All posts by Krissy Vick

College Counseling logo

CHS College and Counseling Newsletter

To learn about counseling-sponsored events at CHS, upcoming deadlines, and local scholarships and enrichment opportunities, please refer to the CHS College and Counseling Newsletter. Students and families can subscribe to the e-newsletter by emailing college counselor Liz Wachter at

Here are some highlights from the March edition:

Updated virtual college advising hours graphic

These updated virtual advising hours are open for students AND families to join.
For individual meetings, please email

graphic for Gear Up Scholarship

GEAR UP SENIORS: Don’t forget about the Gear UP Scholarship! If you aren’t sure whether you have done the exit form, please reach out to Liz Wachter.

graphic for PVCC Scholarship

graphic for College Research Workshops


Please stay in touch!

School Counselors: Students are assigned to a school counselor alphabetically by last names:

Dept. Chair & T-Wa: Sarah Elaine Hart
A-Co: Kerry Avakian
Cr-Hi: David Wilkerson
Ho-M: Brianna Hill
N-S: Melanie Key
We-Z & ESL: Hannah Dowdy

Support Staff

College Adviser: Liz Wachter
PVCC Career Coach: Debbie Ashby
Scholarship Coordinator: Lois Burke

Department Website:
College Advising Website:

Sign-Up for the College Adviser Remind Text Alerts: Subscribe to these alerts to receive important updates and reminders about events happening at CHS! *Make sure to include the “@” in your subscription text message.
Parents: Text @chsrents to 81010 or click here to receive email alerts
Seniors: Text @chs-2020 to 81010
Juniors: Text @chs-2021bk to 81010
Sophomores: Text @chs-2022bk to 81010
Freshmen: Text @chs-2023 to 81010

Illustration of pencil with the words "Family Learning Resources"

Family Learning Resources

Charlottesville City Schools Continuity of Learning Plan SPRING BREAK: APRIL 6-10, 2020 PHASE 2: March 23-April 3 PHASE 3: April 13-June 3 1 • Establishing meal service • Distributing Chromebooks for families of 2nd- to 6th-graders • Planning exploratory learning activities and long-term framework • Online exploratory activities or review modules posted • Teachers making connections with students via phone, email, and learning programs • No new material presented (per state guidelines) • Continued meal and tech deliveries • New curriculum covering core curriculum presented online or via printed materials (K-1) • Continued meal and tech deliveries • Note: We will continue to revise this plan to respond to changing circumstances, state guidance, and best practices. 2 Note to Families: Our IT team has been busy helping families get computers and solve connectivity issues, and our teachers have been reaching out through phone, email, and online learning programs. If your student has not been able to connect with your teacher, please contact your school via phone or email. We want to help your student continue learning. 3 PHASE 1: March 16-20 LEARNING LOGISTICS EXPLORATORY LEARNING NEW LEARNING April 2020
Click for printable PDF

Along with many other school districts across the state and nation, we are working on ways to extend learning opportunities and stay connected to our students while also doing our part to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If your students haven’t been in contact with their teachers, please contact the schools. We want to help our students keep learning!

Expectations Using These Resources

Expectations Using These Resources

Our goal during this time is to maintain the relationship between our schools and our families and to encourage students to continue — and enjoy — learning. For the time being, these resources are offered as suggestions for your family to help provide structure, maintain a connection to our schools, and foster continuous learning.  Work will not be graded. These activities are offered as a support, not a stressor.

If our closure is extended beyond 3/27, we may formalize these arrangements.

Letter from Dr. Atkins, March 20

Dear families,

What a week! If you’re like me, you’re still trying to process all that has happened.

In the past week, we have grappled with

  • the confirmation that the virus has arrived in our state and community, 
  • the sudden decision to close our schools,
  • the creation of a school meals delivery system that served more than 2,500 meals, 
  • the distribution of about 900 chromebooks to our 2nd- to 6th-grade students, and 
  • outlining a new framework for student engagement and learning.

