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“Concert for Charlottesville” Video Earns National Awards


A music video collaboration by musicians from Charlottesville High School and Metro Nashville public schools has earned 2018 Advocacy in Action Awards from the music education non-profit organization, Music for All.

The musical remake of Bebe and CeCe Winans’ song, “Right Now (We Need One Another),” was recorded by Charlottesville High School and Metro Nashville Public Schools musicians last year in response to the events of August 11-12 in Charlottesville.

The music video features 50 CHS orchestra students and 30 members of the CHS choir, along with Nashville’s Fab 5, a group of student singers that attend different schools at MNPS.

“It was remarkable that in such a short amount of time, we were able to join with the folks from Nashville to create a new song of hope for the future,” said CHS Choir Teacher Will Cooke.

Following the two-day collaboration, the music video was featured among a long line-up of musical performers including Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, and Ariana Grande at the Dave Matthew’s Band Concert for Charlottesville last September.

“To see all of us up on the jumbotron at the Dave Matthews concert was truly a thrill,” said CHS Orchestra Teacher Laura Thomas. “I get goose bumps every time I think about it.  It was our students singing and playing and trying to promote a positive message.”

The two groups reconnected in the spring in Nashville at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School.  The CHS and Fab 5 singers recorded a second musical tribute in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Read more about it and see the music video “Shine” here.

According to James P. Stephens, Jr., Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources for Music for All, the Advocacy in Action Awards recognize “the amazing advocacy work that is being done in scholastic music programs across the country.” The group’s mission is “to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.”

This video is being recognized as a winner in three subcategories of Community Engagement:

    • Outstanding Community Engagement Video
    • Outstanding Community Event
    • Outstanding Community Service Project

Related Links

Flyer for 2nd Community Forum on Equity November 27 at CHS at 7:30. Bus service available. See post for pdf of bus schedules and more details.

Equity Forum

Flyer for 2nd Community Forum on Equity November 27 at CHS at 7:30. Bus service available. See post for pdf of bus schedules and more details.Charlottesville City Schools will host a second community forum to discuss equity on Tuesday, November 27, at Charlottesville High School at 7:30pm.

Our plan for the second forum is to reflect back what we’ve been hearing from the community so far. We’ll ask participants to respond to this summary and vote on their “top 10” ideas. (Community members can also participate from home.) After community members have had a chance to review and respond, we’ll have brief presentations to summarize what we’ve heard and give next steps.

Updates from the First Forum

Other Resources

 

Students visit Fralin Art Museum at UVA.

Highlights and News November 2018

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins
Dr. Rosa Atkins

Dear families –

As we look ahead to our second Community Forum on Equity on November 27 at 7:30 p.m. at CHS, I wanted to give you a few updates.

Thanks to all of you who came to our first forum in October. With more than 400 community members, employees, and students present, along with many following along on Facebook, we were able to hear valuable feedback on issues of equity and achievement in our schools. We also gathered hundreds of responses from our online surveys and have made that data available to you at www.charlottesvilleschools.org/NYT. You can read through and add your voice to the conversation.

While we move forward to identify and implement tangible ways to help all of our students excel, we will continue to celebrate signs of the achievement and growth we see in our students, from our elementary schools’ extended-day literacy program to CHS students using their photography skills to tell their peers’ global stories in a community exhibition.

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins,
Superintendent

Venable teacher reading to students in EBL after school program.

Venable Elementary teacher Karen Minor reads to first grade children during Extended Bridges to Learning, an after-school literacy program that provides small group instruction to students in grades K-5. EBL is funded in part by a Virginia Department of Education grant. Read more about EBL here.

NEW PILOT PROGRAM AT WALKER EMPOWERS STUDENTS’ DECISION-MAKING
Super-Why and First Lady at Greenbrier Using a $6,000 grant from CFA Institute,Walker Upper Elementary School students are deciding how to spend the funds on school improvements. The new program employs a process known as participatory budgeting. The unique curriculum leads all sixth graders through a semester-long process that includes these steps: Discover, Dream, Design, Decide, and Do. We can’t wait to see what they decide to do! Read more about the program here.

