Superintendent's Report
May 20, 2003

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, I'd like to share highlights from some recent events and several noteworthy accomplishments of students and staff in my report this evening.

On April 26th, Transportation Services held its second annual Allen Basnight Memorial School Bus Driver ROAD-EO at Glenwood Elementary's parking lot. The event encourages school bus drivers to improve their driving skills through participation in three events:
A written test, a pre-trip inspection test, and a driving skills test that requires them to maneuver through a nine-challenge obstacle course. Placing first in the Bus driver's ROAD-EO was Stacey Karras, followed by Kelly Westerman and Sue Baker, who placed second and third, respectively. Ms. Karras will represent our school system in a state competition in June.

On May 3rd, 75 of our elementary students participated in the Great Computer Challenge, which is sponsored by the Consortium for Interactive Instruction managed by WHRO-TV. Students competed in teams in areas such as desktop publishing, graphic arts, desktop presentations, and an Internet scavenger hunt. Ten of our Virginia Beach teams were Junior Division Winners and received awards at this regional event.

Princess Anne High School recently hosted a delegation of Israeli teachers as part of a cultural exchange sponsored by the State Board of Education. The four teachers participated in 3 panel discussions with Princess Anne High students and then enjoyed interacting with the school's staff during lunch. The visit enabled students to learn about life in Israel and to gain a greater understanding of the country and its culture.

Point O' View Elementary recently hosted a "Space Day Celebration" where students, staff, and guests had the opportunity to sign a poster that will accompany the space shuttle on a future mission. Point O' View is one of only 500 schools worldwide selected for inclusion in the "Student Signatures in Space" Program, which is sponsored by NASA and Lockheed-Martin. Once the shuttle completes its journey, the signed poster will be returned to the school with a certificate memorializing the event and a picture of the space shuttle crew. The project was coordinated by parent volunteer Lisa Murdock.

Our division held its annual registration and orientation for rising kindergarteners on April 29th. During the orientation, students and their parents had opportunities to meet school staff, tour the school, participate in story time, ride the bus, and receive a kit of information about our kindergarten program. The original art for this year's kindergarten registration kit was the work of Cindy Copperthite, art specialist at Ocean Lakes High School. During orientation, our staff enrolled 2,257 new students bound for kindergarten next school year. Of course, registration will continue during school office hours through August 15th. Parents are encouraged to register children who will reach their 5th birthday on or before September 30, 2003 prior to the start of the 2003-04 school year.

Our school system paid tribute to school/community partnerships last week at our annual Partners in Education Appreciation Breakfast. Nearly 600 representatives from schools, businesses, military commands, and community organizations attended the event - where highlights of this school year's partnership activities were shared and 16 model partnerships were recognized as best practices. Our schools' alliances with more than 1,350 organizations throughout our community assist us in expanding opportunities and providing additional resources for our students and staff.

Several congratulations are in order this evening. . .

Hats off to Woodstock Elementary for receiving a $500 grant from WalMart, Salem Crossing, to create and stock a wildlife habitat in the school's courtyard. Plans for a mini ecosystem for outdoor learning include a pond, fish, plants, a butterfly garden, and bird feeders, all to be constructed and dedicated this month.

Congratulations to Woodstock teacher, Betty Oliver, for being selected the American Legion Teacher of the Year. Ms. Oliver has taught fourth and fifth grades for thirty years and has a passion for teaching Social Studies. She regularly provides opportunities for her students to participate in civic activities.

Kudos to two of Ms. Oliver's students who recently received accolades. Tyler Webb, a fourth grade student at Woodstock was a finalist in the Maritime Poetry Contest sponsored by the Old Coast Guard Station. Tyler's poem entitled "The Atlantic Ocean" was written as part of a class assignment. And Fourth grader, Ryan Roper recently won the city-wide Daughter's of the American Revolution Writing Contest for his essay on the American flag, also written as part of a class assignment.

Congratulations to Lynnhaven Middle School and King's Grant Elementary School for receiving certification from the National PTA as a Parent Involvement Schools of Excellence. After forming teams, completing self-assessments, and collecting information to apply for the honor, the schools earned the certification for upholding the highest standards for involving parents.

Congratulations to Joan Schrecongost, Executive Office Associate in School Administration and Virginia Beach's current Educational Office Professional of the Year, for being selected as the Commonwealth of Virginia's Educational Office Professional of the Year. Joan will now represent the state in the national competition in July.

Kudos to Vicky Roche, eighth grade teacher at Larkspur Middle School, for receiving the 2003 Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education from the United Jewish Federation. The award is given annually to an educator who helps students to make connections between history and lessons that impact student's lives today. Ms. Roche was awarded a professional development opportunity at a Summer Institute in Boston.

Hats off to Emilie Stump, an 11th grader at Ocean Lakes High whose artwork was awarded third place in the high school division of the Virginia School Board Association's state art exhibit.

Thirteen Ocean Lakes High School students recently won awards at the 52nd Tidewater Regional Science Fair held at Nansemond River High School in Suffolk. Robbie Richwine placed first in Behavioral and Social Sciences and Doan On and Jon Sotosky placed first for their team project. The student's advisor is Teacher Heather Green.

Congratulations to Vangel Quilon, a ninth grader at Princess Anne High, who is the grand prize winner in Hampton Roads Sanitation District's environmental art contest. Vangel's design will be used on HRSD projects and will also be reproduced for t-shirts.

Kudos to students in Princess Anne High's Level II Japanese class who recently placed 3rd in the region in the Japan Bowl. The Japan Bowl is a day long academic competition for high school students studying the language. Students are tested on grammar, kanji, katakana, kotowaza (proverbs), culture, and listening comprehension. The students are currently studying Japanese via distance learning and were selected based on successful subject performance.

Kudos to the 2003 Outstanding Foreign Languages Teachers of the Year who were recently honored at the 9th annual dinner for Foreign Language Teachers held at Grand Affairs on April 24th. Graciela Finley, Landstown Middle School, was nominated by her peers and selected by a committee for excellence in foreign language teaching. The 2003 Outstanding Foreign Languages "Rookie" teacher of the year honor went to Mary Carmen Rude, Ocean Lakes High School.

The dedication for Advanced Technology Center was held on April 30th. Governor Warner attended the dedication and delivered remarks prior to the official "cable cutting." Attendees were afforded the opportunity to tour the new 137,000 square foot facility.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report for this evening.