Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
February 17, 2009

Chairman Edwards, Vice Chairman Bellitto, and members of the Board –

Governor Kaine has designated February as School Board Appreciation Month in the Commonwealth, and I would like to begin this evening by recognizing the members of our School Board for their service. This year's theme is "Learn Lead Succeed," and the Virginia School Boards Association has sent Certificates of Appreciation, which you find at your seats.  Likewise, we extend our gratitude for your contributions to the community and for your service to the children of Virginia Beach.  Thank you for all that you do.

In honor of African American History Month, the school division recently launched the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Web page on vbschools.com.  The page features class photos and interviews with several of the school's graduates.  These photos and videos are among the many items that will be housed in the Renaissance Academy's museum to honor the legacy of the city's first African American high school.  The museum is slated to open in 2010.

More than 300 people attended the first-ever Parent Connection event held at Landstown High School on February 7.  Participants visited the information tables of businesses, school groups, and community organizations.  In addition, there were numerous small group sessions focusing on all aspects of parenting and family life. If you were not able to attend the event, keynote speaker Dr. Gerald Newmark is the guest on this month's VBTV show The School Picture.  For a schedule of when the show airs visit www.vbgov.com.

Dr. Tony Wagner was the featured speaker at the Teacher Forum Leadership Council's National Speakers Series event held on February 12 at Landstown High School.  He is co-director of the Harvard University Change Leadership Group and author of The Global Achievement Gap.  Five hundred people attended to hear Dr. Wagner address the topic of "21st Century Rigor in the Classroom," including a question-and-answer session.  The following day, Dr. Wagner conducted a four-hour workshop with members of the school division's Strategic Plan Implementation Committee.

The 10th annual Custodial Appreciation Day Reception was held on January 30 at Salem Middle School. This annual event is coordinated by Department of Administrative Support Services.  This year, 15 custodial teams received the award for the overall cleanliness of the schools, as well as for their attitudes and efficiency. The award-winning teams are:

  • Arrowhead Elementary
  • Brookwood Elementary
  • Cooke Elementary
  • Diamond Springs Elementary
  • Holland Elementary
  • North Landing Elementary
  • Parkway Elementary
  • Red Mill Elementary
  • Salem Elementary
  • Windsor Oaks Elementary
  • Woodstock Elementary
  • Great Neck Middle
  • Kempsville Middle
  • Larkspur Middle
  • Tallwood High

Additionally, a new award category was added this year to recognize the important role custodial staff members play with regard to recycling efforts in our schools.  Recycling awards were presented to custodial teams at: Green Run, John B. Dey, Linkhorn Park, and Windsor Oaks elementary schools; Bayside, Landstown, and Larkspur middle schools; and First Colonial, Green Run, and Landstown high schools.

The ODU Higher Education Center invited Princess Anne High School art teacher Betsy DiJulio's IB Middle Years students to exhibit their work at the Virginia Beach campus. The exhibition, entitled Mutambo! Contained & Manipulated, was inspired by sculptures by Zimbabwean artists of the Shona Tribe.  It is free and open to the public through March 20.

Working together with Landstown High School Physics of Technology students, Pembroke Meadows fourth graders created new machines to learn about energy, force, and motion.  Using items such as pulleys, cardboard chutes, wheels, and marbles, students designed inventions to help with everyday activities — including a new alarm clock, pencil dispenser, and light switch. 

On February 10th, Holland Elementary School held a "Girls' Night Out" event to allow its female students to share a special evening with the important women in their lives.  Attendees enjoyed dinner served by school staff and listened to several guest speakers' inspirational messages.  Holland is hosting a similar Boys' Night Out event on
February 25.

Ocean Lakes High School held its 15th Annual Founder's Week celebration with guest speakers, a career day event, the junior class' ring ceremony and an all-school assembly featuring motivational speaker Chad Crittenden. Crittenden, a cancer survivor and contestant on the reality show "Survivor," spoke to students about overcoming adversity.

Our elementary schools celebrated the 100th day of school on February 12 and are now counting the days until summer.  Vickie Fleming's second grade class at Thalia Elementary School challenged other classes to help them collect 100 Valentine cards on the 100th Day of School.  The students then gave the 146 cards they collected to a local nursing home.

We have several schools, students, and staff members to congratulate this evening…..

Frank W. Cox High School has been selected as the first Virginia Beach high school to receive the Lynnhaven River NOW Pearl School Award for Excellence in Environmental Education. The Pearl School Program was developed by the environmental group Lynnhaven River NOW to acknowledge and encourage good environmental education programs in our schools.

Sixteen students from First Colonial, Kellam, Landstown, Ocean Lakes, and Princess Anne high schools were recently accepted to the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars program.  The students will be immersed in NASA-related research through interaction with scientists, engineers, and technologists.

Congratulations to Frances Thompson, Guidance Chairperson at Kemps Landing Magnet School.  The Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission is presenting her with its Human Rights Award because of her efforts to help students "learn to build bonds of respect, trust, and loyalty."

Educator-in-Residence Mark Clemente received a grant from the Southeastern Virginia Partnership for Regional Transformation for nearly $15,000.   The grant will be used to support the training of and resources for Virginia Beach teachers participating in the Modeling and Simulation Demonstration Project.  This project is a collaboration of the school division, the National Institute of Aerospace, and NASA. 

Last week, Superintendent's Spotlight Awards were presented to ten recipients during surprise visits to their worksites.  Individuals were nominated by their peers for their exemplary contributions to Virginia Beach Schools and for going above and beyond in all aspects of their job duties.  Please join me in congratulating the following ten recipients: 

The Department of Human Resources recently held the school division's annual Service Awards Dinner to honor employees celebrating 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service.  Special recognition was given to the following nine 40-year honorees for their service to the school division:  

We congratulate and thank them for their four decades of dedication to the division.

Lastly this evening, the Virginia School Boards Association has designated this week as "School Board Clerk Appreciation Week," and I would like to thank Dianne Alexander for her exceptional work as our School Board clerk.  She plays a crucial role in assisting School Board members, superintendents, and the school division as a whole.  Thank you, Dianne for all that you do.  Rita Sweet Bellitto now has a special presentation in honor of this week …
 
School Board Presentation to Dianne Alexander

Mr. Chairman and members of the School Board, this concludes my report for the evening.


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