Superintendent's Report
June 22, 2004

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, my report this evening includes just a few of the many events that have occurred in recent weeks and some of the accomplishments of our students and staff.

Our school system has held 13 graduation exercises this month. More than 50,000 family members and friends have gathered at the Pavilion in the past few days to honor the 4,483 seniors who earned diplomas. To date, the Class of 2004 has earned $13,374,904.30 in scholarships, with additional awards coming in daily. Congratulations to the VBCPS Class of 2004 and our best wishes for their continued success.

VBCPS goes “live” with our first online course this summer. The online Geometry course is a result of the collective wisdom of five teachers. . .Amy Crawley, Cox High, Jeannie Noll, First Colonial, Paula Johnson, Landstown High, Judy Kittleson, Princess Anne High, and Lori Long, Corporate Landing Middle School. An on-site orientation was held yesterday for the 43 students enrolled in the course.

A group of seventeen Plaza Middle School students known as the “Plaza Community Leaders”, have been meeting weekly since January to study the topic of crime and its effects on communities, especially senior citizens. During this project that has been coordinated by Plaza School Psychologist Judy Kuniba, students have surveyed senior citizens in the Plaza area, developed a program of crime prevention, and planned and implemented a community service action project. Their project, funded by grants from the Governor’s Office and our Education Foundation, culminated in a Senior Safety Day held at Bow Creek Recreation Center. The students collaborated with numerous community groups to plan for every detail of the event --from organizing crime prevention resource materials and supplies for participants, to arranging for panels of guest speakers.

The written work of students in English Teacher Rene Childers’ Larkspur Middle School class was recently featured in a printed booklet entitled Picture A Story. This project is the result of collaboration with Green Run High School art students in Teacher Laura Dember’s classes. The book’s illustrations served as literary prompts for the original essays created by the seventh graders.

Pembroke Meadows Elementary School recently hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the modernization project that will update their 35- year old facility. The project will add approximately 28,000 square feet to the school and will renovate existing areas. The school will receive a new cafetorium, kitchen, an administrative suite, and a new media center and computer lab. The project is expected to be completed in June 2006.

Our “Pipeline to the Community” partnership with Virginia Natural Gas and Virginia Wesleyan College recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with events at four schools. Seatack, Parkway, Williams, and Cooke Elementaries now host this program that has offered more than 200 families a preschool readiness program and parent education initiatives.

As part of our continuous improvement efforts, VBCPS has once again applied for the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award (SPQA) for Virginia. This year, our school system garnered a visit from an examiner team that came to verify and clarify systems and processes in place throughout our division. This visit will result in a feedback document that highlights areas of strength and possible opportunities for improvement, and as well as some level of recognition for our school system.

Several congratulations are in order . . .

Hats off to Carolyn Castano, 5th grade teacher at Newtown Road Elementary School, for being named Elementary Technology Classroom Educator of the Year by the Consortium for Interactive Instruction. The award was presented to Carolyn for effectively integrating technology into the curriculum. Ms. Castano is considered a pioneer in the use of the interactive white board in classroom instruction.

Congratulations to Luxford Elementary School’s Running Club for being awarded a Gold medal by the Virginia Action for Healthy Kids. Luxford was recognized for their efforts to promote nutrition and physical activity for students.

Kudos to Mrs. Bert Riddick, English teacher at Landstown High School, for receiving the Virginia Beach Reading Council’s Literacy Award.

Congratulations to Queen Tanner, second grade teacher at Parkway Elementary, who has been selected to go to Japan as part of the Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program. Ms. Tanner was selected from a pool of 2,000 and will be in Japan for three weeks. She has plans for starting a Japanese Club at Parkway and creating opportunities for an international student pen pal writing initiative.

Congratulations to Tracey Love, Administrative Office Associate in the Office of Gifted Education and Academy Programs, for being selected as Educational Office Associate of the Year by the Virginia Beach Association of Educational Office Professionals. In addition, congratulations are in order for Linda Hayes, Principal at Lynnhaven Elementary, who was also recognized by the Association as the 2004 Administrator of the Year .

Kudos to the sixth grade social studies classes taught by Dawn Garvey and Leeann Pauley at Corporate Landing Middle School for placing first in the Virginia Geography Fair. The students earned First Place and President’s Choice for the video “Region Rap” and the computer game “Don’t Get Lost Lewis and Clark.” They also placed first for their bulletin board –“Heading North on the Underground Railroad” and their scrapbook entitled “Our Eight Regions Postcard Scrapbook.” In addition, Corporate Landing Middle School social studies students earned seven other second, third, and honorable mention distinctions.

Hats off to Arrowhead Elementary for being featured in the National Center for Assisted Living’s publication “Provider”. Arrowhead’s partnership with Sentara Village was the topic for the article.

Congratulations to National WordMasters Challenge top scorers from VBCPS. The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressinig various kinds of relationships. WordMasters annually recognizes the top 12 teams in the nation and at our last meeting, you may recall, we recognized the teams and individuals who placed first and second. Tonight, I’d like to congratulate:

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