All posts by Virginia Berthy

Highlights and News | May 2017

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Salt dough globes in the Burnley-Moran garden
Salt dough globes in the Burnley-Moran garden

May 9, 2017

Dear families,

Thanks to so many of you who have offered your ideas as part of our strategic planning process.  We have held more than 40 meetings in our schools and at community events with students, staff, parents, community members, and other stakeholders. Your feedback has been invaluable.

We now have a draft of the plan, focusing on academic excellence, safe and supportive schools, and organizational supports. At the heart of this plan is the idea that we are all learners — not only our students, but our teachers, staff members such as our bus drivers, and our families at home. We are growing and working together for the benefit of our community.

focus-areasWhat can you do?

This month’s newsletter focuses on the big ideas of our strategic plan and provides recent examples that support these emphases. If you see an item in this newsletter, you’ll know that our strategic plan says, “We want more of this.”

Thanks for partnering with us, today and in the future!

Rosa S. Atkins, Superintendent

Academic Excellence

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Learning will be equitable, centered on students, and develop life-ready graduates


Equitable

We want to make sure that all of our students find success and opportunities in our schools and in life after school. 

Walker 5th-graders zumba for El Espectaculo!
Walker 5th-graders Zumba for El Espectaculo!

Special events celebrate our diversity, including Buford’s recent International Night or Walker School’s recent performance of ¡El Espectáculo!, the capstone project of our Elementary Spanish program. But more than specific programs or special events, we want to build a division-wide culture that values both differences and commonalities, every day.

Leah Puryear was recently elected to the CUBE steering committee
Leah Puryear was recently elected to the CUBE steering committee.

Charlottesville City Schools has been recognized as a model of excellence and leadership in an urban school division. Congratulations to School Board member Leah Puryear, who was recently elected to the national steering committee for the Council of Urban Boards of Education.

Naia Fairchild and Francis MacCall, homecoming queen and king. Photo courtesy ScimmagePlay.
Naia Fairchild and Francis MacCall, homecoming queen and king. Photo courtesy Scrimmage Play.

Another example of our commitment to supporting all our students is helping our students with special needs meet their goals and be a full part of our schools. We are delighted that, for instance, Naia Fairchild, the CHS cheerleading manager who has Down Syndrome, was elected homecoming queen this fall. If your child receives services, consider completing the Special Education Advisory Committee’s parent survey to help us serve you better. Join the SEAC’s mailing list to learn more about workshops or other programs that might benefit your family; to join, email seacva@gmail.com.

CHS students on a trip to DC to speak with representatives
Leadership opportunities for all, in the schools and in the community.

We are committed to providing leadership opportunities for all our students. For example, this year our immigrant and refugee students have earned a number of honors and leadership roles, from School Board rep to senior class president to peer mentor to City Youth Council member, and more.

3 AVID seniors participate in college 'Decision Day'
AVID seniors getting ready for “Decision Day.”

Students are building a bridge to a bright future, including our first-generation college students. Our AVID program strengthens study skills, guides students towards college-prep classes, helps students navigate the college admissions process, and more.  At the end of the day on May 12,  the CHS senior class will celebrate “Decision Day” with a bounce house and other fun ways to celebrate 13 years of hard work.  Congrats, class of 2017!

Preschoolers solving a puzzle
Preschoolers solving a puzzle.
Torain Braxton (R) and Trevon Jackson in A Raisin in the Sun
Torain Braxton (R) and Trevon Jackson in A Raisin in the Sun. Courtesy Lamia West ’18.

Early childhood education remains a priority. Charlottesville City Schools offers high-quality preschool for qualifying 3- and 4-year-olds who face economic challenges, need to learn English, require special services, or more. This investment — funded primarily with local dollars — yields big returns. In upcoming years, our leaders will consider whether a dedicated preschool facility could help us expand services and reduce crowding at our elementary schools.

As part of its sold-out production of A Raisin in the Sun, the CHS theatre program was highlighted in the Daily Progress for its commitment to choosing plays that welcome and include all our students.


Kindergartners choosing the engineering station during center time.
Kindergartners choosing the engineering station during center time.

Centered on Students:

We want to foster the unique talents and interests of our students, and we want students to “own” their learning by setting goals, making choices, and reflecting on their progress.

Student-centered learning looks different in various schools and classrooms. It can be as small as students choosing how to start their day (reading, drawing, or journaling). In some of our engineering and other classes, students can advance through a curriculum at their own pace.

Reece McKee winning 3rd in VA at Geo Bee.
Reece McKee wins 3rd in VA at Geo Bee.

Student-centered learning connects learners with resources to advance their own passions, such as Buford student Reece McKee earning 3rd place in Virginia for the Geography Bee. (Aidan Peters of Walker also qualified for the state competition!)

2017 Governor's School participants
2017 Governor’s School honorees.

Special, competitive opportunities like the Virginia Governor’s School help our students dive deep into areas of their own interest, from the arts to environmental engineering to a special NASA program (2 out of Virginia’s 12 slots were earned by CHS students this year)!  Congratulations to our Governor’s School honorees: Anna Bon-Harper, Sophia Greenhoe (alternate), Nadiya Khaydari, Maire Lee, Sydney Lewin, Risa Purow-Ruderman, Demetrius Ragland, and Jonah Weissman!

Lucas-Higgins-NSLIYSimilarly, for a second straight year, a CHS student has earned a competitive travel fellowship to continue studying Mandarin in China through a U.S. State Department-sponsored program. This summer Lucas Higgins will travel with the  National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y); last summer it was Santiago Padrón.

Nepalese students at Walker taking a Virtual Reality tour of their home country.
Nepalese students at Walker taking a virtual reality tour of their home country.

Using tech resources can make learning personal and relevant to students. Recently, Walker ESL students “visited” their home country of Nepal with virtual reality goggles.

