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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 - September 18, 2012

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

I traditionally begin my monthly report with an update on our strategic plan, Compass to 2015. I do this so that our parents and community can understand the importance of the work we are doing and the impact it is having on student achievement.

As you know, our primary focus under Compass to 2015 is on teaching and assessing the skills that students need to thrive as 21st century learners, workers, and citizens. We are making great strides in this effort. So much so, that the district is getting national attention as a leader in education.

This month’s School Administrator magazine features a cover story by Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap. In the magazine, he touts VBCPS as a model for ensuring college, career, and citizenship readiness.

Wagner says – quote- “As I consider the essential steps to overcome the global achievement gap, I begin by examining what communities can do to create a higher level of accountability for schools and districts – beyond standardized test scores. The story of how the 70,000-student Virginia Beach City Public Schools set about transforming teaching and learning offers a powerful example of a school system ensuring all students graduate from high school with the skills they need to succeed.”

The article goes on to describe how we went about developing our strategic plan and the tremendous input the community provided throughout the process. We’ve placed a copy of the article on You can access it in the “headline news” section of the page.

Back in the classroom, those 21st century skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration will be put to good use by students involved in this year’s STEM Robotics Challenge. Hundreds of students from schools across the division will work as teams to research, design, and build robots for the annual competition. Training is underway now for the teachers, mentors and volunteers who will support the students in their work. Although the actual competition is not slated until June, the planning and design will begin in just a few weeks. The Robotics Challenge is just one of many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiatives in place in Virginia Beach schools.

“Innovate to educate and educate to innovate”, that’s the challenge issued to members of the division’s Teacher Forum by forum chair Brian Meechan. The forum comprises master teachers, drawn from each school in the division. This year, the group is led by 2012 teacher of the year Brian Meechan. Teacher Forum was first established in 19-98 and has proven to be an effective way for teachers in our schools to communicate with central administration and the School Board on important issues, initiatives, and concerns. Moreover, Teacher Forum members collaborate to champion the objectives of our strategic plan, Compass to 2015.

Special congratulations are in order tonight for a few staff members who are outstanding representatives of our school division.

I’m pleased to recognize the 2012-13 school security assistants of the year:

  • Georgann Okinsky (Oh-kin-ski) at Kempsville Elementary School,
  • Judy Gilbert from Corporate Landing Middle School, and
  • David Powell over at the Technical and Career Education Center.

These outstanding security assistants help maintain a safe learning environment for our students by keeping a watchful eye in hallways and common areas, assisting with fire and emergency drills, and providing additional security at sporting and school activities. We are fortunate to have dedicated employees such as Georgann, Judy, David, and all of our security assistants, in our schools.

Congratulations also go out tonight to Coach Leo Anthony at First Colonial High School. Currently the golf coach at F-C, Anthony racked up his 1000th win as a coach last week when the Patriots defeated the Salem Sundevils. Anthony has coached golf for 42 years, but it’s not his only sport. He was also a varsity basketball coach for many years. Anthony is a member of the Virginia High School League Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame and is often referred to as a “Living Legend.” Congratulations, Coach Anthony!

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

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Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017