All posts by Charlottesville Schools

December 2022 News and Highlights

 

A Word from the School Board

At Thursday’s School Board meeting, Chairperson Lisa Larson-Torres read the following statement about the pending adoption of Virginia’s K-12 history standards. This statement will be sent to the State Board of Education and key staff members at the Virginia Department of Education:

We, the members of the Charlottesville School Board, are writing to request that the Board return to its usual process of consideration and approval of the state’s K-12 history standards as developed and recommended in August 2022 by history educators, professors, historians, parents, and others. We strongly encourage the VDOE to stay the course on its longstanding commitment to developing a more inclusive and honest curriculum.

The “August” Revisions
Throughout 2020-22, our Commonwealth trusted a committee of history educators, historians, museum professionals, parents, and community groups to conduct the scheduled seven-year revision of our state history standards. Over the course of two years, in a very public fashion, this committee made thoughtful and informed decisions. In addition, this work built upon the efforts and recommendations of Virginia’s 2020 African American History Education Commission. We would like the Board to follow its usual procedures to consider and then adopt these standards.

Read the Board’s full statement here.

Dr. Gurley at Greenbrier

 

Fourth graders at Greenbrier recently hosted Dr. Gurley and the School Board for a “Writers Feast,” where students shared their biographical writing about famous African Americans.

Cropped Revised 23-24 Academic Calendar See link in newsletter to access PDFREVISED DRAFT CALENDAR: GIVE (MORE) FEEDBACK 
Thanks to all the people (more than 1200!) who filled out the recent calendar survey. We received divided feedback about the various elements of the draft calendar, including the idea of starting a week earlier, having a week off at Thanksgiving, and how important it is to mirror Albemarle County Public Schools’ calendar. As a result, we are going to hit “pause” on the bigger changes and put forward a more traditional calendar that is similar but not identical to one that ACPS is considering. Learn more and give your feedback on the more traditional calendar! One theme of the community feedback was “If you’re going to make these larger changes to the calendar, we’d need more advanced notice.” Therefore, our calendar committee will resume work this spring to gather feedback about options for the 2024-25 school year.

Safety Flyer (cropped) for Family University: School SafetyQUESTIONS ABOUT SAFETY? REGISTER FOR FAMILY UNIVERSITY DECEMBER 8
We know that shootings in our community and hoax calls in our schools have made this fall a challenging season for many of our students, families, and staff. Join us on Thursday, December 8, 5:30-7pm, to learn more about the safety efforts in place in our schools, as well as action steps for families. Register for the Zoom meeting and submit questions here.

CHS Choirs at Grand IlluminationWINTER CONCERTS THIS WEEK
Shown at left are the combined choirs of CHS, directed by Will Cooke, singing at the Charlottesville Grand Illumination downtown on Friday night. Come out to see the choir at their winter concert this Thursday, December 8, 7 pm. Other upcoming winter concerts include CHS Orchestra, Tuesday, December 6, 7:30 pm, and the All-City Band Concert (Walker, Buford and CHS), Wednesday, December 7, 7 pm. All concerts are at the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center. (Photo by Gina Proulx).

Clark Elementary School in fallSCHOOL NAMES UPDATE FOR CLARK & VENABLE ELEMENTARY
At the School Board meeting, the division’s Naming of Facilities Committee recommended new names for Venable (Trailblazers Elementary, selected by a wide margin) and Friendship Elementary (selected by just 5 votes over the second-place choice, Summit Elementary). The Board questioned the small margin of student voting between Clark’s two names. They requested the community’s feedback on the selection of “Friendship” or “Summit” for Clark. To express your opinion, email schoolboard@charlottesvilleschools.org prior to the January 5 meeting. Learn more here.

The Candy Cane Catastrophe Poster (cropped)BUFORD THEATRE CLASSES PERFORMING ORIGINAL PLAY AT ELEMENTARIES
Buford students will perform “The Candy Cane Catastrophe,” a play written by director Paula Chanda and eighth grader Jaxon Scott for many of our CCS elementary schools this week. Congrats, Jaxon and Ms. Chanda!

Jesaun Johnson with interview committeeCHS SCHOLARSHIP NEWS!
Four winners have been selected for the Greg and Elizabeth Allen Opportunity Scholarship, a prize of $10,000 a year for 4 years of college: Diavian Thompson, Aniyah Moore, Je’Saun Johnson, and Robel Gabramedhin. CHS also nominates students for consideration for several additional major scholarships: UVA Jefferson Scholar Nominee: William Keenan; UVA Walentes Scholar Nominee: My’Nique Jones (Information about these UVA scholarships here); Emily Couric Scholarship Nominee: Ella Farina (Information here). Congratulations to these students and all those who support them!

Illustration of Apple with CCS Logo: Nominate a Great Teacher!NOMINATE A TEACHER FOR THE GOLDEN APPLE AWARD
It’s time to submit nominations for the 2023 Golden Apple Awards for Teaching Excellence in Charlottesville and Albemarle! The deadline to honor one of your child’s amazing educators is Monday, January 23. Winners receive a $500 grant for classroom materials or professional development. Click here for the online nomination form. Teachers who have won in the last 3 years are not eligible to win again. Thanks to Mr. Richard Nunley and Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry for their generous support of these awards!

Lugo-McGinness AcademySNOW DAY MESSAGES, WINTER BREAK, & POSSIBLE CHANGE TO OUR MASS COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS
As we head into the season of winter weather, please keep tuned in for updates. If we need to change our schedule, we will contact you via SchoolMessenger. You can also check our website, social media channels, and local media. (If you’re not getting SchoolMessenger phone or email updates, contact your school.) Missing some messages? We’ve been having some issues this fall, and are considering a change to a new provider that combines the functions of School Messenger and Remind. And speaking of closings, remember Winter Break starts Monday, December 19, and kids return to school on Tuesday, January 3.

