January 22, 2002
Mr. Chairman, members of the Board and citizens of our community, my report this evening is filled with accolades and events that continue to make this school system truly ahead of the curve. As always, our students and staff are actively engaged in a wealth of activities and the following are but a few examples . . .
January is Reading Month and many of our schools have invited guest readers in to share favorite tales and their love of reading. For example, Glenwood Elementary is celebrating Reading Month with a patriotic theme. . . "Uncle Sam wants YOU. . .to Read". Special guest readers have included volunteers from our military community. Students are also participating in an at home reading program, a mystery author contest, and a national spirit day. . .all designed to promote the importance of reading.
Shelton Park Elementary has been the fortunate recipient of funds from our generous community. The school recently received a grant from Boeing for $5000 for the expansion of science activities for students, including The Solar Lab, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, and Ocean in Motion. The funds will enable the school to establish a science lab equipped for experiments, and after school clubs focused on environmental studies. In addition, The American Red Cross has donated a check for $700 to help Shelton Park's PTA to finance swimming lessons for fourth graders. During two weeks in January, students will participate in the Swim for Life program at the Bayside Recreation Center.
Several Congratulations are in order . . .
Kudos to students at Ocean Lakes High School in Mr. Don Hart's Magnet Meteorology and Mrs. Susan Hodge's Magnet Physical Geology courses for their outstanding performance in "Earth Essay 2001", conducted by the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami. In the Environmental Earth Processes category, first place was awarded to Laine C. and honorable mention was bestowed upon Anna B., Sahand H., and Benita P.. Ashley G. garnered first place honors for the Earth processes topic, while honorable mention in this category went to Benjamin M.. Laine and Ashley, along with their advisors are invited to be recognized in February at the University of Miami.
The 2001 edition of Salem High School's yearbook, "Horizons", was awarded a gold medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The eleven student editors, including editors-in-chief Melissa D. and Lauren C. have the opportunity to attend the annual Spring Publications Conference at Columbia University in New York City to receive the award. Congratulations!
Gluckwunsche! to Cox High School German teacher, Herr Larry Becker, who was recently recognized by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) and the Goethe Institute in New York for his outstanding achievements in furthering the teaching of German. Herr Becker was presented with a Certificate of Merit, a cash prize, and materials for the teaching of German. He was one of only eight other German educators from around the United States to receive this recognition.
Hats off to Lloyd Thomas, Coordinator of Library Media Services, for successfully procuring a $57,630 grant from the Virginia Department of Education. This 2001 Technology Literacy Challenge Grant will be used to introduce emerging literacy formats, such as e-books, to all elementary library media specialists; purchase a collection of electronic media for each elementary library; provide training on the appropriate use of the technology and effective integration into lessons, and to purchase laptops to be made available through the Media Center to use these new resources. The training and materials that are a part of this grant are directly related to the evolving role of the library media specialist with respect to the effective implementation and integration of technology (as highlighted in the Resource Teacher Study).
Our schools have made great strides in preparing students to meet state standards. In December, we formally recognized 42 schools for achieving full accreditation on the 2001 Virginia Standards of Learning Tests. Tonight, and during the course of the next few month's superintendent's reports, I'd like to recognize those schools who achieved the status of provisional accreditation and are meeting state standards-their diligent efforts are indeed worthy of praise.
Woodstock Elementary's SOL scores for English/Writing at the fifth grade level increased from 78% to 94% and from 66 to 81% for fifth grade science. Staff at Woodstock attribute their success in writing to assistance from our Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the consistent implementation of the school-wide "Human Paragraph" strategy employed by classroom teachers and the reading resource teacher. They credit training from teacher specialist, Linda Koutoufas, as the impetus for this effective writing tool strategy.
Lynnhaven Elementary is most proud of the continuous improvements they have made on SOL tests over the last three years. Fifth grade math scores at Lynnhaven jumped by 42.8 points; and fifth grade science scores increased by 25.49 points over a three year period. Lynnhaven Elementary students have scored above the district and state averages in writing with 90.69% of students passing. Their impressive data and improving scores have contributed to Lynnhaven receiving the US Senate Productivity Quality Award for Commitment to Performance Excellence. They attribute their successes to support from Curriculum and Instruction and a strong school community.
Glenwood Elementary staff engaged in intense staff development provided by our instructional specialists and Glenwood RRTs, Dottie Ridge and Eva Bryant. Teachers collaborated to develop language arts guides that integrate our Virginia Beach objectives with the SOLs and the Houghton Mifflin reading series. These strategies helped to facilitate a 12% increase in reading/writing pass rates at the third grade level and a 15% increase in the math pass rate at the fifth grade level at Glenwood.
SOL scores went up on all tests at Landstown Middle School where the most significant gains were in Reading (with a 20.12% improvement noted), in Math (where students' scores indicated a 23.45% improvement), and in Social Studies, with gains of 12.91%. Landstown Middle had a 100% passing rate in Earth Science and Geometry and every student taking advanced placement math and science in the sixth and seventh grades passed the eighth grade SOL tests. Landstown Middle attributes their improvements to daily Core-Plus Remediation during HomeBase where teachers devoted time to reviewing SOLs in a particular core subject area, and before and after school SOL remediation tutoring which targeted students in eighth grade. In addition, Landstown established an SOL Action Team that focused on improving test scores through greater involvement of the community, increased staff development, and student incentives. A homework center was also open every morning to help students needing assistance with assignments.
SOL scores at Bayside Middle School improved in all core areas and computer technology. Gains from 7 points in technology to 24 points in history were noted. Bayside Middle attributes their success to their intensive after school tutoring program that has over 100 participating students and to the dedication of the faculty and staff who led students to within 8 points of full acceditation.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my report for this evening.