Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
February 20, 2007

In the spirit of the Valentine's Day holiday, several VBCPS schools seized the opportunity to reach out to others. At North Landing Elementary, for example, students created Valentine's Day messages for service members recuperating at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. The valentines were delivered to appreciative soldiers this week.

Nearly 100 school staff members and parents attended the most recent National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) training that was held February 1, at the ODU/NSU Higher Education Center. NNPS is the VBCPS parent/family involvement outreach designed to help schools effectively engage ALL parents in their children's education. The event marked the beginning of the 2007 Single-Parent Family outreach which follows on the heels of the 2006 Military Child Initiative—two efforts that focus on specific groups to ensure that schools work strategically to help all parents get involved.

Many of our schools have been participating in activities to celebrate Black History Month. From learning about notable black Americans to celebrations of African American culture and heritage, students and staff have been engaged in literature, music, and art activities throughout the month of February. In addition, in honor of Black History Month, Virginia Beach Central Academy hosted a special visitor, Virginia's State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.  Dr. Cannaday offered words of inspiration for students and staff. Cox High School also welcomed a special guest for Black History Month-- WTKR Channel 3 anchor Barbara Ciara. Several of our schools joined others across the country in participating in the Eighteenth National African-American Read-In.  The event is sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English and endorsed by the International Reading Association. The VBCPS Diversity Task Force promoted the event locally and many students and teachers participated by reading books by authored or illustrated by African Americans.

Speaking of celebrations, February 14th marked Teacher Assistant Appreciation Day. Schools throughout the division honored their Teacher Assistants on their marquees and with celebrations at schools.  Teacher Assistants fill a variety of roles, from working in classrooms with students, providing security for schools, leading PE classes, and a host of others. We are all very grateful for the work of these outstanding employees!

For the tenth consecutive year, VBCPS Department of Media and Communications Development sponsored a breakfast for area real estate agents, brokers, and mortgage bankers. The event was held on February 8, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It provided an opportunity to update realtors and bankers about current school division issues important to their clientele. This year I had the chance to introduce myself to the group and reiterate the accomplishments of our students, staff members, and schools. Guests also learned more about the long range facilities planning study that will be completed this summer and received information on the VBCPS Military Child Initiative, including the brand new Military Welcome Packet. This packet is designed specifically for military families who may be moving to Virginia Beach and gives them information on the school division and military resources in the area. It can be requested via our website, vbschools.com.

One of our current REX teachers, Yumi Kataoka, is slated to return to Japan later this month. But before she goes, she's been sharing information on Japanese culture and customs with many students in our elementary schools. She completes an 18-month experience with American education this month that is the result of our partnership with the Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education. The REX (Regional and Educational Exchange for Mutual Understanding) program began in 1990, when our district was one of only 15 sites in the United States selected to participate. For the past 17 years, educators from Japan have been teaching in our schools. Most recently, they've been teaching Exploratory Japanese at the middle school level. That assignment was completed for Ms. Kataoka at the end of January which gave her time to visit many of our elementary schools including Woodstock – seen here.

You may be interested to know that February 7th marked the 100th day of school for students who follow a traditional school calendar. Students at Three Oaks marked the occasion by making 100 – day glasses. At Kingston, special guests visited to help students celebrate—including one very important visitor who had recently celebrated her 101st birthday. One hundredth- day apparel could be seen at Centerville, where students created original t-shirts with 100 objects on them, including 100 sight words, 100 insects and even 100 family photos. Now that's celebrating in style!

Students from Green Run High School recently had the opportunity to visit the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond. Students met area delegates who offered them words of advice, encouraging them to succeed in school and strive for academic excellence. These students even met with Governor Kaine and spent time with him asking questions about issues relevant to today's teens. Sounds like a great trip!

The Advanced Technology Center held its High School Open House on January 31, 2007. The event was a huge success, with 600 to 800 visitors attending. The students built and demonstrated a multi-station network which included Microsoft servers, wired technologies, service and troubleshooting, Web development, programming examples, and an opportunity to see new and related technologies. The ATC's Partners in Education came out to show their support as well. For example, Microsoft representatives demonstrated Vista, Microsoft's new operating system and Dell loaned the school 32 inch flat panel TVs, laptops and a projector. Vicom loaned a Smart Board and a representative from Stihl Manufacturing talked with prospective students and their families about opportunities in the engineering field. A great program, support from the community, and generous Partners in Education make for an outstanding event!

Several congratulations are in order for this evening:
Please join me in saluting Bayside High School's Science Department, the recipients of a $2,500 grant from Alion Science and Technology. Bayside is the only high school in the Commonwealth to receive this grant which will be used for multimedia projectors for use in science classrooms.

Hitting a high note, Corey Fonville from Ocean Lakes High School and the Governor's School for the Arts, was one of only 30 students from across North America selected to participate in the GRAMMY Awards events recently. Corey played the drums in the 2007 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble. He spent a week in Los Angeles working under the direction of instructors from the Manhattan School of Music and the University Of Southern California Thornton School Of Music. The GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles performed at various events throughout the week, culminating in a performance at the GRAMMY Celebration after-party. The students were even invited to attend the 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, February 11th.

We honor several Cox High School Students who are recipients of awards;

Our congratulations to all!

And finally, I would like to close this evening's report with a special word of thanks. The Virginia School Boards Association has designated the third week in February as “VSBA School Board Clerk Appreciation Week” with the goal of building awareness of the role that board clerks play in assisting school board members, superintendents, and local schools. To mark this occasion, I would like to say a word of thanks to Dianne Alexander. Dianne, your service to all of us is outstanding, and we couldn't do what we do without you. Please accept this small token of our appreciation for all your hard work!

Mr. Chairman, this concludes the Superintendent's Report for the evening.


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