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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 - October 16, 2012

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

I will begin my monthly report with an update on our work under our strategic plan, Compass to 2015. As you know, objective two of the plan states that VBCPS will develop and implement a balanced assessment system that accurately reflects student demonstration and mastery of VBCPS outcomes for student success.

There are some good examples of that balanced assessment system taking place in our schools right now. For instance, middle and elementary school students in grades 7 and 4 are currently taking a fall Integrated Performance Task, or I-P-T for short. This task requires students to read and review evidence provided to them including data, news articles and other materials. Based on this evidence, students are asked to form an opinion in order to answer three open-ended questions. Students must evaluate evidence and write a few short responses which communicate their opinion using evidence-based details to support their answers.

The IPT measures not only written communication skills, it is a good indicator of critical thinking, information literacy, and problem solving. The fall version of the IPT is diagnostic in nature and shows where students are now with regard to skill development. Results will be used by teachers to evaluate instructional effectiveness and allow them to make necessary modifications.  Another IPT will be administered in the spring to look at student growth in the identified skill areas.

As a reminder critical thinking, problem solving, and written communication are three student outcomes specified in Compass to 2015.

In other news from across the division:

  • Approximately 950 middle school students recently participated in the second annual STEM Career Conference at Corporate Landing Middle School.  The event was designed to promote student interest in courses and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The keynote speaker was Captain Brian “Lex” Luther, commanding officer of the USS George H.W. Bush, who helped students make the connection between the rigorous STEM-related classes they are taking in school with real-world opportunities. Military partners, business leaders, college professors, architects, scientists and engineers led more than 40 breakout sessions for students. Topics included Internet technology, forensic pathology, robotics and intelligent systems, oceanic and marine-Life, and landscape architecture to name a few. In addition, Captain Luther and other military partners shared the many STEM-related opportunities available throughout the military branches.
  • As you know, VBCPS has a large number of military-connected families in our schools. We work hard to make sure that students who come to our schools throughout the year feel welcome and are prepared to meet the challenges of a new school environment. One way we can do that is through student-to-student mentoring. Just last week, student representatives and staff from Bayside, First Colonial, Princess Anne and Salem high schools traveled to San Antonio, Texas, to attend training for a new Student-to-Student (S2S) program. S-2-S is a transition program designed to welcome and assist new students to be successful – both personally and academically. Statistics show that the typical high school graduate from a military-connected family will actually attend 9 or more schools before their senior year and many attend 2 or more high schools.  The S-2-S training is part of a $2.5 million dollar grant that VBCPS received from the U.S Department of Defense Education Activity to support military-connected students and their families.
  • Also last week, we took a break from our hectic school schedule to honor our 2013 Teachers of the Year. The theme for this year’s event was “Teachers of the Year, You’ve Got our Vote.” That seems appropriate given that elections are just a few weeks away. To help celebrate these outstanding teachers, a community newspaper – the Virginia Beach Sun – donated this full page ad featuring our Citywide Teacher of the Year finalists and our Citywide Teacher of the Year, Angela German. Angela is an English teacher at Plaza Middle School. I know that many of our School Board members attended the dinner. I am sure that the teachers appreciated your support.
  • Speaking of teachers, we’re welcoming back approximately 40 former teachers into our classrooms. A group of retired VBCPS teachers are back to serve as mentors at schools across the division. It’s all part of an academically-based partnership between VBCPS and the Virginia Beach Education Association. These pictures are from a kick-off luncheon last month.
  • And finally, a thank you and special recognition for a few of our Board members tonight. I am pleased to pass on certificates and pins from The Virginia School Boards Association for your participation in the VSBA Academy from July 2010 through June of 2012. The VSBA Academy promotes the continued development of boardsmanship skills and education related to curriculum issues.
    • Chairman Edwards is receiving an Award of Honor and a commemorative gold pin;
    • Receiving Awards of Excellence and silver pins are Board members Ashley McLeod and Patrick Salyer;
    • Dottie Holtz and Sam Reid have earned Awards of Achievement and bronze pins;
    • And Vice-chair Bill Brunke is the recipient of a Certificate of Recognition.
Your certificates and pins have been placed at your seats. On behalf of the staff, students, and families of Virginia Beach, thank you for all you do for the children of this city.

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.
  • Your certificates and pins have been placed at your seats. On behalf of the staff, students, and families of Virginia Beach, thank you for all you do for the children of this city.


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

Superintendent's Report Archives

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017