July 15, 2003
Mr. Chairman, members of the School Board, and citizens of our community, my report this evening provides a brief glimpse of some of the many activities students and staff are engaged in during the busy summer months.
As you know, summer school sessions began on June 23rd and will continue through August 4th. To date, 10,617 students are enrolled in summer sessions at 29 sites this year. More specifically, 4,184 elementary students (including those enrolled in ESL and special education sessions), 2,539 middle school students and 3,775 high school students, as well as 119 secondary students who are receiving special education services. Last summer, 11, 258 students were served during summer sessions.
On June 10th, we celebrated the careers of our 178 retirees at a dinner held in their honor, and 40 stalwarts had worked for our school system for 31 - 40 years. The recognition dinner was designed to celebrate their service to our school system and to thank them for sharing their talents and energy with our students. We wish them well.
We have recently broken ground on two new school modernization projects. The project at Hermitage Elementary is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2004. Hermitage will be our first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rated school. This is a rating system, established by the U.S. Green Building Council, encourages the construction of buildings sensitive to environmental needs. Special design features will include low flow water fixtures, energy efficient lighting, and commissioning of the HVAC system to name a few. It will also require the separation and recycling of waste from the demolition process as well as the use of recycled material in the new construction. Students and staff of Hermitage have made the former Kemps Landing Magnet School their temporary home until the project is completed.
The new Arrowhead Elementary will include features such as a state-of-the-art computer lab, landscaped courtyard off of the Commons and the Media Center, Art and Music Rooms, Clinic, Guidance and spacious Administrative Suite. The Commons area will have a curved wall that will later be used for a mural of the school's choice. A unique feature of the new Arrowhead will be a nature trail through the wooded wetlands at the rear of Arrowhead's waterfront property. It is anticipated that the new building will be completed by July 2004. Staff and students will move into the new facility, and then the old building will be torn down and sitework on a new ball field, additional parking and remaining landscaping will be completed by the end of 2004.
On June 23rd, our school division paid tribute to the thirty-nine authors and artists who contributed to the publication of our third volume of "A Tapestry of Knowledge" at a dinner held at the Virginia Beach Resort and Conference Center. You may have noticed the artwork from this latest volume as you entered tonight-as it is now on display in the foyer of the School Administration Building. The dinner provided an opportunity to celebrate the completion of the third volume, which focuses on "Weaving Technology into Instruction to Improve Learning".
On June 18th, our Education Foundation hosted our 9th annual fundraising golf tournament. A total of 272 players teed off at Heron Ridge in two rounds of play. The tournament's major sponsor was Hewlett Packard and forty-four additional sponsors were instrumental to the event's success. This event raised a record $40,000 - to support school system needs such as teacher grants, student scholarships, and teacher honorariums.
The Department of Human Resources officially "rolled" out their electronic employment application today. Individuals interested in employment with Virginia Beach City Public Schools are now able to submit an employment application electronically via the school division's website - vbschools.com. This new procedure, which expands the current on-line capabilities, will allow applicants to complete and electronically "send" their employment application - for any position in the school division - to the Department of Human Resources. As a result of this new feature, applications can now be submitted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Another milestone has been reached today. We are completely live with WISE, the integrated human resources/payroll system. Today is the first payday of the new fiscal year and of WISE. There is nothing we have done to date that has had a more fundamental affect on our culture than moving from the archaic legacy system of the past 35 years to the modern-day era. In spite of some complaints you will hear, this system will provide safeguards against fraud, deception and error that ultimately protects our taxpayer's investment. I thank Ms. Victoria Lewis and all our staff who have given thousands of hours to this valuable project.
Congratulations to staff in our Office of Organizational Development for garnering two certificates of recognition for our system's VBCPS Guest Teacher (Substitute) Training Program and our New Employee Orientation. These awards were granted by Virginia Tech's College of Human Sciences and Education, as part of their 2003 Excellence in Education Awards for Public Schools.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report for this evening.