Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
March 22, 2005

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, my report this evening provides a brief sampling of recent school system events and some of the accomplishments of our students and staff.

Youth Art Month is celebrated during the month of March. During March, our elementary and middle school students’ work is on public display at the Contemporary Art Center. The high school art exhibition will begin on May 24. The VBCPS art show chairs recently met with the mayor and I to sign the Youth Art Month proclamation for the national recognition of this event.

On February 24th, the Daughters of the American Revolution, one of our long-time partners in education, held their annual recognition ceremony. Several of our students and staff were honored for their dedication to the remembrance and continuance of American democratic principles.

Arrowhead Elementary and Kempsville Middle Schools recently hosted educators from North Down, Bangor, Ireland for an international educational exchange that is part of an ongoing partnership through the Sister Cities Commission. During the week-long visit, the Irish educators participated in instructional activities, met with many of our staff, and experienced American life and culture --first hand-- by staying in the homes of five staff members, who graciously served as host families for the week long exchange.

First Colonial High School’s drama group performed for the Project HOPE Virginia Seminar held for social workers, teachers, shelter staff, and school administrators from across the state in Williamsburg on March 7th and 8th. At that time, transportation supervisor, Charlotte Poacheco was awarded the 2005 Project HOPE Extra Mile Award for her efforts to improve education for the homeless.

Students from across the region competing in the Careers through Culinary Arts Program, otherwise known as C-CAP, were awarded $200,000 in scholarships, cash awards, and prizes at a ceremony on March 7th at the Norfolk Airport Hilton. The awards ceremony was the culmination of a 2 hour cooking competition. Twenty of our students were among the scholarship recipients. VBCPS’ top scholarship recipient was Jamel Chaney from Ocean Lakes High who will attend the Culinary Institute of America on a $39,000 scholarship in the fall.

Our tenth annual career connection for middle and high school students was held on March 10th at the Advanced Technology Center. Approximately 150 career and community agency representatives offered information about more than 100 careers and occupations. The event was coordinated by our Offices of Programs for Exceptional Children and Technical and Career Education.

Salem High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy recently hosted Robert Winstin as an artist-in-residence. Mr. Winstin owns ERM Media Company, and while at Salem, conducted the “Instrumental Music through Performance” class as they cut a CD of “The Marriage of Figaro” by Wolfgang Mozart. The instrumental ensemble, comprised of 33 high school freshmen, then sold the CD as a fundraiser. The student-made CD is also being circulated to radio stations across the country.

On March 17, thirty-six of our students and staff met with Governor Mark Warner at WHRO studios to participate in a “town meeting”. The topic of discussion was focused on high school education reform. . . Students, parents, and teachers had the opportunity to ask questions and offer input.

Several congratulations are in order this evening. . .

Congratulations to Jeanne Miesse and Lisa Scott, teachers at Ocean Lakes Elementary who initiated a Courtyard Habitat Program at the school by actively pursuing grant funding through our Education Foundation and from community partners such as Home Depot and Food Lion.

Congratulations to Edwina Forrest in our Office of Food Services for earning the School Food Service and Nutrition Specialist Credential from the School Nutrition Association. This accomplishment is met by first meeting rigorous academic and work experience requirements and then by successfully passing a nationally standardized test for school food service and nutrition management.

Kudos to Kelly Walker, a teacher at Kellam High School, who was recently awarded the first annual Award of Excellence in the Teaching of International Studies at the Annual Gala Dinner of the World Affairs Council of Greater Richmond. The award acknowledges Ms. Walker’s integration of international studies into her curriculum.

Accolades are in order for Bill Johnsen, Director of Instructional Technology, who serves as a contributing columnist for the Education E- newsletter, “Converge—online”. His views of instructional technology were the focus of his recent commentary, as he shared information on our movement toward web-based online learning and our migration from Novell to Microsoft.

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

Last Modified on April 22, 2005
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