Dear Families and Friends,
WELCOME to the 2022-2023 school year at Garland R. Quarles Elementary School (GQES), home of the Chameleons! At GQES, our vision is to be a THRIVING LITERACY COMMUNITY IN A STEM SCHOOL! The faculty and staff of GQES are committed to providing a supportive learning environment where all learners thrive by developing literacy skills as well as a deep understanding of content while emphasizing kindness, empathy, compassion, and caring. All decisions filter through our school’s vision. Our goals are to focus on improving student attendance (from the pandemic’s challenges), creating frequent project based learning opportunities for students through our Metrics Grant, and solidifying our strategic instructional planning time through our professional learning communities.
You may know, we have 4 recesses every day at GQES!!! According to the American Association of Pediatrics, free play is a fundamental component of a child’s normal growth and development (Ginsburg, K.R., 2009). Researchers Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle have studied 700 articles published in peer-reviewed educational, medical, and scientific journals that have formed the basis for their book, LET THE CHILDREN PLAY. In their research, they noticed rising obesity, declining mental health, increasing stress, growing disengagement in school, and lack of life satisfaction. They also noticed the overprescription of drugs to deal with childhood problems that may be caused by a variety of cultural and social stresses, including the lack of intellectual and physical play (Sahblerg, P. & Doyle, 2019, p. 37). Therefore, we celebrate learning through play, daily!
At GQES, like our fellow schools within Winchester Public Schools, we are focusing on our strategic plan, Empower 2025. We will EMPOWER staff by being better together, we will EMPOWER families by communicating weekly, and we will EMPOWER organizations and partnerships in our community by focusing on how we can work together to best support our students and families! To ensure a safe and orderly environment, GQES has been studying discipline, academic, and attendance data while making changes to better serve our students, specifically our most marginalized learners. We review data on race, ethnicity, and gender regularly. By far, the best ways to help students progress is building relationships and having high expectations. A team approach between student, teacher, parent, administration, and specialists, while working with our community resources, has been helpful for us at GQES. Maximizing our school’s culture through collaboration is how we empower others!!!
It is my distinct pleasure to serve as Principal at Garland R. Quarles Elementary School. Thank you for taking an interest in our school and community! Please contact our school at 540-662-3575 if you have questions or you can contact me on my school’s cell phone at 540-974-5903. Stay safe and stay well!
Ginsburg, K.R; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Communications; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics. 2007; 119 (1): 182-191.
Sahlberg, P. & Doyle, W. (2019). Let the children play. New York, NY: Oxford.
Education & Experience
Joanie Hovatter has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education Prek-4 from James Madison University as well as a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist from Shenandoah University. She currently holds an Administrative/Supervision K-12 endorsement from the University of Virginia. Currently, Mrs. Hovatter is writing her dissertation on recesses as part of completing her doctoral program at Shenandoah University. Through this program, she is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). Mrs. Hovatter taught third grade, first grade, and kindergarten before becoming a Reading Specialist and Reading Recovery trained teacher. She has been a high school assistant basketball coach for varsity and junior varsity teams, an assistant principal at the elementary and middle school levels and has also served as a middle school principal. Mrs. Hovatter is a teacher consultant with the National Writing Project. She and her husband, Sonny, are the parents of four children who graduated from public schools before graduating from Radford University (RU), Elon University (EU) and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC). They are also the proud grandparents of two grandchildren. Mrs. Hovatter loves to read, write, travel, and laugh! The Hovatters reside in Shenandoah County, Virginia where Mr. Hovatter is a full-time farmer.