School Board UpdatesSCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS AND BUDGET PROCESS
Find December’s “Mini-Minutes” here with updates on several areas reported in this newsletter. Next meeting is January 5. Find the full calendar of budget meetings and input opportunities here. Interested in future meetings? Sign up to receive notices of School Board meetings.

More Looks at Cville Schools

Chris Long chatting with Venable fans

Giving back: Charlottesville City Schools students are big fans of NFL veteran Chris Long, and it’s not just because he’s a two-time Super Bowl champion. Thanks to the Chris Long Foundation, our division now has an EdZone Essential Needs Closet in all six of our elementaries. On Wednesday morning Long came to Venable to launch the initiative and hang out with some young fans. Photo by Jack Looney.

Black Men Meet-Up at CHS

Strengthening community bonds: Thank you to the more than 40 people who came to the Black Men Meet-up at CHS last week to meet students and discuss ways to support our schools. The diverse group of Black men included political leaders, community advocates, Cville Schools staff, members of the military, and more. Thanks to the Alliance for Black Male Achievement for their partnership! To get connected with this effort, contact Denise Johnson, johnsod2@charlottesvilleschools.org.

Cville students Exploring Foods

Let’s eat! Food is about nourishment, culture and community. At Lugo-McGinness Academy (left), students plan and prepare special meals for their classmates and teachers in their Neighborhood Kitchen program. Through our partnership with Cultivate Charlottesville, students enjoy local produce every month: December was spinach (right)! And, this Wednesday, all cafeterias will be serving a halal chicken sandwich (as always there will also be a vegetarian option as well).

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Illustration of world history, including map, globe, books

Charlottesville School Board Statement about Virginia’s Revised History Standards

Illustration of world history, including map, globe, books

December 1, 2022

To the members of the State Board of Education,

We, the members of the Charlottesville School Board, are writing to request that the Board return to its usual process of consideration and approval of the state’s K-12 history standards as developed and recommended in August 2022 by history educators, professors, historians, parents, and others. We strongly encourage the VDOE to stay the course on its longstanding commitment to developing a more inclusive and honest curriculum.

The “August” Revisions

Throughout 2020-22, our Commonwealth trusted a committee of history educators, historians, museum professionals, parents, and community groups to conduct the scheduled seven-year revision of our state history standards. Over the course of two years, in a very public fashion, this committee made thoughtful and informed decisions. In addition, this work built upon the efforts and recommendations of Virginia’s 2020 African American History Education Commission. We would like the Board to follow its usual procedures to consider and then adopt these standards.

The “November” Alternate Standards

By contrast, the surprise alternate standards announced by the Youngkin administration on a Friday night in November were hastily developed by a consultant without public input and without the participation of the VDOE subject-area experts.This led to a number of ill-informed recommendations, such as omitting African American history to such a degree that not even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was included in the original version. The idea that Virginia’s indigenous tribes and communities would be portrayed as “immigrants” is also inaccurate and offensive. Units of study about ancient China and Mali were both removed from the K-5 curriculum. These errors and omissions underscore the haste of the process, the lack of public review, and the political motivation to prioritize White, European perspectives. After the Board correctly rejected these November standards, there is now a consideration of merging the August and November standards, but a quick mash-up of the two sets will not lead to a thoughtful or cohesive curriculum.

A Shared Goal to Teach Our Whole History

The Governor has stated that his goal is “to teach our history, the good and the bad.” As parents, teachers, and students have recently shared in public comment, Virginians agree that our students should be learning whole-truth history that explores multiple perspectives and experiences. The best way to do that is to consider and adopt the original August recommendations and to follow the VDOE’s own time-honored approval processes.

This past spring in Charlottesville, a group of fourth-grade students at Clark Elementary explored our own schools’ desegregation story and then wrote letters to members of the Charlottesville 12, those Black students who bravely integrated all-white schools in 1959. As part of the students’ letters, one common theme emerged: “It was hard to learn this history, but I am glad we did.” Please take the steps to assure that Virginia’s students continue to have access to a curriculum that is challenging but rewarding, one that builds understanding, empathy, and a sense of connectedness to the people of our past, present, and future. Thank you for your service!

Charlottesville City School Board

Lisa Larson-Torres, Chair
James Bryant, Vice-Chair
Lashundra Bryson Morsberger
Emily Dooley
Sherry Kraft
Jennifer McKeever
Dom Morse


On Friday night, November 11, 2022, Gov. Youngkin’s administration released an alternate set of proposed history standards for K-12 students in Virginia. The governor’s proposed new standards would replace the draft learning standards developed by state and local social studies leaders, community groups, parents, social studies teachers, university professors, museum specialists, and historians  in August 2022. The August standards were created over a two-year process, and social studies leaders consider the August version of the social studies standards to be more inclusive and more aligned with teaching whole truth history.

By contrast, some have described Gov. Youngkin’s standards as regressive in nature and Eurocentric. Historians, history leaders, and community members have accused the Youngkin administration of “whitewashing” in the alternate standards made this November. For instance, Gov. Youngkin’s new standards remove the curriculum changes that were implemented as part of the 2020 African American History Education Commission. Additionally, the November standards removed all Mali and Ancient China from the Elementary standards. Indigenous communities across the state have spoken against the new standards referring to indigenous groups as “the nation’s first immigrants.” Critics say that in addition to taking a step backwards towards yesteryear’s history standards, the Youngkin administration is not following best practices for transparency, adhering to previous approval processes, or allowing adequate time for review.

