Measuring Progress - In addition to identifying goals to guide our work, we have identified key indicators, referred to as navigational markers, to gauge progress. Learn more about our navigational markers here.
Our Graduate Profile - Compass to 2020 was developed with the end in mind, and articulates a vision of the future where all VBCPS students are college and career ready. To make this vision a reality, we have identified a set of attributes, referred to as our graduate profile, that we believe are critical for ensuring that students are ready for the future.
Academic and Career Planning - A team made up of school counselors representing each school level, guidance department chairs and coordinators from the guidance department and Technical and Career Education met throughout the year to revisit the academic and career planning process. They have worked to articulate pathways to various careers organized by clusters so that the course sequences and learning experiences best suited to a particular career or area of future study are clearly defined for students.
Balanced Assessment: Authentic and Performance Based - As part of an ongoing commitment to provide students with assessments grounded in real-world experiences, the 2015-2016 school year saw an increase in the number of performance-based assessments included in our curriculum, accompanied by an increased emphasis on building capacity for teachers to use them effectively in making direct links to globally competitive skills.
Career Lattice Development - The Office of Professional Growth and Innovation has been working to develop career lattices for teachers and administrators that clearly and transparently represent the multiple pathways available for continued professional growth and advancement. The intent is to provide all staff with a working environment where they feel motivated, satisfied, and that they are making a contribution.
Compass to 2020 Navigational Markers - As part of the planning process for the division’s strategic framework, Compass to 2020, a cross-section of more than 70 stakeholders worked to identify key measures for each of the goals. These key measures, referred to as “navigational markers,” are updated on an ongoing basis and results are reported by student subgroups as a way to monitor and address gaps.
Compass to 2020 Quick-Start Guide - All administrators received a concise guide to the work priorities identified for the first year of the new strategic framework. It outlined focus areas for the 2015-2016 school year as well as resources for support.
Compass to 2020 Website - Designed to keep our community informed of the work, the Compass to 2020 website contains the framework and updates on our progress and journey.
Convocation in a Box - As a kick-off to the school division’s new strategic framework, Compass to 2020, all departments, schools and specialty centers received a do-it-yourself convocation kit that included a video message from the Superintendent, an overview presentation and a number of fun activities designed to familiarize staff with the goals and objectives.
Core Values - With the implementation of a new strategic framework came the opportunity to re-examine the core values of the school division and identify specific behaviors that exemplify the values. The new core values adopted by the school division included student-centered decision making, continuous learning, innovation, collaboration, and respect.
Design Fellows - Teachers across the division were invited to apply for a special learning and leadership opportunity focused on defining what personalized learning could look like in classrooms across the division. Over the summer, selected teachers and specialists learned principles of design thinking and used these principles to develop artifacts to support our growing understanding of personalized learning.
Digital Learning Anchor Schools - In an effort to use digital learning as a pathway to personalized learning, schools were invited to apply for a special opportunity to serve as a Digital Learning Anchor School. The goal of this initiative was to develop a cadre of schools to serve as model digital learning schools and use them to study specifics in the field with respect to pedagogy and device implementation.
Digital Transformation - In an effort to provide students with more flexible learning opportunities that foster globally competitive skills like critical thinking, communication, and creativity, the school division embarked on a digital transformation designed to leverage the power of technology to positively impact student learning.
Digital Integration: What’s Next? - We will continue to seamlessly integrate technology into the teaching and learning process as we identify engaging digital resources and practices that equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be college and career ready. In 2016-2017, Digital Learning Anchor schools will continue to take the lead in this area and all schools will take stock of their readiness for digital transformation.
Early Hiring Efforts - Multiple central office departments engaged in a coordinated effort to identify and release teacher allocations one month earlier than usual to allow principals to begin the hiring process sooner in hopes of recruiting and hiring the most qualified candidates.
Equity Focus: What’s Next? - To address the issues of poverty, race and diversity that impact discipline and academic achievement, VBCPS staff have been asked to examine their work through an “equity lens” by analyzing school data, identifying areas of inequity, and engaging in targeted professional learning to support growth so that ALL students can reach their maximum potential.
Global Passport Schools - Four elementary schools partnered with VIF International to serve as Global Passport Schools to help students view the world through a regional and global lens and connect classrooms with local and regional organizations.
