All posts by Beth Cheuk

Draft Calendar for 2018-19

Draft 2 of 2018-19 academic calendar. Call 245-2962 with questions.Thanks for your strong response to our request for feedback about the draft 2018-19 academic calendar! Your feedback primarily raised two questions centered around half-days and winter break. Half-days are under discussion among the committee. As for winter break, please take another brief survey about two options for the holidays.

Image showing Dec-Jan calendar with two options for winter break. Both are two weeks. One starts Thursday, 12/19. The other starts Monday, 12/24.Comments about this year’s calendar:

  • Winter break: Based on community feedback, we are conducting a follow-up survey to see what break scenario is preferred. Two scenarios:
    • The last day of school before break should be Friday, December 21, and students should return to school on Monday, January 7. (Ten days marked below in gold.)
    • The last day of school before break should be Wednesday, December 19, and students should return to school on Thursday, January 3. (Ten days marked below in purple.)
  • 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.

CHS Fall 2017 Highlights


CHS students holding message "Hate has no home here."
CHS students at the paint-in.
CHS musicians perform with Fab 5 singers from Metro-Nashville Public Schools at school assembly.
CHS musicians perform with Fab 5 singers from Metro-Nashville Public Schools at  aschool assembly.

Fine Arts

CHS hosted a group of singers from the Metro Nashville Public Schools to collaborate on a joint musical recording of entertainer BeBe Winan’s song “Right Now (We Need One Another.”  Read The Daily Progress coverage here. A response to this summer’s violence, this beautiful video was shown at the Dave Matthews Band Concert for Charlottesville.

Forty CHS students stayed after school for a “paint-in” organized by art teacher Rachel McLaughlin (see photo, above) as one response to the Charlottesville events of August 11-12. The inspirational messages have been posted around the school.

Poster Design was created by Sahara Clemons, a junior at CHS
Poster Design was created by Sahara Clemons, a junior at CHS

The CHS Theatre program will present “A Night of One Act Performances” at the Black Box Theater on October 25 at 7 p.m. The evening will feature two plays, “1601” and “The Firebugs.” In fact, the musical “1601” is student-created and directed!  Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults, and $15 for VIP seating. Click here to order tickets online.

Sixteen CHS Orchestra and Band members were selected for the 2017 South Central Senior Regional Orchestra. Congratulations to Laura Mulligan Thomas and Jason Hackworth, plus the following students: Alice Owen, Frances Owen, Margaret Lather, Kiran Klubock-Shukla, Jamila Pitre, Parker Sullivan, Joshua Rugumayo, and Victoria Kremer, violin; Tilden Fernandez and Joe von Storch, viola; Sarah Garretson, Carmen Day, and Owen Fernandez, cello; Claire Inlow, clarinet; Ella McLaren, bassoon; and Anna Bon-Harper, french horn.

Music department receives baby grand piano donation
Music department receives baby grand piano donation

In other music news, Victoria Kremer earned 1 of the 20 first-soprano spots in the 2017 Virginia Senior Honors Choir. The CHS Marching Knights won 1st place overall for class AAA at the Lynchburg Classic. And CHS Choir Teacher Will Cooke and his students celebrated when they received a baby grand piano from a generous donor.

Ninth-grader Anisha Tamang won 1st in the National Dance Foundation’s 2017 Middle School Art Contest! She made this award-winning collage last year at Buford.

18 AVID seniors were admitted to Longwood University.
AVID seniors today, freshmen tomorrow!


General News

Demetrius Ragland
Demetrius Ragland, one of VA’s two reps at the Global Youth Institute in Iowa

Congratulations and good luck to senior Demetrius Ragland for being one of two delegates representing VA this month at the Global Youth Institute in Iowa. His project studies food insecurity in Haiti.

Steven Newman and Jonah Weissman were named National Merit semifinalists, and a number of CHS students earned commended student status: Campbell Brickhouse, Owen Fernandez, Tilden Fernandez, Margaret Fitch, Emma Hale, Fré Halvorson-Taylor, Rachel Inlow, Charlotte MacDonald, Jamie Nachbar, Risa Purow-Ruderman, and Roland Ryan.

18 of our CHS AVID seniors got their first college admissions offers from Longwood University. The CHS AVID program, a college preparatory program that focuses primarily on students who will be first-generation college students, recently visited Longwood University (LU), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Lynchburg College, Virginia State University (VSU) and Virginia Tech (VT).  15 were also recently admitted to VSU. Way to go, seniors!