I’m so proud of our teachers, principals, and staff as well as our community volunteers who have made these accomplishments possible, even as they have juggled responsibilities at home.

Let’s start with a brief update on food. Schools’ food deliveries this week are Monday and Wednesday only. Since we will be giving multiple day’s food at each visit, we recommend children bring an adult or backpack to help carry the extra food home. Delivery times/locations are the same but as we deliver more food, there may be route delays.  Volunteers are needed for this week. Learn more and sign up to help at

Let’s take a moment to thank our nutrition team and bus drivers for their incredible work and dedication! What important work they are doing!

Now, let us turn our attention to learning. While we will await the governor’s guidance on when to re-open schools, we are making plans in case the closure extends beyond 3/27. Tomorrow the governor is expected to make an announcement.

As we think about what learning will look like in case of an extended closure, let’s keep in mind that at home, work, and “school,” we are making new routines and finding new ways to meet our basic needs. We are still working to get supports such as chromebooks and wifi to households in need. We are working to empower our teachers to succeed in a new environment even as we recognize that they are also supporting their own families at home, particularly as illness arises (coronavirus or otherwise). In other words, this is new and complicated, and we will not immediately transform our vibrant schools into fully formed distance-learning counterparts.

Having said that, we are committed to finding new ways to connect and engage with our students. Starting later this week, teachers will be reaching out to students to make connections and to map which students need additional supports to be part of a virtual community.

As we gain confidence online and extend resources as needed, we will ramp up our distance learning offerings. Along the way, we will make mistakes and learn — exactly what we expect our students to do. Let’s be patient and encouraging with one another — just as we expect of our teachers.

Our goal during this time is to maintain the relationship between our schools and our families and to encourage students to continue — and enjoy — learning. For the time being, learning resources are offered as suggestions for your family to help provide structure, maintain a connection to our schools, and foster continuous learning.  Work will not be graded. These activities are offered as a support, not a stressor. If our closure is extended beyond 3/27, we may formalize these arrangements. 

You will learn more from your schools and your teachers about what this will look like for your students, but as you await contact from your teacher, we’ve created a page to give you some basics to work with at

We have big questions to grapple with, such as:

  • How do we meet the needs of our most vulnerable learners?
  • How will we support our youngest students with at-home learning?
  • How will we prepare high school seniors for graduation and life after graduation?
  • Will we be able to sustain our model for food delivery if this situation continues or worsens?
  • We have many challenges and exciting opportunities. 

The good news is, we aren’t in this alone. We are following state guidance. For instance, the state is applying for a federal waiver from state SOL testing, and the state is issuing guidelines for seniors. Aside from the state, we are working with other school divisions. And remember, Charlottesville, we are a strong community.

There are many ways to help.

  • Take care of yourself and your family.
  • Consider volunteering. Presently, we need food delivery volunteers — even for tomorrow. A one-stop-shop for giving and getting help is
  • Consider donating. The CACF is creating a school-based fund to support our food delivery efforts — stay tuned. And already, the CACF has created a general Charlottesville Emergency fund for the needs throughout our community.
  • Be patient as we continue to learn what works. If you have suggestions or concerns, please contact us directly. Constructive feedback is welcome, and we may miss a good idea if it is posted on social media instead of emailed to a staff member. 

You are doing your best. Although not seen by the public, our custodians and IT staff are doing their best. Our teachers will soon be doing their best (and we know just how good their best is!) Our nutrition staff, bus drivers, and volunteers are doing their best. Together, we all want what is best for the young people of Charlottesville.

With appreciation,
Dr. Rosa Atkins


Elementary Guides

Your child will be hearing from his/her teacher soon, but in the meanwhile, we’ve organized these resources into a sample weekly plan for your convenience! Have fun with these activities.

PK- Grade 1 – Week 1

PK- Grade 1 – Week 2

  Grades 2-4: Week 1 

  Grades 2-4 : Week 2

Recommended Resources

Accessing CCS K-4 Online Learning Tools



Walker, Buford, CHS Resources

Resources for All Ages

Cville Schools Counseling Department and Social-Emotional Learning Resources

Our school counselors have compiled a list of resources to help families and students in this unusual time. Topics range from talking about the coronavirus to general mental wellness to social-emotional learning.

