Category Archives: CCS Home

Teacher and students in renovated Jackson-Via hallway

Modernization Project Video: New look, new learning at Jackson-Via after upgrades

When school reopened after winter break, Jackson-Via students and staff returned to find the finishing touches complete on their 2019 modernization projects.


*Video courtesy VMDO Architects in-house production/Asa Eslocker

The project included new paint throughout the building, daylighting for more natural light, new technology and furnishings, beautiful way-finding guides, and more. As with the 2018 work at Clark Elementary, fourth-graders saw the biggest impact in their spaces.

Designed by VMDO Architects, the work is part of an annual appropriation of $1-1.25 million by the City of Charlottesville for modernization (in addition to annual maintenance of school facilities). Planning is underway for a 2020 project at Burnley-Moran.

For more details on the Jackson-Via improvements, visit  the VMDO Architects project web page here.

In addition, the City has also allocated $3 million for planning and design work for Buford Middle School and Walker Upper Elementary as part of a reconfiguration plan to move 6th-graders to Buford, return 5th-graders to the elementary schools, and place preschoolers at an early learning center on the site of Walker.

Winter Sports Feb 2020 colleage (basketball, wrestling, track). Call 245-2962 with questions.

February 2020 News and Highlights

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins

Johnson students in superhero gear for kindness weekDear staff, family, and community:

I write this note in the midst of Kindness Week in our schools. For instance, the superheroes at the right wore capes and masks to remind us that we all have the power to be kind. Does it get any cuter?

Love and kindness are key to our schools. Kindness is always available to us, but it is also hard to carry out. Many on our staff were reminded of this truth by Dr. Luvelle Brown, a native son who is now Superintendent in Ithaca Public Schools in New York. He reminded us that we need a culture of love to make our schools better for everyone. This newsletter reflects some of the ways we are taking care of our students, staff, and families. It also reminds us about next week’s Community Conversations on Equity, a chance for us to reflect on our equity work and what has (and hasn’t) gone right.

As we move forward, let’s take a cue from these little ones and lead with kindness. Now where did I put my cape?

Dr. Rosa Atkins

 

Collage of CHS sports (basketball, wrestling, swimming, track) during 2020 postseason.

Go Black Knights! We’re cheering you on in post-season play. Boys’ and girls’ hoops swept the Jeff District championship tourney and start regionals Friday night at home. Coach Mitch Minor has won 400+ career games at CHS. Wrestlers, swimmers, and track/field athletes are heading to states. Find details here. (Photos courtesy Andrew Shurtleff/Daily Progress and Tony D’Alessio.)

SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS: AN UPDATE. 
Dr. Atkins and Board members at February 2020 work session. Courtesy K. Knoot/Daily ProgressAs noted last month, we have been exploring options for how to attract and retain substitute teachers. A few updates: We’ve had some successes recruiting additional subs, we are budgeting to raise subs’ pay next year, and we are implementing better ways to welcome and support subs. In addition, at Walker, Buford, and CHS, we will start compensating teachers who need to cover for peers when no sub is available.  We’re also exploring how to begin a similar system at the elementaries. Read Daily Progress coverage.

EQUITY CONVERSATIONS: HEAR WHAT’S NEW. SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK.
Jackson-Via renovationWe’re hosting four Equity Conversations from 2/24-2/27, a chance for the community to hear what we’ve been working on and to share their perspectives. Dates are 2/24 at 6pm at CHS, 2/25 at 6:30pm at Friendship Ct., 2/26 at 6:30pm at Boys & Girls Club (Cherry Avenue), and 2/27 at 12pm at City of Promise. Spanish translation and childcare are available. For more information, call 245-2962 or see  our web site.

