A Message from the Superintendent
Dear staff and families —
Spring is here, and what a difference a year makes! Last year at this time, we were in the first stages of the COVID-shutdown. Now we are celebrating expanding access to the vaccine and the hope of restoring some of the routines and pleasures we have been denied. We have been so excited to welcome students back to school this month, and we are looking forward to bringing even more students back at Buford and CHS in April.
But let’s keep in mind that we are not hoping for a return to “the old ways.” The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on black, brown, and lower-income families has motivated us to find new, better ways of seeing and serving each student. Furthermore, in this past year we have seen painful examples of racism and violence directed at Asian Americans, African Americans, and others — and we reject the long, dangerous history of White Supremacy. |
So as our schools and country begin to return to “normal,” let’s do better than normal. This pandemic taught us a lot about new ways to connect with every family — and we need to maintain those engagement practices. Let’s harness the pluses of the tech we learned to make learning more personal and to add new options to our communications toolbox. And let’s create spaces where everyone is safe, valued, and appreciated for both their commonalities and their differences.
As you know, this spring will be my last with Charlottesville City Schools — and I’m committed to making it a good one, marked by hope and concrete action for a better “normal.”
Dr. Rosa S. Atkins
Food Updates for Spring Break and Beyond
We have several meal-related announcements:
- Thanks to Cultivate Charlottesville and other partners for providing student meals during spring break on Monday and Wednesday, April 5 & 7. They’ll be serving from 11:30 to 12:30 at Hearthwood, Friendship Court, Westhaven, Greenstone on 5th, and South 1st Street.
- Also, our meal delivery routes will change after spring break. More info coming soon!
- Finally, remember to apply for free/reduced lunch this year so you can qualify for Pandemic-EBT benefits. Please be advised that cards may be delayed this spring.
Find complete information at charlottesvilleschools.org/food.
Feedback on Proposed Model for School Safety
In March, after months of research, public feedback, and consideration, the Superintendent’s committee on school safety presented a draft model to the School Board. Find out more and submit your feedback by visiting charlottesvilleschools.org/safety. The Board will hear another update and vote on May 6. Watch video.
Our Youngest Learners: Kindergarten Registration Coming Soon and Preschool Applications Available Now
Calling all future kindergarteners! It’s almost time to register for the fall. Our new student registration forms for the 2021-22 year are now being finalized, and links will be posted by April 13 at charlottesvilleschools.org/kindergarten.
Once you have registered your kindergartener, your school will make an appointment for you to bring documents such as proof of residency to the school.
Have a child who will be 3 or 4? Consider applying for preschool! Find more at charlottesvilleschools.org/preschool.
Students Head to the Great Outdoors for Great Learning
Upon returning to face-to-face learning, our schools have leaped into outdoor learning. At Walker Upper Elementary, students have ample time outside everyday to learn in teams, participate in social emotional learning and sensory-based activities, and more. Each team of teachers has a wagon from which they can gather supplies, stools, medical supplies as needed, and other teaching materials. Then they head outside with kids every day.
“Research backs outdoor learning as a way to heal emotional and social pain and, given the pandemic, these are significant,” said Walker School Counselor John Kronstain. “The administrative team here should be given lots of kudos for getting this off the ground.”
Meanwhile, our lower elementary students are also maximizing time outside. Thanks to our staff for sharing the cute pics!
Earlier this month, Superintendent Dr. Atkins announced that she would be retiring from Charlottesville City Schools and accepting a top-level position with the Virginia Department of Education. Last week, the School Board voted to hire our former Associate Superintendent Jim Henderson as our Acting Superintendent, beginning on June 1. The Board also posted a request for proposals for a firm to help find our next Superintendent. Updates about this process will be posted to charlottesvilleschools.org/superintendent. Please join us in extending our deepest appreciation to Dr. Atkins and Mr. Henderson!
Golden Apple Nominations
Save the date for the Golden Apple Award Ceremony on June 23 at 4 p.m. This year, it’s more important than ever to show our teachers appreciation. Help us honor our teachers by nominating them for a 2020-21 Golden Apple Award! Sponsored by Better Living Building Supplies and Cabinetry, each recipient of a Golden Apple Award will receive a $500 grant to use in the classroom. Nominations are being accepted until Friday, April 30, 2021. Nominate a teacher now!
Buford Equity in STEM Program
Interested in iSTEM and want to learn more? Join the Buford STEM Equity Program, a 10-week course built by CHS students Jude Fairchild, Owen McKinney, Camden Baucom, and Kaymin Hester, who want to introduce more students of color to to the world of engineering. Want to join? Contact Buford Engineering Teacher Brendan Martin at MartinB1@charlottesvilleschools.org.
