|On January 12, Superintendent Dr. Jim Merrill was the guest speaker for the Norfolk Kiwanis Club, providing an overview of the "state of the schools" as well as the future of public education. According to club president-elect Steve Kee (a Norfolk businessman and Princess Anne High alum), Dr. Merrill's remarks were very well received, eliciting numerous questions and a great deal of positive feedback.|
|Norfolk Kiwanis Club president Jim Hart is pictured with Dr. Merrill following his address.|
|Numerous Kiwanis Club members took the opportunity of speaking personally with Dr. Merrill at the conclusion of the meeting.|
|On January 21, Princess Anne Middle School students Jessie W., Sianna H. and Chloe D., along with teacher Elisa Zajac (pictured left to right), placed second in the Future City Competition. This national competition was created by the National Engineers Week Foundation and involved students from 37 regions throughout the United States. Teams plan and design virtual cities with SimCity 4 software, build scale size physical models with recycled materials, research and write a solution to an engineering problem, write a narrative describing their city, and present their ideas before a panel of judges. This year's essay topic was Fuel Your Future. Students chose one energy source and designed a way to generate electric power for their city that did not deplete natural resources and had a limited impact on the environment.||The I Make a Difference award at Princess Anne High School was recently received by Loretta Brown, an outstanding member of the cafeteria staff. Brown has a smile and a friendly greeting for everyone she sees on the job each day. A 10-year veteran of the school's food service team, she remembers names of students and teachers and welcomes them personally. She knows by heart the numerous food combinations possible and always helps students who don't have a complete order to make sure they get the most for their money. She works long hours, often putting in extra time ensuring students and staff receive the best food and beverage options possible. Brown makes a difference every day when she says hello and checks out an order with a smile! This type of infectious positive presence at PA is what makes the school day a pleasant and enjoyable one for everyone who comes in contact with her.|
|Providence Elementary reading specialist Christine Dalton, fifth-grade teacher Amy Maurer, and permanent substitute Julie Bryant dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland. As part of Math Literacy Night – entitled Alice in Numberland – students and parents participated in listening to and discussing the novel, Alice in Wonderland, while at the same time challenging their math skills. It was a fun night for all!||Pembroke Elementary reading resource teacher Joan Field (pictured left) invited children's author Frank Monahan to speak to students about children's books he has written. Prior to his embarking on a writing career, Monahan was a microbiologist and worked in the marketing field. Stanley and Norman, the two Basset hounds his family adopted, inspired him to become a children's author.|
|Shelton Park Elementary held its annual Multicultural Math/Literature Night on Tuesday, October 18. This event was extremely important as a way to encourage family support of the school’s initiatives and also gave Shelton Park parents the opportunity to learn strategies to help their children with reading and math. The event was hosted by the school’s math coach Susan Knowles and literature coach Regina Narcisi. Teachers focused on the Cuban culture with the book Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach. This book received the prestigious Pura Belpré award, which is given annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience. Families sampled Cuban food and all Shelton Park families who pre-registered and attended the special event received a free copy of the featured book.|
Pictured left to right are Shelton Park Elementary math coach Susan Knowles, State Senator Frank Wagner who stopped by to help promote the importance of education, and literature coach Regina Narcisi.
|Ocean Lakes High School is proud to announce its Distinguished Educators for the 2012-2013 school year. Pictured left to right are special education teacher Mackenzie Glasscoe, social studies teacher Darcy Pohl, Geri Axley (standing in for her husband, technology teacher Tim Axley), chemistry teacher Anne Kapral, and marketing education teacher Jim Cartwright.||Cooke Elementary fifth-grade teacher Brandi Miller organized and coordinated an in-school field trip. The Back Bay Mining Company came and set up its truck for students to pan for rocks. After their successful mining venture, students went back to their classes with rock identification books to determine which rocks they were able to find!
