The City of Charlottesville Pupil Transportation is moving to a more accurate way of crafting bus schedules, but this has delayed the release of the bus schedule information. Thanks for your patience. These schedules will likely be modified a bit during the first weeks of the school year. Bus information will also be posted to PowerSchool accounts shortly (and will be removed from this web site). You can also receive schedules at your school’s open house.
Dear Members of our School Communities:
The events of this weekend were tragic beyond words and as such events always do, they extracted a heavy price. A wonderful young lady was taken from us. Two brave and devoted public servants also lost their lives. Many of our neighbors suffered injuries and trauma and all of us are sharing in the pain.
One national television reporter asked how Charlottesville will now feel to have its name linked in memory to other cities and towns across our country that have suffered from unspeakable crimes against humanity.
How will we feel and what will we do?
The memory of this weekend’s events should survive as a community that responded forcefully in overcoming the darkest impulses of those who traffic in hatred, intolerance and brute force.
The message from Charlottesville to our nation must be stronger than ever before—that we are a community that values the safety of every person, the dignity of every resident, the respect of every background, the equality of every opportunity and the strength of every collaboration that promotes the common good.
As they should be, the values of our communities are found in our public schools. Our schools, after all, are the source of our greatest dreams and aspirations for our children. It is where we learn about the power of ideas, the importance of history, the strength of community and the right of every child to reach their highest potential.
Our schools are where we make acquaintance with civic responsibility. The work we do in our schools must always bring to life our nation’s most sacred promise– “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
There is no room in this sacred promise for hatred, racism, violence and intolerance.
The answer to the question from the national media about how Charlottesville will be known is that we will be known as the community that rededicated itself to the promise of America and to those ideals that define our nation’s highest calling.
We will be known as a community whose teachers and staff will continue to do what the best educators always have done—stand tall in modeling these American ideals in their work every day.
If you would like resources for discussing this matter with your family, we have compiled a list for your consideration below.
Dr. Rosa Atkins & Mr. Juan Wade
Charlottesville City Schools
Dr. Pam Moran & Ms. Kate Acuff
Albemarle County Public Schools
A Glimpse into How Our Staff is Moving Forward
This week has been hard, but as our teachers and staff have returned to school this week, we have tried to create space for processing. We want to support our teachers so that they can continue their amazing work of supporting our students. To see videos and pictures from our inspirational all-staff convocation, see @CvilleSchools on Facebook and Twitter.
Resources for Parents and Educators
A number of local agencies and national groups have created resources for family discussions centered on race and/or community violence.
The following have been suggested by our school counselors as potential resources for your consideration. We recognize that this list is not complete, and that different families and teachers will find some links more useful than others.
How Can Parents Help Their Children (following community violence)? (resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
How to Talk to Kids about Race and Books that Might Help (published on readbrightly.com)
How to Talk to Your Kids About Charlottesville (Age-appropriate fiction recommendations from the New York Times)
How to Talk to Your Kids about the Violence in Charlottesville (compiled by the L.A. Times)
Promoting Compassion and Acceptance in Crisis (tips compiled by the National Association of School Psychologists)
Tragic Events (Resources) (compiled by the Fred Rogers Company)
What Charlottesville Means for Our Black Family (essay published on raceconscious.org)
After a Crisis, Helping Young Children Heal (tips from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
Once I Was Very Scared. (picture book available as a PDF and also available in Arabic, Spanish, and Turkish). Author: Chandra Ghosh Ippen. Piplo Productions.
A Terrible Thing Happened. (book for ages 4-7) Author: Margaret M. Holmes. Dalmation Press. Franklin, Tennessee.
Youth Resources for the Charlottesville Rally (compiled by the local organization Ready Kids)
- They also refer to the hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum as a way to gather more ideas.
I’m a Teacher In Charlottesville. This is How I’ll Talk to My Students. (Washington Post)
Promoting Compassion and Acceptance in Crisis (tips compiled by the National Association of School Psychologists)
For curricular resources, educators can check with their principal, coach, and area coordinators.
Community Counseling Resources:
- Child and Family Clinic (up to age 18)
- Adult Clink (18 and older) 972-1800
- Walk-in Clinic on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays (can call ahead at 972-1800), 9am-noon
Come meet your teachers and see your classrooms! Open houses this year will be on Monday, August 21. School starts on Wednesday, August 23.
Need a school supply list? Click here.
Wednesday, August 16
CATEC Open House is Wednesday, August 16, from 5-7pm
Monday, August 21
- Elementary Schools: 1–3pm
- CHS Virtual Orientations begin at 1pm. See here for more information.