CHS Scholastic Bowl team at Battle of the Brains competition against Matoaka High School.
Battle of the Brains

CHS Scholastic Bowl team was victorious over Matoaka High School in round one of  the televised Battle of the Brains competition.

Vietnam War panel at CHS.
PBS panel on Vietnam War at CHS.

CHS hosted a Vietnam War video screening and panel discussion in connection with the WHTJ/WCVE PBS initiative, “Vietnam: Virginia Remembers.” Panelists included several retired Vietnam War veterans who shared their perspective with students from CHS and The Miller School. Senior Nadiya Khaydari also presented a student documentary she produced in teacher Matt Deegan’s history class. The event coincided with the recent documentary series “The Vietnam War,” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.



CHS football v Harrisonburg_webThe CHS Football is off to a strong 5-2 start, including a 76-7 romp for Homecoming.  At the end of September, quarterback Sam Neale was named Falcon Club Player of the Week.

To conclude a great season, CHS Golf placed third at regionals, with senior AJ Stouffer placing second and qualifying for states. See this video of AJ putting for birdie on #11 at the state match in Blacksburg, VA.

Volleyball, field hockey, and cross country have had solid seasons, including  three thrilling overtime wins for field hockey and cross country’s first place finish at the Rod Camden Invitational in Lynchburg.

CHS Black Knights logo Follow CHS Athletics
on the web at
and @CHSBlackKnights on Facebook and Twitter.


Upcoming Days Off for Students: To mark the end of the first quarter, there will be a teacher workday (no school for students) on Friday, 27, October 27. Coinciding with Election Day is another break on Monday-Tuesday, November 6-7, while teachers have a professional learning day and a workday.

School registration: PowerSchool is an online tool to help schools, students, and families stay connected throughout the year. You can check grades and attendance and more. You can customize how you receive calls, emails, or texts. Make sure all of your students are added to your parent account. If you have not completed your online re-registration, please do so right away.

Governor McAuliffe visit to Clark STEM fair.
Virginia Governor McAuliffe discusses robotics with CHS student

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe visited Charlottesville and attended a Clark Elementary School STEM fair. Clark fourth graders, along with the governor, rotated through activities featuring drones, robots, and driverless cars. Running the stations were volunteers from PVCC, Perrone Robotics, and our own talented CHS BACON students.

Lugo-McGinness Academy administrator Stephanie Newcomb Carter was recognized by the UVA Teen and Young Adult Health Center as 2017 Outstanding Community Partner. Lugo-McGinness Academy provides an alternative educational setting for Charlottesville students in grades 5-12.

Students examining and drawing butterflies at Camp Albemarle

Elementary Highlights for October 2016

Students examining and drawing butterflies at Camp Albemarle
Nature drawing activity at Camp Albemarle

Friday Knight Lights: Join families from all six elementary schools at the first-ever elementary tailgate party at the CHS Football game on November 4. Festivities include face-painting and visits from the CHS football team, band, and cheerleaders. The fun starts at 6 before kick-off at 7 (see flyer below).

The Walker Upper Elementary School Family extends an invitation to all current 4th graders and their families (and any CCS families, for that matter) to attend Bingo Night on Wednesday, November 16 at 5:30pm.

City fourth-graders have been on the go, between their annual science field trip to Camp Albemarle and their field trip Cabell Hall for the Charlottesville Youth Orchestra’s superhero-themed performance.

Jackson-Via students petting a goat during Farm-to-School Week
Farm-to-School Week fun

Thanks to the Special Education Advisory Committee for organizing a September ice cream social to help build community and support for our families in the special education program!

City Schools enjoyed special foods, visitors (including chickens and goats), plus time in the garden during Farm-to-School Week. Thanks to City Schoolyard Garden and Local Food Hub for organizing, and thanks also to Casa Alma and Caromount Farms for time with feathered and furry friends!

As you can see in the following video, fourth-grade students are enjoying their iSTEM lessons, part of a new, hands-on science, tech, engineering, and math lessons designed to build a bridge to the science and engineering programs at Buford and CHS. In the video, students find sweet success on the fifth attempt to correctly program their robot:

Students are visiting U.Va.’s Fralin Museum to brainstorm ideas for the museum’s annual competition of writing inspired by art.

More community helpers visit our our elementary schools! First, it’s “Lunch with a Cop,” when police officers visit schools at lunchtime, sometimes accompanied by McGruff the Crime Dog. Now, the Charlottesville Fire Department is making visits to teach home safety tips. Sometimes they even bring a fire truck to recess for “show and tell.” Thanks to all!

