Ahead of the Curve
Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
November 16, 2004

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.

On November 4th, over 75 Virginia Beach City Public Schools employees celebrated their silver anniversary with an awards dinner and program, having reached 25-year status with the school division. The honorees represented the full spectrum of employees – secretaries, custodians, teachers, bus drivers, coordinators, principals, and others – who provide dedicated service every day in our schools.

Also on November 4th, Landstown High School celebrated the grand opening of Eagles Morning Brew, a collaborative effort of the Work and Family Studies and Special Education departments at Landstown High School and Technology Academy. In this program, students are given practical experience in running a business, while they are simultaneously enrolled in culinary and work experience classes. They learn to prepare breakfast foods, specialty drinks, and gourmet coffees staff each morning. They also develop social skills, job and employability skills, and learn the importance of teamwork.

In celebration of Computer Learning Month, Newtown Road Elementary School held its first “Learning with Computers Night” for grades three through five on October 27. Technology leaders from each grade level held sessions for students and parents, to show them ways to use technology as a tool to increase student learning. Sessions included the use of laptop carts and projectors, interactive whiteboards, Alpha Smarts, and software such as Science Court and Reading for Meaning, to show parents how technology is being used in classroom lessons. They also showed parents websites and other resources that can be used at home to prepare for the SOL tests and reinforce classroom concepts. Each family was given a CD that included websites, united streaming video clips, and templates to use with their children.

Two VBCPS teachers presented recently at the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance state conference in Reston, Virginia. Ella Maull, from Kemps Landing Magnet School, gave a presentation entitled “From Movement Challenge…..To Rhythmic Success”, which demonstrated how students can create rhythmic/synchronized routines to music using various skills from sports activities. Also, John Kepple, from Tallwood High School, presented Tallwood’s “You’re the Trainer” program. This innovative program has elective physical education students serving as “personal trainers”
for ninth and tenth grade students.

Students at the Legal Studies Academy at First Colonial High School enjoyed a “Freedom Dialogue” with members of the Bar Association on November 4th. Twelve members of the Virginia Beach legal profession, (one of First Colonial High Schools Partners in Education) including area lawyers and judges, talked with students about issues of American civic values and traditions through the framework of structured “hypothetical” discussion questions. Approximately 120 students shared ideas with the professionals on the meaning of freedom and democracy at this event.

Several congratulations are in order this evening.
Congratulations to Dr. Patrick Konopnicki, Director of Technical and Career Education, who was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Workforce Development in the Construction Industry. This Task Force is classified as a gubernatorial advisory commission, with the purpose of addressing ways to prepare the Commonwealth’s workforce to fill anticipated shortages in the construction industry.

Aris Restituyo, a senior at the Advanced Technology Center in the SkillsUSA career and technical organization, placed 1st in the Job Skill Demonstration contest held at the State Fair. Aris demonstrated his business and professional skills, in competition with students from across the state. Additionally, Aris is the 3rd Computer Network Administration student from the ATC to place first in this contest during the last four years.

Congratulations to Rochelle Stein, kindergarten teacher at Parkway Elementary, who was the region II winner of the George H. Irby, Jr. VAFEPA (Virginia Association of Federal Education Program Administrators) Incentive Award. Mrs. Stein was one of only eight winners statewide. Her winning proposal was “Kindergarten Academy”, a program designed to prepare students entering kindergarten in Title 1 schools.

The new Louise Luxford Elementary School building won a Development Award for Public Projects for 2003, presented by the Planning Commission at their October meeting. The purpose of this awards program is to encourage and formally recognize creative and innovative development solutions for projects involving the built environment. The Louise Luxford building was awarded the “Public Facilities” recognition.

Congratulations to Salem High School, Kempsville High School, and Princess Anne High School for receiving the prestigious Wachovia award from the Virginia High School League. The “Stay in the Game” award is bestowed on schools that have had no ejections of coaches or players. The “Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity” award congratulates schools for meeting rigorous sportsmanship criteria.

Former Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Gurley was selected as Old Dominion University Center for Economic Education’s nominee for the Virginia Council on Economic Education Outstanding Educator of the Year. This award is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to economic and personal finance education. Ms. Gurley is also the winner of the Virginia Lottery’s “Excellence in Education Award”, which will be presented during the Virginia Tech-Virginia football game on November 27th in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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

Last Modified on December 10, 2004
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