Following an outcry at a public hearing on Thursday, the Virginia Board of Education has asked for a slow-down to the process. They have requested that the Youngkin administration revise their draft standards, and they have requested a comparison chart for (A) the existing 2015 standards, (B) the August revisions recommended by historians and social studies leaders, and (C) the standards proposed by the Youngkin administration. The Board’s request to combine the Youngkin standards with previous state standards fell short of some critics’ request to simply return to the August 2022 recommendations of historians/history teachers. There will be additional review processes to come. The Board is anticipated to vote on the revisions sometime this winter.

For clarity, the history standards are updated at least every seven years, and most revisions are put out for public comment and then approved (sometimes with corrections or edits) by the Virginia Board of Education.

Timeline:

  • 2015: Virginia’s K-12 history standards updated
  • 2020: African American History Education Commission (AAHEC) makes recommendations for more inclusive history, which are then incorporated.
  • August 2022: Historians/history teachers make their recommended 7-year updates to the standards, maintaining and expanding the recommendations of the AAHEC
  • Fall 2022: Youngkin administration delays approval of the 7-year update
  • Nov 11, 2022: Youngkin administration  releases alternative history standards created by the Youngkin administration and paid consultants and sets aside usual processes
  • Nov 17, 2022: After outcry at public hearing, Virginia Board of Education slows down the approval process for the Youngkin administration’s standards, asks for revisions to the Youngkin standards, and requests comparison chart showing the 2015 standards, the historians’ proposed 2022 revisions, and the Youngkin administration’s alternative standards

This page gives links to recent reporting and statements about the process, as well as some action steps for people to give feedback about the process or the Governor’s proposed history standards.

Links to Reporting and Draft Standards

Want to Share Your Voice? Consider These Steps

  1. Stay tuned with this process.

  2. As developments emerge, you can email comments to emily.webb@doe.virginia.govboe@doe.virginia.govsuperintendent@doe.virginia.gov, and aimee.guidera@governor.virginia.gov.

Name Recommendations Announced for Clark and Venable

Like many communities, universities, and K-12 schools across the country, Charlottesville City Schools is aware that our schools’ names send a message to our students, staff, and community and should therefore reflect our values.

Update on School Names

After two years of public feedback, the division’s Naming of Facilities Committee is recommending new names for the first two schools discussed. Although the committee considered keeping or modifying the names Venable and Clark, in the end, members decided that maintaining the original names in any way would continue to uphold the original, problematic namesakes. The final step of the process was for third and fourth graders at the two schools to vote:

  • At Venable, students selected Trailblazers Elementary by a wide margin. The name:
    • honors the Charlottesville 12, their parents, and other early Cville Schools desegregation heroes 
    • is an invitation for students to continue blazing new trails today. 
  • At Clark, students chose Friendship Elementary by a narrow margin. 
    • The name Friendship Elementary honors the relationships that are at the heart of a school and references the current name of Friendship Court, which anchors the school in a geographic place that is home to many Clark students. The name of Friendship Court is subject to change as part of the facility’s redesign.
    • The second-place vote at Clark was Summit Elementary, which evoked the school’s mountain views and the goal of encouraging students to reach new heights. 

The Board questioned the small margin of voting (5 votes) between Clark’s two names. They requested the community’s feedback on the selection of a new name for Clark between “Friendship” and “Summit.” To express your opinion, email schoolboard@charlottesvilleschools.org prior to the January 5 meeting.

 

History

  • The Naming of Facilities Committee was formed in 2020. You can find information about their past meetings and work below.
  • After a pandemic pause, the division’s Naming of Facilities Committee  (formed of teachers, parents, administrators, community members, etc.) resumed work this year. The first schools they are focused on are Clark and Venable.

What’s Being Decided?

  • After two years of forums, surveys, conversations and more, the committee recently made the decision to select new names for both Clark and Venable and has committed to not selecting names that honor individuals. At the last community forum (Oct. 19), participants directed the committee to send any final questions back to the schools for input, so 3rd- and 4th-graders are holding elections on the possible new names.
  • At Venable, the final two options were Trailblazers Elementary (in honor of the Venable 9, their parents, and other early Cville Schools desegregation pioneers AND in the spirit of encouraging our students to continue blazing new trails) and 14th Street Elementary (in honor of the street where the school is located, as a geographic connection to the school’s Civil Rights history).
  • At Clark, the final two options are Friendship Elementary (for the relationships that are at the heart of our schools and the Friendship Court neighborhood where so many Clark students live) and Summit Elementary (since Clark sits on a hilltop with views of the summits of the Blue Ridge Mountains and since reaching a summit evokes the idea of accomplishing goals and reaching new heights).
  • Students at both schools also have the option of write-in votes.

What Was the Community Input?

  • As reflected in the October 2022 survey, there was an overwhelming majority of people in the community who felt that the schools should no longer maintain a connection with their original namesakes. There was mixed opinion about whether to select brand-new names or “repurpose” the names Clark and Venable and find new namesakes. Ultimately the committee decided that to maintain the names – even with new namesakes – would uphold the connection to two people who directly enslaved people, perpetuated damaging myths about slavery, and/or led in the genocide against Native Americans.
  • At the community forum on October 19, 2022, participants directed the committee to use their own judgment and to see further input from the schools for any remaining questions.
  • Venable third- and fourth-graders voted during the week of November 7; Clark third- and fourth-graders will vote on November 21.