Cville Schools Library Resources

Let’s keep reading — and singing, and playing, and listening to audiobooks…! For tips and resources, see these links.

Equity and Coronavirus

Without focused attention on equity, this pandemic will exacerbate inequities nationally, not only along racial or economic lines, but also in communities such as ESL and special education. To address these issues:

  • We are working to map who has computer and internet access and to address the gaps and/or provide off-line learning activities
  • In our initial roll-out of continued learning, we are not introducing new material. We do not want students who are not presently connected to fall behind. We need to find individualized solutions for families without internet access.
  • For PreK-1, we are using off-line resources for teaching.
  • We are having conversations about equity and distance learning to be thoughtful and informed in our approach.
  • We are serving food at designated schools and bringing it into key neighborhoods by bus to connect students with food since we know that hungry children are less able to learn.
  • We are teaming up with partners and agencies to serve our students with special needs.
  • Our special education and ESL teams are staying tuned as state guidance is issued so we can follow best practices to make individualized decisions to identify services and supports.

Special Education Services

The current activities and resources posted on this page and in Canvas were developed in conjunction with special education staff. For the time being, these materials are remedial in nature, provided for everyone and optional.

Special Education case managers will contact families to share how they can support and facilitate access during this time and/or provide additional learning and enrichment activities.  Since in-person classes are cancelled per Governor’s orders, special education services will not be provided for the time being.

When CCS begins teaching new material to all students, individualized decisions will be made by IEP teams to identify the special education services and supports that are required to participate in the new instruction. Additionally, when we return to in-person learning, IEP teams will discuss the educational impact of school closure.

If you have questions or concerns and cannot reach your special education case manager, please contact the coordinator based on your school:
  • Preschool, Elementary and Accessible Materials: Rachel Rasnake 434-245-2664
  • Walker Upper Elementary School and Charlottesville High School: Karen Wilson 434-245-2648
  • Buford Middle School and Alternative Placements: Pattye Leslie 434-245-2660

Cville Schools ESL Resources

Cville Schools ESL Resources








Community Resources

Learning happens when our basic needs have been met. Attached please find the local United Way’s guide to community resources:

Learning Suggestions from the State of Virginia

Learning at Home: Suggestions from the State of Virginia

Parents and families can support students’ thinking and learning during extended school closures.

  • Collaborate with your child to organize the day to include time for learning, activities and exercise.
  • Read to and with your child and have conversations about what you have read together.
  • Take a walk and ask about what your child is seeing and about being a good citizen.
  • Encourage critical thinking through cooking together or planning a garden.
  • Encourage conversations about mathematics in your child’s day.
  • Explore your child’s creativity by creating art, music, or dance.
  • Write a letter to a family member or friend or community hero.
  • Be mindful of screen time and have alternatives for children to play outside.
  • Listen to your child about his or her feelings and fears and offer comfort, honesty, and reassurance.

Basics (Computers, Connectivity, and Expectations

Chromebook Distribution

Chromebook Distribution

We have focused on distributing one Chromebook for every home with a student in grades 2-6 (unless their household already has a computer, ipod, or other device that students can use ). We are trying to reach as many families as possible.

Why grades 2-6?

  • Students at CHS and Buford have previously been issued Chromebook devices.
  • Our plans for students in PK-1 do not include devices (we will have off-line learning suggestions for them.)

If you did not receive a Chromebook or need a charger, please reach out to your principal at most schools. At Burnley-Moran, reach out to assistant principal Adriane Butler (butlera1).

Internet Access

Internet Access

Previous and current surveys indicate that the vast majority of our families have at-home internet access. Recently, Xfinity and AT&T opened up all their U.S. WiFi hotspots to non-customers, which will assist even more of our families.

