Chairman Edwards, Vice Chairman Brunke, and members of the Board and the viewing public...
In keeping with tradition, I will begin tonight's report by focusing on our strategic plan, Compass to 2015. As you are well aware, the plan is designed to provide students with the skills they need to be successful 21st century learners, workers, and citizens. Tonight, I would like to share with you an example of how students are making progress in one skill area – sustainability - which encourages students to foster responsible development and protection of the world's natural environment and resources through individual and collective action.
I am pleased to tell you that 41 of our schools are recipients of the Pearl School Award from Lynnhaven River Now. Schools are selected for this honor based upon programs, lessons, and learning projects which teach environmental concepts with an emphasis on our local watershed.
By the way, four of our schools – Lynnhaven and Plaza Middle and King's Grant and New Castle Elementary- have earned the Pearl School Award each and every year since its inception in 2007. Congratulations to students and staff at all of these schools for their outstanding efforts to protect our environment.
As a reminder, you can learn more about sustainability and each of the 21st century skills, by watching a new video series posted on the Compass to 2015 page of vbschools.com. You may recall that I shared the first of those videos during my report two months ago.
Congratulations go out tonight to members of the Class of 2011. Approximately 4,760 students participated in commencement exercises last week – receiving their high school diplomas. Family members and friends packed the Virginia Beach Convention Center for ceremonies June 15th through the 18th. Thousands more were virtual graduation guests, watching live streaming video of the ceremonies on the school division website. In case you missed it, replays of each graduation are available now through June 30 on vbschools.com.
And speaking of our outstanding graduates, the Class of 2011 has been awarded $25,439,890 in scholarship money. That number, by the way, represents only scholarships ACCEPTED by graduates. The figure would be much higher if you took into account all the scholarships offered, since some students receive financial aid offers from several colleges.
Congratulations to the nearly 150 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. They were treated to a fun day of learning at the Virginia Aquarium.
The techno-savvy students and staff at two VBCPS schools have earned top honors from WHRO for integrating technology into classrooms. Bayside Middle and Salem High schools are the recipients of the 2011 Geddy Awards. Named in honor of the late Williamsburg attorney and education advocate, Vernon M. Geddy, Junior, the award is bestowed upon schools which make the best use of technology to support student achievement and increase overall school efficiencies.
High honors tonight go to a group of Honors English students at Cox High School. The Honors English 10 students were recently named Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy by the Hampton Roads Association of Fund Raising Professionals. The award follows a year-long activity in which students developed and implemented a project to support the local Food Bank.
On May 26, the school division hosted a citywide reception for our Partners in Education and Volunteers in Education. It was an opportunity to honor our 12 Model Partnerships and 86 school Volunteers of the Year. They are among the 20,000 partners and volunteers generously volunteer their time and talents to support our schools each year. At the reception, the Virginia Beach Council of PTAs announced its selections for the PTA Citywide Volunteers of the Year. Congratulations to:
- Officer Trabelus Whitfield, College Park Elementary School
- Kyle Stein from Bayside High School
- Lisa von Schlichting from Lynnhaven Middle School
Let's take a moment to recognize a few staff members who are also award winners:
Marion Broglie is the recipient of the 2011 American Lawyers Auxiliary Teacher of the Year award. Broglie, seen here with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, teaches 8th grade social studies at Lynnhaven Middle School. And finally, I recently made surprise visits to seven of our schools and offices to honor our newest Superintendent Spotlight Award winners. Each was selected for going above and beyond in their roles as teachers, administrators, and support staff. Please join me in congratulating the following colleagues:
- Melisa Ingram - GIS Analyst, Department of Administrative Support Services
- Chris Marshall – Art Teacher, Princess Anne Elementary
- Chris Fischer – Administrative Coordinator, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
- Nancy Martin – Office Associate, Salem Elementary
- Rick Zano – Social Studies Teacher, PA High School
- Ronnie Ferebee – Data Support Specialist, Kemspville Meadows Elementary; and
- Cristina Dajero – Reading Resource Specialist, Indian Lakes Elementary
Mr. Chairman and members of the School Board, this concludes my remarks for this evening.