Dylan Wiliam a hit!
“What can we do differently in our classrooms that will make the connection to how we teach our students and how we understand what they have learned?”
This was one of the important questions Dr. Dylan Wiliam answered in his February 22 seminar at Landstown High School. As the second speaker in Teacher Forum’s National Speaker Series, Wiliam shared his insights and practical strategies on how to implement formative assessments as Assessment for Learning (AfL) in classrooms.
As Wiliam points out, “We cannot predict what students will learn as a result of instruction. Formative assessment involves getting the best possible evidence about what students have learned and then using information to decide what to do next.”
Windsor Woods and Cooke elementary schools host children’s author
Children’s author Kim Norman shared her talents with both Windsor Woods and Cooke elementary schools in honor of Literacy Month.
The third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students at Windsor Woods Elementary School enjoyed a presentation by Norman during which she discussed how she handles the writing process. She also told the students about her “infamous internal Evil Editor,” a part of her personality that won’t let her allow sloppy, boring, or careless work to make it into her final draft of whatever she is writing. Thanks to Norman, the students gained a new insight into the writing process and the patience and hard work involved in achieving success.
At Cooke Elementary School, Kim Norman was invited to participate in the school’s Family Literacy Night. She spoke to children and their parents about her experiences in getting her work published. She then treated the crowd to a reading of her new book, "The Crocodaddy." Families enjoyed the evening which included dinner provided by Hardees.
Among the books that Kim Norman has written are Jack of All Tails; The Crocodaddy; Ten on the Sled; All Kinds of Kittens; Dinosaurs, Whales; I Know a Wee Piggy; and The Great Christmas Crisis.
|Children’s author Kim Norman talks about the writing process with students at Windsor Woods Elementary School.||Cooke Elementary sponsored a Family Literacy Night in celebration of Literacy Month which featured children’s book author Kim Norman.|
The Power of Belief affects former student
As you may recall, The Power of Belief is a collection of heart-warming essays written by Virginia Beach schools students, staff, parents, and community members. It was published in January and we are happy to announce that the book is enjoying brisk sales. However, beyond this success story is another that features one of the book’s contributing authors, Brandon McIntosh. His essay, I Believe in Failure, details the story of how he has learned from his mistakes, and although incarcerated he has turned his life around. His story was featured on WAVY-TV 10 in January, when Dr. Jim Merrill and several administrators traveled to St. Bride’s Correctional Center to present him with his copy of the book. His positive story involved his going through VBCPS’ jails education program and receiving his GED. His jails education teacher, Laura Fronk, saw the “call” for essays for The Power of Belief and encouraged him to write an essay. He elected to write about the power of failure to teach life lessons. WAVY covered the story during the visit. Here is a link to that story. In addition, Candy Hatcher from The Virginian-Pilot interviewed McIntosh and the story appeared in the paper in early February. The warden of St. Bride’s received a copy of Brandon’s story which was also told on VBTV. It was aired through the prison system in an effort to remind other inmates of what is possible when you commit to learning from your mistakes.
If you haven’t gotten a copy of The Power of Belief, books are still available. The cost is $10 and they can be ordered online. Remember, all the funds generated from book sales go to the Virginia Beach Education Foundation for teacher and school wide grants.
STARTALK at Christopher Farms
Christopher Farms Elementary recently completely a month-long afterschool program entitled STARTALK, focusing on Chinese language and culture study. Fifth-grade participants from last summer's Virginia Beach STARTALK Elementary Chinese Summer Academy attended four post-sessions after school during the month of January to extend and improve their knowledge. Immersing students entirely in the language, instructors Jie Lian and Nora Benedict taught students about the Chinese Lunar New Year and led students in a celebration of the Year of the Dragon. Funded by a grant, the program will extend to each of the division’s elementary schools through the distribution of several books to support these students' continued language growth and to generate enthusiasm for the study of the Mandarin dialect as well as an appreciation of Chinese cultures. Check out the video of students singing a song about the Lunar New Year. This was the last day of class and they sang to their parents at dismissal.
