August 22, 2014 â€¢ Volume: 2014-15, Issue 1
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Message from the Headmaster

Earlier this week I met with our new parents and students as they begin their orientation to North Cross School. This is a tremendously talented and diverse group and I am excited by the new energy they bring to our campus.

As always, it has been a busy summer and I think you will notice a few physical changes the minute you drive onto campus.  Less obvious is the creation of our new Learning Center in the rear section of the Hancock Library. This space will serve as the focal point for our on-campus tutoring services as well as providing small group classroom space for our expanded CrossWalk program. In addition, you will find that Whitney, Ripken, and I have moved our offices from Ellis Hall to Slack Hall.  This will allow Deborah the space she needs as Lower School Director and puts Admissions in the lower school where the bulk of our admissions activity occurs. 

We continue to develop our relationship with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) at Virginia Tech and will this year offer an ICAT elective during the fall semester in the upper school.  Combining ICAT with our new computer science elective has provided us with an excellent start toward developing a four-year STEM-D track in the upper school.

We also continue to more fully develop our lower school curriculum.  Over the past two years, we have added our lower school Spanish initiative, now entering its third year. Word Study, an incredibly effective early literacy program developed at UVA, was added last year.  New for this year is Singapore Math, a very direct, mastery-based approach to learning math skills.  This program has been implemented at some of the best independent schools across the country with remarkable success. With the addition of Singapore Math, and the professional development necessary to fully implement Singapore Math, I believe we have the top lower school program in the region.   

I am pleased with the continued improvement in our academic program and expect this year to be exceptional. Our teachers have been working hard to get the campus ready for the new year and I look forward to seeing everyone at Convocation on Monday as we ring in our 70th school year.

Community Update

New Faces on Campus

This fall we welcome nine new faces to our campus and bring a hard-working volunteer on full-time. Seven of the new faculty members will teach in the lower school and will be integral in the expansion or our Word Study program and implementation of Singapore Math.
Amy Bagliani

Amy is a graduate of Roanoke College. She has been teaching for over 15 years, most recently at Roanoke Catholic School where she taught math for 12 years. She is the parent or recent graduate James Bagliani ’14, and she has also been tutoring some of our students in SAT Prep and Math for several years. She will be teaching upper school math. 
Kate Clark

Kate will be teaching third grade. With eight years experience in third and fourth grades at Troutville Elementary, her strengths include technology integration, differentiated lesson plans, and development of cross-curricular lessons. Kate’s professional development includes Guided Math in the Elementary Classroom, The Interactive Math Classroom, The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning, and Word Study.
Lisa Cone

Lisa will be joining the fourth and fifth grade team. She has twenty years of experience in schools and other educational settings. She has taught elementary grades in team and self-contained environments.
Lisa most recently worked as a Licensed Reading Specialist in private practice. Lisa also served as a Literacy Consultant for Roanoke City Public Libraries.
Sharnice Mayo ’11

A NCS graduate of the Class of 2011, Sharnice is working toward a degree in Psychology from Mary Baldwin University. In addition to continuing her education, Sharnice has been a member of the Summer Programs staff for several years, is currently part of the NCS Extended Day Staff, and is a substitute teacher in the ECP Program. Sharnice will join Jennifer Luckay and Anne Hagan in ECP—Level 1 as a teaching assistant.
Audrey Osborne

Audrey will be teaching second grade. She recently completed her third year as a third grade teacher at Westside Elementary School. Audrey has demonstrated exceptional skill with parent communication, teacher collaboration, and the ability to facilitate successful learning environments.  Audrey’s passion for teaching and learning is contagious.
Kit Prillaman

After volunteering in our CrossWalk Program last year, Kit joins North Cross full-time as Director of the CrossWalk Program and the new Learning Center. She completed her undergraduate education at Roanoke College and earned a master’s degree in Education from Virginia Tech.
Annie Robertson

Annie will be teaching first grade. Annie joins NCS having taught both kindergarten and first grade at Carlisle School. She brings strong oral and written communication skills, excellent assessment and differentiation of instruction experience, and passion for education.
Becky Sharkey

Becky is a 2014 graduate of Emory and Henry College. She was the Editor-in-Chief of her high school and college yearbooks. This is her first year teaching. She will teach graphic design and take over as our yearbook advisor.
Alison Stover Vagts ’03

Alison, a member of the NCS Class of 2003, spent four years working in the public sector following her graduation from North Carolina State University. She returns to North Cross as a teacher in our second grade classroom. Most recently, Alison collaborated with the third grade team at East Salem Elementary. She also completed an internship in our kindergarten and second grade in the fall of 2012.
Emily Votta

A former teacher of the year at Rockhill Elementary in Stafford County, VA where she taught Kindergarten for seven years, Emily comes to NCS from Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool.  She demonstrates a love of teaching and learning by continuing to take classes in Early Childhood Development and Technology. Her experience also includes the teaching of beginning Spanish and Word Study. Emily will join the Early Childhood Program in the fall.