Pictured are Back Bay Mining Company owner Chris Sale and his daughter and assistant Jordan.
|Point O’ View Elementary fourth graders got a huge surprise this year when it came to math. Their teachers painted kidney tables with a special paint that made them whiteboards. Tahjanae' P. is pictured using the table to finish a math problem on which she is being assessed.||During a lesson on kindness in December, Pembroke Elementary school counselor Joan Saunders read the book Silver Packages to students. Their assignment following the lesson was to write a thank you note to an adult in the building. Fifth grader Micayla W. holds a letter she wrote Saunders. Saunders, in turn, holds a copy of a letter she sent to a former teacher, Charlene Bateman, who teaches at Landstown Middle School.|
|Princess Anne High School special education multiple disabilities teacher Margie Brown recently received the I Make a Difference award. She is a very “SPECIAL” special education teacher, working in the school's designated special education West Building. She is totally committed to her students and passionate about their education, care, and well-being. Though the work is sometimes daunting, one would never know it from Brown’s always positive and upbeat attitude with staff and students alike. In giving Brown the award, her colleague stated, "As a mother and grandmother, it gives me peace to know that these precious students are in her care. As a staff member, it makes me proud to have Margie as a part of our PA family." The feeling is shared by all on the staff. They see her smile, her caring attitude, and the positive difference that she makes.||Members of Pembroke Elementary’s Young Mustang Club made "Valentines for Vets" to thank them for their service to our country. The Young Mustangs use teamwork skills while working on projects for the community. Joan Saunders, school counselor, is the sponsor. Pictured left to right are fifth graders who are in the club.|
|Strawbridge Elementary teachers Collen Spirelis, Carla Daubenspeck, Erin Berens, and Karen Barry and principal Kelly Coon "Painted the Town Red" for American Heart Month and the Go Red campaign. Strawbridge is the first school in Virginia Beach to participate. Students also participated in Jump Rope for Heart and on February 2, students and teachers wore "Hats for Heart" and raised almost $400 for the American Heart Association.||Plaza Middle School's Emerging Young Leaders met with School Board member Ashley McLeod; President of the Virginia Beach Chapter of the NAACP Carl Wright; and Chairperson of the Youth Advisory Group and Political Action Committee in Virginia Beach Georgia Allen.|
|Anita Henderlight, executive director of Africa ELI (Education and Leadership Initiative) tells SCA representatives from Bayside Elementary about her schools in South Sudan that teach girls who would not otherwise have the opportunity to get an education. After hearing her speak, the SCA sponsored a Valentine’s heart sale to raise money for Africa ELI.||Members from the Virginia Beach Elks Lodge 2268 donated books to Bayside Elementary to be used in the Battle of the Books competition sponsored by the Virginia Beach public library system. Fifth-grade teacher Pam Gaut (far left) and library media specialist Patty Waller (far right) receive the books from (left to right) members of the Elks, Beverly Hamby, Steve Sabin, Teri Linardich, Dan Haney, and Jan Haney.|
|Plaza Middle School's seventh-grade MYP students, parents, and staff raised $14,200 for the Special Olympics of Virginia Polar Plunge. The school won the Second Annual Cool School Challenge again this year. The school also won both male and female Best Costume awards.||The Portsmouth Tidewater Community College (TCC) blueprint reading and welding (BR & W) classes along with the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) marine engineering and design (ME & D) class met in January for the kickoff of their first annual boat design project. This is a collaboration between the two classes in that ME&D will design the boat and BR&W will build the boat from 1/8 inch steel. Students will see their boat designs evolve from computer drawings to actual 3D products for a competition on water. Pictured are (first row) Jim Reich, ATC Marine Engineering and Design instructor with students; (second row) Richard Mims, TCC Blueprint Reading and Welding instructor with students.|
|As Windsor Oaks Elementary supported the Relay for Life team by wearing jerseys of their favorite team, the school took time out to recognize and congratulate kindergarten teacher Sally Benjumea as the school’s Teacher of the Year. Pictured are (back row) principal Michael Maloney; (front row) kindergarten assistant Yvette DiNapoli, Sally Benjumea with her daughter Iliana, Jose' Benjumea, and kindergarten assistant Maryjane Root.||Advanced Technology Center (ATC) modeling and simulation students are designing and modeling various furniture pieces for the Education Foundation’s current house building project located on 23rd Street at the oceanfront. Students’ models will be displayed in an architectural walk-through. As you may recall, a major fundraiser for the Education Foundation is the house building project whereby students from the Technical and Career Education Center building and trades programs construct a house from the ground up. The finished house is marketed and sold, with the proceeds going to the Virginia Beach Schools Education Foundation.|