STARTALK is a national initiative in summer language education, affiliated with the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, which is administering the program. It provides summer student and teacher language experiences, academic courses, curricula, and other resources for foreign language education in less commonly taught languages in K-16 educational settings. Among the languages taught are Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Hindi, and Farsi. For more information about STARTALK, go to the following website.
Who's got SWAG?
Cox High School's English 11 and public speaking teacher Michelle Machay and special education teacher Carol Paradiso have teamed up to promote the latest high school trend - the Spreading Warmth and Generosity (SWAG) band. Students are sporting the green and gold band (Cox Falcon colors) that denotes membership, not only around the school but also in the surrounding community. The SWAG movement began this year after Machay saw a program presented by two graduate students from Virginia Tech (VT). Their program, “Actively Caring for People,” was developed in response to the VT shootings. Their concept was to "catch" people performing random acts of kindness and then acknowledging their kindness by passing on their own Actively Caring bracelets to them. The idea, of course, is to “pay it forward” by continuing the cycle of passing on the bracelet to those folks who are doing a kindness to someone else. The project was also inspired by the anti-bullying workshop/seminar given by The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater last summer that Machay attended. As a result, she decided to implement this idea in her classroom. The concept caught on to the point where students throughout the school wanted to participate. The SWAG band idea won by a landslide and is now a constant reminder to students and adults alike to be kind and caring to ALL they may encounter.
Invention Convention at Larkspur Middle
Larkspur Middle School held its Second Annual Invention Convention on Friday, February 3. Students on the Falcons team (the eighth-grade X-CD team) were challenged to take an invention and modify it or create a new invention that would make life better. Sonia Pritchett, the X-CD team leader and organizer of the event, invited staff members from other grade levels, students from all grade levels, parents, and community and school officials to attend the event. The students worked on the projects during English class and were solely responsible for the entire presentation, including greeting people with a firm hand shake and making eye contact when their “booth” was approached. The team with the most votes from the judges was rewarded with a special luncheon put on by Pritchett, but all student teams received a certificate and candy treat. The student presentations were a huge success and the work the teams invested in their projects was evident to all who attended the “convention.”
|Larkspur Middle’s Invention Convention was a huge hit with students, staff, and parents!|
Salem High sponsors Black History Month talent showcase
Salem High School was proud to present a Talent Showcase on February 24 in celebration of Black History Month. The event included performances by members of the Old Dominion University chapters of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Step Teams; the Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia Dancers (YFAMD); the V2W Experience Dancers under the guidance of Valerie Winborne, the dance teacher at Old Donation Center; Spoken Word Poetry; and several musical performances. Those in attendance enjoyed both the quality and variety of the performances. A reception was held immediately following the entertainment.
Larkspur Middle hosts leadership workshop
Eighty student leaders attended Larkspur Middle School's (LKMS) second leadership workshop of the year – Cooking up Leadership -- held Saturday, February 11. Student leaders from Salem, Tallwood, and Kempsville high schools served as counselors to the students and led them through the decision making process, team building games, and group dynamics activities. Several LKMS faculty members volunteered their services and taught classes on communication and group dynamics. The students also participated in a service learning project, making animal toys for the local Virginia Beach SPCA animal shelter! The event was a collaborative effort that will help to shape Larkspur students into better leaders in their community and school. The workshop was organized by Leslie Lehner, a sixth-grade math teacher. Other LKMS staff that assisted by teaching breakout sessions were Lesley Groves, Laura Tyler, Beth Wydra, Billie Rawls, Eva Dobak, Sonia Pritchett, Jenna Leverett, Amy Fentress, Mark Meader, and Soraya Delachica.
A third leadership workshop was held on March 24th for Larkspur’s feeder school elementary students. The “Larkspur Leaders” that attended the workshop on February 11 used their skills to teach the importance of teambuilding and leadership to the elementary students. Students from the following elementary schools attended the event: Arrowhead, Green Run, Kempsville, Kempsville Meadows, Parkway, Point O’ View, Providence, Rosemont, and White Oaks elementary schools.
Real Men Read!
