Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board
July 25, 2006

Mr. Chairman, members of the School Board, and 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.

As you may be aware, this is my first official superintendent's report on behalf of Virginia Beach City Public Schools. It is only fitting that I begin it by thanking all of you for the warm welcome I have received, especially students from Kempsville High School. Under the direction of marketing teacher Meghan Timlin, they designed a colorful, welcoming banner that was hung at the door of the School Administration Building. It was a great sight to see as I walked up the sidewalk on my first day.

Since that time I have been visiting schools, administrative offices and meeting community advocates in an effort to learn as much as I can about this fine city and its stellar school district. Just as a sampling, I've met with PTA leaders, the leadership of the Virginia Beach Education Association, the city manager and a councilwoman, the middle school principals' league, the high school principals' league, and visited several schools, including year-round schools. This Thursday, I will be speaking to the Virginia Beach Kiwanis Club – in what I anticipate will be the first of many presentations since this community seems to have a profound interest in its public schools. And Friday I will visit a third-grade classroom at the request of teacher Recharta Walston to read to students at Seatack Elementary, our first year-round school.  In the coming months, I look forward to meeting many more of our students, employees and citizens personally.

Speaking about being a newcomer to the area --it appears that I have chosen the right place to live! I was pleased to read recently that Virginia Beach has been ranked number 6 in Money Magazine's designation of the best places to live in this country. Virginia Beach, called an "up and coming military town" by the magazine, was described as the 6th best "big city" in the country – and education was cited as one of the criteria that earned our city this distinction. I am sure for long-time residents this is no surprise. Suffice it to say that I am proud to be associated with a school system that garners such important recognition.

Well, it's no surprise that summer school is in full swing throughout Virginia Beach, but would you be surprised to know that a special visitor – one who traditionally visits only in December – dropped in to visit summer school students from Birdneck, Cooke, Seatack, and Linkhorn Park Elementary Schools? Santa Claus, yes, Santa Claus was the guest of honor for these schools. He was chauffeured by a soft-hearted Grinch driving a ragtop Jeep, and distributed books to nearly 200 students, emphasizing the importance of reading during the summer months and throughout the year.

Speaking of school in the summer, four year-round schools started classes this week, welcoming students back on July 24th. Point O'View Elementary welcomed its teachers back with a breakfast sponsored by their newest Partner in Education, Horace Mann Financial Planners. Corporate Landing held a "meet the teacher" event on Friday before the start of school. The school year is off to a great start at all the division's year-round sites, which besides Point O'View Elementary and Corporate Landing Elementary; also include Plaza Elementary, and Seatack Elementary.

The 12th Annual VBPS Education Foundation Golf Tournament, took place on June 22nd at Heron Ridge, and raised over $40,000 for the fourth consecutive year. The event included an "Educator's Challenge" in the morning where 144 city and school staff "tee'd" off in a Captain's Choice round of golf.  Following the morning's event and lunch, the "Business Leader's" tournament was held in the afternoon for 144 business and community participants. The event received tremendous support, including 108 sponsors, 38 donors, and 56 volunteers. Funds generated at this event support the Education Foundation's Building Futures Grant program. These grants explore the power of an idea – an idea that can impact a class of 30 or a whole school.

Middle and High School students from throughout VBCPS recently participated in the Diversity Youth Advisory Council workshop that was held on July 18th at Virginia Wesleyan College. The event is an initiative of the Diversity Task Force, and was designed as a way to provide students throughout the division with an opportunity to heighten cultural and social awareness in their schools. The students will share the tools they received at the training with students and staff at their schools, and will be known throughout the division as "Diversity Ambassadors."

Three VBCPS educators recently traveled to China as part of a national delegation of educators who visited China in order to learn more about Chinese culture and language. Rebecca Gurley, Academy Coordinator for the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood High School, Maria Still, Coordinator of Foreign Languages for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, and Dr. Patricia Slaughter, Principal of Trantwood Elementary School made the trip, which took place from June 27th through July 5th. The intent of the program is to help build and expand Chinese language programs in schools across the United States. Mandarin Chinese courses are currently offered at the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood High School.

Several congratulations are in order this evening.
Congratulations to Stephanie Enzmann, Office of Organizational Development, on her appointment to the 2006 Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. As an examiner, she will be responsible for reviewing and evaluating applications for the award. This board is comprised of approximately 500 leading experts selected from industry, professional and trade organizations, education, health care organizations, and government. Those selected meet the highest standards of qualifications and peer recognition.

Another Organizational Development member, Ron Nash, also deserves congratulations for his selection as the Commonwealth of Virginia's representative from the Region II Professional Development Organization. In this role, he will work to advance the importance of professional development.

Finally, hats off to the Department of Media and Communications Development for receiving a total of 18 awards from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). These awards, which include two Golden Achievement Awards, are given for a variety of print, mixed media, and electronic media projects as part of the 2005-2006 Publications and Electronic Media Contest. Awards were selected from among 1,052 entries submitted from throughout the United States and Canada!

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

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