Skip to main content
Quick Links

We put students first, seek growth, are open to change, do great work together and value differences.

Website Accessibility

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 - March 19, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As usual, I will begin my report with a look at the progress we are making under our strategic plan, Compass to 2015. Strategic Objective One states that "all teachers will engage every student in meaningful, authentic and rigorous work through the use of innovative instructional practices and supportive technologies that will motivate students to be self-directed and inquisitive learners."

These pictures are a great example of one of the innovative lessons taking place in classrooms across the city. Here, third graders at John B. Dey Elementary School are building simple machines using legos. The children then use a computer to program the machine to function correctly. In this case, the machine is an alligator and it is programmed to open and close its mouth and make sounds. Another great thing about this lesson is that one of our community partners facilitates the lab. Many thanks to Annie Moses of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Detachment Norfolk for leading students in this exciting and innovative lesson. We are fortunate to have partners and volunteers who are eager to support our students and teachers. You can see in the pictures how much the kids loved it! You can see more pictures from Mrs. Leitzke's class on the vbschools Facebook page and look for the story on The Core.

Talk about cute pictures – check out Thing 1 and the Cat in the Hat as they celebrated Dr. Suess' birthday. Students (and some teachers and parents) donned hats and wigs as they curled up with a good book to celebrate the birthday of the late Theodor Geisel. The Virginia Beach Education Association sponsored "Read Across America to celebrate Dr. Suess' birthday" at the Barnes and Noble at Town Center. There were guest readers - including a few school board members - and photos with characters. A percentage of book sales that day went to the Education Foundation to support future grant projects. According to media reports, Dr. Suess' favorite book was The Lorax. Suess was writing about social responsibility and sustainability before it was cool!

Meanwhile, fifth graders from 18 of our schools matched wits for the Battle of the Books hosted by the public libraries. Dozens of teams including many of our students, teachers and parents read 10 pre-selected books and answered questions in a Jeopardy-style contest. After numerous elimination rounds, and a few nail-biting matches, a team from Princess Anne Elementary School took top honors. The team, called "10 Books, One Boy," received a trophy and members were given bookstore gift cards. Congratulations to these enthusiastic young readers.

AVID students at Salem Middle School were hitting the books to research college opportunities and admission requirements. The goal was to share information with their classmates at the school's first –ever College Fair. AVID students contacted dozens of schools to gather brochures, posters and information about admissions and tuition. Representatives from TCC, Norfolk State, ODU and the University of Alabama were so impressed, they attended the fair themselves. In all, more than 250 students participated in Salem's College Fair.

The halls of Tallwood High School looked more like the United Nations recently. A group of Chinese students visited the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood this month. It's an opportunity for the teens to interact on a personal level and learn firsthand about another culture. Academy students will travel to Harbin, China as part of the exchange next week.

The Chinese students aren't the only international guests to visit the Academy. The Bahraini Ambassador to the United States – Ambassador Nonoo - was at the school in late February to speak with students about her role as the liaison from the Middle Eastern kingdom. Bahrain is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf.

Military families in our area are certainly familiar with the Persian Gulf region. It has been the location of many a deployment. Overseas assignments and deployments are just a couple of the issues that children from military families have to deal with. There are also the frequent moves to new duty stations and schools, the anxiety of making new friends, and extended absences of mom or dad. VBCPS has numerous outreaches to support military-connected students in our schools and those who move here throughout the year. A couple of weeks ago, the school division partnered with the Military Child Education Coalition – MCEC- to launch a junior student to student ambassador program in our middle schools. A few students, teachers and counselors from each middle school attended weekend training where they organized action plans to help ease the transition of new military-connected students. Similar programs are already in place at our high schools.

Children have to be pretty resilient to be part of a military family. As educators, how can we foster that resiliency and adaptability in our students? That was the topic of this year's National Speaker Series hosted by the division's Teacher Forum. The guest speaker was Dr. Ken Ginsburg, a noted pediatrician and author. Teachers learned about building positive relationships to support student achievement and strategies students can use to reduce stress. Earlier in the day Dr. Ginsburg met with military parents at an event at JEB Little Creek/Ft. Story and at a few of our schools with large military populations.

Special congratulations tonight to this year's recipients of the Daughters of the American Revolution awards. 11 high school students, two fourth-grade students and eight teachers were honored for their outstanding performance in teaching and learning American history. High school students were chosen based on their classwork in Virginia and U.S. History or Advanced Placement American History along with their participation in extra-curricular events and community service projects. The elementary students were selected for essays they submitted on the topic "What the American Flag means to me." This is the 36th year that the D-A-R has presented these awards to students and staff.

Thousands of students from here in Virginia Beach and across Hampton Roads laced up their sneakers for the Shamrock Marathon weekend. They ran in the 8-K Middle School Challenge and the Operation Smile Final Mile. The event was the culmination of months of training for many elementary students. They ran 25 miles each over the winter and finished up their "marathon" distance by running that final mile at the oceanfront. Many of our schools and students raised money for Operation Smile as part of the big event. Even when our students are out having fun, they are demonstrating their social responsibility!

And finally, congratulations to the recipients of the PTA Principles of American Citizenship awards for the month of January. The following students were chosen for demonstrating the character of "fairness":

  • Alex S. – Thoroughgood Elementary School:
  • Xander J. from Landstown Middle School; and
  • Robert H. from Ocean Lakes High School.

Remember, you can read more about the accomplishments of students and staff on the school division's online blog "The Core" on And, be sure to follow us on Twitter and "like" vbschools on Facebook.

That concludes my report for this evening.

Superintendent's Report Archives

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017