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Past Principal’s Principles

August 2020 Principal’s Principles

Dear Gayton Families:

I hope you are still enjoying the summer with relaxation, good books, and adventure. As we turn to August, I know you are gearing up for our virtual return to school in September. Below are a few updates.  I will  be in touch with you each week of August as I receive more information from HCPS.

Computer Distribution

To support virtual learning this fall, HCPS will provide iPads for all students in grades PreK and Kindergarten, and Chromebooks for all students in grades 1-5. Those devices are currently being configured and prepared for distribution.  I will be communicating with you soon to arrange for reservations and instructions for pick-up. Distribution for fall virtual learning will occur in various phases beginning no earlier than the week of August 10.

The county will also be coordinating hotspots for families without internet access.

Child Care

HCPS is partnering with HEF, PALs, and YMCA for reduced cost child care during virtual instruction.  The county is also working with faith based organizations to help with virtual learning for working families.  More details forthcoming.

Virtual Class Schedule

We are in the process of building a K-5 virtual class schedule.  For your planning purposes, we are able to share the following components at this time:

  • A common schedule at each grade level throughout the day to allow for students from different classrooms to work together in a coop, as parents are requesting. In other words, subject areas, breaks, lunch, etc. will be synchronized.
  • Brain breaks, stretch breaks, lunch and recess built into the schedule.
  • Developmentally appropriate stretches of content time.
  • For grades K-2, the day will go from 8:00 am – 12:30 PM
  • For grades 3-5, the day will go from 8:00 am – 1:00 PM.
  • Additional time, K-5, at the end of the day for teachers to work with students who need assistance, 1:1 time for IEPs, and time for students to work with one another on projects and assignments.
  • There will be opportunities for some students with unique needs to come to school individually for in-person services.

Classroom Assignments

We do not yet have a date from the county to mail out teacher assignments. Should you want to have a cohort with your neighbor to keep your kids on task, the common schedule at each grade level will facilitate this even if students have different teachers.

We have carefully placed students in classrooms based on a balance of gender/race/abilities/services/social-emotional needs.  We want to preserve these placements for when we do go back to in-person instruction.  Developing a classroom culture is so important for the year, and especially at the beginning of the year. We thus want our virtual classes to maintain the same rosters of students.

Virtual Orientation

We are working on details for each teacher to have a virtual orientation with their students and parents.

PTA Back to School Parade!

Our end of school parade was a great way for us to have physically distanced closure after ending the year virtually.  We want to kick off the year Friday, September 4, in the same way to give the students a connection to the building and to see their teachers in person.  Details will be forthcoming.


We are working on details for a virtual Back-To-School-Night Thursday, September 24.  PTA is also planning other virtual events that will keep us connected as a community.

Testing and Learning

The Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) are our established measure of academic performance in the Commonwealth.  They earn us school accreditation and guide our annual school improvement plans.  They also influence property values.  Gayton has a long tradition of high SOL achievement.  Due to Covid-19, we did not take 2019-2020 SOLs.  We will keep you updated on when we will take them this year.

School Theme

Our school theme for the 2020-2021 school year is Gators have heart for the journey!  We look forward to a great year helping ALL our students learn and achieve in an inclusive, active, and engaging school community. Thank you for your partnership, patience, and support as we work together through the challenges—and opportunities—of starting the year virtually.  We will provide you with many more details throughout the month of August.


Dr. Kirk Eggleston, Principal




Principal’s Principles, July 2020

Dear Gayton Families;Hope your summer is off to a great start!  Below are a few important updates:


Henrico County Public Schools continues to provide ALL students opportunities to engage in review and enrichment activities through Edflix.   Click here to access all of the new (Season 3) activities for each grade level.  Please take advantage of these resources that will engage your child and prevent a “summer slide”.


Mrs. Driskell, an exceptional education teacher, will offer office hours to Gayton exceptional education students who are not receiving ESY services, Monday through Thursday during the period of July 13 – August 6th.  These office hours are designed to offer you an opportunity to connect with a special education teacher if your child requires special accommodations to engage in the Edflix activities.  Accommodations include things such as reading materials aloud or providing access to assistive technology.  Ms. Driskell  can also provide you with tips or strategies for working with your child at home.    You will have the opportunity to sign up for a time slot weekly by emailing .


The building will have summer office hours from 8am-3pm, Monday-Thursday, starting July 13th.  Should you need to come to the school for any reason, please wear a mask.  Disposable masks will also be available and will be required for the safety of our employees.


Parents can enroll your children in school on the county website here.  Starting July 20th, parents can also register your child at the school in person by appointment only. Please contact the school at 360-0820 between 8:00-3:00 to set up an appointment to register.


Let’s have some fun in the sun! Unplug for two weeks in a safe, active, and enriching environment while venturing outdoors, creating, playing sports, crafting, laughing, and performing! Information:    Go to  to enroll in this a free camp for Henrico residents. Participants must be rising 1st-5th and 6th-8th graders for the 2020-21 school year.


-CDC Guidelines will be strictly followed.

-Authorized Pick-Up agents must bring a photo I.D. daily.

-Please list all potential Authorized Pick-Up agents.

-Campers must bring a face covering daily.

-Water and meals will be provided through the HCPS Meal Program.

-Participants should dress for a mess and wear closed-toe shoes.

