Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Superintendent's Monthly Report to the School Board

Superintendent's Report
December 16, 2008

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

I would like to begin my report this evening by wishing our students, staff, and parents a happy holiday season and a safe start to a new year.   As a reminder, all of the division’s schools and administrative buildings will be closed December 22 through January 2.  These extended-break building closures assist the school division with its energy savings initiatives.

Another way the division is conserving resources and reducing energy costs is through projects like updating the lighting fixtures in Green Run High School’s theater, which were recently replaced with Light Emitting Diode, or LED, fixtures. The potential energy cost savings, including bulb costs, amounts to more than $12,700 per year. The school division will also see a savings on air conditioning due to less heat generated by the energy-saving fixtures and a reduction in labor costs.  In the future, this cost savings initiative could expand from school theaters to hallways, classrooms, and outdoor lighting.

On November 25, I attended Fort Story’s Thanksgiving celebration to meet with soldiers and commanding officers and to sign a military Memorandum of Agreement that affirms the school division’s commitment to military families. The memorandum is a contract between local military and school leaders to support each other in order to better provide for military-connected students.

On December 4, more than 1,300 people attended the first presentation of the Teacher Forum Leadership Council’s National Speakers Series.  Author Daniel Pink offered his thoughts on the importance of right brain thinking in a modern economy and how we can best prepare students for their future in a global community.  The next speaker series event on February 12 will feature Tony Wagner of Harvard University.

First Colonial High School Legal Studies Academy students participated in a virtual conference sponsored by Vanderbilt University and moderated by Lou Dobbs of CNN. First Colonial was one of seven high schools across the country selected to participate, and the topics students discussed with Mr. Dobbs included health care, the economy, and national security.

Bayside Health Sciences Academy students have been sharing their medical studies with Kemps Landing Magnet School sixth graders through a series of field trips and class presentations.  The “final exam” for these new Kemps Landing “doctors” was to diagnose the aches and pains of Academy students and present their medical findings to the group.

The Bayside Tri-Campus PTA hosted a “Dinner with Dad” event at Bettie F. Williams Elementary earlier this month.  Nearly 500 people attended the event designed to encourage participation by fathers and male role models in school activities.  Following the dinner, which featured guest speaker Enrique Wiggins, dads visited the school’s book fair with their children.

‘Tis the season for the school division’s students and staff to show their holiday spirit through community service projects, musical performances, and artwork -

Congratulations to Bayside Middle School eighth grader Jose S. who was selected to serve on the Virginia Board of Education’s 2008-2009 Student Advisory Committee.  Each year the student committee selects issues to study which are affecting students in the Commonwealth’s public schools.  At their first meeting in Richmond last week the students selected to review online learning; foreign language and technology instruction; and student recognition programs.
 
Alek Y., a junior at Kellam High School, won a Gold Medal from the American Council of Teachers of Russian for his essay entitled "I am studying Russian because...". The criteria for this award include recognition in the National Russian Essay Contest, an overall high grade point average, involvement in school and community activities, and a good character.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation named Kemps Landing Magnet School sixth-grade teacher Pat Berson “Environmental Educator of the Year”.  A teacher with 33 years experience, Pat participated in the pilot program introduced by the foundation 12 years ago.  She maintains a 100-gallon Chesapeake Bay tank aquarium in her classroom with specimens and class critters that she and her students have collected from various field trips. 
 
Foreign Languages Coordinator Maria Still and five teachers from Christopher Farms Elementary School recently presented at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages national conference. Teachers Stacy Beebe, Sun Siret Betancourt, Nancy Fanning-Munson, Jessica Beebe, Michele Barrera discussed data and successful practices of partial immersion language programs like the one at Christopher Farms.  As a result, the group has been invited to deliver a three-hour presentation at next year’s national conference.  

Congratulations to Sandy Doyle, a second grade teacher at Thalia Elementary School, who received a $1,800 grant from the Tidewater Children's Foundation. Sandy will use the money to fund a tutoring program for first and second grade students at Thalia beginning in January.

Amy Upson, a Procurement Specialist in Purchasing Services, recently earned the Certified Public Purchasing Officer credential from the Universal Public Purchasing Certification Council.  Established in 1964, this prestigious certification is an outstanding honor for individuals employed in the public purchasing profession with approximately 1,660 recipients to date.

Krista Barton-Arnold, principal of Princess Anne Elementary School, was selected as the 2009 recipient of the James D. Mullen Award. This award, established in 1994 by the Virginia Beach Reading Council, recognizes administrators who have demonstrated exceptional support for reading.  

And lastly this evening, I would like to join Mr. Edwards and the rest of the Board in thanking Ike Cashwell for his service and wishing him well in his retirement. We appreciate his service to the School Board and to our schools.

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


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