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Superintendent's Report to the School Board - June 18, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Traditionally, Dr. Merrill begins this report with a look at our work under Compass to 2015, but I am going to save that until the end tonight. Instead, I would like to kick things off by offering my heartfelt congratulations to the 4,464 seniors who graduated from our high schools last week. The Class of 2013 was awarded $32,660,985 in scholarships. If you think thatís impressive, you should note that the figure represents only the scholarships that were accepted by graduates, not the total offered to them. Best of luck, graduates. We look forward to seeing great things from you in the future.

Prior to the end of the school year, the first African-American Female Summit was held at Cox High School. This citywide event, which focused on closing achievement gaps by race and gender, included students from 13 of our middle schools. The theme, Being the Change You Want to See, came to life through group activities, panel discussions and guest speakers.

Just down the road, another summit for young women was taking place at Virginia Beach Middle School. Topics included nutrition, self-image and relationships, social media and public speaking, to name a few. Girls Summit participants said it was great way to spend a Saturday!

Months of planning and design paid off for students participating in this year's STEM Robotics competition. In all, 51 of our schools had teams of students which created and demonstrated robots. Leading up to the event, teams worked with mentors and sponsors from various science, technology, engineering and math related organizations to design and build their machines. During the competition, the robots were put to the test by completing tasks and an obstacle course of sorts. What an engaging way to put those STEM skills to work.

It's been a busy few weeks for students over at the Global Studies and World Languages Academy. The academy hosted an African Tribal Leader and the Philippine Ambassador to the United States. Both men spoke with students about their culture and the political and social issues facing their native countries.

As part of their celebration on becoming a Confucius Institute, ODU brought performers from Minzu University to the Global Studies and World Languages Academy. Tallwood High School is also designated as a Confucius Classroom and receives funding to support Chinese language and exchange programs.

A big "thank you" tonight to the servicemen and women of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek/Fort Story. For the second time this spring, the men and women packed thousands of Beach Bags to provide weekend food items for some of the districtís neediest students. Parishioners at the base chapel donated the money to purchase food for the 2,800 bags packed last week.

Two special honors tonight from The Virginia Association for the Gifted: The group has selected Yoon Do, a parent from Old Donation Center, as its Parent of Year. Do was selected for her tireless service to the school and gifted community as well as her continued advocacy for children.

Also being recognized by the Virginia Association for the Gifted is VBCPS teacher Lisa Kilczewski. She was selected as the Region II Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted. Kilczewski takes time to conference one-on-one with students, communicates regularly with parents and collaborates with peers to ensure that all students are being challenged and all student needs are being met.

Congratulations tonight to the recipients of the PTA's Principles of American Citizenship awards for May. Andre Rossetti, David Ham and Jack Brown were chosen for demonstrating the character trait of "trustworthiness."

Congratulations also go out to Elisia Hamm, a sophomore in the Global Studies and World Languages Academy for being named the 2013 Outstanding Youth by the Virginia Beach Council of Civic Organizations and the Youth Volunteer of the Year by Volunteer Hampton Roads. Hamm created "Elle's Belles," a multicultural program for girls age six to nine in the Seatack community. Through the program she teaches self-esteem and etiquette to young girls. Elisia certainly understands and embodies social responsibility.

As you know social responsibility is one of the 21st century skills we are committed to fostering under our strategic plan, Compass to 2015. For example, last week first grade students in Ms. Connie Stanley's class at Hermitage Elementary opened an arcade for their fellow students and the staff. In order to take part in activities, classes had to make a donation to the Red Cross fund benefiting students in Moore, Oklahoma who lost their school to a recent tornado. At the end of the week, Ms. Stanleyís class had raised more than $2,000. Now thatís impressive.

I'd like to conclude my report with a few photos of some of the other creative teaching and learning thatís been taking place in our schools after SOL testing. These examples will help bust that old myth that meaningful work stops after high stakes testing. You will see Compass coming to life in the engaging lessons and activities. Our students are creative, critical thinkers who collaborate and communicate well with one another. Take a look.

(Photo montage) Mr. Chairman that concludes my report.


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Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017