October 23, 2001
Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, and citizens of our community, my report this evening contains information about recent events and activities, staff and student accomplishments, and issues facing our school division.
More than 1,000 of our high school band students gathered on October 9th for a musical fundraiser for the New York police and fireman's benefit fund. The event, held at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex and called "Band Aid March for Freedom", featured each school's marching band individually followed by a spectacular finale of patriotic music performed by all bands. Congratulations to the band directors who raised $4,000.00.
The staff of Arrowhead Elementary recently kicked off their staff/student mentorship program with a "Hot Chocolate Express". The program, entitled CARE (Children and Responsive Educators), pairs students with a caring staff member who serves as the child's mentor for the school year. Mentors and mentees meet weekly to promote the students' academic achievement and self worth. Students got acquainted with their adult mentors (Arrowhead teachers, custodians, clerical staff) for the first time at the Hot Chocolate Express.
Brookwood Elementary School's "Itty Bitty Braves" program is up and running for the fifth consecutive year. The program provides preschoolers and their parents with access to a preschool library theme-based learning "fun packs", story hours, and parent training on child development. Several of our schools have established preschool preparation programs in an effort to promote the social, emotional and academic growth essential to school readiness.
At a recent breakfast held in honor of their Partners in Education, Point O' View Elementary was presented with a $10,000 check from their partner of two years, Mass Mutual. Commonwealth Financial Partners, a financial group within Mass Mutual, was awarded the funds from their national chain as recognition for their contributions to education. They were one of only four companies in the nation to receive the Mass Mutual Community Service Award as a result of their comprehensive partnership with Point O'View. The funds will support an academic tutoring program, which includes SOL preparation.
Many of our teachers are incorporating current events and community service into their classroom lessons. Landstown High School English teacher, Brenda Sickles has initiated a letter-writing project for tenth graders. The students will hone their written language skills as they correspond with sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt during the ship's deployment. The sailors of squadron VF-102, the Fighting Diamondbacks, will be the "eyes and ears"
of the students as they explore countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf while patrolling the No Fly Zone. Students are expecting to receive personal insights into the countries/continents that they are learning about through literature.
The Employee Input Process is underway for another year. There have been five opportunities thus far for employees to voice issues for consideration. We have met with clerical staff, bus drivers and assistants, custodians, central office administrators and teachers.
Board policy 4-8 Section C-2 stipulates "qualifying employee associations". Per this policy, ". . an employee association must be able to document, through appropriate financial records, that at least twenty percent of the employees in a given employee group were dues paying members of the association as of October 1st of each year." Such documentation must be provided to the Superintendent on or before October 10th of each year." The VBAEOP, the Bus Drivers Association, and the Nurses Association provided a complete membership list. They represent 31.7%, 56.8% and 69.8% respectively. The VBEA would not provide a complete membership list. Therefore, the only analysis that could be performed on the VBEA membership was provided from the payroll system and only includes those members of the VBEA for each category who have their dues taken out via payroll deduction. Based upon this information, the Nurses, Nurse Assistants, and Bus Driver members of the VBEA do not qualify for representation. The teachers with 48.9% membership, the custodians with 31.3% membership and the teacher assistants with 32.2% membership will be represented by VBEA. The FY 2002 FTE information was taken from the staffed information as of October 4, 2001 in Position Control.
As always, staff development is ongoing . . Our departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Human Resources - Office of Organizational Development, sponsored a "Quality on the Brain" Conference at Landstown High School last Saturday. The event, attended by about 180 employees, provided attendees with the opportunity to hear nationally known speakers share their expertise on topics such as brain research and its application to classroom learning, the neurobiology of learning and memory, brain based teaching, instructional differentiation, and effective instructional strategies. The training included a catered luncheon and opportunities for professional networking.
Several congratulations are in order. . .
Once again, I'm pleased to report that for the fifth consecutive year, the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) has awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award to our School Board for the preparation and issuance of the school division's comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000. Congratulations to our Department of Budget and Finance for maintaining their high standards of financial reporting.
Three Beach teachers received the September Crystal Apple Award for their regular use of Classroom Connection, a service of the Pilot's INFOLINE. Consistent use of this instant communication link enables Hampton Roads' parents, students, and teachers to provide and access the latest school information and homework assignments. Congratulations to Chris Tsitsera, Cooke Elementary, Tom Markam, Kemps Landing Magnet, and Patricia Hood, Brookwood Elementary.
Virginia Beach Crime Solvers sponsored the attendance of two Virginia Beach students to the 2001 Crime Stoppers International Conference in Pueblo, Colorado in September. Camisha L., Green Run High School and Nina W., Landstown High School, had the opportunity to receive training on school issues and to network with students from across the United States and eighteen foreign countries. Congratulations to Camisha and Nina who were selected from members of our 23 School Crime Solvers Clubs.
Our school division recently received the Governor's Technology Silver Award for our Distance Learning initiative. The Governor's Technology Awards program honors outstanding achievements and recognizes successful technology programs and projects throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Congratulations to Eva Roupas and the Department of Technology for being selected from a field of 21 applications in the area of K-12 education. The award was presented at the COVITS (Commonwealth of VA Information Technology Symposium) Conference at VMI in Lexington on September 26.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my report.