Making sure that our facilities meet the needs of students and staff
Charlottesville City Schools is growing! Since our enrollment has been increasing about 3 percent annually, we need to consider the future of our school facilities. Together, let’s consider how we can best meet our students’ needs, particularly for our classes serving preschool through grade 8. Our school division’s growth also presents an opportunity to modernize our schools for 21st-century learning.
Community conversation – January 31, 2018 – 6 p.m., CHS library
Charlottesville City Schools contracted VMDO Architects to study capacity and growth in the division. VMDO’s findings, along with the UVA Weldon Cooper Center’s study on enrollment trends in Charlottesville, were presented at two community meetings in November.
The next Community Meeting will be January 31 at 6 p.m. at CHS Media Center followed by a series of school PTO meetings and community outreach meetings where we will provide information and gather feedback from community members. Additionally, there will be discussion and an opportunity for public comment at the regularly scheduled School Board meeting on February 2 at 5:30pm in the Charlottesville High School library.
Stay in Touch
Stay informed and share your thoughts! We will continue to post future
updates on this web page. Look for a more robust community survey coming in January.
1) Consensus about moving forward with expansion plans?
2) One new elementary, or three expanded elementaries? Centralized preschool?
3) Other questions as they emerge from community feedback.
American School & University Magazine, “Prepare for Growth” (October 2017; sign-up required to see article). Article projects 5 percent growth in PK-12 enrollment in the South over the years 2017-2025.
Thanks for your strong response to our request for feedback about the draft 2018-19 academic calendar! Your feedback primarily raised two questions centered around half-days and winter break. Half-days are under discussion among the committee. As for winter break, please take another brief survey about two options for the holidays.
The calendar will be presented to the School Board for review in December with an expected vote in January.
Comments about this year’s calendar:
Winter break: Based on community feedback, we are conducting a follow-up survey to see what break scenario is preferred. Two scenarios:
The last day of school before break should be Friday, December 21, and students should return to school on Monday, January 7. (Ten days marked below in gold.)
The last day of school before break should be Wednesday, December 19, and students should return to school on Thursday, January 3. (Ten days marked below in purple.)
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 at 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. Our 2016 survey of the initial draft indicated that a majority of respondents favored keeping spring break during the first week of April.
Half-days: Based on community feedback, one half-day has been eliminated in draft 2.
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.
As we wrap up the first quarter of the year, I want to say thanks to all of you for partnering with us for the education of your children. It’s been an eventful year in our community. Even so, our schools continue to excel and thrive. All of our Charlottesville City Schools were once again fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education, all our schools just received state-wide recognition for our sustainability and environment education programs, and our SAT scores continue to climb well-above national and state averages. To support these strong accomplishments, we are strengthening our efforts to improve and modernize our facilities.
Last fall, we hired VMDO Architects to study school capacity and make recommendations for modernization projects. We also contracted with UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service to study our enrollment trends.
Projections show our Pre-K – 12th grade enrollment will grow by more than 600 students in the next decade. Thus, the time to prepare for capacity solutions is now.
Our School Board is in the process of considering possible options. Later, you will be invited to take part in community discussions. We need your input as we seek for ways to maximize our learning spaces to meet the needs of our community. We hope you will join us!
Upcoming Days Off for Students: To mark the end of the first quarter, there will be a teacher workday (no school for students) on Friday, October 27. Coinciding with Election Day is another break on Monday-Tuesday, November 6-7, while teachers have a professional learning day and a workday.
PowerSchool is an online tool to help schools, students, and families stay connected throughout the year. You can check grades and attendance and more. Using PowerSchool, you can customize how you receive calls, emails, or texts from the schools. Make sure all of your students are added to your parent account. If you have not completed your online re-registration, please do so right away. Canvas is a similar program that allows students and parents to access day-to-day classwork, readings, grades, and more.
As a follow-up to the August events in Charlottesville, a number of our teachers and administrators have given interviews with national media outlets such as NPR, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and many others. These staff members have allowed the country to see how thoughtfully and carefully they have handled this situation. You can find some glimpses of this work in the below highlights. Thanks for the good work you’re doing in our schools, and thanks for representing us so well in the media!
We celebrated Farm-to-School week, presented by our Nutrition Department in partnership with City Schoolyard Garden and the Local Food Hub. Activities ranged from locally sourced lunches to visits with chickens and goats. The week wrapped up at Johnson with a visit from the First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe also visited Charlottesville and attended a Clark Elementary School STEM fair. Clark fourth graders, along with the governor, rotated through activities featuring drones, robots, and driverless cars. Running the stations were volunteers from PVCC, Perrone Robotics, and our own talented CHS BACON students.
All nine of Charlottesville City Schools received “Virginia Naturally” state recognition for increasing the environmental awareness and stewardship of our students.
Lugo-McGinness Academy administrator Stephanie Newcomb Carter was recognized by the UVA Teen and Young Adult Health Center as 2017 Outstanding Community Partner. Lugo-McGinness Academy provides an alternative educational setting for Charlottesville students in grades 5-12.
Across our schools, various fundraisers took place to help victims of recent events and natural disasters. The Walker Upper Elementary Peace Squad raised $868 for hurrican victims and the Concert for Charlottesville Fund.
