Lower School Newsletter, Week of 10/9


Parents, please take a moment to mark your calendars. The following are some important dates that you do not want to miss:

• October 1st-31st – Pastor Appreciation Month
• October 1st-20th – Shoebox Collection
• October 10th – End of 1st Quarter – Early Dismissal (K4-2ND Gr. – 11:50AM) (3RD-6TH Gr. 12:15PM)
• October 13th – No School – Student Holiday/Teacher Workday
• October 14th – Portrait/Picture Retakes
• October 20th-25th – Homecoming Week


Parents, the following is a list of chapel dates and times for the month of October:

• October 16th – Grades 1-3 Chapel 9:00AM (HC)
• October 23rd – No Chapel
• October 30th – Grades 4-6 Chapel 8:45AM (HC)


“Praying Circles Around Your Children” By Mark Batterson (Chapter 3 – “Five Prayer Circles”)

For those of you whose quiver contains more than one child, have you ever stepped back and wondered if one or more were switched at birth? How could the same two parents have children that are so uniquely different? (I have referred to this at God’s sense of humor.) The first child comes along and you discover the answers to questions about raising a child. Just when you feel confident the second child comes along and those answers you have – well, you discover the questions have all changed. (God’s sense of humor.) God has created each child unique, which means they each have unique passions and personalities and we, as parents, must learn to love and respond to them each uniquely as well.

My husband and I are very blessed to have five grown children who are chasing after God. This is not the result of what we have done as we could mess them up on any given day; but rather it is the result of a “loving heavenly Father who compensates for our deficiencies, weaknesses, and mistakes.” As you pray, pray for the favor of God for your children – what God can do for your children that you yourself cannot do for them.

As you read Chapter 3 you will discover the difference between praying for your child as a prophet and praying as a parent. Hope you are reading along with us.






Nicole Lerner, 6th grade, has brought our diving program back to TFA. The First Academy has not had a diver since 2010. Nicole has been competing with local area High Schools every Wednesday to earn points for our swim team. Her high score to date is 120.3. We are so proud of Nicole as she is diving with high school divers from 8A schools in the Central Florida Area. TFA diving has a very bright future in this young athlete.




Picture/Portrait Retake
Picture Retake Day is fast approaching, if your son or daughter was absent on the original picture day. Please plan on having them take their picture on Tuesday, October 14th. Have your son/daughter turn in his/her order form to the LS Office by 8:30 AM on Friday, October 10th. You may also use your credit card to pay by following the instructions below:
• Log onto
• Follow the online directions using Portrait ID: PM164070Y2
• Write online payment code on order form
• Send in picture retake order form with online payment code or copy of online receipt/printout to LS Office by 8:30 AM (Friday, October 10th)
This is the last opportunity to have your son/daughter’s picture taken for the yearbook. Please see Mrs. Louis at the LS front desk if you are in need of an additional picture retake form.


LS Tailgate Party
You are invited to join us for a Tailgate Party with old friends and to meet new friends at the Alumni Commons at 5:00PM before TFA’s football game on Friday, October 17th. We will serve pulled chicken (adults) and hot dogs (children) from Bubbalou’s Bar-B-Que. Each meal will include chips, water and a cookie. The cost is $5.00 per adult and $3.00 per child. Please click HERE if you would like to attend Lower School’s Tailgate Party.


Clinic News
Parents, as we head into cold and flu season please note the following ways that you can help us:
• Know when to keep your child home. Vomiting, diarrhea, fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), and conjunctivitis are automatic “stay home” events. If your child has more than one of the following symptoms, they should also stay home: cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, rash, stomachache, headache or exhaustion.
• Keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after they are symptom free, without the use of medication.
• Teach your children to wash their hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. You can set a good example by doing this yourself.
• Teach your children not to share personal items like drinks, food or utensils, and to cover their coughs and sneezes with tissues. Covering up their coughs or sneezes using the elbow, arm or sleeve instead of the hand when a tissue is unavailable, is also acceptable.
• Do not send children to school if they are sick. Any children who are determined to be sick while at school will be sent home.


Why is Independent Reading Important?
At The First Academy, we use a web-based program called Accelerated Reader. Many love it while some dread it. The goal of Accelerated Reader is to monitor the reading progress of students while at the same time motivating students to read independently at a level that will contribute to an increase in reading achievement. It is used in conjunction with our reading curriculum to ensure success. Many students do not have an internal motivation to read outside of the classroom so this program is a balance of accountability and external motivation.

As a school, we intentionally incorporate certain practices designed to instill a love of reading in students. Classroom teachers immerse the students in rich literature within the reading curriculum and also with an extensive classroom library. We also recognize that students who choose to read during school are more likely to choose that activity outside of school. Our teachers take the students to the library each week to select level-appropriate books, they encourage AR testing in the classroom, and model by reading aloud to their students or even having Mystery Readers. Our AR program is another component that we use to foster reading achievement.

The amount of time that students are engaged in independent reading correlates directly to growth in the following areas: 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. They also have greater content knowledge than those students who read less.

In the younger grades, the interaction between adults and children through the reading process is highly predictive of future reading success. Parents are encouraged to read to and with their children on a regular basis up through 2nd grade. Engaging children in a discussion about what they are reading is a valuable experience with long-term benefits. This models how meaning is actively constructed from text, which is a skill that students will need for a lifetime. As students get older, they should transition to more sustained silent reading but there is still value in reading aloud and even listening to audiobooks. Reading books in a series is a great way to develop reading fluency and can pave the way for students to read higher level reading material. Light reading materials such as comic books or magazines are also good building blocks for more complex, future text.

