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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
October 19, 2010

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

As you are aware, I usually begin my monthly superintendent’s report by sharing a Compass to 2015 strategic plan moment. This time I would like to address one of the 21st century skills we are seeking to advance among our students – sustainability. We are fortunate in the fact that we have many community partners who work with us to reinforce a commitment to our environment. For example, the Hansen Family Foundation has provided $1,500 in prize money for the school division’s Green Student Film Festival. Any Virginia Beach City Public Schools student is eligible to enter. Films can be submitted in two categories – general and animation- and at each school level-elementary, middle and high. The winner in each category and level will receive $250. Aspiring student filmmakers take note: the deadline for entry is December 23, so put your creativity to work! All details on the Green Student Film Festival can be found on

Partnerships with local environmental organizations like Lynnhaven River Now have also proven to be a great tool for increasing environmental awareness through education.  I am pleased to note that the organization’s fall newsletter recognized our many sustainability efforts in an article entitled:  Virginia Beach Schools Leading the Way.

We are particularly proud of the fact that our new Transportation Center, under construction now, will be our first LEED platinum building. As a reminder, LEED is a green building certification system and platinum is its highest designation. The new center has four wind turbines on site.  Each will provide 2.4 kilowatts of power per hour which equates to approximately 5% of the building’s utility needs. The really astounding thing is these turbines can be monitored from the classroom so they can be used as a “teaching tool.”

On another environmental note, teachers received training at the Virginia Aquarium with a little help from Girl Scout Troop 331 as they learned to sort plastic bottle caps to be recycled. The division is currently working with 12 pilot schools in partnership with TFC Recycling to get plastic caps out of landfills.  We hope to make this program available to all schools in the 2011-2012 school year. To date, the Virginia Aquarium has collected 500 pounds of caps.

Ahoy, Mates! Hermitage Elementary School was visited by pirates last week! The Water Pirates of Neverland, that is.  Sponsored by the Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities and the National Theatre for Children, students were entertained with a story "A Boatload of Trouble: Every Little Bit Helps!" The outreach was designed to help students learn what they can do to conserve water.

Several of our School Board members are going green! They showed their commitment to the environment recently at First Landing Foundation’s Historic Villages at Cape Henry. In celebration of National Public Lands Day, Patrick Salyer and Ashley McLeod joined approximately 40 volunteers in repairing the public boardwalk and planting over 600 coastal native trees, shrubs, and grasses on dune areas.

Congratulations to Kemps Landing Magnet School for receiving the 2010 Outstanding Earth Day Award  by the  Hampton Roads Alliance for Environmental Education, a regional professional organization for environmental educators in Hampton Roads. Each year, the group honors individuals and organizations that show dedication, creativity, and stewardship in providing environmental education to Hampton Roads Residents. 

And now for some other school system happenings, many of which also highlight 21st Century Skills-

Ocean Lakes Mathematics and Science Academy student Ayotunde D.  was one of 48 high school seniors from across the Commonwealth selected to take part in the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars Academy at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Tunde took on the awesome task of planning a mission to Mars where he was charged with finding evidence of life on that planet. Well, Tunde, what’s the verdict? Do we have company out there?

Speaking of NASA, our schools were beneficiaries of its Day of Education program. From October 8 – 22, NASA made its scientists and professionals available to school systems throughout the region and the Eastern Shore. For example, Karen Taminger, a materials research engineer at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, was the keynote speaker for students at the Advanced Technology Center. Taminger’s presentation, entitled Materials Engineering – Because Airplanes Aren’t Made of Air, was designed to give students the technical aspects of the miracle of flight.

Parents and students at Luxford Elementary were invited to a full day Meet and Greet as part of a school-wide initiative demonstrating the importance of a good education.  Under the guidance of Luxford principal, Joanne D’Agostino, and Partners in Education Coordinator, Teresa Smith, community partners demonstrated to students how classroom lessons apply to the work place. Students at each grade level viewed displays and asked questions of partners. 

Seventh grade financial skills students at Lynnhaven Middle School got a taste of reality on October 15th. They took part in a project called “The Reality Store.” Each student was assigned an “adult profile” that gave him/her a job, a salary, and family status. Students then visited booths manned by community volunteers where they faced everyday expenses ranging from rent and insurance to car and medical bills.

Students and their families at Rosemont Forest Elementary, along with representatives of their partner, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, joined more than 700 others who attended the annual Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk in Virginia Beach. To date, the group has raised over $108,000. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, an assisted living group, is a wonderful partner for Rosemont Forest and is a past winner of the division’s Model Partnership Designation.

Kempsville High School graduating classes of 1926-1954 recently celebrated a class reunion. Among the special guests in attendance was Imogene Mears Hitt. Ms. Hitt is 102 years old and a 1926 graduate of Kempsville High School.  Mayor Will Sessoms issued a Proclamation that declared September 25th as “Imogene Mears Hitt Day" in the city. Our School Board Chairman Dan Edwards made the presentation on behalf of the mayor.  A special banner was designed by Kempsville High School students and social studies teacher, Margaret Felts.  The banner, signed by current Kempsville students, was also presented to the reunion group.

And there is another proclamation I would like to tell you about.  September 28 was officially proclaimed Virginia Beach City Public Schools Day by the Virginia Beach City Council. We received the honor for recently being named the fifth best large city public school division in the nation by GreatSchools, a non-profit agency that follows the performance of both public and private schools.  

The following congratulations are in order this evening…

Congratulations to the 87 Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ 2011 Teachers of the Year who were recently honored at a celebratory reception and dinner at the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. The four Citywide Teacher of the Year finalists; Deborah Ann Bolger, Renaissance Academy, Michelle Clements, Providence Elementary, Judith Hurwitz, Old Donation Center,  and John Mueller, Tallwood High School Teacher of the Year were individually recognized along with Karen Drosinos, 2011 Citywide Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Drosinos is a kindergarten teacher at Pembroke Elementary School.  At the dinner, she shared her experiences of watching her kindergarten students develop as confident 21st century learners.  Mrs. Drosinos, recently named 2011 Region II Teacher of the Year, traveled to Richmond immediately following the dinner to compete with seven other regional winners in the competition for the Commonwealth’s State Teacher of the Year honors.
I’d also like to congratulate Megan B., a fifth grader at Trantwood Elementary School, who helped her school win $1,000 worth of art supplies from the 8th Continent Soymilk Competition. Thousands of entries were received, and Megan’s drawing was one of only 100 selected.  You can look for her drawing to be featured on cartons of the soymilk this fall.
Lastly, this evening, on behalf of the Virginia School Boards Association, it is my pleasure to recognize several board members for their participation in the VSBA School Board Academy.  At your seats, you will find certificates from the Association which recognizes your involvement with Academy programs.  Receiving a Certificate of Recognition are Patrick Salyer and Carolyn Weems.  Receiving an Award of Achievement and a bronze pin is Sandra Smith-Jones.  Earning an Award of Excellence and a silver pin is School Board Chairman, Dan Edwards, and an Award of Distinction was earned by Pat Edmonson.  Congratulations to all of you.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my remarks for this evening.

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017