Suggested WiFi networks:

  • If your family has a home WiFi network, go for it!
  • If you can see an AT&T or Xfinity hotspot from your home, right now they are open to everyone (not just customers).
  • If you can see a City of Charlottesville or a Charlottesville City Schools network from your home, jump on as guest.
  • Other suggestions include asking a neighbor to see if they’ll share their WiFi password. (They can change the password at any time — for instance, after we reopen schools.)
  • Still no home access? You can walk a bit with the computer to figure out the closest school or park where you could sit and check your email for a moment.
  • If nothing else works in your home, stay tuned. Within a few days, we hope to start distributing WiFi hotspots to families with no other internet access.




Screenshot of Cville Parks & Rec Summer Camp flyer

Summer camp registration now open!

Screenshot of Cville Parks & Rec Summer Camp flyer
Click to view and download full flyer PDF

Charlottesville Parks & Recreation will be operating Camp Shenandoah for rising grades 1-4 at all city elementary schools this summer.

Students may sign up for full-day camp and/or wrap-around camp for students participating in summer school. Since summer school invitations won’t be finalized until April, it is advised that you go ahead and register for the full day of camp now to reserve your spot. Financial assistance is available for camps and applications are available at any Parks & Recreation center in the city.

Rising 5th graders should register for Camp Blue Ridge at Carver Recreation Center.

Flyers will be sent home in backpacks. You can also access the digital flyer and PDF by clicking on the above picture. Parents can also use this link to register your child.

Registration is now open!

Students performing play at Greenbrier Elementary.

7th and 8th graders present “When Ancestors Come to Dinner”

The set for "When Ancestors Come to Dinner," a play presented by Buford 7th and 8th grade students in observance of Black History Month.
The set for “When Ancestors Come to Dinner,” a play presented by Buford 7th and 8th grade students in observance of Black History Month.

Throughout the month of March, Buford Middle School has observed Black History Month in a variety of ways including a school-wide performance of “When Ancestors Come to Dinner” presented by 7th and 8th grade students.

Buford Reading Specialist Edna Harris organized the play auditions and performances.

“Once students auditioned, I sent out “Golden Tickets” to announce they were selected for the role they tried out for,” said Harris.  “All students who auditioned received golden tickets via email, and the sounds of joy when they yelled ‘I got a golden ticket!’ were priceless.”

“When Ancestors Come to Dinner” tells the story of the Wooling family, a family of five who reminisces about contributions of African Americans in history while sitting at the dinner table. As their discussion develops, different people come to the stage to share their contributions to the United States of America.

The students were also invited to Greenbrier Elementary School to perform the play for students in grades 2-4.

“These are priceless moments in middle school,” said Harris. “Every day since then, the students have come to ask if I will create another play for them because it was so much fun.”

Buford play performance at Greenbrier Elementary School.
Buford students performing “When Ancestors Come to Dinner” at Greenbrier Elementary School.

logo for Walker Buford United PTO

Walker Buford United PTO meeting Wednesday

logo for Walker Buford United PTOThe Walker Buford United PTO will meet on Wednesday, March 11 at 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Tonsler Park Recreation Center. All families of Walker Upper Elementary School and Buford Middle School are invited to attend.

On the Agenda:

  • Family Life parent information session with SARA representative
  • Cell phone use guidelines discussion
  • WBU PTO Non-Profit Bylaws discussion
  • Buford Community Day(s) request and discussion
  • Black History Celebration at Buford report
  • Teacher Appreciation update
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Fundraising

To keep up with the latest PTO efforts, please join our Facebook group,, and visit our web site,

Energy and Water Management Program: Spring Quarter Poster image discusses reducing water and energy waste

City and Schools promote energy and water conservation-Spring Quarter Update

Energy and Water Management Program Spring Quarter Update reminding people to reduce energy and water waste.Charlottesville City Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team are working together to reduce the energy and water footprint of all City schools. On April 11th, 2019 the School Board approved an Energy and Water Performance resolution, showing a commitment to achieving and maintaining high performing school facilities. 