School Names Committee

Beginning in the fall of 2020, the superintendent convened a committee to review our schools’ names. The committee took a pause to address the pandemic, a new superintendent, and other matters, but is now resuming work. Updates from the committee will be posted to this page. 

Click here to sign up to receive email updates

Resources for the Committee

Community member Phil Varner has compiled historical resources and information on our schools’ namesakes and the original process for naming our schools. You can find a brief introduction to the namesakes and a 56-page research compilation.

If you have additional materials that you believe are relevant and helpful, please email schoolnames@charlottesvilleschools.org so that this process can be as informed and complete as possible.

Notes from Committee Meetings (listed oldest to most recent)

Reporting/Media Coverage

City schools to review names of Clark, Venable elementaries first (Daily Progress, April 29, 2021)

Revised Draft Calendar for 2023-24 School Year

Revised Draft Calendar and Survey for 2023-24

Revised Draft Calendar for 2023-24 School YearThanks to all the people (more than 1200!) who filled out the recent calendar survey about our initial draft calendar. We received divided feedback about the various elements of the draft calendar, including the idea of starting a week earlier, having a week off at Thanksgiving, and how important it is to mirror Albemarle County Public Schools’ calendar.

As a result, we are going to hit “pause” on the bigger changes. One theme of the community feedback was “if you’re going to make these larger changes to the calendar, we’d need more advanced notice.” Therefore, our calendar committee will resume work this spring to gather feedback about options for the 2024-25 school year.

We will present a more traditional calendar for the Board on December 1 (the soonest the Board will vote will be January 5).  This revised draft calendar aligns more closely (but not perfectly) with ACPS’s Draft Calendar 1 (one of two calendars they have proposed). You can give your feedback on this draft of the calendar, below.  Find a printable PDF of the revised calendar here.

Complete our Second Calendar Survey

Revised Draft Calendar for 2023-24 School Year

 

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 special events on major religious holidays). Students or staff who wish to be absent to observe a religious holiday are encouraged to do so.
  • History about the calendar development: For over a decade, the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school divisions have worked together for a common calendar, although the two calendars are not always identical. A joint committee works together to create draft calendars, and then we ask for input from students, teachers, administration, and parents. If necessary, the committee makes revisions to the drafts before submitting the recommended calendar(s) to the two school boards for approval. In November 2022, ACPS indicated that developing a shared calendar is not a priority for 2023-24.

November 2022 News and Highlights

 

A Word from Dr. Gurley

Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr.Dear families and staff,

Our community is going through so much right now. Between the gun violence in our community this fall, the UVA shootings last weekend, and multiple hoax 911 calls that have prompted school lockdowns, we are grieving and afraid and tired.

And yet: our schools continue to be a place of hope and growth. Pre-K teachers gather their students around them to enjoy a book. Elementary students write about what they want to be when they grow up (a few examples from Clark: a teacher, a doctor, a pizzamaker). CHS band members learn from JMU musicians. And students work for change: On Friday afternoon Buford students rallied against gun violence, calling for safety and peace while supporting one another (see photo below).

As Thanksgiving approaches, I count the many blessings of our school community. I am so grateful to each one of you for what you bring to our table. Enjoy your time off this week (no school Wednesday-Friday).

With love,
Royal A. Gurley, Jr.

Buford students: End gun violence. Photo by Mike Kropf

“End the gun violence”: Buford students held a walkout Friday to raise awareness about gun violence and honor area victims, including the UVA students killed. Photo by Mike Kropf, Daily Progress. 

Cropped 23-24 Academic CalendarDRAFT CALENDAR: GIVE FEEDBACK TONIGHT
[This information is now outdated. Please find the latest information here.] As a reminder, please review the draft calendar for the 23-24 school year and take a brief survey. Consider asking your student to complete the survey, as well! This calendar has some significant changes (including a proposed week off at Thanksgiving and moving start/end dates up by a week), so your input is especially welcome. In addition, the calendar committee requests feedback about how important it is for our calendar to align with Albemarle County Public Schools’. The calendar committee of teachers, parents, and administrators values your input, so please be sure to complete the survey before it closes tomorrow morning!

Chris Long Foundation logoCHRIS LONG FOUNDATION LAUNCHES EDZONE CLOSETS
Later this month, we’ll celebrate the launch of a new partnership with the Chris Long Foundation to establish EdZone closets at all elementary schools. The EdZone closets will offer students essential items, such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, menstrual hygiene products, deoderant, clean socks and underwear, and seasonal items like umbrellas, hats, and gloves. Items will be distributed in a private and respectful manner by staff who already supporting students on a daily basis (such as school administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses, or social workers). Thanks to the Chris Long Foundation for its ongoing support of our students! Learn more here.

Golf State Champ Preston BurkeATHLETICS UPDATES: GOLF STATE CHAMP AND MORE!
Congratulations to CHS’s first-ever golf state champion, Preston Burton! After setting many golf records and leading the team to fourth place at states, Preston recently signed to play golf and continue his studies at William & Mary. Congrats to Preston, his teammates, and Coach Josh O’Grady! In addition, ninth grader Elaina Pierce won the Jefferson District Cross Country Championship and broke the school record with a 5k time of 18:31. Senior football player Eddison Duolo earned the Falcon Player of Week honor earlier this month. Head football coach Eric Sherry, who is stepping down from the role after twelve years, mentored countless players like Eddison: Thank you, Coach Sherry. And finally, welcome to new athletic director Andy Jones, a longtime CHS employee who previously managed Buford’s athletics.

