All posts by Beth Cheuk

Draft calendar for 2019-20 school year. PDF is attached on this page. For details, call 245-2962.

Draft Calendar for 2020-21

Draft calendar for 2020-21 academic calendar. Call 245-2962 with questions.The Charlottesville-Albemarle School Calendar Committee has created a draft calendar for the 2020-21 school year.  The proposed calendar is nearly identical to this year’s.

Please take a minute to review the draft and share your thoughts with us.

A joint committee from Charlottesville Schools and Albemarle County Public Schools will review the feedback and then present a recommendation to the School Boards in December. After School Board consideration, a vote will be held in January.

Comments about the calendar:

  • 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 near 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. A 2016 survey indicated that a majority of respondents favored keeping spring break during the first week of April.
  • Religious Holidays: Our practice is not to observe religious holidays as school holidays (but we do try to avoid scheduling evening events on major religious holidays). Students or staff who wish to be absent to observe a religious holiday are allowed to do so. For the 2020-21 school year, a professional learning day falls on Yom Kippur. This might be a benefit to Jewish families but might present a conflict for Jewish teachers and staff (who are welcome to take a personal day off but would miss the professional learning day). We welcome your input on this draft.
  • 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.
graphic 2019-20 surveys

Surveys

graphic 2019-20 surveysPreschool Parents and Guardians:

You are invited to take a short survey about how you found an early childhood program for your child. The survey will take about 10 minutes.  

Our program is working with the University of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education, and Virginia Early Childhood Foundation on the Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG B5) initiative. We are working to make it easier for Virginia families to find great care and education programs for their young children. We want to hear from your family!

On a computer, tablet, or phone, go to: http://family.pdg-va.info and complete the survey by December 15.

The survey is voluntary. You do not have to take it. The survey is anonymous. It does not ask for your name, your child’s name, or the name of your early childhood program. No one will know what you say in the survey.

If you have any questions, please contact the project coordinator, Christina Taylor, by email (mmt2hg@virginia.edu) or by phone (434-297-6703).

Thank you for your input!

Take a Survey about our 2020-2021 Draft Calendar

________________________________

Estimado padre, madre o tutor,

Le invitamos a completar una breve encuesta sobre cómo encontró un programa de primera infancia para su hijo. La encuesta dura unos 10 minutos. 

Estamos trabajando para hacer que a las familias de Virginia les resulte más fácil encontrar programas de educación y cuidado excelentes para sus hijos pequeños. Nuestro equipo en University of Virginia (UVA) está trabajando con el Departamento de Educación de Virginia y Virginia Early Childhood Foundation en la iniciativa Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG B5). ¡Queremos escuchar las opiniones de su familia!

En una computadora, tableta o teléfono, ingrese a:  http://family.pdg-va.info

Complete la encuesta antes del 15 de diciembre.

Su participación en la encuesta es voluntaria. No es obligación completarla. La encuesta se completa de manera anónima. No se pregunta su nombre, el nombre de su hijo ni el nombre del programa de primera infancia. Nadie sabrá qué puso en la encuesta.

Si tiene alguna pregunta, comuníquese con Christina Taylor, por correo electrónico (mmt2hg@virginia.edu) o por teléfono (434-297-6703).

 

November 2019 News and Highlights

 

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins 

Poster at CHS Honoring First-Generation College Students among staff and studentsDear staff, family, and community:

Recently, CHS celebrated “I’m First Day,” a nation-wide initiative to support students who will be the first in their family to graduate from college. The event included hand-written notes of encouragement and a photo wall featuring CHS staff and students who were (or will be) first in their family. As a first-generation college student myself, I am proud that our schools prepare so many of our students to be trailblazers in this way, and I was touched to learn that so many of my colleagues on the staff are themselves first-generation college students. First-gen staff members like Dr. Eric Irizarry (CHS principal), Kim Powell (Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations), and Dr. Jesse Turner (Buford principal) have cleared a path, and they in turn can encourage our students to take those first bold steps toward college, career, or adulthood.

Williams family in front of Johnson historic marker.Speaking of trailblazers, in October we honored the families and students who desegregated Johnson School in 1962. The City and City Schools installed a historic marker and hosted a ceremony recognizing Eugene and Lorraine Williams along with the four black students who integrated the school. For photos, video, and more information about this powerful event, click here. And to learn how we are incorporating diverse and local voices into our history classes,please click here. As one small piece of this project, we have created an annual Trailblazers Day to tell our students about our own school history.

Together, let us blaze a new trail toward equity and excellence in our schools.

Dr. Rosa Atkins

 

Elementary School Activities

A glimpse into our elementary schools… 4th-graders attending a “sound engineering” concert at UVA… UVA President Jim Ryan reading to Johnson students… Jackson-Via students learning teamwork with string … Clark students testing water flow during an iSTEM activity.

THEATRE CHS EARNS AWARD FOR COLLABORATION, POSITIVITY, & EXCELLENCE
TheatreCHS tech crew students shine a lightAt the Virginia Theatre Association’s high school festival, CHS earned the first-ever “Spirit of  Theater” award. The new award recognizes collaboration and positivity in the face of challenge. CHS won for its complex and well-received presentation of “Failure,” directed by senior Jack Heaphy. The one-act, which relied on technical effects, also won top technical honors. In addition, students earned awards in the Tech Olympics and for improvisation, and many seniors earned college call-backs and scholarships. Visit TheatreCHS on Facebook.

DRAFT CALENDAR FOR 2020-12 SCHOOL YEAR POSTED FOR FEEDBACK
Draft calendar for 2020-21 school year.The draft academic calendar for the 2020-21 school year has been posted to our web site for community comment. The proposed calendar is nearly identical to this year’s. A joint committee from Cville Schools and ACPS will review the feedback and then present a recommendation to the School Board in December. After School Board consideration, a vote will be held in January. Click here for the draft calendar and a link to the survey.

CHS SENIOR OPENS RESTAURANT AT FIFTH STREET STATION 
CHS senior Dejua Lewis of Dejua's Creationz at Fifth Street StationThe Dejua behind “Dejua’s Creationz” at Fifth Street Station is a CHS senior who followed her mother’s footsteps to bring her dreams to life. When she’s not at CHS, Dejua Lewis offers desserts and smoothies in a space that she shares with her mother’s restaurant. The restaurant was recently featured on NBC29, and Dejua was also interviewed in the CHS Knightly News, where she told her classmates, if they “invest their time, love, and patience into their craft, they can be just as successful.”

CVILLE SCHOOLS HONORS BUS DRIVERS
Two bus drivers at a Cville Schools appreciation eventOctober brought National Bus Driver’s Week, and we honored those who transport our students safely between school and home each day. At an appreciation breakfast, we thanked our drivers for their part in Charlottesville City Schools’ mission– “Every Learner. Every Day. Everyone!” The City has openings for additional regular and substitute drivers. For more information, click here.

REAL TALKS AT BUFORD OFFER REAL-LIFE WISDOM
Matt Degan's social studies class at CHSEighth-graders in Dr. Venable’s math classes have been treated to several guest speakers who have reflected on their journey from young person to community leader. (In the photo at left, Mr. Marcus Carter, a counselor and athletic director at Fluvanna Middle School, is leading students in a teamwork exercise.) “Voices from the Village” is a similar program that offers speakers at CHS and Lugo-McGinness Academy.

UVA LINK LAB STUDENTS MENTORING CHS ENGINEERS
CHS engineering student showing work to UVA engineersA new partnership with UVA Engineering’s Link Lab will connect high school engineers with graduate student mentors. The UVA students will guide CHS students in year-long, team projects like engineering of drones, windmills, oscillators and autonomous systems applications. The launch event included a group discussion, tour of the CHS Sigma Lab, and problem-solving sessions. To learn more, visit UVA Engineering on Facebook.

