All posts by Krissy Vick

February 2021 News and Highlights

The Superintendent and School Board discuss educational legislation with Del. Sally Hudson.

A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Staff and Families:

In our December newsletter, I presented some key elements of a new plan for returning to in-person instruction. In this column, I am pleased to say that come March 8, this plan will become a reality.

  • As a reminder, this plan offers the option of 4 days/week of in-person instruction to students in PreK-grade 6. If you wish to revisit your decision about online vs in-person instruction, please contact your school by Friday. Buford and CHS will offer in-person supports for those students most in need while maintaining their current schedules for online learning for all students. You can find additional details on our website.
  • One element that supports this reopening is the vaccination of our staff. For this, we thank the Blue Ridge Health Department and the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Regional Emergency Operations Center for their leadership in helping us and our colleagues in Albemarle County Public Schools. And thanks also to volunteers from both school systems, including our nurses, for their support of these efforts.

We know that as we look ahead to bringing more students back into our buildings, there will be bumps. We know that bus transportation is one area of challenge — and there will be others.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the school year, we can only solve the problems we know about, so please keep reaching out to your teacher, your school counselor, your principal, the central office staff, or the School Board. Whether your child remains online or starts coming into our schools, we want to help our students continue to learn and grow.

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins


Applications for Preschool Now Available through Go2Grow website

Go2Grow logoIt’s time to apply to preschool for next year — and there’s a new, simpler way to do it called Go2Grow. Go2Grow works with local public schools, Head Start programs, and private providers in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, and Greene. Families can review and sign up using a single, online application. Go2Grow applications can be filled out by any family with a child, birth to age 5, looking for care in Central Virginia. Taking applications now!

Visit Go2Grow website


graphic Walker Academic Advising SeasonAcademic Advising Underway at Buford, CATEC, CHS, Walker

From virtual curriculum fairs to online orientations, Buford, CATEC, CHS,  and Walker have been working to help students and families understand their options for next year.

If you missed any sessions or want a refresher, you can find materials and information online:   Buford   |   CATEC   |   CHS    |   Walker


Kindness Week graphicKindness Week begins February 14

In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week, the school division school counselors encourage students and families to spread kindness throughout the community using this Kindness BINGO game. Complete a card by the end of the week and enjoy spreading (and receiving) some kindness!

Find BINGO Cards:  Elementary   |   Walker/Buford    |   CHS


VBE Recognizes CHS for Exemplary Student Performance

VA Dept. of Ed logoThe Virginia Board of Education presented Charlottesville High School with the 2020 Continuous Improvement Award for increased graduation rates and decreased drop-out rates for three consecutive years, among other achievements. Congratulations and Go Black Knights!


Fourth Graders Interview Vice-Mayor Magill

Vice-Mayor Sena Magill speaks to fourth grade students via Zoom.Fourth graders in Mr. Christ’s class at Jackson-Via Elementary learned more about civic engagement during a Zoom call they requested with Vice-Mayor Sena Magill! They discussed everything from her duties as vice-mayor to her birthday to how they feel about the city’s monuments. Way to go, Jackrabbits!

See news coverage


New Partnership with Virginia State University to Help Future Teachers

graphic for DE Teachers for Tomorrow course information session

CHS will offer a dual enrollment (DE) Teachers for Tomorrow course in partnership with Virginia State University in 2021-22. Students interested in a future teaching career can earn three college credits and a high school CTE credit, as well as gain experience in field work at local elementary and middle schools, visit colleges, and learn more about the classroom and the world of education.

See news coverage


Embracing our Narratives: CHS and JSAAHC Partnership

Embracing Our Narratives logoCCS and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center have partnered to provide 25 teachers professional learning opportunities to support our English/History collaboration initiative and help bring a local African American perspective to all departments. Embracing Our Narratives (EON) aims to help educators better understand our community and develop a more inclusive curriculum. Dr. Andrea Douglas & Dr. Kimalee Dickerson gave an overview of EON at the February School Board meeting.

State Mental Health partnership with UVA

Screenshot of CBS19 news report on mental health partnership with UVAWe are proud to partner with UVA on the Virginia Partnership for School Mental Health state initiative. The value of school-based mental health services cannot be overstated, and this program aims to train and sustain a new generation of practitioners. In addition, National School Counselors Week just wrapped up, with a  shout-out from the Virginia Department of Education to Walker counselors John Kronstain and Liz Dinwiddie! Hear more from them about how our school counselors are connecting with students.


Fine Arts Roundup

Fine Arts Celebration 2021 graphic

Join the CHS Fine Arts Department for their annual CHS Fine Arts Celebration tomorrow (February 10 ) from 7:30-8:30 p.m.  This is free and open to the public via Zoom. Links will be added to the Charlottesville School calendar.  Celebrate our CHS artists, musicians, and actors!

After All-District Band Auditions were held virtually, 35 CHS students, 22 Buford Middle students, and five Walker Upper Elementary students earned All-District spots, while 10 CHS students earned All-State bids. Congratulations to all of our student musicians, and thank you to CHS Band Director Jason Hackworth for chairing this event, which included managing more than 440 student digital entries and 25 judges.