Hosting student-led conferences (this year at Clark and Venable) was an excellent opportunity for students to reflect on their learning and share their progress with the parents and grandparents — some of whom joined in via Skype from as far away as Jordan!

CHS students prep pitches for the TomTom Festival's 'Pitch Night'
CHS students prep pitches for the TomTom Festival’s Pitch Night.

Clubs like BACON (Best All-around Club of Nerds) or classes like AVID can connect students with projects and that are student-led and personally meaningful, including the 2nd-place-in-Virginia Avoidcopter (a drone with avoidance capabilities) or proposals for social change pitched at the  TomTom Festival.

And a tried-and-true way to help students learn with passion (and excellence) is through the arts. Both the CHS and Buford orchestras were named grand champions of their respective regional competitions this spring (and won many other awards along the way). Congratulations to both groups and their directors!


Producing Life-Ready Graduates

Virginia’s new “Profile of a Virginia Graduate” focuses on abilities and traits that will prepare our students to succeed in life. These range from communication and “soft” skills to real-world problem-solving abilities to STEM literacy to workplace experiences and industry certifications.

Greenbrier students collect data, confer, and admire their STEM projects!
Greenbrier students collect data, confer, and admire their STEM projects!

Our new, locally developed iSTEM program continues to roll out hands-on, real-life projects that cross boundaries between “sciencey” subjects and areas such as art, history, and reading.   From solar ovens to wind turbines to working models of the human respiratory system (and much, much more), our students are applying their skills to the world around them.

Dental program at CATEC
Dental program at CATEC.

CATEC students model future-readiness for us in a variety of areas, from culinary arts to our new partnership with tech leader CISCO. Students can earn college credits, industry certifications, and valuable skills such as resume-building and interviewing.

CHS students get first-hand history
CHS students learn first-hand history.

Tapping into community resources is another way to help students learn to navigate their community and their futures. Field trips and guest speakers (both live and virtual) build connections and take advantage of the real world all around us.  CHS history students recently visited the Vietnam War Foundation and Museum in Ruckersville, sitting in a  Huey helicopter and gathering the oral histories of veterans.

Senior Elizabeth Valtierra represents CCS at the Sin Barreras Help Fair.
Senior Elizabeth Valtierra represents CCS.

When Charlottesville City Schools wanted to participate in the Hispanic Help Fair organized by Sin Barreras, we turned to the experts. Junior Marisol Rodriquez translated posters into Spanish for our booth, and senior Elizabeth Valtierra spoke en español y en ingles with the public who stopped by. What a great example of how our students can build communication and soft skills for the benefit of all!

Sixth-place CHS creative writing team.
Sixth-place CHS creative writing team.

Another sign of excellent communication skills: Congratulations to Ashley Clark and the CHS creative writing team! Ashley won 1st in Virginia for her short story! She plus Rachel Beling, Thomas Butler, Helen Gehle, Audrey Miller, and Qena Taylor earned 6th in VHSL creative writing.

And still more recognition of our students’ communication skills in a variety of media…. The VR film produced this year by Theatre CHS students was screened at the San Francisco Film Festival. Aleena Haidari won the Charlottesville Area Bar Association’s essay contest on the 14th Amendment, and her sister Waheda Haidari was a finalist in the Virginia War Memorial’s World War I art contest. Congratulations to all!

Safe and Supportive Schools

Our learning communities will foster social, emotional, mental, and physical wellness

Charlottesville City Schools has made a strong commitment to healthy habits and strong communities. There’s more to be done, but here are some examples of what we’re already doing to foster a well-rounded sense of wellness.

Virginia Tiered System of Supports Graphic Showing the Relationship Between Systems, Data, and Practices
The components of Virginia Tiered Systems of Support.

Positive school culture is supported by the ongoing division-wide implementation of Virginia Tiered Systems of Support, or VTSS.  VTSS recognizes that students’ academic performance and behavior are closely aligned, and it calls for a division-wide framework for supplying quick, consistent responses to students’ academic and behavioral needs.  Within the VTSS framework,  a program called Positive Behaviorial Interventions and Supports (PBIS) promotes community, celebrates good behavior, and deepens relationships.  More information is available on our web site.

Turkeys, chicks, ducks, pigs, and Burnley-Moran bobcats.
Turkeys, chicks, ducks, pigs, and Burnley-Moran bobcats.

elementary school children doing puzzles blindfoldedOur school counselors foster social-emotional health in a variety of ways. They offer classroom lessons, such as guiding blindfolded partners to solve jigsaw puzzles at Walker. They sponsor clubs and groups such as the Walker Peace Squad or the Jackson-Via Bully-Nots. And they work with teachers to form peer mentoring groups, such as the CHS Link Crew. Wrapping up its first full year, the Link Crew trains selected CHS 10th-12th graders to help their crew of new 9th-graders have a smooth first year of high school.

 

Books on Bikes rode in this year's Dogwood Parade
Books on Bikes rode in this year’s Dogwood Parade.

Relationships (and reading skills) can deepen even during the summer through our teachers’ and librarians’ Books on Bikes program! The BoB team visits neighborhoods in the summer to deliver free books, popsicles, and smiles. (A therapy dog even makes the rounds!) Join them for their summer kick-off bike parade on June 10!

garden_BME_FBWhen we speak about the wellness benefits of City Schoolyard Gardens, do we mean nutrition, exercise, or the mental health benefits of working in the garden? All of the above, and much, much more.

March 2016 Harvest of the Month was local salad greens! Painting by Mackenzie Baumgarten
“Local on the Line” lunches featured local salad greens! Painting by Mackenzie Baumgarten.

Our nutrition program has won awards for its commitment to nutritious, healthy foods, but there is always room for improvement. Working with the Local Food Hub, parents, and student focus groups, Nutrition Director Carlton Jones has been making plans for the future. Our new “Local on the Line” program supplies local foods (such as strawberries or salad greens, at left) in monthly menu items.