Continuing on past efforts, the City’s maintenance and development teams are specifying high efficiency building equipment, such as high-efficiency chillers and LED lighting, and are enhancing operational control through advanced building automation systems. Charlottesville Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team continue to investigate ways to accelerate the installation of high performance equipment throughout our schools.

The City is also working with each school to raise awareness about energy and water saving practices through education and outreach efforts that include distributing educational materials and providing tips and strategies that students and faculty can use to reduce the energy and water impact at our schools. 

Each quarter a different theme emphasizes aspects of energy and water efficiency/conservation. The 2019-2020 themes are:

  • Fall (September – November): The Value of Energy and Water
  • Winter (December – February): Understanding Our Energy and Water Use
  • Spring (March – May): Smart Energy and Water Use
  • Summer (June – August): Keep Going! Summertime Savings

Have questions about this program? Contact the City’s Energy and Water Management Team at

Learn more about other green initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools here.

2019-20 Education and Outreach

Energy and Water Management Program: Spring Quarter Poster image discusses reducing water and energy wasteSpring Quarter: Reducing our Energy and Water Waste

This spring the Energy and Water Management Team is back with more reminders to help us trim up our energy and water use!

Help our school reduce energy waste! Make sure outside doors close behind you and tell an adult if propped open. This will help keep our cooled and heated air inside our school rather than letting it escape through open doors to the outside!

Don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle along with you wherever you go! Fill it up from tap water, which comes from our rivers and is cleaned to make it safe and taste good. Before dumping out any left over water, think reusable by giving it to some plants that would happily enjoy that water.

Spring Quarter Tips:
1. Keep outside doors closed
2. Fill up your reusable water bottle with tap water
3. If you see a water leak or an open outside door, report it!

If we each reduce our energy and water waste at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits,together we can have a real impact.

Energy and Water Management Program Winter Quarter posterWinter Quarter: Understanding our Energy and Water Use

Did you know that the greenhouse gases produced from energy used at all 10 Charlottesville City Schools is equal to the greenhouse gases produced by 500 homes? We know our schools need resources to operate but what exactly uses energy and water in our schools every day?

We are asking students and faculty to try to identify what uses energy and water when you walk into your classroom each day. For energy, think about the overhead lighting, computers, electronics, and air conditioning/heating. For water, think about the water fountain in the hallway and sink in your classroom. What about at home?

There are also the items that aren’t as noticeable such as leaving your phone plugged in even when it’s fully charged or not paying attention to that dripping faucet. Even when a phone is plugged in and is fully charged, it still uses 2.24 watts of energy, and that slow drip…drip…drip of a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons of water a year!

Let’s reduce our energy and water impact at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits we can do each day.

Winter Quarter Tips:

  • Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
  • Make an effort to unplug personal electronics.
  • Turn the water off when not in use.
  • If you see a water leak or hear a running toilet, report it!


water and energy management posterFall Quarter: The Value of Energy and Water

The energy and water that we use at home and in our school are typically provided using finite resources. In Virginia, fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) are used to produce over 60% of the electricity that we use, with nuclear and renewables making up the rest. We also use natural gas directly to heat our school and to heat our water. The water we use is pumped from reservoirs fed by rivers and is treated before coming to our homes and school as clean, potable water.  Simply put, our demand for electricity, natural gas, and water (the amount we use) has a direct impact on these resources. We have a responsibility to manage what we use but we’re also empowered with the ability to make lasting change.

In many cases we use more than we need, so we already have simple opportunities to reduce our impact. The best place to start is just becoming aware of when and how we use energy and water throughout our typical day. As you do your normal activities, think about how long you leave your lights on, leave your phone plugged in, and leave the water running. Now think about how you can adjust your behaviors to trim that up a bit.  It’s a game of inches, not miles, and small changes add up to big savings.

Fall Quarter Tips:

  • Last one out? Flip the switch!
  • Turn the water off when not in use.


Monacan Nation chief shows animal hide to students.