Shakespeare's R&J student posterRecent Performances:


CHS BACON Club places third in Virginia Science Bowl

National Science Bowl logoCongratulations to the following CHS BACON Club students (Best All-around Club of Nerds) for their third-place finish in last weekend’s Virginia Science Bowl competition, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy: Nikolas Dillery, Margaret Fischman, Avery Niven, Venetia Smith, and David Wiles.

“This intrepid band of science rockstars went up against the top teams in the state…. At the end of a grueling eight-hour day of quizzing, their only losses were to Langley High School and perennial champs, TJHSST,” reported CHS Engineering Teacher and BACON Club Advisor Matt Shields.


CHS Sports Roundup

CHS logoDespite the pandemic, there is no shortage of athletic news. Here are the highlights:


COVID-19 Community Events

vaccination community info session flyer


















COVID Testing Sites at CHS in February-English version

CCS Energy and Water Management Program Winter Focus

The Cville Energy and Water Management Program team launched its third quarter campaign this month, encouraging students, staff, and families to pick an action and do an action that helps save energy and water.

Try these helpful tips:
• Start off small: Pick a small action like turning lights off as you leave a room or turning the faucet off when scrubbing your hands with soap (or choose your own!).
• Repeat, repeat, repeat: Do your energy and water saving action over and over again, each day!
• Grow your action: Expand your action to save more energy and water by including your family!

More energy and water saving ideas


Upcoming Dates:

  • icon of calendar Calendar by MRK from the Noun ProjectCHS Fine Arts Celebration, February 10, 7:30-8:30pm
  • Drive-thru COVID-19 Testing (FREE), February 12, 19, 26, 3-7pm, CHS parking lot
  • School Board Budget Approval Meeting, February 18, 5-8pm. Learn more at
  • Special Education Advisory Committee Meeting, February 24, 5-6:30pm
  • Liberation & Freedom Day Learning Activities, March 3

Follow School Calendars


School Board Updates

School Board Updates graphicAt the January 7 School Board meeting, the Board elected Board Chair Lisa Larson-Torres and Vice-Chair James Bryant.  The Board also heard updates on literacy, student and family engagement, equity, and budget development.  In January, the Board also voted to consider March 8 as the target for offering in-person instruction, a date they re-affirmed at their February meeting while authorizing the schools to expand the number of students eligible for in-school services.  Their February meeting also included updates on the state’s guidance for supporting transgender students, a more inclusive social science curriculum, next year’s academic calendar, and budget.

Additionally, the 2020-21 Martin Luther King Community Award was presented to our School Board member Leah Puryear at the 36th Annual Charlottesville MLK Celebration. Congratulations, Leah, on this well-deserved honor, and thank you for your tireless work in our community! Fellow School Board member Juan Wade presented the award. Watch both speeches here:

Follow School Board

graphic Walker Academic Advising Season

Walker Academic Advising Season Underway

graphic Walker Academic Advising SeasonWalker Upper Elementary School school counselors are currently working on rising 5th and 6th grade student schedules. The Walker academic advising calendar includes the following:

  • January 25-February 5 – School counselor visits all elementary school classrooms (virtually)
  • Mid-February – Information about Walker electives sent to current 4th-grade families
  • First Week of March –  4th-grade students will make elective selections during Morning Meeting
  • May 11 – Rising Fifth Grade Parent Night (virtual), 7:00pm (parents and their rising fifth-grade student are invited to join us for an information session)

Learn more about Walker School electives here.

Rising 7th-Grader?

Find advising information about Buford here!

CHS Academic Advising Season Underway

CHS Academic Advising Season graphicCharlottesville High School hosted a virtual curriculum fair on February 5 for rising 9th through 12th grade students, prospective students, and families to learn more about the course offerings for the 2021-22 school year.

In case you missed it, you can access the presentations here:

Additionally, the latest CHS School Counseling Newsletter is now posted here. 


Special Education Advisory Committee to meet 2/24

Charlottesville City Schools Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) will meet on February 24, 2021 from 5-6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

The meeting topic will be Understanding Executive Functioning and Strategies for Supporting Virtual Instruction at Home with a presentation by Diane Talarico-Cavanaugh. There will also be a presentation from the Parent Education Advocacy and Training Center (PEATC).

Whether a student has a complex disability or just needs a little extra help, the SEAC helps make sure our schools are meeting the needs of each student.

Meetings are open to all Charlottesville City Schools families, and all public comments are welcome.

To join the this virtual meeting, use the following Zoom information:


Meeting ID: 957 2243 1082
Passcode: w5ZdTQ

Curriculum Fair at CHS coming Feb. 5

Attention all rising 9th-12th grade students and families: Charlottesville High School is hosting a virtual curriculum fair on February 5 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Join CHS school counselors and staff to learn more about the course offerings for 2021-22 school year (see agenda below).

Click here to register.

You will receive an email with links to the sessions you choose to attend. Choose the sessions that interest you!