FOR UPDATE TO BURNLEY-MORAN, ARCHITECTS TALK TO EXPERTS — STUDENTS.
Burnley-Moran students vote on chairs for renovated spaces.As the school division and educational architects VMDO plan for an improvement project at Burnley-Moran, we are gathering feedback from stakeholders — including students. Focus groups of fourth-graders moved through stations to test furniture, explore the proposed designs with virtual reality goggles, and give a thumbs up (or down) to possible elements. Burnley-Moran will be the third elementary to receive a $1 million update. In addition, the City is also currently reviewing proposals to plan the redesign of Walker as a city-wide preschool center and Buford as a grade 6-8 middle school. Learn more.

PROJECT RUNWAY: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION
Clothes and shoes at CHS "Swap Shop"A student-run, no-fee clothing exchange at CHS is a fun and important way to meet students’ needs  — and even their wants. Located near the main office, the swap shop’s racks are available to all. Students and staff can grab a new look AND recycle the things they’re no longer wearing. Student leader Elana West-Smith notes, “I’m a thrifter and I also really enjoy the idea of people being able to have the resources they need.”

FROM WALKER PLAYGROUND TO TEACHER LOUNGE, FAMILIES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Walker student playing basketball at recess by Billy Jean Louis/Charlottesville TomorrowTwo family-led projects will make a big impact at Walker. First, over the MLK Day weekend, volunteers completed a weekend make-over of the teachers’ lounge. Next, students will receive a long-awaited playground to enhance their recess choices. Together, the joint Buford-Walker United PTO raised (and continue to raise) funds to build a playground, and the School Board approved the project in February. Thanks for making a difference!

SERVICE LEARNING? IT’S ELEMENTARY. AND MIDDLE SCHOOL. AND BEYOND.
Clark student sewing a wildlife rescue pouchReal-world activities and community service are important ways to bring learning to life, and it’s never too early to start, whether it’s K students practicing conservation, fourth-graders sewing cozy pouches to warm up orphaned wildlife at shelters, Buford students raising money for SARA, or CHS English classes using real estate records for “Mapping Cville” to find patterns of housing inequities. Schools benefit from volunteers, too — whether a visit from Miss Virginia, guest readers from the men of Alpha Phi Alpha, or field trips and mentoring from the UVa Medical Center, the School of Medicineor the School of Engineering.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH? LET’S TAKE IT BEYOND FEBRUARY.
Detail of a Johnson teacher's Black History Month door decorationsFrom door-decorating contests to soul feasts to daily fun facts to guest lecturers or lunchtime performances, our schools are celebrating Black History Month. We were especially charmed by Jackson-Via’s art students, who have studied and been inspired by Black artists. Beyond February, however, we are doing ongoing work to “Change the Narrative” and feature more black and other sometimes-silenced voices in our social science and history classes, assigned readings, and media centers. Learn more about BHM celebrations. 

SCHOOL BOARD NOTES
Cville Schools official logoIn recent weeks, the School Board has continued to work on next year’s budget, holding work sessions and community updates (see the calendar of budget events and presentation slides). At their February meeting, Board members heard updates on the MP3 black male mentoring program and our literacy instruction (including the introduction of a new elementary curriculum). The Board also expressed approval and appreciation for the family-led initiative to add playground equipment to Walker. Find more School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendarOngoing  Preschool applications. Find info online.
2/24-27 Community Conversations on Equity. See details.
2/27 CHS Band Pre-Assessment Concert, 7pm, MLKPAC
2/29 CHS Choir participates in Winter Songs, 7pm, Monticello HS

3/2-3 No School for professional learning/teacher work day
3/4  Special Education Advisory Committee, 5:30pm, Jackson-Via
3/5 School Board Meeting, 5pm, CHS Media Center
3/5 Harvest of the Month Snack Program (thanks, City Schoolyard Garden)
3/9 Governor’s Conversation on the State Equity Plan, 6-8:30pm
3/10 School Health Advisory Board, 4pm, Division Annex
3/11 Art Connections Evening Hours (with Buford Jazz Band), 4:30-6pm, CHS Small Gym
3/14 Art Connections Saturday Celebration, 10am-2pm, CHS Small Gym. Note: Enjoy Parent University (10:30am-1pm) while you’re there!
3/18 Art Connections Evening Hours (with Walker Jazz Band), 4:30-6pm, CHS Small Gym

More Looks at Cville Schools

Kids making and enjoying smoothies at Greenbrier cooking class

The family engagement team continues its good work with a cooking class at Greenbrier. Follow @EngageFamCCS.