Great Dreams Need Great Teachers: Our Teacher Appreciation Campaign - At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, the school division kicked off a special campaign to recognize and honor teachers for the role they play in supporting the dreams and aspirations of our students. The campaign was made possible through the generous support of business and community sponsors.
Innovation Incubator - The school division launched an Entrepreneurship and Business Academy at Kempsville High School designed to foster business aspirations and provide hands-on experiences. The school division also continues to support innovation by expanding STEM opportunities for all students.
Learning Environment Professional Learning - During the 2015-2016 school year all, teachers participated in professional learning focused on creating student-centered learning environments where students could thrive academically, physically, and emotionally.
Making Waves Mentoring Program - Senior Staff members and office directors across the division are volunteering as mentors to students from across the school divisions elementary, middle and high schools. The purpose of the mentoring program is to provide students additional support outside of the classroom and to help them be successful in school while providing decision makers a deeper empathy to help guide student-centered decision making.
Personalized Learning: What’s Next? - The work associated with personalized learning will move forward on several fronts including the work of new and returning design fellows, awareness building facilitated by instructional technology specialists, and the continued efforts of schools involved in the Digital Learning Anchor School Initiative.
Positive Behavioral Supports: What’s Next? - Our schools are at varying stages of implementing a multi-tiered system of supports to ensure that all students receive what they need to be successful. A focus for all schools in the 2016-2017 school year is strengthening their Student Response Teams. The Student Response Team is comprised of a multidisciplinary group of individuals who engage in a process of analyzing data to address the needs of students referred for interventions or accommodations to promote positive outcomes for students.
Professional Growth and Innovation - The Office of Professional Growth and Innovation was created to provide a unified approach to professional learning for all staff. The work of the office focuses on individual capacity building, providing programming and services in leadership development, career advancement, new employee support, and the development of globally competitive skills. The office also works to support the division’s strategic initiatives.
Purposeful Partnerships - We will continue to build purposeful partnerships that support student achievement, aspirations, and social-emotional development. During the 2016-2017 school year, all schools will participate in a community engagement needs assessment to identify partnerships and community resources that support areas of student need.
Revised Hiring Process - The departments of Human Resources and School Leadership developed a new process for identifying candidates for school-based administrator vacancies that increase stakeholder involvement in the process. Under the new process, the Department of School Leadership holds staff and community-based input meetings to develop a profile of the ideal candidate and interview questions. The interview committee includes representatives from central office departments as well as teacher and parent representatives. Student representatives are also included as appropriate.
Be Social, Be Smart, Be Safe: A VBCPS Social Media Campaign - This social media awareness campaign was launched to help students and families understand what it means to be responsible digital citizens and to realize that social media posts and their impacts last forever.
Student Discipline Task Force - Superintendent Spence created a task force made up of administrators, teachers, and community members to analyze the division’s discipline data and make recommendations for improvement. The five recommendations resulting from this work will assist the school division in achieving three specific objectives related to student discipline.
Student Learner Profile - A dedicated group of individuals representing teachers, specialists, and building administrators collaborated on recommendations addressing the purpose and desired content of student learner profiles to support personalized learning in VBCPS.
Sustainability: What’s Next? - In an effort to develop learners who are personally and socially responsible and at the same time demonstrate effective stewardship of division resources, the central office will take the lead in developing and implementing sustainable practices to be replicated throughout the school division.
Teaching and Learning Framework - Collaboratively developed by teachers, principals, and central office staff, this framework identifies key activities and processes involved in planning, teaching, assessing, and responding to student learning needs before, during, and after instruction.
Tidewater Community College Partnership - Through an outstanding partnership agreement with Tidewater Community College (TCC), Virginia Beach high school students have the opportunity to take select college courses for $45 per credit. The school division also created a new dual enrollment program with TCC and STIHL that includes college credit for coursework and onsite career training opportunities at STIHL.
Tiered School Support - As a school division, we provide targeted support to schools using a tier system based on their accreditation status and other federal accountability measures. By providing enhanced supports, school teams and central office departments are able to determine next steps in supporting the school’s instructional program based on student achievement data.
School Division Launches Academic and Career Planning Website - Guidance Services, in collaboration with the Department of Media and Communications, developed a website filled with resources to help students in the academic and career planning process. The site includes brief informative videos that help students understand and navigate the process and includes links to industry specific pathways that provide suggested learning experiences for middle and high school students as well as careers available in the pathway based on post-secondary education requirements.