SCHOOL BOARD NOTES
Cville Schools official logoIn October, the School Board approved new equity and anti-racism policies and heard an update about “Changing the Narrative,” which aims to include more diverse and local voices in social science classes. The Board also approved the calendar of budget development meetings. In other news, Juandiego Wade will receive the 2019 Paul Goodloe McIntire Citizenship Award. And the recent elections returned James Bryant, Dr. Sherry Kraft, and Jennifer McKeever and brought Lashundra Bryson Morsberger for a first term. Congratulations to all and thanks for your service. For School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video, read more here.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar11/13 Special Education Advisory Committee, Johnson, 5:30pm
11/15 Starry Knight Telescope Star Party (open to all Cville Schools families), 7-8:30pm, CHS Curtis Elder Track & Field Complex
11/18 CHS Band Fall Concert, 7pm
11/19 Buford Orchestra Fall Concert, 7:30pm

11/19 Lugo-McGinness Student/Family Celebration, 12pm
11/19 Parent University, 5-7:30pm, Jackson-Via Elementary (open to all)
11/27-29 Thanksgiving Break

12/2 Gifted Advisory Committee Meeting, 7-8:30pm, Division Annex Offices at CHS
12/4 CHS Orchestra Winter Concert, 7:30-9pm, MLKPAC
12/5 School Board Meeting, 5pm, CHS Media Center
12/5 Harvest of the Month Snack Program (thanks, City Schoolyard Garden)

12/6 City of Charlottesville Grand Illumination, begins at 4:30pm, Downtown Mall
12/10 All-City Band Winter Concert, 7pm, MLKPAC
12/11 Walker Orchestra Concert, 7pm, MLKPAC
12/12 CHS Holiday Pops Choir Concert, 7-8:30pm, MLKPAC
12/18 Walker Chorus Concert, 7-8pm, Walker Auditorium
12/19 Walker Stage Left Performance of Peter Pan, 6:30pm, Walker Auditorium
12/23-1/3 Winter Break (classes resume 1/6)

More Looks at Cville Schools

Fourth-graders dance during Minds in Motion

Minds in Motion: same great program, new season. Our partnership with the Richmond Ballet continued in a new format. Elementary schools hosted two-week intensive residencies, culminating in a fall performance. This year’s program was the “Journey of the Monarch,” combining dance with biology, plus teamwork, confidence, and fun. See more photos.

Walker student working with hip hop artist

Sixth graders enjoyed a hip hop writing workshop with Grammy-award winning artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Students found courage to share their own original raps to professional background beats. The next day, students saw the artist perform at the Paramount. More info.

Class of 2022 CHS powderpuff football champs

The Class of 2022 is this year’s Powderpuff champions of Charlottesville High School! With the help of assistant Principal Rodney Redd, who also oversees athletics, the CHS Student Council revived this popular tradition two years ago. 

Find more info and events on on our website, social media, or our Google calendars!

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

Clark students collaborating in a STEM activity.

News and Highlights: October 2019

 

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins 

Two CHS graduates from the Class of 2019!Dear staff, family, and community:

As the end of the first quarter approaches on October 31, I hope the year has gotten off to a good start for you and your family.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019 and all those who helped them attain a school-high on-time graduation rate of 95.7 percent! Our black students’ rate was even higher — 95.9!  As CHS Principal Irizarry noted, “Even as we celebrate, we set new goals. As we continue to emphasize increased rigor and high expectations, we will expect to see more students pursuing the advanced diploma. But regardless of the type of diploma our students have earned, we celebrate this accomplishment and the good work our teachers, counselors, and staff are doing.”

Yes, we approach our schools with a combination of pride for what we’ve accomplished and a strong commitment to doing better. This fall, we have rolled out a wide array of commitments for improving our schools for everyone. You can learn more about these commitments by visiting charlottesvilleschools.org/equity.

Dr. Rosa Atkins

VA Secretary of Education Qarni visits CHS to talk about mental wellness.

VA Education Secretary Atif Qarni (center) spoke with CHS students to learn about the school’s pioneering mental wellness initiatives. From pre-K to high school, our schools have earned national attention for classroom-based social-emotional learning.  Click here for more.

NEW PATHWAYS IN GIFTED EDUCATION
Three Jackson-Via students enjoy a whole-class gifted activity.This fall, Charlottesville City Schools began an innovative model for gifted instruction. The new model is a collaboration between gifted resource teachers and classroom teachers, bringing the enriching activities of the gifted program to all students. These changes come after years of revising our old model and after months of soliciting feedback and consulting with experts. To learn more, find information on our web site or in the Daily Progress.

FINE ARTS UPDATES: WALKER GROWTH, GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES, & MORE
Fine arts students at Walker School.Walker students now choose not one, but two electives, selecting from art, band, choir, orchestra, pre-engineering, and Spanish. This has increased the enrollment and diversity of fine arts classes and helped students identify their own interests. Read more.

In other fine arts news, world-class violinist  Anyango Yarbo-Davenport visited Buford and CHS musicians, the CHS orchestra announced a tour to Lisbon & Madrid, the CHS choir raised more than $9,000 for hurricane-devastated Ocracoke Island, and CHS art students are contributing to a future mural in the City

ESL AMBASSADORS MAKE PEER-TO-PEER CONNECTIONS
ESL peer mentors at CHS.CHS has earned a national grant to support a peer-to-peer mentorship program. Newly-arrived immigrant and refugee students are matched with a mentor who has their same background and experiences, but who has been at CHS longer. “Having peers actually caring about them, reaching out, welcoming them… it just makes such a huge difference… You see them light up,” said ESL teacher Tina Vasquez. See NBC29’s coverage here.

VIRGINIA NATURALLY: SCHOOLS AND STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM GOING GREEN 
Fourth-graders explore the Rivanna River at Camp Albemarle.Through visits to Camp Albemarle, field trips to Wildrock, time in our school gardens, and Farm-to-School Week activities, we are reaping nature’s wellness and educational benefits. Recently all schools earned (another) “Virginia Naturally” award for our efforts in sustainability and environmental learning. And the City’s Public Works staff is helping us save energy and water by providing educational materials for students and staff.

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE: EXPLORING DIVERSE AND LOCAL HISTORY
Matt Degan's social studies class at CHSTeachers are “changing the narrative” to include more diverse and local voices and history in social sciences. We are one of six school divisions included in a Virginia Humanities grant to train teachers and write new curriculum. “We want to be on the cutting edge of this work,” notes social sciences coordinator Neeley Minton. See NBC29 coverage.

The fall has also offered ways to explore our schools’ history. September marked the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Charlottesville Schools, and in October, a new historic marker at Johnson will explore the schools’ integration from 1959-1962.

THE WORLD IS MY STEM LAB
Clark students collaborate in a STEM activity.Using hands-on activities related to everyday life such as changing leaves, water quality, and the heat retention of blankets, our STEM program is helping students understand the world around them. One real-life lesson? Failure is an important first step to learning and growing. To learn more about Cville Schools’ innovative and robust STEM programming, check out CCS_iSTEM on Twitter or attend a STEM Family Night at your school!

SCHOOL BOARD NOTES
Cville Schools official logoRecent School Board activity includes a review of the division’s latest student data reports, an update about our 2019-20 equity commitments, and a first reading of proposed equity and anti-racism policies. (To review the drafts and provide feedback, click here.) Board members also voted to approve several documents to finalize their commitment to the new model for gifted education. For School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video, read more here.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar10/23 Dedication of Historic Marker at Johnson (call 245-2962 to learn more)
10/26
Buzz-by-Belmont Family 5K (open to all & sponsored by Clark PTO)
10/30 Minds in Motion, MLK PAC, 7pm
10/31 End of First Quarter
11/1-5 No School (Professional Learning and Teacher Workdays)
11/7 Harvest of the Month in all schools (thanks, City Schoolyard Garden!)
11/7 School Board Meeting, CHS Media Center, 5pm

11/11 CHS and Buford Bands Veterans Day Concert, 11am (CHS) and 2pm (Buford)
11/12 School Health Advisory Board Meeting, Division Annex at CHS, 4pm
11/12 Walker STEM Night, 6pm
11/13 Special Education Advisory Committee Meeting, Johnson, 5:30pm
11/18 CHS Band Fall Concert, 7pm
11/19 Buford Orchestra Fall Concert, 7:30pm

11/19 Lugo-McGinness Student/Family Celebration, 12pm
11/27-29 Thanksgiving Break

More Looks at Cville Schools

Burnley-Moran student learning to bike during recess.

Burnley-Moran students bike during recess. By partnering with the City’s Safe Routes to Schools program, all elementary schools have a biking unit during PE. This fall, Burnley-Moran instructional assistant Myk Reid worked with the City to provide bikes during recess. Said one second-grader, “This is obviously the best day of my life!” See more photos.

Dedication of Curtis Elder Track at CHS.

The CHS track & field facility was refurbished and rededicated to its namesake, legendary CHS track coach, Curtis Elder. When the school’s not using it, come enjoy our lovely track! More info.

Buford volleyball team has a record of 13-2!

Congrats to the Buford Volleyball team, with a 13-2 record so far! Fall sports are underway at CHS and Buford — thanks to the marching band, cheerleaders, and fans for their support! 

Find more info and events on on our website, social media, or our Google calendars!

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

Equity: Archived Page

Equity

Every Learner. Every Day. Everyone.

Charlottesville City Schools serves 4,500 students who are economically, racially, and ethnically  diverse, and we want all of them to succeed. This is made possible by a culture of respect, high expectations, and mutual support.