Visit to “Bear Mountain” teaches students about Monacan Nation, culture, identity

Historic schoolhouse in Monacan Nation Second grade students at Burnley-Moran Elementary recently visited Amherst, Virginia to learn more about the Monacan Nation, a state-recognized Indian tribe located near Bear Mountain in Amherst County.

Monacan Nation chief shows animal hide to students.Chief of the Monacan Nation Kenneth Branham led a tour through some of the Bear Mountain highlights including the museum and the old schoolhouse, a historic landmark. He also introduced students to the various uses of local wildlife for the Monacan tribe. Students especially liked hearing him blow through an animal horn.

The field trip was the culminating experience for an inquiry-based lesson exploring culture and identity. Students were asked to consider the question, “How do culture and identity make a person unique and special?”

Students draw their reflections after attending field trip to Monacan Nation.Students also studied their own identities, along with the identitites of the Monacans as they engaged in the inquiry. Back at school, they completed various reflections including an assignment in which they were asked to draw the beliefs, community, culture, people and identity of the Monacan tribe through their own eyes. Second grade lead teacher Jess Scott said the drawings reflected various ideas such as the importance of education, prayer, eagle feathers, church, and supporting one another.

Special thanks to Coordinator of Social Studies & World Languages for Charlottesville City Schools Neeley Minton, Burnley-Moran Instructional Coach April Douglas, and the second grade team for developing this pilot lesson for students.

The Music Man performance poster

TheatreCHS to present “The Music Man” with 100+ cast and crew

The Music Man performance posterThe Charlottesville High School Theater Department will present the Broadway musical hit “The Music Man” on Thursday, March 26 through Sunday, March 29 at CHS in the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center.

A golden age musical from 1958 and recipient of the Tony Award for Best Musical that year, “The Music Man” is about the transformation and power of change in a community.  The TheatreCHS production will include more than 100 students of various ages participating in roles as cast, crew, and musical pit.

“‘The Music Man’ is our biggest production of the school year, and for that matter, in quite some time,” said CHS Drama Department Chair David Becker, who is in his 11th year leading TheatreCHS. “The cast, crew, and orchestra have worked tirelessly to polish all of the elements that go into a successful show., and we hope people will come out to see it!”

Show times are:

  • Thursday, March 26, 7:30pm
  • Friday, March 27, 7:30pm
  • Saturday, March 28, 7:30pm
  • Sunday, March 29, 3:30pm

“The Music Man” is part of the 2019-2020 TheatreCHS performance season which includes: “”Failure: A Love Story,” “She Kills Monsters,” “Pippin,” “The Addams Family,” and the annual Dessert Theatre.

About TheatreCHS

TheatreCHS has consistently remained an important and vital fine arts force at Charlottesville High School. The Program invites students to work collaboratively, develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, and engage in creative dialogues. An array of courses is taught with the intention of providing enrichment for students interested in these skills, all of which encompass dramatic arts. Numerous students have gone on to pursue advanced studies in theater/cinema, technical theater, stage management, and lighting design at a variety of top schools including Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia College, George Mason University, James Madison University, University of Virginia, and Princeton University. For more information, visit

 Related Links:

Two students work together during Hour of Code at Venable Elementary.

Student-led conferences coming this month

Two students work together during Hour of Code at Venable Elementary.
Students work together to program an Ozobot during Hour of Code, an annual day devoted to school-wide learning about computer programming.

For the fifth year in row, we are pleased to host student-led conferences at the end of the month. This is a chance for you to hear your child’s perspective about the work and learning that’s taken place so far this year.

A flyer will be coming home in next week’s Thursday folders with a link to an electronic sign-up for a 20-minute time slot for your child’s conference.
  • Prek-1st grade conferences will be on Wednesday, March 25 from 3:30pm-6:00pm 
  • 2nd-4th grade conferences will be on Thursday, March 26 from 3:30pm-6pm.

Following your child’s conference, you are invited to a milk and cookies celebration in the library.

Student-led conferences have a different purpose and structure from parent-teacher conferences. Please refer to the flyer sent home in folders that compares the two types of conferences, or see the digital flyer here.