9-9:30 AM: Welcome and Overview from School Counseling Department
9:30-10:00 AM: English Department
10:00-10:30 AM: Mathematics Department
10:30-11:00 AM: Science Department
11:00-11:30 AM: History/Social Studies Department
12:30-1:00 PM: World Languages Department & Health/PE Department
1:00-1:30 PM: Fine & Performing Arts Department & PVCC
1:30-2:00 PM: CATEC & CTE/Engineering


Important Info

January 8 Update for Families

Important Info

The following message was shared with staff and families on January 8, 2021.

Dear Staff and Families–

We’re writing with an update to the timeline for online learning, as well as several other important updates about:

  • next year’s draft academic calendar, 
  • next year’s budget development, 
  • Tuesday’s forum on school safety, and 
  • a reminder about the importance of applying for free/reduced meals for fee waivers.


At the January 7 School Board meeting, the Board voted to postpone the possible return of additional students to in-person learning until March 8. This date is tentative depending on a review of COVID data at Board meetings in February.

As a reminder, here is the overview of the plan they are recommending, with all phases tentatively set to begin on March 8:

  • A return to in-person instruction for those preK-grade 2 students who selected it.
  • A return to in-person instruction would be offered for students in grades 3-12 who are most in need (for example, ESL students, special education students, or students who have been struggling with attendance, engagement, socially-emotional wellbeing, or other.
  • At Buford and CHS, the plans for in-person instruction have now been redesigned to maintain the current structures for virtual learning. For example, at CHS, in-person students would receive in-person support during teachers’ morning office hours. (Office hours will also remain available for virtual students).
  • As COVID numbers improve, we would look at the possibility of returning more students to in-person learning. Again, as another example at CHS, one possibility is to use Fridays to offer events for students whose classes benefit from hands-on activities such as urban gardening, engineering, or fine arts.
  • Finally, to allow teachers to set up their classrooms and prepare to shift modes, each school would have one fully asynchronous week during January (timed at the principal’s discretion).
  • Schools will be in touch with families of students in grades 3-12 to give clarity about whether students would have an immediate option for in-person learning. For any families of preK-grade 2 students who need to make a change in their selection based on these revised plans, please contact your school.

To learn more about these revised plans, you can review the slides presented at the December 17 Board meeting. We appreciate your ongoing patience as the division and the Board try to balance the competing priorities of safety and student learning and well-being.


Finally, we know your children may have ongoing questions about the Capitol riot. We have provided additional resources for our teachers, and here are links to two family guides:

Take care and have a good weekend!

Important Info

Important Message from the Superintendent and the School Board

Important InfoThe following message was shared with Charlottesville City Schools staff and families in response to the events in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021.

Dear staff and families–

We are writing now filled with grief, anger, and disappointment. In no uncertain terms, we condemn the violent and treasonous assault on the U.S. Capitol building, our elections, and the peaceful transfer of power.

As Charlottesville residents, the imagery and actions in D.C. bring us back to August 2017, and we have seen and felt the impact that hate can leave. We know that many of the same groups and ideologies were present at both events.

As a community, we are still grappling with the fall-out from those white supremacist rallies.  Added to that, we feel the impact of the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and disrupted daily routines — including the lack of in-person school. And more recently, our community has seen a tragic increase in violence. We know that our community is hurting.

So today, let’s take some deep calming breaths — even as we keep watch on our nation’s capital. Tune out the news or social media if you need to. Let’s observe and listen to our children, and if they have questions, let’s try to answer them. We’ll share once again a resource page that our school counselors first developed in August 2017; many of the links are sadly still relevant. If talking with a counselor would be helpful for your student or for you, then please email your school counselor or call Region Ten at (434) 972-1800.

As you know, the rise in COVID cases likely means that it will be a while longer before we can safely bring more students and staff back in school. Tonight, the School Board is meeting to consider February 22 as the revised start date for more students to begin returning. For a recap of our latest plans, visit

We wish we could be supporting our students in person, but together, we will make the best of our situation. We are so proud of our teachers, staff, students, and families for rising to the occasion on dark days like today and throughout this pandemic.

As school leaders, we are also having conversations with community partners about how to meet the needs in our community and how to lead Charlottesville to a place of wellbeing, unity, and thriving. As we have often reminded ourselves this year, schools are such an important part of “the village,” and it will take all of us working together to usher in a future where every family can prosper. We will keep you posted about these important community conversations.

Whether here in Charlottesville, in our nation’s capital, or around the world, we are facing challenges right now.  we are not naive about these challenges, but we are still confident in our community, our country, and our Constitution.

We also have faith in our schools — the places that teach us how to engage with ideas, how to equip ourselves with facts, how to think critically, how to become civically literate. Just as important as any of those things, in Charlottesville our schools also offer us the opportunity to  meet — and befriend — people who are different from us in race, religion, politics, and life experiences. Working with young people is a true source of hope. Only when we are grounded in fact, hope, and our interdependent humanity can we set aside destructive violence and work constructively for a better future.

These are challenging days. But with one foot in front of the other, let’s keep walking and working toward a “more perfect union.” 

Take care,

Dr. Rosa Atkins, Jennifer McKeever, and the Charlottesville School Board