Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
October 18 , 2005

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

Nearly 1,800 students and parents were in attendance for our third annual VBCPS Academies Night which was held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on October 11 th. All Virginia Beach eighth- and ninth-grade students interested in attending a high school academy for school year 2006-2007 were invited to attend. The event, sponsored by the Office of Gifted Education and Academy Programs, showcased the division’s seven high school academy programs and offered students and their parents an opportunity to learn about the many academic options available to them. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions for each of the seven high school academies or learn more by viewing all (or part) of a 30-minute video about the high school academy program. Academy coordinators and teachers were also available to conduct sessions and answer questions. Academy applications are available at middle and high school guidance departments as well as on the school division website, www.vbschools.com. Completed applications are due to students’ guidance offices by Friday, February 3, 2006.

Fifteen Landstown High School students who are enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Strand of the Technology Academy recently served as hosts/tour guides for LifeNet at their building dedication last month. Many of the students were trained as LifeNet volunteers last school year as part of a public relations project. The purpose of their school-based project was to educate the school, community, and the public about the importance of being an organ and tissue donor. Two of the posters created by LHS marketing students were selected to assist with LifeNet’s marketing campaign.

A partnership with Norfolk State University has resulted in eighth grade middle school students (two from each of our middle schools) being invited to participate in “ Spartan Prep Academy”. The mission of the Spartan Prep Academy is “Encouraging, Educating, and Empowering Minority Students”. The goal of the initiative is to introduce minority students to careers and educational opportunities available at Norfolk State University. Students who complete the program and meet all admission requirements will increase their chances for admission to NSU. The project includes an annual, week-long program that promotes pre-collegiate awareness, spotlights academic/career aspirations, and guides students toward becoming productive members of society. This year’s week-long event was held at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center in August. In addition, the initiative includes a parent involvement component-- parents met staff from NSU and learned about the project at a meeting in June and parents also participated in the culminating activity at the end of the program in August. Students will attend an NSU football game in October and participate in a mentor day in December. The students will be involved with this project throughout their high school years.

Our planetarium, located at Plaza Middle School, recently hosted a joint event with the United States Postal Service. The event was a local unveiling and issuance of the postal service’s ConstellationsCommemorative Stamps. By attending the event at the planetarium, the public was able to learn where the constellations on the stamps actually were in the sky and some interesting facts about them. Those attending also received a special limited edition pictorial “cancellation” at no charge. US Postal Service Postmaster Gerald Roane and Planetarium Coordinator Charles Dibbs unveiled the commemorative stamps and delivered remarks before the planetarium chamber doors were closed and an hour long presentation entitled “Constellations of the Zodiac” was seen. Fran Sansone, customer relations representative from the US Postal Service presented Mr. Dibbs with a framed two foot by three foot enlargement of the constellation stamps for his support in hosting the event. The US Postal Service has been a long-time partner with VBCPS!

Ensuring that staff are prepared for an emergency in any one of our 87 schools is a priority. In support of this, it is a pleasure to announce that the Department of Administrative Support Services has revised and streamlined the school division’s emergency guidelines to a more user-friendly and comprehensive format. This new resource, the Emergency Response Plan which was distributed to our School Board this evening, includes flow charts that clearly indicate the appropriate response for a variety of emergencies or crises. The Emergency Response Plan is designed to provide consistent structure and direction to assist staff in our schools, while maximizing resources in the event of a small or large-scale emergency.

A companion piece to the Emergency Response Plan is the Emergency Procedure Guide which serves as a quick reference for teachers and staff in responding to various incidents. Every classroom and work area in the school division is equipped with this guide. Approximately, 10,000 guides have been distributed to our schools during the past two weeks. Funding for the Emergency Response Plan and the Emergency Procedures Guide was made possible by a grant awarded to the school division a year ago through the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

This past Saturday our school system hosted the first of five statewide Praxis preparation workshops for teachers at the Advanced Technology Center.  This was accomplished via live video teleconferencing which originated at WHRO.  The ATC site was one of about 16 preparation sites statewide.  The session was held in the Forum at the ATC.  Approximately 36 VBCPS teachers were enrolled at this site as part of a Virginia Department of Education program that provides complimentary workshops to teachers with provisional licenses.

