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Pinecrest Headlines

Communication from the Head of School – Issue 11, 2019-20

Thursday, February 13, 2020


News and Notes

The news everyone was waiting for (announced at dismissal today) – the 2019-20 K-6 Penny War results!!

Penny War Scores:
· In 6th place, 3rd grade with -$103.08
· In 5th place, Kindergarten with -$72.95
· In 4th place, 6th grade with -$20.50
(The negative numbers mean more silver change or cash was in the jar vs pennies.)
· In 3rd place, 1st grade with $29.96
· In 2nd place, 2nd grade with $86.13
· And in 1st place, 4th/5th grade with $157.91!!! They will have their Silly String Party very soon.

In terms of money raised for our school, we are so grateful to everyone for their generosity. The total raised was $1292.87!!! This is community!!

Penny War Amounts Raised Per Jar:
· 6th grade – $68.30
· 1st grade – $92.56
· Kindergarten – $208.55
· 4th/5th grade – $276.01
· 2nd grade – $299.93
· 3rd grade – $347.52

The preschool penny jar raised $9.09, and in total between *all* the jars, there were 68,816 pennies carefully counted this week by the 6th graders, Ms. Mitlo, and me!


We hope to see you at the Pinecrest International Dinner & Family Game Night on Saturday, February 22, at 6 p.m., at Pinecrest. This is a time for our families to celebrate their international heritage and interests with an evening of special food and fun. This is an event for the whole family and a great way to celebrate the Pinecrest community. Families are encouraged to bring their favorite international dish to share, buffet-style, with their Pinecrest friends as well as a favorite family board or card game. Please register to attend, to note what country (-ies) your family represent(s), to sign up to bring a dish (appetizer, entrée, side dish, dessert, drinks), or to volunteer to help set up or clean up by visiting the online sign-up system at http://pinecrestschool.ivolunteer.com/internationaldinner. We encourage you to bring a dish that represents your culture or heritage or just something you enjoy making (please no nuts). We will also be running a Heads & Tails game for those who want to participate that night too. You’ll hear more about this event from Pinecrest Parents Phuong and Daniel as we get closer to the date.


As many parents know, when a child has bumped his or her head, we will call parents to let them know. We have changed that procedure as we are now following a more formal concussion protocol checklist. We will now only call the parent if there is something from the checklist that is concerning. Copies of the concussion signs and symptoms checklists will go home in place of accident reports the same day in these situations. (For preschoolers, accident reports and concussion checklists will go home to be in compliance with Social Services guidelines.) Please let us know if there are any questions, and thank you to the Pinecrest Parent who shared resources with us on this issue – this is community!!


Thanks to everyone who participated in our recent events – K-6 Movie Night and the Chili Cook-off! Each one raised more than $500 for Pinecrest. Your engagement matters and we are appreciative!


We rescheduled Family Yoga for Sunday afternoon, March 22. Hope you will plan to join us! Family Yoga is a fun way to connect whether you are 3 or 63 years old! We will move, breathe and play together as we share partner poses, yoga games and sun salutations! Even if you haven’t tried yoga before, join us for a fun afternoon as a family! Dress in comfortable clothes you can move in freely and bring a yoga mat or towel with you. All ages are welcome; however, children under 3 will likely be less engaged and need more of your attention. 😉  This is a fundraiser benefiting Pinecrest School. Thank you to longtime Pinecrest Mindfulness & Yoga Teacher Mrs. Quick for sharing her time and talents with us! Sign up at https://fs9.formsite.com/pinecrest/familyyoga/index.html and feel free to invite friends, neighbors et al to join your family!


