Legal Studies Academy students on the job and on the go!
First Colonial High School’s Legal Studies Academy juniors and seniors had the opportunity to travel to the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, recently. As you may be aware, Quantico is the premier site for FBI agents to receive training. It is also home to specialized law enforcement units such as Behavioral Analysis. Students received a welcome from the campus director and heard presentations from several special agents and the head of the Behavioral Analysis Unit. They received a complete tour of the campus, including the famous Hogan’s Alley, a simulated town in which agents train for various types of special operations. Students were selected for the trip based on their intention to pursue a career with federal law enforcement.
Large star of small screen visits PA
Betsy DiJulio has always been known for her expertise as an art teacher at Princess Anne High School. This Super Bowl season, though, she achieved “star status” as the owner of "Huff the dog," star of the small screen! You may have seen the prize-winning Doritos commercial starring Huff which premiered during a coveted Super Bowl time slot. The amiable Great Dane was featured as the dog that used bribery to cover up his implied crime in this Doritos commercial which placed first in the competition. Weeks before the big game, the ad, along with four others, could be viewed via the Internet and the public was invited to vote for its favorite commercial. All were fun and creative, but Huff's - so say the staff of PA High School – was definitely the most clever and the most entertaining. Huff stole the show! Betsy learned along with all America the results of the voting only when the ad appeared during the Super Bowl at which time pandemonium broke loose in the DiJulio household with friends calling non-stop to share in the excitement! On February 6, Huff “dropped” by PA’s faculty meeting to mingle with his “public.” Needless to say, he was greeted with great applause. A photo op ensued with the "faculty paparazzi" vying for the best angles and shots and Huff posing graciously. After all, it's not every day that a star visits the school!
Click here for a quick video of Huff's faculty meeting appearance.
Check out the winning “Huff” commercial here.
|Betsy DiJulio and Huff the star!||Assistant principal Tom Gustafson schmoozes with Huff and Betsy DiJulio.|
Mock Congress offers unique lesson
Cox High School government teacher Kellie Torrence recently used a University of Virginia (UVA) website to teach students about the process of researching and writing a bill for Congress. The first step involved students deciding on an issue they wanted to pursue. They then researched the issue, evaluating the positions of various political parties and looked at current and past legislation, including Supreme Court cases that might have involved their issue. Next, they considered costs involved with implementing their bill. Students also wrote letters to current Congressmen and women soliciting information about their issues. Following their research, students used the UVA website to help them write their own bills. Once they were completed, the "Mock Congress" phase of the project began. This involved students nominating and electing class mates for leadership positions. Elected leaders were then sworn in. Their duties included running the class as if it were a “working” Congress. Student committees discussed whether or not to pass suggested bills. If they passed a bill, it would then go to the “House” floor for debate. Following the debate sessions, the class voted the bill up or down using strict rules of procedures which were enforced by the student leaders. Using 21st century skills and differentiated instruction, students used the "Mock Congress" format to develop a deeper understanding of how Congress operates as well as the steps involved in creating laws for our nation. Check out this Youth Leadership Initiative here.
Student exhibitions thrill parents!
Corporate Landing Middle School recently hosted its first series of Student Exhibition Nights. Sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade parents were invited on separate evenings to celebrate their children's accomplishments, viewing student work in core as well as elective classes. The evening was designed to be very informal so that parents could move from class to class at their leisure. As they did so, students demonstrated science experiments and explained projects, teachers mingled with the crowd, and counselors conducted informational sessions for parents on scheduling for high school classes. The three evenings were a great success with about 250 families represented and over 600 participants. Great job, Jet students and staff!
Pembroke Elementary sponsors book club
During the month of January, fifth-grade girls at Pembroke Elementary participated in a Breakfast Book Club. The girls met every Friday at 7:15 a.m. to discuss the books they read. They also played games such as Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? as part of their discussion of the books. In addition, the girls had the opportunity to participate in a blog that featured questions about the book that they could answer. A real “plus” to the program was that the girls were able to keep the book(s) they read which were purchased from the Scholastic Company.
Malibu teacher wins state award
Congratulations to Beth Estill, reading specialist at Malibu Elementary, on being named the Virginia State Reading Association Reading Teacher of the Year. Estill earned this prestigious award for her outstanding work within Virginia Beach and her many contributions to other school districts within the state. As the Virginia Beach Reading Teacher of the Year, she was in competition with teachers from all 132 of Virginia's school districts.
Estill is a 23-year veteran VBCPS teacher, with 10 years devoted to classroom teaching, three years serving as a language arts coordinator, and 10 years as a reading specialist. She earned her undergraduate degree at Illinois State University, her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia (UVA), and her Education Specialist degree in reading, also from UVA. Estill is a National Board Certified teacher in Literacy.