STRING OF MUSICIANS TEACH, PERFORM, AND INSPIRE
Stock photo of violinist Ray ChenStudents of all ages interacted with an impressive lineup of musicians this fall. Third-graders attended the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival Children’s Concert and fourth-graders visited UVA to hear the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia perform “Jazzing Up the Orchestra” with the Free Bridge Quintet. Contemporary cellist BJ Griffin led three days of workshops at Buford, Walker, and CHS to teach students about his unique style that combines classical composition and hip hop. Ray Chen, acclaimed violinist who has played in concert halls around the world, performed for CHS students courtesy of Tuesday Evening Concert Series. And, most recently, students from across the division visited The Paramount Theater to see the touring strings duo, Black Violin.Johnson teacher Lindsay Wayland posted a video from the concert and commented, “Best. Field trip. Ever.”

DRAFT SCHOOL CALENDAR FOR 2019-20 POSTED FOR FEEDBACK
French exchange students participate in Conversation Cafe at CHS.The Charlottesville-Albemarle School Calendar Committee has created a draft calendar for the 2019-20 school year. We would like your feedback. Please review the draft calendar and complete a brief survey by November 16.

SCHOOL-WIDE MORNING MEETINGS PROMOTE POSITIVE SCHOOL CULTURE
Teacher sings on stage at BME school-wide morning meeting.Elementary schools across the division are using monthly school-wide morning meetings to build school tradition, pride,and a sense of belonging for students.“These gatherings help us sustain a strong school culture and climate across all grade levels,” says Burnley-Moran Principal Dr. Elizabeth Korab. Read more about these meetings here. 

2018 FALL PHOTO GALLERY – HIGHLIGHTS THAT MAKE US SMILE
Super-Why and First Lady at GreenbrierWhile we have begun a challenging conversation this fall, there is also much to celebrate in our schools. From fine arts to fun runs to fall festivals, here is a look back at some of the highlights from the last month. A few other fun facts? From CHS alone, we have the band’s 1st-place finish in regionals, a top-6 state finish for Theatre CHS, and football players Sabias Folley and Isaiah Washington earning player-of-the-week honors.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar 11/13 Buford Orchestra Concert
11/21 Thanksgiving Break begins – no school until 11/26
11/27 Second Community Forum on Equity, CHS, 7:30 p.m.
11/28 CHS Orchestra Concert
11/29 CHS Band Concert
12/5 Walker/Buford Chorus Winter Concert
12/6 School Board Meeting, 5pm CHS Media Center
12/6-12/8 TheatreCHS presents “Heathers”

More Looks at Cville Schools

Students visit Fralin Museum of Art at UVA

Walker Upper Elementary students discuss a painting by American artist Rozeal with a museum docent at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. This fall, all students in grades 3-8 are participating in Writer’s Eye, an education program sponsored by the Fralin that encourages kids to use art as inspiration for writing prose and poetry. Photo Credit: Coe Sweet Photography.

Crossing guard Miss Ruth hugs a Clark student

Known for her compassion and care, Clark School crossing guard Ruth Hill keeps children and families safe as they travel to and from school. “I love each of these children as if they were my own,” said Hill. Read more here.

CHS Teacher Matt Shields with father

When he is not teaching physics and engineering or taking BACON Club students to MIT for global robotics competitions, CHS teacher Matt Shields spends his time doing other things like… donating a kidney to his father! Learn more here. Photo Credit: Sarah Cramer Shields

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Draft calendar for 2019-20 school year. PDF is attached on this page. For details, call 245-2962.

Draft Calendar for 2019-20

Draft calendar for 2019-20 school year. PDF is attached on this page. For details, call 245-2962.The Charlottesville-Albemarle School Calendar Committee has created a draft calendar for the 2019-20 school year.  We would like your feedback. Please review the draft calendar and complete a brief survey by November 16.