Information about re-enrollment for 2020-21 was distributed by the Board of Directors on January 15, and February 3 was the deadline to re-enroll in order for your spot to be held. Thank you to everyone who has committed to Pinecrest for the next school year – it means a lot! Decisions will be made soon about classes and teachers for next school year. If you have not re-enrolled yet, but are planning on it, we would appreciate if you would do it as soon as possible at https://fs9.formsite.com/pinecrest/reg202021/index.html. If there are financial concerns, I encourage you to speak with me directly as scholarships and financial aid are available; we view scholarships and financial aid as an opportunity to continue to grow our enrollment and to help a family that we feel is the right fit for our school – mutually beneficial. Aid and scholarship amounts vary greatly. If money is stopping you from submitting a registration contract, I hope you’ll let me know so we can work together to keep your child(ren) here for the next school year.  


If you have a younger child who you want to start at Pinecrest in the fall, please begin the process of talking with us about that now (you can connect with me) and please complete the online application sooner rather than later at https://fs9.formsite.com/pinecrest/application/index.html. At the bottom of the online form, please click “yes” and then the fee is reduced for you as a current family.


Our youngest preschool class is nearly full for the fall so we have decided to open a third preschool class for three-year-olds and young four-year-olds for the 2020-21 school year. We are now accepting applications for the new classroom. Please help spread the word to anyone looking for a quality preschool program!


We had a fun 100th Day on Tuesday! Photos were sent out by email on February 11 in the afternoon.


We are in need of more volunteers to assist with PPFs. Each week, ideally, a parent volunteer assists us by serving pizza and dessert, and the time commitment is approximately 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Thank you for considering signing up at https://pinecrestschool.ivolunteer.com/ppfvolunteer – your help would make a great difference!


Please ring the doorbell when you are the lower school building door and need to be let in. Also, please remember that the after-care code that parents have to access the building only works beginning at 3:45 p.m. each school day and not any earlier.


Our Annual Fund Campaign is in progress and will go through August 31. Our goal is to raise $10,000 and achieve 100% current parent and staff participation, although we have many alumni families and grandparents who give generously each year as well.  All independent schools and non-profits run annual fund campaigns each year.  The importance of Pinecrest Annual Fund cannot be overstated; it helps us close the gap between tuition and the actual operating costs of the school. We really appreciate you prioritizing Pinecrest in your charitable giving. Donate online at



We ask that you think of the other students and teachers before sending a sick child to school.  We understand that the school year is hectic, but it introduces a needed time for diligence when it comes to child hygiene and health. If your child is not feeling well, chances are he or she would be more comfortable staying at home than coming to school sick. Not only do you run the risk of having your child get sicker, but also the risk of infecting other students or the teachers in the class.  Similarly, your child would remain healthier (and happier at school) if he/she gets enough rest each night. Thank you for your cooperation.


The school has a Google Drive link that contains various resources specific to the current school year at Pinecrest. This is only available to family and staff with the link; it is not a public site. You can access it here. The School Directory is available at this link.


Planning a vacation? Please take a Pinecrest shirt with you and send us a photo. See examples here. J


Are you supporting Pinecrest with your Amazon orders?? It’s so easy! You can designate Pinecrest in your Amazon account for our school to automatically benefit from any eligible purchases you make on Amazon.com. Once you link your account, you must then do all of your purchasing from smile.amazon.com vs. amazon.com – you will know you are on the right page when you see “Supporting Pinecrest School Inc” under the search bar. The instructions to link your account are at https://tinyurl.com/pinecrestamazonsmile. You do not need to re-link your account each year; thanks to those who already support us by using Amazon Smile! We recently received a $45.61 donation from the AmazonSmile Foundation for activity between July 1 and September 30!


Our school has an Amazon Wish List, which allows us to let everyone know exactly what we need so gifts can be targeted to really make a difference to our students and teachers. This Amazon Wish List also provides an opportunity for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents et al who want to generously contribute to our school. You can view the wish list here: https://tinyurl.com/pinecrestamazonwishlist. ***Helpful hint: Sometimes Amazon does not tell us who ordered the item and we do not know who to thank; something you can do to mitigate this is put your name in the address with Pinecrest School and our mailing address – then we know who it is from.*** J  Thank you to the parents who have recently sent us gifts – very heartening and fun for these to arrive, and the teachers get very excited! J


Please like and follow us on Facebook!  Instagram! Twitter!   


