Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
August 19, 2008

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

This week, the school division is welcoming more than 280 new teachers to Virginia Beach at TOCLI, the Teacher Orientation and Continuous Learning Institute, being held at Green Run High School. Yesterday was the first day of the four-day event planned by the Office of Organizational Development featuring guest speakers, interactive sessions, and other opportunities to help integrate educators into the division's teaching community. We welcome them and wish them success as they prepare for the new school year.

Also preparing for the new school year were administrators who attended the Annual Administrative Leadership Conference at the Virginia Beach Convention Center last week. In addition to discussions on how to best prepare our students to succeed as 21st century learners, workers and citizens, Dr. Tony Wagner facilitated strategic planning sessions on change leadership.

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offered 258 classes at six different locations during its annual Professional Development Summer Conference. Teachers filled over 5,200 seats at the three-day event with class topics ranging from designing curricula and content instruction to strategies to meet the needs of all students.

Many of our middle and high school students also participated in summer conferences organized by the Office of Student Activities. More than 200 student leaders attended the 35th annual Virginia Beach Leadership Workshop to participate in leadership skills training and set goals for the upcoming year. Additionally, more than 75 student diversity ambassadors attended the Diversity Workshop, which was planned in collaboration with the Office of Organizational Development. Their training included activities designed to help students heighten cultural awareness in their schools and community as well as to promote reciprocal respect.

And our rising kindergartners are getting ready for their first day of school. On Saturday, August 2, Diamond Springs Elementary hosted Kick Off to Kindergarten, an event organized by Virginia Beach Ready to Learn in collaboration with the school division. School staff members were on site to assist parents with school registration, and children were able to get hearing and vision screenings as well as participate in storytelling and arts and crafts activities.

Congratulations to assistant principal Doug Knapp, and computer resource specialists Katie Knapp and Kristi Hingerty who were among 60 educators from across the country to participate in the first-ever Discovery Educator Network Leadership Council Institute. This council works to support teachers' efforts to integrate the latest educational technologies and digital media in the classroom.

Georgia Christie, Social Studies coordinator in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, was named the 2008 Outstanding Economics Educator of the Year by Old Dominion University's Center for Economics Education.

Tallwood High School's Work and Family Studies teacher Joann Andrews has been selected as the Teacher of the Year for the Virginia Association of Teacher of Family and Consumer Sciences.

And congratulations to Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center student Brittany M. for her election as the 2008-2009 Secondary National SkillsUSA President. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.

And finally, I would like to end with a few important dates to remember. On Tuesday, September 9 the School Board will receive a recommended strategic plan from the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. As a reminder, this document was crafted with considerable community input. Focus groups were hosted; a Futures Forum held; and a Town Hall meeting attracted hundreds of citizens who wanted to weigh in on the future of public schools in Virginia Beach.

Following School Board review, a Strategic Plan Open Mic Session will be held on Monday, September 22 at Tallwood High School from 6-8 p.m. At this meeting we will share the recommended plan with community members one final time and receive their input. The goal, of course, will be to bring a final document to the Board for approval at the Tuesday, October 7 meeting.

This has been a long process, but a very fruitful one. The Strategic Plan will be an important driver of progress for Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

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

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