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TheatreCHS presents musical “Mamma Mia!”

The Charlottesville High School Theater Department presented the Broadway musical hit “Mamma Mia!” on Friday, February 15 through Sunday, February 17 at CHS in the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center.

Photo collage of scenes from "Mamma Mia!"
Photos by Laura Shinseki

Based on the songs of Swedish pop band ABBA including a top hit by the same name, “Mamma Mia” is one of the longest running shows in Broadway history. It features strong female leads with an emphasis on themes of female friendships and empowerment. In 2008, a film adaptation premiered starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried.

“This year‘s production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ promises to be a night or afternoon full of joy and happiness,” said CHS Drama Department Chair David Becker, who is in his 10th year leading TheatreCHS. “The cast, crew, and orchestra have worked tirelessly to polish all of the elements that go into a successful show.”

Mamma Mia! Poster

The Friday and Saturday evening performances and the Sunday matinee performance featured the full cast, while the Saturday matinee benefit show  featured the understudies. All proceeds from the benefit show will go toward college scholarships.

First-year parent volunteer Victoria Hamilton, whose daughter, Courtney, plays the role of Dona in the musical, said participating in theater is a valuable, multi-faceted experience for the students.  

“Through theatre, our kids use math, science, engineering, technology, design, construction, public speaking, visual arts, performing arts, all while fostering a supportive community,” said Hamilton. “I witnessed each of these real life applications and vast creativities in multitudes over the past several weeks by kids from all backgrounds and interests.  I have no doubt they will carry this with them throughout their lives.”

“Mamma Mia!” is part of the 2018-19 TheatreCHS performance season which includes: “Dreaming America,” “Arabian Nights,” “Heathers The Musical,” “The Crucible,” and the annual Dessert Theatre.

About TheatreCHS

TheatreCHS has consistently remained an important and vital fine arts force at Charlottesville High School. The Program invites students to work collaboratively, develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, and engage in creative dialogues. An array of courses is taught with the intention of providing enrichment for students interested in these skills, all of which encompass dramatic arts. Numerous students have gone on to pursue advanced studies in theater/cinema, technical theater, stage management, and lighting design at a variety of top schools including Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia College, George Mason University, James Madison University, University of Virginia, and Princeton University. For more information, visit http://theatrechs.org/.

 Related Links:

Clark classroom upgrades big hit with students

“It’s like a home away from home,” said one fourth grader, referring to her new classroom space at Clark Elementary.

Fourth grade classroom renovations at Clark Elementary School were completed this fall as the first project in a  division-wide plan to modernize facilities.  The project, completed by VMDO Architects, included upgrades to classroom furniture, lighting, and flooring, along with new cubbies,  library nooks, and shelving.

“We are so grateful to the City of Charlottesville for supporting these efforts to upgrade our schools,” said assistant superintendent Kim Powell. “As we turn our attention to the next phase of design at Jackson-Via Elementary, we are confident that next year’s project will be just a strong and impactful.”

Now that the Clark students have settled in, here is what some of them had to say about their new learning spaces.

Related links:

Coleburn, Caroline. “Students and Teachers Welcome Upgrades to Clark Elementary School.” Home – WVIR NBC29 Charlottesville News, Sports, and Weather, 29 Aug. 2018. 

Kreth, Gracie. “$1M Clark Elementary Classroom Modernization Kicking Off.” Daily Progress/Charlottesville Tomorrow. 20 Jun. 2018

Cville Schools logo

School Board announces timeline for interim appointment

On February 21, 2019, the Charlottesville City School Board will appoint an interim member of the School Board to fill the vacancy created by the January 10, 2019 resignation of Ms. Amy Laufer. The interim member will hold that office until the end of Ms. Laufer’s term on December 31, 2019.

Nominations of qualified Charlottesville City voters are sought for the interim appointment. Applications (with information about the process, qualifications, and more) can be found here and are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, February 1, 2019.

On Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 5 p.m. at CHS, the School Board will hold a public hearing to receive input from applicants. All candidates who wish to be considered must be present at the February 7 meeting. At CATEC on Thursday, February 21 at 5 p.m., the Board will vote and announce its decision.

Comments and any questions for clarification should be submitted to the Clerk of the Board, Leslie Thacker, either by emailing thackel1@charlottesvilleschools.org or by calling (434) 245-2945.