Safety Flyer (cropped) for Family University: School SafetyQUESTIONS ABOUT SAFETY? REGISTER FOR FAMILY UNIVERSITY DECEMBER 8
We know that shootings in our community and hoax calls in our schools have made this fall a challenging season for many of our students, families, and staff. Join us on Thursday, December 8, 5:30-7pm, to learn more about the safety efforts in place in our schools, as well as action steps for families. Register and submit questions here.

Two Buford Theatre Students with MedalsTHEATRE SUCCESS AT BUFORD AND CHS
CHS and Buford theater students had an impressive showing at the recent Virginia Theater Association Festival. Buford’s one-act play, “The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet,” received an Excellence in Performance & a Special Judges Award for Best Energy. Five students were selected as All Star Cast Members and Giana Bricker was named Best Actor! CHS’s one-act play, “The Book of Will,” received superior ratings. Senior Conrad Heins received 1st place for scenic design of “Hairspray” and junior Emerson Norton received second place for costume design for “Hairspray.” Additionally, at the Jefferson District One-Act festival, senior Stella Gunn’s student-written and student-directed production of “No Home But Ropes and Stakes” received 1st place, with Best Actor awarded to senior Gian Serrano. When the play moved on to regional competition, ninth grader Olivia Colvin received the actor award recognition. Congratulations to theater directors David Becker (CHS) and Paula Chanda (Buford)!

World History illustrationUPDATE ON VIRGINIA’S K-12 HISTORY STANDARDS
Gov. Youngkin’s administration has set aside the usual process for approving K-12 history standards developed by history teachers and historians. Instead, on Nov. 11, his administration released an alternative curriculum. Following an outcry at a public hearing on Thursday, the Virginia Board of Education has asked for a slow-down to the process. Learn more here.

Illustration of Apple with CCS Logo: Nominate a Great Teacher!NOMINATE A TEACHER FOR THE GOLDEN APPLE AWARD
It’s time to submit nominations for the 2023 Golden Apple Awards for Teaching Excellence in Charlottesville and Albemarle! The deadline to honor one of your child’s amazing educators is Monday, January 23. Winners receive a $500 grant for classroom materials or professional development. Click here for the online nomination form. Teachers who have won in the last 3 years are not eligible to win again. Thanks to Mr. Richard Nunley and Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry for their generous support of these awards!

Clark Elementary School in fallSCHOOL NAMES UPDATE FOR CLARK & VENABLE ELEMENTARY
The division’s Naming of Facilities Committee is finalizing its recommendations for the future names of Clark and Venable Elementary, which will both have new names. As one of the final steps in the process, third and fourth graders at the two schools have been holding elections about which new names the schools will have. After a final review, the committee will send recommendations to the School Board in December, with a vote in January. Learn more here.

Illustration of coatsTEMPERATURES ARE DROPPING — CONSIDER DONATING A COAT TO OUR COAT DRIVE
Our Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team is hosting a coat drive through December 9 to make sure that all of our students stay warm this winter. They are accepting donations of new coats dropped off at any school (or the division annex offices behind CHS). One shopping option is Burlington Coat Factory, which just celebrated its opening in town with a $5,000 classroom supplies grant to Greenbrier Elementary. Or find wishlists at Amazon or Walmart. The FACE team is particularly looking for outwear that fits older students, who don’t always want an actual coat, instead preferring a vest or hoodie such as a sherpa-lined fleece.

Flute player in CHS bandCHS BAND EARNS INVITATION TO ROME!
Congratulations, Marching Knights, for an amazing showing at the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative Tournament of Champions: winner of first place in its class, best general effect, best music and best visuals. In addition, this week, the band received an official invitation to perform in the prestigious Rome New Year’s Eve Parade in 2023/24. Go Band and Director Jason Hackworth!

Lugo-McGinness AcademyLUGO-MCGINNESS EARNS $45,000 GRANT
Congratulations to Lugo-McGinness Academy for securing the second year of a $45,025 Virginia Department of Education K-12 School Innovation Grant. LMA provides an alternative setting for students in grades 9-12, and the grant supports LMA’s efforts to empower students to be changemakers in their school and communities.

School Board UpdatesSCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS AND BUDGET PROCESS
Find November’s “Mini-Minutes” here with updates on areas such as state-driven staff bonuses, our growing number of ESL students, and the latest on transportation, safety, literacy, strategic planning, and more. On October 20, there was a budget work session. Watch video here. To learn more about the data from our recent public budget survey, click here for video. Find the full calendar of budget meetings and input opportunities here. Interested in future meetings? Sign up to receive notices of School Board meetings.

More Looks at Cville Schools

Investigating the Rivanna River Watershed.

Fourth graders from across the division visited Camp Albemarle this fall for an amazing hands-on experience learning about the Rivanna River Watershed. Similarly, Buford students conducted water-quality testing activities in the creek behind CHS.

Venable and CHS AVID

Our students are learning the ropes, whether on the playground at Venable (left) or at a ropes course in Richmond (CHS AVID students, right).

Chance2Dance at Walker

Walker students recently showcased new dance skills learned through the school’s partnership with Charlottesville Ballet, Chance2Dance.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Schools on Regular Schedule Tuesday, 11/15

Message sent to families 4pm, Monday, November 14:

Dear Charlottesville Schools staff and families,

It is truly difficult to formulate the right words to express how we are feeling as a school community after the shootings at UVA. People in our community are grieving the loss of their family members, classmates, and friends, as well as their own sense of safety. What resonates with me in this moment is: “It’s okay to not be okay.”

