News Flash | PTA Meeting & Coffee, Your Input Needed, Wake Up & Read and More Summer Camp Options

JY Joyner named a 2020 Magnet School of Excellence!!!  

Congratulations to all of our students, teachers, staff and Joyner families – we are so proud of the recent announcement and recognition by the Magnet Schools of America naming JYJ a Magnet School of Excellence!  A special thank you to our outstanding magnet coordinator, Ms. Sheryl Davis, for her hard work in continuing to support and build our program with our students and staff. 

IB Learner Profile Trait for January: Inquirers

We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life. I am curious and like to ask questions in order to learn more.

This Week’s News Flash:

  • PTA General Meeting & Principal’s Coffee 
  • Parent input needed – School Improvement Survey
  • WAKE Up and Read 
  • National School Counseling Week
  • Clothing Donation Request
  • TEK Clubs Registration Open
  • Updated – More Summer Camp Options

Be sure to check out the bottom of each week’s NewsFlash for upcoming important dates.  Also you can view the school and PTA calendar at ( and link it to your own Google Calendar. Want to learn or refresh on JYJ lingo?  Check out our glossary of terms to get up to speed.

PTA General Meeting & Principals’s Coffee this Friday!

Make plans to join us for the General PTA meeting this Fri, January 31st at 8 am in the Media Center followed by the Principal’s coffee at 8:30 am. Hear updates from our Grounds Committee as well as info on the upcoming 5K! Parents are welcome to attend all PTA meetings! 

December 2019 Meeting Minutes

January 2020 Meeting Agenda

Parent Input Needed – School Improvement Survey

JYJ’s School Improvement Committee is looking for parent input to learn how to better support families as you support YOUR students academically at home. There will be incentives for classrooms that get this survey filled out fastest! All responses needed by Feb. 6th. 

Our goal is to get a response representing EACH student at JYJ. Click here to access the survey and complete today. THANK YOU for your help with this survey!

Link to access:

WAKE Up And Read
Join us in collecting new and gently used books for children birth to 12 years old.  Help support and bring the joy of reading to thousands of children across our WCPSS community. We will be collecting books until February 15th

Let’s see which grade level can bring in the most books to help other children enjoy the books we all love. Box donations are welcome. 

National School Counseling Week

Feb 4-8 is National School Counseling Week.  We are truly blessed and grateful for the amazing work of our very own school counselor Andrea Burston who each day shows unwavering commitment to student achievement and success at Joyner. 

Let’s all join together in thanking Ms. Burston for her hard work with our Joyner students and families!  

Clothing Donation Request

Our JYJ health room is in desperate need of new girl leggings and/or boys sweatpants in neutral colors (black, navy or grey). All sizes needed. Please bring items to Elizabeth Ferriter in the front office.

TEK Club Registration is Open                        

TEK Clubs registration is still open! Clubs will run Feb 12- March 18 (Wednesdays 3:30-4:45). Forms and club listings may be found here: (under the Joyner Tab)

Please contact Duval Fisher to register:  

Save the Date…JYJ 5KMark your calendars – Joyner’s annual Spring event, 5K Run/ Walk, is Saturday April 25th. This event aims to teach students about the benefits of making healthy lifestyle choices through the Healthy Choice marathon and culminating with a family event of the 5K Run/ Walk.  The 5K also raises PTA money to fund annual programs for our school.  Stay tuned, more info to come!

More Great Summer Camp Options Announced!

  • PE, Art and Chemistry Camps – Click here for full details and registration form. Dates available in July and August.  Led by Poyer (PE), Fotta (Art), Cameron (Chemistry).  
  • First Grade Refresher and Kindergarten Readiness – Click here for details. Contact Kate Johnston for more information: or 919-757-4892. 

These camps are open to the public – spread the word to others you know who may have interest. 

Calendar Items

  • Jan. 29: School Closed – Teacher Workday 
  • Jan. 31: PTA General Meeting 8:00 a.m., Media Center
  • Jan. 31: Principal’s Coffee 8:30 a.m., Media Center
  • Feb. 4: Girls on the Run Season Begins
  • Feb. 11: PTA Board Meeting, 7:30 a.m.
  • Feb. 12: TEK Clubs Begin
  • Feb. 14: Teacher Appreciation, “Thanks for giving all your HEART”
  • Feb. 17: School Closed, President’s Day
  • Feb. 18: School Closed, Teacher Workday
  • April 25: JYJ 5K

Quick Links

The NewsFlash is produced (almost) every week by the Joyner PTA communications chair. Have an announcement to include in a future edition of the NewsFlash? Submit your article via this form. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @pta_joyner.

Mini-Grant Profile: Mrs. Millsaps

Grant Title: Hocus Pocus Everybody Focus
Teacher: Mrs. Millsaps, 3rd Grade

sensorystoolThe ideas for this PTA mini-grant were inspired by our school principal, Kathryn Hutchinson, who provided a sensory stool (shown left) for each classroom at the start of this school year. Over the first month of school, each of my students had an opportunity to try out the stool for a day – it quickly became clear that the movement, which resulted from use of the stool, helped students stay on task. There is lots of research that explains how movement impacts the brain and its ability to function. Movement can also help students calm their bodies and direct energy positively. The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz has been helpful in developing my understanding of this issue along with workshops and classes I have taken at Project Enlightenment. This research combined with the sensory stool experience led me to request a mini grant to purchase desk cycles and fidget tools.

Grant request:

Desk Cycles: Last fall I read in the News & Observer about a Martin Middle School teacher who was using desk cycles to support student learning. Desk cycles allow students’ brains to be stimulated to increase learning while providing acceptable opportunities to express energy in the classroom setting. Thanks to some guidance from the teacher at Martin, we were able to learn from her experience to shorten our learning curve.


