Superintendent's Report
February 19, 2002


Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, and members of our community, my report this evening reflects a few of the many events taking place in our school system, several recent achievements and accomplishments of our students and staff, and recognition of the efforts of some of our schools in meeting state standards and earning provisional accreditation in 2001.

On February 5th our school system sponsored the Fourth Annual Realtors' Breakfast to provide the latest information on our schools. This year's event was held at the Clarion Hotel and was attended by nearly 100 Virginia Beach Realtors. A panel of VBCPS staff provided information on "the latest" on topics such as academies, school zones, distance learning, the advanced technology center, and SOL progress. Agents attending the event were provided the opportunity to ask questions to gain information that can be shared with their clients, many of them --our students and their families. In addition, on March 14, we will make a presentation to the Greater Hampton Roads' Realtors Association's Relocation Council during their Public School Information Program, at which time six public school systems will be represented.

The January 2002 issue of District Administration magazine featured two of our administrators on its cover and in an article entitled "Public School Pillars". Assistant Superintendent, Dr. James Tucker and Division Demographer, Donald Greer, were pictured on the set of VBTV, highlighting their efforts to engage the public and communicate our redistricting initiatives. Our district's efforts to publicly explain redistricting were highlighted in this national publication.

A total of $106,200.00 dollars was awarded in scholarships to ten Virginia Beach students at the 10th annual C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts) Awards Breakfast hosted by the Contemporary Arts Center of VA on February 11th. The actual competition was held on February 8 at Johnson and Wales University in Norfolk when twenty-six students from area school divisions demonstrated their culinary skills before eight to ten professional chefs who acted as judges. Adorned in their chef's toques and white chef's coats and aprons, the students prepared a wide variety of dishes -from poached chicken to elegant French sauces. Receiving a scholarship of $40,000 dollars to Johnson and Wales University was Lianna O., a student from Green Run High School, Matthew C., a senior at Ocean Lakes High School was awarded a $34,200 dollar scholarship to the Atlanta Art Institute. Meagan K., a student at the Tech Center and Kempsville High received a scholarship to LeCourdon Bleu for a week of study in London. Awarded scholarships of at least $4000 dollars were Angela G., Cox High, Natalie L., Kellam High, Andrea B., Landstown High, Jon T., Tallwood High /Tech Center, Margo L., Green Run High, Richard I., Cox High/Tech Center. Cole W., a Cox High Junior earned a summer week of study at Johnson and Wales. As part of the C-CAP program, teachers and students receive training in the food service's industry standards and skills. Schools have benefited from the C-CAP funded teacher training component, as well as from corporate donations of thousands of dollars worth of appliances and ingredients. In the past 10 years, C-CAP has awarded 1.5 million in scholarships to area students.

Speaking of scholarships, I am pleased to inform you that the Virginia Beach City Public Schools' website has a new interactive feature targeted for college-bound high school seniors. "Scholarship Central" is the name of this feature that serves as a resource for students to locate various scholarships from across the nation. Dr. Marcella Whitson and staff are placing the finishing touches on "Scholarship Central" which will ultimately include access to hundreds of scholarships. Starting on February 28, "Scholarship Central" can be accessed via the school division's website vbschools.com by selecting the category "Class of 2002" on the home page.


Several congratulations are in order this evening. . .

Bravo for Virginia Beach Central Academy Music Teacher, Dr. Hugh Middleton, who was selected to judge the junior high school piano competition for the Southern Division of the Music Teachers National Association at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, in January. The Southern Division is comprised of thirteen states, and it is worthy to "note" that Dr. Middleton is one of three judges selected to adjudicate the piano competition.

Congratulations to the Ocean Lakes High School Boys' Varsity Soccer Team for earning a NSCAA High School Team Academic Award. The team was one of 70 schools in the nation and one of the four teams in the state of Virginia to qualify for the National Soccer Coaches Association of American High School Teams Academic Awards for 2000-2001. The team is coached by Jeffrey J. Steckroth. To be eligible for this award, the entire team must have earned a minimum team grade point average of 3.25. An awards ceremony was held at the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia on January 19th to recognize the team for this accomplishment.