|Students at Bayside Middle School were recently "fired up" by former New Jersey principal Baruti Kafele, a distinguished educator who is known for transforming the low-performing school in Newark where he served as principal. As a result of his achievements, Kafele was recognized by US News and World Report magazine and also received the 2009 Milken National Educator Award. In his message to Bayside Middle students he urged them to fire up their attitudes and strive for excellence. At the same time, he stressed the importance of belief, purpose, obligation, determination, resilience, and vision. Maryann Correia, eighth-grade English teacher, remarked that "The eighth graders seemed to hang on every word," especially when Kafele advised them to "circle yourself with people who are like-minded and who have goals they are working to accomplish." Gifted resource specialist Jamie Brookes-Myer met Principal Kafele at the recent African American Male Summit and asked him to come to Bayside Middle. He spent the day visiting classrooms and talking to students. Pictured are Principal Kafele with gifted resource specialist Jamie Brookes-Myer.||"Chocolate sauce? Toppings? Whipped cream? Have it your way" was the greeting for students with excellent behavior at Bayside Middle School. Grades were not an issue. Rather, the recent Ice Cream Social was a treat sponsored by school administration for all students who had not had any discipline referrals during the first semester. Qualifying students were given red wrist bands in homeroom as a sign of their good records. With the help of volunteers, the administrative staff served ice cream sundaes to them all during their lunches. The “serving crew” for the Ice Cream Social comprised Officer John Nicole; volunteer Michelle Lewis; principal Stacy Bland; student activities coordinator John Murray; student improvement specialist Alison Acosta; assistant principal John Chowns; PTA president Courtney Spence; and volunteer Consuella McCloud.|
|Seventh graders from Kemps Landing Magnet School (KLMS) are “lunch buddies” with Pembroke Elementary third graders once a week during second semester. The buddies participate in a variety of activities such as reading, playing games, and movie day, complete with popcorn!|
Pembroke third grader Tiera S. and KLMS seventh grader Grace L.
Pembroke third grader Caden R. and KLMS seventh grader Aaron B.
Pembroke third grader Davan M. and KLMS seventh grader Edward Stevens
|On February 1, marine engineering and design students presented instructions to the modeling and simulation students on naval architecture terms, structural components, and types of ships and their functions. This collaboration between the classes is part of a larger ongoing project of designing and modeling interior spaces for the Battleship Wisconsin located at the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk. Pictured left to right (first row) are Jared L., modeling and simulation student; and Ashley R., marine engineering and design student, (second row) William Jackson, modeling and simulation instructor; and James Reich, marine engineering and design instructor.|
|Congratuations to Indian Lakes Elementary School library media specialist Wendy Robertson on receiving National Board Certification! She has been teaching in Virginia Beach for four years. Robertson serves as an SCA Sponsor, takes a team to Battle of the Books every year, and is an asset to her school.||Office of Facilities Planning and Construction sustainable schools project manager Tim Cole (left) and director Tony Arnold (right) accepted the 2011 Planning Commission Design Award in Sustainable Development for the Pupil Transportation Maintenance Facility along with project architect Clay Dills of Dills Architects.|
