Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
September 23, 2008

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

September has been a month full of activity for the division. Our traditional-calendar schools opened to students on September 2. Open House nights, athletic contests, school activities and community events have filled the weeks that followed. Meanwhile, our four year-round schools will conclude the first grading period this Friday followed by a three-week intersession.

Third grade teachers at one year-round school, Seatack Elementary, hosted a "Piggin' Out" family picnic for their students on September 5 to encourage parental involvement with the school. While enjoying lunch with their children, parents were encouraged to attend school-sponsored events, read to their children or listen to children read each night and volunteer at Seatack during the new school year.

Throughout September, high school students enrolled in the Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow program have been visiting the Office of Human Resources to pick up their "official" Future Teacher ID badges. The program was piloted in four high schools last year and has been expanded to all high schools this year. Students participate in lesson planning, class observations, mentoring and teaching. Each year, principals may select up to two students from their schools to receive the Virginia Beach Future Teacher Award, which entitles award recipients to full-time teaching contracts with Virginia Beach Schools upon completion of their university studies leading to a Virginia teaching license.

The recent Oceana Air Show offered many exciting events for Virginia Beach students.

Last night, the division hosted an Open Mic Session at Tallwood High School to allow the community an opportunity to comment on our Strategic Plan. Citizens unable to attend this event have until September 30 to weigh in through our website, vbschools.com. The draft strategic plan is posted online along with a feature to submit comments and suggestions. The input from Open Mic Night and vbschools.com will be shared with the School Board prior to its vote on October 7. The strategic plan was recently highlighted in the Harvard Education Letter article Teaching 21st Century Skills. It noted our Compass to 2015 goal of helping students master the skills they need to be successful 21st century learners, workers, and citizens.

Congratulations to the high school seniors who recently completed their fourth summer with Spartan Prep Academy — a partnership between Norfolk State University and the school division to introduce minority students to the advantages of post-secondary education. These seniors were in the very first Academy cohort as rising freshman. This summer all 127 academy students were recognized for their academic and service accomplishments, including a tutoring program designed by Bayside High School Spartan Prep students for Shelton Park Elementary students.

High school students Kevin S., Joseph U., Jamie V. and Christine W. were four of the forty-three students who participated in the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars Summer Academy. NASA Langley hosted the Academy in a partnership with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. During the academy, students were immersed in hands-on activities, including planning a manned mission to Mars, under the guidance of NASA engineers and scientists.

Salem High School students and staff are featured in this month's issue of GQ Magazine with Salem graduate, Timothy Z. Mosely, better known as music producer Timbaland. Timbaland made a surprise appearance at his alma mater by joining a choral group live onstage during its performance of one of his songs. At the assembly, he awarded a Custom Artist Edition HP notebook computer to Chara O., an Academy student recognized for her musical and academic accomplishments. With assistance from Hewlett Packard and the National Association for Music Education, Timbaland also helped outfit the school with new HP Technology.

And, finally this evening – congratulations to several of our School Board members for earning awards from the Virginia School Board Association for attending the VSBA Academy to improve boardmanship skills. Tonight, Certificates of Recognition have been placed at the seats of Rita Sweet Bellitto, Dan Edwards, Dan Lowe, Michael Stewart, and Carolyn Weems. An Award of Achievement and a bronze pin have been given to Sandra Smith-Jones. Finally, an Award of Honor and a gold pin have been awarded to Pat Edmonson. Thank you for your outstanding efforts in earning these awards.

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


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