  • 2019-20 draft calendar (pdf)
  • Survey is closed. Eighty-three percent of participants selected “Approve as is.” We’ll explore the comments and suggestions that were contributed.

If feedback indicates that changes to the calendar should be considered, we will let you know.

The draft calendar will be presented to the School Board for review in December with an expected vote in January.

Comments about the calendar:

  • Spring break: Our practice is to designate the first full week of April as our spring break. We are sometimes asked, Can’t you align spring break with U.Va.’s?   U.Va.’s spring break is typically near the beginning of March, which for K-12 students would make for a very long stretch without a break later in the spring. So while we recognize that this would be a good solution for U.Va. families, we feel that it doesn’t represent the interests of all our students and staff. A 2016 survey indicated that a majority of respondents favored keeping spring break during the first week of April.
  • History about the calendar development: For over a decade, the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school divisions have worked together for a common calendar. A joint committee creates a draft calendar, and then we ask for input from students, teachers, administration, and parents. If necessary, the committee makes revisions to the draft before submitting a recommended calendar to the two school boards for approval.
two elementary students, boy and girl, playing in classroom.

November is Family Engagement Month!

November is National Family Engagement month, and we want you to know how much we value our partnership with families. Research shows that parental involvement is very important to a child’s success.

There are many ways that families can engage with our schools. In fact, coming up on November 27th at 7:30pm is our second community forum on equity at Charlottesville High School. We hope you will plan to join us as we continue discussing ways to better serve all of our children. 

Bus service will be available for the community forum on 11/27. Routes will be posted on the website soon.

A Message to Families from Ms. Coleman

PreK-2nd Family Engagement Coordinator Velvet Coleman is available to support families with a variety of resources. Her latest tips for families include eight ways parents can support their children in school.

Tips for Academic Success

Image of Family Engagement flyer

 

 

School Board passes dress code resolution

Cville Schools official sealIn November 2018, the Charlottesville City Schools School Board unanimously passed a resolution that bans students from wearing clothing that depicts symbols “associated with racial hatred and violence.”

Citing the events of  August 11-12, 2017 in Charlottesville, board members resolved that  “student dress that is disruptive of the learning environment, that contains language or images that are discriminatory, or that promotes violent conduct or contains threats includes, but not limited to, clothing that depicts Confederate imagery or the Nazi swastika or contains images and language associated with the Ku Klux Klan and other White Nationalist groups, is prohibited and will not be tolerated in our schools.”

Floyer for Equity Forum to be held at CHS on 10/23 at 7pm.

Response to The New York Times/ProPublica Article

Sea of Hands stock photography photoOn October 16, 2018,  ProPublica and The New York Times published an article about educational disparities among white and black students in Charlottesville City Schools. To learn more about our response to the article and to further explore the issues raised by the article, see below.

Links of Interest:

Second Community Forum on Equity

Join us on Tuesday, November 27 at 7:30pm at CHS for a community forum to discuss where we are and where we want to be. As with the first forum, we’ll live-stream portions on Facebook. Bus transportation will be provided. Routes are posted here.

NEW: Open for Engagement: Data and Feedback from the First Community Forum on Equity (10/23)

A Deeper Dive on Specific Topics Addressed in or Related to the Article

Achievement Gap

In 2016 Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education first published a national data set of K-12 standardized test scores. One conclusion of the review suggests that while the achievement gap is an enduring national problem, it is acutely apparent in many college towns. And like school divisions in Berkeley, Chapel Hill, and Ann Arbor, we have been vigorously working to implement best practices and innovate new solutions. Like those other school divisions, we have seen progress but still have goals to accomplish. For an overview of our efforts, please visit charlottesvilleschoools.org/equity.

