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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
February 15, 2011

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

Before my Compass to 2015 update this evening, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge our School Board members. The division is joining the more than 14,800 school districts across the country in celebrating “School Board Appreciation Month”. This year's theme is “Our School Board is Leading Students to Success,” and to recognize your leadership, the Virginia School Boards Association sent Certificates of Appreciation, which we placed 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 Compass to 2015 news, division high school students enrolled in an English 12 course recently participated in the College and Work Readiness Assessment. This specialized exam aligns with the work of Strategic Objective 2, which states that “VBCPS will develop and implement a balanced assessment system that accurately reflects student demonstration and mastery of VBCPS outcomes for student success.” Results will allow building and central office administrators to make comparisons between VBCPS seniors and students at other high schools, as well as with college freshmen across the nation. CWRA results will be also used for instruction and learning in the areas of critical thinking and communication and will also provide baseline data for measuring growth over time. Communication and critical thinking are listed among the key skills specified by Compass to 2015 as crucial for student success.

Tonight, I am proud to announce that forty-three of the 81 testing schools in Virginia Beach City Public Schools have earned awards of excellence from Governor Bob McDonnell and the Virginia Board of Education. The awards incentive program was created by the Virginia Board of Education in 2007 to advance the Governor's “Competence to Excellence” initiative. Seven of these forty-three schools are recipients of the prestigious Governor's Award for Educational Excellence; these seven outstanding schools will be recognized by the School Board in March.

At our last School Board meeting, we recognized teachers who had earned National Board Certification for the first time; however, we would be remiss without offering a nod to those dedicated teachers who have renewed their certification this year. This advanced teaching credential is earned in addition to a state's teacher license. As part of the certification process, candidates complete ten assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas. The five teachers are:

  •  Kim Cassidy
•  Michelle Deneau
•  Mary Rust
•  AnnMarie Stark 
•  Catherine Susewind
Birdneck Elementary School
White Oaks Elementary School
Kemps Landing Magnet School
Indian Lakes Elementary School
Great Neck Middle School

We are proud of these dedicated teachers for seeking continued excellence in their chosen profession.

In other exciting news, Tallwood High School recently welcomed a delegation of nine students and three educators from Cambridge No. 3 Middle School in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China, as members of the Confucius Classroom Network. The students arrived in Virginia Beach on February 9 to enjoy a twelve-day exchange of culture and educational strategies. Through a series of coordinated meetings, classroom observations, and field trips, Chinese and US educators explored strategies designed to teach creativity and innovation, as well as to network with other teachers, school leaders, and community members. The students enjoyed special field trips to Washington D.C and Williamsburg, and enjoyed local Virginia Beach culture. Plans are in place for Tallwood students and teachers to visit China in April, continuing the process of building lasting friendships across the globe.

Moving on to other exemplary efforts closer to home, I am pleased to share that this year's annual Parent Connection Conference was not hindered by snowy weather (as it was last year) and, in fact, was attended by more than three hundred parents and community members. Dr. Ann Corwin presented a keynote address focused on how to connect with children at all developmental stages. Following the keynote, attendees visited more than fifty resource tables and selected from breakout sessions on topics such as autism, positive discipline, bullying, internet safety, and college planning.

Also at the conference, a food drive to support the division's Beach Bag initiative was held in conjunction with the “Extreme Food Drive” that took place as part of the “Extreme Home Makeover” television event in Virginia Beach. Schools from throughout the division participated in collecting the food, which was donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. The resounding success of this truly “extreme” food drive is a testament to the caring and concern of our community.

You may recall that in my last report, I mentioned that January was Reading Month — you may also be aware that February is Black History Month. Schools throughout the division held events to commemorate both monthly celebrations, but the students and staff at Windsor Woods bridged the two themes with “The Safari Parade.” The parade was led by Grand Marshalls Crystal Hodges, kindergarten teacher, and Drummond Ball, principal. The clothes worn by Mrs. Hodges and Mr. Ball were given by the Maasai people of Northern Tanzania. Commemorative events such as these took place throughout the division in celebration of Black History Month. For example, Bayside Middle School put up three bulletin boards displaying African culture and read quotations by famous African Americans during the morning announcements. Students from New Castle Elementary visited their Partner in Education Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO at NAS Norfolk. The children read biographies of famous African-American military personnel as part of the squadron's celebration of Black History Month.

The following congratulations are in order this evening…
A very special congratulations to the Golden Circle Volunteers at Lynnhaven Elementary School who have each logged in over 40 hours of volunteer service to the school. The VBCPS Golden Circle program is designed to encourage volunteerism among individuals ages 55 and over throughout the community. Lynnhaven's Volunteer-in-Education Coordinators Cheryl Monroe and Denise Hughes, as well as volunteers Lillian Evans and Joyce Henry, each received a tuition-free course from the Adult Learning Center and a Golden Circle Pass which provides complimentary admission to athletic events and school activities in schools throughout the division. Thanks to these very dedicated volunteers!

Michelle W., a senior at Tallwood High School's Global Studies and World Languages Academy, and a 4th year Chinese student, recently traveled to Washington D.C to attend an event with First Lady Michelle Obama. The event, which was attended by students, teachers, and school leaders from 21 schools in Asia Society's Confucius Classrooms Network, underscored the Obama administration's commitment to the “100,000 Strong Initiative” which emphasizes the importance of studying abroad. In her speech, Mrs. Obama said that by studying abroad, students are helping to make America stronger. She quoted her husband, saying: “America has no better ambassadors to offer than our young people.” Mrs. Obama's keynote was followed by a panel discussion with students who shared anecdotes of their experiences learning Mandarin and studying in China. Afterward, student representatives shook hands and chatted with the First Lady. The event, which took place on the campus of Howard University, coincided with the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington, DC.

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

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017