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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
December 21, 2010

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

As we work together to implement the tenets of Compass to 2015, it has become increasingly apparent that quality professional development is the key to our success. It is said that “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers. Indeed, Virginia Beach has long valued professional development and has targeted many resources toward our various programs. Now, as we move forward in the direction outlined in our strategic plan, it is clear that our current professional development strategies must move forward as well. The School Board has asked us to deliver high quality instruction and assessment; this mandate requires high quality professional development. Teachers tell us that professional development is most valuable to them when it is delivered by practicing teachers. Having listened to the input from stakeholders and taken their advice to heart, we are embarking on a new approach.

It is now my pleasure to share with our community a new initiative, the Center for Teacher Leadership, which will essentially reinvent professional development for teachers in Virginia Beach. This new office is being created expressly to serve as a central incubator and clearinghouse for re-focused and re-engineered comprehensive professional development program that

  • Is relevant to daily teaching practices;
  • Helps teachers refresh, renew, and add to their capacity;
  • Provides strategies to assist teachers in improving levels of student achievement;
  • Offers a venue whereby teachers assist teachers; and
  • Encourages the delivery of high-quality instruction and assessment in all classrooms.

The Center will be staffed by ten master teachers and one director. Working collaboratively, this group will overhaul professional development to meet teacher needs through job-embedded, collaborative, and research-based practices. Teachers will learn to work in collaborative learning cultures through professional development activities such as collaborative action research, peer observation, and lesson study. The Center for Teacher Leadership will deliver this required professional development and will also work closely with Curriculum & Instruction and schools to support the strategic plan.

As we move forward with Compass to 2015, our eyes must continue to be on the proverbial “prize”—we must ensure our students meet, even exceed, the academic outcomes we have identified as being crucial for their success in this increasingly complex, global society.

During this holiday season, our students and staff are giving back to the community through a variety of programs. Just a few examples include: 

  • Landstown High School students and staff distributed food to more than 500 local families through Operation Blessing. This was the 11th year Landstown has participated in this program that has provided over 300,000 pounds of food to more than 5,500 families in Virginia Beach. That equates to nearly 2,500 tons of food each year.
  • The Rotary Club of South Hampton Roads brought holiday gifts of food to Holland Elementary School.  More than 15 members of the club visited the school with 22 laundry baskets filled with complete turkey dinners for Holland families. 
  • The Cape Henry Rotary Club delivered 25 Beach Bags stuffed with holiday food and treats for needy families throughout the division.
  • Students at Princess Anne Elementary collected and donated books for children at CHKD. More than 100 books were collected, wrapped, and delivered to children in the hospital over the holidays.
  • Fourth and fifth graders from Princess Anne Elementary School boarded buses and traveled to Dam Neck Oceana to sing and spread holiday cheer for the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center.  The NMITC is one of the longest standing partnerships in Virginia Beach Schools. 

During this season filled with holiday events, students from the First Colonial High School Legal Studies Academy were keeping up with current events. Thanks to a grant from the Virginia Bar Foundation, forty students were able to attend the first Virginia Beach Forum session that featured political strategist Karl Rove. Students will also have the opportunity to hear from producers of the popular television series CSI this spring. Funds awarded to the Academy by the Virginia Beach Bar Association will be used to defray expenses for the Academy’s mock trial team later this year—both of these grants will be recognized at the Academy’s annual Law Day celebration in June.

Students at Corporate Landing Middle and elementary schools celebrated the kick-off of their new student-to-student mentorship program. This program is designed to provide a supportive mentor for elementary students as they prepare to enter middle school. The group will meet throughout the year to prepare rising middle school students by teaching them what to expect, familiarize them with the middle school, and make them feel comfortable in their middle school transition.

Twenty PTA Volunteers in Education Coordinators recently participated in a Volunteer Certification Course offered by the Office of Community Relations. The course taught the basics of volunteer management including how to recruit volunteers, the importance of record-keeping, and techniques for recognizing volunteers. The course culminated in a “graduation” ceremony that bestowed the title of “VBCPS Certified Volunteer Coordinator” on the dedicated participants.

The following congratulations are in order this evening…

Congratulations on a job well done by the high school marketing departments who partnered with retailers Coastal Edge and Volcom in a project called Give Jeans a Chance.  As part of this project, students collected jeans for donation to homeless shelters and educated their peers about the needs of the homeless in our community. Landstown High School won the $500 donation to a charity of choice, given by Coastal Edge, for collecting 1189 pairs of jeans.  As a result of their efforts, schools donated 6090 pairs of jeans to the homeless.  

Student teams from Ocean Lakes High School participated in the annual Christopher Newport University Mathematics Competition held on November 20. Over 120 students from across the region participated. Ocean Lakes students took first place in the team competition led by John G., Thomas G., David S. and Gennie D., all juniors. David S. also placed 1st for the Juniors and 2nd in overall competition.

Congratulations to Fran Foster for his article in the “School Planning & Management” publication. The article outlines a project undertaken by school plant to determine if Lean Six Sigma practices could assist in improving how the division delivers services. After an initial implementation period, results were seen in more timely completion of work orders, money saved through fewer printed work requests, and more efficient management of staff and inventory.

Lastly this evening, we would like to extend holiday greetings to the School Board, school division staff, students, and their families.  All of the division’s schools will be closed Thursday, December 23 until Monday, January 3, and we wish everyone a happy holiday and joyous New Year.

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

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017