-Expect an email with the Camp Handbook, which will provide additional information.


HCPS is in the process of reviewing staff and parent surveys regarding a plan for a hybrid schedule (virtual/at school) that will reduce the number of students in the building/classroom at one time.  We will provide you with updates as soon as a plan is made official.  Thanks for your patience and partnership.  We will work together to make your child’s educational experience as positive and productive as ever. Please keep our new school theme in mind as we move forward together with “Season 4”:  Gators have heart for the journey!  

Please email me or call me at the school (starting July 13) if you have questions or concerns.  Stay safe and have fun this summer!


Kirk Eggleston, Principal


Kirk Eggleston, Principal


Principal’s Principles, June 2020

Hi Gayton Families:

June has arrived and we are soon to be wrapping up our school year.  As we do, I want to thank all of you for embracing virtual learning.  We have continued to engage our students with instruction and collaborative learning opportunities despite the challenge of an extended school closure. We also have maintained our strong sense of community and culture of support during a global pandemic that has physically separated us.

These strengths of our school are also so important at this time of racial unrest in our country. The monumental events over the last few weeks have changed the narrative in our nation, and clearly demonstrate that the challenges we face as a society in the realm of equity and inclusion are significant.  Yet these incidents have an additional fundamental significance: they validate our mission as a school community.  They remind us that our work and commitment to establishing a fair and equitable culture is critical to the present and future of this generation of students.  As our school becomes more diverse racially, culturally, and socioeconomically, it is ever more important that Gayton Elementary be a place of belonging and opportunity for all.  Thank you for your support and model of this mission as we grow and change together.


Below are end of year items as previously shared with you.

Student Materials Pick Up/Returns AND YEARBOOKS

Teachers will be distributing student belongings/supplies AND YEARBOOKS in grocery bags at the times listed below. This is also a time to drop off library books. Teachers will be behind tables in the BUS LOOP.

Please drive up to retrieve items and stop your car. Enter through the entrance just past the fire station.

For our teachers’ safety, please wear masks.  We also ask that you please pop your trunk/tailgate; teachers will put your bags in the back of your car.  You also may get out of your car to retrieve your child’s items/drop off items at the grade level tables.

Kindergarten   June 8,  8:00-12:00

First Grade  June 8, 12:00-4:00

Second Grade June 9, 8:00-12:00

Third Grade June 9, 12:00-4:00

Fourth Grade June 10,  8:00-12:00

Fifth Grade, June 10 12:00-4:00   Fifth grade only:  Pick up Award/Promotion certificates, Presidential Awards, K-5 Journey photos, and return Student Safety Belts

Alternate pickup time K-5   June 11 8:00-12:00 

Alternate pickup time K-5  June 11 12:00-4:00 

Per parent request, we will have a K-5 EVENING DROP OFF/PICK UP time, Thursday, June 11th, from 5:00-7:00PM.


End of Year Celebration/Parades!

On June 12th we will have a STUDENT/PARENT PARADE.  Students/parents will drive through the bus loop while teachers and staff cheer/congratulate you on completing the school year.  We will do rain or shine.

We will have two parades: (note times have changed since my last email).

FIFTH GRADERS ONLY 10:00-11:00 am  .   Note that we are also putting together a virtual moving up ceremony on FlipGrid for our fifth graders.  This will be emailed to fifth grade families the week of June 8th.

K-4 Students 11:00 am-noon  

The parade will take place in the BUS LOOP.  To keep traffic going smoothly, and to facilitate six feet of social distancing between our staff, the traffic pattern will work like this:

All cars must enter the bus loop from Church Road with a right turn only    Turn right at the entrance next to the fire station. Do not enter left heading toward Lauderdale.

All cars must exit the bus loop with a right turn only onto Church Road.  Our teacher line will extend onto the Church Road sidewalk cheering you on.  Do not exit left heading toward Lauderdale.

We have asked Henrico County Police to assist with traffic flow.

We encourage you to decorate your cars and dress with Gayton spirit!

We will unveil our 2020-2021 Gayton theme at the end of the parade route and on the marquee.


Summer School

The county provided summer school information earlier this week for ALL students.  Students who have county Chromebooks may keep them for the duration of the summer to take advantage of these learning opportunities. Please see this link for information.

We will be contacting parents of students recommended/eligible for Pathway One and Pathway Two.

Pathway Three is available and recommended for ALL STUDENTS.  Access will be made available soon.

Note that computer applications made available to all families during the Covid-19 school closure will remain available all summer.

Gayton students who currently have Reading A-Z/Raz Kids and Reflex Math accounts will be able to use these same accounts all summer.

More detailed summer school registration information will be coming soon.


Please see the following links for a preview to exciting summer library opportunities!


