Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
September 18, 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.

School may be in full swing, but to be ready in time, teachers began gearing up for the new school year weeks before their students flooded the halls. For example, 287 new teachers participated in the division's Teacher Orientation and Continuous Learning Institute (TOCLI) from August 20 through 23.The theme for TOCLI 2007 was "Discovering the Treasures of Teaching" and consisted of three days of training at Ocean Lakes High School delivered by teachers and staff from the Departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Accountability, and Organizational Development.Teachers earned 15 professional development points for their attendance, and new teachers took away "teaching treasures" to empower them to meet the needs of ALL students.

On August 21, the Department of Media and Communications Development hosted its annual School Media Liaison training in the ATC Theater. A Media Liaison is a school designee tasked with promoting and sharing good news stories with local media. The annual training includes tips for identifying and promoting news stories, sharing of best practices among liaisons, and instruction for using the program's computer-based submission system. The connections between schools and the community are strengthened by the efforts of the school media liaisons. Collectively, the school media liaisons were directly responsible for more than 2,700 positive media placements last school year.

Recently, Princess Anne High School hosted "Fresh Start," a program to help 9th grade students in their transition from middle to high school. SCA officers, cheerleaders, teachers, and administrators banded together to help freshmen feel welcome. The teachers were also welcomed to the new school year with a breakfast made for them by SCA members who performed a dance and sang their own version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Recently, the ODU-NSU Higher Education Center played host to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction's Spartan Prep Academy. The Spartan Prep Academy is an innovative college awareness program designed to introduce minority students to the advantages of post-secondary education. Thirty-five freshmen drawn from schools across our school division joined the 66 upperclassmen already participating in the program. During the week-long session, students brushed up on note taking, healthy habits, and dressing for success. They also heard from motivational speaker Lance Smith on how to nurture and develop their talents.

It was a star-spangled military weekend recently in Virginia Beach! The 2007 Oceana Air Show took place, and offered many exciting events for Virginia Beach students. On Thursday, the Blackwater Jump Team and British Red Devils visited Corporate Landing Elementary and Middle Schools, thrilling students with parachute jumps onto the school grounds. Lucky students at the events were invited to help re-pack parachutes after landing! On Saturday, I became the "Supersonic Superintendent", at least for a day, as I rode in the Shockwave Jet Truck during Saturday's Air Show performance. Finally, the weekend wound up with the America Supports You Freedom Walk. Virginia Beach participated as part of a regional effort to show support for our troops and remember the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on our country. At the Freedom Walk, I, along with area base commanders, signed a military Memorandum of Agreement which signified our commitment to support military children and families. It was a patriotic and exciting weekend from start to finish!

The SAPLINGS program is in well underway for 2007-2008. SAPLIINGS, which stands for Students and Parents Learning Intellectual Growth Strategies, is a partnership between Virginia Beach City Public Schools and the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk.The program promotes parent education through teaching parents techniques for encouraging the development of higher order thinking skills in their children. During their visit to the museum, students receive a tour of the facility, while parents receive an orientation. It is at the orientation that parents learn strategies, nicknamed COWLICKS, for interacting with their children. COWLICKS, by the way, stands for counting, observation, words, letters, imagination, compare and contrast, kinesthetics, and senses. Parents report that as a result of these visits, they feel more comfortable visiting a museum, and would be more likely to engage in culture-rich activities with their children. This year, the Office of Gifted Education will organize first grade and second grade SAPLINGS trips in 13 of the division's Title I schools.

Partnership Coordinator Training kicked off on September 13 at Landstown High School. This first training opportunity was reserved for new partnership coordinators, with a second training for veteran coordinators slated for September 27. Partnership coordinators are selected from among each school's faculty. Their important charge is to promote and coordinate meaningful community engagement in schools. Training modules include topics such as Effectively Engaging the Media; Sustaining a Strong Partnership Program; Working with Military Partners; Writing for an Education Foundation Grant, and Establishing Mentorship Programs. The theme for the training is "The Art of Partnerships," which connotes the importance of schools and the community working together for the benefit of children, their learning and achievement.

Several congratulations are in order this evening:

A team of science teachers from Kemps Landing Magnet School received a $1000 "Science Teaching Tools Award" from the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association - Hampton Roads Chapter. The Kemps Landing Magnet team includes Ms. Jennifer Krzewinski , Mrs. Patricia Berson, Ms. Kathy Yocke, Mrs. Lori Weyrauch, and Ms. Jamie Young.

Frank Gillikin, assistant principal at North Landing Elementary School, was named Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year for the 2007-2008 school year by the Virginia Beach Association of Elementary School Principals Thank you, Mr. Gillikin, for all you do!

Mr. Sidney Delepine, a public safety teacher from the Technical and Career Education Center, was named president-elect of The Virginia Association of Trade and Industrial Educators at their Summer Conference. In addition, Robert Shanks, an electricity construction technology teacher, was elected Treasurer of the Virginia Association of Trade and Industrial Educators. Congratulations to both!

And finally, congratulations go to Marion Broglie, a civics teacher at Lynnhaven Middle School whose Civic Education Program entitled We the People, has been awarded a 2007-2008 Virginia Education Association mini-grant. We the People is a national civic education program that culminates with students testifying before a congressional committee as experts on the Constitution.

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

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