Among other programs and efforts, it describes our sometimes pioneering work in areas such as:

  • designing “honors-option” classes in English and other high school subjects, which has led to a significant increase in honors and advanced class enrollment, particularly among African-American students. In these honors-option classes, students elect assignments and readings that will lead to either standard or honors-level credit. Based on the success of this strategy, CHS continues to expand these options.
  • developing a iSTEM program to reach all our students (even in the elementary schools) so that we can teach design thinking, build coding skills, demystify STEM skills, and build bridges to our internationally acclaimed middle- and high-school engineering programs.
  • creating a culture of trauma sensitivity, social-emotional learning, and positive climate that is foundational to academic and personal growth. Our pilot of elementary SEAL (social emotional and academic learning) classrooms (at Greenbrier and Clark Elementary Schools) is a unique offering that is already generating findings and best practices applicable in all our classrooms. Our establishment of two key programs (Positive Behavior and Supports and Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports) gained state acclaim for its emphasis on mental health; the program was featured as a case study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Stanford researchers discuss the “complex relationships between schooling and non-schooling factors that might affect achievement gaps.”  For further information, see their article, The Geography of Racial/Ethnic Test Score Gaps.

Advanced Course Enrollment/Course Selection

We are not yet where we want to be in seeing diverse enrollment in advanced classes, AP classes, and Dual Enrollment classes. However, we have seen gains in honors, dual enrollment, and AP enrollment from 2015-16 to 2017-18 for our African-American students, with black students’ participation in honors classes up 29 percent (even excluding enrollment in honors-option classes). We attribute this trend to a number of factors, including our locally-developed strategy of honors-option classes and our strong AVID program (which prepares students for college success).

In addition, CHS has redesigned its process for teachers making course recommendations; the new process gives students greater agency in goal-setting so that the student and teacher can work together to prepare for success in the next year’s chosen courses.

2004 Audit by Phi Delta Kappa

An audit of Charlottesville Schools’ efforts to promote racial parity was commissioned in 2004 during a time of tremendous turmoil at Charlottesville City Schools. When Dr. Atkins joined the district in 2006, she became our ninth superintendent (or interim superintendent) in thirteen years. In 2004-5 there was a particularly divisive 10-month period in which a new superintendent came and left, leaving a wake of uncertainty and polarization.

In the midst of this turmoil, the 2004 audit was completed but did not receive the support or buy-in of the school community. In fact, the audit itself became a symbol of this divisiveness.

Because of its unpopularity, the audit was not revived when Dr. Atkins joined the schools two years later, but the ideas of the audit and its commitment to equity have appeared in Charlottesville City Schools’ strategic plans and initiatives. Some of these initiatives include a major shift toward data-driven decision-making, our award-winning use of instructional technology, reorganization of central office staff to better support school staff, and the creation and annual review of our curricular Guides to Pacing and Standards that provide pacing, standards, and resources.

Elementary School Zones

All of our elementary schools are diverse and have a significant number of students who are economically disadvantaged. At Venable Elementary, for instance, students of color make up 41 percent of the enrollment, and students who are economically disadvantaged, 39 percent.

Having said that, our elementary schools do not, and have not ever, featured an equal distribution of income levels and racial/ethnic groups. Generally speaking, Greenbrier, Burnley-Moran, and Venable have a higher percentage of white and higher-income students than Clark, Jackson-Via, and Johnson. This is reflective of our city’s neighborhoods.

Even so, last winter, as part of our planning meetings and community forums on our growing resident enrollment, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Kim Powell told media, City Council members, School Board Members, and community members that “Rezoning the elementary schools is in our future.” The process of how and when to rezone is dependent on which facilities solution our community elects.

It should be noted that professional planners and individual Charlottesville residents have concluded over the years that this rezoning will not be simple; “solving” the balance at one school worsens the balance at another. As with all issues, what we see in the schools is a reflection of our community. We hope that this work will be complemented by the City of
Charlottesville’s recent and current work on affordable housing and other equity issues that impact our City neighborhoods.

Extending the Bridges to Literacy (as compared to QUEST gifted instruction)

In Charlottesville City Schools, the primary supports for students who need extra assistance are offered during the school day in ways that mirror the structure of the gifted program.  In addition, our elementary schools offer a voluntary after-school program called Extending the Bridges to Literacy program. To learn more, read on.