Fall Options for 2020-21 School Year

Henrico County Public Schools is considering five possible formats for 2020-21 school attendance, depending on factors related to the pandemic. New safety measures would be adopted for on-campus options, and under all options, the pace of learning would be adjusted to include content students may have missed in the spring. The five options under consideration are:

  • Option A: On-campus learning. All students would be back on campus, with new, possibly unprecedented, safety measures in place.
  • Option B: Remote learning that is structured and enhanced. All students would participate in required daily remote learning that includes graded schoolwork. While HCPS’ March closure necessitated emergency distance-learning measures, this option would more closely resemble the traditional expectations of a typical school day.
  • Option C: Interrupted on-campus learning. All students would be back on campus for several weeks or months at a time, which could be interrupted by periods of structured remote learning in response to health concerns that may arise.
  • Option D: Hybrid learning. One portion of the student body would attend classes on campus for a period of time, while another portion would learn remotely. The two groups might switch after a number of months, or alternate days on campus to build a blended learning environment. Having fewer students on campus would make it easier to implement distancing guidelines.
  • Option E: Parallel learning. Part of the student body would attend all classes on campus while another group would learn remotely for the entire school year because of choice or necessity. This option would not require students to alternate days, unless a student needed to shift from one track to the other.

Each of the five options would require extensive coordination and planning by HCPS staff members. At this time a final plan has not been determined. The school division will make additional announcements as plans continue to be developed in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

I will keep you informed of Gayton’s 2020-21 school schedule soon after HCPS moves forward with a specific plan.


Please continue to contact me this summer should you have questions about the upcoming school year, or anything else. I will let you know soon if the school office will be open this summer.

Kirk Eggleston, Principal


Principal’s Principles, May 2020

Dear Gayton Parents/Guardians:

As we move forward into May, please take a look back at our full school year and applaud our teachers for their dedication, service, creativity, compassion, and communication since September. Their recent efforts transitioning to virtual learning during the Covid-19 school closure just makes their love of teaching (and your children) more apparent. They are essential personnel, indeed, inspired to make a difference in the present and future lives of their students.  How appropriate it is that next week, May 4-8 is TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK!

While it is not possible this year to decorate classroom doors or have a teacher luncheon, PTA asks that you please encourage your child to get creative in showing appreciation with notes, drawings, chalk art, a song, dance, slideshow, puppet show, video, etc. We would like for teachers to share these with one another and celebrate the joy of this profession. 🙂

Here’s a perfect example of how our teachers are engaging their students virtually. This pic is a kindergarten PE lesson with Mrs. Schreibers’s class.  Mrs. Wright, PE teacher, asked students if they were wearing their tennis shoes for PE.  Priceless picture!


Thanks to PTA for  organizing a VIRTUAL BOOK FAIR NEXT WEEK.  PTA is partnering with local Carytown bookseller BBGB to host an Online Book Fair starting this weekend. With books for both children and adults, this is a great opportunity to stock up on new reading material for the weeks ahead.T

The Fair will officially run May 4-8 at — but you can start shopping as soon as Gayton is listed on the Bookfair page. Just select Gayton during checkout for proceeds to support our PTA.

BBGB is providing FREE DELIVERY within 10 miles of the school, or curbside pickup at the Carytown store. Online gift cards are also available and make great gifts for teachers and loved ones.

Please see attached flyer and FAQs for all the details. Don’t miss this opportunity to support our school and local small business, and pick up some great entertainment and education for your days at home!


Online Bookfair FAQs.pdf

Thank you, PTA!!

We know that all parents and students are anxious about returning to school.  Thanks for your continued partnership with our teachers as we navigate online learning and wait for further instructions from the state/school division on next steps and next year.  In the meantime, please look for report cards to be mailed home in mid May, and do your best to attend virtual teaching sessions and independent learning with projects and choice boards. Continue to engage in reading and writing with your children when possible.  Most importantly, love on them regularly. You are your child’s primary teacher, and we appreciate all that you are doing with balancing your work and their well being during this challenging time.

Please let me know if we can be of further support to your family with county food distribution or any other need your family may have.

I will continue to update you each Friday during the month of May.

Kirk Eggleston, Principal



Principal’s Principles, April 2020

Hi Gator Family–

I want to first thank all of our teachers and staff who could participate in the Gator Rally (parade)–we had 40 cars!  Thanks especially to our PTA who organized the event and route.  We all appreciated the signs and smiles as we celebrated (and cherished) our Gator Family.

Click on this link to preview the video:

Click on this link to download the video:

I have a few items to share with you as we begin the month of April.


The Henrico team is actively working on a plan to get Chromebooks to elementary school families who need them to help support virtual learning.  We would appreciate your time in taking a brief survey.  Your comments will be analyzed and the feedback will be essential in helping us determine the demand for these devices as well as a plan to safely and effectively distribute them.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey; we greatly appreciate your help and support.

Click here to start the survey

Spring Break

Spring break is still part of our teachers’ contractual calendar, April 6-13.  HCPS requires that we give teachers this time to be completely focused on their own families.  Gayton teachers thus will not be responding to email during this time.  If you have questions or concerns  about anything during the week, please feel free to email me at  .

Post Spring Break

Starting April 14, the school division will have more choice boards and project based learning for students, parent directions/suggestions for reading and math instruction, and additional educational links to REVIEW AND ENRICH. Teachers will not be grading materials (they are optional) but will be providing regular feedback and connections with students. For more detailed information on HCPS Distance Learning, please visit the following site: . This site will continue to be updated. There is some great stuff in the works!

Report Cards

Report cards for the third marking period will come home by May 1. HCPS has determined that assessment will be based only on student work up to March 13th. School closure and/or home study will not factor into student grades.  Because students did not complete a full academic quarter, they will receive grades of Pass (S) or Fail (N).  For grades K&1, an S will mean the student earned a 2 or above.  In grades 2-5, an S will mean the student earned a 60% or above.