Community, four ways: "Lunch with Cop," Firefighter visits, Donuts with Dad, and friends on the playground
Community, four ways: “Lunch with Cop,” firefighter visits, “Donuts with Dad,” and friends on the playground
Burnley-Moran students responding to their senior pen pals. Photo courtesy Ryan M. Kelly/Daily Progress
Burnley-Moran students responding to their senior pen pals. Photo courtesy Ryan M. Kelly/Daily Progress

You’ve got mail! Burnley-Moran Bobcats have been writing and receiving letters from their senior pen pals at JABA’s Mary Williams Community Senior Center. In addition, their artwork is on display at the Welcome Gallery as part of art teacher Ryan Trott’s exhibition of his works inspired by children’s art.

Making globes at Clark
Making globes at Clark

Clark enjoyed its first whole-school meeting, with student leaders, dancing, book talks, awards, & singing happy 85th birthday to the school! And after reading the novel Rules, fourth-graders invited Clark’s occupational therapist, Lydia Cornejo, to answer student questions and make connections to the book.

Students "taste-testing" books at Greenbrier
“Book tasting” at Greenbrier

You’ve heard of taste-testing some new foods, but how about taste-testing some new books? Greenbrier fourth-graders rotated through stations hosted by “chef” and teacher Ms. Kumar. Second-graders spent a super-hero themed morning exploring Marvel-ous Matter! And the whole school donned orange as part of their Unity Day celebrations.

Richmond Ballet teaching CLASS students to tap
Richmond Ballet teaching CLASS students to tap at Jackson-Via

NBC news visited Jackson-Via for the visit of Alice the Goat during Farm-to-School Week, and students, staff, and PTO volunteers are gearing up for spirit week, which concludes with their annual Rocktoberfest event, with a potluck, games, and more. And the after-school CLASS program enjoyed dance classes with the Charlottesville Ballet in ballet, modern, tap, hip hop, and/or African dance form.

Sink or float? Parent-led density lesson at Johnson
Sink or float? Parent-led density lesson at Johnson

Johnson’s “Donuts with Dads” event overflowed from the cafeteria into the hallways with students plus their dads, uncles, friends, and grandfathers (not to mention some moms who wanted to be part of the fun, too). In addition to breakfast, students received a book to keep. Another day, guest/mom/Walker teacher Ms. Rasnake visited the school to offer a hands-on activity exploring density.

Scientific observation activity at Venable
Scientific observation activity at Venable

Venable’s back-to-school night had some new leaders in charge this year — the students. The new student-led format will also be a feature of the school’s spring parent-teacher conferences, thanks to a grant from the Shannon Foundation.

Flyer for Elementary Tailgate at CHS Football game on 11/4. Call 245-2962 for more info.

Face-painting at Buford Harvest Festival

Buford/Walker: October 2016 Highlights

Face-painting at Buford Harvest Festival
Face-painting at Buford Harvest Festival

Buford Middle School enjoyed another successful Harvest Festival, celebrating the school’s amazing garden and community. Thanks to City Schoolyard Garden for their leadership!

Young Women Leaders Program Food Drive
Young Women Leaders Program Food Drive

Buford students and their U.Va. mentors collected more than 2,000 pounds of food for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank through their involvement with the Young Women Leaders Program.

Buford engineering students recently made a presentation at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum to teach national leaders from education, technology, science, history, & math about the school’s innovative engineering partnership with U.Va, the Smithsonian, and other partners.

Learning by building
Learning by building

CHS and Buford students explored how businesses use technology in Charlottesville’s annual CBIC Tech Tour.

Buford history students have been doing some hands-on learning about life on the Great Plains, delivering wheat to the market and building a sod house.

Throughout the month of October, the National Junior Honor Society at Buford Middle School, an organization of 8th graders dedicated to community service, is holding a winter hat and glove drive to help the children of Charlottesville. Items may be dropped off in the school’s bins.

Congratulations to Buford students Sohl Park, Pray Meh, and Maya Wilmer, who placed 1-2-3 in the Rumi Forum’s Annual Peace and Dialog Art Contest.

Ready for fall foliage? Walker art students beat nature to the punch by creating beautiful leaf-inspired art.

Leaf artworks by Walker students
Details from works by Nyonnika, Isaac, and Hannah.
Jin Pickering Making Lemonade
Jin Pickering Making Lemonade

Sixth-grader Jin Pickering recently used a lemonade stand to raise money to feed the homeless through the Haven, tripling his goal!

