Lower School Newsletter, Week of 10/29

Parents, please take a moment to mark your calendars. The following are some important dates that you do not want to miss:
● November 3rd – Parent Association Meeting (8:15AM-9:45AM)
● November 4th – Alternative Lunch Day
● November 5th – 5th Gr. Field Trip (Epcot)
● November 6th – No School (Student Holiday/Teacher Professional Development Day – FCIS Conference)
● November 8th – Admissions Open House for Prospective Parents (2:00PM-4:00PM)
● November 10th – 3rd Gr. Field Trip Magic Kingdom
● November 13th – Haiti Shoebox Deadline (Last Day for LS Students to Donate Shoeboxes)
● November 23rd-27th – No School – Student/Teacher Holiday – Thanksgiving Break


The following is a list of chapel dates and times for October and November:
● November 4th (Wednesday) – Veterans Day Chapel (K4-6th Grade) – Faith Hall 1:00PM
● November 12th – K4-5th Grade Chapel 8:45AM-9:25AM – Mrs. Dowling’s Classroom Presentation
● November 19th – No Chapel Presentation Due to Classroom Thanksgiving Activities


Next Wednesday, we have the privilege of honoring our veterans at our Veterans Day Chapel. We would like to recognize a few of our faculty and staff who have served in the military:

Roger Bennett
Steve Sagraves
Rick Bohner
Juan Felix
Roger Harvey

It is an honor to have them as part of our TFA family. Thank you to all of the parents who sent us information about veterans in your families. If you have not had a chance, please stop by our TFA HEROES wall. The students have really enjoyed looking for familiar names. You are also invited to attend our student-led Veterans Day chapel on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 1:00pm in Faith Hall. We also want to encourage you to bring with you any veterans that you know because we would love the opportunity to honor them at our chapel.

In honor of Veterans Day, we would like the students to wear patriotic colors: red, white, and blue on Wednesday November 4th.
Our Heroes Pic


Mrs. Bell’s 5th Grade Class-Chapel Presentation
The fifth graders in Mrs. Bell’s class lead a chapel last week on determination. The students based their presentation on Ecclesiastes 7 :23 – 25 – I am determined to be wise but this was beyond me. Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound – who can discover it? So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom.

The students demonstrated many activities that are good to be determined to learn, such as, learning to read, skateboard, play an instrument, jump rope, play a sport, etc. However, the students revealed the main place we need to focus our determination is drawing closer to God. Students shared lots of ways they could learn about God’s wisdom like attending church, praying, reading the Bible, and many other ways.
Mrs. Bell's 5th Grade Chapel


3rd Grade Reading Buddies
Each of the 3rd grade classes has paired up with one of our TK and Kindergarten classes to be reading buddies this year. The older students partnered with a younger student in the class to read a book. One group brought their iPads and worked together with their buddies to make a book using the Book Creator app. Both grades benefit from this partnership. The older students have the opportunity to practice their reading while getting some leadership experience. The younger students benefit from the reading expertise of the 3rd graders and it just fun! Check out some of our groups in action.
Reading Buddies 1 Reading Buddies 2 Reading Buddies 3 Reading Buddies 4 Reading Buddies 5 Reading Buddies 6 Reading Buddies 7 Reading Buddies 8


1st Grade Matter Unit
Our first graders have been studying the states of matter. They had some hands-on experience in the classroom as they explored this topic. Is it a solid, liquid, or gas? Why doesn’t the water rush into the cup and get the tissue wet? We love to see scientists in action!
Science is Alive 2 Science is Alive


Kindergarten Storybook Pumpkins
The TFA Library has grown a pumpkin patch – a Storybook Pumpkin Patch, that is! The kindergarten students and their families have continued the tradition of decorating a pumpkin to look like their favorite character from a children’s book. As kindergartners learn all about the wonderful world of reading, they have fallen in love with such characters as Fly Guy, Pinkalicious and of course, Pete the Cat! Thank you, families, for working together with your kindergartner and instilling the joy of reading in your child!
Pumpkins 1 Pumpkins 2 Pumpkins 3 Pumpkins 4 Pumpkins 5


Alternative Lunch Day (November 4th)
Parents, Wednesday, November 4th is a K4-6th grade Alternative Lunch Day. K4-4th grade students must bring a lunch from home on Wednesday. The Upper School Royal House is offering a Chick-Fil-A meal for 5th and 6th grade students. The cost of the lunch is $5.50, the meal will include:
1 Chick-fil-A sandwich – $5.50
Extra sandwich – additional $3.50

To order, please visit . Kindly submit your order by 3:00PM on Monday, November 2nd, 2015

When you submit your order, you should receive a confirmation page. You may need to scroll back to the top if your screen goes blank. You should also receive a confirmation email within 15 minutes from Larissa Galloway confirming receipt of payment. You do have the option of ordering for multiple students. Food distribution will be in the gym lobby. 5th and 6th grade students are welcome to bring a lunch from home if they do not like this meal option.