You will be receiving additional information soon about report cards.  Students will not receive a 4th marking period report card.

Authentic Learning

We are thrilled with the efforts of all our families engaging in authentic learning using the 6 Cs : Quality Character, Global Citizenship, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creative Thinking.   Check out these videos from some of our first and third graders!

Try this one:

And these!

Thanks again to our Encore Team (Art, Music, PE, Library) for their authentic learning videos!  We hope you enjoyed them.  We will be sharing more authentic learning teacher examples after spring break. Maybe another one from me, too!

Special Recognition

I want to recognize the hard work of our students in Ms. Hyatt’s class, who were recently recognized on the news.  Ms. Hyatt’s “Coffee Cart” initiative teaches hands-on, real life skills in the context of community service.  We are so proud of her students!

Parent Questions

Parents have asked questions about refunds for lunch and field trips.  I’m sorry I don’t have details to share on this at this time but we will find out soon how the county will be handling these funds. If you have questions about other items, please email me.

Classroom Requests for 2020-2021 School Year

As in previous years, we do not accept requests for specific teachers as we create classroom roles.  However, sometimes parents request to separate students or want to make us aware of a specific need your child may have.  Please email me by May 1 should you want us to consider something in particular as we will be in the process of planning for next year.


April 3rd is the last day to take the school survey.  If you haven’t done so already, please take a few minutes to provide your feedback on our efforts as a school division and individual school.  Your input is valuable to affirm what we are doing well and to assist us with building and improving the quality of your family’s experience.


Thanks again for the love, attention, guidance, and instruction you are providing for your children during this most unusual and challenging time in history.  We hope our parade demonstrated that we are all in this together and we will come through it together as one Gator Family.

Be safe.

Kirk Eggleston, Principal




Dear Gayton Families:

Spring is coming and we all look forward to warmer weather. Meanwhile, winter has snuggled us into deeper learning at Gayton Elementary. When instruction is meaningful and motivating, learning is authentic and engaging.

I want to thank our incredibly active and supportive PTA for all the work that they have done to punctuate this winter and the entire school year with fun and inclusive family events that bring our community together, and with enriching co-curricular activities for students. We look forward to upcoming events this month, including the PTA Silent Auction at Hardywood (March 13th) and the Spring Book Fair (March 23rd-27th in the STEM Lab). Our fifth graders are also excited to perform together March 24th following the general PTA meeting at 7PM. Please see the Gator Fridge Calendar coming home with your child.

On Thursday, March 26th, we will be having a Principal’s Coffee. This month we will host an evening event from 6:00—7:00PM in the cafeteria to accommodate work schedules (decaf?). Our topic will be STUDENT ANXIETY & RESILIENCE. We hope you can attend.

In March we begin the process of planning for the following school year. We want to first wish Mrs. Harris (associate principal) and Mrs. Kramer (fourth grade teacher) the very best in their June retirements. We appreciate each of them for their dedication and service to children, families, the education profession, and the Gayton community. Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Kramer will be dearly missed! We will be working hard to secure candidates for their positions who have similarly high expectations for learning, achievement, and professionalism.

We are very excited to welcome a second counselor to Gayton Elementary in 2020-2021. As one of 40 new HCPS counselors, our new counselor will work alongside Ms. Fisher to meet the social and emotional learning needs of every student. Students will receive classroom counseling lessons every week a part of their Encore rotation (PE, Music, Art, Library, Counseling). Small group and individual counseling will extend to far more students.

To meet changing teacher-student ratios, we will be moving a few teachers to different grade levels in the 2020-2021 school year. We appreciate our teachers’ flexibility and willingness to take on a new challenge next year.

Kg: Schreiber, McDonald, Grinsell, Hubbard, Tavel

                1st: Word, Bluford, Carter, Mack

2nd: Perl, Dunn, Norton, Wiley, Vest

3rd: Cohen, Hubley, Williams, Kowal

4th: Harrell, Basham, Fisher, Patoray, TBD

5th: Conway, Ball, Lucas, Karkosak

As in the past, parent requests of specific teachers will not be honored; however, we will consider general concerns regarding student needs as we begin to develop class rosters for next year. More information will be coming after spring break.

As we continue to have some students feeling “under the weather” at this time of year, below is a reminder of HCPS policy regarding keeping students at home when ill.

Students should be kept home from school if they have the following:

  • A fever of 100.4 degrees or greater before taking a fever reducing medication.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea because of illness.
  • An unknown rash or possible contagious condition.
  • Are unable to focus due to pain, chronic health condition, or acute illness.
  • Have a flu-like illness (with or without fever) – headache, tired, cough, aches, weakness, sore throat.
  • If students are sent home from school having a fever, they MUST stay home from school the following day.

Henrico County School Health guidelines require a child to be free of symptoms of contagious disease (fever, vomiting and diarrhea due to illness) for 24 hours without medication before returning to school.

Have a happy and healthy month of March. We look forward to a spring where new ideas, connections, relationships, and achievements blossom.