CHS Symphony on stage at Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center.

CHS held its annual celebration of the arts in January, with joint performances by students in band, choir, orchestra, theatre, and visual arts. If you missed it, you can catch the video here..

Venable's crossing guard Ursula Coleman by Daily Progress/Erin Edgerton

Venable crossing guard Ursula Coleman was named 1 of 6 VA Outstanding Crossing Guards!  Ruth Hill of Clark won the same award in 2016. Thanks to all our hard-working guards who keep our walkers safe!

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

Community Conversations on Equity — Still Time to Speak Up!

Flyer for Community Conversations on Equity. Dates are 2/24 at 6pm at CHS, 2/25 at 6:30pm at Friendship Ct, 2/26 at 6:30pm at Boys & Girls Club/Cherry Avenue, and 2/27 at 12pm at City of Promise. Spanish translation and childcare available. For more information, call 245-2962.

In February, we held a round of community-wide meetings about our shared commitment to serve all of our students well. We will share this feedback with the School Board in March, and we will update this web page with these findings, as well.

Have Ideas to Share?

We want to hear from you! The slides are posted below, along with a form for online feedback (scroll down).

Additional Information/Resources for these Conversations

 

Detail from a Johnson teacher's door saying Black History Month

Black History Month, February 2020

Black History Month is well underway at Charlottesville City Schools, with morning announcements, door decorations, soul feasts, guest presenters, and more.

Here are just a few examples from social media:

Jackson-Via art students studied and took inspiration from the rich history of Black artists and activists:

 

Johnson families enjoy African-American Heritage Night, complete with a Kehinde Wiley-inspired photo booth created by students (back by popular demand!):

CHS has a series of events, including lunchtime learning on Mondays:

 

Thanks to all the teachers, students, families, and community members who have volunteered to make this month meaningful!

While Black History Month is tremendously important, we continue to work to make sure that diverse perspectives are reflected in our curriculum, media centers, and offerings.  For two more examples from social media, see:

graphic for academic advising season-look ahead

Looking ahead to 2020-21: Walker, Buford and CHS academic counseling begins

graphic for academic advising season-look aheadIt’s already time to think about next year! Whether you are at CHS, Buford, or Walker Upper Elementary, school counselors are beginning to meet with students and families about course offerings for 2020-21.

Want to learn more about options available next school year? Attend any of the following upcoming events to meet administrators, counselors, teachers, and ask questions:

Meanwhile, counselors are checking in with students during the school day. Walker school counselors are visiting all city fourth grade students to introduce themselves and give information about elective options, while Buford counselors are planning to visit Walker sixth graders, and CHS counselors are visiting Buford eighth graders–all to make next year’s transition easier for our students who are changing schools.

Have questions? Ask your teacher, counselor, or principal!

Two girls participate in Hour of Code activity at Venable.

January 2020 News and Highlights

 

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins

Ms. Clarke's fourth grade classroom renovationDear staff, family, and community:

As we start 2020, I’ve been looking ahead to what the year will bring. Here are four areas you will hear more about:

Facilities. In early 2019, our Board endorsed a plan to reconfigure our schools. We received $3 million from the City to help us plan and design a new Walker (for preschool) and Buford (for grades 6-8). Once the bidding process is complete, the City will then select a firm to help with this work. Find updates here, and stay tuned!

Equity. The last year or so has been marked by public conversations and bold action on equity in our schools. On February 19 and 26, we’ll hold public events to continue this conversation, and you can also learn more detailed updates here.

Data. Among our most foundational work in equity — and in overall school improvement — is committing to a set of indicators that will show our progress and needs. This sounds simple, but in a world of changing tests, evolving tools, and unintended consequences, it is not. So we are thoughtfully exploring our top goals and the best way to measure them.

