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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
June 22, 2010

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

The end of the school year also marks the end of the first year of implementation of Compass to 2015, our Strategic Plan for Student Success. In Superintendent’s Reports throughout the year, I have provided specifics about our work and the positive feedback the plan is receiving from our local stakeholders – school staff, parents, and community members. Our work is also receiving national attention, a testament to the unified and focused approach by all of our stakeholders to prepare our students to succeed as 21st century learners, workers, and citizens.

Let me share an example. As you are aware, one of the foremost educational experts on 21st century teaching and learning is Dr. Tony Wagner of the Harvard Change Leadership Group. Dr. Wagner is the author of a book of some renown – The Global Achievement Gap. Recently his book was released in paperback. I am pleased to note that this latest edition includes a summary of Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ comprehensive efforts to transform teaching and learning. It touches on how we embarked on this process by involving a wide range of stakeholders. In the section entitled “Creating Accountability for What Matters Most: All Students Graduating College-, Career-, and Citizenship-Ready,” Dr. Wagner writes:

“[Virginia Beach Schools’ senior administrators] decided to work on a very different kind of strategic planning process—one that would involve the entire community in a conversation about how the world has changed and what were the most important student outcomes that the school district should now be accountable for.” 

Dr. Wagner continues by noting the division’s extensive outreach to form our strategic plan — conducting focus groups with employers, college professors, and recent graduates; hosting open meetings for educators, parents, and community members; and working in collaboration with the School Board. The end result?  Dr. Wagner writes:

“Instead of doing the laundry list of mashed-together goals, priorities, and initiatives that, all too often, is the result of most districts’ strategic planning efforts, the Virginia Beach strategic plan, called Compass to 2015: A Strategic Plan for Student Success, has been streamlined down to one strategic goal, four outcomes for students, and five strategic objectives, with a few key strategies and measures identified for each—and fits on the front and back of one page!” 

And it’s in our classrooms and in our community that this streamlined plan is coming to life.  Throughout the year we have seen evidence of the outcomes for student success in a host of activities and achievements. Later tonight, you will be provided with a complete overview of Compass to 2015 highlights as representatives from each of the strategic objective committees discuss the work accomplished this year and some focus areas for year two of implementation. I think you will be impressed with what has been accomplished, such as initiating mandatory training on the 21st century skills, incorporating those skills into our curriculum, and administering the College and Work Readiness Assessment – to name a few. I believe you will also be excited about what is ahead of us on this journey as well – from developing a student wellness program and recognition system to address health literacy, to assessing the feasibility of negotiating low-cost Internet services for qualifying families. There is indeed much work ahead, but we’re ready and eager to address those challenges as we move forward with Compass to 2015.

Also eagerly moving forward are the nearly 5,000 graduating seniors from our 11 comprehensive high schools and the Renaissance Academy. Graduation ceremonies took place last week, and for the fourth consecutive year, they were streamed live on the school division’s website, Replays of the commencement exercises are available online through the end of the month. We are also proud to report that the Class of 2010 received more than $35 million in scholarship award offers and has accepted more than $26 million in scholarship awards. Congratulations to all of the members of the Class of 2010 and their families!

Earlier this month, the division also celebrated the service of 293 employees retiring this school year. These retirees have collectively served the division for 6,910 years with nine employees retiring with 40 or more years of service. Thank you to all of our retirees for your dedicated service to Virginia Beach schools.

During a special event held yesterday in honor of Custodial Appreciation Day, the division recognized the hard work of custodial teams throughout the city. A new recognition, the “Most Impact Award”, was presented to: John Simms from Custodial Services and custodial teams from Kempsville Middle School and Bettie F. Williams, Christopher Farms, Holland, King’s Grant, and Strawbridge elementary schools. In addition, 18 custodial teams were recognized as Custodial Appreciation Day award winners for their exemplary work this past school year.

Staff and students at College Park Elementary School celebrated the construction of their new school with a groundbreaking ceremony on June 3rd. The original College Park building opened in 1973, and the replacement school is expected to open in the Fall of 2011.

And two events will be held this weekend to celebrate the grand opening of the Princess Anne County Training School / Union Kempsville High School Museum, which is located in the Renaissance Academy.  A contributors’ reception will be held on Friday evening followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday. I encourage our viewers and members of the community to visit the museum and share in the rich history of Princess Anne Country Training School / Union Kempsville High School. 

Newsweek magazine has ranked eight of our high schools as some of the top schools in the nation. Princess Anne, Cox, Ocean Lakes, Kellam, First Colonial, Bayside, Landstown, and Kempsville high schools are included in the magazine’s annual report, which highlights the best 1,600 public high schools - or top 6 percent - in the United States.

Congratulations to Princess Anne Middle School and First Colonial High School, two of the three schools in the region to receive the 2010 Vernon M. Geddy, Jr. Award. WHRO presents the award annually to schools it perceives as most effectively integrating technology into the curriculum, as well as increasing overall school efficiencies and student performance.

Congratulations to the nearly 200 third-, fourth-, and fifth graders who participated in the annual Oceans of Success celebration — a program sponsored by former Chief Circuit Court Judge Thomas Shadrick and attorneys Jeffrey Breit and John Drescher. Students who greatly improved their academic performance were selected by their schools to attend, and they were treated to a day of learning and fun at the Virginia Aquarium. 

Congratulations to Green Run Elementary School students Tuli I. and Zach H. They were the only Virginia Beach students among ten students from the Tidewater region to be selected for induction into the American Automobile Association’s Safety Patrol Hall of Fame.

Carolyn Stamm, gifted resource teacher at Brandon Middle School, was recently selected by the Curry School of Education Foundation as its 2010 Outstanding Middle School Teacher.  Carolyn will be recognized by the University of Virginia’s School of Education at a banquet held in September.

The Office of Technical and Career Education recently honored two staff members from Salem High School with citywide TCE awards. Technology Education teacher Jeff Kline is the school division’s Technical and Career Education Teacher of the Year, and Rob Marlin, is the Technical and Career Education Guidance Counselor of the Year.

Lastly this evening, we joined the Virginia Beach Education Association last month to honor our schools’ 2010 Teacher Assistants of the Year. A special congratulations to Marica Mills and James Powell for being recognized as citywide Teacher Assistants of the Year. Marica is a special education assistant at Parkway Elementary School, and James is a teacher assistant at Landstown Middle School. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor.

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

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017