Jackson-Via students working together on floor
Jackson-Via students working together on floor.

While gym and recess are very important, physical wellness is bigger than that. Throughout-the-day movement also comes from simple things like students working eye-to-eye on the floor or heading outside to create a calculus problem on the slope of a hill outside CHS.

Clark students getting shoes at Ragged Mountain Running Shop.
Getting new shoes (eventually) for Girls on the Run! Courtesy Ryan Kelly, Daily Progress.

Clubs and special events also support physical health, such as the family 1-mile color run that the Burnley-Moran PTO recently sponsored, or the Girls on the Run program at our schools. The Clark Girls on the Run recently got treated to running shoes at Ragged Mountain Running Shop thanks to support from Girls on the Run Board President Frank Grosch and the Piedmont Housing Alliance.

12-0 CHS boys' soccer vs Western Albemarle. Courtesy Scrimmage Play/Bart Isley.
12-0 CHS boys’ soccer vs Western Albemarle. Courtesy Scrimmage Play/Bart Isley.

Athletics is a big part of the movement and physical wellness picture. The CHS boys’ soccer team has racked up 12 wins and no losses so far(!!), but beyond wins and losses, sports build fitness, relationships, and leadership. Girls’ tennis is also having a strong season, including a quarter-final win in conference play. Go Black Knights!

Our school spaces also support safety and learning. This year, our schools have seen the installation of clear exterior door signage (to aid responders in case of emergency), front door-locking management, a visitor screening system, and more. Aside from security, we want our facilities to support creativity, teamwork, and other 21st century skills, and we’ve been working with the always-supportive City of Charlottesville  to create a funding stream for such improvements.

Organizational Supports

ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORTS: Systems and supports that enable staff and students to thrive

In many ways, these organizational supports make possible our goals for  academic excellence and safe and supportive schools.

IMG_5370-with-wordsAt the top of the list is great employees. It’s clear from our feedback groups that our community values the expertise and warmth of our teachers. Just this month, Laurel Bradley was honored as Z95’s teacher of the month (nominated by her student, at right), and CHS counselor David Wilkerson won the Colin Powell Award from Our Community Salutes! And this week, teachers from all of our schools will receive the Better Living Golden Apple Award. This year’s honorees include Melvin Grady (Buford), Jessica Powley (Burnley-Moran), Brian Kayser (CHS), Ashley Riley (Clark), Amy Jones (Greenbrier), Lisa Utz (Jackson-Via), Lorena Caballero Bower (Johnson),  Michael McCrory (Lugo-McGinness Academy), Nicole Driggs (Venable), and Samantha Pagni (Walker). Congratulations to all!

Hayley Gomez Paula Gladieux GBR
Book Buddy volunteer at Greenbrier. Courtesy Ryan M. Kelly/Daily Progress.

Of course, staff doesn’t not work alone — we’re grateful to have the support of community partners and volunteers. This year, our Book Buddies literacy tutoring program will celebrate its 25th year on May 10 at the Jefferson School City Center.  This program was created in the Charlottesville City Schools and has subsequently spread across the state and nation,  building both literacy and valuable relationships.

Kindergarten open house at Venable. Courtesy Andrew Shurtleff/Daily Progress.
Kindergarten open house at Venable. Courtesy Andrew Shurtleff/Daily Progress.

For a second year, families with children entering kindergarten were invited to complete their registrations online.  Online forms and streamlined processes help all of us focus on learning.

Digital-Schools-Award_smOur educational programs will increasingly rely on a robust network and technological supports.  This spring, Charlottesville City Schools was nationally honored for integrating technology in support of innovative curriculum and improved student learning. The Center for Digital Education (CDE) ranked Charlottesville as top-10 winner (#5 among mid-sized divisions) in its 2016-17 Digital School Districts Survey Awards.

 

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events include:

May

  • Book Buddies 25th Anniv. ReceptionMay 10, 4pm – 5pm, Jefferson School City Center
  • Walker/Buford Chorus ConcertMay 10, 7pm – 8pm, Buford Auditorium
  • Strategic Plan Community Update, May 11, 5:30pm, CHS Sigma Lab
  • 2017FestofCulturesPostcardFestival of CulturesSat, May 13, 10am – 4pm, Lee Park
  • Stage Left Theatre presents Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, May 18, 6:30pm, Buford
  • CHS Dessert TheatreMay 19-20, 7pm with Sat matinee at 3pm
  • Walker Band Spring ConcertsMay 19, 6:30pm – 9pm
  • CHS Saturday Academic InterventionMay 13, 9am – 12:30pm
  • CHS Saturday Academic Intervention for SeniorsMay 20, 9am – 12:30pm, B-Commons
  • Walker Band Instrument Selection NightMay 23 & 25, 5pm
  • CATEC Completers Ceremony, May 24, 7pm
  • No School (Memorial Day), May 29
  • Buford Band Concert, May 30, 7pm, Buford Auditorium

students in caps and gowns after graduationJune

  • School Board MeetingJune 1, 5pm
  • Minds in Motion Performance with Richmond BalletJune 1, 7pm, MLKPAC
  • 8th Grade DanceJune 2, 7pm – 10pm, Buford
  • Senior Awards CelebrationJune 7, 7pm, MLKPAC
  • CHS graduationJune 8, 7pm, John Paul Jones Arena. Free and open to the public.
  • Half-Day (Last Day of School), June 9
  • Books on Bikes Summer Bike Parade, June 10, 9:30am, Clark School (Belmont side)

Curious about next year’s calendar? Add it to your Google calendar (or find a pdf here)!

Remember that you can subscribe to our Google calendar of school holidays and as well as Google calendars for school-specific events. Instructions are at charlottesvilleschoools.org/calendar.

