Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
March 17, 2009

Chairman Edwards, Vice Chairman Bellitto, and members of the Board –

March is Youth Art Month, and our students have artwork on display at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia.  A reception was held last week to recognize the artists in the citywide exhibition. The Youth Art exhibit is free and open to the public through the end of this month.

As you know, providing support to new teachers is often a determining factor in their ultimate success as educators. With that in mind, I recently met with all novice teachers as a part of a forum called the Superintendent’s Open Space. Facilitated by Suzanne Buhner and members of the Organizational Development staff, along with several National Board Certified teachers, new teachers were provided an opportunity to share highlights from their first year of teaching, as well as provide helpful suggestions for improvement. It is our goal as a division to not only attract the best new teachers, but also to develop protocols to retain and support them.

Several recent events have allowed our students to make connections regarding their future careers.

In partnership with the city’s police, fire, and rescue departments, Tallwood High School participated in the Every 15 Minutes program last week.  The two-day interactive program included a mock car crash and other events designed to challenge teenagers to think about drinking, personal safety, and making mature decisions. The culminating activity was an assembly including remarks by Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell and testimonials from actual survivors and victims of alcohol-related tragedies.

Our schools are making the most of distance learning technology to extend students’ learning experiences outside of the classroom. 

In celebration of Foreign Language Week last month, Ocean Lakes High School hosted a presentation by NATO representatives from Germany, France, and Spain.  Students in foreign language, social studies, and geography classes attended two sessions organized by Ocean Lakes teachers Margit Naden and Eric Jaworski.

More than 100 Kempsville High School students recently attended the school’s Leadership Workshop held at the Triple-R Ranch in Chesapeake.  For months, a staff of student leaders planned the three-day workshop, which included teambuilding activities and instructional sessions related to communication, goal setting, decision making, and group dynamics. 

The Global Studies and World Languages Academy partnered with Regent University for the “BIG READ.” Regent University provided each World Literature II student and each Russian student a copy of Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Regent also arranged to have renowned Tolstoy expert Dr. Andrew Kaufman visit Tallwood and lead book talks with the students in Susan Motley’s World Literature II classes. 

Molecular biology students in Ocean Lakes High School’s Math and Science Academy are assisting with gene research through Virginia Tech’s PREP program - Partnership for Research and Education in Plants.  Students planted seeds that they received from the university, exposed them to various conditions, and are now drawing comparisons as they compile data over a six-to-eight week period of research.  In consultation with Virginia Tech professors and scientists, the discoveries that the students make may contribute to advances in medicine, agriculture, and industry.

Congratulations to Cox High School senior Krupa P. who was selected as the Eastern Regional winner in Dominion’s “Strong Men and Women: Excellence in Leadership” student essay contest. The contest invites students to write about the achievements of outstanding African-Americans.  In a ceremony in Richmond, attended by Governor Tim Kaine and Attorney General Bob McDonnell, Krupa received her award along with a Dell laptop. Additionally, the school received a $1,000 cash award, part of which will be used to support a Cox High School organization or project of Krupa’s choice.

Ocean Lakes High School senior Andrew Henchen was one of 362 students to receive a medal in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s National Financial Literacy Challenge.  The Challenge is a 35-question online test of personal finance knowledge and understanding for high school students across the United States. More than 75,000 high school students participated nationwide.

In an effort to promote Internet safety to all students in the division, the Department of Technology recently sponsored its second annual Internet Safety Poster Contest. Congratulations to the following four students for their winning entries:

Director of Student Leadership Mike McGee has been selected by the Virginia High School League as the recipient of the Larry Johnson Sports Medicine Advisory Committee Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the development and implementation of policies and programs intended to promote the health and safety of high school student athletes.   

Office of Business Services Senior Accountant Misty Caish was featured in a recent issue of the PTA’s national magazine Our Children.  She was interviewed for the “Leadership Spotlight” article because of her dedicated involvement with the PTA at her children’s Chesapeake school.

Lastly this evening, congratulations to Cooke Elementary School for being awarded a $10,000 educational grant from The Boeing Company.  This is the second year the school has received a Boeing grant, and it will be used for staff development in the areas of math and science

Mr. Chairman and members of the School Board, this concludes my report for the evening.

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