Superintendent's Report
January 23, 2001


Mr. Chairman and members of the Board, my report this evening reflects a few "happenings" in our school system and several recent achievements and accomplishments of our students and staff.

As you know, January is designated as Reading Month throughout our district. Our schools have been actively engaged in activities designed to foster an interest in books, the tales they tell, and the lessons they teach. Activities have involved guest readers, poetry and storytelling assemblies, and even "read-ins." Community partners and volunteers have supported our staff in conveying to our students the importance of reading as a valuable skill during this month.

The Office of Food Services has received two awards from the 2000 Best Practices Awards Program. These awards were established to recognize excellence in school nutrition programs. Seatack Elementary School received a Certificate of Appreciation for second place in the Best Practices category of increasing nutrition awareness. Through the use of the Food Pyramid and storytelling, students learned the importance of trying new foods from all the food groups. A Certificate of Appreciation was also awarded to our school district for third place in the Best Practices category of Increasing Nutrition Awareness. The creation of Nutrition Advisory Councils has increased the nutrition awareness of students. The two schools that have established Nutrition Advisory Councils are Seatack and Pembroke Meadows Elementary. Cafeteria Managers Debra Hansen and Kathy Cullen have been instrumental in leading these councils.

Hermitage Elementary reading teacher Janet Hunt has recently been awarded a grant to assist with the funding of the school's Reading tutorial program. The project, which includes the provision of a coordinator to prepare individual lesson plans for students needing extra assistance in reading, involves volunteers from the Ocean Park Women's Club. After training, the volunteers commit to working eighty minutes a week with their assigned students.

Several congratulations are in order for Ocean Lakes High School this evening.

The Ocean Lakes High School literary magazine, The Ebb Tide, achieved Trophy Class, which is the Virginia High School Publication Evaluation Service's highest award. Ocean Lakes High School was one of only 20 schools in the State of Virginia to receive this honor. Congratulations to participating students and Mr. Don Kroeller, the students' advisor.

The Ocean Lakes High School teaching team of Gail Tompkins, AP Environmental Science teacher, Carolyn Doetsch, AP Statistics teacher, Lisa Kendall, Biology teacher, and Michelle Bailey-Hennessey, Oceanography teacher, was one of eight teams from the entire state selected to participate in a forest biodiversity monitoring program sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, the Virginia Department of Education, the Environmental Endowment, and Honda. In addition, they have developed a partnership with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District to monitor a forest located on their property adjacent to the school.

Congratulations to Ocean Lakes High School's debate team who gave an outstanding performance at the George Mason University state wide debate tournament held January 5-7, 2001. Ross P.and Jonathan D. won first place in the varsity division. Andrew B. and Nicole C. won first place in the junior varsity division.

The Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International has announced that our school system has received ASBO's Meritorious Budget Award for our 2000 - 2001 annual budget. The award reflects the commitment of our staff to the highest standards of school budgeting. Congratulations to the staff of the Department of Budget and Finance!

And finally, our Education Foundation has recently awarded 22 grants totaling $15,000 to our educators for the implementation of innovative learning projects for students. Grant projects receiving support ranged from a student based mentorship program with Hampton University students, an after school pilot program that will explore the use of TI-83 graphing calculators, to integrating the Virginia History curricula with contemporary literature and art.

Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I would like to make a special presentation at this time.

Governor James S. Gilmore has again designated the month of February as School Board Appreciation Month in Virginia. This observance was established by the Virginia School Boards Association in 1989 to encourage public recognition of the roles and responsibilities of school board members and to highlight the importance of public education throughout the Commonwealth.

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to each member of the Virginia Beach School Board for all that you do for the children of our city. Your commitment to public education and your dedication to your responsibilities as School Board members are evident to all citizens of Virginia Beach.

This year's theme "Students First in the 21st" stresses the important role that today's school boards play in the future of public education. More than 850 school board members in Virginia are entrusted with establishing goals and policies for 134 local school divisions.

Thus, in observance of Virginia School Board Appreciation Month, 2001 - and, again with our thanks - I am pleased to recognize each of you this evening and present you with a Certificate of Appreciation issued by the Virginia School Boards Association. I have asked our Director of Community Relations, Laynee Timlin to present your certificates to you.

D.A. "AL" ABLOWICH
MICHAEL W. STEWART
JANE BROOKS
NEIL L. ROSE
H. LES POWELL, JR.
DANIEL D. EDWARDS
ARTHUR T. TATE
NANCY D. GUY
JERRI M. TATA
DAN R. LOWE
SANDRA SMITH-JONES

Our thanks for all you do in support of public education in Virginia Beach.

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