- Walker Upper Elementary: 3-5pm
- Buford Middle School: 4-6pm
- CHS: 5-7pm
Wednesday, August 23
First day of school. See school hours below.
Elementary: 8:00am to 2:30pm
Buford and Walker: 8:30am to 3:15pm
CHS: 9:05am to 3:50pm (with a one-hour delayed start on the 2nd Thursday of some months)
Learn your schedule, complete back-to-school forms, and more!
Starting August 14, you can log in or create your account to see teacher assignments or schedules, complete your back-to-school paperwork online, and more. Bus schedule information will be posted in PowerSchool beginning around August 19.
A personalized letter giving you information about your PowerSchool account (and other updates) was mailed the week of 7/31. If the letter does not contain codes, you already have an account and can log back in. See letter for more information. If you did not receive a letter and you need codes for one or more student, call your school. If you have further trouble setting up your account, you can call 245-2943.
- Link to PowerSchool
- Sample letter in English (the letter with your family’s access codes is being mailed to your home)
- Ejemplo de carta en español (la carta con los códigos de acceso de su familia ha sido enviada por correo a su casa)
- Need to translate these instructions into another language? Click “translate” in the upper right corner and translate this page (and the letter, below) into the language of your choice.
Dear families –
The school year is almost here! The first day of school is Wednesday, August 23, and open houses will be Monday, August 21. Here are some tips to help you get your family off to a good start.
On August 14, the online program PowerSchool will re-open so that you can learn your child’s teacher assignment or schedule, review your pre-completed back-to-school forms, customize how you hear from us, and more.
PowerSchool is an online tool to help schools, students, and families stay connected throughout the year. You can check grades and attendance and more (see below). Make sure all of your students are added to your parent account.
Returning PowerSchool Users: Log back in (on or after August 14), using your parent account (not your child’s). If you don’t remember your username or password, visit the log-in page for help. A link to PowerSchool is on the parent menu at the bottom of every page at charlottesvilleschools.org. To add a child, log in and click “Account Preferences,” then “Students,” then “Add.” Enter the student’s “access info” from the back of this letter.
New PowerSchool Users: See the back of this sheet for instructions & personalized access codes.
The earliest way to learn your student’s schedule and teacher assignment is to check PowerSchool when it reopens on August 14. We will mail letters later that week.
Back-to-School Paperwork Online
To quickly complete your back-to-school forms, log into PowerSchool and click on “InfoSnap” (or PowerSchool Registration). You’ll find a complete set of forms for your student, with most of the answers pre-completed for you. Simply edit previous info and answer the remaining questions. After you finish your first child, the program can “snap” updates into your remaining children’s forms. We recommend using a computer (not a phone) – you can visit a library, use your child’s school chromebook, or take advantage of school computers at open house. The online forms include everything except the application for free/reduced lunch.
For kindergartners and students who are new to Charlottesville City Schools, these forms are not required unless you need to update the information.
Look for a paper application in the mail. Medicaid-qualifying families and students at Clark, Jackson-Via, and Johnson do not need to complete this form since they automatically qualify for free meals.
Meal Account Balance Checks
This year, we have switched from “My School Bucks” to “My Payments Plus.” You can set up low-balance reminders with My Payments Plus, and for a service fee of about 4 percent, you can pay online. We plan to connect this service with PowerSchool, as well. For more information, see charlottesvilleschools.org/nutrition.
Choose whether to receive calls, emails, or texts from the schools. Log into PowerSchool and click on Contact Manager at the left. Then click “Contacts” in a new screen. For your (first) child, click “Edit.” For each number or email you have, check the messages you would like to receive. Then click “Save.”
Bus routes will be mailed home with back-to-school information from your school.
Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube
For updates, follow us at @CvilleSchools! Many schools have accounts, as well.
Instructions for New PowerSchool Parent Portal Accounts
This letter will help you create a PowerSchool Parent Portal account so that you can get your teacher assignments, complete back-to-school forms, and view grades/attendance. You will need a letter for each of your children. (If you’re missing a letter, perhaps you already opened an account.) For assistance or an additional child’s codes, call 245-2943. Access IDs and passwords are unique for each student. You should keep this letter in a safe place.
Instructions to Open a New Account (see the letters mailed to your home for your personalized information)
- Open an internet browser on your computer and direct your browser to https://sis.charlottesvilleschools.org/publicYou may also find a link on the “Parents” menu at the bottom of every page of the Charlottesville City Schools web site at http://www.charlottesvilleschools.org
- Click the Create Account buttonA new screen will open. Parent’s information goes in the top section. You must give an email address.