Following today’s arrest of the UVA shooting suspect, Charlottesville City Schools will resume our regular schedule tomorrow morning. Though we’ll have a normal schedule, we know it will not be a normal day. This senseless violence touches us as a school community and as members of the Charlottesville community. This tragedy also follows several other local incidences of gun violence this fall—even earlier this weekend. Each shooting simultaneously breaks our hearts and fills us with fear.

Tomorrow at school, our mental health professionals will be available for students and staff to find calm, connection, or a place to take a break. Additionally, below are suggestions for speaking to children about today’s events as well as resources for caring for yourself and others. My hope is that each of us checks in with what we need and with one another.

Thank you for understanding our decision to close schools today prior to the UVA shooting suspect being apprehended. We appreciate the various police forces who worked to keep our community safe. We extend our deepest sympathies and support to the families of the victims and to the entire UVA community. 

Take care,

Royal A. Gurley, Jr.

Superintendent, Charlottesville Schools

Talking to Your Child About Today’s Events and School Closure 

Younger children may need help understanding both why school was closed today and why it’s ok to reopen tomorrow. Here is a simple explanation: “School was closed today to allow police time to find a person who committed a crime at UVA. The police found that person and so it is safe to go back to school tomorrow.” 

Click here for additional suggestions for talking to children about difficult events from the American Psychological Association 

Ways to Care for Yourself and Others

Adapted from the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition

  • Pay close attention to what makes you feel safe. Stay connected with friends and loved ones who understand how you are feeling.
  • Do the things that work best to keep you calm. This may be taking a hot shower, doing breathing exercises, journaling, or using an app such as Insight Timer. Creating distractions by watching a favorite show or listening to music can also be helpful.
  • Notice the things that increase stress, and take small steps to reduce exposure to that stressor. In particular, taking breaks from media and social media can be important during evolving community events. 
  • Take care of your basic physical needs of eating well, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest. Limit drugs and alcohol as ways of coping. 
  • For children, news about the shooting may be stressful. Give children time to talk and ask questions, and be sure to help address their concerns in an age-appropriate manner. 
  • Reach out for additional support if you need it:
    • Our division is now partnering with Care Solace, a service that helps people find and make appointments with mental health and substance use providers. This confidential service is free to CCS staff, students, and their families.  https://caresolace.com/site/charlottesville 
    • The Regional Call Center / 988 / Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers free and confidential crisis intervention, prevention, and connection to resources, 24 hours a day by calling 434-230-9704 OR texting 988.
    • Specifically for Charlottesville Schools staff:
      • Confidential services of UVA’s FEAP (Faculty and Employee Assistance Program) available to our staff for free. https://uvafeap.com/ 
      • Aetna Resources for Living is currently available due to this community tragedy, including in-the-moment phone support to help callers cope with the emotional impact of the event: 1-833-327-AETNA (1-833-327-2386); and a crisis support website including support services in the area 

 


Message Sent to Staff and Families on November 14, 2022, 6:42am:

Dear Charlottesville Staff and Families–

After a tragedy at the University of Virginia last night, UVA remains on “shelter in place” and has canceled classes today. Charlottesville City Schools will also cancel classes and close offices today (Monday, November 14)  in order to give police time to investigate while they search for the suspect in our community. We are sorry for the late  notice, but safety is our top priority. You can find news reports about the events and the suspect, but we are sharing UVA’s statement to families, below.

Please take care today. We expect to be open on time tomorrow, but given the unusual circumstances, we will confirm with you later this evening.

We extend our sympathy to the students and families impacted, and to the UVA community in general.

Dr. Royal A. Gurley

 

UNIVERSITY OF  VIRGINIA

To the University Community,

I am writing to provide an update to the various community safety alerts the University

has issued over the last several hours.

Around 10:30 p.m. last night, there was a shooting on Grounds. One of our students,

Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., is suspected to have committed the shooting. The

suspect remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous. Multiple law

enforcement agencies are coordinating to find and apprehend him. He was last seen

wearing a burgundy jacket, blue jeans, and red shoes, and he may be driving a black

SUV with VA license plate number TWX3580. First and foremost, please continue to

follow the guidance you receive though the UVA alert system, which is currently to

shelter in place.

As of this writing, I am heartbroken to report that the shooting has resulted in three

fatalities; two additional victims were injured and are receiving medical care. We are

working closely with the families of the victims, and we will share additional details as

soon as we are able. Our University Police Department has joined forces with other

law enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspect, and we will keep our community

apprised of developments as the situation evolves.

This is a message any leader hopes never to have to send, and I am devastated that

this violence has visited the University of Virginia. This is a traumatic incident for

everyone in our community, and we have cancelled classes for today (Monday, Nov.

14). At this point only designated essential employees should report to work on

Monday (all remote employees should continue to work remotely). If you are unsure

of your status, please contact your supervisor.

We will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds. Please know we have

support available if you need it. Students may call Counseling and Psychological

Services at 434-243-5150, 24 hours a day. Information about CAPS is available on

the Student Health and Wellness website. Faculty and staff can find a similar

resource through the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program by calling 434-243-

2643 or by emailing the office via the FAP website.

For those who have questions about these events, including how to establish contact

with family members or friends who are here on Grounds, please call the UVA

Emergency Hotline at 877-685-4836.

I am holding the victims, their families, and all members of the University of Virginia

community in my heart today, and we will make plans to come together as a

community to grieve as soon as the suspect is apprehended.