Kirk Eggleston



Please note correction.  February 11th, 6:30 PM– PTA General Meeting in the gym and Third Grade Performance.  Have a great weekend! Thanks.  Kirk Eggleston

Principal’s Principles, February 2020

Dear Gayton Families:

In February, our students look forward to Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th.  What a wonderful tradition that gives every child the opportunity to communicate caring for others. The simple act of giving (and receiving) a Valentine is a powerful way for all students to feel they are a contributing and integral part of a learning community.  Your child’s teacher will provide individual classroom guidelines this month for Valentine‘s Day.

Other important events in February (Note a paper fridge calendar will come home with your child):

  • Black History Month.  Students will be learning about the historical contributions of Black Americans
  • Benchmark testing.  Times/dates are listed on the fridge calendar.  These are used primarily to help us identify what content may need to be retaught for mastery.
  • February 6th, 3:00-6:30. Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Teachers will be contacting you with requests for conferences or to honor your request for a conference
  • February 10th— Second quarter report cards will go home with your children.
  • February 10th-13th, , 7:30AM-8:00 AM—Bring your family to school week! Monday A-C, Tuesday D-J, Wednesday K-O, Thursday, R-Z.  Please see PTA flyer.
  • February 11th, 6:30 PM– PTA General Meeting in the gym and Third Grade Performance.
  • February 13th 6:30 PM – Family Bingo Night! Our last Bingo was so fun and well attended we decided to do again! Please reserve a spot with PTA.
  • February 17th Staff Development half day.  Gator Rally Today, 9am. Dismissal for students is at 11:35.
  • February 24th (through March 23).  PTA Spring Enrichment begins.

As we continue to weather the winter, we are focused deeply with our students on learning.  John Hattie, PhD., a renowned educational researcher, has measured relative effect sizes of specific learning strategies. The top three (among many other learning strategies) are integral to our program at Gayton Elementary:

  1. HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL LEARNERS.  All children will learn and will exceed our expectations if we believe in their ability (and they believe in their ability).
  2. COLLECTIVE EFFICACY.  We all hold high expectations for students in our community.  We all believe in every child.   We all work together with the same educational mind-frames of relationships, relevance, and rigor.
  3. REGULAR FEEDBACK.  Differentiated instruction with formative feedback helps to meet students where they are and lead them to where they need to go.

Another schoolwide focus as we begin the second semester is STUDENT COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION.  We are teaching students to work together in teams on project and problem based learning, and they are presenting their learning in creative ways to an authentic audience.

Students are also working with their classmates on social-emotional learning using the Sanford Harmony curriculum. Students meet weekly (and sometimes daily) with their classes, and monthly with our counselor, Miss Fisher.  Students discuss age appropriate concerns as they are relevant to the classroom community.  Our goal is to teach the whole child.

Children learn best through doing, and sometimes students learn by making mistakes. Our approach to student discipline is therefore through problem solving. This process involves teachers, parents, and (most importantly) students themselves. Going to the principal’s office is not about shaming but about learning.  Our goal is to build character and productive outcomes for every child.

It is especially important to address issues of bullying when they occur. Bullying can be defined as repeated, unwanted negative overtures and actions over time towards others.  Should your child share that he/she is feeling bullied, please reach out to the teacher or to Mrs. Harris or me.  Our goal is to empower your child to communicate his/her concerns, while we work with the student of concern to develop empathy and understanding of how and why bullying behaviors must stop.

With respect to any questions or concerns you may have as a parent/guardian about your child’s education or our school-home communication, please contact Mrs. Harris or me at any time. Our job is to listen, inform, and problem solve. While we aim to be consistently proactive with leading and managing all aspects of our school, we need to hear from you directly when problems do occur..  Our partnership together makes our school more inclusive, responsive, and student-centered.

Thanks for your continued partnership at Gayton Elementary. Have a great February!


Kirk Eggleston, Principal




Dear Gayton Families:


Happy New Year!  I hope you have enjoyed a relaxing break with your families and friends, and that you could celebrate your own religious traditions with a spirit of renewal.


The New Year is a natural time for personal resolutions, especially with regard to our children’s education. Please consider resolving to do the following consistently with your children in 2020.

  • Read together at least 3 times a week. Curl up with a good book or just read comics together.  This will model fluency and make reading fun.  Please see this link for helpful family literacy strategies.
  • Help your child to learn addition/subtraction and/or multiplication/division facts. Automaticity will help with higher level math.  Make it fun.
  • Study with your child and help him/her to get organized nightly. These are skills that must be taught through modeling and routine.
  • Make sure your child gets to bed at a regular time. A good night’s sleep is critical for academic achievement.
  • Keep regular contact with your child’s teacher. Email or call if you have any concerns.  A home/school partnership should always be proactive to be beneficial.


Being a presence in your child’s school life is as much a long-term investment as it is immediate gratification for both of you.  Will you also commit to doing one or more of the following?

  • Join the PTA if you haven’t yet. Ask PTA how to get more involved with Gayton events, programs, and fundraisers.
  • Volunteer in your child’s classroom, in the cafeteria, or to chaperone a field trip.

As we begin a new calendar year, Gayton teachers and staff look forward to working together to continue what we have started, and to set new goals and objectives for this school year within the framework of our school mission of student centered learning.

