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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 - December 18, 2012

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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I begin my traditional monthly report, I would like to say a few words about school safety. Obviously, last week's tragic shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut has reinforced the vital role of security in our schools and offices. While it would not be wise for me to publicly detail the many safe school initiatives that we have in place, I do want to assure parents and our community that student and staff safety are always top priorities for this division. We have worked closely with local, state and federal law enforcement and emergency agencies to develop comprehensive plans. There are school resource officers from the police department in all of our middle and high schools and now, Sheriff Stolle has offered the assistance of his deputies at our elementary schools.

As educators and parents, we all grieve with the community of Newtown, Connecticut. We are left wondering how we can help. The school division is encouraging folks to donate to the United Way's "Sandy Hook School Support Fund." Donations can be sent to the address on the screen. We've also posted information and links on our website, vbschools.com.

Although it is a difficult transition to now move on and deliver the news of what's happening in our schools, our daily work must continue. So, on to my report:

As you know, Objective Three of our strategic plan, Compass to 2015, states that "each school will improve achievement for all student groups, with particular focus on African-American males."

To that end, staff is hard at work planning a Saturday summit designed primarily for African-American males and their parents. Approximately 800 people are expected at the sixth annual African-American Male Summit scheduled for Jan. 12 at Landstown High School. It will feature student workshops on topics such as setting and meeting goals, high school academic supports, the importance of enrolling in challenging courses and college preparation. In addition, there will be a parent institute with similar sessions. Although the summit is designed for African-American males in grades 8 through 12, all students are invited to attend. Interested students and parents should stop by any school guidance office to sign up.

Students and staff at Diamond Springs, Williams and Newtown elementary schools are featured in the cover story of Virginia Teacher magazine. The article showcases The Leader in Me program in place at the schools. Based on the work of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" author Stephen Covey, it teaches basic leadership principles to students and creates opportunities for children to apply them in the classroom. Also in this month's issue - a profile of Diamond Springs Elementary principal Gloria Costen appears in the "Class Reunion" section of the magazine.

Congratulations to Great Neck Middle School staff and students who are celebrating the official dedication of their new building. Many of our school board members and several former principals and administrators joined students and staff for a special ceremony. Everyone remarked on the technology available throughout the building and the school's many "green" features such as the hot water system that is heated through solar collectors. Guests were invited to take home a brick from the original building which was not only the old Great Neck Middle School but also the original Cox High School.

Many thanks tonight to the Virginia Beach Education Foundation which recently awarded $72,000 in teacher and schoolwide grants at its T.G.I.F event. In this case, TGIF stands for teacher grants improve futures. Over the past 10 years, the VBEF has awarded nearly $1 million in grants to Virginia Beach teachers.

High school chorus students across the division had a unique opportunity recently to take part in a citywide master class. Led by the vocal group, New York Polyphony, students worked directly with the singers who provided valuable performance feedback.

Speaking of music and the arts, marching bands from Cox, First Colonial, Green Run, Kellam, Landstown and Ocean Lakes high schools made beautiful music at the annual holiday parade at the Oceanfront. It was a great opportunity to hear the "sounds of the season."

Up the boardwalk a bit, the holiday lights at the beach display features the outstanding work of a Salem High School student and a recent Kellam graduate. These are the winning displays from a recent design contest. The work of Dalaney D. (seen here on the left) and Audrey C. (on the right), were chosen from among 26 submissions. Audrey attends the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Salem. Delaney graduated last spring from Kellam High School and now attends C-N-U.

Last weekend brought a holiday extravaganza to Lynnhaven Middle School. The school and partner in education Wave City Care hosted a unique "shopping trip" for hundreds of families. Parents chose clothing and toy items from more than 1000 donated gifts. Members of the school's National Junior Honor Society entertained the children with holiday activities and crafts while parents shopped. More than 500 children will see the benefits of this great school/community partnership event.

One more holiday note: I had opportunity to stop by Ocean Lakes High School last week to meet 12th-grader Libby D. This talented artist designed the holiday card that is sent out from my office to our partners and members of the community. The card has a decidedly "beachy" feeling this year; showing a young man surfing on a candy cane! Congratulations to Libby and her art teacher Elizabeth Henson.

Mr. Chairman that concludes my report for this evening. Remember, you can see photos and postings about other events taking place in our schools on Facebook. Be sure to "like" our page and follow us on Twitter @vbschools.

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


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Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017