Chris Long Foundation Launches EdZone Partnership with Charlottesville City Schools

EdZone program begins impacting Charlottesville youth through distribution of essential needs items


Chris Long Foundation LogoCharlottesville, VA
— On Wednesday, November 30th, the Chris Long Foundation and Charlottesville City Schools will officially launch the latest component of the Foundation’s new EdZone program: the distribution of essential needs items at all six CCS elementary schools during the 2022-2023 school year.

Ed Zone LogoEach elementary school (Burnley-Moran, Clark, Greenbrier, Jackson-Via, Johnson, Venable) will identify a dedicated space (an “EdZone closet”) where students can access basic supplies that many other students take for granted. Essential needs items include things like soap, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste, menstrual hygiene products, deodorant, clean socks and underwear, and seasonal items like umbrellas, hats, and gloves.

In close consultation with participating schools to assess and determine student needs, CCS’ Coordinator of Family and Student Engagement will procure and distribute these essential needs items to the elementary schools through a central storeroom at the CCS Division Administrative Annex at Charlottesville High School. Elementary school students in need will be identified by professional staff who are already supporting them on a daily basis (e.g., school administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses, social workers) and can help them access items from the EdZone closet in a way that respects their dignity and privacy. The Foundation has future plans to support periodic drive-through “Response to Essential Needs” events at Charlottesville High School, where all CCS families can pick up bags of essential needs items and grocery cards.

“There’s evidence that students who are not getting these basic needs met can suffer from stress and low self-esteem. It can cause them to feel disconnected from their classmates and even miss school, all of which affects how they feel about being at school and ultimately, their performance,” said Chris Long, founder of the Chris Long Foundation. “The goal of our EdZone partnership with CCS is to support student success by ensuring kids arrive at school comfortable, confident, and ready to learn.”

“We are so appreciative of the support from the Chris Long Foundation, with their vision for meeting students’ needs in ways that are respectful. The EdZone closets will make a big impact,” commented Chantel Beverly, principal at Venable Elementary School, which is hosting the program launch.

Superintendent Dr. Royal Gurley agreed: “When I arrived at Charlottesville City Schools last year, the wide diversity of our students’ experiences was immediately apparent. One step toward eradicating academic disparities is to truly make our students feel welcome, supported, and equipped to succeed. We thank Chris Long and the Foundation for being such good partners in this work.”

A generous group of local individual donors, foundations, and businesses stepped up to fully fund the launch of EdZone. Funders include Better Living Building Supply, Woodard Properties, Diane and Howie Long, Pam and Frank Edmonds, the Genan Foundation, Ellen and Michael Geismar, and Frank Saul Construction.

EdZone is the newest program created by the Chris Long Foundation to advance educational equity issues in communities around the United States. Over the next year the program will expand to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and St. Louis, Missouri, two cities where Long played in the NFL. EdZone also distributes high-quality, culturally-relevant books in schools to advance student literacy and develop a lifelong love of reading. In May 2022, in partnership with FirstBook and Charlottesville City Schools, the Foundation distributed over 2,500 books at Burnley-Moran Elementary School. Chris Long served as a guest reader for the event and engaged with students about his own school experience, his family and interests, and his time in the NFL. The Foundation also supported two CCS “Response to Essential Needs” drive-through events in December 2020 and December 2021.

About the Chris Long Foundation
The Chris Long Foundation is a nonprofit, founded by two-time Super Bowl Champion and 2018 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, Chris Long. By bringing together a community of elite athletes and passionate fans, the Chris Long Foundation relentlessly serves our overlooked neighbors, both domestic and international, by creating solutions for clean water and education access. Visit www.chrislongfoundation.org to find out more.

About Charlottesville City Schools
Charlottesville City Schools serves approximately 4500 students in nine schools, from three-year-olds in preschool to students who qualify for services after high school. By meeting each student’s personal and academic needs, the schools are committed to ending the predictability of life outcomes based on factors such as race and poverty. Learn more at charlottesvilleschools.org.

Logos for Chris Long Foundation and Ed Zone

Chris Long Foundation Launches EdZone Partnership with Charlottesville City Schools

EdZone program begins impacting Charlottesville youth through distribution of essential needs items


Charlottesville, VA
— On Wednesday, November 30th, the Chris Long Foundation and Charlottesville City Schools officially launched the latest component of the Foundation’s new EdZone program: the distribution of essential needs items at all six CCS elementary schools during the 2022-2023 school year.

Chris Long launching EdZone Closets with students and Principal Chantel Beverly
Chris Long launching EdZone Closets with students and Principal Chantel Beverly. Photo courtesy Jack Looney.

Ed Zone LogoEach elementary school (Burnley-Moran, Clark, Greenbrier, Jackson-Via, Johnson, Venable) will identify a dedicated space (an “EdZone closet”) where students can access basic supplies that many other students take for granted. Essential needs items include things like soap, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste, menstrual hygiene products, deodorant, clean socks and underwear, and seasonal items like umbrellas, hats, and gloves.

Chris Long Foundation LogoIn close consultation with participating schools to assess and determine student needs, CCS’ Coordinator of Family and Student Engagement will procure and distribute these essential needs items to the elementary schools through a central storeroom at the CCS Division Administrative Annex at Charlottesville High School. Elementary school students in need will be identified by professional staff who are already supporting them on a daily basis (e.g., school administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses, social workers) and can help them access items from the EdZone closet in a way that respects their dignity and privacy. The Foundation has future plans to support periodic drive-through “Response to Essential Needs” events at Charlottesville High School, where all CCS families can pick up bags of essential needs items and grocery cards.