Students’ AR goals are based on 30 minutes of reading per day for a 9-week period. Some students with higher reading levels may have higher goals than other students in the same grade. This is not intended to punish the students for above-average reading achievement. The formula for setting AR goals is research-based and designed to foster consistent and adequate reading growth. Students who start out reading on or above grade level still need to make adequate growth to maintain that level. Students who start out reading below grade level need to accelerate their reading achievement. One of the best ways to achieve both of these goals is through independent reading. The more you read, the better you read.

How can you as a parent partner with us to foster a love of independent reading?
• Model independent reading at home to your child. Place value on this valuable exercise.
• Encourage your child to read both fiction and non-fiction books within levels that are appropriate for him/her.
• Place a positive emphasis on independent reading and the Accelerated Reader program.
• Help your child set realistic goals to manage his/her independent reading. Divide the quarterly goal into manageable chunks that will ensure success.
• Allow your child to take AR tests independently so teachers can confidently use the data to make instructional decisions for your child.



No School Reminder
Monday, October 13th is a student holiday/teacher workday; we will resume normal school hours on Tuesday, October 14th.


Shoeboxes for Haiti – We Need Your Help!
Parents, K4-12th grades will be collecting shoeboxes for Haiti October 1st-20th. Please pray as to how your family can help donate shoeboxes filled with items that will be a blessing to the children in Haiti. Lower School’s divisional goal is to donate 500 shoeboxes to New Missions to transport to students in Haiti. The following is a list of items that you and your child can use when purchasing items to donate: 1. School supplies: pens, pencils & sharpener, markers, spiral notebooks, solar calculator, rulers, erasers, etc.
2. Hygiene items: toothbrush, toothpaste, bar soap, washcloth, hand towel, hairbrush, comb, nail file and clippers, deodorant, etc.
3. Clothing: socks, underwear, lightweight clothing (t-shirts, sundresses, shorts with elastic waist), flip-flops, sandals, ball caps, sun visors, sunglasses, etc.
4. Other items: Christmas card for the child who will receive your shoebox, photo of your family, wristwatch, hair accessories, harmonica, costume jewelry, flashlight (with extra batteries or solar powered/wind-up), compact umbrella, etc.
5. Small toys: coloring books, crayons, dolls, small cars, dominoes, playing cards, jump ropes, balls (deflated with a small pump & needle for a soccer ball or basketball), yo-yo’s, stuffed animals, stickers, marbles, checkers, Etch A Sketch, etc.
6. Kindly include a $7 donation to help cover the cost of shipping. Simply enclose a check payable to New Missions. Please do not send cash. Click HERE for more information.


Homecoming Dress-Up Days
Let’s join in the fun and celebrate together as family of The First Academy. October 20th-25th is Spirit Week at Lower School. Spirit dress code for the week includes:

• TFA T-shirts (uniform, sports team, fine arts, camp, etc.)
• Appropriate bottoms (uniform shorts or pants, jeans, jeans shorts or jean skirts)
• Regular dress code for shoes apply

This year, students may wear the following fun items on the designated day:
• Monday – Lion Day: Students may bring a stuffed/toy lion
• Tuesday – Sock Day: Students may wear funny socks
• Wednesday – Glasses Day: Students may wear fun glasses of their choice
• Thursday – Hat Day: Students may wear a fantastic fun hat
• Friday – Blue & Gold Day: Students may wear blue and gold spirit wear if they do not have a
• Homecoming t-shirt
Lower School will have a Pep Rally from 9:50AM-10:20AM in the Gym on Friday, this will be another time to celebrate and support each other.


2nd Grade Pumpkin Centers
Wednesday, October 22nd (12:00-2:00PM) will be our annual Pumpkins Centers! We will be exploring Math concepts in a fun and messy way… Your child will need to:
• Bring in a small pumpkin that is no larger than half of his/her head (we count seeds)
• Write his/her name on the bottom of the pumpkin with a dark permanent marker
• Bring the pumpkin no earlier than Thursday, October 16th (to prevent rotting)
• Bring a parent on Wednesday, October 22nd (12:00-2:00PM) – we will need many volunteers for this day. Please arrive at 11:50AM to help setup. If you don’t want to miss out on the fun, please respond to the Sign-Up Genius invite that’s coming soon!


Quarterly Recognition
Students will be recognized in their classrooms each quarter in accordance with their Percent Clubs.
• Students who meet their goal (100% or higher) will receive a certificate for achieving their goal.
• Teachers will continue to recognize AR in their individual classrooms using their own incentive systems.
• Students who reach 200% or more above their goal will receive a certificate for their corresponding club and will receive a school-based incentive.
• Students will be visually recognized in the Boyd Moline Library Media Center by their corresponding Percent Clubs (200%, 300%, etc.).
End-of-the Year Recognition
• All students who achieve 200% or higher of their Yearly AR point goal will be recognized.
• Students do not have to be at 200% or higher each quarter but must average 200% or higher for all 4 quarters.


TFA Calendar
Please click HERE to access the TFA Calendar on our website. TFA Calendar is a wonderful way of keeping you and your family informed of upcoming events.


Prospective Families Can Text TFA!
Did you know that prospective families can text the letters TFA to 292929 and Admissions will call them? Thank you for sharing why you love TFA and helping us connect with future Royals!