Superintendent's Report
August 21, 2001


Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, and citizens of our community, my report this evening provides information about some events that have recently taken place in the division and highlights a few accomplishments and honors received by our students and staff.

I'd like to begin with a brief report of the preliminary results from our 2001 SOL testing. I'm extremely proud to report significant progress toward our goal of full accreditation for all of our schools. This year, 41 of our schools earned full accreditation, that represents 50% of our schools that will be fully accredited! An additional 34 schools will be provisionally accredited and meet state standards, indicating that 91% of our schools now meet state accreditation standards. This is phenomenal progress and everyone is to be commended for his or her efforts.
The first of many "SOL abrations" was held at our recent Administrative Leadership Conference, where an ice cream social followed a day of training for our school administrators. Four hundred and six administrators attended the two-day training event, with a theme of What Works, A Blueprint for Success. Thirty-seven concurrent sessions were offered in addition to the general sessions which enabled our administrators to benefit from the expertise of state and national speakers such as State Superintendent Dr. Jo Lynne DeMary, Dr. Phillip Schlechty, Bob Hopkins, and Joe Clark.

In addition, 80 new and veteran administrators were also busy this summer at the New Administrator's Training held July 24th through July 27th. Fifteen sessions were offered, equipping the principals, assistant principals, and administrative interns with valuable information, such as working effectively with the media, partnering successfully with our community, the procedures for business services, and resources available from the department of accountability. New principals had an opportunity to meet informally with their respective assistant superintendents, as well.

The Department of Administrative Support Services has presented the 2001-2002 School Attendance Zone and Street Index Guide in digital format on a CD. This guide allows schools and administrative departments to quickly locate attendance boundary information and student assignment. This information is also available on the division's Intranet site and our website.

Brandon Middle School Sixth grade students recently got a taste of Hollywood on June 19th,when the Starbursts, a sixth grade core team at Brandon Middle School, were invited by actor Tom Cruise to visit the movie set in Gloucester for his upcoming film, Minority Report. The invitation came after the students wrote persuasive letters to Cruise asking to meet him and learn how he achieved his success. Starburst students were not only taught persuasive writing techniques to expand their writing skills but also given the chance to explore future career opportunities by touring a real movie set.

Twenty-eight business education teachers spent 12 hours training and testing for the Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) program. The MOUS certification program is designed to help companies identify employees with the adequate skills and competencies to complete necessary tasks. The overall certification rate for our business education teachers was 89 %. In addition, the first Business Education student became certified in Word 2000 in June. Thoa N., a Salem High School Cooperative Education student, took the online test at the Technical and Career Education Center.

At a recent training for each school's partnership coordinator, the results of the 2000-2001 Farm Fresh ABC (Audio-visual equipment, Books and Computers) project were announced. Seventy two percent of Beach schools participated in the program, earning a total of $5,706,359.61 in receipts (nearly six million dollars) which allowed us to receive resources such as TVs, VCRs, DVD players, digital cameras, printers, books, and sports equipment. Our thanks to Farm Fresh and our community for assisting our schools in securing the needed resources to promote student learning and enhance activities.

Several congratulations are in order this evening. . .

Congratulations to two Advanced Placement Human Geography students at First Colonial High School who were among the ten winners of the first annual World Refugee Day poster contest. Soyuen L., a junior, won second place with the "Be Strong. Have Hope" poster and schoolmate Nicholas R., a sophomore, won third place with his "You can't be a refugee if people make the whole world feel like home" poster. Both students' posters have won awards from the United Nations and the U.S. State Department and are part of a special exhibit at Ellis Island, NY until September 30, 2001.

I'm pleased to report that during the May 2001 International Baccalaureate (IB) testing session at Princess Anne High School, 137 juniors and seniors took 518 IB exams and for the most part came out victorious. Of the 60 IB seniors pursuing a full IB Diploma, 58 successfully earned that prominent honor, giving PAHS a diploma earn rate of 97 percent and bettering the worldwide figure by over 15 percent. These numbers keep Princess Anne High School as one of the top fifty IB schools in North America. Congratulations!

Hats off to Technical and Career Education Auto Service instructor Mark Maund, who recently received third place in the National Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) Instructor of the Year Award program in Detroit, Michigan. There are presently 345 AYES programs in the nation and 550 instructors. We have the largest program in the United States with 18 participating students. Our partnerships with Beach Ford, Hall, and Greenbrier Chrysler provide mentorship training for our students in the program. Congratulations, Mark!

Kudos to Lynnhaven Elementary School! We have just received word that Lynnhaven Elementary has been awarded the Certificate for Commitment to Performance Excellence by the Senate Productivity and Quality Award for Virginia. This certificate represents the first level of recognition for this quality award. Congratulations to Principal Linda Hayes and the staff at Lynnhaven Elementary and to the Office of Organizational Development for their guidance and support in this effort!

On a final note, I wanted to take a moment to share information on the Summer Professional Development Academy (SPDA). As of Saturday, August 25, the Summer Professional Development Academy will officially come to a close. All total, 5,020 teachers registered for the 1200 classes offered. I would like to personally thank the many teachers who graciously honored their commitment to completing the requirement and taking back valuable new strategies to their classrooms. I realize that for some there were inconveniences involved, from changing summer plans, to working around summer jobs, to rearranging childcare. The leadership of this school system is truly appreciative of your professionalism.

I would also like to thank our instructors, many of whom were teachers, for their willingness to share their expertise. Your leadership and your responsiveness, especially within the framework of a tight time line, are greatly appreciated. But perhaps your most admired characteristic -from my vantage point-- is your grace under pressure.

Chairman, that concludes my report for this evening.