The Walker Upper Elementary School Family extends an invitation to all current and future Walker students to attend Bingo Night on November 16 at 5:30pm.

Walker CLASS students played “Human Hungry Hippos” to end a great week!

CLASS students playing human hungry hippos
CLASS students playing human hungry hippos
Walker students testing soil samples
Walker students testing soil samples

Walker’s new swimming program for 5th-graders is off to a good start and was featured by NBC29.

As part of our new iSTEM program to build a bride to the engineering programs at Buford and CHS, Walker students recently measured their soil components for their green roof project.

CHS Marking Knights performing at Caroline Invitation, earning 2nd overall and 1st for color guard

CHS: October 2016 Highlights

CHS Marking Knights performing at Caroline Invitation, earning 2nd overall and 1st for color guard
CHS Marking Knights performing at Caroline Invitation, earning 2nd overall and 1st for color guard

The CHS Marching Knights received a prestigious invitation to perform in the London London’s New Year’s Day Parade & Festival in 2018. Schools are vetted before invitations to the largest New Year’s event in the world. It will be the band’s first international trip!

The band is also enjoying a strong marching season, recently earning 1st place Percussion, 1st place Music, and 1st place class AAA at the Midlothian High School Showcase of Bands. On October 29 at 2pm, they will host their annual Cavalcade competition, a great chance to see and hear top bands from across the state.

CHS earned top honors (again) as a w!se Blue Star school for financial literacy, and the schools’s three economics and personal finance teachers also earned top honors as Yellow Star teachers. Congratulations to our students and teachers Meagan Maynard, Deb Tewksbury, and Yumeka Webb-Jordan!

4 CHS singers singing to support the organization SARA
Knightingales singing to support SARA

Knightingales Brianna Ramirez, Rebecca Sutphin, Casey Casarez, and Kiana Anderson were invited to sing with the UVA Women’s Chorus in a benefit concert for SARA (the Sexual Assault Resource Agency of Charlottesville).

CHS history teacher Zach Bullock was named one of 50 worldwide “flipped ambassadors” by the Flipped Learning Global Initiative. In flipped classrooms (used by a number of teachers at CHS and in other Charlottesville schools), teachers typically present “lectures” via brief video presentations that students watch as homework. That leaves class time for activities, solving problems, and the opportunity to ask questions of teachers or classmates.

IMG_2394Elizabeth Bambury and Rachael Inlow took advantage of a Jefferson-Madison Regional Library program, listening in English & español to acclaimed Chilean poet Christian Formoso. iMuy bien!

Congrats to Caleb Rose and Stella Sokolowski, just named to the All-State Jazz Ensemble. Only 40 are selected from across Virginia! And 15 CHS Orchestra members were selected for the 2015 South Central Senior Regional Orchestra!

Latino Student Association holds salsa-tasting event during lunch
Latino Student Association holds salsa-tasting event during lunch

Two signs of diversity…. Photography students have hung an exhibition of their images of CHS students and staff in the atrium. Part of the national Inside Out project, the images showcase the beauty and diversity of our students. In addition, a new Latino Student Association has formed and has held events at CHS to promote an appreciation for Latino cultures.

Francis MacCall and Naia Fairchild, who has Down syndrome, served as king and queen of homecoming. In March 2015, Naia and her mother offered the keynote address to the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress.

Art field trip to Ix Park with artist Chicho
Art field trip to Ix Park with artist Chicho

Art I and art II classes visited Ix Art Park to work with local artist Chicho Lorenzo. Students cut stencils and spray-painted their designs on canvas and around the Art Park.

CHS and Buford students explored how businesses use technology in Charlottesville’s annual CBIC Tech Tour.

Two recent evening events benefited students, a college night and a workshop about how the latest brain research can make learning easier.

Human anatomy students at the UVA Health Sciences Library learning from medical school mentors
Human anatomy students at the U.Va. Health Sciences Library learning from medical school mentors

Students in human biology took a field trip to the U.Va. Health Sciences library, where mentors from the medical school assisted the students with research projects. The students will present their research in the spring.

CHS students recently hosted French peers from Charlottesville’s sister city of Besançon, part of a series of exchanges between the two communities.

Buford Trojan News picture

Buford Top Five Highlights Video

When some Buford students were asked to contribute to a School Board presentation about some recent school highlights,  the students developed a special edition of the  Trojan News Telecast, with their self-produced “Top 5,” including AVID, clubs, engineering/making,  academics,  and college readiness. (OK, that’s 6, but they just couldn’t stop themselves!)