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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
May 25, 2010

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

We are nearing the end of our first year of implementation of Compass to 2015, and Cabinet members and I are much encouraged when we see engaged students and dynamic teachers on our learning walks. We’re also pleased that so many schools across the city are engaging in professional learning communities. The emphasis is definitely on 21st century skills.

However, in my ongoing conversations with teachers and administrators I hear a common refrain – the need for more information and resources to support our collective work to infuse 21st century skills into instruction. And they are correct. This knowledge is essential if we are to move forward successfully with year two of implementation of Compass to 2015.

One of the challenges for a school division of our size is getting everyone on the same page in order to keep moving forward. The answer to that is training.

As a result, I asked the Department of Curriculum and Instruction to develop training designed to deliver a firm understanding divisionwide of what it means to focus on 21st century learning and how we can best work together to deliver Compass to 2015’s identified outcomes for student success.  I believe this mandatory training is important. The time we are requiring of all teachers for a “primer” in Compass to 2015 is essential to build a consistent understanding of our strategic plan and of 21st century skills among all staff. If we are to be united in our intent to deliver improved learning outcomes for our students, then there must be a strategic, holistic approach toward that end.

In line with that strategic approach, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction is once again sponsoring its annual summer professional development conference June 22nd – 24th. This is just one opportunity for our instructional personnel to complete their four hours of mandatory training related to 21st century skills prior to the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Sessions will continue to be offered throughout the summer through the division’s Professional Development Program.
As we approach year two of implementation, we look forward to the ongoing collaboration and application of this training among our principals and school staff through professional learning communities, which focus on student learning and success.

Speaking of student success…More than 80 high school seniors from the division were recognized at the Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men Annual Scholars Breakfast on May 15th. The event recognizes African American males who are on track to graduate with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.

The Adult Learning Center has already recognized its graduates, and School Board member Patrick Salyer was among those to speak during the ceremony. Mr. Salyer shared his own story of completing his GED while in the Navy and working his way up to the rank of senior chief during his 26-year military career. He encouraged graduates to set high goals and continue learning, and we also extend our congratulations to them.

While our 11 comprehensive high schools are preparing for the graduation of the Class of 2010 in June, our elementary schools are welcoming members of the Class of 2023. Kindergarten registration events were hosted in schools throughout the division on April 27 – complete with students’ first bus rides. Our middle schools are also welcoming incoming students. For example, Independence Middle School hosted a “Pep Rally” event earlier this month for rising sixth graders to tour the building and learn more about the middle school schedule.

This week, orchestra students at Cox High School have the unique opportunity to play alongside and learn from some of the nation’s premiere musicians in the Boston String Quartet. Cox High School is one of only 16 schools across the country to be selected to host the Quartet as part of an interactive learning experience called the Xibus Tour.  Following a day of classes led by Quartet members and a second day of intense rehearsals with the musicians, the students will perform with the Quartet Thursday night at Cox High School. 

Our students’ creative thinking and problem solving skills will be on display at the Destination Imagination Global Finals at the University of Tennessee beginning tomorrow. Student teams from Kemps Landing Magnet School, Plaza Middle School, Old Donation Center, and Malibu and Woodstock elementary schools will be judged on their teamwork and problem-solving ability as they work through complex challenges. We wish them the best of luck!

Students throughout the division are also demonstrating that they are becoming globally aware and socially-responsible citizens and learners. For example, in a concluding celebration of their community service work this year, Plaza Middle School students’ shared their responses to the essential question, “Why do we need each other?” and reflected upon how they expanded their world view in the process of serving others.

Through the 21st century e-Teaching Initiative, 26 of our teachers are reflecting on how they may effectively integrate technology into their instruction, as well as building and sharing lessons that incorporate 21st century skills. Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson recently visited classrooms to see members of this cohort in action, and to explore the possibility of replicating the initiative throughout the Commonwealth. We also hosted a roundtable discussion with our e-Teachers to hear about their experiences thus far. The 21st century e-Teaching Initiative is sponsored by Virginia Beach City Public Schools, the University of Virginia, and the National Institute of Aerospace.

Our schools, students, and staff continue to earn recognitions across the Commonwealth and the nation for various outstanding achievements.

The Office of Facilities, Planning and Construction has earned a Stewardship Development Award from the City of Virginia Beach for the following development projects: Great Neck Middle School, Virginia Beach Middle School, Renaissance Academy and the Pupil Transportation and Maintenance Facility. The award program honors development projects in Virginia Beach that demonstrate outstanding environmental stewardship.