Adding the Equity Lens - VBCPS hosted a full-day regional conference focused on equity and excellence that served as the kick-off for our administrators’ conference where school leaders and their administrative team applied an “equity lens” to their work to identify areas for improvement. Based on an examination of their data, they identified areas of need and developed site-based plans for professional learning to address these needs.
Digital Learning Anchor Schools Leading Transformational Learning - Digital Learning Anchor Schools continued to serve as leaders in digital integration through their work by helping to identify the supports necessary for transformational learning and by helping to showcase the role of leadership, teachers, the learning environment, students and the community. Learn More
Common Grading Practices Developed at the Secondary Level - In an effort to ensure consistency and accountability, all secondary schools focused on developing grading guidelines at the school level by having teachers work together by department, grade level, or specialized course to identify the grading practices they believed would be most successful in their classrooms and buildings. From there, school committees and teams made up of parents, teachers, and building administrators reviewed the plans to make sure they aligned with the division’s 2017-2018 grading guidelines. Learn More
Continuation of Great Dreams Need Great Teachers - Through continued collaboration between VBCPS and the community, the professionalism and life-changing contributions of teachers were celebrated as part of the We Are VBSchools: Great Dreams Need Great Teachers campaign. To show appreciation and lift up the work of teachers, the campaign makes surprise visits in teachers’ classrooms, which are led by the Superintendent. In addition to reading testimonials provided by teachers and students who submit the nominations, teachers are presented with special appreciation awards that are completely funded through community partnerships and donations. The visits and stories are highlighted on social media and vbschools.com. Learn More
Continuing Digital Expansion - We will continue the division’s digital expansion to support transformational learning by strategically deploying devices across the division based on funding, readiness, and school feeder patterns.
Design Fellows (Supporting Personalized Learning for Students) - A second cohort of teachers were identified in 2016-2017 to serve as Design Fellows responsible for continuing to identify best practices to support the essential components of personalized learning for students in Virginia Beach. Many of the Design Fellows hosted learning tours for building administrators and School Board members to increase understanding and capacity for personalized learning. Learn More
Developing Teachers Leaders - New opportunities are being provided to teacher leaders or those teachers who aspire to leadership roles. This year, the school division launched a Teacher Career Lattice to help teachers navigate the many leadership opportunities and paths available at the school and division levels. The teacher leadership specializations offer teachers a personalized, competency-driven way to learn and demonstrate mastery of the skills of being a Team Leader or a Professional Learning Leader.
Division Hosts First-Ever Joy Fair - In an effort to combat the natural slump in energy and emotion that occurs during the latter half of the school year, the Office of Professional Growth and Innovation sponsored a Joy Fair in February. The fair provided an opportunity for all staff to learn strategies focused on transforming classroom environments and school cultures by maximizing joy and motivation for both staff and students. Learn More
Division Hosts First-ever Little Feet Meet - Virginia Beach City Public Schools partnered with Special Olympics Virginia to host its first-ever Little Feet Meet. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for Special Olympics Project UNIFY, the Little Feet Meet provided young students with developmental disabilities the opportunity to engage in track and field events with assistance from general education peers. More than 320 VBCPS students from 14 elementary schools participated in the Little Feet Meet as athletes or peer training partners and roughly 100 high school student leaders attended as event staff and student attendants.
Early Childhood Opportunities - Virginia Beach City Public Schools is beginning a multiyear implementation plan to transition its elementary schools from a half-day to a full-day kindergarten program. As part of the first phase, 11 elementary schools will launch new full-day programs at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. Learn More
Equity Conversation Added to Tiered School Supports - As a school division, we provide targeted support to schools using a tier system based on their accreditation status and other federal accountability measures. This year, equity-focused questions were incorporated into the meetings to keep focused on identifying and eliminating achievement gaps.
G Suite and Expansion of Google Classrooms Offer More Collaboration Tools - The school division implemented G-Suite for Education, a suite of free productivity tools for classroom collaboration. The suite includes Google calendar, groups, contacts, drive, hangouts, Gmail, and classroom. Classroom is a free web service for schools that makes it easy for learners and teachers to connect and collaborate.
Expansion of Professional Learning for Staff - VBCPS continued to expand professional learning support to a wider range of employees by implementing online training for substitutes and providing access to Lynda.com and technical resources for members of the Department of Technology and our technology support technicians.
