We’re in the fourth quarter! Exams, spring concerts, & even graduation will be here soon. (Remember, this year, graduation will be Thursday, June 7 at 7pm at JPJ Arena.) Plus, it’s time to start planning for summer school and next year’s sports! Here’s some helpful information:
The CLASS program of Charlottesville City Schools in partnership with Charlottesville Parks and Recreation offers Camp ExL 2018 to provide affordable, safe, enriching, and fun activities for our students in the summer. It is going to be summer full of fun as we follow the antics of our favorite storybook characters. Enjoy swimming, crafts, music, cooking, games, field trips, and more!
Who: Students in pre-K*—3 rd grade during the 2017-2018 school year (*pre-K students must have birth date prior to Oct. 1, 2013)
When: June 18th—July 27nd (closed July 4th)
Where: Burnley-Moran, Jackson-Via, and Venable Elementary Schools
Hours: 9am-4pm are the standard hours; extended hours can start as early as 7:30am or end as late as 6pm.
Cost: See flyer for details.
Register: Registration begins on March 12 for all Charlottesville city students and residents. Camp ExL applications are available using the links below. Copies are also available at the schools. Spaces are limited, so sign up soon.
An inclusion leader will be assigned to each camp site to help children with special needs participate successfully in camp. For more information contact Sarah Blech, Therapeutic Recreation Manager, 970-3264.
STEM & Hands-on Fun for Rising 7-10th Graders, June 19-30
Rising 7-10th graders can enjoy a wide range of hands-on, skill-based STEM and technical academies at CATEC. From culinary arts to IT/engineering to firefighting, these academies give a glimpse of CATEC’s offerings and are organized as part of PVCC’s Kids College summer program.
KidsCollege scholarships available based on financial need. CATEC Foundation scholarships area available for rising 10th graders to attend KidsCollege@CATEC academies.
Venable will be offering tours to parents on the dates listed below. All tours take place at 9:15 a.m. and last approximately 30-45 minutes. We limit the number of participants on each tour to ensure that everyone can hear and ask questions. Please call Ms. Lawson in the Venable office to register – 434-245-2418.
Parents should plan to arrive in the front office a few minutes early to sign in and receive visitors’ passes. Please allot time for parking as there are typically few spots available on site and many of the neighborhood streets do not permit non-resident parking during the day.
Unfortunately, requests for tours at other dates and times cannot be honored due to the disruption to classes.
This winter, Charlottesville City Schools held a series of discussions relating to our rising student enrollment. We presented a number of options and offered a preliminary survey to solicit additional input. We also briefed community leaders such as City Council and the Planning Commission.
What We Heard
We heard strong support for returning to centralized preschool with services that focus on the needs of our eligible three- and four-year-old students (and their families). Aside from allowing us to specialize in early childhood education, a centralized preschool would free up space in our crowded elementary schools.
We heard a preference for maintaining our commitment to small neighborhood elementary schools (over a model of enlarging three of our elementary schools). This would likely require the construction of a seventh elementary school on currently owned or future-acquired property.
We did NOT hear a consensus about relocating fifth-graders to the elementary schools. However, since returning fifth-grade to elementary schools had previously arisen as a strong preference, we will remain open to furthering this conversation.
We heard an interest in additional options. These options include a 5-8 campus that provides updated facilities and eliminates a school transition during the critical “middle grade” years. Another option is creating an “academy” to serve students – perhaps high-need students—in the elementary or middle-grade years. And we’ll continue to consider one option that was already on the table – returning fifth grade to elementary schools (which requires the construction of a seventh elementary school), and remodeling Walker or Buford (or another location) to better accommodate our sixth-through-eighth-grade students.
We heard interest in combining our capacity needs and our modernization needs. If we can identify solutions that both expand capacity and modernize our facilities, there is support for a greater investment that would provide our community with a bigger return.