Highlights and News | April 2017

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April 13, 2017

Dear families—

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School Board and staff receiving a national technology award in Denver.

Welcome to the fourth quarter! It’s spring concert season, and soon it will be graduation, with honors and awards for our talented students.

Our staff and school division have won awards, too.  Our adult education director, Susan Erno, was recently honored as the runner-up for national adult education administrator of the year.  And our school division was honored for our pioneering use of technology, in which were ranked #5 nationally among mid-sized school divisions by the Center for Digital Education. We are proud of our accomplishments — and our staff and  students certainly earn plenty of honors (read on to see more!)

Even when we win awards, we’re also always eager to improve and do better in the future. Thanks to so many of you who have participated in our 2017-2023 strategic planning process.  We’ll have a public update on the emerging plan on May 11 at 5:30pm in the CHS Sigma Lab. All are invited!

–Dr. Rosa S. Atkins, Superintendent

Division-Wide News

Student with bike near busSafety reminder: Please take a moment to review street safety with your children, particularly those who walk, bike, or ride the bus to and from school. For our bus-riders who need to cross a street to reach their stop, please remind your child to wait until the bus has come to a complete stop and the driver has motioned for them to cross the street. Parents of first-grade and younger students are required to escort their children to and from the bus. Thank you for partnering with us for your children’s safety.

Phone number changed? If you need to update your student’s address, phone number, emergency contacts or other basic information, you can complete this mid-year update form (marking only the child’s name and school plus any changed information) and return it to your school. Copies are also available at the school.

bbuddiesThe “Book Buddies” program of Charlottesville City Schools will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a reception on May 10, at 4pm Jefferson School City Center. The Book Buddies program supplies 3,000 hours a year of individualized, volunteer reading support. Thanks to leader Jeanette Rosenberg and all who make the program possible. If you know of past volunteers or participants, spread the word about the reception!

Susan ErnoThe Adult Learning Center’s Susan Erno was honored as the national runner-up for the outstanding administrator of the year award from the Coalition of Adult Basic Education.  Only a few days prior, some of Susan’s students were invited to read essays they had written at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center.  The reading of pieces written by adult learners is an annual event and an official part of the Virginia Festival of the Book.

The City School Board unanimously approved a balanced budget request for fiscal year 2017-18.  Read more about  this decision here.

Charlottesville City Schools was nationally honored for its pioneering use of technology by the Center for Digital Education (CDE).  The CDE ranked Charlottesville #5 among mid-sized divisions in its 2016-17 Digital School Districts Survey Awards.

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VMEA 10-time Blue Ribbon School | CHS band, orchestra and choir faculty celebrate!

Congratulations to our music directors, whose performing groups have racked up another “superior” season of top assessments. The Walker Intermediate Band, the Walker Jazz Band, the Buford Orchestra, and both the Buford Concert Band and the Buford Symphonic Band all earned superior. Because the high school’s  Wind Ensemble, String Ensemble (in addition to the Concert Orchestra), and Charlottesville Singers all earned superior, CHS will earn its 10th(!) Blue Ribbon School designation from the Virginia Music Education Association.

Mentors and authors Page and Franklin
Mentors and authors Page and Franklin

The Curry School at U.Va. recently published two essays by CCS teachers who have been mentors to teachers-in-training.  CHS English teacher Gwendolyn Page discussed “Teaching as Specialized Work,” and Jackson-Via third-grade teacher Nikki Franklin explored “Excellence Every Day in Teacher Mentoring.” Thanks to both women for supporting rising professionals and for representing our schools through their work and writing.

The annual ArtConnections art exhibition featuring work from students at all our schools was another success. This year, the exhibition hosted events that also showcased our musical talents, including the Walker Jazz Band and the All-City Choral Festival.

From "Inner Outlook" by Aaron Eichorst
From “Inner Outlook” by Aaron Eichorst

Clark and Venable School Spanish teacher Carolyn Evans has been chosen as 1 of 12 U.S. teachers for a Fulbright-Hays summer program in Ecuador & Peru!

In March, the artwork of fine arts coordinator Aaron Eichorst in a solo exhibition at PVCC’s North Gallery, and Aaron, along with art teachers Melissa Combs and Jennifer Mildonian, will have works featured in the Blue Ridge Virginia Art Education Association’s exhibition at the MLKPAC.

The Charlottesville Schools community extends condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, and students of Carol Johnson, who passed away in March. Carol served as an instructional assistant at Greenbrier and an employee of the CLASS program.

Burnley-Moran veteran teacher, Ralph Taylor
Long-time Burnley-Moran CLASS  teacher, Ralph Taylor

The Newsplex ran a lovely profile of our 22-year Burnley-Moran CLASS teacher (and CHS grad) Ralph Taylor for their Feel-Good Friday series. What a model of resilience!

From pre-K through high school, our students enjoyed author visits, readings, and more as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book, including the elementary headliner, poet Kwame Alexander.

Logo for STEM @ Cville SchoolsThe Charlottesville Special Education Committee (SEAC) has held several community workshops this year in support of families of individuals with disabilities.  In March, they hosted a presentation about  tax-advantaged ABLEnow accounts.

Heard about iSTEM? Our innovative new program is bringing science, technology, engineering, and math to students in all our schools — even in classes like history and art. Read an overview by Charlottesville Tomorrow, find other examples in this newsletter, or follow @CCS_iSTEM on Twitter for ongoing updates.

EdTechTeam - featuring Google for Education LogoIn March, Charlottesville City Schools hosted its 5th Annual EdTechTeam Summit  Featuring Google for Education. Teachers from Charlottesville and from across the state learned about ways to maximize the power of technology in their teaching.