Faculty and staff members engage in regular professional development throughout the year. On January 27, the teachers, Ms. Sambro, and I engaged in three lessons from the Dare to Lead™ curriculum, and all of us are currently reading The Self-Driven Child by Dr. William Stixrud and Ned Johnson. We will be all discussing the book and its applications to Pinecrest on March 3 during our next professional development time. Thank you to the generous Pinecrest family who purchased copies of this book from our Amazon Wish List – grateful! Additionally, Mrs. Ferrier attended a literacy course through the Fairfax County Office for Children in January.


Celebrate Pinecrest Auction – Saturday, April 25

Our Celebrate Pinecrest auction is just over two months away on Saturday night, April 25! This annual event is our largest fundraiser and a fun night for parents (it’s an adults-only evening so please secure your baby-sitters now!). We are looking for volunteers for the following roles: solicit corporate sponsorships for the auction event, make arrangements for food/beverage for auction night, solicit donations (via email and mail), enter donation information into auction website, and set up/clean up for auction event the day before and the day after. If you are interested in helping out, please reach Erin (parent of a fourth grader and a second grader, and our Board Chair) at boardchair@pinecrestschool.org.

Many more auction details will follow as we get closer.


Spring Break Care

Spring break is Monday-Friday, April 6-10, and there is no school.  We are offering spring break care for all five days for preschool through sixth grade students. The registration link is open at https://fs9.formsite.com/pinecrest/breakcare/index.html. You can sign up for all 5 days or pick and choose what you need per day. The price increases on March 13.



June Care

We are offering June care from Monday-Friday, June 8-12, for preschool through sixth grade students. This is part of the period of time between the K-6 last day of school and the first day of summer camp. (Note that there is more of a gap for preschoolers as the preschool last day of school is May 29 and June Care does not begin until June 8.) The June Care registration link is now open at https://fs9.formsite.com/pinecrest/junecare/index.html. You can sign up for all 5 days or pick and choose what you need per day. The price increases on May 15.



Summer Camp

Camp registration is open to the general public now and everything is accessible through our website pinecrestschool.org (click on Our Summer Camp). We are looking forward to another awesome summer of Pinecrest Pavilion – 9 weeks beginning June 15 through August 14 (no camp or care July 3). We are glad to see so many Pinecrest students already signed up and hope there will be more to come.


I am sharing below the list of classes – as of now – that are being taught by Pinecrest teachers or familiar faces. While plans are always subject to change, I thought this might be helpful as you make your summer plans.