Substitute teachers. We — like school divisions across the country — have had shortages in areas such as substitute teachers, CLASS after-school staff, and bus drivers. We are doing internal work to assess the substitute situation and our responses (via marketing, training, compensation). And we are considering options for our community’s after-school care needs. In the meanwhile, help us spread the word! We are looking for substitute teachers and after-school staff — and our colleagues at the City (who manage student transportation) are looking for bus drivers (and substitute bus drivers). Together, let’s find good solutions and talented individuals.

As always, we invite you to partner with us. This might mean checking in with your teacher, attending events or meetings, volunteering, or just staying informed.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Dr. Rosa Atkins

 

Family Engagement/Parent University Leaders

Did you enjoy Parent University? Have you chatted during a Bus Stop Meet-n-Greet? Or perhaps your family enjoyed the winter break calendar of suggested activities. Thanks to Velvet Coleman, Bianca Johnson, & partners! Recently, the Daily Progress featured our family engagement team.

EQUITY-RELATED WORKSHOPS: NOT JUST FOR STAFF, BUT FOR FAMILIES, TOO!
Dr. Joseph Williams headshotThe Cville Schools staff and administrators have engaged in a variety of trainings related to equity — and we’ll continue to offer these important workshops. But families are a big part of the work, too. So in response to PTO requests, Cville Schools has worked with UVA professor (and Cville Schools parent) Dr. Joseph Williams to provide two free workshops for families. This past Saturday was a session on implicit bias, and this Saturday, we’ll cover “How to Talk to Your Child about Race.” Sign up here.

JACKSON-VIA BUILDING IMPROVEMENT: CHECK. NEXT UP: MUCH, MUCH MORE
Jackson-Via renovationAs part of our elementary modernizations, Jackson-Via just completed a $1.25 million improvement to its entrance, lighting, tech, furnishings, and more. This follows work at Clark in 2018, and Burnley-Moran is up next. In addition, we continue to plan for the redesign of Buford and Walker. The RFP for design and planning services was posted in December. An overview of these plans (moving 6th grade to Buford; returning 5th-grade to elementaries; creating a dedicated early education center at Walker) is on our web site.

IT’S TIME TO APPLY FOR PRESCHOOL – AND IT’S MORE WELCOMING THAN EVER
Dad demonstrates sewing for preschool students.It’s time to apply for preschool: Cville Schools offers free preK classes for qualifying 3- and 4-year-olds. The joint application is here (for Cville Schools, ACPS, and MACAA). Among the changes this year, incomplete toilet skills are no longer an automatic disqualifier for Cville Schools — we’ll look at students on a case-by-case basis. Other preschool news (aside from planning for an early childhood center — see above item) includes the “Creative Curriculum,” a research-based resource that ties together play, literacy, math, and personal growth as kiddos explore everyday subjects like balls or clothes. Pictured left, one of our parents demonstrates sewing as part of the unit on clothing.

WHAT’S COOKING AT WALKER? KIDS ARE IN THE KITCHEN (& OTHER CLUBS)
Walker students participate in cooking club.The Walker after-school program (EDGE) offers options ranging from sign language to theatre — come see Peter Pan on 1/17! Since 2003, a cooking club has brought Cville area chefs to work with students, started by former nutrition coordinator Alicia Cost and now run by Becky Calvert. It’s almost time for spring EDGE sign-ups. Spring info and sign-ups will be published 1/27. Sessions start 2/5; fee is $20 or free to students with free/reduced lunch. For more info for students OR adult volunteers, visit the EDGE web site.

YOU’VE SEEN TEACHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. NOMINATE THEM FOR AN AWARD!
Better living golden apply award logoMaybe a new teacher has gotten off to a great start. Perhaps it’s time to show appreciation for the teacher who’s put in good work for decades. Either way, it’s time for the annual Golden Apple nominations for outstanding teachers, sponsored by Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry. Take a few minutes — perhaps working with your student — to submit a nomination to your principal by 1/27. (Winners from the last three years aren’t eligible, but you can still jot them a note of appreciation!) Find the application form here.