The “Guys Read Club” organized by John B. Dey reading specialists Stacey O'Donnell and Lynn Logan consists of 10 fifth-grade boys who meet weekly to discuss books and reading. They are frequently joined by male mentors from the community who talk about the importance of reading with the boys. Currently, the group is reading Babe and Me by Dan Gutman, a book about Babe Ruth.
|Pictured in the first two rows are the members of the “Guys Read Club. In the back row (far left, second from left, and second from right) are volunteer community mentors from Cox High School, both of whom are seniors on the football team. Pictured on the far right is Cox High counselor Bobby Jamison.|
Princess Anne Middle students make service learning real
Students at Princess Anne Middle School (PAMS) are encouraged and challenged to live what they learn through service learning projects, to make relevant connections between what they learn in the classroom and what they actually experience in the real world. The seventh-grade English teachers recently extended their students' study of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol by having them participate in a Philanthropy Phair. This was no small challenge, yet the students rose to the occasion by raising awareness about a community problem, proposing change, and acting on it.
The students' journey toward an understanding of their responsibility in contributing to the betterment of the local community began with their being exposed to the music video, “If Everyone Cared” by Nickelback. This video clearly showed them that it only takes one person to make a difference and that they each could be that one person. As the students delved deeper into the study of A Christmas Carol and the concepts of misanthropy and philanthropy, they came to realize that whole portions of a society are mistreated and that some have no way of ever escaping this mistreatment without the help of others. With this knowledge as their base, the students were charged with finding a need within their immediate community and then publicizing it. It was amazing to see how quickly, creatively, and unselfishly the students became engaged in reaching out to others as they tried to make a difference. Their final performance tasks were showcased in a Philanthropy Phair night, held February 8. The students’ effort, pride and sincerity in their work stand as testimony to their sensitivity and awareness of the needs of others. The PAMS seventh-grade English Department sponsored the event and refreshments were provided by Chili's, Tropical Smoothie, and Chick-fil-a.
ATC students win at U. S. Cyber Challenge
Students from the advanced CNA (computer network administration) program at the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) recently participated in the U.S. Cyber Security Challenge. This online competition was sponsored by the SANS Institute and the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation and comprised a series of online tests in the fields of cyber security, networking, operating systems, and server administration. More than 2,000 students participated from 32 states, three territories and 169 schools. Congratulations to CNA instructor Linda Lavender on having three of her students place first, second, and third in the state in the competition and nationally 25th, 32nd, and 35th respectively. This online competition is designed to locate IT security talent and inspire students to focus on careers in a rapidly increasing and understaffed field.
Diamond Springs Elementary hosts Franklin Covey visitors
On Friday, February 10, two representatives from the Franklin Covey group visited Diamond Springs Elementary to see the implementation of the Leader in Me program at the school. The program has been a great success at the school for serveral years, and Diamond Springs staff were delighted to showcase their success for representatives Jenni Williams, a Lighthouse Coach from Utah, and Kelly Kennedy, a Client Partner from Virginia. During their visit, they were able to see the students embracing the 7 Habits of the Leader in Me program in classrooms and throughout the school.
Valentine’s Day outreach
On Valentine’s Day, students at Princess Anne Elementary showed they cared by reaching out to the homeless of Tidewater. On February 14, students in kindergarten through fifth-grade took turns assembling 32 blankets to give to homeless families at Samaritan House. Three months of planning went into making this extraordinary project a reality! Check out the photos of students and teachers hard at work “making” blankets.
DECA Recognizes Outstanding School Stores
DECA recently recognized the school store at Landstown High School – Eagle’s Landing – as one of 17 school stores nationwide to achieve Silver Level Certification for a school-based enterprise (SBE). Congratulations to the students who worked to attain this honor as well as to their marketing education teacher and advisor Ann King. The school store at Landstown has been in operation for 11 years. School-based enterprises are effective educational tools in helping to prepare students for the transition from school to work or college. For many students, they provide their first work experience; for others, they provide an opportunity to build management, supervision and leadership skills.