“There’s evidence that students who are not getting these basic needs met can suffer from stress and low self-esteem. It can cause them to feel disconnected from their classmates and even miss school, all of which affects how they feel about being at school and ultimately, their performance,” said Chris Long, founder of the Chris Long Foundation. “The goal of our EdZone partnership with CCS is to support student success by ensuring kids arrive at school comfortable, confident, and ready to learn.”

“We are so appreciative of the support from the Chris Long Foundation, with their vision for meeting students’ needs in ways that are respectful. The EdZone closets will make a big impact,” commented Chantel Beverly, principal at Venable Elementary School, which is hosting the program launch.

Superintendent Dr. Royal Gurley agreed: “When I arrived at Charlottesville City Schools last year, the wide diversity of our students’ experiences was immediately apparent. One step toward eradicating academic disparities is to truly make our students feel welcome, supported, and equipped to succeed. We thank Chris Long and the Foundation for being such good partners in this work.”

A generous group of local individual donors, foundations, and businesses stepped up to fully fund the launch of EdZone. Funders include Better Living Building Supply, Woodard Properties, Diane and Howie Long, Pam and Frank Edmonds, the Genan Foundation, Ellen and Michael Geismar, and Frank Saul Construction.

EdZone is the newest program created by the Chris Long Foundation to advance educational equity issues in communities around the United States. Over the next year the program will expand to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and St. Louis, Missouri, two cities where Long played in the NFL. EdZone also distributes high-quality, culturally-relevant books in schools to advance student literacy and develop a lifelong love of reading. In May 2022, in partnership with FirstBook and Charlottesville City Schools, the Foundation distributed over 2,500 books at Burnley-Moran Elementary School. Chris Long served as a guest reader for the event and engaged with students about his own school experience, his family and interests, and his time in the NFL. The Foundation also supported two CCS “Response to Essential Needs” drive-through events in December 2020 and December 2021.

About the Chris Long Foundation
The Chris Long Foundation is a nonprofit, founded by two-time Super Bowl Champion and 2018 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, Chris Long. By bringing together a community of elite athletes and passionate fans, the Chris Long Foundation relentlessly serves our overlooked neighbors, both domestic and international, by creating solutions for clean water and education access. Visit www.chrislongfoundation.org to find out more.

About Charlottesville City Schools
Charlottesville City Schools serves approximately 4500 students in nine schools, from three-year-olds in preschool to students who qualify for services after high school. By meeting each student’s personal and academic needs, the schools are committed to ending the predictability of life outcomes based on factors such as race and poverty. Learn more at charlottesvilleschools.org.

Award-winning CHS band celebrating success at tournatment of champions

CHS Celebrations Fall 2022

⚫ 🟠 Go Black Knights! ⚫ 🟠

 

Join us in celebrating these recent CHS accomplishments: 

  • CHS graduation rates 🎓
    • The class of ’22 posted a 93% on-time graduation rate, surpassing the state average. Since 2017, the school has posted rates at 90% or above. Graduation is not just a “CHS” thing – it is a preschool, elementary, Walker, Buford, AND CHS accomplishment. 
  • Golf state championship
    • Congrats to senior Preston Burton, who earned the school’s first-ever state championship in golf and led the team to fourth place. Congrats also to CHS teacher and coach Josh O’Grady! Read the Daily Progress story here.
  • Band awards 🎺
    • Kudos to our Marching Knights for an amazing showing at the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative Tournament of Champions this weekend! The school won first place in its class, best general effect, best music, and best visuals. Go Band and Director Jason Hackworth!
  • Engineering 🥓 
    • On Friday our engineering students got to talk about patents and intellectual property straight with the source: the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Watch the news story here.
  • National Merit Semi-finalist 🤩
    • Senior Claire Newman was just named a National Merit semi-finalist for her top-1% performance on the PSAT last fall.

 

 

Renovated lab spaces at CATEC support the new IT partnership with CISCO.

Charlottesville School Board Statement about CATEC

For over 50 years CATEC has successfully existed as a joint operation between ACPS and CCS as equal financial partners, all as documented by our written partnership agreement that dates back to 1969.

This is further evidenced by our recent investment of millions of dollars into the physical infrastructure that comprises the CATEC facility, not to mention our continuous investment in CATEC’s curriculum and operations.

To date, we have had surface level discussions with ACPS which resulted in our having questions on behalf of our students around the future operation and governance of CATEC in the event of a change in ownership.

We were scheduled to meet with ACPS about this last month, but they abruptly cancelled that meeting. They have yet to reschedule or to address those concerns.

We are very perplexed that ACPS’ next step was to make an announcement to the media and participate without us—their partner—the October 21 Daily Progress article.

At no time did we understand from ACPS that their decision is predicated on modernizing the facility; if that were the case, surely we, as ACPS’ equal financial partner, would have been brought into that discussion.

Rather, we understand that, while there is some intent to modernize the campus, ACPS has bigger plans for its own expansion into the space. In any further reporting on this issue we encourage reporters to speak directly to ACPS about its specific plans.

We are hopeful for the future inclusion of CCS students, but how CCS students would be successfully integrated is unclear. For instance, something as simple as a bell schedule change could significantly reduce CHS students’ access to programming.

We have engaged licensed appraisers to help us value the real estate, personal property, and goodwill which comprise CATEC; this is contemplated by our long standing 1969 agreement and its intentional way of handling either party’s interest in leaving the partnership.

These steps will help us evaluate any offer ACPS brings, as well as potentially exercising our other options under the 1969 agreement.

As always, CCS will continue to prioritize our student’s needs as we continue to work to deliver quality educational programming for all of our stakeholders.

–Charlottesville School Board
October 21, 2022