Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
December 21, 2004

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, I’m pleased to report on many recent activities and accomplishments of our students and staff.

Old Dominion University will offer a junior-level math class to VBCPS students beginning in January as part of an agreement between our organizations. ODU staff will be teaching a dual-enrollment section of Linear Algebra (MATH 316U) for our highest-performing math students. These are students who have taken calculus and passed with a score of 3 or higher on the BC Calculus examination as juniors. As seniors, they will be able to take Linear Algebra this spring. The course will be offered at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center after school (3:15 - 4:30 p.m.) and will be taught by longtime ODU adjunct faculty member Frank Carroll, a retired faculty member from Ohio State University. Dual enrollment is usually the domain of community colleges; this the agreement makes available a higher-level math class for our most advanced students. Demand has proven to be high for the class and 44 students are eligible to register.

Our Department of Technology and the Consortium for Interactive Instruction recently co-hosted the regional 2005 educational technology conference, “Technology Integration Makes a Difference”. Approximately 300 attendees from throughout the region gathered at Landstown High to attend their choice of 50 presentation sessions and hear remarks from keynote speaker, Dr. Annette Lamb from Purdue University on the topic of “The Learning Keystone: Thinking, Reading, and Technology Equals Information Literacy.”

Woodstock Elementary has created a brick “Wall of Fame” in the school’s new cafeteria --to pay tribute to past and present Woodstock teachers and students. The wall is created from bricks from the former Woodstock Elementary. The project is a fundraiser for the school’s SCA, who plans to use the proceeds for community service.

Green Run High School graduate and Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Plaxico Burress invited 200 selected Green Run High School students and their families to be his special guests for a pre-Thanksgiving holiday feast held in the school’s cafeteria on November 23. The intent of this holiday gathering was to pay tribute to his former Green Run High teachers, administrators, coaches, and the school community for supporting him throughout his academic and professional career. The senior members of the Green Run High School football team helped the Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver serve dinner to the invited dinner guests.

First Lady of Virginia, Lisa Collis, visited Luxford Elementary School on December 10, to present the Healthy Kids Gold Medal Award to students and staff for the school's fitness initiative. This state-wide award is in conjunction with the first lady's initiative -- Virginia Action for Healthy Kids -- a part of the nationwide initiative, Action for Healthy Kids which aims to improve the health of Virginia's youth by increasing the nutritional value of school lunches and snacks, and improving the quality of physical activities during and outside of school.

$65,000 was recently awarded to Virginia Beach teachers by the Virginia Beach Public Schools Education Foundation at an annual TGIF (Teacher Grants Improve Futures) Celebration. Seventy-five Building Futures Grants, of up to $1,000 each, were awarded from a pool of 197 applications. It is estimated that the Grants will impact approximately 10,000 students in more than 50 of our schools.

VBCPS students Lamont Walker, Newtown Road Elementary, and Avery Kampfmueller, Alanton Elementary, represented our schools at the recent Virginia Schooner christening at the Outer Berth in Norfolk. Lamont and Avery, along with other students from across the region, had the opportunity to christen the vessel along with First Lady, Lisa Collis, and to meet Governor Warner.

Bayside High School students from the Math Science Academy recently met with second graders from Old Donation Center who are studying forensic investigations. Teachers Camille Grabb at ODC, and Luisa Zirkle at FC, arranged the visits and exchanges of instructional information, some of which took place in the Math and Science Academy’s Forensics Lab.

Staff from our Department of School Administration and Office of Organizational Development were invited to present our leadership development program, The Futures Project, at the National Quality Education Conference (NQEC) and The National Staff Development Conference(NSDC). Olwen Herron and Lindsay Shepheard presented at NQEC in October and they were then joined by Ron Nash and Betsy Taylor for the presentation to NSDC in December. The presentations highlighted the success of the Futures Project in building and sustaining leadership capacity in our school system.

In the spirit of giving this season, Landstown High School is once again sponsoring their fourth annual “Helping Hands for the Holidays” food drive. Their partnership with Operation Blessing will provide local families with more than 1800 baskets of food. Many of our schools participate in community service projects that support our greater community during the holiday season.

First Colonial High also hosted an integrated school-wide project designed for Foreign Language Week called “Got Language? Go Global.” The project involved research by students in foreign language classes, a band concert that focused on music by foreign composers, a reception catered by the culinary arts department, publicity organized by students in the gifted program, and the display of Picasso-like statues designed by art students.

Several Congratulations are in order for this evening. . .

Congratulations to the Ocean Lakes Boys Varsity Soccer Team and Coach Don Hart for receiving a 2004 academic award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). This is the sixth national academic award achieved by the OLHS boys soccer team. The team achieved a 3.37 GPA during the 2003-04 school year and will officially be presented with their award at the NSCAA convention in Baltimore in January. They are one of only four teams in the state and the only public high school in the Eastern Region to receive this prestigious award. Congratulations!

Hats off to Bayside High School Earth Science teacher, Sara Dias, and BHS Chemistry teacher, Margaret O’Leary for being awarded Science Teaching Tool Awards from the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications-Electronics Association. Both teachers received $750 for the purchase of multi-media projectors for the Bayside High Science Department.

Kudos to 2004 Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Gurley, for being presented with the Excellence in Education Award during the Virginia Tech/ University of Virginia game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg on November 27. The award, sponsored by the Virginia Lottery, is presented to outstanding Virginia educators. A total of seven Virginia educators received the award this year.

Congratulations to New Castle Elementary School Principal, Janet Duff, who was recently awarded the James D. Mullins Leadership Award from the Virginia Beach Reading Council. This award recognizes administrators who show exceptional support of reading. Mrs. Duff is now the Virginia Beach nominee for this award at the state level.

Hats off to students and staff at Kingston Elementary for being awarded Lifetouch Publishing’s Best of the Best Yearbook Contest for Best Cover. More than 17,000 books are submitted to this competition annually and Kingston will receive a recognition packet and $100.

Congratulations to Landstown High School Physical Education teacher, Thomas Anderson, who was recognized by the Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Alpha Chi Chapter with an Apple for the Teacher Award at their nineteenth annual awards luncheon held at the Chesapeake Conference Center in November.

Accolades for Rosemont Forest Elementary teacher, Mindy Cahill who was recently appointed to serve on the Virginia Taskforce on Special Education Licensure. The taskforce was formed to revise and rewrite licensure requirements for teachers of students with disabilities throughout Virginia.

And finally, congratulations are in order for Ocean Lakes High School Chemistry teacher, Mark Clemente, who was presented the Excellence in Teaching Award at the Troops to Teachers Awards Luncheon on Veterans Day. Mr. Clemente was recognized as the top high school teacher among the regional nominees.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report for this evening

Last Modified on December 22, 2004
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