Skip to main content
Quick Links

We put students first, seek growth, are open to change, do great work together and value differences.

Website Accessibility

2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Superintendent's Report to the School Board
August 17, 2010

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

Typically, I start off the monthly superintendent’s report with a reference to work on our Compass to 2015 Strategic Plan. This school system and its supportive community has worked hard over the last two years to move our students to a higher level of learning –one that goes beyond success on the Standards of Learning as our ultimate goal.

It has been hard work and we still have a long way to go, but every once in awhile a shining moment of success happens. When that’s the case, it’s worth stopping for a moment to celebrate. This is one of those times.

Let me begin with a little background first. GreatSchools is one of the country’s leading sources of information on school performance. With listings of 200,000 public and private schools, it has become a “go to” source for parents who want information on schools in a specific city. Recently, GreatSchools analyzed 17,377 cities from across the country to identify the best public school districts in the nation by population and median home price. The ratings were based on a number of factors such as performance on state standardized tests and the most recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. When GreatSchools revealed its top 10 school districts in the large cities’ category, guess what Virginia district was among them? I’m proud to say that Virginia Beach ranked number 5, sandwiched between Honolulu, Hawaii and Portland, Oregon.

Here’s an excerpt from what GreatSchools had to say about us, “With rising SAT scores, AP tests above the national average, state awards for excellence for most of its schools, and more than 84% of its students planning higher education, Virginia Beach City Public Schools is focused on high performance.”

It would seem that our commitment to advancing higher learning through Compass to 2015 is receiving recognition. GreatSchools’ critique of our school system ended with this emphatic statement: “Clearly, a district on the move!”

A key reason for the success of this school district is its supportive community. My next two notations will touch on that support. For example, on June 24, the Virginia Beach Education Foundation held its sixteenth annual golf tournament. The event raised $36,000 with the help of 50 volunteers, 41 sponsors, and 120 educators who played in the tournament. The money raised will fund 2011 Building Futures Grants for innovative teacher projects designed to enhance the curriculum and support the Compass to 2015 Strategic Plan.

Also in June, the community came out in force for a dedication ceremony held for the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville Museum, located on the campus of the Renaissance Academy. I think it’s important to note that the event was planned by graduates of the school along with VBCPS staff members. We take pride in the fact that the museum became a reality because of the contributions of those graduates. The museum includes photos and memorabilia, as well as video memories recounted by former students. This facility was designed to commemorate the rich history of the school, which provided a secondary education for black children before citywide integration of schools began in 1969.

Rising fifth graders from around the city recently took place in the STARTALK Chinese Summer Academy, held at Trantwood Elementary School. This grant-funded program, currently in its second year, is a national initiative in summer language education, designed to provide students with exposure to critical needs languages such as Chinese. The students spent the four-week course learning to speak the language, discovering Chinese culture, and enjoying a field trip to Washington, D.C. where they visited the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools was featured in the August issue of The School Administrator magazine. The cover story explored the topic of school systems with sustainable practices and policies. Tim Cole, the division’s sustainable schools manager, cited an annual savings of $750,000 in electricity and fuel costs due to the implementation of simple strategies such as eliminating the use of personal appliances in classrooms, automatically shutting down computers at the end of the work day, and establishing a no-idling policy for buses.

Additionally, you may recall that the division’s “green” efforts received recognition from the school board at a recent meeting. I’d like to share with you that last school year’s recycling efforts in every classroom diverted more than 1,300 tons of material from landfills. These environmental initiatives earned Virginia Beach City Public Schools top honors in the categories of Best Green Organization and Best Green Institutional Project from the Virginia Sustainable Building Network. I am also proud to note that the school division was named a “Certified Green School Division” by the Virginia School Board Association.

This summer, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, is promoting reading for students in grades K-12 with a weekly blog posted on vbschools.com. Each week, school staff Lorena Kelly, Jennifer Kelly, and Pam Lawrence share a brief summary of some of their favorite books with young readers. Titles and a brief overview of each book are available each Monday for students enrolled in elementary, middle, and high school.  The goal is to inspire students of all ages to read during the summer months and improve reading skills. When the blog ends this week, 21 books will have been featured. It is important to note that research clearly indicates that children who don't read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress. That’s why we stay busy in the summer promoting this all-important skill!

On August 10, approximately 150 school staff, social workers, psychologists, and School Resource Officers attended training coordinated by the Office of Safe Schools and Risk Management. This training, conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, focused on the prevention of school violence based on a study of actual high-profile incidents that occurred in schools across the nation in the 1990’s. The topics covered during the training included:

  • Strategies for educators, law enforcement officials, and others to identify, intervene, and prevent targeted acts of school violence.
  • Information on the threat assessment process and how to identify students who are potentially dangerous and may pose a risk of targeted violence.
  • Suggestions for incorporating the threat assessment process into strategies designed to prevent violence on school campuses.

With the start of the upcoming school year, the school division’s Office of Safe Schools and Risk Management is working closely with all schools and their School Resource Officers to continue providing a safe learning and working environment for students and staff.

The following congratulations are in order this evening…

Congratulations to the following administrators who were recently honored by the Virginia Beach Association of Secondary School Principals. Dale Holt, principal of First Colonial High School, was named High School Principal of the Year. Dr. James Smith, Principal of Kempsville Middle School, was named Middle School Principal of the Year, and Ann Bissell, Princess Anne High School, was named Assistant Principal of the Year. Congratulations to these outstanding administrators.

The Virginia High School League recently announced that six Virginia Beach high schools were among the award recipients for two of its annual honors. Congratulations to: Frank W. Cox, First Colonial, Ocean Lakes, Princess Anne, Salem and Tallwood high schools for receiving the 2010 Claudia Dodson VHSL Sportsmanship, Ethics, and Integrity Award. The six schools are among 19 high schools across the state to be recognized for demonstrating that sportsmanship is a priority and expectation within their schools and school communities. 

Earlier this evening, we recognized several state and national winners for the Destination Imagination awards competition. Congratulations are also in order for some other DI award winners. The Destination Imagination Team: Seven Peas in a Pod from Woodstock Elementary School won first place in the DI Regional Tournament and took 2nd place in the State Competition in Crozet, Virginia. Congratulations also to the team from Malibu Elementary Santa Di-Livery team that placed second at the regional and state levels. Both teams traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee and participated in the Global Competition.

The Virginia PTA Health and Safety Committee recently named the recipient of the first annual Outstanding School Nurse Awards.  Lois Smith of Cox High School, was selected from among nineteen extremely well-qualified school nurses who were nominated by students, staff members, and parents. Mrs. Smith has served the students and staff at Cox for thirteen years. Congratulations to this outstanding school nurse.

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

Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017