|Advanced Technology Center A+ computer repair class, VBCPS Parent Connection, and the Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment Program (VA STAR) team have again come together to provide families of Virginia Beach schools’ students with a much-needed computer system. Students of the A+ Computer Repair class refurbished, tested, and delivered these systems. Pictured left to right are Chuck Drake, VA STAR Program Coordinator; John Joanides, A+ computer repair instructor; Stephanie M., Craig G., Maria L., Hunter J., Brianna P., A+ computer repair students; Richard Creal, GSA Utilization, Donation, Sales, Area Property Officer; Sharon Henry, Prince William County Public Schools, Supervisor Office of Community and Business Engagement; Laura Smart, VBCPS partnership coordinator; and Melissa McQuarrie, director, VBCPS Office of Community Relation.||Princess Anne High School MYP biology teacher Jamie Carpenter; technology education teacher Roger Crider; and IB biology teacher Camy Walck show off their "All Hands On Deck" Awards. The trio received recognition at a monthly faculty meeting for their planning of the mid-year faculty party held at Dam Neck's Shifting Sands Club on January 27. The successful event, with a luau theme, was promoted through an in-house video featuring a host of ukulele-playing faculty members. The planners did a great job and a fun time was had by all - both in the party promotion and at the event itself! Pictured left to right are Jamie Carpenter, Roger Crider and Camy Walck.|
|Congratulations to Advanced Technology Center (ATC) alumni Trent Birdsong, Class of 2010, on being named the ATC’s Volunteer of the Year (right). He is dedicated to assisting students in the classroom while at the same time taking classes at Tidewater Community College. He has volunteered his time and energy at five ATC open houses, speaking with perspective students and families about both the marine engineering and design and engineering design classes, contributing to the success of both. Pictured left is Jim Reich, ATC engineering and marine engineering and design instructor with Trent Birdsong, ATC alumni and Volunteer of the Year.||Pembroke Meadows Elementary School held its annual Read-a-Thon to celebrate reading month. Students and teachers took time to read together and even received a special treat from Skinny Dip. Pictured is kindergarten assistant Helen Stitzel reading a book to a group of third graders.|
|Jamie Friedman, a seventh-grade science teacher at Independence Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year at the school. She has been an Independence Middle School teacher for 11 years and a teacher in Virginia Beach City Public Schools for 13 years. Friedman serves as the seventh-grade science department chair, head seventh-grade science teacher, girls volleyball coach, and volunteers for numerous school committees and after-school activities.||Seatack Elementary teacher assistant Lisa Hymen (left) and teachers Valerie Respass, Amanda Dawson (second and third from left, respectively), and Sheleen Mathews (far right) accompany performers Corey and LaQuita Staten on stage during an assembly about ancient Mali called Atumpan- The Talking Drum.|
|In February, the Indian Lakes Elementary School's SCA sponsored a "Pasta for Pennies" fundraising campaign benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The campaign began on February 1 and ended February 24. All told, students, staff, and parents raised almost $6,500. Tammy Quent's fifth-grade class raised the most money and as a result received a catered pasta lunch from Olive Garden. On February 24 an assembly was held in the morning to spray-paint several staff members' hair because the goal of $1200 was exceeded! Pictured (front, left to right) are art specialist Linda Gerek, reading specialist Cristina Dajero, and guidance counselor Katie Aladj; (second row, left to right) library media specialist Wendy Robertson, fifth-grade teacher Tammy Quent, gifted resource specialist Heather Brooks, and assistant principal Penney Fonville. Physical education teacher Joseph Jackson is pictured in the back row.||On Tuesday, February 28, ladies from Virginia Voices International (VVI), a volunteer, faith-based choir that does mission work all over the world, presented a check for $500 to Martha Springstead, choral director and teacher at Landstown High School (LHS). The donation will be used in support of the LHS chorus and theater class trip to New York in April. Pictured from left to right are VVI scholarship chair Beth Lape, VVI director Mary Lyon Camper, VVI president Gloria Davis, choral director Martha Springstead, and assistant principal Natasha Christian.|
|The first statewide Love the Bus celebration took place in Richmond, Virginia, at the historic Bell Square in Capitol Square on February 16. Organized by the American School Bus Council (ASBC), the Virginia Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and its business partners, Love the Bus brought pupil transportation staff from across the Commonwealth together to celebrate the vital contributions of the iconic yellow school bus and the positive economic and environmental impact made by the availability of public transportation for students. It’s important to note that school buses remain the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school. During a single year, Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ 650 school buses travel 10 million miles, transporting 62,000 students daily (Monday through Friday), and logging 53,410 miles a day. Go yellow bus! Pictured are VBCPS Director of Transportation David Pace (center) and Mike Martin (right) Executive Director of the NAPT, greeting Virginia Speaker of the House William J. Howell during the Love the Bus celebration in Richmond on February 16.