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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 21, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

As you know, I like to begin my report by updating you on the progress we are making under our strategic plan, Compass to 2015. This evening, my focus will be in the area of strategic objective 5 which states, "VBCPS will be accountable for developing essential leader, teacher and staff competencies and optimizing all resources to achieve the school division’s strategic goal and outcomes for student success."

You don’t need to look much further than tonight’s School Board recognitions to see some of our progress. Our future teacher awards are a great example of how we are purposefully and successfully using our resources to develop or "grow our own" future staff members. Tonight’s recipients have had a taste of lesson planning, student teaching and classroom management. All with the hope that the exposure to public education and VBCPS operations will encourage them to return to our district as staff members.

Additionally, our Teacher of the Year and Teacher Forum programs bring together the “best of the best” from each school to provide input on issues, discuss concerns from the classroom, and share best practices that can be taken back and shared at their home schools. We recognized our 2014 Citywide Teacher of the Year, Carrie Gantt, earlier this evening. I’d also like to acknowledge our Citywide Teacher of the Year finalists as well. They are:

  • Amy Abbott, gifted resource teacher at Great Neck Middle School;
  • Lori Burwell, math teacher at Ocean Lakes High School;
  • Kelly Ireland, language arts and inclusion teacher at Bettie F. Williams Elementary School; and
  • Heather Wren, language arts teacher at Strawbridge Elementary School

In the case of each and every finalist, words like "innovative, collaborative and resourceful" are used to describe their work. These outstanding educators and all teachers of the year serve as role models, mentors and instructional leaders in their schools, helping to develop those essential leader, teacher and staff competencies mentioned in S-O Five.

Speaking of leadership, students at Diamond Springs and Newtown elementary schools recently celebrated Leadership Day. The children have spent the school year learning about and applying seven leadership habits based on author Steven Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. As a culminating activity, students participated in various performances, created video projects, presentations and dramatizations for parents and community members to showcase their understanding of the habits.

The students recognized at this year’s 200+ Men Scholars Breakfast certainly understand the importance of leadership, organization and service. The annual breakfast recognizes 12th grade African-American males who are graduating with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. In addition, many of the young men have earned scholarships from local, regional and national organizations.

Among the attendees at the breakfast was Fred Lamb who is one of three VBCPS seniors to earn Gates Millennium scholarships. Lamb a senior at Bayside High School is joined by Robert Hampton also from Bayside and Nicole SantaLucia from Landstown High as 2014 Gates scholars. Funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the scholarship program covers all costs associated with either an undergraduate or advanced degree. SantaLucia plans to study environmental engineering at Virginia Tech and Hampton will attend the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. As for Fred Lamb, he’s attending Virginia Tech on a Presidential Scholarship so he plans to use the Gates scholarship to fund his graduate degree in biosciences.

Here’s a story that you are sure to “dig!” Over at Shelton Park Elementary School, fifth-grade students have been unearthing artifacts from the Jamestown, Colonial, Civil War and Revolutionary War eras. Their teachers, Mrs. Hodges and Mrs. Bates, collected the pieces which were buried by members of one of the school’s partners in education – the Coastal Riverine Group Two. After the students found an artifact at the dig site, they processed it through several stations where they took photos, cleaned and measured the piece and added it to the master inventory. Now, students are researching each piece to determine what the artifact is and how it was used. The artifacts and student multimedia presentations will be put on display in the school library.

There’s a new library in the Pembroke section of the city, all thanks to students from Kemps Landing Magnet School and Pembroke Elementary. Throughout the school year, eighth-graders from Kemps Landing partnered with fifth-graders at Pembroke to choose books for a Little Free Library. The small lending library was built by a Kemps Landing family member and painted by members of the school’s National Junior Honor Society. It now sits in the yard of a Pembroke staff member in the heart of the community. K-L-M-S students interviewed the Pembroke students to determine what kinds of books they would like to see in the library. In the end, 50 books were purchased through a Virginia Beach Education Foundation grant. The books are available to anyone who would like to borrow it – free of charge- the only catch is that all books must be returned for others to enjoy as well.

As you know, strategic objective 4 of Compass to 2015 stresses our commitment to parent and community engagement. Here’s a great example of that objective coming to life. More than 200 parents and grandparents came out for a workshop focused on motivating the bright or gifted child. Gifted resource teachers from across the division showed participants how to use new free online resources. The workshop was put together by the Office of Gifted Education and Curriculum Development.

The ODU/WHRO Great Computer Challenge was a great success for several student teams from the Advanced Technology Center. They placed first in the Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Visual Basic categories. Teams also earned second and third place in a number of other categories.

As the school year winds down, many of our students are receiving scholarships and financial awards. For example, seven students participating in the family and consumer science’s culinary arts program recently received scholarships from Careers through Culinary Arts, or C-CAP for short and other culinary organizations. The scholarships range from $225 to a $53,000 scholarship earned by TCE and Kellam High School student Alexander Telinde from the Culinary Institute of America. In addition, Tech Center and First Colonial High School student Cameron Garvey was awarded the Colonial Williamsburg Apprenticeship valued at $60,000.

Two of our staff members have reason to celebrate tonight. David Hopson, band director at Green Run High School was recently awarded a National Tourism Week Attraction Award for his work with Beach Street USA. For the last nine years, Hopson has led the BeachStreet All-Star entertainment at the oceanfront. As part of his efforts, he mentored and auditioned hundreds of high school students through the years. Also recognized with an Attraction Award in the category of restaurant host/hostess, was Providence Elementary’s Christina Innis. Innis is a literacy teacher by day that wows customers at an area restaurant at night – putting her communication and collaboration skills to good use.

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

  • DeAngelo Bailey of Birdneck Elementary School
  • Colby Gage Nottenkamper from Landstown Middle School; and
  • Jocelyn Boyce 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