Larkspur Middle School holds “Fun Run”
Larkspur Middle School (LKMS) held its Second Annual Family Fun Run Event on Saturday, February 25 at 9:00 a.m. The 5K and one-mile run/walk races began at 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. respectively. The race began on school property, continued through the Larkspur neighborhood directly behind LKMS, and finished back on school property. Larkspur’s nine feeder elementary schools, two feeder high schools, and the community at large were invited to join in the fun. Following the race, refreshments were provided to participants by one of the school’s sponsors, Harris Teeter. Several other Volunteers in Education assisted with this event by providing information to the community on services they provide, supplying the race "goodie bags," and serving as course monitors. Among these supporters were the school’s PTA, the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Department, E-Z Coil, Subway, and Rib City. The race registration fees and all donations were used to support the SCA's focus organization, The Wounded Warrior Project.
Kemps Landing Magnet students win national video award
A team of Kemps Landing Magnet School students recently learned they were the grand prize winner for the video they developed for the Go Bananas! Challenge sponsored by the Cincinnati Zoo. According to their earth science teacher Dianna McDowell the eighth-grade earth science students at Kemps Landing are encouraged to focus their year-long science project on a real world problem, take action on it, and use the scientific method to measure the impact of their action.
Four eighth graders, David B., Jake B., Michael C., and Cameron S. (with the help of classmate Ian Roberts who served as a cameraman), decided to take action through the national Saving Species Challenge program to help conserve habitat for the Silverback gorilla in Africa. Silverback habitat is threatened because the mineral coltan is mined there for use in cell phone manufacturing. The students created a video to promote cell phone recycling and entered their video in the Saving Species, Most Creative Video contest. The students competed against groups nationwide, including high school students, and ended up winning first place, netting $1,000 in prize money. The students opted to put the money toward a planned eighth-grade science field trip in April to defray the cost for all students.
Students are already planning for next year’s competition. This time they intend to enter the contest for collecting and recycling the most cell phones. Check out the video and contest details here.
Technology Academy gains partner for robotics competition
The Technology Academy at Landstown High School is proud to announce its newest business partner – AVW Technologies. The company will partner with students in the engineering department as they prepare for the FIRST FTC (First Tech Challenge) Robotics program later in the spring. AVW Technologies Inc. is a local engineering firm that develops robotic technologies for all branches of the military. It will provide several teams with technical support, mentoring, and resources as they move forward in the competitions. AVW Technologies representative Michael Wendell visited students from the FTC teams and administrative members of the Landstown High School Technology Academy to bestow a $4,000 sponsorship.
|Pictured left to right are technology education teacher and FIRST FTC Robotics advisor James Barger; student Matt T.; Michael Wendell, AVW Technologies, Inc.; students Alex N. and Chloe C.; Technology Academy coordinator Lisette Diehl; and principal Brian Matney.|
Diamond Springs students meet Clifford
On January 26, the student body from Diamond Springs Elementary, along with 60 teachers and staff members, attended the Clifford the Big Red Dog show at the Sandler Center. The school was able to see the show thanks to a generous grant from the Sandler Center that covered the entire cost. Students loved seeing Emily Elizabeth pick Clifford out of the litter, even though he was the “runt.” Before seeing the show, students read many Clifford books and learned about Norman Bridwell, the author and illustrator of the Clifford series. In addition, students wrote thank you notes to those at the Sandler Center who sponsored their attendance at the show.
Teacher of the Month at Tallwood High
Congratulations to chemistry teacher Kathryn Matney on recently being named Teacher of the Month for February at Tallwood High School. Matney is a 20-year veteran teacher at Tallwood. Her students recommended her for Teacher of the Month award because she is very clear with all of her lessons and makes sure that no student falls behind. Moreover, she sees to it that everyone understands by finding different ways to explain the topic she is teaching. She works through examples in class so that her students have the skills they need to complete their homework successfully. Matney also stays after school to offer tutoring. Her students appreciate that she makes eye contact with them and they remark that they feel a personal connection with her. She encourages her students to interact in the classroom, which makes the learning environment – and her lessons – interesting and fun.