Haiti Shoebox Drive
We kicked off our Haiti Shoebox Drive last week in chapel. Our goal this year is to have 500 packed shoeboxes for Lower School. All of the classes have been praying for Haiti each day this week and the teachers went through a sample box with the students so they could see some good ideas for children in Haiti. The deadline for bringing in shoeboxes is November 13th. Please use the following link to pay $7 per box to cover the shipping.

We will be keeping our running total of shoeboxes and updating everyone in the blog each week. Thank you for partnering with us to make this a successful service project.

We are going to have so many shoeboxes this year that we will need a ton of volunteers to get them all packed and ready to sent to Haiti. If you would like to volunteer to help with this service project, please sign up using the link below:­shoeboxes


October Family Devotion #2-Determination
We will have our final chapel devoted to the topic of Determination. We have looked at great examples in history, from the Bible, and even within our school of people who displayed determination. Please join us in going through this family devotion about this biblical character trait.
October Determination Devotion 2


Second Quarter Reading Incentives
K4-2nd Grade-Be a Smart Cookie, READ!
Research proves that the amount of time that students are engaged in independent reading correlates directly to growth in vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency. There is also research supporting the premise that students who read independently become better readers and score higher on achievement tests across all subject areas. At TFA, we strive to develop the love of reading in all of our students. To help foster that love of reading, the TFA library is excited to announce our 2nd quarter reading incentive program for our K4-2nd grade students!


The Be a Smart Cookie, Read! Incentive Program will last from November 2-December 18.
Each week, students can fill out a Be a Smart Cookie, READ! reading record form. Students can read the books themselves, or the books may be read to them. Completed reading records (records with at least 10 books) should be turned in during the student’s regular library time each week in order to receive a special prize! A few prizes are edible, so please let the library staff or your child’s teacher know if you do not wish for your child to choose an edible prize.

If you have any questions, please see Mrs. Whitaker or Mrs. DeBoom in the library. To print off extra reading records, please use the link on the Library webpage or click below. We are excited to see how many books our youngest readers can read during the second quarter!!!
Be a Smart Cookie Reading Record


3rd-6th Grade-Sunshine Store
Reading is an essential part of a quality education. The TFA library wants to encourage reading for all of our students. We are introducing a reading incentive program for grades 3-6 based on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award reading list (see below). Students are allowed to read below their AR level for this promotion. These books are chosen by librarians from around the state of Florida. Please be aware that content may be too intense for some students. Titles marked with an asterisk below may be too scary for your child. Please make sure you are always aware of what your child is reading. After reading and passing the AR test for a SSYRA book, students will receive a small prize from the “Sunshine Store” during their class library time. Most items will not be edible but there will be some edible prizes. If your child has an allergy or you would prefer that they not choose an edible treat, please let the library staff or your child’s teacher know. We will be displaying each student’s name as part of the Sunshine State library display. This promotion will end January 8. Students must take the test by the end of that day. We hope your student finds a new favorite while they explore new authors and genres during this promotion. Please see Mrs Whitaker or Mrs. DeBoom if you have any questions.


Click here for links to the lists on the Library website:
3rd-5th Grade List:


6th-8th Grade List:

Fifth graders will be allowed to check out books on the 6-8 title list. If you do not wish your 5th grader to read books on the 6-8 list, please let the library staff or your child’s teacher know your wishes.


No School – Friday, November 6th (Student Holiday /Teacher Professional Development Day)
Parents, The First Academy will be closed on Friday, November 6th as our teachers will be attending the annual FCIS Conference. Thank you for making alternate arrangements for your child(ren) on this date.

Save the Date
1st Annual TFA Father Daughter Dance
“Winter Wonderland”
Grades 1 – 6
Friday, February 19th, 2015
Country Club of Orlando
More information will follow but mark your calendars for this special date.


School Pictures – Haven’t Ordered As Yet?
Don’t miss this year’s school picture!
a. Go to
b. Log in with your Portrait ID and Access Code located in your picture package

To redeem your complimentary digital SmileSafe card, click here. Parent/Guardian, how was this year’s school picture experience? Take survey.


Parent Association Meeting Dates
The mission of the Parent Association at The First Academy is to recruit, train and motivate volunteers who are dedicated to assisting The First Academy in the fulfillment of its mission and vision. All parent volunteers must submit a background check before being allowed to volunteer. Please click HERE to submit your information for a free background check. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3rd at 8:15AM. Please mark your calendar, we look forward to seeing you there!


Parent Volunteer Background Check
If you are a new parent and would like to volunteer in your child(ren)’s classroom(s) or chaperone field trips please click HERE to submit your information for a free background check. Approvals take a few weeks so plan ahead! All parents must have a completed background check before volunteering or chaperoning a field trip.


TFA Calendar Link
The TFA Calendar is a wonderful way of finding the dates of upcoming events. Please click HERE to access the TFA Calendar on our website. We recommend that you subscribe to all relevant calendars so you can keep up with all of the events going on around the school.