AS SECOND SEMESTER STARTS, LET’S TALK ABOUT NEXT FALL
illustration of curriculumThe first semester ends Friday, but it’s already time to think about next year! Check out upcoming ways to learn about our course offerings. For instance, Buford has a family curriculum night on 1/28, CHS has one on 2/3, Buford’s engineering expo is 2/13, and CATEC has an event on 2/25. Plus, Walker counselors are visiting elementary schools, and a video helps Walker families understand their choices. Counselors are checking in with Buford and CHS students to help them plan for a future that extends well beyond high school. Have questions? Ask your teacher, counselor, or principal!

WINTER WEATHER? CHECK YOUR NUMBERS, MAKE YOUR PLANS
snow photo of DOA‘Tis still the season for snow and ice. Take time now to prepare for a weather closing. To choose phone, email, or text notifications (and to check your contact information), log into PowerSchool and select School Messenger at left. Then in the top-left corner, click the three-menu lines and select “Preferences” to make your choice and check your info. Find more instructions. Need help logging into PowerSchool? Call your school, 245-2943, or 245-2962. Find more info about weather closing and notifications.

SCHOOL BOARD NOTES
Cville Schools official logoIn December, the School Board said farewell to interim member Ned Michie. In January, they welcomed new member Lashundra Bryson Morsberger, re-elected Jennifer McKeever and Leah Puryear as chair and vice chair, and approved committee assignments. Thanks to all for serving! December also began the budget development season (see the calendar of budget events and presentation slides). Areas of action include changes to the policy about distributing medicine in school, and the approval of the 2020-21 academic calendar and program of studies. Reports were given about family engagement, special education, the strategic plan, and the equity committee. Find more School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar1/16-17 CHS Musical Theatre Education class presents Pippin, 7pm, Black Box Theatre, $10 adults ($5 students/alum)
1/17 Early Dismissal, End of 2nd Quarter, & Afternoon Professional Learning
1/17 Walker Stage Left Performs Peter Pan, 6:30pm, Walker Auditorium
1/20-21 No School (MLK Day on 1/20; teacher workday on 1/21)
1/21 Budget Update Meeting, 5pm, Jackson-Via (open to all)

1/28 Buford Family Curriculum Expo, 6pm (Walker families welcome!)
1/29 CHS Symphony/Choir/Arts Celebration, 7:30, MLKPAC

1/30 Walker 5th Grade Band Win
ter Concert, 6:30pm, Walker Auditorium
2/3 CHS Curriculum Fair & Buford Family Night, 4:30-7pm, CHS Cafeteria. (Buford Family Information Session will take place from 6:30-7pm in A-Commons.)

2/5 Walker EDGE Clubs Begin for Second Semester
2/6 School Board Meeting, 5pm, CHS Media Center
2/6 Harvest of the Month Snack Program (thanks, City Schoolyard Garden)
2/13 Buford Engineering Expo, 5:30-7pm, Buford (open to all)

More Looks at Cville Schools

Zymir Faulkner by Andrew Shurtleff/Daily Progress

Go Black Knights! Basketball, sideline cheer, swimming, track, and wrestling are in season. Boys’ hoops (12-1) won the Daily Progress Holiday Classic, and Zymir Faulkner (above) was the DP’s athlete of the week. Prior to Friday’s basketball game, the state championship boys’ soccer team was honored and received their rings. Spring tryouts start 2/24 — info will be posted to gocville.org.

Pippin poster and cast (musical theatre ensemble class)

The arts are always in season at Cville Schools. Students from CHS’s musical theatre ensemble class are presenting Pippin 1/16 and 1/17 in the Black Box. Walker students are presenting Peter Pan 1/17 at Walker. ALL CHS arts students are performing and presenting on 1/29. Don’t miss it! 

Venable Hour of Code activity

Students participated in the Hour of Code (national programming activities). Our iSTEM teachers present coding year-round, leading to computer science pathways at CHS and CATEC. And shout-out to CHS BACON (Best All-around Club of Nerds) for qualifying for the state FTC Robotics championship!

