Some exciting learning events!

What a great start to the school year! The students and teachers are so excited for learning each day – there is a real energy in these halls. As many of you are aware by now, we are accredited with warning and have been designated a priority school by the Virginia Department of Education. We have begun the three-year school improvement process, and as part of our improvement plan there are some really exciting changes and plans that we are so happy to tell you about:

  • The school day now officially runs from 7:40-2:30. That gives us 10 minutes of additional learning time that we are already putting to great use.
  • On the 2nd and 4th Thursdays a month, we will have Discovery Days! Teachers will begin extended Professional Development at 12:30 pm. Teaching Assistants, Club Yancey Staff, and Volunteers will work with students on engaging learning projects from the end of lunch until 2:30. Our first Discovery Day will be September 10th.
  • We have a series of “kick-off events” to get students excited about our educational philosophies of learning in the community, learning in nature, learning together, and learning by making. It would be nice if on each of these days, students could wear any Yancey clothing they have.
    • Thursday, September 3rd – School Caretaking Day
    • Wednesday, September 9th – Learning in Nature Day
    • Wednesday, September 16th – Field Trip to Lynchburg Community Market
    • Friday, September 25th – School-wide Community Meeting
    • Friday, October 9th – Global Cardboard Challenge
  • Following these events – on Mondays, beginning October 18th, students will participate in Monday Market Expo projects. These will culminate with a Community Market Expo in May at Yancey.

The teachers and staff at Yancey believe in an open environment to parents and volunteers. You are welcome to any of the above events, and we would really like volunteers for Discovery Days. If you are interested, please contact your child’s teacher, or the main office.

We are all a team in making Yancey great. I appreciate all of your support. Please come to Back to School Night on Tuesday, September 8th from 6-7:30pm to hear more about these plans and others that we have that will make Yancey a place all people want to come and learn!

Welcome to Yancey 2015-16

Yesterday was the first day of school. It was awesome. The students were so excited to be back, and the teachers had them very engaged. We are undergoing a lot of change, and this represents an opportunity for rebirth of the school, and a refocus on achievement for the students.IMG_0928

NBC29 and The Daily Progress were here to document our day, and the attention will be nice for our school.


The beginning of school is often about vision, and the new teachers have worked hard to create a vision for this school:

Our vision is to establish a community-centered school that ensures the highest levels of engagement through our unique passion-based, multi-age and intergenerational approach in a collaborative environment where students, staff and families work together for the success of all.

This is a vision that we can all get behind. The teachers are excited for your students, their learning, and a partnership with each of you. Please feel free to come in and see the spaces in the school, as well as to volunteer in classrooms. We are very excited to start reaching for our vision!

– Mr. Dommer

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Power of Community

Over the last several weeks we have been very lucky to have several community events and conversations.  All of these events and conversations will hopefully lead us to having a school that serves the educational and community needs of not only the students at Yancey, but Southern Albemarle as a whole.

We had close to 50 adults come in to the school to have lunch with our students.

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It was remarkable to me, how peaceful and engaged the students were when they’re community came into their school.  It was a great day for all.


Last Thursday, we participated in the Lights On After School Global event.  It was a great night of fun activities, community partners, and a town hall meeting.  Over 150 people attended and we were able to bring people of different ages and connections to the community together! Thank you to all of our partners, Club Yancey, and Kimberly McLaughlin for organizing a great event.


On Friday, we had our first Trunk or Treat.  Students and families participated by bringing their decorated cars, and great spirit to the event.  A big thank you to Nicole Lawrence, Nikki Fields, and the entire PTO for having a great idea!

Our continued goal of using this building to make it more of a community gathering place, and  a place where alternative learning opportunities would be available to learners of all ages is one that we will continue to pursue.

Please contact the school if you have any ideas about classes or events we might host, or if you would be willing to conduct a class or event.  We also have opportunities for mentors and tutors for our students.  We would love to hear from you.

Thank you for your continued support!

First Day of School

What a wonderful first day we’re having! Everything is running smoothly, and the children are all forming great bonds with their teachers.  We have a lot in store for your students this year as we strive to build community, achieve academic success, and encourage students to explore their passions.


This year will be a great journey, and I invite everyone reading  this entry to help us along the way.  We can go further together!

Yesterday, we received great news, that Club Yancey has received a 21st Century Learning Center grant form the Virginia Department of Education, and we will be working hard to incorporate project and inter-generational learning opportunities to the club Yancey program.  We are also going to be able to offer the program to more of our students, at a greatly reduced rate. If you’re interested in having your students take adavantage of this opportunity, please let Mrs. M. know at 974-8060.

Creating at CATEC

Recently the 4th graders in Mr. Healy made bridges out of popsicle sticks and glue.  They worked hard to make hypotheses about the kind of bridge design that would hold the most weight.  Some bridges ended up holding in excess of 100 lbs.!!!

To culminate the activity the students traveled to CATEC and visited the masonry teacher.  While there they got to practice building bridges out of bricks.  The students learned lot from the entire project and built a great memory to go along with their great bridges!

