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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Superintendent's Report to the School Board
April 20, 2010

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

As you know, I usually like to begin our Superintendent’s Report by sharing progress on our Compass to 2015 Strategic Plan. In preparation for tonight’s report, I sent a call out to our Cabinet co-chairs of the five Strategic Objectives. I am pleased to say that I had an overwhelming response. As a thumbnail sketch, I offer the following update to you and our community. In the interest of time, I can’t list all our progress points. But here are a few highlights:

  • The district is poised to roll out summer training for teachers that will be focused on the eleven 21st century skills that we’ve identified as critical to student success. In the next day or two I will send out a communication to all teachers that has the pertinent philosophical and logistical details.
  • I am pleased to note that we’ve field tested performance assessments at Bayside Elementary, Landstown Elementary, and Salem Middle schools. These assessments were developed by teachers within the division and are similar to the College and Work Readiness (CWRA) assessment that was administered to seniors across the division in February.  They were designed to present students with authentic problems based on available evidence. If we are to measure students’ progress on the 21st century skills we must have the necessary instruments to help us in that regard. This is a firm step in that direction.
  • Teachers from select schools have received training on the implementation of digital portfolios that are organized around the VBCPS 21st century skills. The goal is to use the field testing to fine tune our approach before we begin implementation district-wide. 
  • One of our planned strategies is to develop a video library of best teaching practices that will be available to all teachers in the division. The thought here is that we need a way to open classroom doors and share what works in a more systemic fashion. While this is a long-range strategy, I am pleased to say that we are now working with selected teachers on three videos – one each at the elementary, middle and high school level. The subject is student engagement.

These are just a few of our Compass to 2015 highlights. We’ll be back next month with more.

And moving on to some “new” school news, literally: On Monday, March 29 the new Virginia Beach Middle opened its doors to approximately 650 students and nearly 100 staff members. Virginia Beach Middle principal Rita Simpson officially greeted excited students and staff into their 190,000 square foot, three-story building. Each of the three floors is occupied by a single grade level. If you’ll recall, Virginia Beach Middle is designed to maintain the unique, pedestrian-oriented, seaside community that reflects the historical cottage style and charm of the original Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach Middle is programmed for a LEED Silver certification. We are looking forward to the official building dedication ceremony that is scheduled to take place in the fall of 2010.

The school division’s work in several areas is being highlighted in various national magazines:

  • Gayle Hartigan, Tallwood High School’s computer resource teacher, discusses the value of videoconferencing in Converge magazine. She writes that videoconferences are allowing Tallwood students to become global citizens — providing the opportunity to connect with people around the world and to hear their stories, such as children in Uganda, scientists in Antarctica, and teens in Haiti.
  • Sustainable schools project manager Tim Cole writes about the division’s green efforts in next month’s issue of Principal magazine. He describes the sustainable features of our buildings, the integration of environmental practices in our schools, and curriculum-based activities that raise awareness and help to build a sustainable future.
  • And recently, District Administration interviewed me on the subject of the division’s Compass to 2015 strategic plan and the work of the Office of Equity Affairs in addressing the achievement gap for African-American males. I am pleased to note that our work on Compass to 2015 is starting to get some significant recognition for its K-12 strategic planning efforts nationally. In my next superintendent’s report I’ll share some examples on that front.

I am pleased to share that Green Run High School is one of three national winners of the College Board Inspiration Awards.  Each spring the College Board presents these awards to three of America’s most improved secondary schools.  The winning schools each receive $25,000 to be used to continue their work with improving the academic achievement of minority students.  Green Run was recognized for their work to increase the number of minority students taking AP and other advanced level courses; the strength of the AVID program in promoting academic rigor with students enrolled in the program; the mentoring, tutoring and remediation programs implemented to support minority students; their work in recognizing the academic achievement of minority students; and the community partnerships that have been established. 

Princess Anne Middle School is another school of distinction. The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth recently announced that the middle school was selected as a 2009 Top 10 School for the state of Virginia, and further recognized Princess Anne Middle as the number one school of the entire top ten. Schools are recognized as “top schools” because of their high level of student participation in the center’s Talent Search, for which seventh- and eighth-graders qualify by taking the SAT and ACT. Princess Anne Middle had 80 students participate with eleven students receiving recognition and a total of nineteen awards.
 
Two regional competitions highlighted the science and technology talents of several of our middle and high school students.  At the 59th annual Tidewater Science Fair, ten Virginia Beach students from Ocean Lakes High School, Princess Anne Middle School, and Kemps Landing Magnet School earned first place awards in categories such as biochemistry, behavioral and social sciences, computer science, plant sciences, and microbiology.  At the 25th annual Great Computer Challenge, three teams of students from the Advanced Technology Center, Landstown High School, and Kemps Landing Magnet School won first place awards in music composition, computer-aided design, and desktop presentation.

Congratulations to Stephen L., a First Colonial High School senior and Advanced Technology Center student who recently became a fully-certified Cisco Certified Network Professional. The certification makes him the youngest network professional in Virginia Beach Cisco Academy’s ten-year history.  He will graduate from First Colonial in June and attend George Mason University this fall.

Seven Lynnhaven Middle School students have their artwork on display at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Their pieces were chosen from entries in the 2010 Elie Wiesel Visual Arts Competition sponsored by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Their work will be displayed in the exhibit for the next month. 

A team of students from Tallwood High School’s Global Studies and World Languages Academy won first place in a competition hosted by Regent University. Competitors worked collaboratively to create their own websites sharing information and resources about business in cities all over the world. Tallwood’s winning team created a site for Jerusalem, and has received more than 60,000 hits to date.  The students plan to use the $500 cash prize to help fund their upcoming academy trip to New York City. 

Congratulations to Jim Morris who has been named the Safety Professional of the Year by the Greater Tidewater Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers. Jim has served as the Assistant Director of Environmental and Energy Management for the school division for the last nine years.

Lastly, two of the division’s middle school teachers are recipients of the Virginia Association for the Gifted’s Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted awards. Kristen Fraley of Larkspur Middle School and Eric Bone of Kemps Landing Magnet School will both be recognized at the association’s fall conference for their contributions to gifted education programs. Congratulations on this distinction.

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

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017