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

Budget Development Process underway for FY2020-21

graphic of pie chart on a stock chart with a budget

It’s time to develop the 2020-21 budget for Charlottesville City Schools! We’d like to hear from you.

Upcoming opportunities for the community to learn more and share your thoughts are:

  • Thursday, December 5 at 5 pm, CHS Media Center, School Board Meeting
  • Wednesday, January 8 at 6 pm, Walker/Buford PTO at Walker (open to entire community)
  • Thursday, January 9 at 5 pm, CHS Media Center, School Board Meeting
  • Monday, January 13 at  5:30 pm, CHS PTO (open to entire community)
  • Tuesday, January 21 at 5 pm at Jackson-Via PTO (open to entire community)
  • Thursday, February 6 at 5 pm, CHS Media Center, School Board Meeting

School Board meetings are the first Thursday of the month at 5 pm in the CHS media center. The January meeting is Thursday, January 9 (the second Thursday of the month due to Winter Break).

You can also check out the resources and information at charlottesvilleschools.org/budget.

CHS students in Richmond to see unveiling of Kehinde Wiley statue.

Students attend “Rumors of War” unveiling at the VMFA

CHS students visit the unveiling of the Kehinde Wiley statue, "Rumors of War."Charlottesville High School art students and teachers traveled to the Virginia Fine Arts Museum in Richmond, VA to witness the much-anticipated unveiling of the sculpture, “Rumors of War,” created by American artist Kehinde Wiley.

According to a media release by the Virginia Fine Arts Museum, “Rumors of War” expands Wiley’s well-known efforts to use art to include more black and brown men and women in visual, historical, and cultural narratives. The statue, inspired by traditional portrayals of white subjects in equestrian portraiture and monuments, depicts a young African American rider in urban street clothes striking a heroic pose on a muscular horse.

“As Charlottesville City Schools strives to teach a more complete history through its Changing the Narrative initiative, field trips like this one provide cross-curricular opportunities for students to engage in learning experiences through the fine arts that challenge them to think beyond the traditional historical narrative and better understand the complexities of history and various perspectives,” said fine arts coordinator Aaron Eichorst.

The VMFA release further states that Wiley’s work “powerfully repositions black youth within the classical European tradition of power and status…while directly engaging the national conversation around monuments and their role in perpetuating incomplete histories and inequality.”

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

Draft Calendar for 2020-21

Draft calendar for 2020-21 academic calendar. Call 245-2962 with questions.UPDATE: The Charlottesville School Board voted to approve this draft in January 2020. The Albemarle County School Board will vote on the calendar (with a possible slight change) later in January.


The Charlottesville-Albemarle School Calendar Committee has created a draft calendar for the 2020-21 school year.  The proposed calendar is nearly identical to this year’s.

Please take a minute to review the draft and share your thoughts with us.

A joint committee from Charlottesville Schools and Albemarle County Public Schools will review the feedback and then present a recommendation to the School Boards in December. After School Board consideration, a vote will be held 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.
  • Religious Holidays: Our practice is not to observe religious holidays as school holidays (but we do try to avoid scheduling evening events on major religious holidays). Students or staff who wish to be absent to observe a religious holiday are allowed to do so. For the 2020-21 school year, a professional learning day falls on Yom Kippur. This might be a benefit to Jewish families but might present a conflict for Jewish teachers and staff (who are welcome to take a personal day off but would miss the professional learning day). We welcome your input on this draft.
  • 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.
graphic 2019-20 surveys

Surveys

graphic 2019-20 surveys

Survey about Chromebook Computers and WiFi Hotspots

Encuesta sobre computadoras Chromebook y puntos de acceso WiFi

Please help us plan for distributing Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to families who need them during our extended school closure. Thank you!

Ayúdenos a planificar la distribución de Chromebooks y puntos de acceso WiFi a las familias que los necesitan durante el cierre de nuestra escuela extendida. ¡Gracias!