Effective differentiation of instruction is our ongoing objective– providing appropriate support and challenge to all learners based on academic readiness, ability, interest, and learning profile.  Our teachers are doing an outstanding job leading every child to his or her next level of achievement.  Your partnership assists tremendously in this process.  Consistent home support helps to raise the bar for your individual child, while regular teacher/parent communication facilitates a working relationship.   Because helping your child to fully meet his or her full potential is indeed hard work, and at Gayton Elementary we consider it the most important job in the world.

I want to welcome our many new families to Gayton.  Should you ever have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or me.  We are here to help and to partner with you and your child.

  • Please take the time to view our school website at
  • Your child’s teacher has a blog updated weekly to keep you informed and involved.  Please check it out regularly.
  • Our Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is critical to the support of our school (financial, volunteerism, school spirit).  Please join!  Our goal is always 100% PTA membership.   Please refer to the PTA website at .

All parents/guardians:

At the midyear point it is also a good time to review the HCPS Student Code of Conduct yourself and with your child.  We will also be reviewing at school.  Please pay special note to Acceptable Use of Technology and the Internet (p. 12.)

Please also familiarize yourself with HCPS Crisis Preparedness:  Parents and School Emergencies at .  This is a great resource with important information.  Please also note below that we will be having a Principal’s Coffee on the subject of school safety on January 24th from 8-9am.


We have several important dates in January.

1/6-24 Students in grades K,1st, and 2nd gifted evaluation window.  If you are interested in your child being referred, please submit your request in writing via email or paper to Miss Fisher by January 24, 2020. Please visit   to learn more about gifted programs in Henrico …

1/15 PTA Family Bingo Night, 6:30-7:30 PM.

1/20 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday – School closed.

1/24   Principal’s Coffee, 8:00-9:00.  Our topic will be school safety.  We will share information on safety protocols and answer your questions.

1/27 Student Holiday / Teacher Clerical Day – No school for students today.


Thanks for your continued support of Gayton Elementary.  We look forward to a achieving a 2020 vision of success!


Kirk Eggleston, Ed.D.




Principal’s Principles Archive


Principal’s Principles, December 2019

Dear Gayton Parents:

We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving with your friends and family.  The spirit of the season is upon us, and we wish all of you joy and peace this December. May your own family and religious traditions provide you with a sense of renewal for the coming new year.

We have a few important events this December.

December 3rd, Fall Picture Makeups.

December 6th, PTA Principal’s Coffee, 8:00 a.m. in the cafeteria.  We will have a presentation on Deeper Learning for all students and information on the HCPS gifted identification process.

December 9th, HALF DAY.  Students dismissed at 11:35.

December 10th, PTA Meeting and First Grade Performance, 7PM

December 20th.  Jingle Bell Run: K-2 8:30; 3-5 9:00. Assembly 10:00. 1-2pm Classroom Winter Parties

December 21-January 5. Winter Break.

During this season of giving, we are very proud of our students who collected clothing for our sister school, Montrose Elementary, and who raised nearly $13,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation!  These efforts have genuinely helped others, while they have authentically developed empathy and quality character in our students.  A focus on the whole child extends to teaching our kids to care for and about others.  Thank you for your primary role and support in this lifelong process—we have wonderful, warm-hearted students at Gayton!


Kirk Eggleston, Principal


Principal’s Principles, November 2019


Dear Gayton Community:

What a pleasure it was seeing such a large turnout to the Family Picnic!  We want to thank Amanda Byers, Nicole Perricelli and all of our PTA volunteers for organizing such a fun and successful event.  Thanks also to faculty who dressed up for the night of fun and community building (our Resource Team a.k.a. “Ghost Busters” were the best!). Events like this bring our community together to support and celebrate our culture of inclusive, engaged, and relevant learning.  This month we have several more community events to rally us into the second quarter marking period.

November 4, 3:00-6:30pm:  PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES.  We look forward to sharing with you your child’s strengths and areas for growth and focus.  Our goal is to partner with you to help your child reach his/her potential.  Note that teachers are offering other times during this week for conferences.

November 5.  ELECTION DAY/STUDENT HOLIDAY.  Exercise your right to vote and take the time to share with your child why voting matters in our democracy.  There are no parent-teacher conferences scheduled today.

November 12, 9:00 am and 7:00 pm GAYTON VETERAN’S DAY ASSEMBLIES.  Our annual assembly honors veterans and serving military in the Gayton community.  Please contact Ian Jeffrey ( to let us know if you would like to recognize or invite and recognize a veteran family member or friend at either assembly.

November 18  HALF DAY FOR STUDENTS, DISMISSAL 11:35 AM.  We will have a Gator Rally today at 9am to recognize first quarter accomplishments.  We will also have an evening PTA FAMILY MATH NIGHT hosted by Mathnasium, 6:00-7:30

November 23, GAYTON TURKEY TROT, 8:30AM.   This is a PTA sponsored cross country (campus) running tradition. We hope to see you bright and early.

As November welcomes the Thanksgiving Holiday (November 27-29), we want to thank all of our students, parents, teachers, and staff for your strong community involvement and enthusiasm. As the holiday season is approaching fast, this time of year brings joy and happiness; however, it can also be a time of stress and financial anxiety.  The Gayton community is here to help with anyone feeling financially overwhelmed or stressed.  Simply contact Jessica Fisher, our school counselor, at (804)360-0820 or and the elves behind the scenes will help to take care of the rest. Please contact her by Friday, November 8th.