Week 2 AM- Epic Disasters (3rd-6th) Mrs. Barrette

Week 3 AM- Summer Staycation (3rd-6th) Mrs. Gallagher

Week 3 PM- Track and Field (K-2nd) Coach Torres/Jump Bunch

Week 3 PM- Herbal Magic (3rd-6th) Ms. Mitlo

Week 4 AM- Fun in the Sun (K-2nd) Coach Torres/Jump Bunch

Week 4 AM- Mini Worlds (3rd-6th) Ms. Mitlo

Week 4 PM- Art Studio: Nature (3rd-6th) Ms. Haden

Week 4 PM- Basketball Fundamentals (3rd-6th) Coach Torres/Jump Bunch

Week 5 AM- Kids in the Kitchen (K-2nd) Mrs. Blacker

Week 5 AM- Cosplay (3rd-6th) Ms. Mitlo

Week 5 PM- Trash to Treasure (3rd-6th) Ms. Haden

Week 5 PM- Track and Field (3rd-6th) Coach Torres/Jump Bunch

Week 6 AM- Play With Your Food (3rd-6th) Ms. Mitlo

Week 6 PM- Art Studio: Surrealism/Fantasy (3rd-6th) Ms. Haden

Week 7 PM- Handmade Treasures (3rd-6th) Ms. Mitlo

Week 8 AM- Creative Baker (3rd-6th) Mrs. Gallagher

Week 8 AM- Words as Gifts (4th-6th) Mr. Andrukonis

Week 8 AM- Preschool Book Cooks Junior (Preschool) Ms. Yeannakis

Week 8 PM- On the Hunt (3rd-6th) Ms. Mitlo

Week 9 AM- Theater Games: Scriptwriting & Performance (4th-6th) Mr. Andrukonis

Week 9 AM- Preschool Career Day (Preschool) Ms. Yeannakis

Week 9 PM- Dino Days (K-2nd) Mrs. Ferrier



Pinecrest offers the option of purchasing a pizza lunch for your child every Friday throughout this school year on Pinecrest Pizza Fridays (PPFs).  PPFs are available to all K-6 students, preschool students in after-care and all staff. The pizza lunch costs $7.50 per child and includes two slices of cheese pizza, and one nut-free dessert item (likely a brownie or a cookie). No drink is included. Fill out this online form https://fs9.formsite.com/pinecrest/schoolppf/index.html and you are minutes away from not having to pack lunches on a weekly basis. You will have the option of selecting one, some, or all Fridays. Orders must be placed by 2:00 p.m. the Thursday prior to each PPF. 


Thank you to the families that have signed up to sponsor each Friday with pizza and to the families who are being dessert sponsors! This generosity allows us to maximize profits from this fundraiser and we are appreciative.  PPFs are a fundraiser for the school. You can still sign up to participate:

            Sponsor an event: https://fs9.formsite.com/pinecrest/eventsponsor/index.html

Donate dessert for a PPF: https://pinecrestschool.ivolunteer.com/ppfdessert **We are looking for dessert sponsors beginning February 28 and beyond.**


With each PPF, a parent volunteer assists us by serving pizza and dessert. Sign up to help at https://pinecrestschool.ivolunteer.com/ppfvolunteer.


Staff Updates

Last month, we welcomed a new finance associate, but, unfortunately, a family health issue prevented her from being able to continue with us so we are currently without a finance associate. Your patience is appreciated with all financial matters, and please direct any questions to me.


Last week, we welcomed a new part-time admissions associate – Ms. Sarah Farz. Sarah has a B.S. in psychology from the University of Mary Washington and has previously worked at The Langley School, with FCPS and at Chesterbrook Academy in different capacities. Sarah lives with her family in McLean.



Upcoming Dates

More details will follow soon about upcoming events/activities if not included here. (If you see a field trip listed that you have not heard about yet from the classroom teacher, thank you for your patience in waiting for the information to come directly from her – it will come soon, I promise.J And please note that many more field trips are in the process of being scheduled.)


Thursday, February 13

Preschool Color Day – Pink and Purple

Friday, February 14

Pinecrest Pizza Friday (PPF) – sign up by 2 p.m. the day before 


Monday, February 17

Presidents’ Day Holiday / No School / No Care

Friday, February 21

Pinecrest Pizza Friday (PPF) – sign up by 2 p.m. the day before 


Saturday, February 22

International Dinner & Family Game Night – 6:30 p.m. – multipurpose room https://pinecrestschool.ivolunteer.com/internationaldinner

Monday-Friday, February 24-28

Spirit Week

Monday, February 24

K-Kids Service Trip After School – Brandywine (need more K-Kids  members to sign up in order to run the trip)


Tuesday, February 25

Preschool & K In-house Field Trip – Dr. Miller the Dentist

Thursday, February 27

Preschool In-house Field Trip – Kaydee Puppets

Friday, February 28

Pinecrest Pizza Friday (PPF) – sign up by 2 p.m. the day before 


Friday, February 28

Happy Birthday, Ms. Hout! J

Sunday, March 1

2019-20 Tuition Installment 7 of 10 Due (A $50 late fee is charged if the tuition payment is not received on or by the third day of the month)

