January 18, 2000
Mr. Chairman and members of the Board, I begin my report this evening, by reminding everyone that January is reading month in Virginia Beach and, as such, many of our schools are having special programs, projects, and promotions in celebration of reading. In addition, special guests are visiting individual schools and reading to the students, all with the goal of fostering an interest in books, the tales they tell and the lessons they teach.
I congratulate the schools and staff on their program inventiveness and enthusiasm and extend a special thanks to all the volunteers and guests who are reading to our students in celebration of Reading Month.
Many of our students and employees are particularly sensitive to community needs at this time of the year. Iíd like to highlight a few as representative of the many people in our school division who do so much for others.
Students at Woodstock Elementary School collected 2045 books for the Reading Enriches All Children (REACH) program for homeless children. With a school population of less than 700, that is an amazing accomplishment. The children were competing to have the principal and assistant principal read to their classes. The winning fourth grade class of Mr. Tony Gross collected an outstanding number--644 books. The second grade class of Mrs. Linda Reese collected 259 books. All this was in addition to a school angel tree and canned food drive.
The Princess Anne High School chapter of the Technology Student Association (TSA) contributed $1,000 to the United Methodist Franklin Flood Relief Fund. Sid Rader, TSA chapter advisor and technology education teacher at PA, presented the check to Mrs. Bobby Snead, an organizer of the flood relief fund, in December.
The Virginia Beach Adult Learning Center participated in the Union Mission Food for the Homeless Campaign. As they have in the past, students and staff donated canned goods and non-perishable food just before Thanksgiving.
And last but not least, Kemps Landingís SCA is sponsoring a food drive in January. Itís called Milleni-yum-yums. The goal is to come up with 2,000 food items that can be donated to the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia. Can pyramids are being built in the Cafeteria - one for each grade level and one for staff/faculty. According to SCA sponsor Christopher Nixon, "The students recognize that community service doesnít end when the holidays are over. People are hungry all year long."
Community service is well represented in Virginia Beach schools. Well done!
Our congratulations to Debbie Llewelyn, An English for Speakers of Other Languages instructor at the Adult Learning Center, for being the recipient of the Virginia Excellence in Teaching Award for 1999. This award is being presented by the Virginia Literacy Foundation and Adult Education Services, Virginia Department of Education. Ms. Llewellyn teaches Level IV in the English for Speakers of Other Languages evening program at the Adult Learning Center where she has taught for seven years.
Also nominated for this award was Polly Worstell (WARSTUL), Sign Language instructor in the Community Education program. Mrs. Worstell has taught for the Adult Learning Center for eight years.
Congratulations are in order for sixth graders at Salem Middle School. These youngsters placed first in regional competition and third in state competition in the Fall 1999 Edition of the Virginian Pilotís Stock Market Game. A limousine will be picking up the winning team, their math teacher, Jackie Hassell (HASSLE), principal Gene Soltner and the gifted resource teacher Kelly Hedrick at 9:00 a.m. for a tour of First Union and then to a banquet/awards ceremony at the Harbor Club in Norfolk. Well done!
Two Stock Market Teams -- fourth graders from ODC under the tutelage of their math teacher Debbie Price -- placed second and fifth in the region out of the 267 teams participating in the game and will also be honored with a tour of First Union and luncheon at the Harbor Club.
Old Donation Center is the proud beneficiary of a new spirit anthem thanks to fourth-grader Eric W. During the Thanksgiving holidays, Eric composed the words to the anthem and set them to the tune of "Youíre a Grand Old Flag." The anthem was introduced to the student body at its monthly citizenship assembly in December when Eric and his classmates in Mrs. Hurwitzís class sang the anthem Ė Youíre a Grand Old School -- at the opening of the assembly.
Iím pleased to announce we have several WordMasters Challenge winners. Congratulations to Trantwood students Krista N. and Hunter S. for posting perfect scores in the first challenge meet for WordMasters, a national vocabulary program. Both students are in fifth grade and participate in the Blue Division.
We are delighted to announce that Landstown Middle Schoolís CHROME club (Cooperating Hampton Roads Organization for Minorities in Engineering) was awarded "Outstanding Middle School CHROME Club of the Year" at the 16th Student Teacher Annual Recognition Symposium, which took place in December at the Chesapeake Conference Center. Kudos to the club directors, counselor Alma Rose Johnson, and sixth-grade teacher Vanessa Hailey. The club received a commendation, several gift certificates, and $100. Congratulations!
This note qualifies as a true "Believe it, or not!" On Saturday, January 22, College Park Elementary School Principal George MacKay will take a polar plunge and jump into the Atlantic Ocean in honor of his school reaching 100 percent PTA membership. This noteworthy event will occur at 2:00 p.m. at 24th Street at the Oceanfront. We certainly hope that his plunge will surpass the, now affectionately named polar plop, of Chuck Grindle last year.
National School Nurse Appreciation Day is Wednesday, January 26. We all know what great work our school nurses do, but Iíll wager few people actually are aware of the scope and breadth of their activities.
In Virginia Beach Schools...
We employ 86 registered nurses. Approximately 35 hold BS degrees, and 10 have attained national certification for school nurses (CSN). Virginia Beach schools employ nursing assistants in 29 schools that house more than 1200 students. Of these, approximately one-half are Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and the remainder are Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). To give you a feeling for our nursing staff-workload, let me share that in one year school nurses performed 41,166 vision screenings, 39,761 audio screenings, 55,312 dental screenings; and dealt with 228,365 incidences of illness --just to name a few things on their list. Hats off to our school nurses and assistants. Our thanks for a job well done.
I want to congratulate Dr. Brown and the Department of Accountability for a recent accomplishment: under Dr. Brownís direction, research specialist Sid Vaughn has written the first in what will be a series of research reports. The first one published is entitled Homework: A Research Update and Recommended Practices. The report is reader friendly and offers much information about the efficacy of assigning homework to students, all of it research-based. I encourage everyone to read the report if you havenít already seen it. The conclusions might surprise you. We look forward to future reports on additional topics of interest to administrators, teachers, and parents alike.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my report. I am proud to say that we are starting off the new calendar year in typical ahead of the curve fashion.