We’ve come a long way in helping all of our students grow:

  • Our on-time graduation rate for African-American students has grown by 25 points since 2006;
  • At CHS, our African-American enrollment in honors classes has grown 29 percent since the 2015-16 school year.Cville City Schools 17-18 Demographics: 42% White, 33% Black, 12% Hispanic/Latino, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander/Hawaiian, and 6% Other
  • Our students have elected a wide variety of their peers as class presidents, homecoming queens, School Board reps, and other key positions. Recent leaders and honorees have included students from many racial and ethnic groups, special needs students, and immigrants and refugees;
  • Our AVID program sends first-generation college students to U.Va., Howard, and many more top universities.

Even so, we see persistent achievement differences — often along lines of race and socioeconomic status — in areas such as standardized testing, diploma type earned, enrollment in advanced classes, and more. We are committed to addressing these disparities.

In other words, we have come far, yet  we are committed to doing more. Read below to learn about some of our approaches to achieving progress.

  • universities.

Even so, we see persistent achievement differences — often along lines of race and socioeconomic status — in areas such as standardized testing, diploma type earned, enrollment in advanced classes, and more. We are committed to addressing these disparities.

In other words, we have come far, yet  we are committed to doing more. Read below to learn about some of our approaches to achieving progress.

Charlottesville City Schools will host a community forum to discuss equity on Tuesday, October 23, at Charlottesville High School at 7pm.

Graphic: Every Learner. Every Day. Everyone.

Community

Response to the White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville

The events of August 11 and 12, 2017, certainly provided challenges to the Charlottesville community, and in response to those challenges, our teachers provided incredible learning and reflection opportunities for our staff and students. Our response to the rallies began with our teachers, who returned to work just days after the rallies. We held an … Continue reading Response to White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville in August 2017

Community Partnerships to Promote Equity

Community Partnerships to Promote Equity

image collage about partnership between Cville Schools and 100 Black Men of Central VA. For questions, call 245-Charlottesville City Schools partners with community organizations in efforts to serve our students’ diverse needs.

Groups such as the Alliance for Black Male Achievement and 100 Black Men of Central Virginia work to “change the narrative” about black men and boys in the city. Examples of partnership include lunch buddies and other mentoring opportunities as well as positive displays of support. For example, students arriving at Buford Middle School have sometimes arrived at school by walking through a  tunnel formed by supportive adult black men.

Charlottesville’s City of Promise received national recognition as one of only 15 recipients of federal Promise Neighborhood planning grants. City of Promise is the result of several interrelated efforts that over the course of ten years have resulted in a pathway of supports for children in three of the city’s under-resourced neighborhoods. By involving the community on multiple levels to refocus efforts around children’s education, City of Promise is truly changing the game for children in these three neighborhoods. At 62 percent, Charlottesville’s City of Promise students’ rate of college attendance is 10 percent higher than the national average for low-income students. In addition, City of Promise middle-schoolers’ state test scores have improved so much that in 2015-16, their pass rates exceeded Charlottesville’s all-student pass rate!

Children in the Johnson City Schoolyard with a chicken.
City Schoolyard Garden provides rich learning experiences for all.

Another partnership that enhances the opportunities for all of our students is City Schoolyard Garden, which maintains garden classrooms and offers educational programs in most of our schools. Aside from getting our students’ brains and hands busy, CSG does important work in supporting academic learning, in developing student leadership, in promoting food justice, in furthering the health and well-being of our students and staff,  and much more.

We have many other community partnerships to support our diverse students. A few examples include:

  • Programs serving our English language learners. See below for more information.
  • Books on Bikes, a group of Charlottesville teachers and librarians who bring books (and freezy pops) to low-income neighborhoods in the summer months
  • CATEC, the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center
  • Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia (adjacent to Buford Middle School)
  • STEM and health science partnerships with U.Va. (see below).

Aside from our local partnerships, our efforts to promote equity are also reliant on the expertise and programs of state and national partners.

Promoting Diversity in STEM and Healthcare

Promoting Diversity in STEM and Healthcare

CHS Biology 2 students presenting at UVA-sponsored medical symposium
CHS Biology 2 students presenting at UVA-sponsored medical symposium.

Charlottesville City Schools has a terrific neighbor, the University of Virginia. We regularly partner with U.Va.’s schools of education, engineering, and medicine to develop programs that expose all our students to engineering and medical fields with the goal of attracting a diverse pool of students in these fields.

The medical school partnership includes behind-the-schools tours of U.Va. Medical Center for all middle schoolers, and it also includes a student symposium of faculty-mentored medical research for the high school’s Biology 2 students.

Clark students investigating a robot.
STEM learning at Clark.

The engineering partnership is even more substantial. The University of Virginia was instrumental in the creation of our five-year engineering curriculum that can begin as early as eighth grade. The engineering program has no application or math prerequisites to encourage as broad of participation as possible, and African-American participation in these programs has grown tremendously (nearly doubling) since the establishment of the program four years ago. Furthermore, we recognize that by middle school, some students have already decided that STEM is not for them, so we have developed a K-6 elementary iSTEM program that touches all of our students with cross-curricular, hands-on activities that will build a bridge to our expansive offerings in engineering, coding, math, and science.  The iSTEM program continues at Buford Middle School and CHS to help build cross-curricular connections with the schools’ extensive science and engineering programs.

Teaching Local and African-American History

Teaching Local and African-American History

photo of globe held up by hands of different skin tonesWe believe that understanding our history is the best foundation for a positive future. This is true of our global, national, state, and local history. It’s even true of the history of Charlottesville City Schools, which closed Lane High School and Venable Elementary School in 1958 to resist integration before the courageous “Charlottesville 12” integrated our schools. (Read about our School Board honoring and apologizing to the Charlottesville 12. )

We have offered African-American history classes at Charlottesville High School since 2009. Aside from these classes, we teach our history to our students, staff, and Board members. We work closely with groups such as the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, Monticello, the City of Charlottesville’s Office of Human Rights, and others for field trips, curriculum, and resources to help our staff and students better understand our history.  For a recent example, see Charlottesville Tomorrow’s article, “CHS professional development focuses on city’s racial, ethnic history.

In light of the white nationalist rallies in August 2017 (see above to explore the learning opportunities we created in response), we are renewing our commitment to learning from our history and guiding our students in crucial conversations that will lead to a better future for all.

Mentoring

Buford students reading with Johnson buddies.
Buford students reading with Johnson buddies.

We believe in mentoring, whether that means Buford eighth-graders serving as reading buddies at neighboring Johnson Elementary, upperclassmen at CHS welcoming ninth-graders through Link Crew, or teachers, coaches, and community members guiding students every step of the way.

The Link Crew program at CHS connects ninth-graders with peer mentors, who not only welcome them in August, but meet with them throughout the year to acclimate students to a new school, answer questions, and build relationships. During the years of this program, CHS has seen significant gains for ninth-graders in areas such as attendance, discipline referrals, academic engagement, and more.

CHS alum thanking her elementary mentors!
CHS alum thanking her elementary mentors!

We appreciate community mentors from groups such as City of Promise, City Schoolyard Garden, 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, and area churches, just to name a few. And of course we recognize the power that our teachers and staff have to guide students. During the school division’s staff-wide welcome convocation in August, Dr. Atkins told the stories of a number of recent CHS graduates who had shown inspirational resilience. Virtually all of the students gave special credit to one or more teachers who believed in them, challenged them, and guided them.

Classroom

Honors-option Classes at CHS

Honors-option Classes at CHS

Nicole Carter presenting on honors-option classes at the 2018 Atlantic Edu conference.
CHS presenting on honors-option classes at The Atlantic Education Summit.

To increase enrollment in rigorous and college preparatory classes, Charlottesville City Schools has begun offering innovative “honors-option” courses.  These courses allow different students in the same classroom to elect standard-level or honors-level credit for the course, depending on the student’s choice in the complexity and rigor of the readings and assignments. This promotes greater equity and diversity within a given classroom, which benefits all students.

Chart showing increases in African-American enrollment in advanced classes at CHS from 2016 to 2018. For information, call 245-2962.

Another outcome is that it helps a greater number of students see themselves as capable of honors-level work and become more likely to enroll in future honors-level, dual enrollment, or AP classes. In fact, Charlottesville High School’s African American enrollment in honors-level classes has risen 29 percent since 2015-16 (even excluding the honors-option classes). CHS teachers and staff have presented this model — which was developed with guidance from UVa’s Curry School of Education — at educational conferences and other venues.

Having started in English 9, honors-option classes have since spread to English 10-11,  Economics and Personal Finance, AVID, Biology 2/Human Anatomy, capstone Commercial Photography, introductory world languages, and Spanish 2.

Reducing Fees, Applications, Barriers

Reducing Fees, Applications, Barriers

Illustration for "reducing barrow" -- arrows finding a path around a wallRecognizing that 56 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch, we are committed to eliminating or minimizing participation fees for coursework, after-school activities, field trips, school supplies and more. Whenever possible, we build the cost of these programs into our school budget.