Academic Update

New and Expanded Academic Programs

Singapore Math will be added to the curriculum of the Lower School. The program offers a very direct, three step, mastery-based approach to learning math skills. Singapore Math has been implemented at some of the best independent schools across the country with remarkable improvement in student test scores. While some area schools incorporate parts of the Singapore Math program in the classroom, North Cross School is the first school in the Roanoke Valley to fully commit to the program. Our lower school math teachers have received approximately 20 hours of professional development training in Singapore Math this summer and will be using the textbooks and workbooks.

The Word Study program continues to expand in the lower school. New faculty members Kate Clark and Emily Votta bring their training and experience to our classrooms this fall.

The Middle School will implement a Speaker Series this year. The Parents’ Association has graciously offered to help fund the program. The series will bring outside speakers onto the campus every 4-6 weeks and address the middle school students on a variety of topics.

The ICAT program, introduced in the Middle School last winter as an after school program, will be expanded into the Upper School this fall as a class for students in the ninth grade. The class is an open-ended interdisciplinary design course to develop intelligent and aesthetic products and services for a defined product area. Students will research the product area to identify un-addressed needs and develop technology-based solutions that would be viable in the marketplace. This course will be taught by a Virginia Tech graduate student.

Computer Science will be offered in the Upper School this year. This course will introduce the fundamentals of computer programming by having students learn how to code using the object-oriented language Java. Topics that will be covered are general construction of programs, decisions, loops, and method calls. Collections are also introduced and include arrays and ArrayLists. Amy Bagliani will be teaching this course with the hope of offering an AP Computer Science class in the future. 

The Learning Center, located in the back of Hancock Library, has been completed and will be accepting students for tutoring very soon. This space will serve as a focal point for our on-campus tutoring services as well as providing small group classroom space for our expanded CrossWalk program.

The Learning Center is currently looking for tutors in various subjects. If you or anyone you know is interested in working as a tutor in the Learning Center, please contact Kit Prillaman at

On Friday morning, the lower school faculty attended a training session, led by Kit Prillaman, in the recently completed Learning Center. The faculty participated in a dyslexia simulation exercise to better understand the challenges faced by dyslexic students in the classroom. 

Art Update

New Art Show in Logan Gallery

Over the summer, Logan Gallery (in the lobby of Slack Hall) was reorganized and given a fresh look by Ellen McGimsey and Ellie Proctor. New furniture was donated from Grand Home Furnishings for a new sitting area in the gallery. The partitions were repainted and artwork from the Art Visions Gallery and Studio in Wirtz, VA was installed earlier this week. The Art Visions Gallery was formed by 12 artists as a place to show and sell their work. The gallery also provides space for the artists to paint and conduct classes. The show will run until September 30.

Clockwise from top left: “Summer Favorites” by Rose Mary Atkins, “Girls and Boys” by Shelly Koopmann, “Zen Rocks” by Whitney Brock, and â€œNight in the Studio” by Whitney Brock. 

A new, more welcoming, space was added in Logan Gallery this summer. The space was arranged by Ellie Proctor and Ellen McGimsey with furniture provided by Grand Home Furnishing.

Athletic Update

New “Raidermobile” Takes Football Team to Suffolk

The Varsity Football team kicks off the 2014 season at 7 p.m. tonight against Nansemond Suffolk Academy. The team will travel a total of 2,248 miles this season to play their five road games. The Raiders play their first home game on August 30 at 2 p.m. against rival Virginia Episcopal School. VES defeated North Cross in the state championship game last season.

Bus driver Jack Bishop greets players as they board the new bus this morning for the trip to Suffolk, VA.

Upcoming Events

Monday, August 25

Formal Dress Day
First Day of Classes
Grades ECP Group A–12

8:30 a.m.: Convocation, Carter Athletic Center

Tuesday, August 26

First Day of Classes
ECP Group B
6 p.m.: Boosters Club Meeting, Lemon Dining Hall

Thursday, August 28

3:10 p.m.: Dismissal for Labor Day Weekend

Friday, August 29

School and Administrative Offices Closed

Monday, September 1

School and Administrative Offices Closed

Tuesday, September 2

Classes Resume

Click here to visit the full school calendar

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