Joining the Charlottesville City Schools staff is Krissy Vick, community relations liaison. You may hear from her in future communications. Beth Cheuk will remain active in communications but will take on additional responsibilities in grant-writing and other areas.
We’ve expanded our Facebook and Twitter pages! Our school division (@CvilleSchools), all our schools, and programs ranging from iSTEM to athletics have active social media accounts. To see an ever-growing list, click here.
CHS hosted a group of singers from the Metro Nashville Public Schools to collaborate on a joint musical recording of entertainer BeBe Winan’s song “Right Now (We Need One Another.” Read The Daily Progress coverage here. A response to this summer’s violence, this beautiful video was shown at the Dave Matthews Band Concert for Charlottesville.
Forty CHS students stayed after school for a “paint-in” organized by art teacher Rachel McLaughlin (see photo, above) as one response to the Charlottesville events of August 11-12. The inspirational messages have been posted around the school.
The CHS Theatre program will present “A Night of One Act Performances” at the Black Box Theater on October 25 at 7 p.m. The evening will feature two plays, “1601” and “The Firebugs.” In fact, the musical “1601” is student-created and directed! Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults, and $15 for VIP seating. Click here to order tickets online.
Sixteen CHS Orchestra and Band members were selected for the 2017 South Central Senior Regional Orchestra. Congratulations to Laura Mulligan Thomas and Jason Hackworth, plus the following students: Alice Owen, Frances Owen, Margaret Lather, Kiran Klubock-Shukla, Jamila Pitre, Parker Sullivan, Joshua Rugumayo, and Victoria Kremer, violin; Tilden Fernandez and Joe von Storch, viola; Sarah Garretson, Carmen Day, and Owen Fernandez, cello; Claire Inlow, clarinet; Ella McLaren, bassoon; and Anna Bon-Harper, french horn.
In other music news, Victoria Kremer earned 1 of the 20 first-soprano spots in the 2017 Virginia Senior Honors Choir. The CHS Marching Knights won 1st place overall for class AAA at the Lynchburg Classic. And CHS Choir Teacher Will Cooke and his students celebrated when they received a baby grand piano from a generous donor.
Ninth-grader Anisha Tamang won 1st in the National Dance Foundation’s 2017 Middle School Art Contest! She made this award-winning collage last year at Buford.
Congratulations and good luck to senior Demetrius Ragland for being one of two delegates representing VA this month at the Global Youth Institute in Iowa. His project studies food insecurity in Haiti.
Steven Newman and Jonah Weissman were named National Merit semifinalists, and a number of CHS students earned commended student status: Campbell Brickhouse, Owen Fernandez, Tilden Fernandez, Margaret Fitch, Emma Hale, Fré Halvorson-Taylor, Rachel Inlow, Charlotte MacDonald, Jamie Nachbar, Risa Purow-Ruderman, and Roland Ryan.
18 of our CHS AVID seniors got their first college admissions offers from Longwood University. The CHS AVID program, a college preparatory program that focuses primarily on students who will be first-generation college students, recently visited Longwood University (LU), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Lynchburg College, Virginia State University (VSU) and Virginia Tech (VT). 15 were also recently admitted to VSU. Way to go, seniors!
CHS Scholastic Bowl team was victorious over Matoaka High School in round one of the televised Battle of the Brains competition.
CHS hosted a Vietnam War video screening and panel discussion in connection with the WHTJ/WCVE PBS initiative, “Vietnam: Virginia Remembers.” Panelists included several retired Vietnam War veterans who shared their perspective with students from CHS and The Miller School. Senior Nadiya Khaydari also presented a student documentary she produced in teacher Matt Deegan’s history class. The event coincided with the recent documentary series “The Vietnam War,” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
Six Buford Middle School engineers traveled to the National Museum of American History in D.C. At the Smithsonian, they ran a design challenge for CEOs and educational leaders. Brendan Martin and his students also presented their experiences and the tools they use, such as Seesaw and Trello.
As one response to the Charlottesville events of August 11-12, Mr. Cormier prompted his art students to consider a quote about “learning to love” by Nelson Mandela. Their beautiful artworks were then displayed along with the full quote on a wall in the cafeteria for all the school to see and learn from.
Buford PE classes were visited by the Charlottesville Cardinals wheelchair basketball team, offering an inspirational model for how to overcome challenges.
Walker School held its iSTEM Family Night in October, with marble mazes (for mastering mass) and a CSI crime scene to help students solve the Case of the Missing iPhone.
Walker students are using putting the fun in fundamentals. Students learned about human, natural, and capital resources by creating their own show, “Top Chef: Pizza Edition,” in Ms. Trent and Mr. Piedra’s classes. Other out-of-the box learning activities were English students performing “sentence surgery” in Ms. Stromberg’s classes, or art students using icing to create color-wheel cookies in Ms. Pagni’s classes.
During Mix It Up Day, 30 United Way volunteers played B-I-N-G-O at lunchtime to give our fifth and sixth grade students (sitting in mixed-up seating arrangements) a chance to get to know each other better!