Focusing on Student Data - The school division believes in and supports building staff capacity in departments and schools to effectively use data to make informed decisions. Our ongoing focus on student data has yielded impressive results with respect to our On-Time Graduation (OTG) rate, Advanced Placement course enrollments, students’ performance on the SAT, and the distinction of being a division with 100 percent of our schools accredited.
Fostering Student Agency - For the 2017-2018 school year, schools are engaging in a variety of professional learning experiences focused on fostering student agency so that all students are equipped and empowered to make meaningful choices and take purposeful actions in support of their learning.
Identifying Community Needs - Through a series of surveys and focus group meetings, students, staff, parents, and community partners are coming together by feeder pattern to identify community resources and opportunities for strategic partnerships to meet the identified needs at each school. The goal is to help the schools make connections with the community organizations that can have the greatest impact. Phase one of this initiative focused on the Bayside community and Bayside High School feeder pattern.
Improved School Security - Providing a safe and welcoming learning environment is a top priority for all schools across the division. To assist with this effort, the division launched a new visitor management system that instantly verifies the visitor’s identity, has the capacity to print destination-specific name badges, and reviews the visitor’s identify against national offender registries.
Instructional Coaching - School leaders were provided with professional learning on the Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) coaching framework, which was developed based on the Teaching and Learning Framework. The coaching framework and associated resources help administrators provide teachers with effective feedback in support of the expectations outlined in the Teaching and Learning framework.
Introduction of Campus Compass - For the last 19 years, the school division has published reports of progress for each of the schools in the division. These reports, referred to as the Annual School Report Cards, have included information about student and staff characteristics, perceptions of educational quality, attendance, and school performance. This year, we revamped the report cards to align more closely with the goals in our division’s strategic framework and renamed the reports Campus Compass. Learn More
Learning to LEAD - In an effort to support Goal 4 (Culture of Growth and Excellence), we have been working to develop our principal pipeline from within the school division. To do this we invited experienced administrators with the opportunity to apply to the LEAD for Aspiring Principals’ Program. This program focuses on sharpening their tools with respect to instructional leadership, situational complexities and building relationships by providing them with opportunities to reinforce their learning through applied learning assignments.
Making a Difference Through Sustainability - The school division continues to make sustainable practices a top priority. During the summer of 2016, members of the Superintendent’s Executive Leadership Team participated in a sustainability summit facilitated by Leith Sharp, director of executive education for sustainability with Harvard’s University Center for Health and the Global Environment. In addition, VBCPS was named an Energy Star Partner of the Year for 2017 by the Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the climate through superior energy efficiency. The award recognizes VBCPS for its commitment to reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
New Office of Opportunity and Achievement Promotes Equity - A new office was created, at the recommendation of the Student Discipline Task Force, to ensure that equity is embedded in the work of all schools through the development and implementation of diversity, inclusion, and student achievement initiatives. Initiatives directed by this office include the Annual African-American Male Summit, Beach Girls Rock Seminar, and Candid Conversations About Race. Learn More
Partnerships Supporting Literacy - The school division has several partnerships that are supporting our efforts related to literacy at the elementary level. For example, the Virginia Beach public libraries work with the school division to bring the Book Mobile and other library services to each pre-Kindergarten classroom and Title I classroom across the city. The library also works with all VBCPS schools to encourage summer reading among all students and provides incentives for all students as they read over the summer. The United Way, under the umbrella of United for Children, work together with VBCPS and Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation to provide support to the Tri-Campus schools.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Continues to Expand - Over the last several years, we have implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in 19 of our schools. Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) emphasizes schoolwide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments. The schools implementing PBIS have helped to lay the foundation for rollout across the division. We are planning to phase in three additional cohorts over the next three years so that all schools are implementing it by 2020.
Pre-K Expanded to More Schools - The school division expanded its preschool program for at-risk students to more classrooms in more schools across the division to increase the likelihood that students would receive services in their “home” schools. The preschool program serves to cultivate and support an earlier home/school partnership, including a successful kindergarten transition. Learn More
Professional Learning for Performance-Based Assessment - As part of an ongoing commitment to provide students with a balanced assessment system, administrators were provided with professional learning opportunities highlighting the value of performance-based assessments (PBAs) and ways to support and encourage their staff to implement these authentic assessment experiences for students. Performance-based assessments provide students with opportunities to show mastery of content and various globally competitive skills in a variety of authentic, cross-curricular ways. Teaching and Learning staff have worked with school-based staff across levels and content areas to encourage the implementation of quality PBA experiences for all students.
