Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
August 16 , 2005

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, citizens of our community, my report this evening includes brief highlights of some recent activities and a few accomplishments of our students and staff.

The new school year is well underway for students and staff at our 4 year-round schools: Corporate Landing, Plaza, Point O’View, and Seatack Elementaries. The 2005-06 school year was launched in a variety of ways at these sites -- from inviting parents and community to get involved by participating in “welcome back” picnics and open houses-- to hosting “meet the parents” nights and “sneak peeks” into classrooms and school operations. The opening of year round schools even drew special visits from community celebrities and great support from school volunteers and community partners. Welcome back!

The VBCPS Annual SCA Summer Student Leadership Workshops were held recently at Virginia Wesleyan College for student leaders from each of our middle and high schools. This year’s theme, “Discover What Inspires” brought 120 middle school students to the workshop in July, and 126 high school students during the week of August 1 st. The Office of Student Activities coordinates the workshop which is planned and implemented by 26 staff members, all graduates of VBCPS who are now attending college or teaching in our school system. School delegations had the opportunity to hone their leadership skills and to plan school spirit and teambuilding activities that they will take back to their individual schools.

I’m pleased to report that our school system’s Office of Technical and Career Education received a $223,000 Workforce Investment Act-funded contract from Opportunity Inc., Hampton Roads' Workforce Development Board, to write and disseminate curriculum for high school technical and career education (TCE) students to learn Virginia's Workplace Readiness Skills. These 13 skills are embedded in all Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school curricula in Virginia and were developed by researchers at the Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia when they interviewed employers to find out which skills employers looked for in their entry-level employees. This Workplace Readiness Skills Curriculum Project began in January 2005 and initiated the development of 156 Workplace Readiness Skills lessons that were developed by 14 VBCPS educators. The lessons will be piloted and revised by our teachers in the fall. As a culminating activity, a video teleconference/webcast is being planned for Spring 2006 to communicate this effort to state and national audiences.

In the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the focus on increasing the number of students taking industry certification exams continues through the efforts of the Office of Technical and Career Education. The 2005 TCE student certification data has just been finalized and the results again have exceeded our targets. For the 2005 school year, 1,795 certifications and industry assessments were passed by Virginia Beach TCE students compared to 1,238 in 2004. As you may recall, in 2001 we began with 154 students passing and the growth in five years has been exponential. Virginia Beach is definitely Ahead of the Curve and leads the state in this area. A majority of the industry certifications can satisfy the “student selected” verified credit for graduation.

The Advanced Technology Center’s summer day camp was held last week for forty students, all rising ninth graders, who designed databases, repaired computers, worked with robotics and 3-D modeling, used CADD equipment, and enjoyed a myriad of hands-on activities, all under the tutelage of ATC instructors and business partners.

Our district’s 2005 Administrator’s Leadership Conference was held on August 10 th at Landstown High School. The theme for the day, “Bridging the Gap—Closing the Divide”, provided the opportunity for our school leaders to learn from nationally known professionals such as Pedro Noguera, LouAnne Johnson, and Jamie Almanzan on topics such as diversity, equity, and closing the achievement gap. The event was attended by approximately 400 of our school administrators.

In addition, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction held it’s annual summer conference on Saturday, August 13. The conference theme was “D.R.I.V.E”, an acronym for Differentiation Requires Instructional Variety Everyday and featured speakers such as Carol Ann Tomlinson, from UVA, Jean Blaydes Madigan, and Lisa Parker Langston. This professional development activity was attended by more than 600 teachers.

Several congratulations are in order this evening. . .

Congratulations to our Office of Food Services. . . our school system’s school nutrition program has recently been named a District of Excellence in Child Nutrition by the School Nutrition Association (SNA). This prestigious award recognizes school districts that score 80 percent or higher on SNA’s Keys to Excellence, in covering nutrition and nutrition education, administration, communications and marketing, and operations. Serving 46,000 meals a day, Virginia Beach City Public Schools is one of three school divisions in Virginia designated as a District of Excellence
in Child Nutrition
by the School Nutrition Association (SNA). Well done!

Congratulations to Kellam High School Junior, Elle B., for being named Virginia’s Outstanding Teen 2005. Elle plans to promote healthy choices for youth across the state. She has already been actively volunteering in our middle schools, encouraging students to select healthy lifestyle choices. She will compete in the national competition in Orlando this month.

Kudos to Jim Morris, VBCPS assistant director of environmental and energy management, who was recently selected by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) as the new vice president of ASSE Region VI.

Hats off to Amy Upson, Procurement Specialist in the Office of Purchasing Services, for being awarded the top prize for the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing’s 2005 Diversity Essay Contest. Amy’s award winning essay was entitled, “A New Focus on Diversity—Diversity as an Advantage.”

Congratulations to Ocean Lakes High senior, Mike M., who was selected for the 2005 Japan-United States Senate Youth Exchange scholarship through the Youth for Understanding USA organization. Mike is spending six weeks at Wakayama-kita High School in Japan this summer as an international exchange student.

And finally, today, the State Department of Education released the preliminary results for the all school divisions in Virginia regarding their progress in meeting the annual achievement objectives required by the No Child Left Behind Act. On behalf of all employees, it is my pleasure to report that the Virginia Beach City Public Schools has made Adequate Yearly Progress, better known as AYP. Coupled with the announcement last month that all of our schools are projected to be fully accredited based on SOL test results, the AYP news again affirms that we are indeed on the right path to ensuring high achievement for all students.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my report for this evening
Last Modified on March 30, 2006
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