We also partner with the community to make sure that all of our students enter the school year ready for success. In August, we join with Charlottesville’s African American Pastors Council to organize a free back-to-school bash in a pavilion on the iconic Charlottesville Downtown Mall. Churches, the schools, and other partners work together to provide school supplies, vouchers for haircuts, vaccinations and physicals, opportunities to sign up for clubs, and more. Another way we eliminate fees is that three of our elementary schools qualify and take advantage of the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision to provide school-wide free student meals. When specific fees are unavoidable, we supply scholarships for students eligible for free or reduced meals.

Beyond fees, we look to remove other barriers that might block students’ access to programs. For instance, our acclaimed engineering program (see below) requires no application or math prerequisites for entry.  And we are building a division-wide elementary iSTEM program that reaches every single  one of our students with 21st-century skills like coding and design thinking. We also help eliminate transportation barriers by providing late bus routes to accommodate after-school or evening activities and special events.  In many cases, we go into the neighborhoods, using conveniently-located churches and community centers to hold  parent meetings, tutoring sessions, and community forums. We are committed to opening doors.

Free Preschool Programs for Qualifying Three- and Four-Year-Olds

Free Preschool Programs for Qualifying Three- and Four-Year-Olds

girls hands building with blocksEvidence shows that the value of early childhood education is high. So is the price tag of private preschools! Because of our belief in the value of early childhood instruction, Charlottesville offers a free preschool program for qualifying 3- and 4-year-olds.  This means paying for the 3-year-old program with local dollars and supplementing the state’s contributions for the 4-year-old program so we can serve more children. The preschool classes serve children who qualify based on factors such as poverty, developing English language skills, or the need for special services. Looking beyond our own school-based programs, we also partner with a neighboring school district, private preschools, and community agencies who offer preschool services. Jointly, we provide teacher training and even created a common application for families to minimize paperwork and barriers.

Social-Emotional Learning (including pilot programs at Greenbrier and Clark Elementary)

Social-Emotional Learning (including pilot programs at Greenbrier and Clark Elementary)

graphic with arrows showing a list of the benefits o social-emotional learning (ranging from more self-awareness to higher test scores to fewer behavioral problems)Our school division in particular — and the country in general — is increasingly focusing on the need to grow our students’ social and emotional skill set alongside the traditional emphasis on academic achievement.  Charlottesville Schools’ work in emphasizing social and emotional learning was highlighted by a 2018 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Social and emotional learning is also a key element in our roll-out of Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports and Virginia Tiered System of Supports (see “Systems of Supports,” below).

During the 2017-18 year, at Greenbrier Elementary, we piloted two classrooms that combine the traditional academic curriculum and schedule with a strong emphasis on social and emotional learning.  In the 2018-19 school year, we have added a classroom at Clark Elementary. We are committed to trauma-informed care not only in our schools, but also in all of the other regional organizations that connect with our students.  We believe it will increase academic success, reduce disciplinary involvement, and lead to better outcomes overall.

In the pilot program at Greenbrier (expanded to Clark in 2018-19), students participate in the full “standard” curriculum and activities alongside a specific curriculum and structures to support social and emotional growth. One first-grade and one second-grade class are part of the pilot; each room is staffed by a teacher with experience in special education and social-emotional development; a gifted education teacher; and an instructional assistant. The explicit instruction in self-management and social skills helps all students in the pilot, and learning from the program is already informing our district-wide practices for the benefit of all.

For related strategies, see “Trauma-Informed Practices” and “Systems of Supports,” below.)

Extended-Day Program (Extending the Bridges of Literacy) — Pilot Program

Extended-Day Program (Extending the Bridges of Literacy) — Pilot Program

In the 18-19 school year, with a Virginia Department of Education grant, Charlottesville City Schools has entered the third year of piloting a voluntary extended day program called Extending the Bridges of Literacy (EBL). The pilot program serves K- through fourth-graders who would benefit from additional time immersed in language arts activities. The after-school time cumulatively represents more than twenty additional days of instruction.  The ultimate goal of EBL is to build confidence and enjoyment in our students’ literacy experiences. After just its first exploratory year, the pilot saw participating students’ fourth-grade pass rates on the PALS literacy test rise from 35 to 53 percent. In the 2017-18 year, all students made significant improvements on both the PALS and SOL test scores. Forty-three students went from being considered below grade-level expectations to being on grade level by the end of the year.

The EBL trial program complements a host of strategies and supports that are available in our schools.

AVID Success

AVID Success

CHS AVID grads in 2017
2017 CHS AVID grads!

Charlottesville Schools use the national Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) framework to help traditionally underrepresented students prepare for post-secondary education. AVID is implemented schoolwide at the 5th and 6th grade levels, and students apply to participate in the program in grades 7-12. In 2016-17, the AVID program at Charlottesville High School featured 54 seniors, the school’s highest number yet. In 2017-18, 100 percent of AVID senior were accepted to at least one four-year program, including U.Va., Howard, the University of Richmond, and Virginia Tech! AVID students learn study skills, make college visits, are guided in a “college-prep” mindset for course selection and the college application process, and more. In Charlottesville our AVID students also engage in a number of community partnerships, making pitches and presentations for a number of groups including the area’s Public Education Fund, the Tom Tom Founder’s Festival, CFA’s Institute’s Project SERVE, and more.

Dyshe Smith '18 tells of her success with the AVID program at the ribbon-cutting for our partnership with CFA Institute. Photo courtesy CFA Institute.
Dyshe Smith ’18 tells of her success with the AVID program. Photo courtesy CFA Institute.

The high school AVID program has also begun a mentoring/tutoring program for younger grades in part to encourage younger AVID students to make course selections that will set them on a path for college readiness.

In 2018, CFA Institute (headquartered in Charlottesville) partnered with us to create the CHS/CFA Institute Finance Academy, which supports the AVID program, the economics and personal finance course required of all students, and the CHS Student Investment Group. Aside from supporting these programs, this partnership also allowed the renovation of a CHS AVID classroom to support collaboration in a business/college environment.

Lugo-McGinness Academy

Lugo-McGinness Academy

Lugo-McGinness presentation to guests from Newport News Public Schools
Lugo-McGinness students speak with guests from Newport News Public Schools.

Lugo-McGinness Academy is a small, non-traditional academy that serves Charlottesville City Schools students in grades 9-12.  Students may self-select or be referred for admission to the LMA program. Students attending the academy are offered personalized learning through blended and face-to-face instruction, small class size, regular field trips, a Student Leadership Council, recreational basketball, a library, a gym, and a small garden.

After Lugo-McGinness Academy shifted its approach towards a trauma-informed environment, students made significant social and academic gains. In 2017, the school graduated four times as many students as during 2014, and the number of verified credits earned during this same time period rose from 13 to 44. Since implementing trauma-informed strategies, the school continues to see a tremendous reduction in disciplinary issues.

Lugo-McGinness regularly hosts educational leaders from other areas who wish to learn from our students’ and staff’s successes.

WALK Program

WALK Program

Portrait of Dianna Poe
Dianna Poe, WALK leader and recipient of a 2018 child advocate award.

The Charlottesville High School WALK Program was founded in 2008 with a simple goal: to help struggling high school students earn credits needed for graduation. Today, the program does this and much more. Students may be referred to WALK if they are failing one or more classes, are in danger of dropping out, are recent transfers who need to meet Virginia requirements, have health or trauma-related issues that cannot be managed in a traditional classroom, or require an alternative setting.

WALK staff are focused not just on their students’ education, but also on gaining trust and establishing relationships. In addition to providing academic support and counseling assistance, WALK instructors take a holistic approach with their students, assisting them in managing their lives at school, at home, and in the community. Following graduation, WALK continues to serve many former students who need additional support and mentoring. Approximately 90 percent of WALK students recover at least one — and usually multiple — credits.

Dianna Poe of the WALK program was honored as the 2018 John L. Snook Child Advocate Award. Read more about the inspirational work of Ms. Poe and the WALK program here.

Special Education Programs and Student Services

Special Education Programs and Student Services

Volunteer assists a student in wheelchair during a parachute game at the Little Feet Track Meet
Parachute game at the Little Feet Track Meet.

Charlottesville City Schools offers a wide variety of supports for students with special needs with staff ranging from special education teachers and aides, social workers, counselors, psychologists, nurses, and more. Information about our Department of Special Education and Student Services can be found here.

Among the unique offerings of our special education program is the Black Knight Coffee Cart at CHS, a program offered by students with disabilities. Begun in 2008, the student-run service offers homemade treats and drinks to CHS faculty and staff. This award-winning model  has been featured in special education textbooks and has since spread across the country.