Prototyping a Student Learner Profile - Based on recommendations developed by a collaborative team of teachers, specialists, and building administrators convened in 2016-2017, the Digital Learning Anchor School staff developed prototypes of student learner profiles to inform the further development of the profiles.
Resolving Conflict Through Mediation - (Restorative Practices) – Schools are working to understand and use mediation as a restorative practice for addressing conflicts, particularly between teachers and students.
Searching for Best Candidates Through Virtual Job Fair - The Department of Human Resources participated in two online virtual job fairs, one focused on STEM jobs and the second on Special Education. As part of the virtual job fairs, HR employees conducted online discussions with candidates about their qualifications and interest in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. This online format provided a cost-effective way to communicate with candidates from as far away as India, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania as well as other locations across Virginia, and allowed the Department of Human Resources to establish relationships with potential candidates for critical shortage subject areas such as technology education and mathematics.
Special Education Audit Yields Strengths and Areas for Improvement - VBCPS contracted with Evergreen Solutions, LLC to conduct a review of services provided to students with disabilities. The review included an analysis of the characteristics of the special education student population as well as the effectiveness of these services in supporting positive outcomes for students receiving them. The program review identified areas of strength and areas for improvement in the organization and delivery of services. Learn More
Fifth-graders Partake in STEM Lab Experience at Oceana Air Show - At the start of the school year, all fifth-grade students enrolled in VBCPS had the opportunity to take a one-of-kind field trip to Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana at no cost to the students. Nval Air Station Oceana, in partnership with the school division and several community partners, hosted a special Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Lab Day, that took place as part of the annual Air Show. During their day on the military installation, every child also took part in hands-on activities and learned about STEM careers in a real-world setting. Learn More
Strengthening and Building Administrator Capacity - This year we revamped the citywide principals’ and assistant principals’ meetings to focus more tightly on the strategic actions identified to support implementation of Compass to 2020 and provided them with professional learning to support the strategic actions. We also provided focused professional learning for aspiring principals, aspiring administrators, and specialized pathways for assistant principals.
Strengthening Supports for Military Families - Virginia Beach City Public Schools was awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Educational Partnership through Military-Connected Academic and Support Programs (MCASP) to strengthen family-school-community relationships and enhance student achievement for military-connected students. As part of the grant, the division began implementing the Anchored4Life program to provide socio-emotional support to elementary students. Learn More
Student Response Teams Support Students - Another priority area to support the school division’s Compass to 2020 strategic framework focused on addressing students’ academic and behavioral needs by putting systematic processes and procedures in place to meet these needs through the formation of Student Response Teams (SRTs) at schools. The SRTs work to identify and provide early interventions to students.
New Teaching and Learning Video Series Launched - In an effort to provide teachers and administrators with additional resources, the Department of Teaching and Learning launched a video series highlighting best practices in the areas outlined in the school division’s Teaching and Learning framework, which outlines the foundational elements of effective instruction. The videos and their accompanying guiding questions are designed to help teachers and administrators continue to hone their instructional practice.
Transformational Learning Readiness Assessment - Based on the work of the Design Fellows and the Digital Learning Anchor Schools, a transformational learning readiness assessment was developed and deployed across all school sites. The assessment considers the role of leadership, teachers, students, the learning environment and community in supporting the work related to transformational learning. The results of the assessment were used to identify strategic actions for the upcoming school year to support our journey to transformational learning. Learn More
VBCPS Recognized With Digital Learning Awards - The school division was recognized as being a leader in digital learning. The Center for Digital Education has named Virginia Beach City Public Schools one of the nation's best digital school districts, awarding VBCPS a top-ten ranking in its annual Digital School Districts Survey. In addition, the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) named Dr. Amy Cashwell, chief academic officer for VBCPS, their Outstanding Leader of the Year for her leadership and vision in the school division's digital learning transformation.
Wireless Infrastructure Upgraded - The Department of Technology upgraded the wireless infrastructure divisionwide to handle the increased bandwidth required because of new technologies. This upgrade also assists in supporting the division’s move toward a full 1:1 device implementation program.