As one of our goals this year is to prioritize parent communication, we now have a Gayton Instagram account. You can follow us at ges_gators23233 or search for Gayton Elementary. We will be posting student work, school events, and reminders each week.  We are also now providing you with a paper and digital copy of the monthly calendar and Principal’s Principles per PTA request.  Please let us know if you ever have any questions or concerns; we are here to partner, problem solve, and prioritize student learning together.

Have a great November!

Kirk Eggleston, Ed.D., Principal

Principal’s Principles, October 2019

Dear Gayton Families:

Happy October! We have had a very productive start to the 2019-2020 school year with students who are continuously smiling.  As educators it is both our job and joy to be able to focus so much student energy and enthusiasm into learning.  Thank you for your bright and inquisitive children, for preparing them so well for school, and for our partnership in raising them to do their absolute best.

One of Gayton’s continuous improvement goals is to emphasize learning before achievement.  Research shows that when children are motivated and engaged, and when their instruction is consistently made meaningful, they perform better on standardized tests.  Furthermore, when we deepen and enrich both the process and products of learning, we effectively provide our students with the academic and social skills necessary to be successful in the workplace and in life.  This win-win approach is key to why your child’s teacher will be consistently integrating content with technology, collaboration, critical thinking, voice and choice, and personal responsibility. It is also why your child should think that learning is fun at Gayton Elementary.

A second continuous improvement goal is to communicate with you openly and often.  Teachers and/or teams have posted websites or blogs for you to view what is happening in your child’s classroom.  Please access regularly. This effort is part of our school wide objective to build and improve upon parent communication using the 2018-2019 parent survey results as a baseline.  Please see the attached here for your review. GAYTON ELEMENTARY Parent Survey 2018-19.pdf  We hope to have more parents respond to the 2019-2020 spring survey to measure how we are doing with parent outreach and communication this school year.

Below are two helpful links to assist you with planning in October.


October Calendar.pdf


Please note that by being a member of PTA, access to the toolkit provides you with student directory information of all families that have opted in to share. These contacts are your way to invite other students to birthday parties (or to be invited to birthday parties), as the school policy does not allow invitations to be distributed in classrooms or by teachers.  If you have not yet joined PTA or provided your contact information, please do.

Thank you again for your outstanding support of Gayton Elementary.  Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns.


Kirk Eggleston, Ed.D., Principal


Dear Gayton Families:

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year!  It was wonderful seeing so many of you at the Open House.  We extend an especially warm Gayton welcome to all of our new Gator families.

We are looking forward to the first day and month of school!  Your children’s teachers are so excited to make learning relevant, rigorous, and fun.  Our school theme this year speaks to our goal of inspiring, connecting, instructing, applying, and creating new knowledge and skills.

We’re life ready at Camp Gayton!

Below are some important links for your reference as we get the year started.

Henrico County Public Schools Main Website. Here you can locate important information about HCPS policies, redistricting information, school lunches, equity and diversity, bus routes, and current issues in our community.

HENRICO LEARNER PROFILE (HLP).  Please take the time to check this out.  HCPS is a leader in providing instruction that develops deeper learning.  At Gayton, our teachers will be actively engaged this year in professional development that applies and extends the HLP to our students.

Anonymous Alerts.    This is a new anonymous reporting system for students/parents to use if the need arises to share a concern regarding safety, bullying, or otherwise.  Please also feel to contact a school administrator directly (Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Fisher, Dr. Eggleston).

STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT.  Please make sure to review and sign along with other online school forms. All families must sign.

Parent Volunteer Form  We encourage parent volunteering but require you complete a form. Please print, sign, and send in if you want to volunteer soon.  This year you will be also required to watch a volunteer video in the office prior to your first day of volunteering.

Gayton PTA.  Please join!  Our Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is an essential partner in educating your child.  PTA supports our school through fundraising, parent outreach, family events, teacher appreciation, student recognition, technology support–the list goes on.   We strive for 100% family membership.  Please join and stay informed. Our PTA BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT is THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12th, 6:30-8:00p.m.  We will meet in the gym and then have two classroom sessions to learn about curriculum and teacher expectations.

Gayton Parent-Student Handbook 2019-2020 This document provides specific HCPS and Gayton policies and guidelines.  Please review.

PARENT PORTAL.  You can access grade 2-5 gradebook information via Powerschool here.  Please be aware that grades will not likely be posted the first two weeks of school.

STUDENT ATTENDANCEHaving your student at school every day is essential to support his/her academic success.  For this reason, we highly discourage long term absences during the school year.  Please again note that HCPS policy is to immediately withdraw students from enrollment upon the first day of any planned absence of 15 days or more.  No schoolwork can be provided to students on vacation or if withdrawn.  We also caution that extended absences affect academic mastery and place your child at risk of non-promotion.  Virginia compulsory attendance laws require us to report chronic absenteeism.  As we understand family situations or emergencies occur that require your child to be absent, please arrange for Principal approval of any extended absence.  That said, please make every effort to plan family vacations during the winter or summer holidays.  We appreciate your support of consistent attendance.