Another special program is the annual Little Feet Track Meet, jointly organized by Charlottesville and Albemarle Schools to provide a fun and supportive recreational opportunity.

Partnerships to Recruit/Support a Diverse Staff

Partnerships to Recruit/Support a Diverse Staff

African American Teaching Fellows logoAt Charlottesville City Schools, we actively recruit minority teachers and staff to better reflect our diverse student body. For example, we partner with the  University of Virginia’s African American Teaching Fellows program and recruit at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).

Among our teaching staff, 16 percent are presently people of color (with 11 percent being African American). Among our entire staff, 25 percent are presently people of color (with 22 percent being African American).

The diversity of our teaching staff lags slightly below the metro area’s demographics:

Graph showing Cville area population vs Cville Schools teachers. Call 245-2962 for information.

When all Charlottesville Schools employees are considered, our staff is slightly more diverse than the Charlottesville metro area.Graph showing Cville area population vs all Cville Schools employees.. Call 245-2962 with questions.

Our staff — and shown here, our teachers — do not mirror the diversity of our student population, a much more challenging goal given that most of our applicants and employees live within the metro area:Graphic showing ethnic demographics of Cville Schools teachers vs those for Cville Schools students. For info, please call 245-2962

Helping our English Language Learners

Helping our English Language Learners

Three students pose in authentic Iranian costumes at International Day at Johnson Elem.
Students enjoying International Day, when families present their cultures of origin.

Charlottesville is not only racially diverse, but we are increasingly ethnically diverse with students from around the world. In 2017-18, approximately 15 percent of our students received services from our English as a Second Language (ESL) program, often assisted by our school-based social workers.

Among the innovative programs offered by our ESL program is a summer  camp jointly offered with Albemarle County Public Schools to welcome new middle- and high-school arrivals to our community who are learning English. These students take a variety of field trips to familiarize themselves with the area and learn about American school routines. Most importantly, the students start building friendships and trust.

Image says "translation -- see top of page" in Spanish, Chinese, Nepali, Arabic, and English.To help our immigrant and refugee students thrive, our ESL staff and social workers partner with work with the International Rescue Committee and a local nonprofit called International Neighbors. Both the IRC and International Neighbors offer services and assistance as families become self-sufficient and learn to navigate their new community. Through a contracted service, we provide translation offerings to help families communicate with school staff. (In addition, our web site can be translated into a wide variety of Google-supported languages with two clicks of the “Translate” button.)  And through events such as International Day, we partner with families to give students a chance to explore the many cultures represented in our schools, whether the student is a recent immigrant or whether the student’s family has been in the U.S. for a number of generations.

iSe habla espanol! We have a Spanish translation line monitored by a Spanish teacher. In addition, we have participated in Hispanic Help Fairs, and as issues particular to the Hispanic community have arisen, we have partnered with groups such as Sin Barreras to help our families find answers and supports.

To learn more about our International Days and other ways we create a culture of diversity, see “Celebrating Similarities and Differences,” below.

Culture

Celebrating Similarities and Differences

Celebrating Similarities and Differences

A family wearing native attire at International DaySchools in Charlottesville host a wide variety of events celebrating the many cultures represented by our students. At many of our schools, events such as “International Day” give students a passport to travel to other cultures, tasting foods, seeing native dress, hearing music, and more. Class readings and literacy projects can also reinforce this lesson, such as Clark students’ photo essays based on the book “Same, Same But Different” or the way CHS has initiated a “Big Read” of “The Hate U Give” throughout the school and the community. For more information about how we raise awareness of local black history, see “Teaching Local and African-American History,” above.

CHS Diversity Assembly.

Charlottesville High School lunches sometimes feature henna painting, salsa tastings, gender pronoun awareness campaigns, and more. The school hosts both an African-American History Month events and an assembly in February, and  a Diversity Assembly in March. These events highlight awareness of various American and world cultures, and they promote an appreciation for all of our students’ contributions to the CHS community.  Also at CHS, the Culture2Culture club  is a peer-tutoring program that matches students interested in tutoring with English Language Learners. Students meet one-on-one weekly at lunch throughout the year, building friendships as well as academic progress.

At all our schools, our libraries and reading selections feature a diversity of voices. Our fine arts program features a variety of styles and genres and brings artists, authors, and musicians into our schools representing many different cultures and voices. And our teachers, school counselors, and mentoring programs engage students in a number of team-building activities that help students celebrate both differences and similarities.

In addition, as part of our larger commitment to creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive to all, we have provided our staff with professional learning focusing on issues such as Charlottesville’s African-American history along with a range of small-group and division-wide book studies, film viewings, conferences, and workshops that address issues of racism, systemic barriers, positive climate training, implicit bias, restorative practices, and more.

Family Engagement

Family Engagement

Family Engagement Facilitator Velvet Coleman (left) talks with a mother at Johnson
Mrs. Coleman speaks with an elementary parent.

In 2017, Charlottesville City Schools created a new position, Family Engagement Facilitator. While our schools have always provided parent and family programming and resources, this employee is specifically dedicated to helping schools connect with parents/guardians. In addition, Mrs. Coleman is establishing communications channels and building a network of community partners that are united in supporting school families in our community. One  of her newest endeavors is “Bus Stop Meet and Greets,” at which she mingles with parents and supplies students with free books! She is also piloting Family Engagement On Demand, a mobile-friendly online tool that gives users great ideas and resources to support their children in the classroom.

Trauma-Informed Practices

Trauma-Informed Practices

illustration of two people with arms around each others' shoulders offering supportCharlottesville City Schools is committed to the importance of social and emotional learning and an awareness of the benefits of trauma-informed practices.  Consequently, we have begun seeking resources and training for our staff and helped establish the Greater Charlottesville Trauma Informed Community Network. This network is comprised of schools, agencies, health-care professionals and others, united by the following mission: to improve trauma-informed care by educating professionals and the community on the impacts of trauma and by advocating for trauma-sensitive systems of care.

Among our initial efforts to incorporate trauma-informed practices, we have offered multiple staff and community-partner screenings of films such as Paper Tigers, trainings such as “Barking Dog,” and presentations such as “Trauma-Informed Practices in the Classroom.” In March 2018, we cosponsored a community workshop called “Trauma in the Context of School Safety.”  Jim Sporleder (featured in Paper Tigers) was the keynote speaker for our staff-wide convocation in August 2018.

To learn about the impact of a shift toward trauma-sensitive practices at our alternative academy, see “Lugo-McGinness Academy,” above. In addition, see “social-emotional learning,” above.

Systems of Supports (PBIS and VTSS)

Systems of Supports (PBIS and VTSS)

Virginia Tiered System of Support GraphicCharlottesville has been a leader in developing systems of supports that are designed to help all our students succeed — academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.

logo for PBIS (Positive Intervention Behavior and Supports)

Combining two protocols — Positive Behavior Intervention and Support, and Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports — helps us to create a structure where social and emotional learning, positive behavior, and mental wellness fit within a school’s core functions right alongside academic learning.

To learn more, visit charlottesvilleschools.org/supports.

Non-Discrimination Notice

Nondiscrimination Notice

illustration of colored figures, some in wheelchairsThe Charlottesville City School Division is an equal opportunity employer, committed to nondiscrimination with regard to sex, gender, race, color, national origin, disability, religion, ancestry, age, marital or veteran’s status, physical or mental genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, or any classification protected by applicable law.

This attitude and commitment will prevail in all policies and practices concerning staff, students, educational programs and services, and individuals and entities with whom the Board does business.

The Director of Human Resources shall act as the compliance officer for discrimination issues regarding employees and the general public under Title IX.

The Director of Student Services shall act as the compliance officer for discrimination issues regarding students under Title IX and Section 504 of the Rehabilitative Act of 1973.

Both compliance officers may be contacted at the administrative offices of Charlottesville City Schools, 1562 Dairy Road, Charlottesville, VA. 22901. The phone number is 434-245-2400.

 

Summer School begins June 17

CHS SUMMER SCHOOL REGISTRATION

CHS will offer both face-to-face and virtual summer classes for current students and rising 9th-graders this summer.

  • Summer School Dates: June 17 – July 26
  • Closed July 4 and 5 in observance of Independence Day
  • NOTE: many of our popular courses such as Health/PE and Virtual Economics & Personal Finance do have capacity limits. Registration will be accepted in the order in which it is received.

To enroll:

  • Register online: Online registration and payment for summer school classes begins April 15.
  • Register in person: On-site registration at CHS will be held April 15 from 9:30am-11:30am. After this date, registration and payment can be dropped off in the CHS main office and receipts will be mailed.
  • Additionally, all registrants must complete the student information form and send it back to school. This sheet was sent home in the CHS third quarter mailing. Copies are also available in the Buford Middle School office for interested 8th graders.

