Superintendent’s Report June 20, 2000

Good Evening. As we end the 1999-2000 school year, my report tonight highlights many successes and achievements for both our students and staff, as well as, many noteworthy projects and events which continue to mark our school division with excellence and pride of accomplishment.

Many congratulations are in order this evening—

Congratulations to 4370 seniors who earned diplomas from the VBCPS this past week. Our school division has successfully completed 12 graduation ceremonies between June 14 and June 18. We are proud of the accomplishments of this year’s senior class and offer our best wishes for the future to all graduating seniors.

Congratulations to our school system retirees who were recently honored at a recognition dinner. On June 7th, we paid tribute to 250 retirees whose years of service in the VBCPS ranged from 5 to 46. Collectively they gave a total of 6,305 years of service to our schools. For their contributions we are truly grateful. We wish them well in their future endeavors.

Congratulations to Courtney B., a junior at Ocean Lakes High School and Michael P., a senior at Tallwood High School for being named as Lee-Jackson Foundation Scholarship Winners. Each of them receives a $1,000 scholarship.

We Offer Three Cheers for Camilla Walck, a teacher at Princess Anne High School and Mary Ellen Sawyer, a teacher at Woodstock Elementary, for being recognized in WTKR’s "Three Cheers for Teachers" tribute!

Two Landstown Elementary students have been recently recognized for their artwork.

Kudos to fourth- and fifth-grade cluster class teams at Bettie F. Williams and Shelton Park Elementary Schools who are regional winners – 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th places– in the Virginian Pilot Stock Market Game. They – along with their gifted resource teacher Michele Giardina – were honored at an awards ceremony at First Union Securities.

Congratulations to Christina K. and Elizabeth H., two Cox High School students who placed with an honorable mention and a third place respectively, in the 2000 Talent Search for Promising Student Authors competition, sponsored by The Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary. Christina is a junior at Cox and a student of Dorian Newill, an Honors English 11 teacher. Her winning entry was a non-fiction essay entitled The One I Called Dad. Elizabeth is also a Cox junior. She is a student of Pam Cummings who teaches Advanced Placement English Composition 11. Elizabeth’s winning entry was Overcast Morning, a poem. Winning students were honored by being invited to a writer’s workshop – with their families – held on the campus of William and Mary.

We salute the Kingston Elementary Destination Imagination Team members for their second place award at the state tournament. After finishing first in the Tidewater Regional Competition, they competed in Richmond. The team built a roller coaster that really took the rider through some thrilling turns! Congratulations to Julia C., Morgen F., Andrew F., Peter F., Brittni G., Michael G. and Jamie H., coached by Kim Fett and Michael Gracia.

On June 1st   The Virginia Beach Public Schools Education Foundation and the VBCPS Music department hosted our 2nd annual Stars, Musical Bars, and Bands Concert, featuring 1,100 band students. Event organizers report that over 5,000 people, many of them retired and active-duty military families, attended this year’s event which was also a Salute to our Military. A special presentation was made to retiring Congressman – The Honorable Owen Pickett for his significant contributions to the Hampton Roads area. Approximately $10,000 was raised for the Education Foundation’s teacher grant program. Special thanks to all staff involved in making this event such a success—especially, Bonnie Fischer, Steve Ambrose, Denise Lawson and Jody Blaufus.

On June 2 New Castle Elementary held a dedication ceremony for the new building, which opened in September 1999. Following remarks from Principal Janet Duff, School Board Chairman Dan Edwards and me, members of the SCA led the students in burying a time capsule in the school courtyard. Kindergarten students also performed a special "rainbow" song.        

The Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta, Georgia has recognized 37 students from our school district with the Award of Educational Achievement for their performance on the 2000 High Schools That Work assessment.

As our school year ends, I feel it is appropriate to offer special thanks to all community organizations who have partnered with our schools to provide tremendous support and additional resources during the 1999-2000 school year. On May 31st, we recognized many representatives from our partnering organizations, along with school administrators and school partnership coordinators, at our annual Partners in Education Appreciation Breakfast at the Pavilion. Nearly 500 people attended the event which was highlighted by a video presentation which paid tribute to our "community heroes", our Partners in Education. At last count, at least 1,250 organizations have been engaged in formal partnerships with our schools during the 1999-2000 school year. These collaborations result in vast support,--material, financial, and most importantly, human resources for our schools.

Speaking of partnerships, on June 7th, third graders in Mrs. Duke’s class at Point O’ View Elementary escorted seniors from Sentara Village down the aisle to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance at a graduation ceremony held in their honor. The Sentara Village Seniors earned their "mastery of the Internet" diplomas, following months of instruction by the third graders in the school’s computer lab. This pilot project which brings students and seniors together has plans for expansion throughout Sentara’s senior care facilities. Learning to communicate through use of the Internet has the potential to "reconnect" isolated seniors with family and friends. The relationship has brought increased skill, self-esteem and pride to all participating third graders. It is win-win partnerships like these that offer mutual benefits and great pride in our community engagement efforts.

On May 25 Salem High School collaborated with their Partner in Education, Helicopter Support Squadron 6, to conduct an Academic/Vocational Integrated Project. The event was highlighted by a fly in of a vintage Vietnam helicopter that was available for class tours to students studying American history, physics, mathematics, and technology. Pilots conducted briefings on the aerodynamics of helicopter flight for calculus and physics classes. Photography students recorded the event on film and developed memories of the event, while students in advanced food preparation classes prepared and served lunch.

This integrated project directly involved 200 students and eight teachers. As a culminating activity it certainly brought learning to life for the students. Many thanks to the Salem staff and their partners at Helicopter Support Squadron 6 for making it so!

And finally, my congratulations and sincere appreciation to all staff for the completion of yet another successful school year.

As you can tell from my report this evening, our staff and our students of our school system continue to be a source of accomplishment and pride in our community.

Members of the School Board, that concludes the superintendent’s report.