A career fair at PA High School
It was career day at Princess Anne High on Friday, February 10. With a theme of Today’s Learners – Tomorrow’s Earners, the event was a great success. More than 300 students participated and took advantage of their opportunity to mingle with potential future employers in the school’s library. The 22 community representatives spotlighted work in shipbuilding, massage therapy, cosmetology, the Virginia Beach Police and Fire Departments, EMS, Parks & Recreation and several branches of the U.S. Military. In addition, career and trade institutions were represented. Among them were Rudy & Kelly Academy, the Culinary Institute of Virginia, Sentara Health Sciences, and Bryant & Stratton College. Meeting with these representatives gave the students experience in interacting with employers, developing questioning skills, and raising their awareness of possible career fields. The event’s planner, guidance counselor Cathy Delaney, received positive feedback from the presenters and felt that the Fair was highly successful in encouraging students to think more concretely about future employment.
|Career/colleges represented included the U.S. Army; Bryant & Stratton College; Virginia Ship Repair Association; Virginia Beach EMS; Newport News Shipbuilding; Ocean Breeze Water Park; Cayce/Reilly Massage (Center); and the Culinary Institute of Virginia.|
Lynnhaven Elementary School sponsors STEM team
This school year, Lynnhaven Elementary is sponsoring a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) team consisting of 12 fifth-grade students assisted by two teachers/advisors. The group has been tasked with building a robot from the ground up and will compete in the STEM Robotics competition to be held June 1 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The robots will be programmed to lift and carry blocks from one area to another while at the same time defending their home area from the opposing team. The STEM team had the opportunity to visit Norfolk State University in January and work with several students and professors of robotics to program robots to perform various tasks. Using 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork, the students programed the robot, tested it out, and made any needed adjustments. This was an “awesome” experience for the Lynnhaven Elementary “roboticists”!
O'Meara named National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year
Congratulations to Karen O’Meara, assistant principal of Pembroke Elementary School, on being named the National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year by the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals (VAESAP) in conjunction with the National Association of Assistant Elementary School Principals (NAAESP.) O’Meara is the first assistant principal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to receive this award.
O’Meara was selected because she has demonstrated exceptional leadership at Pembroke Elementary; holds high expectations for staff and students; and contributes regularly to professional organizations such as VAESP/NAESP. She has conducted professional training for staff, developed an efficient process for handling testing materials, created and cosponsored a club for disadvantaged male students, designed a literary and geography project for all students, and created a behavior plan for the student body.
“I am honored to receive this outstanding award from the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals,” O’Meara said. “I am proud to represent all of the many hard-working and dedicated assistant principals across the state. I am also very fortunate to work in a school where the administrative, teaching and support staff collaborate so effectively with the parents and community to ensure that students have a wonderful foundation for academic success. When our students leave Pembroke, we are hopeful that they have gained a desire for life-long learning that will serve them well during their school careers.”
Before becoming Pembroke’s assistant principal, O’Meara was an elementary and middle school teacher. During her 19 years in the classroom, she has been recognized as both an elementary and a middle school Teacher of the Year. Following her service in the classroom, she joined the Office of Organizational Development where she coordinated the division’s New Teacher Mentor Program and provided training for administrators, teachers, and substitutes for eight years. She was appointed assistant principal for Pembroke Elementary School in 2008.
VAESP is a professional organization serving elementary and middle school principals.
Trantwood Elementary counselor wins state award
Lisa F. Lee, school counselor at Trantwood Elementary School, has been named the 2012 Elementary Counselor of the Year by the Virginia School Counselor Association (VSCA.) She received the state award during the VSCA’s Academy Awards Breakfast at the VSCA Conference held in Newport News on March 16.
In a congratulatory letter, VSCA officials commented that Lee earned the award because she “not only supports the VSCA national standards for school counseling within her district, but also advocates for the profession throughout [her] community. Her dedication to students and increasing efforts at collaboration with fellow educators are admired and appreciated.”
Lee remarked, “I am honored to have been chosen and it is reaffirming to receive the validation that I am doing a good job. But just being able to come to school each day to a career I truly love and to feel like I am making a difference in the lives of my students is the biggest reward I could’ve ever asked for.”
As the award recipient, Lee met several criteria. Among them were her outstanding performance as a professional school counselor, her innovative programs, her creation and sustaining of a developmentally appropriate school counseling program, her demonstration of leadership through active involvement in professional counseling associations, and her use of technology and data to create school counseling programs to benefit all groups of students.
Perhaps Lee’s effectiveness as a guidance counselor is best realized through the individual successes of her students. “I often work with students that have difficulty with emotional regulation and self-control, which impacts not only their learning but the climate of the entire classroom,” Lee said. “One such student wrote me a thank you a few years after I helped him develop better anger management skills that said ‘Dear Mrs. Lee, Thank you for everything you gave to me. You helped me a lot in second grade and all that help made me the kid that my parents want me to be. You are the best counselor I’ve met! I think you are very encouraging and I always have positive feelings when I see you in our lessons. You’re the best!’ ”
Congratulations to Lisa Lee on this high honor.