Limited bus transportation will be available:

Face-to-Face Courses

General information and rules and regulations about face-to-face courses can be found here.

  • Economics and Personal Finance (1 credit)
  • English 9 (1 Credit)
  • English 10 (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • English 11 (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • English 12 (1 Credit)
  • Government (1 Credit)
  • VA & US History (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • World History 1 (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • World History 2 (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • Biology (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • Earth Science (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • Algebra 1 (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • Algebra 2 (1 Credit) – *End of Course SOL Exam
  • Geometry (1 Credit)
  • PE 09 (.5 Credit) – SESSION 1 (June 18 – July 6)
  • PE 10 (.5 Credit) – SESSION 1 (June 18 – July 6)
  • PE 09 (.5 Credit) – SESSION 2 (July 9 – July 27)
  • PE 10 (.5 Credit) – SESSION 2 (July 9 – July 27)
  • Behind-the-Wheel for driver’s education: this is a separate sign-up. Click here!

Please note: Our summer school program does not provide alternate PE curriculum for students with injuries or illness that prevent them from completing the course work. If a student is unable to complete the PE curriculum due to injury or illness, they will be removed from the course and are encouraged to take it during the school year when they are well.

Virtual (Online) Courses

General information and rules and regulations about virtual (online) courses may be found here.

  • PE 09 (.5 Credit)
  • Health 09 (.5 Credit)
  • PE 10 (.5 Credit)
  • Health 10 / Driver’s Ed (.5 Credit)
  • Economics and Personal Finance (1 Credit)

Please note: Our summer school program does not provide alternate PE curriculum for students with injuries or illness that prevent them from completing the course work. If a student is unable to complete the PE curriculum due to injury or illness, they will be removed from the course and are encouraged to take it during the school year when they are well.

Cost

Students attending CHS in the 2019-20 school year are considered “In District.”  Students on Free or Reduced Lunch are eligible for reduced tuition rates. Out-of-district students are not eligible for Free/Reduced rates. Tuition is non-refundable.

Course In District Tuition Price Out of District Tuition Price Reduced Lunch Tuition Price Free Lunch Tuition Price
Full Credit Course $400 each $550 each $200 each $25 Each
1/2 Credit Course:
PE 09 & 10
Health 9 & 10
$200 each $350 each $100 each $25 Each

You may bring your tuition payment (cash, check or money order payable to Charlottesville High School) to the CHS Office.

Or, you can pay your summer school tuition online through MySchoolBucks at http://bit.ly/chssummertuition. A convenience fee will apply.

Steps to Register Online

    1. Complete your online registration (opens April 15): go to http://bit.ly/CHSsummer2019 to complete the online form.
    2. Pay summer tuition online at bit.ly/chssummertuition (convenience fee applies) or bring cash, check or money order to CHS office.
    3. ALL students must complete a Student Information Form – mail or bring into CHS office.

Walk-In Registration on April 15

Walk-in registration will held be at Charlottesville High School on April 15th at 9:30am – 11:30am.

Additional Questions? Please contact:

Letter to Black Student Union

Dear members of the Black Student Union at Charlottesville High School:

Thanks so much for taking the time to outline your thoughtful ideas for ways to promote equity in Charlottesville City Schools. As you know, during the last months, our school communities have been vigorously discussing and taking steps to make sure that our schools are eliminating barriers and providing the supports and opportunities that will assure the empowerment and success of students of color and other marginalized groups. For an update on some of the actions our schools have taken since the fall, please see Dr. Atkins’ February newsletter or the update at our “equity forums” page on the web site.

We would like to address your concerns point by point to state what we have done so far in these areas. We are not suggesting that our actions have consistently  been successful or impactful. But by giving these updates, we hope that you’ll see that your ideas complement our ongoing and current efforts. In other words, we want the same things as you, and we are listening and acting to make sure our schools increasingly reflect these goals and values.  The next step is for us to work together to bridge the gap between our current efforts and our shared goals. 

 

Charlottesville City Schools denounce and call out RACISM against Black and Brown students.

As a School Board, we have and will continue to denounce racism against Black and Latinx students. In their written and oral responses to the racist threat that shut down our schools last month, Dr. Rosa Atkins, Chief RaShall Brackney, and Mayor Nikuyah Walker were clear in stating that there is no place for racism, hate, or threats in our schools. Of course, this threat made by someone who is not a Charlottesville student or resident is only one instance of racism. One of the top priorities we heard in our community feedback — and that we hear in your words — is the need to focus on systemic barriers and practices. So in addition to denouncing racism, we are taking active steps to dismantle it through actions such as our dress code resolution banning items associated with racial and religious hatred and violence, our intentional community-building that helps students celebrate their similarities and differences, or our professional learning centered on cultural competence. Past examples include our commitment to reducing or eliminating fees, providing transportation for after-school activities and many evening events, offering translation services, and  providing chromebooks to all students. Two other, unfolding examples include the QUEST program (re-emphasizing its push-in, whole-class elements and reexamining the identification process) and implementing the honors-option model next year at Walker and Buford to diversify classrooms. 

 

African American History class to hold the same weight as an honors history course, not an elective.

This change is reflected in next year’s Program of Study, approved by the School Board last month. Thanks for bringing this suggestion to our attention a few months ago. Students will have the option of taking our African-American history class for honors credit and honors GPA weighting. (As for changing the African-American class to satisfy the state’s history requirements, that is a matter that needs to be addressed on the state level. We are among a handful of school divisions to offer a Black History class, so there is presently no state-endorsed curriculum, no state standards of learning, and no option to earn a verified credit from the state. 

 

The hiring of more Black teachers, especially in CORE CLASS honors, AP, honors and DE studies.

Yes! This was the single-most requested action item in our listening sessions that we held for students, staff, parents, and community members throughout this winter and spring in our schools, community centers, and houses of worship. Our human resources department has begun implementing additional strategies in our already-vigorous recruitment of teachers of color. In addition to our traditional efforts such as visiting HBCUs and other diverse recruiting locations and having staff members of color represent us at these events, we are now implementing new strategies such as early letters of intent to hire high-potential employees of color, presenting at conferences, and making classroom presentations at HBCUs. As a sign of hope, the schools have offered early letters of intent to four recent CHS graduates who are Black and who will be graduating from college with teaching licensure this year or next. While this is just four teachers, we hope that they are indicative of our effort to recruit teachers who understand our students and our city. We also recognize and celebrate that teachers of color are highly sought-after not only by school divisions, but many other industries, so we are considering how our schools can be attractive and supportive workplaces for teachers of color and all staff. 

 

Extended resources, in addition to AVID, for future Black and Brown first generation college students.

As the BSU statement notes, we have extensive resources with AVID, and this program is complemented by our other partnerships with groups such as Upward Bound, GEAR UP, and the Virginia College Advising Corps. Tutoring and academic supports are available through AVID, after-school teachers’ support hours, and volunteer tutors through CHS peers and groups such as UVa’s Madison House and Abundant Life Ministries. Having said that, we are open to further suggestion and are always seeking to continuously improve the services we already provide and the number of students we reach. One of the items that the Black community “upvoted” during our listening sessions was that we should make supports more visible and accessible, and we are considering the best way to address this. Help us figure out how to get the word out and make these supports stronger and more impactful. 

 

Discipline Reform – End the excessive suspending and policing of Black middle and high school students by creating a diverse governing board of staff, students, and parents to oversee equitable and effective discipline.

While we are pleased that suspensions have dropped in our school division by 80% in a decade, we recognize that these disciplinary actions continue to disproportionately impact our students of color. (You can find data here.) Our equity committee — formed of staff, parents, community members and more (and with student representation facilitated by Daniel Fairley and Eric Irizarry) — can make a recommendation regarding a discipline committee. In the meanwhile, we will continue to address this issue on the front end by promoting positive behavior. The Annie E. Casey Foundation and other state and national groups have highlighted our work in areas such as positive behavior systems, direct instruction of social-emotional skills, trauma-responsive strategies, restorative justice practices, and implicit bias training. 

 

Test EVERY student for Quest.

Since 2013, we have been testing all first-graders for QUEST, our gifted program. For older students who move into our schools, we review their test-score data from their first year in our schools to review for indicators of giftedness. In a perfect world, testing all students — even every year, as you propose — would alleviate the disparities we find in the identification process for gifted. However, despite innovative efforts from our staff and the Quest Advisory Committee, we have not yet found success. Consequently, our staff and Gifted Advisory Committee are redoubling their efforts to find the best identification process and teaching model. We continue to consult with national experts on gifted identification. In the meanwhile, we have already begun to further emphasize push-in, whole-class instruction as part of our collaborative gifted model. And aside from students who are officially identified as “gifted,” the gifted program’s pull-out services include a broader and more diverse pool of high-potential students. As we have said earlier, “We would like to state the obvious: that giftedness is distributed equally among all groups, and when we, like other school divisions, fail to identify and nurture all expressions of giftedness, it is a loss to our entire community.” 