CHS News

Fine Arts


CHS Technical Theatre Students Design a Set for Into The Woods
CHS technical theatre students build set for Into The Woods
Raisin in the Sun Poster
Raisin in the Sun at CHS, April 13-14

TheatreCHS has offered not one, but two spring productions. February’s musical  Into the Woods featured not only artistry but technology, as students used the school’s STEM lab to create atmospheric lighting and more. The production even featured a rotating stage!  Next up is A Raisin in the Sun (February 13-14), recently featured in a Daily Progress story exploring the school’s commitment to an inclusive theater program.

Seniors Faith Brown (music — cello), Elliot Craft (theater), and Patrick O’Shea (visual arts) were honored as Rising Stars by the Piedmont Council for the Arts, and senior  Rachel Manto received a regional honorable mention in the very competitive 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

CHS symphony concert and fine arts showcase involving more than 250 students!
CHS symphony concert and fine arts showcase involving more than 250 students!

The annual CHS symphony concert and fine arts showcase featured the combined band and orchestra, the choir, the jazz band, and a display of visual artists’ work. More than 250 students were represented! Listen to a snippet  here.

CHS "Band on the Run" 5K logoThe CHS String Ensemble and Band are busy raising the support they need as they represent us this summer in Ireland and this winter in London. Through performances, a painted violin auction, and other fundraisers, they are making good progress.  One upcoming opportunity to support the Band (as well as the cross country team) is the 2nd annual Band on the Run 5K on April 29.

All-state singers Sullivan, Ramirez, and Patek
All-state singers Sullivan, Ramirez, and Patek

Five CHS musicians earned all-state honors! Singers Parker Sullivan, Brianna Ramirez, and Leah Patek as well as clarinetists Charlotte MacDonald and Caleb Rose are representing CHS.

Cuban sculptor & painter José Bedia visits CHS AP Art students
Cuban sculptor & painter José Bedia visits CHS AP Art students

A VR film created by TheatreCHS students was one of three national winners of the Oculus 360 Filmmakers Challenge. Members of the creative team are Trevon Jackson, Julia Kenner, Chloe Koehler, Marie Lee, Francis MacCall & Emma Strock.

Internationally recognized Cuban sculptor & painter Jose Bedia conducted a workshop for CHS AP Art students in February as part of his exhibition at Second Street  Gallery.

Rachel Beling, Grace Brecht, Sarah Hale, and Bella Romberger are student winners of the Poetry & Prose Contest, reading their work at the Omni. Rachel’s piece was a finalist for the associated Tupelo Press Teen Writing Center contest!

 

General Updates


Friends and heros: AJ Stouffer, Jerry Harris, Trevon Jackson
Friends and heroes: AJ Stouffer, Jerry Harris, Trevon Jackson

Trevon Jackson and AJ Stouffer will be named “American Red Cross Youth Heroes” on April 20. In June, the young men used first-aid skills learned during their time at Buford Middle School to save the life of their friend and fellow CHS student, Jerry Harris. 

Junior Kiara Olatunde & senior Jasmine Hayes participated in a panel discussion with Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow, as part of the UVA Global History of Black Girlhood Conference. The conference also featured a screening of a film (Black Girlhood: Access and Assets) created by a team of CCS students that included Zyahna Bryant and Tykeisha Hill.

photo of CHS AVID students during a visit to an area college campus
AVID students visit area college campuses

The CHS AVID program, aimed at preparing first-generation college students, has enjoyed a busy season. Local documentary filmmaker Lorenzo Dickerson, who has documented the history of the area’s black schools, visited CHS, and the students in turn recently visited George Mason University, Radford, and Virginia Tech.  AVID students also recently collaborated to pitch creative solutions for social change to the TomTom Festival.

Senior Kibiriti Majuto was CHS’s winner of  the Youth Service Award at the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, and he and Elizabeth Valtierra, both members of the Charlottesville Youth Council, were speakers at the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference in D.C.

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CHS interviewers/ photographers documenting African-American leadership

A collaborative project between the CHS African-American History and photography classes highlighted African-American community leaders for Black History Month.  Featured in the Daily Progress, the project can be seen here.

Inspirational speaker Carlos Ojeda Jr. brought his special brand of enthusiasm to CHS where he spoke with 9th graders.

At a well-attended AP college night, reps from U.Va., Tech, and ODU discussed AP classes, stress and college with CHS students and families.

Sports


Destinee McDonald courtesy Andrew Shurtleff/Daily Progress
Destinee McDonald

Both basketball teams qualified for the regional quarterfinals, with the girls advancing to the state tourney. Conference 23 honors for the girls’ team included Player of the Year Destinee McDonald and Coach of the Year Jim Daly. McDonald was also named Central VA player of the year, and both she and teammate Alaijah Ragland passed the 1000-point career point mark and earned regional team honors.

Birle (at left) earning all-state honors
Birle (at left) earning all-state honors

More winter sports success: At the state swimming and indoor track championships, swimmer Cole McMahon-Gioeli  placed 6th in the 50m freestyle, and sprinter Susannah Birle  earned 5th in the 300m! Other state qualifiers were Zachary Greenhoe, Graham Keeley, Nick Sifri, Jordan Prax, & Zoe Weatherford (swimming) and Georgia Crum (indoor track).

Spring sports are off to a good start — teams with a particularly strong opening include boys’ and girls’ tennis, boys’ lacrosse, and girls’ and boys’ soccer.

STEM


A cold "Starry Knight": Dr. Irizarry and students at CHS telescope party
A cold “Starry Knight”

The science club BACON placed fourth  in the international Zero Robotics  finals. While at MIT, CHS students were  able to Skype with engineering students at Buford to show how their curriculum applies to MIT’s ZR lab.  (The Zero Robotics competition is sponsored by NASA, MIT, and more.) A different BACON team qualified for the FTC Robotics tournament, as well!

CHS students discussing Avoidcopter for their 2nd place in VA finish.On a cold March night, CHS partnered with the Charlottesville Astronomical Society and U.Va. to host a “Starry Knight” telescope party, complete with a nebula, friends, and hot chocolate.