Extending the Bridges to Literacy (EBL) is in the third year of a pilot supported by state grant funding. The point of the grant is to prompt schools’ innovation in extending the learning day for at-risk students (either by adding school days or after-school hours). It’s difficult to compare an after-school pilot to established, in-school programs such as the QUEST program or the supports led by our reading specialists. Both the reading specialists and the gifted teachers follow a similar collaborative model for working with classroom teachers to identify the students who would (at that moment) benefit from their push-in and pull-out services. The goal of the EBL after-school program is to provide voluntary extra learning time for students who might benefit from it, and its chief strategy is to build motivation and confidence by capitalizing on students’ own interests with individualized reading suggestions. As for resources, the EBL program has ample classroom space, specifically trained teachers, and a very low 1:6 teacher-student ratio.

Gifted Education (QUEST)

We would like to state the obvious: that giftedness is distributed equally among all groups, and when we, like other school divisions, fail to identify and nurture all expressions of giftedness, it is a loss to our entire community.

No identification process will ever be perfect, so aside from students who are identified for gifted services, a pool of high-potential students from traditionally underserved groups also receives QUEST services. In addition, in recent years, pull-out services are only part of our efforts; the program relies on a model of collaboration between the QUEST teacher and classroom teachers. Our gifted teachers also do push-in instruction with small groups and the whole class so that all Charlottesville City Schools students benefit from access to the QUEST teachers and the instructional strategies that they offer.

As for the identification process itself, referrals and identification for the program are continuous; the division uses multiple criteria and a variety of screening methods to facilitate equitable consideration of students. The VA Department of Education’s 2017 report “Increasing Diversity in Gifted Education Programs in Virginia” references several of our practices because they recognized the innovative and inclusive intent of our processes. Even so, until our QUEST program reflects the full range of giftedness in our community, we will continue to seek out and create new solutions and approaches.

For questions about our after-school Extending the Bridges to Literacy program (which is not a parallel program to QUEST), see above.

Graduation Rates; Standard vs. Advanced Diploma

Philosophically, CHS and Charlottesville City Schools have a goal of opening doors for students and pushing students to do their best, set and attain goals, and prepare for success in their adult lives.

Our African-American graduation completion index has risen 12 points since 2011 — and compared with our low point in 2006, it has risen 25 points! Graduation is a far more important marker for future educational and employment opportunities than diploma type, and we are proud of all our students’ accomplishments.

Our African-American students’ rates of attainment of the two types of diplomas track much more strongly with their black peers across Virginia than with their white peers at CHS. We want to empower our students to set their own path, and we want to support them in their goals. When there are barriers that prevent our students’ success, we advocate for them by seeking legislative solutions (such as the SOL testing flexibility we gained in Virginia for English language learners) or by developing programs to help students attain their goals. For instance, one commonly cited barrier to attainment of the advanced diploma is the world language requirement. At the request of students and families, we have worked to offer American Sign Language as an offering, and on a broader scale, we developed a much-copied elementary Spanish program to familiarize all of our students with a world language. Where we identify barriers, we want to work with our community to identify solutions.

Hiring/Supporting Teachers of Color

African American Teaching Fellows logoAt Charlottesville City Schools, we actively recruit minority teachers and staff to better reflect our diverse student body. For example, we partner with the  University of Virginia’s African American Teaching Fellows program and recruit at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).

Among our teaching staff, 16 percent are presently people of color (with 11 percent being African American). Among our entire staff, 25 percent are presently people of color (with 22 percent being African American).

The diversity of our teaching staff lags slightly below the metro area’s demographics:

Graph showing Cville area population vs Cville Schools teachers. Call 245-2962 for information.

When all Charlottesville Schools employees are considered, our staff is slightly more diverse than the Charlottesville metro area.Graph showing Cville area population vs all Cville Schools employees.. Call 245-2962 with questions.

