Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
January 25, 2005

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, I’m pleased to report on just a few of the many recent activities and accomplishments of our students and staff.

January is designated as “Reading Month.” Throughout the month guest readers have shared books with many of our students to increase the focus on reading. For example, Brandon Pace, Virginia Tech football player and former Creeds Elementary student read to kindergarten classes, New York Mets third baseman David Wright, a former student at Salem Elementary visited during the school’s literacy night, and area newscasters Chris Reckling and Sandra Parker read to students at Alanton and John B. Dey Elementaries. Many thanks to the hundreds of community members who shared their love of reading with our students this month.

January has also been designated as National Mentoring Month and has been a time for our schools to recognize the value mentoring relationships add to our students’ school lives. Many of our schools have established formal mentorship programs that are designed to connect students to supportive mentors from the community and in our schools. Providence Elementary’s mentorship initiative is coordinated by Guidance Counselor, Sarah Muth, who recruits mentors from Kempsville Middle and High Schools for the elementary students she serves. One of our largest initiatives, at Seatack Elementary, continues to match students with members of the Virginia Beach Bar Association and Sheriff’s and Police Offices. We appreciate the support from our community mentors.

Students and staff have also been giving back to the community this month. Many have joined the tsunami relief efforts in raising money to help assist victims of this tragedy. Among the activities in our schools are Bayside Elementary’s “It Makes Sense To Give Cents” Penny Drive, which began on January 18th and continues through January 27th. The goal of this drive is to collect at least 150,000 pennies, or $1,500 dollars. Pennies collected from this effort will be donated to UNICEF. Also, at Princess Anne Elementary School, teachers have volunteered to be “locked up” during their lunch period, with their classes having to donate the required “bond” to set them free. All money collected will also go to the tsunami relief fund.

Several congratulations are in order for this evening. . .

Congratulations to Landstown High School’s B.A.S.I.C. Gospel choir who placed first during the Alpha Gospel Recording Showcase competition in Newport News. As the winner of this competition, BASIC is the recipient of an all-expense paid trip to Atlanta during the summer, where they will be one of several groups featured on a compilation CD that will be distributed both nationally and internationally.

Kudos to the Advanced Technology Center for being referenced by the ASCD curriculum handbook “Focus on Career and Technical Education” as a facility that has excelled at applying industry certifications to programs. The Advanced Technology Center has also been awarded the Workplace Readiness Skills grant that will further the development of curriculum to teach thirteen workplace readiness skills, and authenticate the skills with a national assessment that will be developed specifically for Virginia. The grant will culminate with a webcast from the ATC to other sites in Virginia, and possibly the nation.

Hats off to Trantwood Elementary School teacher Suzanne Buhner, who has been selected as a winner of the 2004 AAAS/Subaru Science Lesson Writing Competition. Ms. Buhner will attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C, and will be invited to publish her lesson for use by other educators.

Congratulations to Ocean Lakes High School for being awarded its 9th annual VHSH Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Award for outstanding sportsmanship on behalf of its coaches, athletes, parents, and students. Having received this award for the ninth time in ten years, Ocean Lakes High School has obtained the award more than any other high school in Virginia. Congratulations!

And finally, this evening, I would like to recognize the members of our School Board as the National School Boards Association has established January as National School Board Recognition Month. Virginia designates next month, February, as School Board Appreciation Month. This year’s theme is “Virginia School Boards: Leading Children to Excellence.” This observance was established 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. More than 850 school board members in Virginia are entrusted with establishing goals and policies for 134 local school divisions. From setting educational policies to disbursing school funds, school board members are responsible for serving as advocates for children in our public schools. Tonight, Certificates of Appreciation have been placed at the seats of each of our Board members. . .we appreciate your service to the children of Virginia Beach. Thanks for all you do!

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

Last Modified on March 9, 2005
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