Jonah Weissman, James Nachbar, & Stephen Newman (and their “Avoidcopter”) earned 2nd place in the Tech & Robotics category of the Virginia Department of Education’s championship for the “Student-Led Ideation Challenge.” Their Avoidcopter is a drone with avoidance capabilities.

Elizabeth Kromkowski won 1st in math sciences, plus the Mu Alpha Theta award, in the regional science fair!

Buford and Walker News

Springtime learning & fun in the CSG Buford Garden
Springtime learning & fun in the CSG Buford Garden

Buford Middle School students distributed more than 5,000 seedlings to sister City Schoolyard Gardens and also to area nonprofits including the International Rescue Commitee, Trinity Episcopal Church, The Haven, City of Promise, Grow 4 Change and Casa Alma.   The seedlings survived a bitter cold snap thanks to help from the Buford ESOL class, and the hoophouse and seedling planting was also aided by Ms. Thompson’s class, which is part of the weekly gardening crew.  Bravo to all for such a compelling group effort!

Buford student Caroline McLellan's winning poster design for the GEAR UP contest
Buford student Caroline McLellan’s honored poster design for the GEAR UP contest

For a second year, Buford student Caroline McLellan won or placed in the GEAR UP poster contest organized by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

City of Promise filmmaking team
City of Promise filmmaking team

Lynaisha Booker and Talejha Cowan of Buford, as well as BriAsia Booker, Mauriana Evans, and Tanjalir Howard of Walker were part of a team of CCS and City of Promise students who produced a film (Black Girlhood: Access and Assets) screened at U.Va.’s Global History of Black Girlhood Conference.

The Buford community tradition of International Night was a great success thanks to students and families who attended.  Attendees were treated to worlds foods,  dancing, and even a visit from celebrity drummer Mr. Johnson!

Aidan Walker (L) & Reece McKee (R)
Aidan Walker (L) & Reece McKee (R)

Walker student Aidan Peters, and Buford student Reece McKee qualified for the Virginia Geography Bee, where Reece placed 3rd in the state!

Ryan Doherty, Margaret Anne Doran, Eleanor Hilgart, Eliza Morrison, and Tobin Yates were student winners of the Poetry & Prose Contest and read their work at the Omni.

Latin students at Buford (stage the assassination of Julius Caesar
Latin students at Buford (with Principal Johnson) stage the assassination of Julius Caesar on the ides of March (3/15).

Latin students at  (with the help of Principal Johnson)staged the assassination of Julius Caesar to celebrate the ides of March, or March 15 on the Roman calendar!  

Susan Sutton, a national presenter on cyberbullying in schools spoke with students and parents at Buford about the realities of social media use, including its negative (and positive) impacts on young people.

Walker fifth-graders are gearing up for El Espectaculo! on April 24, showcasing what they’ve learned about Spanish culture and language in our elementary Spanish program.

The Walker Peace Squad was featured in the April Bloom Magazine. Why? Because it’s cool to be kind!

Looking for summer learning opportunities? CATEC is holding its first “Kids College at CATEC” acdemies. Rising 7-10th graders can enjoy a wide range of hands-on, skill-based STEM and technical academies. From culinary arts to IT/engineering to firefighting, these programs give a glimpse of CATEC’s offerings and are organized as part of PVCC’s Kids College summer program.

STEM


Buford MATHCOUNTS team
Buford MATHCOUNTS team

The Buford MATHCOUNTS team finished 2nd in the regional competition. David Wiles and Nikolas Dillery finished 1st and 4th, earning places in the state tourney. Good luck!

Teams from Buford, Johnson, Venable, and Walker participated in the Village School Math Tournament. Buford student Zoe DeGuzman placed 3rd in the upper division, while in the lower division, Walker student Claire DeGuzman came in first and Helen Buzzoni came in 4th. Walker teams placed 2nd and 3rd overall.
Walker students design and test cotton gins
Walker students design and test cotton gins

Walker students recently explored the connections between the humanities and STEM by designing, building, and tweaking their own cotton gins.

Walker students and families enjoyed STEM Night, featuring a wide range of hands-on activities and a photo booth.

Walker students and their families enjoy STEM Night
Walker students and their families enjoy STEM Night

Why play video games when you can design your own? The Walker coding club is leading the way, as reported by NBC29.

Buford Engineering students install a counting device to help the CCS Art Department keep track of traffic at the annual art exhibit.
Buford engineering students design and install a counter to track attendance at Art Connections.

And why attend class when you can teach it?  After seeing a presentation of the design process that Buford engineering students use, Elgin Cleckley, assistant professor in the U.Va. Architecture School, invited the Buford students to come share their experiences with his design class.

Taking on a real-world problem, Buford engineering students Quinnyah Blount, Abbie Payne, and Kori Ross designed an attendance counter used at the school division’s annual art exhibition.

Elementary News

The Johnson Living History Museum
The Johnson Living History Museum

At Johnson Elementary’s Living History Museum, students brought to life famous Americans for a hands-on (and costumes-on) learning experience.  Muhammad Ali was present, as well as Teddy Roosevelt, George Marshall, Venus Williams, Pocahontas, Sonia Sotomayor, and Willie Mays (just to name a few)!  A special thanks to the Charlottesville School Board for lending their gavel to Thurgood Marshall.

Burnley-Moran 1-mile color run on 4/15. For details, call 245-2413Let’s get moving! The Burnley-Moran PTO invites the community to its first-ever family 1-mile color run this Saturday, April 15.

Kindergarten open house is Thursday, April 20, from 3:30-6 at your local elementary school.  Even if you fill out the forms online (and we hope you will), you still need to bring documents such as proof of residency to the school. We’re looking forward to meeting a new generation of future Black Knights!