 

Apply Mental Health practices that are culturally relevant and racially aware.

This is a shared goal not only for our counselors, but for all Charlottesville City Schools employees. We are committed to a community-wide system of supports that does not relegate responsibility for mental health to a small number of school counselors and psychologists. In fact, we and one other Virginia school division recently won a grant to supply the “Teen Mental Health First Aid” program for teachers, staff members, and particularly students (who will be among the first in the country to be eligible for this program). Our counselors, like our teachers, continue to seek additional training in cultural awareness, trauma-responsiveness, restorative practices, implicit bias, local history, addressing racial microaggressions, and more. 

 

A high standard for programming associated with Black History. No one should have the opportunity to opt out of Black History.

While we are one of a small number of high schools that offer a dedicated course in African-American history, we, too, believe that Black history is American history. Our teachers, librarians, and World Studies Coordinator Annie Evans have increased their long-standing efforts to incorporate local and African-American history across the curriculum and throughout the year (including the voices and stories of American Indians, Latinx and other ethnic groups, religious minorities, and other underrepresented perspectives).  From preK on up, our students are increasingly encountering diverse voices, stories, and experiences in classroom materials, the arts, and student activities. We are pleased that among our many responses to the summer of 2017 was a CHS-spearheaded community “big read” of The Hate U Give, and that the book is now part of our 9th-grade English curriculum.  A new example would be that Charlottesville City Schools is one of six school systems statewide involved in Changing the Narrative, a Virginia Humanities initiative that aims to explore Black history and culture in schools and encourages young people of color to explore and highlight their heritage. For more information on our efforts to include local and Black history, you might be interested in Carol Diggs’ recent article in Cville Weekly: “Telling All the Stories: The People and Places Working to Restore Charlottesville’s African American History” (6 Feb. 2019).  We thank the BSU for your own work in helping us broaden the voices our students hear through contributions such as the creation of the African-American lecture series during Black History Month at CHS. 

 

Racial bias and cultural sensitivity training for all School Resource Officers.

The Charlottesville Police Department would need to speak to this concern directly, but our school resource officers (SROs) undergo special training that qualifies them to work in diverse K12 settings and all CPD officers take annual cultural diversity/biased-based policing classes. It is absolutely our hope and commitment that SROs are present in our schools to promote safety and wellbeing for all students and staff. (We thank them for their work keeping all students and staff safe when they were present at schools and community events during the time of the threat, and we appreciate their role in apprehending the young man who posted the threat.) 

 

Implement the same locked door and buzzer system currently used by the elementary schools at Walker, Buford, and Charlottesville High School, to ensure the safety of the student body as a whole and the staff.

Agreed! Previously-scheduled work began at all three schools the day after your walk-out. This complements the recent upgrades at our elementary schools. This work will take some time, so we anticipate that the systems will be operational this summer.

 

Conclusion

As we hope you can tell, your concerns are our concerns, and we are not only talking but taking action on these ideas. The similarities between the community’s and schools’ values and priorities raise the question, “Why aren’t the schools consistently seeing better results?” Let’s work together to answer this question.

To do that, we need input from staff, students, parents, and community members. We appreciate the student feedback we received from your presentation at our School Board meeting this fall, your participation (and leadership) in student focus groups at CHS and Buford, the “priorities for equity” voting exercise at CHS (which reflected the ideas you presented at our fall School Board meeting), our student representatives on the School Board (including BSU founder Zyahna Bryant), and emails and conversations with teachers, staff, administrators, and members of the School Board.

While our community feedback from across Charlottesville has conveyed that our educators, students, parents, and community members largely share the same values, each constituency has unique — and needed — perspectives on how to make sure that our efforts for equity in Charlottesville City Schools move beyond good intentions to positive impact.

Dr. Rosa Atkins, Superintendent, and the Charlottesville City School Board

Group photo of Walker students on stage after student government speeches.

News and Highlights March 2019

 

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins 

Dear staff and families–

Thank you for the support you have shown the schools during the past week when we closed our schools for two days following a racist online threat made by a student from a different school division.

Allow me to reflect on this experience, finding both causes of grief and sources of hope:

    • I’m grieved by the fear and disruption that were inflicted on a community that is still in many ways recovering from the trauma of the white nationalist rallies in 2017.

    • I’m saddened that this threat was made under the guise of being a CHS student, which was especially disruptive to our sense of community and mutual trust.

    • I’m heartened that community partners such as City of Promise stepped in to feed and nurture our students when they could not be at school. Thank you.

    • I’m inspired by our educators, who on Friday decided that if our students could not come to us, then they would go to our students. Neighborhood by neighborhood, they brought food, books, hugs, games, and kind words.

    • I’m grateful to the Charlottesville Police and the Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s office for making an arrest and receiving a guilty plea to bring resolution so quickly. Thanks also to the CPD for working alongside us from the moment we received the threat until now to make sure that our schools are safe.

    • I’m appreciative of our school counselors and our other student services practitioners who provided mental wellness support to our students and staff as they returned to school. In addition to our own staff members, volunteer counselors represented Region 10, Counseling Alliance of Central Virginia, and Central Virginia Counselors of Color.

    • I’m reminded by members of our Black Student Union and Latinx Student Union that not only do we need to look at isolated incidents, but we must also keep our focus on larger racial inequities and the structures, practices, and aggressions that perpetuate them.

    • I’m hopeful about our past, current, and planned work to promote equity in our schools, which aligns with the feedback we have been broadly seeking from students, staff, and community members. For an update, click here.

    • I’m delighted to announce that work began this week to upgrade entryway security at CHS, Buford, and Walker. This previously scheduled work complements last year’s security enhancements at our elementary schools. This work should be completed by August.

    • I’m thankful for school leaders and their staff, who helped our schools smoothly reopen and quietly return to being places of learning, relationship, and personal growth.

Thanks to all of you for your support of the schools, our staff, and our students. Best wishes for spring break.

Dr. Rosa Atkins

Photo collage of CHS students and staff with various hairstyles

“Self Expression through Hairstyles” is a project by Rachel Wilson’s photography classes at Charlottesville High School featuring CHS students and staff. The video debuted at the Black History Month assembly at CHS, but we thought our families and community would enjoy seeing it, too. Great job to all the students involved in the project! Click here to see the video.

VISITING PRINTMAKER TEACHES STUDENTS THE ART OF LETTERPRESS
Printer Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. shows CHS students how to make a letterpress print.Printer Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. conducted several letterpress workshops at our schools and other places in the Charlottesville area as part of his “Finding Wisdom” residency with Virginia Humanities’ Virginia Center for the Book. Students got to make their own prints using their own words of wisdom. Read more here.

VIDEO EARNS TOP HONORS FROM FUTURE-READY SCHOOLS FILM FESTIVAL
Screenshot from "Here and Now" iSTEM Future Ready videoCongratulations to iSTEM teacher Teresa Amasia and Burnley-Moran Elementary, winners in the “school” category of the Future Ready Schools Film Festival. This humorous video illustrates how our schools are empowering (and preparing) future-ready students! See what happens when a teacher finds himself inexplicably in the future. Or does he? See the video here.

THERAPY DOGS VISITS SUPPORT LEARNING IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Teacher and student visit with Chuleta the therapy dog at Jackson-Via Elementary.Certified therapy dogs Chuleta, Marley, and Luna are a few furry friends who  make regular visits to Jackson-Via and Johnson Elementary Schools to offer social-emotional support to students while at school. “The dogs have become part of the school community,” said Principal Dr. Justin Malone. Read more here.

PARENT UNIVERSITY STRENGTHENS HOME-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP
Walker School counselor assists a parent at Parent University.Parents and caregivers attended two Parent University sessions at Jackson-Via and Greenbrier Elementary Schools. Workshops on literacy, math, special education, and social-emotional learning were among the many topics discussed. Parents also learned about strategies and resources they could use to help their children at home.  Read more here.

BUFORD STUDENTS HEAR FROM CVILLE PILGRIMAGE PARTICIPANTS
Buford Middle School students hear from guest speaker.Buford Middle School students hosted area residents who participated in the 2018 Civil Rights Pilgrimage to several sites in the South including Montgomery, AL. Gathering in small groups, the guests shared their first-hand accounts of the experience and why they participated. For news coverage of the visit to Buford, click here. For a recap of other events and activities during Black History Month, read more here.

WALKER STUDENTS FORM NEW STUDENT GOVERNMENT
Walker students celebrate after giving speeches for student government.A new student government which includes two representatives from each homeroom and an elected executive council is underway at Walker School. “We’re so proud of them,” said Instructional Coach Erika Pierce. “After delivering campaign speeches, they have hit the ground running with so many ideas to make Walker School a great place to be.” Ideas include school-wide celebrations, improved recycling efforts, and talent shows.

