Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
May 19, 2009

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

I would like to begin this evening by extending special congratulations to Betsy DiJulio for being selected as the school division's 2010 Teacher of the Year.  We surprised Betsy with this announcement last week during a visit to Princess Anne High School where she is a visual arts teacher.  Although Betsy has only been teaching for five years, the selection committee was impressed by her ability to develop lessons that are creative, inspiring, and combine rigor and authentic learning experiences that link students to the larger community. Congratulations to Betsy on a well-deserved honor.

Betsy was selected from our five finalists, who represent the best of the best among all of our individual schools' Teachers of the Year. Congratulations to these outstanding educators and citywide finalists:

The Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men held its 12th Annual Scholars Breakfast on Saturday. The event honors the region's African American high school seniors who are on track to graduate with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.  In addition, six Virginia Beach students received scholarships to Norfolk State, Virginia Tech, and William and Mary, and two were recognized for their admission to the University of Virginia.

On April 29th, the school division hosted a citywide appreciation reception for those involved with our Partners in Education and Volunteers in Education programs.  More than 20,000 partners and volunteers support our schools each year.  Fifteen Model Partnerships and 86 Volunteers of the Year were recognized at the event, and the Virginia Beach Council of PTAs announced its selections for the PTA Citywide Volunteers of the Year. Congratulations to:

Virginia Beach's instructional practices continue to attract attention from school districts across the country, a recent example being a visit to Hermitage Elementary School by teachers from Huntsville, Alabama.  Riverton Elementary School's administrators learned of Hermitage through a presentation by Tim Daggett, President of the International Center for Leadership in Education. During their visit to Virginia Beach, Riverton teachers were impressed with the effective instructional practices, teacher collaboration, and welcoming environment they observed at Hermitage.

The school division's parent-involvement initiatives are also garnering attention. Cooke Elementary School is among the schools featured in District Administration magazine's article "Parental Engagement Pays Off."  The article highlights how the school's Pizza Patrol has increased student attendance by recognizing families each month for ensuring their children are in school every day.

The school division was recently awarded a grant worth more than $50,000 to facilitate a STARTALK Chinese Language Academy for select rising fifth-graders. The STARTALK program is a component of the federal government's National Security Language Initiative which seeks to expand the teaching and learning of strategically-important world languages that are not widely taught in the United States.  In the summer academy, Virginia Beach students will participate in three weeks of Chinese language instruction.

Last month, middle and high school students participated in the "Think Don't Drink Conference" organized by the city's Youth and Community Action Team. Students attended educational sessions and created action plans to implement in their schools next year. Groups from Cox High School, Tallwood High School, and Salem Middle School were each awarded a $250 grant to sponsor an underage drinking prevention initiative in their schools.

Congratulations to Three Oaks Elementary School fourth-grader Kendra P.  Her lighthouse artwork was selected as a winner in the 2009 Virginia School Boards Association Regional Art Contest.  It will be displayed in the VSBA office in Charlottesville and in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Richmond.

Landstown High School students Paul D. and Kyle P. earned first place in the Technology Dare category at the Virginia Technology Student Association's Technosphere held earlier this month.  The Technosphere is an annual conference which provides special interest sessions, leadership development activities, and competitive events for technology education students. Twelve additional Landstown students earned top-ten honors in their respective categories.  

Holland Elementary School first-grade teacher Shannon Knight was recently honored with the Virginia Lottery Super Teacher Award. Shannon is one of eight "super teachers" representing the geographic regions of Virginia. The award, sponsored by the Virginia Lottery, Virginia PTA, and The Supply Room Companies, includes a $2,000 cash prize and an additional $2,000 credit for classroom supplies.

Congratulations to Brandon Middle School gifted resource teacher Carolyn Stamm. The Virginia Association for the Gifted has selected her as the Region II recipient of the Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted Award for 2009.  The association will present Carolyn with this award at its fall conference in October.

After their award-winning performances in the Office of Transportation Services' local School Bus Road-e-o, the following school bus drivers earned additional honors at the Regional Road-e-o held on May 16:

Kelly Westerman will represent the school division at the state competition being held in Roanoke on June 23.
Lastly this evening, the International Music Products Association's NAMM Foundation has named Virginia Beach City Public Schools among its "Best Communities for Music Education."  One hundred twenty-four school districts were acknowledged on this 10th annual list for their commitment to and support of music education in schools.

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

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