Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
October 19, 2004

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, once again my report this evening provides a brief sampling of recent school system events and some of the accomplishments of our students and staff.

Our school system recently honored 87 of our outstanding educators at the annual Teacher of the Year dinner held on October 13th. Teachers of the Year from each of our schools were recognized for their exemplary contributions to the profession. Lisa Parker Langston, Strawbridge Elementary School, who was selected as the VBCPS 2005 City-wide Teacher of the Year, delivered the keynote address at the dinner. Langston becomes our 37th Teacher of the Year. This program, which started in 1967, honors Virginia Beach teachers whom have made significant contributions to the profession. All of our teachers of the year are featured on our website at vbschools.com.

Students at Corporate Landing Middle School are participating in a local oyster restoration effort through the school’s partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The students are learning about the importance of restoring the environment and have visited the Virginia Aquarium to collect data about oyster populations. They will conduct trips every four weeks to the oyster beds, and this project will culminate in the spring with oyster planting in the Lynnhaven River.

The year’s first intersession activities for our year-round schools continue to provide exciting learning opportunities for students. At Bettie F. Williams, students recently visited the Tournament Players Club, where they learned about principles of business in the food service industry. Students got “hands on” experience in the kitchen, received lessons in food safety, and saw firsthand what a job in the restaurant business entails.

October is Filipino American History Month, and students at Salem and Bayside High School’s have commemorated the event through participation in the oral history project, “In our Aunties’ Words: The Filipino Spirit of Hampton Roads”. This project premiered on WHRO this month, and will be featured in a behind-the-scenes DVD. Teachers and students created this service-learning project with a Virginia Beach city grant and support from the Filipino American National Historical Society of Hampton Roads.

Ocean Lakes High School has expanded their ninth grade transition program to include a FRESHman START Adventure Camp, a three day workshop for ninth grade students. The camp, held at the YMCA’s Camp Silver Beach on the Eastern Shore, focused on topics such as time management, organization, goal setting, communication, and problem solving. In addition, the ropes course, skateboard park, archery fields, and Frisbee golf course were also accessable to the students. The goal of FRESHman START is to actively engage students in school life and connect them with new friends and experiences. The project is supported by state and federal grant funding.

Several congratulations are in order this evening.

Congratulations to Christopher Reyes, a senior at Princess Anne High School, who has been recognized by the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program. This program is a College Board program that provides national recognition of the exceptional academic achievements of Hispanic high school seniors and identifies them for postsecondary institutions.

Kudos to The Office of Organizational Development for being awarded a $100,000 grant for the purpose of enhancing The Futures Project, our system’s educational leadership program. The grant, written by Ms. Olwen Herron and Mr. Charles Spivey, is entitled Leaders Mentoring Leaders: Pre-Administrator and Administrator Mentoring. The grant will support a unique partnership with The Lynn Leadership Group and Old Dominion University to provide professional development to enhance the learning partnership of school leaders and their mentors. The grant was one of only five awarded statewide.

I’m pleased to report that VBCPS was also the recipient of a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. The grant, which totals $466,967 will be used to strengthen the school division’s emergency preparation and response plan to effectively deal with a wide range of crises. As a result of this grant, the division will be enabled to develop a sustainable joint emergency response plan—coordinated with the city. The Department of Education sponsors this grant to emphasize the importance of collaboration between local school divisions and other first responders during emergency situations.

Congratulations to Kelly Koontz, teacher at Larkspur Middle School, who has been selected for a Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE) 2004 Teacher Award for outstanding creativity and commitment to the instruction of economics. Her entry, “Save the Bay the Econ Way” won second place in the innovation category for grades 6-12. The award recognizes creative and innovative units that increase student understanding of economic concepts, and will be presented on Thursday, November 4th at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Hats off to three Virginia Beach City Public School students who were recently honored for winning the “Kids Helping Kids” Summer Art and Essay Contest sponsored by Hair Cuttery. Taylor Bunch and Sarah Swaim, students at Cox High School, and Kay Owens from First Colonial High School each received a check for $500 dollars made out to the charities of their choice. Taylor, donated her prize to Equi-Kids; Kay donated her prize to the Landstown High school special education program; and Sarah donated her prize to the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Tidewater chapter.

Finally, Ocean Lakes High School has been selected as a Claes Nobel School of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. This student organization was founded by Claes Nobel of the Nobel Prize family in order to recognize and encourage academic excellence and service among high school students. Schools are nominated by students for this distinction, and OLHS received $500 as a part of the award.

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


Last Modified on November 29, 2004
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