Superintendent’s Report
October 17, 2000

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, and citizens of our community, as is typical, my report this evening highlights numerous school division activities and student and staff accomplishments.

Forty-seven students from Virginia Beach Middle School took first place honors in this year’s Neptune Festival Sandcastle Classic. Their sand sculpture, entitled "Neptune’s Magic Carpet Ride" won the Best of the Beach Award. Congratulations to Mrs. Fisher and the Virginia Beach Middle School Seahawks!

Congratulations to Megan C., a tenth grade student at Cox High School, who was selected to attend the first Governor’s Academy for Environmental Stewardship during the summer. Megan had the opportunity to expand her knowledge of the environment during her week at Natural Tunnel State Park’s Cove Ridge Environmental Center.

Congratulations to Dr. Carol Chory, Student Activities Coordinator at Kempsville High School, who has successfully completed the process to claim the title of "Certified Master Athletic Administrator" by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. Dr. Chory joins an elite group of interscholastic athletic administrators nationwide who have attained this level of professional accomplishment.

Accolades to the 1999-00 Kemps Landing Eighth Grade Explorers Team who was recently recognized by the Army Corps of Engineers for their work on behalf of the Elizabeth River. Last school year the team planted 1,000 marsh plants along the banks of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River. They kayaked out in the water to observe and take water samples; they mapped the river’s slope and performed water tests. Additionally, the students wrote a book about their experiences entitled The Elizabeth -- The River in our Backyard.

Several of our students were recently recognized for their talents and contributions to Kids Voting Virginia. Last year, as a student at Glenwood Elementary, Roseanne D., received a Kids Voting Action Award for her leadership and initiative in encouraging fellow students and community members to be active participants in improving the lives around them.

Jacqueline T., a former student at Centerville Elementary won first place for her art poster in a competition sponsored by Kids Voting. Jacqueline created her design based on the contest theme "Capture the Flag". Her art, displayed here, (one of the board member will hold up the t-shirt and art) is being used as the official Kids Voting design for this year’s T-shirts, to be worn by Kids Voting volunteers on election day.

And, Belinda Z., a former student at Kemps Landing Magnet School was the secondary school winner of the Kids Voting poster contest. Congratulations to Roseanne, Jacqueline and Belinda—all were honored at the National Kids Voting celebration held at Nauticus on September 25.

Congratulations to Mrs. Beth Storr’s fourth grade class at Windsor Woods Elementary who was selected to participate in yesterday’s launch celebration for Virginia’s Commemorative Coin. The celebration was held in Jamestown where each member of the class received one of the first commemorative quarters and a tour of Jamestown. The design selected to appear on Virginia’s coin was the Jamestown Quadricentennial featuring the three ships that first arrived there in 1607.

Kudos to Christienna F., Tallwood High School, Palmer R., First Colonial High School, Mamie S., Salem HS, and Isaah V., Princess Anne High School, for being named semifinalists in the 2001 National Achievement Scholarship program. Our school division had the largest number of semifinalists of any school division in Hampton Roads. Good Luck to them as they move on to the next level of competition.

There have been numerous noteworthy events throughout the district, and I’d like to highlight just a few. . .

Teachers often devote the first few weeks of school to acquainting students with "the rules of the school and the classroom". Many of our instructors develop innovative ways for students to receive this message. For example, fifth grade teachers at Old Donation Center, Mrs. Mildred Elliott and Mrs. Doreen Sheler rewrote Washington’s rules into "child friendly" language. They presented these rules to their classes by performing skits, newscasts, songs, dances, raps, and poems. Their new "rules of civility" have become their classroom code of conduct.

 

King’s Grant Elementary School was the recipient of Target Stores’ Playground Volunteer Day. Mr. Ray Williams, of Target, organized and supervised the painting of basketball poles and backboards at the school by Target personnel. This partnership between our school and our community is just one example of the variety of support we receive from community volunteers—support for which we are always appreciative.

Thirty-five people attended the first of several diversity forums to be held this year. On October 12th at Kempsville Middle School, staff and citizens gathered to experience Hispanic American culture and to have the opportunity to dialogue about issues of importance to them. Latino food, music, dance, literature and information preceded the dialogue. During public dialogue, topics addressed were issues surrounding the educational experiences of Latino students, the number of Hispanic employees in the school division, and services offered through the English as Second Language program. Future forums, which are sponsored by the Diversity Task Force, are scheduled for February – when the focus will be on African American culture; in March, when the focus will be on Special Education, and in May, as a part of Asian Pacific Month.

This week, Oct.16-20, has been declared by the Governor as School Bus Safety Week. Schools will focus on school transportation by conducting safety drills with students and expressing appreciation to school bus drivers. During this week, bus drivers with commendable records will be awarded pins to recognize outstanding performance in safety. As we celebrate School Bus Safety Week, here are some school transportation facts to consider: There are 562 contracted bus drivers who, with the assistance of 114 assistants and nearly 40 substitute drivers, transport 68,000 students to and from school daily. Bus runs equal 40,000 miles driven daily -- a trip of 1 1/2 times around the Earth each day, or almost 9 million miles a year!

Our transportation folks have been criticized of late by the media. And I have been criticized by the media for having been critical of their irresponsible sensationalizing of the news and creating the perception among our parents that their children are not safe on our busses. Nothing could be further from the truth and every statistic or report bears this out. Continued success to those who have driven for years with a stellar safety record!

New programs are always challenging and so it is with "Every Day Mathematics."

Judy Fisher, elementary math coordinator, along with Linda Fitte and Terry Hughes, teacher specialists, have been blazing the trails to elementary schools this fall to acquaint parents with our new math curriculum so that they can support their children in math at home. The parent education component is in addition to all the work these staff members have done supporting teachers and instructional staff in implementing our new "Every Day Mathematics" series.

And finally, I’m sad to say that this past week the school division—which includes the broadest of definition—lost a person of incredible stature. Dolores Delaney died last Thursday after a long illness. Her contribution to education, her tenacity, savvy and dedication for over 30 years should be remembered for what it was—a gift to our children. She will be missed.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my report.