The school division has been selected as a “Best Communities for Music Education” designee for 2010 by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. The NAMM Foundation recognizes school districts throughout the United States for providing quality school-based music education programs to students. 
Congratulations to several of our students —

  • Bayside High School seniors Eloisa A., Christopher H., and Kevon W. are three of 19 students in Virginia to be named 2010 Gates Millennium Scholars, which is the largest minority scholarship program in the country. The scholarship covers the cost of their education to pursue undergraduate degrees as well as provides funding for graduate degrees in select areas of study.
  • Salem High School junior Domonique M. has been awarded the City of Virginia Beach’s most prestigious volunteer recognition, The Debra L. Elam Award. Since 2005, Domonique has donated nearly 2,000 hours of service to the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department’s before- and after-school programs.
  • The Landstown High School student team named “Blew Bye You” won first place in the Formula One Technology Challenge. The five students worked together at the state competition to design, analyze, make, test, and race a carbon dioxide-powered model racing car. The Landstown team is now eligible for the national competition being held in Maryland next month.
  • Congratulations to the Old Donation Center’s Visual Art students whose artwork was on exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia in April. The students’ art was inspired by the work of Maurice Sendak, which was on exhibit at the center through this past weekend.  We are told that the art center was so impressed with the students’ work that docents included the student exhibition on their daily gallery tours and have asked the ODC Visual Arts instructors to make this an annual event. 

Congratulations to the following division staff members who have also been recognized for excellence and leadership in their respective fields:

  • Woodstock Elementary School nurse Kathy Phillips has been named “Nurse of the Year” by the Virginia Beach School Nurses Association.
  • Lynnhaven Middle School teacher Marion Broglie has been named the 2010 John Marshall Foundation Teacher of the Year by the Richmond Bar Association for excellence in teaching the U.S. Constitution. 
  • Eric Bone of Kemps Landing Magnet School was selected by the Virginia Association of the Gifted as the Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted for Region II.
  • Dr. Kelly A. Hedrick, Director of the Office of Gifted Education and Academy Programs has been elected as President-Elect of the Virginia Association of the Gifted.
  • Ocean Lakes High School oceanography teacher Leslie Peate has been selected as one of only 20 Sea Education Association alumni from around the world to participate as a research scientist on its inaugural research expedition in the Atlantic Ocean.

Earlier this evening, we recognized Karen Drosinos as the division’s 2011 Citywide Teacher of the Year.  Congratulations are also in order for the four Citywide Teacher of the Year finalists:

  • Deborah Bolger, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at the Renaissance Academy
  • Michelle Clements, fourth grade teacher at Providence Elementary School
  • Judith Hurwitz, fourth grade teacher at Old Donation Center and
  • John Mueller, German teacher at Tallwood High School.  

I recently presented Superintendent’s Spotlight Awards to 12 recipients during surprise visits to their worksites.  Individuals were nominated by their peers for their exemplary contributions to the division and for going above and beyond in all aspects of their job duties.  Please join me in congratulating the following recipients:

  • Phyllis Andrews, Nurse Assistant at Brandon Middle School
  • Emily Dunn Ashbury, Music Teacher at Arrowhead Elementary School
  • Satorious Babb, Head Day Custodian at Cooke Elementary School
  • Valerie Cason, Assistant Principal at Kempsville Meadows Elementary School
  • Susan Dyson, Office Associate at Malibu Elementary School
  • Amy Elllison, First Grade Teacher at Princess Anne Elementary School
  • Jerome Green, Head Night Custodian at Princess Anne High School
  • Deborah Jackson, Data Support Specialist at Windsor Woods Elementary School
  • George MacKay, Principal at Bettie F. Williams Elementary School
  • Lee Ann Murray, Office Associate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Linda Riley, Special Education Teacher at Birdneck Elementary School
  • Mary Shaw, Health Services Coordinator in the Office of Student Leadership

Lastly tonight — As you are aware, May is a particularly busy month on the division’s testing calendar. Students took more than 6,700 Advanced Placement tests earlier this month, and state-mandated SOL tests are currently being administered throughout the division. As you can see, several of our schools held special events to encourage and motivate students to do their best on the SOLs. It’s a light-hearted way to cap off a year of targeted teaching and learning in our classrooms, and our students and teachers are to be commended for their work. Administrators and central office staff are busy as well, coordinating the nearly 185,000 tests which will be administered during the testing period. Thank you to our students, parents, and school and Central Office staff for all of their hard work and support.

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

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017