Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
August 17, 2004

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, my report this evening includes brief highlights of some recent activities and a few accomplishments of our students and staff.

Students at five elementary schools returned to the classroom on July 26th, the first day of the 2004-2005 Year-Round School calendar. Seatack Elementary, Bettie F. Williams Elementary, Corporate Landing Elementary and Plaza Elementary have been joined this year by the newest addition to the ranks of the year-round schools, Point O'View Elementary. Point O'View kicked off their year-round school program with a community cookout on the Thursday before the beginning of school. This event was a huge success, and was attended by over 1,000 community members! Other year-round schools rolled out the red carpet to students with special events commemorating the start of another school year. At Corporate Landing, parents and students visited classrooms on the first day of school, and students got to know each other through Kagan structures in their classes. Bettie F. Williams students and staff hit the ground running, televising their morning announcements and using wireless laptops to reinforce concepts. Plaza students made news, being featured on a Channel 13 news report, sharing perspectives on year-round school. At Seatack, students enjoyed a visit from Mayor Meyera Oberndorf and Clifford the Red Dog. Year-round school has been enthusiastically received by families across Virginia Beach, and continues to grow with each new school year.

Students from across the city participated in the SCA Student Leadership Workshop that was held recently at Virginia Wesleyan College. Student leaders were selected from high schools and middle schools across the city. 126 high school delegates and 120 middle school delegates attended the workshop to prepare for successful student leadership programs at each school site. The theme for this year's workshop was Awaken to the Challenge, and activities provided students with opportunities to improve their skills in teambuilding, communication, conducting effective meetings, planning and implementing activities, self-confidence and philosophies of leadership.

Administrators from throughout the city participated in the 2004 Administrators' Leadership Conference that was held on August 11, 2004 at Landstown High School. Keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Doug Reeves, from the Center for Performance Excellence. His address, "The Daily Disciplines of Leadership" provided cutting edge research and personal experiences to shed light on current topics in education.

VBCPS summer school initiatives provided opportunities for students to enroll in 38 courses on the high school level, 15 courses on the middle school level, fast track tutoring followed by SOL test retakes in twelve subject areas, elementary remedial classes and summer enrichment camps. In total, over 9,300 students participated in summer school this year. Of particular note is the introduction of on-line geometry classes offered for the first time.

Having fun while keeping up reading skills is the purpose behind the Sail Into Summer reading program sponsored by Virginia Beach City Public Schools for all Reading Recovery® students. This intensive program identifies strengths and develops prescriptive strategies to help first grade students achieve success in reading. In an effort to continue progress throughout the summer, six mailings of books are being sent to each Reading Recovery® student. Books are selected based on each child's reading level as assessed at the end of the school year. Students get to read their books, color them, and keep them, and have been enthusiastically received by students and parents!
Several congratulations are in order for this evening.

A Virginia Beach City Public School 2004 Model Partnership will receive national attention on August 23rd, when the Points of Light Foundation will feature it as a Daily Point of Light. The partnership, between the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse, Seatack Elementary School, and Bettie F. Williams Elementary School is designed to meet the unique needs of children whose parents are incarcerated. This program, known as the Navigators, has served students since November, 2000, and helps students by encouraging resiliency, problem solving skills, and developing their self-esteem. The award, given by the Points of Light Foundation, recognizes and honors those who have made a commitment to connect Americans through volunteer service and focus on critical needs within communities. The Daily Points of Light Award shines the spotlight on one individual or group per day, in order to spread the good news about their contributions and dedicated volunteerism. The Navigators will be featured on August 23, 2004, and their service will be illuminated as a shining example of community engagement in Virginia Beach and across the nation.

Hats off to Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge Thomas Shadrick, an active Virginia Beach City Public School volunteer, who has been awarded a Governor's Award For Outstanding Civic Engagement by the Virginia Commission for National and Community Service. The commission has been charged by the Governor to salute significant contributions of individuals who have improved the life and welfare of Virginia citizens through their volunteer efforts. This award, given in recognition of Judge Shadrick's volunteer service to the students of Seatack Elementary School, will be presented on September 1, 2004 in Richmond. Judge Shadrick spearheaded the initiation of a mentorship program at Seatack, which has served more than 300 students with over 6,876 hours of volunteer service. Mentors from the Virginia Beach Bar Association, Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office and Police Department work with Seatack student to improve academic performance, and the program has positively contributed to gains in student achievement and behavior. Congratulations to Judge Shadrick for this recognition, and many thanks for your service.

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

Last Modified on November 29, 2004
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