Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent’s Report
July 24, 2007

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.

Let’s start with some news from the International Baccalaureate program at Princess Anne High School. Four IB sophomores are winners in the 19 and under category of the International “ThinkQuest” program sponsored by Oracle. “Think Quest” is a project-based learning challenge in which teams of students and teachers from around the world compete to create the best educational websites. Students Krista O., Thomas H., David H. and Parth S. along with their IB teachers Beth Camper and John Harrison developed a website entitled Young Blood: Children of War. It examines the role of children as soldiers. Every member of the team wins a laptop computer! In addition, they receive an all-expense paid trip to San Francisco to participate in educational workshops, activities and an awards ceremony. 

Of course, we are all proud of our Virginia Beach Public Schools Education Foundation and once again, there is good news on that front. The 13th Annual Education Foundation Golf Tournament, took place on June 21st at Heron Ridge, and once again raised more than $40,000. The event included an “Educator’s Challenge” in the morning when 100 city and school staff  “tee’d” off in a Captain’s Choice round of golf.  The afternoon featured the “Business Leader’s” tournament for 144 business and community participants. The event received tremendous support, including 44 sponsors, 77 donors, and 34 volunteers. Funds generated at this event support the Education Foundation’s Building Futures Grant program.

Good news from Bayside High School’s Health Sciences Academy: Saint George’s University Medical and Veterinarian Schools in Grenada recently offered 16 of this year’s academy graduates conditional admission to their medical or veterinarian school upon completion of the necessary college requirements.  St. George’s University is a Caribbean medical and veterinary school with extensive medical, veterinary and graduate studies programs located on the island of Grenada. The Health Services Academy forged a working relationship with the Caribbean medical school three years ago through the university’s summer medical camps attended by rising academy seniors. Bayside High School is the only high school in the nation that has been offered this conditional agreement by St. George’s University.

One of the school division’s community partnerships is having a positive impact on students all the way in the Philippines. Virginia Beach City Public Schools partnered with the BICOL Association, a local organization dedicated to philanthropy and community service, to provide textbooks to students in the Bicol province in the Philippines. The region was devastated by Typhoon Reming last winter. Now, VBCPS, in partnership with the Tidewater Bicol Association, is sending 90 boxes of secondary textbooks to help restock the schools in Bicol. While these textbooks are no longer in use in Virginia Beach, they will certainly prove invaluable to the students of the Bicol province who have suffered some significant losses at the hands of Mother Nature. A special thanks tonight to the students at the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood—who packed up the books for shipment.

The Noblemen are once again doing noble deeds in our schools. The Noblemen gave away a book to every child at each of the 17 division elementary schools that are hosting summer school this year. Recently, members of the community service organization paid a visit to Holland Elementary. In addition to spending some quality time with students, the Noblemen offered a book as a special treat to encourage summer reading. We are fortunate to have such wonderful community partners working with our schools.

Recently the Hampton Roads Committee of 200-Plus Men hosted a very special event at the Hampton Roads Convention Center. As you may recall, this organization is a premier African-American men’s group that works to promote community betterment throughout the region. On May 19 the 200-Plus Men’s organization held its 10th annual regional breakfast to honor minority male seniors throughout Hampton Roads who have maintained a GPA of 3.00 or higher. I am pleased to note that 53 Virginia Beach seniors proved eligible to participate in this special salute. What a great way to celebrate the academic success of our students.

Speaking of successful students, seven members of the Class of 2007 earned scholarships sponsored by the Tidewater Builders Association. Katherine B., Nichole E., and Katrina G. from Princess Anne High School each received a $7500 scholarship for academic achievement. Four other VBCPS students earned scholarship money by participating in a Young Designer Scholarship Competition. Landstown High School grads Tony S., Kayla L., and Christopher C., received a combined total of $3000 for their submissions in the Computer-aided design division. Tallwood’s Torey W. was awarded a $1500 scholarship for his hand drawn design. In addition Landstown High School received a $1000 grant from the Tidewater Builders’ Association Scholarship Foundation. The money will be used to purchase equipment and supplies for Landstown’s drafting and design program. Congratulations to all!

The Department of Technology recently offered an exciting professional development opportunity for the school division’s library media specialists. The LMS Conference 2007, Engaging the 21st Century Learner: Building on Our Success, was held on June 20th and 21st at Three Oaks Elementary. Library media specialists heard from nationally recognized speakers, had the opportunity to refine strategies for teaching information literacy skills, and strengthen their program management skills. One library media specialist reported, “This conference provided the very best professional development experience I have had in Virginia Beach! The quality of the sessions and presentations were excellent. The session topics were timely and the variety ensured that there was something offered for everyone.” By the way, I think it is notable that attendance at the conference allowed library media specialists to earn all 15 required Professional Development Program hours for school year 2007-08.

Several congratulations are in order this evening:

The following schools’ Family Career and Community Leaders of America, FCCLA, chapters won awards at the Virginia FCCLA State Conference in the spring: Virginia Beach Middle, Tallwood High, and the Virginia Beach Technical & Career Education Center.  The event was on April 29 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.  The students from these schools received state level awards. Congrats to the students!

CONGRATULATIONS go to Landstown High School student Kyle Z. who placed third at the Future Business Leadership of America National Leadership Conference in the Oracle division. Kyle’s award was given in the database programming category of the Oracle division. Way to go Kyle!

David Pace, director of the office of transportation services, was elected president of the Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation (VAPT) during its annual conference in June. He will serve as president for a two-year term, working to promote safe and efficient school transportation for students throughout the commonwealth. VAPT is the premier organization in Virginia dedicated to promoting safety, professionalism, and excellence within the pupil transportation industry.

Kudos go out to Salem High School Spanish Teacher Rosa Jones and SunDevil students Alexandra R., Taylor M., Ivy Joy L., and Kristianne M. for their award-winning entries in the “Adventures in Discovering Languages” competition. The event, sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Virginia, is designed to highlight the adventure surrounding the study of foreign languages in our communities. Alexandra R. took home second place for her bi-lingual digital project. Taylor M., Ivy Joy L., and Kristianne M. collectively received an honorable mention for their digital project using multiple languages and illustrating the adventure of learning a foreign language. Each student will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the annual FLAVA Conference in October.

Recently, fourth graders from New Castle Elementary were led to victory by their teacher, Debbie Field at the National Word Masters Competition.  Katie M., Tyler M., Cecelia D., TJ S., Patrick A., Sierra Y., and Katlyn L. placed fourth in the Blue Division. The team competed against 712 other teams comprising 36,360 students.  Congratulations!

And finally I would like to end with a salute to dedication. Jim Morris, assistant director for environment and energy management with the department of administrative support services, received the Charles V. Culbertson Outstanding Volunteer Service award from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). The award recognizes select members of the executive board, national committee and practice specialty officers for exemplary volunteer service to the society during the past year and who have helped advance the occupational safety, health and environmental profession. Morris was recognized for his dedication and service to the ASSE Region VI and the Greater Tidewater Chapter. The award was presented to Morris on June 24 at ASSE’s annual Professional Development Conference and Exposition in Orlando, FL. Congratulations, Jim!

Chairman Edwards, Vice Chair Belitto and Members of the School Board that concludes my report for the evening.

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