VBCPS administrators published in national periodical
Congratulations to Landstown High School principal Brian Matney and Kempsville Middle School student activities coordinator Lisa Masisak, both of whom have articles appearing in the latest edition of Leadership for Student Activities, a monthly periodical of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Matney’s piece highlights the cooperative efforts of a variety of student organizations in hosting a series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of Cox High School last spring. As you may recall, he was the principal at Cox prior to being named principal of Landstown High. Lisa Masisak’s article focuses on 25 quick and inexpensive ways to acknowledge student achievement. The overall theme of this month’s edition of the magazine, which enjoys a national circulation of over 25,000, is “Extra Credit: The Importance of Recognition.”
|Brian Matney, principal, Landstown High School|
VBCPS website wins national award
Congratulations are in order for those who design and manage the Virginia Beach Public Schools website, Department of Media and Communications public relations coordinator Nancy Soscia, internet webmaster H. L. Wilson, and administrative associate Sarah Aho, on winning the Sunny Award! This award is presented by the editors of Sunshine Review to honor the most transparent government websites in the nation. These outstanding websites have scored an “A” transparency grade on Sunshine Review's Transparency Checklist. This year, only 214 of the more than 6,000 government websites ranked by Sunshine Review earned a Sunny Award.
Advanced Technology Center hosts middle school Career and Partnership Day
The Advanced Technology Center (ATC) sponsored its Annual Middle School Career Day, on Friday, February 24. A highlight of the event was the ATC’s recognition of Plaza, Landstown, and Kempsville middle schools as official partners. The ATC has sponsored a Middle School Career Day for eighth-grade AVID students from these three middle schools for four years. This year, more than 80 students participated in hands-on activities related to specific technical and marketing careers such as home Internet technician, graphic artist/webpage designer, engineering technician, and marketing director. The ATC Middle School Career Day provided middle school students with an opportunity to experience related careers from ATC students who applied 21st century skills in planning and problem solving with middle school students.
Pictured left to right (first row) are Plaza student Rebecca J., Landstown student Courtney D.; and Plaza student Issiah J.; (second row) Ann Marie Garvey, ATC assistant director; Plaza student Andrea P.; Landstown student Summer H.; Plaza students Tanaeyah H. and Dyvina B.; Kempsville students Brianna M. and Katie W.; Plaza Middle School guidance chair Samiya Sanderson; Plaza Middle School instructor Tonia Waters; AVID instructional specialist Linda Love; and ATC director Michael D. Taylor; (third row) Plaza Middle School coordinator Tom Quinn and computer resource specialist Gerry Miller; Landstown Middle assistant principal Cameron Vaderson, AVID coordinator Moria Culp, and guidance chair Todd Fritz; Kempsville Middle guidance chair Tim Pellerin; student Eric T., guidance chair Monica Smith, school improvement specialist Madeline Fodrie, and instructor Amanda Maloney; Plaza Middle teacher Bruce Croxton.
Outstanding Teachers of the Gifted selected
Each year the Virginia Association for the Gifted (VAG) recognizes individuals for their contributions to gifted education programs through its Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted awards. Recipients of the award are typically selected in the spring in all of the state’s nine regions and are honored at the VAG Conference the following fall. The goal of identifying VAG Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted nominees is to recognize the contributions of those individuals whose work demonstrates exceptional commitment to gifted children and the programs that serve them.
Based on its enrollment, VBCPS typically selects two nominees. This year, our congratulations go out to nominees Terri Hawley and Janice Clark.
Terri Hawley, gifted resource teacher, Trantwood Elementary School
Terri Hawley has been with VBCPS for 18 years, seven of them dedicated to Trantwood Elementary. She earned her BS degree from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, her master’s degree in education from Old Dominion University, and her gifted endorsement from the University of Virginia. Currently she is working on her Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision. Hawley serves as the School Improvement Coordinator, is a member of the school’s Planning Counsel, and is the director of a yearly summer science camp called Camp Invention. Hawley has two sons, and her husband serves as the CRS at Kempsville Meadows Elementary.
Janice Clark, gifted resource teacher, Redmill Elementary School
Janice Clark is a 14-year veteran educator with all of her years dedicated to VBCPS and Red Mill Elementary. She taught third grade for 10 years before she accepted the position of gifted resource teacher, a position she has held for four years. She earned her BS from Old Dominion University and her gifted endorsement from the University of Virginia. Clark attended Virginia Beach schools and is a Virginia Beach native. Her daughter is an eighth grader at Princess Anne Middle School and her son is graduating from Kellam this year.