Arrowhead Elementary School recently kicked off its school-based student mentorship program by holding a “Hot Chocolate Express”. . . an event where students had the opportunity to meet their staff mentors. Staff members serve as mentors to students during the school year, providing support and positive connections with caring adult role models to help ensure student success.

On September 26, our Office of Technical and Career Education held a Virtual Enterprise Summit. Virtual Enterprise is a method of instruction that is used in the Business Management courses in all of our high schools. Students become entrepreneurs and conduct business with other Virtual Enterprise businesses around the world. Students have the opportunity to run their own businesses and participate in activities such as applying for a position, submitting a business plan, and planning and maintaining a budget.

Several congratulations are in order this evening. . .

Kudos to Dennis Borgerding, teacher at Kemps Landing Magnet School, for being named Outstanding Economic Educator by the Old Dominion University’s Center for Economic Education.

Congratulations are also in order for Patricia Hyman, a teacher at Larkspur Middle School for being named a winner in the Virginia Council on Economic Education’s Award Program. Her entry, The Colonization of Mars, won 1 st place for the 6-12 Lesson category. Both Mrs. Hyman and Mr. Borgerding were invited to be recognized at a luncheon in Richmond on October 21 and were presented with cash prizes.

Hats off to Georgeanne C. Hribar and Lannah Hughes, Social Studies coordinators in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction for spearheading efforts that resulted in our district receiving a $990,940 Teaching American History grant from the United States department of Education.  Our district was one of 129 districts nationwide to receive grant funding -- 321 districts applied for this opportunity. The VBCPS grant received full funding that will cover a three year period. The project, which involves 150 VBCPS teachers, is entitled “WHO”, an acronym for “Where History Occurs”. WHO is devoted to the improvement of student achievement by providing professional development to our secondary level teachers of American History. Annual cohorts of 25 middle and high school teachers will take part in a History Forum in partnership with the University of Virginia's Center for Digital History and Center for Liberal Arts, or an online History Scholar program in partnership with Norfolk State University. History Scholars will design content modules and document-based learning activities in accordance with a customized course, The History Debates: Issues, People, and Perspectives that Shaped America. Participants in both programs interact with historians, train in historical thinking, visit historic sites, and meet historical content objectives. Summer institutes for the History Forum cohorts cover the Cold War, Prelude to the Civil War, and Civil Rights. Possible site visits include the Museum of the Confederacy, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Tredegar Iron Works. Forty-two of the History Scholars culminate the program with a weeklong Civil Rights bus tour.

Landstown High School and Technology Academy students in Teacher Eric Nestor’s Architectural Drawing and Design class, garnered top honors in the Tidewater Builder’s Association’s 2005 Young Designers scholarship competition. Congratulations to Tim Bauer, who took first place, Nate Howard, who earned second place, and Chris Nenstiel, who placed third in the annual architectural design competition. The students are also gaining valuable experience in the profession. . .Tim was hired to work for VB Contractors; William White was hired by Wilfred P. Large Surveying and Drafting; and Kaitlin McLaughlin works for Waller, Todd & Sadler Architects.

Kudos to Carol Koceja, a teacher at Corporate Landing Elementary School, for being included in the "Honors Edition" registry for 2005-2006 of the Manchester Who's Who Among Women Teachers in Special Education.

Congratulations to Clementine Hall, a teacher at Salem Middle School, for being selected again to be honored in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

Congratulations are also in order for several of our school administrators who were named “Administrators of the Year” at the end of last school year by the Virginia Beach Associations for Elementary and Secondary School Administrators. Secondary administrators of the year were Dr. Brian Matney, Principal of Cox High School, Dr. Catherine Rogers, Principal of Brandon Middle School, and Mr. David Flannigan, Assistant Principal at Cox High School. Elementary Administrators of the Year were Mr. Richard Sidone, Principal at White Oaks Elementary and Ms. Kimberly Hobbs, Assistant Principal at Red Mill Elementary School.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that the Virginia Beach Community has been named one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” by America’s Promise. America’s Promise is a nation-wide alliance, founded by retired General Colin Powell, that works to ensure the well-being of children and youth. Virginia Beach was selected for adopting creative and collaborative programs and initiatives to support youth – such as, Ready to Learn and the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Before and After school programs.

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

Last Modified on November 17, 2005
Disclaimer • Site Map
search home