Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
March 20, 2007

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, and citizens of our community, my report this evening features some recent school division events as well as some noteworthy accomplishments of students and staff.

You may recall that each year in March, the school division celebrates Youth Art Month. This year is no exception. Currently, the elementary and middle school student art shows are being held at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia where student work is on public display. High School student artists will have their opportunity for an exhibition and reception in May. The exhibit opens on May 15 and runs through May 24. The public is invited to see these exhibits that showcase many of our very talented students and serve to bring great honor to the division. Also in celebration of Youth Art Month, a virtual art gallery is now posted to the school division website, vbschools.com. With just a click of the mouse, visitors can view an exhibit of 258 student masterpieces gathered from 16 schools and centers.

Another annual event is the Career Connection: Transition to the Future designed to assist middle and high school students with their career plans and decisions. The event was held on March 7th at the Advanced Technology Center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Approximately 100 career and community agency spokespersons set up booths and displays representative of their careers. Among the various career strands represented were business and marketing; fine arts; health and human services; and engineering and technology. Additional career professionals in attendance included those from tourism and hospitality, the marine industry, landscape services, and financial services. Students and their parents had the opportunity to speak with and ask questions of the representatives about the many career options available to them as they make their own postgraduate plans.

Elementary students across the division recently celebrated a noteworthy event which has also become an annual tradition, the occasion of Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2. For example, Bayside Elementary fourth-grade students honored Dr. Seuss by reading to first-graders. And Green Run Elementary kindergarteners celebrated by reading Green Eggs and Ham and then cooking their own green eggs and ham for a snack. I'm sure it tasted better than it looks!

Speaking of food, on Friday, March 16, student chefs from school divisions around the area took part in the 17th Annual Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (or C-Cap) scholarship competition held at the Culinary Institute of Virginia in Norfolk. With the signal, "Ready, Set, Cook!," to start the competition, students chefs, including 16 from Virginia Beach schools, put their culinary skills to the test creating a variety of gourmet dishes, all from memory. One of the student chefs, Tech Center C-CAP student Blair Ca., competed early in the day and was then "whisked away" to the airport headed for Charlotte, North Carolina, to compete in Johnson & Wales University's National High School Recipe Contest. Blair was one of 10 finalists from across the country who earned an all-expense paid trip to compete for a full tuition scholarship to Johnson & Wales. He received 4th place in the competition at Johnson and Wales in addition to a C-Cap Scholarship. Virginia Beach C-Cap winners were announced on March 19th and included the following students; Kelli P., Logan M., Jessica S., Tim G., Blair C. and Jared S. In total, Virginia Beach students were awarded scholarships valued at over $117,000. Congratulations to all!

A noteworthy event was held March 9, when the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development partnered with the Office of Technical and Career Education to host the first Workplace Readiness Skills Insight Breakfast Meeting. The event, which was held at the Advanced Technology Center, was designed to inform community stakeholders about workplace readiness skills, what they are and why they are important. The Workplace Readiness Skills program was originally developed through the University of Virginia in conjunction with Opportunity, Inc, a regional business consortium. Thanks to a grant from Opportunity Inc., TCE staff, under the direction of Dr. Pat Konopnicki, Director of Technical and Career Education, wrote and piloted a workplace readiness skills curriculum that has been subsequently endorsed by Governor Kaine. The curriculum is being taught this year in our high schools and plans are underway to roll it out to a statewide audience.

With the advent of daylight savings time, many of us are looking for the arrival of Spring. Our students, however, continue their year-long efforts to help protect the environment. At King's Grant, for example, fourth- and fifth-grade students in the "River Rulers" Club are working to educate their classmates on how they can promote a "greener" Lynnhaven River. An offshoot of the Lynnhaven River Keepers program, the River Rulers Club also promotes interactive educational activities such as studying oysters, squid, and crabs; constructing a rain garden on the school grounds; and cleaning the water's edge in neighborhoods surrounding the school.

Several congratulations are in order for this evening:

You may recall that in an earlier Superintendent's Report we congratulated Chris S. for being named the ten thousandth Automotive Youth Educational Systems (or A-Yes) intern in the nation. I'd like to follow up on that mention by telling you that Rick Wagoner, Chairman and CEO of General Motors Corporation (and current chairman of A-Yes) flew to Virginia Beach recently to congratulate Chris in person and to formally recognize him for achieving this milestone. Mr. Wagoner was accompanied by Larry Cummings, President of A-Yes. The ceremony took place at the Hall Chrysler/Jeep Dealership on Virginia Beach Boulevard where Chris is serving his internship. The special recognition is in addition to the award of a SnapOn Toolbox and $3,000 worth of tools that Chris has already received. Well done!

Congratulations also to Will W. who was selected as the Virginia representative for the Virginia Athletic Administrators Association scholarship. This highly competitive award is given for student athletes who have lettered in at least two sports, have excelled academically, and who are active in extracurricular activities and community service. Will, a twelfth grader at Kempsville High School, now advances to the national level of competition. Good Luck!

Katie Knapp, Computer Resource Specialist at Windsor Oaks Elementary, was recently awarded a 2007 Inspired Teacher Scholarship for Visual Learning. The scholarship, awarded by Inspiration Software, Inc., honors educators who champion the integration of visual learning and technology into the curriculum. Congratulations!

Congratulations also to Luisa Zirkle, Health Sciences Academy Coordinator at Bayside High School, for being selected as one of four Women's Achievement Awards given by Zonta International. Founded in 1919, Zonta is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. The award was given in recognition of the contributions made by women to the advancement of the status of and/or the quality of life of women in the Hampton Roads area. The awards dinner and ceremony will take place on March 21st and marks Zonta's 6th annual Women's Celebration event.

Also from Bayside High School, senior Brooke C. was named a finalist for the Coca-Cola Scholarship. Brooke, who is a Health Sciences Academy student, is guaranteed to receive a minimum $10,000 from the Coca-Cola Corporation for college and will travel to Atlanta in April to compete for the $20,000 scholarship. Brooke serves as Senior Class President at Bayside and is a member of both the National Honor Society and Medical Honor Society. Good luck, Brooke!

In still another piece of good news from Bayside High School, we recognize Sheila McWaters-Wilkes for being selected "Music Educator of the Year" by the District II Choral Directors. She was chosen from among her fellow choral directors in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and the Eastern Shore, and will represent the group on the state level at the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference in the fall. It's always great to end this report on such a high note—great job!

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


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