GAYTON WEBSITE.   Our main site can be used throughout the schoolyear to access the above links as well as many others.  Monthly Principal’s Principles will be posted, as well as teacher and/or team specific websites with current/upcoming units of study, homework, and student projects.  Our goal is to keep you informed with consistent communication.  Should you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or school administration (Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Fisher, Dr. Eggleston) at 360-2820.

Thank you for your support, enthusiasm, partnership, and trust.  We look forward to a great school year!

Kirk Eggleston, Ed.D.


August 2019 Principal’s Principles

Dear Gayton Families:

I hope you are enjoying the summer with relaxation, good books, and adventure.  I am excited to have begun my role in July as your new principal.  We are planning for a 2019-2020 school year that will engage your kids in active and meaningful learning.

As a parent myself (my kids recently attended HCPS schools), I know that regular communication is needed to build trust and confidence in school leadership.  You can expect a monthly Principal’s Principles via email that will provide you with important school information, a calendar Aug-Sept2019 , and perspectives about our role together as partners in your child’s education.  Each month’s message also will be posted under the principal’s tab on the school website. In the interest of saving paper and its expense, we will not be sending home hard copies unless requested.

Now that it is August you may be anxiously anticipating the new school year.  Below are a few items to share with you.

Testing and Learning

  • The Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) are our established measure of academic performance in the Commonwealth.  They earn us school accreditation and guide our annual school improvement plans.  They also influence property values.  Gayton has a long tradition of high SOL achievement, and our 2018-2019 scores remain high. All that said, SOL tests are just one measure of student achievement.  They do not reflect the tremendous growth our students make socially and emotionally, and they are a measure of minimum academic competency. Our goal at Gayton is to take learning to a deeper level of student engagement as we develop the whole child.  When relationships, relevance, and rigor are the priority, and teaching is about deeper learning, high test scores will follow.

Student/Parent Handbook

  • Please see our updated Gayton Parent-Student Handbook 2019-2020  This is an important reference guide for school and county policies and procedures.  We encourage you to review it in August while you have time.  It will also be available for reference on the school website.

Kindergarten Orientation and Open House

  • Your child’s new teacher assignment will be mailed to you the week of August 26th.   We wait until the end of the month as enrollment is ongoing. We will be mailing you additional information along with your classroom assignment.
  • KINDERGARTEN ORIENTATION FOR PARENTS is scheduled for Wednesday, August 28th, from 6:30-7:00 PM in your child’s classroom.  Meeting with parents in the evening gives our teachers the opportunity to provide you with important information and answer your questions.
  • OPEN HOUSE is scheduled on Thursday, August 29th:  grades K-2, 10:00-11:00 AM; grades 3-5, 11:00AM-12:00PM.  We look forward to seeing you and your child.  You should bring school supplies that day. Bus assignments/stops will be posted in the main hallway.

First Day of School and PTA Back To School Night

  • We look forward to seeing your child in their classrooms by 8:10am, Tuesday, September 3rd..   We encourage students to ride the bus—buses are safe and on time to school.  Being on time every day is critical to your child’s readiness for instruction.
  • GAYTON PTA BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT is scheduled for Thursday, September 12, 6:30-8:00.  We will meet in the gym..  We will provide you with additional information soon.

New Positions and Teachers

  • Congratulations to Jessica Huff, our new Innovative Learning Coach (ILC).  We are thrilled to have Mrs. Huff working directly with teachers full-time to integrate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) into planning and instruction.  Mrs. Huff was previously a third grade teacher at Gayton.
  • Congratulations to Kathy Hubley, our new third grade teacher. Ms. Hubley returns to Gayton; she previously served as a K-5 interventionist and instructional assistant.  She earned her Teacher Licensure from University of Richmond, has worked as a board substitute, and student taught at Colonial Trail Elementary.
  • Congratulations to Mackenzie Kowal, another new third grade teacher (we now have five).  Ms. Kowal recently taught third grade in Fairfax County Public Schools. She completed her student teaching in third grade/fifth grade in Henrico County Public Schools. She is a graduate of James Madison University.
  • Congratulations to Meghan Hyatt, our new Academic Integrated Services (AIS) teacher.  Ms. Hyatt most recently taught special education at an international school in Korea.  She previously taught special education at Montrose Elementary in HCPS.

New Social Emotional Learning Curriculum

  • We are excited to begin using a county adopted social/emotional learning curriculum from Sanford Harmony.  Research shows that when kids feel safe, connected, and confident in a classroom culture, they learn better.  Our teachers will use Sanford Harmony three times per week to engage their students in classroom conversations, problem solving, character activities, and fun.  These meetings will be in addition to the monthly social/emotional classroom lessons provided by our school counselor, Ms. Fisher.

A Big PTA Thank you!

  • I am amazed and delighted by the active (extraordinary!) involvement of the Gayton PTA.  What a warm and supportive welcome I have received!  Gayton’s PTA is investing in our book room to provide our students/teachers with quality leveled books for differentiated reading instruction.  They recently earned approval to have the playground drainage problem fixed at county expense.  They also are updating the main office with a fresh coat of 2019-era paint.  THANK YOU, GAYTON PTA!!!

Our school theme for the 2019-2020 school year is We’re Life Ready at Camp Gayton!  We look forward to helping ALL our students learn and achieve in an inclusive, active, and engaging school community.

See you soon.


Dr. Kirk Eggleston, Principal


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