Our staff — and shown here, our teachers — do not mirror the diversity of our student population, a much more challenging goal given that most of our applicants and employees live within the metro area:Graphic showing ethnic demographics of Cville Schools teachers vs those for Cville Schools students. For info, please call 245-2962

Reading Instruction

The state’s Standards of Learning tests are an easy way to get a point-in-time snapshot of whether a a student met a specific threshold, but these tests are criticized for their frequent changes to content and format and their inability to measure a student’s growth.

Charlottesville City Schools has experimented with several growth measurement tools in the past years and starting in the 2018 year, we are using the nationally normed MAP test in grades 2-8. This data will help us identify individual and group needs and customize supports. It will also give us a better picture of our students’ growth and abilities relative to schools across the country. MAP data suggests that our students are growing  and that over time, a greater percentage of our students  (in all racial/ethnic categories) are demonstrating reading proficiency.

What are our other commitments for reading instruction in recent and current years?

Updates for this year’s literacy initiatives include:

  • robust data walls to track growth and needs so that instruction and interventions with reading specialists and others can be more timely and effective;
  • better alignment with SPED and other programs and increased training/progress monitoring requirements;
  • revised/new curriculum for Benchmark Literacy and Calkins Units of Study in Writing;
  • professional learning for reading specialists (who in turn lead school-based literacy work) that specifically addresses the achievement gap.

We offer an array of in-school strategies and supports for students who need them. In addition, we are in year three of a state-funded pilot of “Extending the Bridges to Literacy,” a voluntary after-school program. This program is an example of ways that we are innovating to address these concerns.

SOL Scores (Virginia’s standardized testing system)

As we make clear with every announcement of accreditation and Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores, we – along with our peers across the state – have reservations about the SOL tests and what they do and do not measure. The state’s Standards of Learning tests are an easy way to get a point-in-time snapshot of whether a a student met a specific threshold, but these tests are criticized for their frequent changes in content and format and their inability to measure a student’s growth.  They are a point-in-time measure of a cohort’s knowledge on a series of disparate exams.

Do we take SOL scores seriously?  Of course. They are an important state measure, and they also point out the disparities that we need to address for our students of color and our students who face economic disadvantages.

Due to the diagnostic limitations of the SOL tests, however, we have spent several years surveying and testing nationally accepted instruments that are more helpful in guiding our instruction.   This year, we have implemented the use of the MAP test for reading and math, which creates a portrait of individual students’ and cohorts’ growth. Preliminary results from these nationally normed tools indicate that the tremendous gaps that we find in our preschool populations diminish over the years that our students are enrolled at Charlottesville City Schools, leading to our strong end-of-course pass rates and our rising graduation rate at CHS.

Suspensions

We have made tremendous progress in reducing our rate of suspensions. In the last decade, the division-wide rate of suspensions has dropped 83 percent, and at Charlottesville High School, it has dropped 87 percent. We are very proud of these dramatic gains. We are still making progress on the disproportionality of the remaining suspensions, which we are addressing in a number of ways.

We continue to scaffold our systems of supports (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports and Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports), which offer a more holistic and data-driven approach and direct attention to underlying issues. In a similar
vein, we are a founding member of the Greater Charlottesville Trauma Informed Community Network, which provides professional learning and shared resources to help our schools and community agencies.

In addition, as part of our larger commitment to creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive to all, we have offered professional learning focusing on issues such as Charlottesville’s African-American history along with a range of small-group and division-wide book studies, film viewings, conferences, and workshops that address issues of racism, systemic barriers, implicit bias, positive climate training, restorative practices, and more.

Next Step: Second Equity Forum at CHS

  • Community Forum on Equity, November 27, 7:30pm, CHS

Other Resources and Related Reporting on Equity

Want to Suggest Another Topic or Resource for this Page?

Photograph of two children with arms around eachother.

CCS News and Highlights October 3, 2018

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins
Dr. Rosa Atkins

Dear families —

“Every Learner. Every day. Everyone.” These words embody our mission – that at Charlottesville City Schools, we want to support all of our learners.