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Goals for the Year!

The first month of school is always an interesting time, and this school year has been no different.  There has been a lot of learning, excitement, and fun this month.  The students were all so excited to come back to a freshly painted building, with classrooms that have new furniture, lighting and electric outlets.  They have been in class working hard to learn routines, and jump into the curriculum with both feet.  The teachers have also been working hard this month to establish priorities and goals for the year.  We will work very hard to make sure that we accomplish these goals, because we believe that it will make a difference for your students.

Our first goal this year is for students to become better readers and mathematicians.  We are hoping to accomplish this by increasing the time that each student spends reading each day, and to find books that are interesting to all of the students.  Mrs. Obrecht is working hard in the library to have students pick appropriate and engaging books, and the teachers are creating comfortable reading spaces in their classrooms.  In math, we are going to be better implementation our ST Math program so students get the most benefit from it, and using different strategies to help them become better problem solvers.

Our second goal is to build a better community feeling to the student body and school.  We are working to implement our OLWEUS bullying program, and all of our teachers are now trained in Responsive Classroom.  Mrs. Henry the guidance counselor has increased her lessons with the 4th and 5th grade students to work on solving social problems.  5th grade has already traveled to Triple C camp to work on team building.  We made some improvement last year in this area and we are hoping to build on it this year.

Our third goal is to have students complete projects and portfolios that will focus on their communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity skills.  Over the summer teachers created ideas for projects, and how we will help students complete those projects.  The teachers are very excited about this goal, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing what the students come up with.  So far the 4th and 5th graders have been working on blogging, while the K/1 students have built structures out of pasta and marshmallows, and the 2/3 students have created art pieces using paper that they were only allowed to tear, rather than cut.  Having students focus on this kind of project and design work will help them become lifelong learners and prepare them for the changing world once they leave school.  

I’m looking forward to our school year, and updating you all on our progress in achieving these goals.

Designing, Creating, Making, Oh My!

This school year we are going to be focused on critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.  A major way that we will do this is to increase the amount of creative projects that your students will have an opportunity to participate in.

Students designing tiny fashionable dresses.

Students designing tiny fashionable dresses.

This summer at Scottsville, Yancey students who were enrolled in summer school had the opportunity to participate in some of these projects.  Through a grant with Maker Corps, engineering students from UVA helped the students to make circuits, art robots, and create their own projects out of a variety of materials.

Milk Shake Maker!

Milk Shake Maker!

From the pictures, I hope you can see the wide variety of ideas that the students got excited about.  I was also excited each day to see this creativity, and I’m even more excited to see where this work takes our students throughout the year!

A Dinosaur!

A Dinosaur!



Welcome Back

I am pleased to welcome you to the 2013-2014 school year at B. F. Yancey Elementary. This summer the building underwent renovation to the HVAC, ceiling and classrooms.  It is great to be back into a building that has had some updating, and we will look forward to future projects.  It will be a very exciting school year. This year we will continue to have combination classes in order to take advantage of the benefits that multi-age classrooms provide academically and socially.  We will have three K/1 classes, two 2/3 classes, two 4th grade classes, and one 5th grade class.

Open House on Monday, August 19th  is an opportunity for you to meet the teachers before the first day of school on Wednesday, August 21st.  We’d love for you to drop by between the hours of 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.  This year our Back to School Night will be held on Tuesday, September 10th .  Hope to see you all at both of these events.

Enjoy the remainder of your summer and once again, welcome to the 2013-2014 school year!

Learning and Creating for All

As we are beginning the second semester, it’s a good time to think about all the learning that is occurring at Yancey! As I walk the halls, I see excited students and teachers that are working together to learn and create.

Kindergarten and 1st graders are using different forms of technology in their classrooms on a daily basis.  They are listening to books on laptops, and learning math concepts on IPads.  Small reading and math groups are providing them great opportunities The second graders have been learning about ancient cultures, and have created American Indian villages in the library.  Students in third, fourth, and fifth graders have been writing and creating projects using Google applications for learning in both writing class, and in their library time with Mrs. Obrecht.

In addition to academics, the students have been working diligently to support their community in many different ways.  They have raised money for both the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the American Heart Association during Jump Rope for Heart.  It is wonderful to watch students get so excited about helping others.

The teachers in the building are working hard on achieving our school improvement goals of decreasing bullying, improving the problem solving and communication opportunities in the classrooms, and giving students more time reading.  The staff is also creating a grant proposal for next year that would have students experience more choice in their learning, and gives them opportunities to be creative in communicating what they learned through technology.

Parents and community members are invited to join us on January 25th to learn more about the learning that’s occurring at Yancey this year, particularly our new math program, ST math.  There will be ice cream and time to spend with your students on the computers and IPads.  We’re excited to share this with you.

Creating engaging learning opportunities for our students, teachers and community will be what continues to make Yancey a great place.  I hope you’ll join us for ST Math night, and I thank you for all that you do to make this learning community thrive.