Fine Arts Update
Four CHS band students earned spots in the Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors’ Association All-State Band! Congratulations to Ella McLaren (3rd in the state on bassoon earning her a 2nd chair orchestra spot!), Alden Dent (earned 9th chair concert band on clarinet), Bob Kammauff (earned 3rd chair concert band on tuba), and Rebecca Fitch (earned 2nd alternate on the Eb clarinet). Congratulations and Go Black Knights!
Congratulations to the following students who placed in the 2021 VSBA Student Art Contest, which is held in conjunction with the Virginia School Boards Association Spring Regional Forums: First Place Elementary – Charlotte Dontanville, 5th; Third Place Middle – Levi Beling, 8th; Third Place High School – Luke Roberts 11th. Way to go, Charlotte, Levi, and Luke!
Earlier this month, CHS art students reflected on the concept of freedom in recognition of our local Liberation & Freedom Day holiday. Behold this beautiful art and reflections quilt that weaves both writing and visual creativity.
We are pleased to announce that for the second year in a row, we have a CHS student finalist in the annual City Art Bus Contest. CHS art student Nathan Kim is a finalist! Check out last year’s winner, CHS student Julia Bailey (known for the cat JAUNT bus) and cast your vote for this year here.
Black Excellence in the Community
Student leaders from Charlottesville High School Student Council and Black Student Union hosted “Black Excellence in the Community,” a live webinar featuring a panel discussion with Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins, as well as other communiy leaders.
After the event, ninth grade SCA President Je’Saun Johnson said, “We had 108 people tune in! We had amazing conversations and we definitely left people wanting more…so the webinar was very much a success!” See related news coverage here.
Earlier in March, community leaders and members of the local Alphi Phi Alpha Fraternity did virtual read-alouds for students at Clark Elementary School and then donated 205 books to the school.
CHS Sports Roundup
Here are a few great moments in sports from March:
- CHS Golf team member, Preston Burton, tied for first place against Western Albemarle at a recent match at Meadowcreek and remains undefeated this season! The team also took a big win against Albemarle HS at Old Trail.
- CHS Cross Country team runner, Caroline Jaffe, won her first race vs. Orange County and William Monroe!
- CHS Field Hockey hosts Monticello, Daily Progress Photo Album
- CHS Football hosts Western Albemarle, Daily Progress Photo Album
For these and other athletics stories and photos, follow @cvillehs_athletics on Instagram.
VDOE Seeking Input on Future Changes to Math Curriculum
The Virginia Department of Education is holding information sessions about future improvements to the math curriculum via livestream on the VDOE YouTube channel. Each session will include a 20-minute presentation followed by responses to questions submitted in advance by parents and students. You can submit questions or topics you would like to have addressed during the session here. Here is the full schedule:
- Tuesday, April 13 – How does the Virginia Mathematics
- Pathway Initiative (VMPI) affect Virginia Children’s Futures?
- Tuesday, April 27 – Essential Concepts in Grades 8-10
- Tuesday, May 25 – Advanced Pathways in Grades 11-12
News You Can Use: COVID-19 Free Testing in April
Cville Schools to Host Virtual Job Fair
Are you interested in a career with Charlottesville City Schools? We invite you to attend our virtual job fair on April 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and April 15 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. We are looking for talents in all positions including teachers, school psychologists, custodians, counselors, nutrition & technology staff, and more! Please register in advance using this link.
- School Board Meeting, April 1, 5pm
- End of 3rd Quarter, April 2
- Drive-thru COVID-19 Testing (FREE), April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 4-8pm, Buford Middle School
- Spring Break, April 5 – 9, No school for students; Teacher holiday 4/5
- School Board Closed Session Meeting, April 13, 5pm
- CHS Graduation, June 5 – Learn more here!
School Board Updates
At the March 4 School Board meeting, the Board voted to approve the 2021-22 CCS School Calendar. The Board also heard updates on gifted education, the health curriculum, transportation, and mental health supports.
On March 17, the Board met in closed session to approve the superintendent’s intention to retire, effective May 31, 2021. Read the media release.
The Board met once again on March 26 for a closed session in which they voted to appoint Jim Henderson as acting superintendent, effective June 1, 2021. Read the media release.
#ICYMI: Read Across BME Campaign Encourages #bobcatsinbooks
Our elementary students at Burnley-Moran participated in a week of activities to promote reading including Book Talk Tuesday, a school-wide read in, and a book chat with author Marc Boston as part of the school’s efforts to celebrate its school-wide identity as avid readers. What are YOU reading? Thanks for the cute photo, B-ME!
And, special thanks to The Soho Center for a generous book donation to all of our preschool students this month and our kindergarteners earlier this fall. Read more about the Soho Center’s efforts to promote childen’s literacy here.