March 19, 2002
Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, my report this evening provides a brief slice of the many activities and accomplishments of our students and staff in recent weeks.
The Month of March is being recognized as Youth Art Appreciation Month and Music in the Schools Month. Our annual citywide Art Exhibits have been on display at Lynnhaven Mall, The Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, and the Central Library. All City chorus performances were held at Plaza Middle School on March 16th, where over 200 of our elementary students performed. All City band concerts were also "conducted" last weekend at Tallwood High School.
On February 20th, our system sponsored its seventh annual Career Connection: Transition to the Future at Landstown High School. More than 150 career and community agencies brought information about their organizations for students to explore. Students and their parents had the opportunity to ask questions about the careers of interest to them and to speak to professionals in fields they may want to pursue in the future.
On February 28th, our partnership with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was celebrated at a ceremony to recognize outstanding American History teachers and students. This year, four teachers were recognized for their outstanding performance in teaching American History. . .Kathryn Lienau, Landstown High School, Samantha Lambert, Ocean Lakes High School, Andrew Jackson, Princess Anne High School, Doris Monk-Smith, Tallwood High School. Eleven high school students, one from each of our high schools, were named Outstanding American History students and four of our elementary students were recognized for their winning fourth grade essays on "What the Flag of the United States of America Means to Me."
During the week of February 25th, our schools hosted a visit from a Sister City delegation from North Down, Bangor, Ireland. Several members of the delegation were educators and were able to learn about American education first hand by visiting seven of our schools. The majority of their experiences were at Arrowhead Elementary and Kempsville Middle Schools, as these schools have established international partnerships with schools in Ireland. The delegation was most interested in learning about our system of alternative education, curriculum and instructional practices, and the administrative management of our schools. Students at Arrowhead and Kempsville Middle enjoyed collaborating with their Irish "Partners in Education", partners they had only known through e-mail and written correspondence, previously.
Students throughout our school system are now able to submit applications for admission to three special interest academies for the 2002-03 school year. The deadline for applying to Bayside High's Health Sciences Academy, First Colonial's Legal Studies Academy, and Plaza Middle's International Baccalaureate Academy is March 29th. To provide needed information, each academy has held an open house and information has recently been mailed to students' homes. The academies, while accommodating the learning styles and interests of a variety of students, will offer additional academic choices and still provide students with instruction in core courses. More information about our academies is available on our website.
Several Congratulations are in order this evening. . .
Congratulations to Ocean Lakes High students Josh B., Jordan S., and Michelle R. who placed second in the state VHSL Theatre competition at the Charlottesville Performing Arts Competition on March 2nd. Their performance also earned them second place in the District competition and first place in the Regional competition. The students were directed by Christa Jones.
Hats off to bus drivers Tracey Hassler and Donna Milliken! On March 7th, they were recognized at a special ceremony at Princess Anne Middle School. It is how Tracey and Donna do their jobs that earned them kudos. The Horizons Board of Directors initiated this recognition because of the incomparable service Tracey and Donna provide for their program. Horizons, a partnership with Cape Henry Collegiate School, provides selected elementary students with programs emphasizing academics, the arts, social growth and swimming. Ms. Hassler and Ms. Milliken go above and beyond by calling parents ahead of time, and paying special attention to individual student needs.
For the last few months, I have been highlighting several of our schools that have made great strides in preparing students to meet state standards. Tonight, and during the course of the next few months' superintendent's reports, I'd like to continue to recognize schools that achieved the status of provisional accreditation and are meeting state standards.
At Salem High School, great gains were noted in all Social Studies courses, most notably in World History I, where an improvement of over 16 percentage points was noted. Reading literature and research and Algebra I scores also posted gains of 13.41 and 13.07 percentage points, respectively. Staff at Salem High attribute their outstanding improvements on 2001 SOL tests to: teacher collaboration, frequent review opportunities for students, and excellent staff development, such as participation in "History Alive" training. World History teachers also collaborated to design a "History Bowl" competition for students.
Indian Lakes Elementary School is most proud of students' performance on 2001 SOL testing at the fifth grade level. Language Arts scores increased by 11 points, math by 5 points, history by 21 points, and science by 19 points. Staff attributes these successes to the collaborative planning of teachers, which increased their professional knowledge, after school tutoring for students, and support from parents and community, such as a grant from our Education Foundation-- designed to support at risk learners.
At Lynnhaven Middle School SOL pass rates exceed 80% in virtually all areas-English, Math, and Science. Especially noteworthy are a 100% pass rate in Algebra I and Geometry, and a 99% pass rate in Earth Science. Continued improvements are attributed to staff development and assistance from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, before, during, and after school tutorials, widespread parent involvement, and the dedicated efforts of faculty and students. The "Breakfast Club" tutoring program is particularly noteworthy at Lynnhaven Middle, as some students meet at 7:00 a.m. for almost two hours of study prior to the start of the school day!
At Kempsville Middle School, the most significant accomplishments on the 2001 SOL tests were in the areas of math (a 16 percentage point gain) and in social studies (gain of 14 percentage points). Greater awareness of the SOLs, the use of Blueprints and teacher resource books, instructional strategies learned in staff development, the use of pre and post test data to plan for future instruction, and the Core plus program, are all factors that staff at Kempsville Middle attribute to SOL progress. They also note that Dr. Beryl Karlen, the school's School Improvement Specialist, was instrumental in providing SOL support.
Ocean Lakes Elementary reports increased performance on SOL test scores at the fifth grade level with average gains of 18.6 percentage points in Language Arts and Math. Staff attributes these improvements to the implementation of effective instructional practices resulting from support from Curriculum and Instruction, and excellent faculty support of the school's tutoring program.
At Windsor Woods Elementary, students in Grade Three reached the 70% passing rate on all tests and in Grade Five, 70% passing was achieved on 4 out of 6 tests. Assistance, in the form of staff development, was provided to teachers in areas of reading comprehension and writing, staff from C&I provided demonstration lessons at each grade level, and dedicated teachers and assistants tutored students after school.
As you can see, all of our schools continue to work diligently toward the achievement of full accreditation.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report for this evening.