Superintendent's Report
December 16, 2003

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, and citizens of our community, as is traditional, my report this evening features some recent school division events and just a few accomplishments of students and staff.

Seventh graders in the Plaza Middle School Middle Years Academy recently traveled around the world --via Distance Learning/video conferencing. During a celebration of International Education Week, Academy students were invited to Washington, D.C. to take part in a Game Show with students from New Zealand. Game show questions were based on the culture, people, and geography of New Zealand. The event was the result of Teacher Sherry Joiner’s having spent six weeks during the summer in New Zealand as a Fulbright Hays Seminars Abroad recipient. Not only were students impressed with the technology, but they also enjoyed learning about a different culture in a very unique way.

Princess Anne Elementary broke ground on an outdoor science museum on November 20th. The outdoor museum will house a freshwater habitat, a weather station, a meadow lab, and a flower/vegetable garden.

On November 21st, students, staff and community gathered at Malibu Elementary for the school’s official dedication, following a two-year renovation process. This capital improvement project, which began in 2001, has resulted in an additional 22,000 square feet of space. Eight classrooms have been enlarged and additions to the school include a new media center, cafeteria, and computer, art, and music rooms. During the renovated school’s dedication ceremony, guests attending were serenaded by the fourth and fifth grade chorus under the direction of Teacher, Belinda Bowe.

On December 12, we broke ground for Elementary School 2005 at a special ceremony on the site. This $13.5 million elementary school will be located near the intersection of Princess Anne and Sandbridge Roads. The 92,210 square foot facility will be located on 17 acres and is projected to open for students in September 2005. The school will house 800 students and its opening will help to alleviate overcrowding at Princess Anne, Strawbridge, Red Mill, and North Landing Elementaries.

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s third professional development session presented by the Office of Programs for Exceptional Children was held on December 15 in the Technology Theater of the Advanced Technology Center. The staff development event entitled, “A Continuum of Services for Students with Disabilities,” included sessions designed to promote collaboration among staff, improve student achievement, and refine and build on specific areas of instructional expertise. Future sessions will focus on curriculum content and differentiated instruction.

Tis the season for giving to the community, and many of our schools have been engaged in community service projects that provide support and enjoyment to our greater community. From coats for kids drives, collection of goods, to holiday caroling, our students and staff have been spreading holiday cheer throughout our community. For example, canned food drives have prompted schools to raise awareness and generate participation in a variety of creative ways. Staff at Princess Anne Elementary have puckered up to kiss a live turkey after the school succeeded in donating 1,000 cans of food to Hope Haven. Seventeen hundred food items were collected at Rosemont Forest Elementary after Assistant Principal; Rosalyn White donned the Label Lady costume to encourage participation. And, high school SCAs sponsored a Battle of the Cans competition on November 19. Kempsville High collected 2,893 cans during their “can -struction” event— the KHS Latin Club took top honors with their “Circus Maximus” --constructed completely from canned goods. Judging for Kempsville’s “canstruction” was volunteered by members of the Rotary Club, the school’s Partner in Education. As a result of this divisionwide community service project, high school SCAs donated 8,515 cans of food to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

Several congratulations are in order. . .

Congratulations to New Castle Elementary third grader, Vincenza Cuvin, who was selected as the winner of the "My Dream House" poster contest sponsored by the Virginia Housing Authority and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Vincenza’s art work will be used on the cover of the Housing Department's conference program. She was recently honored at the organization’s conference luncheon on November 13th. At that time, Governor Warner presented Vincenza with a savings bond, gift certificate, and ribbon from the Housing Authority.

Architects of our Advanced Technology Center, Moseley Architects, recently received an award during the Virginia School Boards Association’s “Exhibition of School Architecture.” The firm was one of only four in the state to receive accolades. The winning designs were announced during the Association’s annual conference in Williamsburg on November 13.

Hats off, once again to our Office of Business Services for receiving the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. In addition, we have also received a Meritorius Budget Award, designed by the Association of School Business Officials International, which was presented for excellence in the preparation and issuance of a 2003-04 school system annual budget.

Congratulations to Patricia Hamilton, a second grade teacher at New Castle Elementary School, who has been named Virginia Beach Reading Teacher of the Year for 2003-04 by the Virginia Beach Reading Council. Ms. Hamilton is a 25-year veteran of our school system and a product of our school system, as well.

Finally, congratulations to Landstown High School’s football team, who became the first Beach team in 20 years to compete for the state VHSL Group AAA Division 6 championship title last Saturday at the University of Richmond. Defeated only by Westfield High, the Landstown Eagles ended their spectacular season with a record of 13 – 1. The presence of this talented team in the state match made all in Virginia Beach proud of their many accomplishments. Way to go, Eagles!

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