We heard support for our out-of-division student program even as we heard reminders that we should minimize the impact of the program on overcrowding. In other words, we will continue to strive to admit only those students who will fill otherwise unused seats in existing classrooms. Relatedly, we heard support for continuing to offer spaces to the employees of the City Schools and the City. And we heard from community members who want to make sure that once we have built a relationship with a nonresident student, we should view that child as a “Charlottesville student,” or “one of our own,” not as an outsider who should be sent away.
New data points in August. Updated enrollment figures will help us make informed decisions. This data will help us critically re-evaluate and tweak our interpretation of enrollment trends as projected by our partner, U.Va.’s Weldon Cooper Center.
Learning cottages. The “elementary wave” we’ve been seeing continues to max out our elementary schools and is beginning to make an impact at Walker and Buford. We have purchased one additional unit for next year with the option to buy others if needed. We have also completed the most time-consuming part of the planning process: site studies at campuses to identify the best placements.
Fleshing out options and responding to opportunities. In response to community feedback (see above), we can continue to explore our options and opportunities. In doing this work, we continue to work with VMDO Architects and the City’s Facilities team.
Fall community meetings. We will meet with City Council, community partners, and the community-at-large to be transparent and responsive to the hopes and concerns of all.
Previous Updates to this page (January 2018)
Charlottesville City Schools is growing! Since our enrollment has been increasing about 3 percent annually, we need to consider the future of our school facilities. Together, let’s consider how we can best meet our students’ needs, particularly for our classes serving preschool through grade 8. Our school division’s growth also presents an opportunity to modernize our schools for 21st-century learning.
(POSTPONED) Community Conversation: January 31, 2018 – 6 p.m., Charlottesville High School media center
Charlottesville City Schools contracted VMDO Architects to study capacity and growth in the division. VMDO’s findings, along with the UVA Weldon Cooper Center’s study on enrollment trends in Charlottesville, were presented at two community meetings in November.
The next Community Meetings will be January 23 at 6 p.m. at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church and January 31 at 6 p.m. at CHS Media Center followed by a series of school PTO meetings and other community outreach meetings where we will provide information and gather feedback from community members. Additionally, there will be discussion and an opportunity for public comment at the regularly scheduled School Board meeting on February 2 at 5:30pm in the Charlottesville High School library.
Stay in Touch
Stay informed and share your thoughts! We will continue to post future
updates on this web page. Look for a more robust community survey coming in January.
1) Consensus about moving forward with expansion plans?
2) One new elementary, or three expanded elementaries? Centralized preschool?
3) Other questions as they emerge from community feedback.
American School & University Magazine, “Prepare for Growth” (October 2017; sign-up required to see article). Article projects 5 percent growth in PK-12 enrollment in the South over the years 2017-2025.
Thanks for your strong response to our request for feedback about the draft 2018-19 academic calendar! The survey inquiring about winter break scenarios received more than 1,000 responses. By a 2-1 margin, it showed a preference for a two-week winter break that begins on a Monday and ends on a Friday. The Charlottesville School Board voted for this winter break option at its meeting on 1/4. The Albemarle County School Board approved a calendar that is almost identical except for the dates of winter break..
Winter break: Based on community feedback, we conducted a follow-up survey to see what break scenario is preferred. See chart below for responses.
Spring break: Our practice is to designate the first full week of April as our spring break. We are sometimes asked, Can’t you align spring break with U.Va.’s? U.Va.’s spring break is typically at the beginning of March, which for K-12 students would make for a very long stretch without a break later in the spring. So while we recognize that this would be a good solution for U.Va. families, we feel that it doesn’t represent the interests of all our students and staff. Our 2016 survey of the initial draft indicated that a majority of respondents favored keeping spring break during the first week of April.
Half-days: Based on community feedback, one half-day has been eliminated in draft 2.
History about the calendar development: For over a decade, the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school divisions have worked together for a common calendar. A joint committee creates a draft calendar, and then we ask for input from students, teachers, administration, and parents. If necessary, the committee makes revisions to the draft before submitting a recommended calendar to the two school boards for approval.