SCHOOL BOARD NOTES
Cville Schools official logoRecent actions from the School Board include learning about a proposed resolution regarding energy and water management so that school buildings will reduce their environmental impact. The Board also reviewed the local plan for career and technical education. As part of her report, Dr. Atkins overviewed recent updates in the division’s work to promote equity. For the latest School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video, read more here.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar3/28 Early dismissal for students/Professional Learning for staff/End of third grading period
3/28 “Power of We” presentation on community resilience, 6pm MLK PAC
3/29 No school for students/Teacher Flex Workday
4/1 Spring Break through 4/5
4/4 CHS All-Virginia Choir, Band, & Orchestra through 4/6
4/9 Walker rising 5th grade information session, 5:30pm
4/11 School Board Meeting, 5pm CHS
4/11 City Schoolyard Garden Harvest of the Month
4/18 Kindergarten Open Houses and registration, 3:30-6pm
4/18 Theatre CHS performs “The Crucible” through 4/20
4/24 CHS Chorus Spring Concert, 7pm MLK PAC
4/25 City Schoolyard Garden Root Celebration, 4:30pm Greenbrier
4/25 Buford Engineering Night, 5:30pm
4/27 CHS Prom
4/30 Walker Orchestra Spring Concert, 7pm

More Looks at Cville Schools

Two students pose in Johnson School photo booth.

Johnson Elementary second graders created the backdrop for the Kehinde Wiley-inspired photobooth featured at the school’s African American Heritage Night. Thanks to the school’s art teacher, Jocelyn Johnson, and parent photographer, John Robinson, for capturing the beautiful Johnson family. See more photos here.

CHS Knightengales group photo

The Knightengales, Charlottesville High School’s female ensemble, earned all Superior ratings at the District 13 Concert Assessment. For the latest highlights of our flourishing fine arts program, click here.

Lisa Reeder's husband and son with Carlton Jones on Lisa's Local on the Line Day.

Nutrition Services Director Carlton Jones, along with Geoff Shaw and his son, Lincoln, celebrate our recently renamed “Lisa’s Local on the Line” menu offerings to honor the legacy of Lisa Reeder. Learn more here.

Find more info and events on on our website, social media, or our Google calendars!

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Winter Sports Postseason and Spring Try-out Information

Tierenni Younger; P/C Daily Progress/Zack Wajsgras
Tierenni Younger; P/C Daily Progress/Zack Wajsgras

As we head into the post-season, congratulations to our teams and athletes for another strong season of athleticism and sportsmanship, and best wishes as regional competitions begin! See details, below, and check for Twitter updates at @CHSBlackKnights or @cville_dsa (Director of Student Activities) for future results and competition times.

And it’s time to look ahead for spring sports!

Basketball

Congrats to the boys and girls teams for finishing up their last week of regular-season play in an impressive fashion.  The girls finished tied for 2nd in the district and regional standings and will get to host several playoff games. The boys finished the season with a bang by upsetting top-ranked Louisa County in a road game!  The boys team also qualified for regionals.

  • Regional play begins 2/15 with girls hosting William Byrd at 6pm and boys playing at Salem.

Swimming regional champ Ella Reed with coach Jason Hackworth
Ella Reed with Coach Jason Hackworth

Swimming

Congratulations to CHS 10th-grader Ella Reed for capturing the Region 4D Championship in the 200 Intermediate!  In addition, Zoe DeGuzman qualified for state in the 200 Freestyle and the 100 Breaststroke, and  Howard Zu  will also be swimming in the 100 Breaststroke.

Track

Good luck to track athletes in regional play. At the Jefferson District meet, the women’s team placed 3rd and the men came in 4th. Many athletes qualified for the regional meet based on their season and Jefferson District performances: Kristina Abraham, Susannah Birle, Charlotte Bloor, Aliyah Cobbs, Avyonne Cobbs, Jude Fairchild, Asha Gupta, Autumn Hiller, Lucia Hoskins, Miles Kershner, Graham Lenert, Reece McKee, Grace McMahon-Gioeli, Adam Moreland, Elodie Price, Eliza Schock, Lewis Tate, Edison Tennant, Kika Van der Pluijm, Isaac Vik, Joe Von Storch, and members of the men’s 4×800 Relay.

Jefferson District meet highlights included Lewis Tate’s High Jump victory and 2nd-place finishes for Susannah Birle in 55M and 300M; Kika Van der Pluijm in 1000M; and Joe Von Storch in 300M.

Nima Tamang wrestling. Photo by Danielle Lewandowski.
Nima Tamang, P/C Danielle Lewandowski

Wrestling

Congrats to David Wiles for qualifying for states during the Wrestling team’s regional meet on 2/8 and 2/9. Congratulations also to the following wrestlers for their Jefferson District success:  Nima Tamang (3rd) and 4th-place finishers Stuart Applestein, Javion Vest, David Wiles, and Ben Yates.

Other Recognition:

Field Hockey’s Talia Marshall was the January 31 Newsplex Student Athlete of the Week for her behind-the-scenes leadership.

Football’s Sabias Folley, Marcus Targonski, and Isaiah Washington were recognized at the Falcon Club Banquet honoring  excellence.

Third-graders with their wares at market day.

Elementary School Highlights

Clark students working on a design challenge with "Hot Wheels" trackThe start of 2019 has been a busy one for our creative and innovative elementary students in Charlottesville City! Keep reading for some of our recent elementary activities.

Bee-bot robots set up on a course at iSTEM night.

And looking ahead, mark your calendars now for Parent University! All PK-Grade 4 families are welcome to attend either night for parent workshops, information booths, and a chance to connect with other families.  Jackson-Via will host the first night on 3/5 from 5:30-7:30, or join us at Greenbrier on 3/14 from 5:30-7:30.

Math and STEM nights are a big hit with families as they come to school to design, build, play math games together. STEM stations include a Bee Bot obstacle course, a parachute drop, straw rockets and a photo booth!

Students are using their critical thinking skills to solve challenges at Clark Elementary. A team of third- graders worked together to complete a challenge from BreakoutEDU. Fourth-graders at Clark also worked in teams to explore the effects of mass and force on motion and energy.

Clark students and staff also made a thank-you video to show how much they are enjoying and benefiting from their summertime classroom renovations:

Jump! Hop! Push-ups on the wall! Jackson-Via students have a new way of releasing energy as they walk the school’s new sensory path in their hallway. For more details, see the following video or click here for NBC29’s coverage:

Greenbrier students presenting at MLK JR CelebrationAnd a successful book swap at Jackson-Via collected 1300 books, sending home 3 books per child!

Happy birthday to Martin Luther King Jr.! Greenbrier held its annual MLK Jr. birthday celebration on January 25. For the assembly, each grade level created a mural with a famous quote from MLK Jr. and spoke about what the quote meant to them. After a presentation of the “I Have a Dream” speech with pictures of Greenbrier students showing examples of character, the students sang “Happy Birthday” to Martin Luther King Jr. and enjoyed cake with their lunch.

1st-graders learning what dissolves in water.What materials dissolve in water? At Venable, first-grade scientists worked together to experiment with the solubility of different liquids and solids including cornstarch and rocks.

First and third-graders building the Great Wall of ChinaBobcat Buddies in third grade and first grade at Burnley-Moran worked together to design and build a representation of the Great Wall of China.

Families, math games, and pizza were abundant at the Greenstone Community Center for Johnson’s K-second grade Quest Math night. The stations were led by third- and fourth-graders who wore “Johnson Math Teacher” t-shirts and “teacher” badges. Students left with math games to play at home.

In art class at Jackson-Via, Pre-K and second-grade students constructed sculptures with an assortment of materials.

Jackson-Via sculptors displaying their art

 

Third-graders with their wares at market day.Third-graders across the city recently participated in Market Day at their schools. They learned about economics and ancient civilizations while creating items to sell at a school “market.”

Third-graders waiting for a performance at the Paramount TheatreElementary students from Burnley-Moran, Johnson, Venable, and Walker went to the historic Paramount Theater to attend the play Phantom Toll Booth on Thursday, January 24. They enjoyed watching the actors bring the classic by Norton Juster to life!

Walker students engaged in participatory budgeting.At Walker Upper Elementary School, 15 sixth-grade student groups presented proposals of how they would spend a $6,000 grant as a part of a participatory budgeting program. (Yes, 6,000 real dollars generously donated by CFA Institute.) On January 16, students hosted a referendum, and the winning project was a proposal to have soccer and basketball tournaments at recess. The project was organized by parent Serena Gruia For more details, check out the story on Cville Tomorrow.

Fore more updates, follow @CvilleSchools or your own school on Facebook or Twitter!