As mentioned in the “division news” section, the Walker Peace Squad raised nearly $900 to benefit hurricane victims and the “Concert for Charlottesville Fund” at the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.
The annual Clark Elementary 5K Buzz-by-Belmont Fun Run to benefit the Clark Educational Fund was a success! Thank you to all of our runners, volunteers, and community partners that helped with this event.
Our schools recently celebrated “Walk to School Day.” At Venable, students walked by grade and were greeted by CHS cheerleaders.
The hallways in several of our elementary schools are filled with “The Best Part of Me” writing and photos inspired by Wendy Ewald’s book, “The Best Part of Me.”
Burnley-Moran Elementary is celebrating Spirit Week the week of 10/16-10/20. The festivities will end with the second annual All-Elementary Football Tailgate on October 20 at 6 p.m. at Charlottesville High School. Meanwhile, Mr. Ryan Trott’s fourth-grade art students have been creating a beautiful hallway mural designed by kids from the Blue Ridge Academic Program. The mural focuses on positive messages of perseverance, effort, and accepting challenge and can be seen on the Burnley-Moran hallway walls leading to the basement level.
Fourth-graders in Mrs. Wayland’s class at Johnson Elementary were invited to serve as guest op-ed writers for the November issue of The New York Times for Kids. Two Times editors and their photographer came to conduct a workshop and take headshots of the young columnists. In addition, the whole school is participating in a community-building art project. Students are decorating a fist-sized rock. Each looks lovely on its own, but they will be even more beautiful when combined with others to line trails and walkways around the campus.
Students at Greenbrier Elementary are bringing their bikes and helmets to school and learning all about bike safety in PE class! Mr. Green is teaching them how to complete a pre-ride check, safety gear needed for riding, proper hand signals, and reading safety signs.
Venable celebrated the new track at the start of their annual Walk-A-Thon. This track was paid for by the Venable PTO and built by the city Parks & Rec department last summer. It is a great addition for Venable and the the neighboring community, including Lugo-McGinness Academy (Charlottesville’s high school alternative program).
Back-to-School Night was a great community event with over 400 Jackson-Via family members who explored Jackson-Via, met with teachers, and shared a delicious pot luck dinner. At Math and Literacy Night, the pre-school and kindergarten families gathered for “Shiver Me Letters (and numbers),” and participated in activities that engaged the whole family.
The new wellness policy was unanimously approved by the School Board in September. Thanks to parents, students, staff, and area experts for your input to make our revised wellness policy so strong! Read more here.
The 2017-18 Student Representatives to the School Board are CHS students Nadiya Khaydari, Fré Halvorson-Taylor, and Lamia West.
Charlottesville High School received a $50,000 grant from the CFA Institute that will benefit the CHS AVID program. CFA will be partnering with CHS to modernize learning spaces and develop our investing, & personal finance programs.
Four Charlottesville City Schools teachers received grants totaling $5,724 from the Edgar and Eleanor Shannon Foundation for Excellence in Public Education. The grants make possible innovative educational projects, ranging from STEM fields to therapeutic games.
For details, official minutes, or other reports, visit our electronic schoolboard, accessible via our web site.
A music video collaboration produced by Charlottesville High School and Metro Nashville Public Schools was featured among the long line-up of musical performers at the Dave Matthew’s Band Concert for Charlottesville in September .
“To see all of us up on the jumbotron at the Dave Matthews concert was truly a thrill,” said CHS Orchestra Teacher Laura Mulligan 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 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.
After the Charlottesville events of August 11-12, the Fab 5, on behalf of MNPS, sent a video recording of BeBe and CeCe Winans’ song, “Right Now (We Need One Another).” Touched by such a powerful gesture, Thomas and Cooke decided to invite the Fab 5 singers to come to Charlottesville to re-record the video in collaboration with CHS musicians.
Students from all six CCS elementary schools gathered for the annual all-elementary school tailgate to cheer on the Black Knights at the CHS v. Western Albemarle football game. The Black Knights were victorious with the final score, 35-26!
The Burnley-Moran PTO organized the event which included tailgate games, food, and pre-game visits from the CHS cheerleaders, football players, and marching band.
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.
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 Student Enrollment.” 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. Free/Reduced Lunch
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.
To find the student ID number to create My Payments Plus account, log into PowerSchool and click on the Grades and Attendance tab.
Calls/Emails/Text Messages 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 Information 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)
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.
Charlottesville City Schools will host a special group of visitors from the Metro Nashville Public Schools later this week to collaborate on a joint musical recording of entertainer BeBe Winan’s song “Right Now (We Need One Another).”
The Fabulous 5, an ensemble of five Nashville area high school students, recorded a touching music video in response to the recent events in Charlottesville and sent it to the CCS staff. Produced under the direction of Cedric Caldwell, the head of Pearl Cohn Magnet High School’s Relentless Entertainment group, the video features scenes from the Unite the Right march and related events in Charlottesville on August 11-12.
Under the leadership of CHS Orchestra Director Laura Thomas and CHS Choral Director Will Cook, members of the Charlottesville High School orchestra and choral group will record the song together and spend some time touring the city during the two-day visit.
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.