the nine critical and creative thinking strategies can be found at https://www.fcps.edu/academics/elementary-school-academics-k-6/advanced-academics/critical-and-creative-thinking.

Because Level I services are for all FCPS students, there is not a screening process. 

  • Differentiated Lessons in Areas of Academic Strength, Grades K-6 (Level II)

Level II services are available for students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 for students with strength in a specific subject area. The AART collaborates with classroom teachers to provide additional challenges using materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework for Levels II-IV to extend and enrich in the subject area strength. Screening for this level of service is ongoing throughout the school year. Multiple criteria are used to screen for this level of service and decisions are made at the local school level.

To have your student screened for Level II services, complete the AAP School-Based Referral Form available at https://www.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/forms/AAPSchoolBasedServicesReferralForm_0.pdf.

  • Part-Time Advanced Academic Programs, Grades 3-6 (Level III)

Level III services are available for students in Grades 3-6 who are eligible for part-time direct services from the AART. Students are identified by a screening committee at the local school.  The AART uses materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework for Levels II-IV in the four core subject areas through either pull-out classes or weekly co-teaching model with the classroom teacher. Screening for this level of service is ongoing throughout the school year.  Multiple criteria are used to screen for this level of service and decisions are made at the local school level.

To have your student screened for Level III services, complete the AAP School-Based Referral Form available on the Forms page: https://www.fcps.edu/node/38893

  • Full-Time Advanced Academic Programs, Grades 3-8 (Level IV)

Level IV services are available for students in Grades 3-8 who are found eligible through a central selection process.  Eligible students use curriculum from the AAP Curriculum Framework for Levels II-IV in the four academic subject areas on a full-time basis.

Multiple criteria are reviewed to determine eligibility for all FCPS advanced academic services. The countywide central selection committee determines eligibility for full-time AAP Level IV placement.

Screening for Level IV services occurs during specific screening cycles: 

  • Fall screening is held for students who are new to FCPS and have been referred
  • Spring screening is held for any FCPS-enrolled student who has been referred

Due to the volume of files screened centrally for Level IV services, deadlines are strictly held. 

  • A referral form may be turned in from the first day of school until the published deadline. 
  • The referral deadline is October 10, 2019 for students who are new to FCPS and January 9, 2020 for students who are not new to FCPS this school year.
  • The referral form is available on the Forms page: https://www.fcps.edu/node/38893

Additional information about the holistic screening process and information used for screening can be found at https://www.fcps.edu/registration/advanced-academics-identification-and-placement/current-fcps-students



Getting to Know Fairfax County Public Schools:

A Free Orientation Session for Parents


The session is facilitated by FCPS staff. It is available in English, Arabic, Korean, Spanish and Urdu.

This interactive seminar provides information about the school system, the benefits of parent engagement in children’s education, and when appropriate a cultural component to help with acculturating to the United States.

Come to a scheduled orientation or call to schedule an orientation at a time convenient for you.


Three locations - Call for days and times:


South County Student Registration Center

(in Arabic, English, Spanish and Urdu)

8333 Richmond Highway Alexandria, Virginia 22309

703-742-4902-English Spanish

Dunn Loring Center for Parent Services

(in Arabic, English, Korean and Spanish)

2334 Gallows Road Dunn Loring Virginia 22027

703-204-4316 - English, Spanish

703-204-4317 - Korean

703-204-4315 - Arabic

Lake Anne–Reston

(in Arabic, English, Spanish and Urdu)

11484 Washington Plaza West Reston, Virginia 20190



New This Year:

FCPS Teacher Work Day/Student Holiday Camps

Need something fun, engaging, and academic for your child (grades 3-8) to do during teacher workdays? FCPS Adult and Community Education (ACE) has the solution, with a full-day, affordable camp. Introduce your child to a foreign language and related cultural culinary activities taught by enthusiastic and experienced instructors. Each day is a new adventure!

Camp dates: October 14, November 4-5, and December 23. Camps start at 9 a.m. with before-care starting at 7:30 a.m., and after-care from 3:30-6 p.m. Sign up for all four days and receive a discount. To apply this bundle discount, call the ACE registration office at 703-658-1201.