How are we doing on that? By some measures, we’re doing great. Our graduation rate rose to 92.6%, and for black students, that rate has risen 25 points since 2006. Data shows that as students move through our schools, they show strong growth. As we’ve emphasized social-emotional learning and added supports for positive behaviors, our suspensions have dropped significantly.

However, by other measures, we still have work to do. On Virginia’s “standards of learning” tests, our African-American students are often not meeting the state’s standards. While we and others see these tests as faulty, even so, this is a sign that needs attention. Similarly, we want to diversify the students who enroll in advanced and AP classes, who participate in our gifted programs, and who attain the state’s advanced diploma.

We take these matters seriously. To familiarize yourself with our approaches to promoting equity, please visit charlottesvilleschools.org/equity. We create opportunities and supports throughout our schools, and we work with local and national partners to study and address underlying issues.

Relatedly, you might have followed community discussions about our schools’ dress codes and whether they ban hate symbols that were displayed during the violence in August 2017. Presently, there is no explicit ban in the Albemarle or Charlottesville code, but our School Board stated that symbols of hate are not appropriate in our schools. We and Albemarle County Public Schools have agreed to work together to explore not only the issue of hate symbols, but also the larger question of how we can better serve all of our students.

To further explore these topics, we invite you to a community forum on Tuesday, October 23, at 7 p.m. We help our children learn and grow. Our community and schools will learn and grow, too.

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins
Superintendent

Jackson-Via students enjoying Wildrock

Educating the whole child requires time for creative play. Jackson-Via preschool students enjoyed the playhouse during a field trip to Wildrock, a local natural playground. After a morning in the mud kitchen and creek, our youngest learners were fast asleep on the bus ride back to school.

VA FIRST LADY AND SUPER WHY! VISIT GREENBRIER ON LITERACY TOUR
Super-Why and First Lady at Greenbrier Toting a Wonder Woman backpack and a cartload of picture books, Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam visited Greenbrier. PBS’s popular character Super Why! was also there to give high fives and hugs. Stopping in to surprise several classrooms, the First Lady paused in one preschool class to read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?” Cville Schools is proud to partner with the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area, Albemarle County Schools, and MACAA Head Start to provide quality early childhood education.

BUFORD COMMUNITY MURAL IN PROGRESS
Painted portrait of Anne Martin Anyone who has been at Buford in the last 10 years probably recognizes this face! Head custodian Anne Martin, wearing the school’s “I am Excellent” t-shirt, is one of many who are featured on a new mural spanning the cafeteria wall. “So many people give so much to the school, and I think that this is a lovely representation and really tells the story of Buford,” said Principal Stephanie Carter. Funded in part by the Charlottesville Mural Project, the finished mural will feature teachers, students, and other Buford community members. Local artist Eliza Evans is donating her time to paint the portraits.

ARTIST, CREATOR OF UVA MEMORIAL VISITS CHS
Artist Eto Otitigbe speaking to CHS students. Eto Otitigbe, the designer of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA, spoke to art, history, and engineering students at CHS about the project to honor the enslaved people who helped construct the first buildings at UVA. Otitigbe discussed the importance of learning about history in the context of art. “Through creativity and artistic expression, we can inspire and gather ideas from different perspectives,” he said. Photo credit: Jeneene Chatowsky, UVA Advancement Communications.

iSTEM and MATH CLASSES TEAM UP FOR CODING LESSON 
Two boys working with a lap top and Spheros. Walker students in Ms. Skeen and Ms. Gallagher’s math classes joined iSTEM teacher Mr. Chamberlin for a lesson in square roots and computer coding. Using Spheros, small programmable robots that roll and light up, partners found the square root of a number, made a path with masking tape, and created code to make the Sphero travel along the path.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar 10/4 School Board Meeting
10/5 Fall Harvest Festival
10/6 Clark Buzz by Belmont 5K Run/Walk
10/12 CHS Homecoming football game
10/23 Community Forum on Equity
10/26 Friday Knight Lights All-Elementary Football Tailgate
10/26 End of 1st quarter

More Looks at Cville Schools

Three boys on a hayride at apple orchard.