||Adrian Hayes, gifted resource teacher at Kempsville Middle School (KMS), has been honored with the Tagged by the Superintendent award. Hayes was chosen for the award for the significant influence and inspiration she has had on Kempsville Middle School since she joined the KMS faculty four years ago. Her efforts have impacted classroom instruction, teacher preparation, student involvement, and student achievement. She is a credit to the teaching profession. To borrow a cliché from the sports world, she makes everyone around her better. Classroom instruction and teacher preparedness have improved with her well-planned and informative PLC sessions stressing critical thinking, problem solving, and balanced assessment. She has helped numerous staff members write and receive grants that benefited KMS’ student body. Because of this hard work and willingness to help, student achievement and the quality of instruction available at KMS has never been better. Kempsville Middle's award-winning leadership workshop for students became a reality because of Hayes' drive and ambitious vision. The weekend workshop focused on communication, decision making, and group dynamics to name but a few of the worthwhile experiences. Adrian Hayes is truly an asset to Kempsville Middle School, the community, and this school system.|
|Congratulations to the Creeds Elementary School Reading Chiefs on winning the Fourth Annual Battle of the Books competition sponsored by Friends of the Public Library on February 25. Nine teams of fifth graders from schools across the city competed in a “Jeopardy-style” event during which the students answered questions based on 10 books – pre-selected by the library staff – that they had read. More than 500 fifth graders, parents, and teachers participated in the preliminary “battles” that began earlier in February at most library locations. From an initial 40 teams, the final nine emerged: Alanton (two teams), Arrowhead, Baylake Pines, Christopher Farms, Cooke, Creeds, Indian Lakes, and Lynnhaven elementary schools. As the winning team, the Creeds Reading Chiefs received a trophy to display in the school as well as gold medals, first place ribbons, and gift certificates to Barnes & Noble Booksellers.|
|Pictured from left to right are fifth-grade teacher and team coach Janice Clifton; team members Ireland M., Kailyn D., and Ryan P.; reading specialist and team coach Jennifer Haws; and team members Jake W. and Dreyden W.||The Creeds Reading Chiefs were really excited when they received the trophy for winning the Battle of the Books. Pictured left to right are team members Ryan P., Jake W., Ireland M., Kailyn D., and Dreyden W. Back row: fifth-grade teacher Janice Clifton and reading specialist Jennifer Haws!|
|The John B. Dey Flaming Brains, a Destination Imagination (DI) team, won first place for Project Outreach Challenge at the Tidewater DI Tournament held Saturday, February 25 at Corporate Landing Middle School. The students were all fifth graders and are pictured holding their certificates and blue ribbons. Congratulations!||Congratulations to the Princess Anne High School (PAHS) thespians! Under the leadership of drama teacher Julieta Ball, the group’s production of the one act play Reflex Action placed first at the Beach district competition held in February. The decision by the judges was unanimous, a feat that has happened only twice before in the district. The talented group of 33 cast and crew members went on to finish first at regionals which qualified them for state. On March 3, the troupe traveled to Charlottesville for the State VHSL One Act Tournament where their performance earned them third place in the competition, only a few points out of second and first place. In addition, two students received the VHSL Outstanding Actor Award for their performances.|
|The faculty and staff of Old Dominion University’s (ODU) Batten College of Engineering and Technology invited teachers, counselors, prospective students, and parents to learn more about ODU’s Engineering and Technology programs and facilities through their Engineering Open House and Design Contests held on Saturday, February 18. Landstown High School technology teacher Mack Stevens took 13 Technology Academy pre-engineering students to ODU to participate in several engineering and technology design competitions designed to test students' inventiveness and engineering skills. Congratulations to the students who performed admirably, earning four first place wins, five second place wins, and five third place wins. Students were awarded $50 Best Buy gift cards for first place, $25 for second place, and $15 for third. Congratulations to Stevens and to all the students who participated!|