Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
December 18, 2007

Mr. Chairman, as we all know this time of the year often brings with it a heightened appreciation for what we hold dear. For many of us, this includes the knowledge that we are part of a school division well known for excellence.
I hope that these monthly superintendent's reports have reinforced that fact.
 
My last report of 2007 provides numerous examples of how student, staff, and school successes continue to multiply despite the challenges that regularly face public education. In addition, our students and staff ensure that the giving spirit typically associated with the holidays lives in Virginia Beach City Public Schools year-round.

A case in point: It is remarkable to see how many of our high school students devote themselves to working with elementary school students. One example is the relationship First Colonial High School students have developed with Alanton and Linkhorn Park elementary schools. Students from First Colonial's Spanish Honor Society and French Honor Society have spent time teaching foreign language mini-courses to elementary students. The classes met on Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. and ALL the students had a great time, elementary AND high school.

Then, there's Salem High School. Its football players are partnering with Glenwood Elementary School in a great program to assist the younger students with their reading and literacy skills. That's definitely a touchdown play!

In like fashion, the Visual and Performing Arts Academy of Salem High School has also developed a project geared to younger students. Academy students have formed the Academy Children's Theatre Ensemble (ACTE). ACTE members are dedicated to celebrating the importance of theatre and the arts and inspiring their appreciation among young children. Their productions are family oriented, familiar in content, and simple in presentation as evidenced by their inaugural performance of Stories for Children and Others in December. The ACTE also presented two matinee performances at Virginia Beach middle schools.

We are also blessed to have a wonderfully supportive community that loves to reach out to children. Once again, a group of businessmen known as the Noblemen is helping some of our elementary students with reading and literacy skills by presenting them with new dictionaries of their own. The Noblemen gave a total of 1,489 dictionaries to third graders in 17 schools. Pictured here are Shelton Park Elementary students who were thrilled to receive the dictionaries as were third-grade students at Windsor Oaks Elementary.

The Noblemen's example has caught on. A group of teens from Tallwood High School's Global Studies and World Languages Academy has been inspired to found a service organization called NobleTeens. The participating students will dedicate themselves to community service and volunteerism.

Speaking of community service, "tis the season to lend a hand" and many of our schools have done just that. For example,

In other news, several congratulations are in order...

The Department of Technology announced the winners of its recent Internet Safety Poster Contest, designed to support the school division's Internet safety initiative. The winners, I think you'll agree, certainly accomplished that purpose. Daniela A. from College Park Elementary was the winner in the kindergarten to second grade category; Aubrey M. from Williams Elementary took the honors for grades 3-5; Zoe P. from Lynnhaven Middle won for grades
6 – 8; and Evan A. from Salem High took grade 9-12 honors. The winning posters will be featured on the Internet/Computer Safety page on vbschools.com for the remainder of the school year.

Speaking of winners, Mark G. from Bayside High School and Kathryn W. from Ocean Lakes High School were selected as the division's outstanding male and female seniors by the Optimist Club of Virginia Beach. Mark is a student in the Health Sciences Academy at Bayside and has a 4.39 GPA, while Kathryn attends the Mathematics and Science Academy at Ocean Lakes and has a 4.49 GPA. It was my pleasure to attend the Youth Appreciation Breakfast sponsored by the Optimist club and assist in handing out awards.

I am pleased to recognize another academy student – Stephanie C., a senior at the Visual and Performing Arts Academy – on having her original art work selected to serve as this year's VBCPS holiday card. A committee of teachers and administrators in addition to School Board member Lyndon Remias chose her work from the many that were submitted by Virginia Beach schools' students. As a memento of her achievement, Stephanie received a framed copy of the holiday card. Congratulations, Stephanie!

Turning now to some staff news, Fran Foster, director of the office of school plant services was recently elected president of the first state organization for maintenance professionals. The Virginia School Plant Management Association is affiliated with the national organization of the same name. The association's first state conference is slated for October 2008 in Richmond. Congratulations to Fran Foster.

Dr. Foster, his staff and invited guests recently celebrated the dedication of the new building which houses staff from the offices of School Plant, Supply Services, Custodial Services, and Safe Schools and Risk Management. Guests enjoyed a light buffet and were entertained by a talented band comprising School Plant staff members. As we all know, staff members from these offices are often the unsung heroes of the school division. They work to ensure our schools and offices are clean and well-maintained, transport materials, relocate staff in new school buildings and even move portable classrooms.

The Bayside area's new Tri-campus, which includes Newtown, Bettie F. Williams and the new Diamond Springs elementary schools, also had some noteworthy events recently. One of these was a Library Honor Roll Assembly for first-grade students who will be attending the new Diamond Springs Elementary come January. Although there is no official honor roll until third grade, 60 first graders were nonetheless honored for having read more than 500 books. For their hard work and scholarship all students received a certificate and a bookmark.

Kindergarteners and first graders recently celebrated another special event: Dress for Success Day. Teachers discussed with their students what dressing for success means and noticed that not only did they enjoy wearing their best outfits to school, but that the students were on their "best" behavior as a result!

In addition, all students from the Tri-campus participated in an event called First Generation College: Where will you choose to go to school? Schools were decorated with college pennants and college-themed bulletin boards while teachers dressed in college gear for the day. Discussions took place in every classroom about what it means to go to college. Students from Bayside High School served as volunteers for the event and even discussed their college plans with students. In addition, Tri-campus students will become Pen Pals with students from Hampton University and even take field trips to some local college campuses.

Congratulation to Department of Curriculum and Instruction fine arts coordinator John Brewington who was recently named an ALLI Award winner by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads. John was recognized and honored for the impact he has had in promoting and fostering the arts during his professional career in Hampton Roads, both as an educator and a performer. Congratulations, John!

And finally, as you just heard in our School Board recognitions, VBTV recently won a national award for the original program, How in the World. The program does a phenomenal job supporting lessons in history and English while also creatively demonstrating math and science theories. But I don't want you just to take my word for it. I want you to see for yourself.

School Board members, a DVD copy of How in the World can be found at your seat.

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


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