Sunday, March 1

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Martin! J

Monday, March 2

Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Celebration of Reading

Tuesday, March 3

Faculty Professional Development Time / No School / Care Offered

Friday, March 6

Pinecrest Pizza Friday (PPF) – sign up by 2 p.m. the day before 


Sunday, March 8

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Hartzler! J

Monday, March 9

Happy Birthday, Ms. Haden! J

Wednesday, March 11

Board of Directors Meeting – 7 p.m. – conference room

Friday, March 13

Preschool Color Day – Green

Friday,  March 13

Pinecrest Pizza Friday (PPF) – sign up by 2 p.m. the day before 


Wednesday, March 18

Ledo Pizza Fundraising Night – 5-10 p.m. – 7510 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church

Friday, March 20

Grade 2 Class Presentation – 9 a.m. – multipurpose room

Friday, March 20

K-6 Quarter 3 Ends (40 days)

Friday, March 20

Pinecrest Pizza Friday (PPF) – sign up by 2 p.m. the day before 


Sunday, March 22
*rescheduled from January

F Family Yoga with Mrs. Quick – 2-3 p.m. – multipurpose room


Monday,  March 23

K-6 Quarter 4 Begins

Monday, March 23

K-Kids Service Trip After School – Brandywine (space available)


Thursday, March 24

Preschool In-house Field Trip – Storytime Express with Barbara Efron

Wednesday, March 25

K-6 Quarter 3 Report Cards Distributed in Wednesday Envelopes

Wednesday-Friday, March 25-27

Grade 2 Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) – mornings – no make-ups

Wednesday-Friday, March 25-27

Grade 5 Stanford 10 Achievement Test – mornings – no make-ups

Friday, March 27

Pinecrest Pizza Friday (PPF) – sign up by 2 p.m. the day before 


Friday, March 27

Family Bingo Night – multipurpose room

More details soon!

Saturday, March 28

Community Yard Sale  *More details to follow, but please keep in mind this opportunity to unload items you no longer want or need for Pinecrest’s benefit!* 

Monday, March 30

Parent/Teacher Conferences / No School / Care Offered

Parent Conference Sign-up Link: https://pinecrestschool.ivolunteer.com/conferencesspring

Care Link: https://pinecrestschool.ivolunteer.com/march30

Wednesday, April 1

2019-20 Tuition Installment 8 of 10 Due (A $50 late fee is charged if the tuition payment is not received on or by the third day of the month)

Friday, April 3

Pinecrest Pizza Friday (PPF) – sign up by 2 p.m. the day before 


Monday-Friday, April 6-10

Spring Break

Monday-Friday, April 6-10

Spring Break Care


Monday, April 13

School Resumes *this is a regular school day*

*** SUBSCRIBE TO OUR GOOGLE CALENDAR: https://tinyurl.com/pinecrestgooglecalendar ***



A standing ovation for Pinecrest Parent Manisha who ran our first-ever Chili Cook-off event on February 1 – thank you!


Thank you to the board members who recently served as tour guides are our open house for prospective families: Aimee, Cathy, Erin, Melissa, Nick, Steve D., Steve R. and Ms. Mitlo! 


Three cheers for our most recent PPF dessert sponsors and volunteers: the Hatfield/Thome, Medonos, and Solinap/Puda families and Aimee and Jason! J


I’m still smiling about a great moment that happened at the end of last week. The doorbell fell off the wall outside the lower school building, and about ten minutes later, a parent who is part of our maintenance committee, arrived to pick up his child. He saw us trying to figure out what was happening with the doorbell and assisted. None of our efforts worked so he left Pinecrest, went to Home Depot, bought us a new doorbell, and came back to install it for us. This is community!!!


Piece of Light

I use this space to share articles or pieces that I like a lot and/or that I feel are thought-provoking, valuable or useful – or some combination of all of those factors.


Give Your Kids Autonomy: What It Means and How To Do It by Lynn Lyons