Walker Peace Squad members welcome CCS 4th graders as the tour Walker in anticipation of moving up next year.
Walker Peace Squad members welcome CCS 4th graders to Walker

Walker 5th graders hosted CCS 4th graders for a mini band/orchestra concert, school tours, & mentoring groups!  The rising elementary students were greeted by members of the Walker Peace Squad (who are featured in the April Bloom Magazine).

Johnson kindergarten students make and eat yummy sushi!
Johnson kindergarten students make and eat yummy sushi!

Kindergartners at Johnson enjoyed making and eating sushi together. Cuisine and culture are such a delicious mix!

CHS 10th grade AVID students spent time mentoring elementary students at Jackson-Via.

Burnley-Moran students raised slightly over $450 in their 2nd annual penny drive. This year, students  voted on the charity of their choice to receive $100. The Bobcats stayed true to their mascot and selected the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA!

Elementary schools received visits from a number of guest readers for Read Across America Day, including the Cat in the Hat (since it’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday). Other guest readers included U.Va. athletes from basketball, crew, soccer, and more

Visits from UVA for World Read Aloud Day!
Visits from U.Va. athletes for Read Across America!

Kindergarten students learned about community helpers in a variety of ways, from visiting the Fontaine Avenue Fire Station to using dress-up activity centers to inviting CATEC students to talk about their future careers as community helpers.

The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia paid a visit to Jackson-Via to teach the students hand-on about early Virginia culture.  Students took turns carrying water with a yoke, using a wedge to split firewood, and practicing vital everyday tasks of frontier life.

Jackson-Via students enjoy a visit from the Virginia Frontier Culture Museum of Staunton.
Jackson-Via students enjoy a visit from the Virginia Frontier Culture Museum.

 

Clark put students in charge of parent-teacher conferences!
Clark put students in charge of parent-teacher conferences!

Clark and Venable recently put students in charge of parent-teacher conferences! These students shared their goals and progress, sometimes using Skype to include parents and grandparents (as far away as Jordan)!

C is for cross-curricular collaboration! Venable teachers have been developing shared library-art-classroom projects, including third graders sewing endangered species stuffed animals and 2nd graders creating famous American pop-up books.

Teachers at Greenbrier and Jackson-Via got creative (and visibly older) celebrating the 100th day of school!  Other playful teachers covered themselves in band-aids and asked for a little TLC to help them prepare for 80 more awesome days of school!

Teachers at Greenbrier and Jackson via celebrate 100 days of school with the help of band-aids and humor!

Our elementary schools held STEM Nights with the help of students from CHS’s science club, BACON (Best All-Around Club of Nerds). One popular activity was the hot wheel challenge where students adjusted mass on racing derby cars to better understand potential and kinetic energy!

School Board Update

Leah Puryear
National CUBE steering committee member Leah Puryear

Special congratulations to vice chair Leah Puryear, who was elected to the National School Board Association’s steering committee for the Council of Urban Boards of Education. Recent School Board decisions include approving the proposed 2017-18 operating budget and the fee schedule for the 2017-18 CLASS after-school program. Discussions and reports have included updates on the math and literacy program, the after-school Extending Bridges to Learning literacy program, the new iSTEM program for elementary and older students, and the forthcoming implementation of a new business system in the divisions’ offices.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events include:

April

  • Raisin in the Sun PosterTheatreCHS presents A Raisin in the Sun, April 13-14, 7pm, Black Box, CHS
  • Family 1-Mile Color Run at Burnley-Moran, April 15. Open to all (with registration). See info here.
  • Walker El Espectaculo Spanish Celebration, April 24, 7pm
  • Kindergarten Registration at all elementary schools, April 20, 3:30pm – 6pm. You can register online here before you go!
  • CHS Spring Choir ConcertApril 26, 7pm, MLKPAC
  • Walker Orchestra Spring ConcertApril 27, 7pm. Farewell concert for Dr. Polly Sibert!
  • CHS Band on the Run 5K, April 29, 8am. Open to all (with registration). See info here.
  • CHS PromApril 29, 7-11pm, Carver Recreation Center, $10.  See info here.

May

  • Buford Engineering Night, May 2, 6pm
  • Buford Spring Orchestra ConcertMay 3, 7:30pm
  • School Board Meeting, May 4, 5pm
  • CHS Band Spring Concert, May 7, 7pm, MLKPAC
  • Buford Spring Band Concert, May 9, 7pm – 8pm
  • Book Buddies 25th Anniv. ReceptionMay 10, 4pm – 5pm, Jefferson School City Center
  • Walker/Buford Chorus ConcertMay 10, 7pm – 8pm, Buford Auditorium
  • Strategic Plan Community Update, May 11, 5:30pm, CHS Sigma Lab
  • 2017FestofCulturesPostcardFestival of CulturesSat, May 13, 10am – 4pm, Lee Park
  • Stage Left Theatre presents Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, May 18, 6:30pm, Buford
  • CHS Dessert TheatreMay 19-20, 7pm with Sat maninee at 3pm
  • Walker Band Spring ConcertsMay 19, 6:30pm – 9pm
  • CHS Saturday Academic InterventionMay 13, 9am – 12:30pm
  • CHS Saturday Academic Intervention for SeniorsMay 20, 9am – 12:30pm, B-Commons
  • Walker Band Instrument Selection NightMay 23 & 25, 5pm
  • CATEC Completers Ceremony, May 24, 7pm
  • No School (Memorial Day), May 29

students in caps and gowns after graduationJune

  • School Board MeetingJune 1, 5pm
  • Minds in Motion Performance with Richmond BalletJune 1, 7pm, MLKPAC
  • 8th Grade DanceJune 2, 7pm – 10pm, Buford
  • Senior Awards CelebrationJune 7, 7pm , MLKPAC
  • CHS graduationJune 8, 7pm, John Paul Jones Arena
  • Half-Day (Last Day of School), June 9

Curious about next year’s calendar? Add it to your Google calendar (or find a pdf here)!