Camp offerings and prices may be viewed on the ACE website by clicking on K-12 Classes and Camps. Registration may be completed online, by phone at 703-658-1201, by mail, or in person.


Attendance Matters


Attendance Talk:

  •   If your child needs to miss school because of an illness or appointment, you must report the absence to the school. You may submit information to: HalleyElem.Attendance@fcps.edu or 703-551-5757. We appreciate your collaboration in scheduling appointments outside of school hours, when possible.
  •  If you know in advance that your child will miss school, please complete and submit the Prearranged Absence Form https://www.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/forms/se291.pdf . Forms must be submitted in advance to allow adequate time for administrative review. When planning trips, please keep in mind that absences add up quickly, and students who are absent 10 percent of the school year, or just two days per month, are considered “chronically absent.”


  1. Students should miss no more than nine days of school each year to stay engaged, successful, and on track to graduation.
  2. Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully, or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
  3. By 6th grade, absenteeism (defined as missing 18 days per school year) is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  4. By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
  5. Missing 10 percent, or about 18 days, of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success.
  6. Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
  7. Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job.


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Halley Hornet with Book


Upcoming Halley Events:


October 11 - The Cardboard Family Challenge (Art & STEAM Night) & AAP Presentation, 6-8pm

October 14 - School Planning Day/Student Holiday (No School for Students)

October 21 - Boosterthon Pep Rally


PTO in the Know



Many thanks to all parents, teachers and students who were able to attend the first PTO fundraiser of the year! This fun-filled family event was a huge success as we raised $1,131.73! Remember that all fundraising activities will support the PTO’s initiatives to support teacher training, classroom libraries and resources. It was great seeing the winners of the beautiful raffle baskets (donated by our grade levels and students) and gift cards! Thanks to all the teen volunteers and parents who volunteered! Thanks to photographer Steven Wesley for taking photographs of the event. See you at our next Halley PTO event!


PTO Membership Drive

Have you joined the Halley PTO yet? If not, it’s not too late! Please create an account on our Halley PTO site and pay online! Membership is only $15! Visit   www.halleypto.com Thank you so much for your support!!!



  Halley PTO Calendar

  (Click to view)



Pep Rally – Monday, October 21, 2019

Boosterthon- Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019

Get Excited! Mark your calendars, Boosterthon is coming! Kids will experience Boosterthon’s pep rally during PE! This is our LARGEST fundraiser of the year. More info to come!



 Did you know that you can help William Halley Elementary in your everyday shopping? Join Amazon Smile and see William Halley Elementary School get rewarded! Consider your elementary school when shopping at Amazon Smile!

Amazon Smile

  1. Visit  https://smile.amazon.com/
  2. Log into your Amazon account or create an account
  3. You will be prompted to select a charitable organization
  4. Search for “William Halley PTO”

Every item available for purchase on Amazon.com is also available on Amazon Smile, and the Amazon Foundation will donate .5% of the purchase of eligible products to the PTO. Be sure to use ID: William Halley PTO. Happy Shopping!


Fall Box Tops Challenge

Through October 21, 2019

Help Halley earn FREE MONEY!!! Your Box Tops donations last year raised over $1,000 for Halley!!

The program is going electronic but in the meantime, PLEASE continue to submit any unexpired box tops via the mailbox in the school lobby. The class that submits the most is rewarded with a pizza party and cupcakes so please label your submission with the name of your child’s teacher! Submission deadline is Oct. 21 so be sure to collect from other family members, neighbors and friends as the money collected from the program benefits our school. To start collecting the electronic Boxtops, visit www.boxtops4education.com to learn more or just download the BoxTops app on to your phone or electronic device. Once you sign up on the app, select Halley Elementary as your school and scan the receipt within 14 days to ensure our school gets credit. Please visit the website above for more information.











 Life Champ Martial Arts- $25 per child for 5 sessions



Have a question, suggestion or other information to share with the PTO Executive Board?   We’d LOVE to hear from you!

  President:  Maida Piggee, president@halleyPTO.com

1st Vice President:  Steve Reggio, 1stVP@halleyPTO.com

2nd Vice President:  Elizabeth Cobb, 2ndVP@halleyPTO.com

Secretary:  Masha Lempel, secretary@halleypto.com

Treasurer: Aileen Truong, treasurer@halleypto.com