Fidget Tool: After hearing from Ms. Hutchinson about Tangle, the fidget tool that she keeps in her office, I requested a similar Tangle set for my classroom. We keep a Tangle at each of the five tables in our classroom to allow students developmentally appropriate opportunities to assist with focus and concentration.


How this project enhances the curriculum:

As the gateway to upper elementary school, third grade includes a lot of changes and adjustments that can cause stress to students, including multiple standardized tests (BOG, COGAT, EOG) along with meeting Read to Achieve Standards. Students are required to build reading and writing stamina and memorize multiplication facts. The desk cycle and Tangle tools combat stress and increase focus in my classroom. In order to meet high standards of achievement, I am eager to provide high levels of support for my students.

How students responded so far:

  • Overall student response has been very favorable.
  • I allowed students time to notice and examine the new resources, as well to provide input about how and when they could be used.
  • Students are now choosing to bring in their own fidgets from home and asking to use them in our classroom. This tells me that they are understanding their own needs as learners and taking responsibility for themselves.
  • It is easy to think (and I worried about this) that students would use these tools to play instead of to help with concentration. We talked and modeled the difference between playing and using the tools to help with focus and the students understand this. As a result, my students are learning to be more responsible and intentional about their learning.
  • I knew that the desk cycle would be helpful for students with high energy, who need an opportunity to unwind, or blow off some steam. I now also realize that it is equally helpful to students with low energy, or who might be tired when they get to school or at the end of the day. After several minutes on the desk cycle these students are recharged and reenergized — I’ve even used it myself right after dismissal for 5-10 minutes to help recharge before jumping back into planning and grading at the end of the student day.

Small Steps Change Lives

Thanks to our school counselor, Erin Nasto, for the following post.

During this week (Nov. 14–18, 2016), schools throughout the country will celebrate National School Psychology Awareness Week to highlight the important work school psychologists and other educators do to help all students do their best. Our school psychologist is Mrs. Nasto. We share her with another WCPSS school and she is here working closely with our counselors, social worker and staff for two and a half days a week. This year’s theme is “Small Steps Change Lives.”

There are many ways families can help children make positive changes in small increments. As parents and caregivers, you can:

  1. Praise attempts, as well as success, and make sure that you focus on the effort or hard work put into the success.
  2. Emphasize that learning and growing requires trying new things and that success comes from small steps to a long-term goal.
  3. Help your child internalize a sense that they can achieve by reinforcing the skills already developed and encouraging them to try new challenges.
  4. Create an environment at home that allows your child to explore building (playing with blocks, helping with projects, and more), drawing (crayons, finger paints, paper), and music (on the radio, with children’s instruments, or through formal training through school or community resources). This may help to identify special interests.
  5. Emphasize the importance of deliberate practice of a new or old skill for further development, and that talent is developed over time through skillful practice.
  6. Help your child work through setbacks, or lack of self-confidence, by helping to identify negative thoughts that may suggest concerns about his or her ability to be successful. As a parent, you can help children see what the small steps are and how persisting and overcoming obstacles is a part of succeeding. Help your child realize that setbacks are not permanent or all-encompassing.
  7. Demonstrate, through your own behaviors, how to identify and achieve long-term goals by thinking aloud, creating a pathway of short-term goals, and using problem solving and decision making skills along the way.
  8. Encourage your child to participate in community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors, such as being grateful. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community events yourself as role model.

Parent Perspective: Uniquely Capable

Blog post written by Jamie Jackson, Joyner Elementary School parent

In recognition of WCPSS Disability History and Awareness Month, I wanted to share with you what living with a disability is like for our family, in hopes that it will give you and your families useful strategies for interacting with people with disabilities.

I was recently visiting my child’s school when, upon learning whose parent I was, my child’s classmates were eager to share his struggles with me. I heard some phrases such as “doesn’t listen” and “doesn’t do his work,” among others. It really struck me how acutely my child’s classmates notice and point out his differences, even just a few weeks into the school year.

To provide some background, my child is transitioning from a setting where 12 out of 12 students in his class had various disabilities. We quickly grew accustomed to lots of understanding and support from other parents, all of our teachers, and all of the other students too. This school year is my child’s first in a mainstream classroom. Although he is adjusting well, after visiting the school, it made me wonder how he copes with the onslaught of social and academic expectations that he may not even understand.

If I could say something directly to his classmates and their parents, it would be: We are ALL uniquely capable, which is the theme of this year’s Disability History and Awareness Month.

We should all expect to interact with people with disabilities every day. We often cannot see the disability with our eyes and we may wonder if we come across people with disabilities very often. I can assure you that you do! If we all anticipate that we will interact with people with different abilities than our own, we will likely view our days through a softer lens: with much more understanding, patience, and a helping attitude.

People with disabilities desire acceptance and kindness. My child loves friends who will slow down their pace so that he can more successfully interact with them. He feels the compassion of those who patiently keep trying to understand him if he struggles to share his perspective. Sometimes people with disabilities behave in unexpected ways, and it’s so helpful for them to have the space to interact with the others in ways that build their confidence and allow them to have just a few successes each day.

My child recently participated in a dance performance at school and, while he may have struggled more than some of the other children, it was a huge success for him that he was able to participate. Most importantly, he had fun! He loved the “thumbs up” and “high fives” he received from the staff. We felt very happy to see his smiles, and we beamed with pride as he did something that was harder for him than it might be for some other children.

It’s true that families with disabilities hope that you have these conversations in your home and that you also that you model this acceptance in your own interactions with the variety of people you meet every day. The interactions that I remember most when I am with my child are the ones that encourage him to be himself and to feel that he is liked and loved.