Remember that you can subscribe to our Google calendar of school holidays and as well as Google calendars for school-specific events. Instructions are at charlottesvilleschoools.org/calendar.

Kindergarten students at Charlottesville City Schools

Kindergarten Open House Coming April 20

Smiling Kindergarten students at Charlottesville City Schools

Charlottesville City’s elementary schools will hold kindergarten open houses on Thursday, April 20 at 3:30 – 6:00 PM. Students should visit the open house for the school they will attend. (Not sure which elementary school your child will attend?  Find out here.)

Steps

  1. Complete online forms here (in English and español) — forms are also available at open house
  2. Visit the open house with proof of residency and other documents (see list here).
  3. Find answers to other questions (including non-resident applications) on our registration page.

We’re excited to meet our new kindergarten students and their families!

More Information:

 

 

BOLT community dinner for middle schoolers April 24. Call 245-2411 for details.

UPCOMING at Buford: BOLT dinner

 

BOLT community dinner for middle schoolers April 24. Call 245-2411 for details.NEW DATE April 24

BOLT: Being Outstanding Leaders Together Against Drugs and Alcohol

Join us for BOLT: Being Outstanding Leaders Together Against Drugs and Alcohol!

Parents will hear from UVA’s Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.  Students will hear from David Flood, a national motivational speaker.  This will be a fun, family event promoting healthy lifestyles and leadership through drug and alcohol education!

WHEN:  April 24, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Monticello High School | 1400 Independence Way | Charlottesville, VA 22902

A free Bojangles’ dinner will be served from 6:00 – 6:30 p.m.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED | Register at: www.youchoosecville.com

Nepalese students at Walker taking a Virtual Reality tour of their home country.

Recently at Walker

2017 is proving to be a great year at Walker Upper Elementary!  Students involved with Stage Left Theatre gave a fabulous final production of the play Beauty and the Beast on January 24, while numerous STEM activities – including experiments with water filtration, simulated boat travel up the James River, and projects using coordinate planes and virtual reality demonstrations – have all been happening throughout the months of January and February.  Meanwhile, in the classrooms, students recreated the setting of the 1998 novel ‘Among the Hidden’ by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Enjoy the photo gallery!

Girls' Basketball Team wins Regional Championship and will advance to the State Quarterfinals (2017)

What’s Happening at CHS

UPCOMING EVENTS | March & April 2017 Fine Arts Schedule!

2017 has been a busy year at CHS! In case you’ve missed them, here is a sample of the what’s been going on.

Black History Month Presentation | ROLE MODELS – Influential African-Americans

50 African-American leaders from the Charlottesville and Albemarle communities were welcomed by CHS students for a photo shoot and interview sesion in January.  This collaborative project between the CHS African-American History and photography classes sought to highlight and celebrate prominent community leaders for Black History Month.

The project was also highlighted in the Daily Progress.

 

TheaterCHS presents “Into the Woods” February 16-18

Charlottesville High School students performed Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center from February 16-18. The Tony Award-winning musical revisits and reimagines several well-known fairy tales.

Girls’ Basketball Regional Victory

Girls' Basketball Team wins Regional Championship and will advance to the State Quarterfinals (2017)
Girls’ Basketball Team wins Regional Championship and will advance to the State Quarterfinals (2017)

The CHS Girls’ Basketball team enjoyed a well-fought victory in February when they defeated Jefferson Forest 40 – 31 to win the Conference 23 title!  Congratulations, Lady Knights!

CHS Students Earn All-State Choir Honor

Charlottesville High School students Parker Sullivan, Brianna Ramirez, & Leah Patek have earned All-VA Choir honors!
Charlottesville High School students Parker Sullivan, Brianna Ramirez, & Leah Patek have earned All-VA Choir honors!

Charlottesville High School students Parker Sullivan, Brianna Ramirez, & Leah Patek have been awarded  All-VA Choir honors!

AVID | Mentoring & College Visits

CHS AVID Students Visit Colleges and Mentor CCS Local Elementary School Students
CHS AVID Students Visit Colleges and Mentor CCS Local Elementary School Students

In February, CHS AVID students  visited Radford and Virginia Tech.  They also spent time at Jackson-Via mentoring students with classrooms activities.

 

 

Photo of Violinist Eric Stanley During His Visit to Jackson-Via Elementary School

Recently at Jackson-Via

Check Out What’s Been Going On at Jackson-Via Elementary!


Jackson Via Elementary Math & STEM Night: Hot Wheel Angled Racing Demonstration
Hot Wheels Challenge: Measuring ramp height and making predictions!

STEM & Math Night

On January 31st, we had a night full of STEM activities where students were joined by members of the science club BACON (Best All-around Club Of Nerds) in STEM-related activities that included building a marble maze, competing in a “Hot Wheels” challenge, and exploring the mechanics of wind energy!

Click here for more fun photos of STEM & Math Night!


A Visit From Eric Stanley

On January 27,  violinist, YouTube sensation, and VCU graduate Eric Stanley visited Jackson-Via to encourage students to stay inspired  with his entertaining mix of fun classical, pop, jazz, and hip-hop music!

You can read more about Eric Stanley’s visit to Charlottesville on the Newsplex website.


The Greek Market | 3rd Grade Classes

On Friday, January 20, Jackson-Via third grade students had their “Greek Market” sale.  Students crafted items (and imagined services) based on what they’ve been learning in the curriculum, and sold them for “Classroom Bucks: Franklin Funds, Davis Dollars or Morgan Money.”   The third-grade team did a great job, and the kids had a ball!


PJs and Popcorn Night | Fun with Literacy

On Thursday, January 19th students and parents went through literacy stations wearing their pajamas and enjoying popcorn!

A great time was had by all!