The parent or guardian chooses a username and password. Passwords must be at least 6 characters.
- Children’s access information goes in the lower section.Use the Access ID and password from the letter or letters you received in the mail. Passwords are case sensitive and MUST be entered exactly as they appear above. If you have more than one child, you will receive more than one letter and should enter all children here.Remember to click Enter when you have finished entering all children.
- Once you have completed the above, you will see this screen. You can
now use your new username/password to log in at: https://sis.charlottes-
villeschools.org/public (Or find a link at the bottom of our web site.)
To Add a Student to an Existing Parent Account:To add a child, log in and click “Account Preferences,” then “Students,”
then “Add.” Enter the student access data from the letter you received in the mail.
Below are this year’s CCS school supplies lists. Copies of these lists are available at area stores. If you have any questions, please call your school.
And if you need assistance getting school supplies for this year, contact your school counselor. People who registered for this year’s Back-to-School Bash can pick up their supplies at their school open house on Monday, August 21. (The Sprint Pavilion event on August 19 has been cancelled.)
School Supply Lists for the 2017-18 School Year:
Also, you and your family might enjoy meeting up with Books on Bikes, a group of Charlottesville City Schools teachers, librarians, staff, and even trained doggie pals as they make summertime deliveries of books and freezy-pops.
Summer Reading Recommendations and Information:
Has anyone told the Buford engineers that school’s out?! This summer, they’ve already made presentations at U.Va. Curry School of Education, American University, and ISTE ’17 in San Antonio! (That’s the the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education.) To learn more about their summer activities, follow @CCS_iSTEM on Twitter.
The online service for doing returning students’ back-to-school forms for the 2017-18 year will be available on August 14. To access your forms, please log into PowerSchool and click on InfoSnap or (PowerSchool Registration). (The buttom will look like this:
Need help logging into PowerSchool?
- Current account users: there is a username and password retrieval tool on the PowerSchool login page. Make sure ALL your students are connected to your account (see the letter you received for codes).
- New users: you received a letter with the codes and instructions you need to set up your account. Be sure to connect ALL your students to your parent account.
- A sample copy of the information letter is here.
Are you a registering a new student?
- Kindergartners and students who did not attend Charlottesville schools last year should fill out new student paperwork here.
May 9, 2017
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.
- Read over the draft plan.
- Join us for a community conversation this Thursday, May 11, at 5:30pm at CHS.
- Submit your comments via a brief Google form.
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: Learning will be equitable, centered on students, and develop life-ready graduates
We want to make sure that all of our students find success and opportunities in our schools and in life after school.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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!
Similarly, 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Our 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
At 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!
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.
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.
Our 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 include:
- Book Buddies 25th Anniv. Reception, May 10, 4pm – 5pm, Jefferson School City Center
- Walker/Buford Chorus Concert, May 10, 7pm – 8pm, Buford Auditorium
- Strategic Plan Community Update, May 11, 5:30pm, CHS Sigma Lab
- Festival of Cultures, Sat, May 13, 10am – 4pm, Lee Park
- Stage Left Theatre presents Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, May 18, 6:30pm, Buford
- CHS Dessert Theatre, May 19-20, 7pm with Sat matinee at 3pm
- Walker Band Spring Concerts, May 19, 6:30pm – 9pm
- CHS Saturday Academic Intervention, May 13, 9am – 12:30pm
- CHS Saturday Academic Intervention for Seniors, May 20, 9am – 12:30pm, B-Commons
- Walker Band Instrument Selection Night, May 23 & 25, 5pm
- CATEC Completers Ceremony, May 24, 7pm
- No School (Memorial Day), May 29
- Buford Band Concert, May 30, 7pm, Buford Auditorium
- School Board Meeting, June 1, 5pm
- Minds in Motion Performance with Richmond Ballet, June 1, 7pm, MLKPAC
- 8th Grade Dance, June 2, 7pm – 10pm, Buford
- Senior Awards Celebration, June 7, 7pm, MLKPAC
- CHS graduation, June 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)
- View previous editions of the Superintendent Message.
In May 2017, our School Board adopted a new strategic plan to guide our schools through the year 2023. This plan was created out of nearly 50 meetings with parents, students, employees, community members, and more. We are excited about our goals for academic excellence, safe and supportive schools, and organizational supports. Please read on to learn more about the plan and about how we’ve already begun to advance these ideas for the benefit of our community.