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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 24, 2011

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

I routinely begin my report with a Compass to 2015 strategic plan update which typically focuses on our long-range goals. Tonight, I am pleased to note that we have some immediate good news, which clearly is the fruit of the concerted, methodical and visionary strategies of Compass to 2015. You may have recently heard about this achievement in the media but it bears repeating -- The Washington Post has released its list of the top 1,900 public high schools in the nation. Ten VBCPS high schools are on that list – ranking in the top 10 percent of schools nationwide.

Rankings are determined through a formula which takes the number of Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate tests given at the individual school, divided by the total number of graduates at the school in 2010. The Washington Post researchers say this is an accurate measure of student readiness for college. And while it is only one way to measure school success – it certainly points to the rigorous curriculum offered in our schools. Congratulations to the students, teachers, and staff at Princess Anne, Cox, First Colonial, Ocean Lakes, Landstown, Kellam, Bayside, Salem, Kempsville, and Tallwood high schools for being recognized on The Washington Post list. Congratulations also to the central office departments which work diligently with all schools in support of increased student achievement.

Also this evening, a special achievement that speaks to the division's emphasis on sustainability- one of the 21st Century Skills outlined in Compass to 2015. The Department of Administrative Support Services is one of 11 recipients in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Mid-Atlantic Region -- and the only school division in Virginia -- to be recognized for exemplary achievements in environmental excellence and pollution prevention. The Mid-Atlantic Environmental Achievement Award recognizes groups, agencies, individuals, and businesses that are making extraordinary contributions to improving the environment. The school division earned this competitive award for its holistic approach to environmental sustainability that is guided by three sustainable goals: build green buildings; integrate environmentally sustainable practices; and educate the public. Evidence of our work can be seen throughout the division. For example, Hermitage Elementary was the first LEED certified elementary school in Virginia. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Renaissance Academy was recently designated as the division's first LEED Gold certified facility. Sustainable features include use of rainwater harvesting system to flush the toilets and a solar-heated hot water system for the cafeteria. And in Virginia Beach, we take care to use our buildings as a teaching tool as well. For example, students from Creeds Elementary recently visited the Renaissance Academy for a lesson in "going green." They saw the "green roof", a rooftop area covered with plants that keeps the building warm in winter and cool in the summer. They also checked out the bamboo floor and learned about "green" plans underway for the "new" Kellam High School. When they got back to Creeds, the students produced a superb PowerPoint presentation on what the Renaissance Academy had taught them about going green.

On another note: All 85 schools/centers can be credited with collectively recycling more than 1,236 tons last school year. Since September 2008, the school division diverted 2,748 tons from the waste stream. This is equivalent to saving: 46,708 trees; 972,000 gallons of oil; 7,674 cubic yards of landfill space, and 17.9 million gallons of water.

Please join me in congratulating the office of facilities planning and construction, along with the entire school division, for this outstanding environmental award.

In other school news, Trantwood Elementary recently hosted a Technology Day that showcased their work as a 2010-2011 Vanguard Technology School. The school displayed students' projects across the curriculum highlighting the use of Promethean interactive whiteboards and technology integration throughout the subject areas.

Students from high schools throughout the division got a lesson in leadership recently. They learned how schools and city government works during the annual Official> for a Day event. Students spent the day job shadowing administrators and elected officials.

Partnership activities continue to abound throughout the division, and as the weather gets warm, outdoor projects are "springing up" everywhere. This past Saturday, more than 300 volunteers from WAVE Church spent the day at Woodstock Elementary completing a collaborative community service project to include building seating in their outdoor classroom area, painting a US map on the concrete playground, refurbishing various areas inside the school and participating in landscaping and various clean-up projects.

The Virginia Beach Education Foundation also celebrated its own building project by recognizing the contributions of nearly one hundred student builders from the Technical and Career Education Center. These students participated in "The House that Students Built" project. The house, when complete, will be sold on the open market with the proceeds going to fund teacher and school-wide grants. In the meantime, students learn skills in various industry trades—skills which will prepare them for future career opportunities.

The following congratulations are in order this evening…

Congratulations to students at the Landstown Technology Academy who swept the Technology Student Association Competition in Chantilly, Virginia. Landstown teams took first through fourth place and will go on to participate at the National T-S-A competitions in June.

ATC Modeling and Simulation student Joseph A. recently took first place in the district Internet Safety Video Contest. Joseph, whose home school is Salem High School, will receive this award in an upcoming ATC award ceremony.

A teacher at Princess Anne High School has been selected as one of eight educators statewide to receive the Virginia Lottery Super Teacher Award. This award, presented to history teacher Roderick Zano during a surprise visit to his class, recognizes outstanding teachers and awards them a cash prize and classroom supplies.

Earlier tonight, the School Board recognized Brian Meecham as the 2012 Virginia Beach City Public Schools Teacher of the Year. I would also like to salute the division semi-finalists who were also selected from among all individual school teachers of the year. The four semi-finalists are:

  • Jennifer Evans - Library Media Specialist - Arrowhead Elementary School
  • Ann Hobbs - Gifted Cluster Science & Math Teacher - Red Mill Elementary School
  • Jane Julian - Social Studies Teacher - Great Neck Middle School
  • Kathleen Vuono (Voo-no) - English Teacher - Cox High School

All Teachers of the Year will be honored at a banquet in their honor in October.

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

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017