Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
April 18, 2006

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.

The month of April is National Volunteer Recognition Month and on April 5 th, our school system paid tribute to each schools' volunteer of the year at a dinner held in their honor. The theme for this year's event was "Hats off to Volunteers" -- and 87 individuals were recognized for their outstanding service to public education in Virginia Beach. From tutoring students to assisting with school beautification projects and supporting band programs, our volunteers add value to the initiatives we are able to offer students. These exceptional volunteers represent approximately 20,000 individuals who serve our school system annually—and we are truly grateful for their service!

On March 31st, representatives from more than 70 businesses and school departments were recognized for their willingness to employ our high school students as part of our cooperative education program. The 37th Cooperative Office Education Employer Appreciation Luncheon was held at the Doubletree Hotel. The event, coordinated by the Office of Technical and Career Education, provided an opportunity for students to present their employers with certificates of appreciation.

On March 30th, the Technical and Career Education Center held an official ribbon cutting for its new Dental Assisting Lab. Celebrating the first year of the dental assisting program, the state of the art lab features four dental chairs and work areas, and the space allows for practical experience for students in areas such as taking impressions, polishing teeth, and handling equipment.

Landstown High School students officially opened their second school-based enterprise, a kiosk – Beach SANDwiches & More – in a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 23, at the site of their new endeavor, the School Administration Building. The 16 students participating in the project are enrolled in work and family studies and culinary arts classes at Landstown. This program offers them the opportunity to learn valuable skills and also gain work experience in a supervised environment.

Our school system recently celebrated school/community partnerships at our annual Partners in Education Recognition Event. On March 22, 2006, school administrators and faculty joined with representatives from area business, military, and city organizations at a reception to honor the division's more than 2,000 school/community partnerships. The theme of this year's event was "Partnerships…Coming Up Roses!" and during the event, the 2006 "Model Partnerships" were recognized. These examples of best partnership practices will join the seventy-four existing Model VBCPS Partnerships represented on our website at www.vbschools.com. Receiving special recognition this year were our schools' partnerships with organizations such as the Boeing Corporation, Cape Henry Rotary Club, the Virginia Beach SPCA, and the Virginia Beach Noblemen.

Staff and students from the Advanced Technology Center recently partnered with students and faculty of Tidewater Community College and the Norfolk Technical Center to join forces and hold the first-ever "Problem Based Case Study". The PBCS program is funded by a Virginia Community College National Science Foundation grant and involves introducing an authentic business problem that students are required to analyze and develop a solution for. Teachers from all three organizations comprised the team, which met at the Advanced Technology Center Technology Theater.

More than 150 students at North Landing Elementary recently participated in a project to create a new design for city fire hydrants. Firefighters from Engine CO# 5, one of the schools' partners in education, selected one design from each grade level and actually painted it on real fire hydrants, which were displayed in the school's foyer. Students had the opportunity to learn about fire safety and to proactively promote it.

Several congratulations are in order this evening. . .

I'm pleased to report that our students performed extremely well at the Tidewater Science Fair held on March 25th at Old Dominion University. Of the 40 VBCPS projects entered in the fair, we had 32 winners! The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the senior division have qualified for the state fair in Richmond -- Ocean Lakes High School had three such winners! The state winners have the opportunity to go to the International Fair where they can earn scholarships! Well done and best wishes to our students as they advance in the competition.

Congratulations to the Green Run High School Swimming Team for being selected as the first recipient of the Tidewater Swimming Officials Association's School Spirit and Sportsmanship Award. The Association chose the team that best demonstrated school spirit and sportsmanship for this inaugural award and Green Run High was chosen because of  the swimmers' and the coaches' behavior and attitude toward other schools, other swimmers, recreation center employees, and officials.

Kudos to Luke J., a sixth grade student at Lynnhaven Middle School, for serving as a delegate at the Model United Nations conference held at Christopher Newport University recently. At the end of the conference, Luke was awarded the Research Director's Award for achievement, one of the highest honors of the conference. Luke was also the youngest delegate to ever receive an award.