Hats off to Bob Mullen, Director of Information Technology, for receiving a national "Making it Happen" Award at the Seventh Annual Educational Technology Leadership Conference in December in Roanoke. The Making it Happen Award recognizes outstanding leaders in the field of Educational Technology and is sponsored by several leading education technology companies.

Kudos to Kingston Elementary for earning an honorable mention in the sixth annual "Best of the Best" national yearbook contest sponsored by Lifetouch Publishing. The school's yearbook was nominated for the award by Karen Heenan, the 2001 yearbook advisor for Kingston. The yearbook staff, comprised of Kingston parents, coordinated the school's efforts to create a memorable document for Kingston's students, faculty, parents, and community.

As you may recall, last month I highlighted several of our schools that have made great strides in preparing students to meet state standards. Tonight, and during the course of the next few month's superintendent's reports, I'd like to continue to recognize schools who achieved the status of provisional accreditation and are meeting state standards-their diligent efforts are indeed worthy of praise.

At Hermitage Elementary third grade reading scores increased 14 percentage points and math scores increased 23 percentage points. Fifth grade reading scores improved from 65% to 88% and fifth grade math scores revealed gains of 15 percentage points, from 63 to 78 percent. Staff at Hermitage attribute their improvements to increased awareness and ownership for knowledge of the curriculum and specific instructional objectives, support from coordinators in Curriculum and Instruction, more attention to data analysis, and specific teacher assistance. Attention to parent participation and awareness of SOL objectives was also a focus at Hermitage.

Rosemont Elementary's most significant gains on the 2001 Virginia Standards of Learning tests were an 18 percentage point gain in third grade reading/writing scores and a 17 percentage point gain in math scores. Improvements are the result of structured staff development (on topics such as guided reading strategies) provided by Curriculim and Instruction, an SOL Remediation Tutoring Program for fourth grade students that resulted in a 98% math gain, and the high morale of the faculty and their commitment to serving students at Rosemont.

At Green Run Elementary, all grade three tests' passing rate percentages increased by more than 20 points each. Grade five scores also revealed significant increases in Math, History, and Science. Staff at Green Run Elementary attribute these improvements to teamwork, effective staff development, after school tutoring (where tutors were trained in instructional strategies), and updating and monitoring their testing plan, including review and analysis of language arts quarterly tests and a focus on test taking strategies for Green Run students.

Brandon Middle School made great strides in all areas on the 2001 SOL tests. Most significant accomplishments at Brandon are the students' growth in Social Studies (a 17 percentage point gain) and in Math (a 21 percentage point gain). Key factors to these improvements were staff participation in professional development activities provided by Curriculum and Instruction, and the tutorial program, Core Plus, where Brandon students were tutored in the four core subject areas weekly.

Kellam High School touts their most significant gains on 2001 SOL scores in Math. Math scores at Kellam skyrocketed from 38.86 % during the 1999-2000 school year to 67.21% in 2001, falling just short of the 70% mark, reflecting a gain of 28 percentage points in Math. Kellam's World Geography scores were the highest in the city and the English Writing and Biology test scores were the second highest in the division. The staff attributes improvements to outstanding collaborative efforts in planning and instruction from math teachers, using a framework provided by Curriculum and Instruction. Teacher Diane Deliz shared many creative ideas, and teams of Kellam teachers spent many long hours working together to develop lessons and share best practices. In addition, SOL tutoring was available to all students during lunches and study blocks.

Corporate Landing Elementary students posted scores of over 70% in three core areas at the fifth grade level. Grade three math also increased by 15.32 percentage points. The staff attributes increases to staff development and support from Curriculum coordinators, the implementation of key instructional strategies in Language arts, a three-day per week after-school tutoring program, collaborative planning among grade levels, and an involved staff and community. Corporate Landing Elementary has adopted integrated approaches and alignment of all school activities to student achievement and SOL success.

College Park Elementary students increased math SOL test scores in Grade 3 by 23 percentage points, science scores in Grade 5 by 13 percentage points and third grade social studies scores by 12 percentage points. The staff at College Park attributes these gains to increased time on instructional tasks, dedicated and focused teaching, excellent staff training and the implementation of new instructional strategies and grade level walk overs. Staff also initiated computer generated trivia contests for science and social studies as learning strategies to motivate students.

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