Johnson students enjoyed picking apples while they learned about the fruit’s life cycle at Carter Mountain’s “Apple School.”  Next up? Farm-to-School Week activities and tastings at all our schools this week thanks to City Schoolyard Garden and the Local Food Hub. Photo credit: Rebecca Covington.

Principal and teacher playing math game with pediatric patient.

A patient at UVA Children’s Hospital plays a math game with elementary teacher Deborah Johnson and Principal Eric Johnson. To read more about our Hospital Education Program, click here.

Boy and girl smiling with arms around eachother.

“We are the same because we both like recess. We also both like art,” write two Clark students. The project was inspired by reading “Same, Same but Different.”  Learn more and see the amazing photos by ESL teacher April Hoffman here.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Secretary Qarni receives tshirt from two Venable students

VA Sec. of Ed visits as division celebrates VA Farm to School, Healthy Schools Week, and Buford Fall Harvest Festival

VA Secretary of Education Atif Qarni visits Venable Elementary garden.Charlottesville City Schools, in partnership with City Schoolyard Garden, celebrated a week of garden activities, visits from farm animals, and made-from-scratch lunches made with local ingredients provided by area farmers through Local Food Hub.

During Charlottesville Healthy Schools Week and VA Farm to School Week students sampled a variety of healthy foods including farmer’s market salsa and vegetable soup while also taste-testing local goat cheese, pears, and apples.

On Thursday, Charlottesville City Schools hosted special guest Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni at Venable School. Secretary Qarni and members  of his staff joined students for lunch, visited the garden to see goats from Caramont Farms, and sampled cherry tomatoes, CSYG’s October Harvest of the Month.

Throughout the week, students across the division also mingled with goats, bees, chickens, and sheep in our school gardens and learned about composting, apple pressing, wool carding, and more.

Dr. Atkins with children in garden petting a goat.The week culminated with the Fall Harvest Festival at Buford Middle School at 5:30 p.m. This annual free community event offered food, fun, music, and garden activities for all.

Charlottesville City Schools partners with the local nonprofit City Schoolyard Garden for a shared vision: Young people thrive with the opportunity to engage with nature, to enhance their academic learning through hands-on experience, to cultivate skills for healthy living, and to grow in leadership.

Together, Charlottesville City Schools and City Schoolyard Garden manage nine garden spaces including one at all six Charlottesville public elementary schools, Buford Middle School, Charlottesville High School, and our alternative high school, Lugo-McGinness Academy. These gardens encompass over 26,383 square feet of diverse organic gardens with over 33,724 student interactions for over 3,500 youth each year.

Photo of an African-American graduate

Graduation Rates Rise; Community Forum on Equity Scheduled for 10/23

Female graduate walks across the stageContinuing a pattern of growth, the Charlottesville High School on-time graduation rate rose to 92.6 percent for the class of 2018, which exceeds the state’s overall rate. The drop-out rate fell to 4.8 percent, also superior to the state’s rate.

The on-time graduation rate also rose for African-American students in Charlottesville, hitting 88.3 percent. Since 2006, this rate for Charlottesville’s black students has risen almost 25 points.

“We are so proud of our students and the staff who support them. The growth in our black students’ graduation rates in the last twelve years is tremendous,” noted Dr. Rosa Atkins, superintendent. “Even so, we are never complacent, and we see areas for growth. We want to make sure that all of our students are fully prepared for life after graduation.”

PhotoOne growth area is the attainment of the advanced studies diploma across all racial and ethnic groups. At 73 percent, Charlottesville’s white students exceed their state peers in attaining this advanced diploma. Yet Charlottesville’s students of color are far less likely to attain the advanced diploma, which most closely aligns with the requirements of most four-year colleges and universities.

“When we look at our graduation rates, we celebrate the gains our students have made. And just as we encourage our students to do, we then set new goals for achievement,” noted Dr. Atkins.

As part its commitment to supporting all students, Charlottesville City Schools will host a community forum on equity on Tuesday, October 23, at 7 p.m. at Charlottesville High School.