Congratulations to Advanced Technology Center Digital Design students Nick K., Beth W., Gemma C., and Jessica M., who won the Tidewater Community College -sponsored Tech Prep Poster Contest! The winners were announced at the TCC Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth in early March and their posters will be displayed throughout Hampton Roads City Public Schools to market the Tech Prep Program. Through this program students have an opportunity to earn college credit while taking Technical and Career Education courses in high school.

Kudos to Advanced Technology Center Retail Management students Jason C. and Robin S. who finished as two of the top four finalists (out of 300 teams that competed) for the Virginia State Quiz Bowl Championship at the DECA State Leadership Conference on March 11th. In addition, ATC student, Sydni S. also received a second place title for her Role Play Event and finished as one of the top ten finalists in her event at the DECA State Leadership Conference.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2006 Technical and Career Education "Creating Excellence" Project Competition:

The Best Individual Project award went to Meghan Timlin, Marketing Teacher, Kempsville High School, for her project entitled "Advanced Marketing Spirit Project", and the Best Group Project was awarded for"Teaching Virginia's Workplace Readiness Skills", written by the Virginia Workplace Curriculum Team, comprised of 20 VBCPS educators. These entries will be submitted to regional and then state competitions. The Creating Excellence Awards Program is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education.

Congratulations to students and staff at Red Mill Elementary School for receiving a Virginia State Reading Association Special Award for extraordinary contributions to the Tsunami Relief Fund of the International Reading Association. The school used a Read-a-Thon to raise $22,415, an admirable achievement!

The winners of the 2006 Earth Action Day Art Contest sponsored by HRSD have recently been announced. Congratulations to Sarah W., a tenth grade student at Princess Anne High School, whose design was selected for the 2006 poster. The works selected for honorable mention were created by Stephenie C., also a student at Princess Anne High, and Courtney V., a Salem High School student. These three students will be invited to receive their prize checks from the Mayor at a ceremony at the school. Their winning designs will also be featured on the HRSD website.

Hats off to Old Donation Center fifth grader, Bryanna V., who has been chosen to represent Virginia in Discovery Girls magazine in the August/September 2006 issue.

Congratulations to Tim Wolf, Teacher and Assistant Student Activities Coordinator at Kempsville High School, for successfully completing the process to earn the title of "Certified Athletic Administrator" from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

Hats off to John Manzella, Procurement Specialist in the Office of Purchasing Services, for being selected as the "Buyer of the Year" by the Virginia Association of Governmental Purchasing. John was recently presented the award at the association's state conference.

Congratulations to First Colonial High School's Legal Studies Academy's Varsity Mock Trial team who won first place at the Virginia High School Mock Trial Competition held in Williamsburg recently.  The First Colonial team defeated the Virginia team that has represented Virginia in the nationals for the past 3 years! They will now represent the state of Virginia in the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Oklahoma City later this Spring.  The team was coached by Teacher Larry Spruill and assisted by local attorneys Tanya Bullock and Wanda Cooper, who helped the students prepare for the competition.

In addition, First Colonial High School won the Eastern Region Team Debate Championship this weekend at Oscar Smith High School on March 17 and 18.  Paul B. is the Eastern Region Lincoln-Douglas Debate Champion.  Jimmy W., Ebony C., Trevon T., Mark H., and Kyle G. will also advance to the State Debate Tournament for Student Congress.  The Classic Policy Team of Greg L. and Evan D. finished strong with a 5th place showing, while Greg placed 6th in Speaker Points.  All eight students are in the Legal Studies Academy. The team is coached by LSA English teacher, James Godfrey.

And now, Mr. Edwards, I have one final and very special piece of news —

I am pleased to announce that Bayside High School student, Derek R., has been named a Gates Millennium Scholar. This means that Derek's undergraduate and graduate education will be funded by the scholarship he receives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Congratulations to Derek and to Bayside High School. You have distinguished yourselves and made us all proud.

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

Last Modified on May 3, 2006
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