Nation at Hope report graphic

“Nation at Hope” report cites exemplary work of Cville Schools

graphic promoting Nation at Hope report

Charlottesville City Schools and its work to support the whole student is featured as an exemplary approach to supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic development in a report released this week by a prestigious national commission.

The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development  published “From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope”  which argues that our nation is at a turning point, understanding that social, emotional, and cognitive development underpins children’s academic learning. This breakthrough understanding about how people learn is fueling a growing movement to educate children as whole people, with social and emotional as well as academic needs, the report says.

screen shot of Aspen Report cover
Click to see full report

Charlottesville City Schools’ community-driven strategic plan with a focus on social and emotional wellness was specifically cited in the report. In addition, they note that Charlottesville Schools have begun explicitly teaching social-emotional skills and implementing related evidenced-based practices. Also highlighted was the school division’s partnership with area agencies, such as our Community Services Board, Region 10, to provide school staff training in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training program (ASIST).

“I am pleased that our school system — and our community — recognize that learning is not just about academics, but about the whole child,” noted Patrick Farrell, Intervention and Support Coordinator. “And just as we have learned from other school divisions, I’m glad that our work in this area is a resource for others.”

Charlottesville’s tiered systems of support for academic, behavior, and mental wellness have previously received state attention and recognition in a separate report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. These school-wide supports complement the division’s efforts to teach social and emotional skills, to implement trauma-responsive practices in our schools, and to promote both wellness and positive school culture.

More information about the Aspen Commissions’s report is available at NationatHope.org.

Students brainstorming with teacher during participatory budgeting exercise.

Participatory Budgeting program concludes with $6,000 award

Students raising hands during participatory budgeting discussionTo conclude a semester-long participatory budgeting project, sixth grade students at Walker Upper Elementary School  hosted a showcase Wednesday, January 16, 2019 . to present a variety of student proposals for school improvements.

Visitors, along with students and school staff, voted for their favorite project, and the winning proposal was awarded a $6000 donation to help fund the project by the CFA Institute.

A proposal to organize student basketball and soccer tournaments and award prizes received the most votes. See the proposal here:

Basketball and Soccer Tournaments Proposal

“CFA Institute is excited to support the Participatory Budgeting Project to help students discover how finance can transform lives and communities” said Kelli E. Palmer, director of corporate citizenship for CFA Institute.

Participatory budgeting, a process that has gained national and local attention, engages members of a community to deliberate and make decisions on how to use resources. The entire sixth-grade class began this project in the fall with the prompt, “How might we improve the school experience at Walker?”

Students discussiong participatory budgeting ideas during brainstorming session.“What I love most about this project is that it is an activity that includes everyone,” said Principal Adam Hastings. “Oftentimes, special projects such as this are only accessible to a handful of students, but in this case, we wanted every student to have a voice.”

Serena Gruia, Walker School parent and founder of Creative Might design studio, developed the Participatory Budgeting Program (#PBatWalker) and, along with social studies teachers and volunteers, led students through a series of collaborative efforts using the framework, “Discover, Dream, Decide, Design, Do.”

“The intention behind this project is to build community, demonstrate the need for and power of student agency, and create a space for students to make a valuable impact on their environment,” said Gruia.

Proposed school improvements included a school garden, upgraded bathrooms, and offering athletic tournaments. To see student-produced videos of all 15 proposals and learn more about #PBatWalker,  visit www.PBatWalker.com.

RELATED LINKS

RELATED NEWS COVERAGE

Mamma Mia! poster

Fine Arts Upcoming Events

At Charlottesville City Schools, we value the fine arts.  We invite you to come see our students’ talents this winter, whether in band, choir, dance, theater, orchestra, the visual arts or more (see calendar below).

Photo collage of fine artsPhoto collage of fine arts at Cville Schools

Upcoming Events

  • January 10, Buford Middle School student art exhibit at City Hall
  • January 18,  Walker Stage Left Theatre presents: The Trial of Goldilocks, 6:30 p.m., Walker Auditorium
  • January 20, CHS Orchestra presents Serge Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” with special guest Jamie Bernstein, 3 p.m., The Paramount Theater. (click for more info)
  • January 29, Walker School 5th grade band concert, 7pm, Walker Auditorium
  • January 30, CHS Symphony/Choir Concert, 7:30pm, MLKPAC
  • February 1, Buford Stage Left Theatre performance, 6:30 p.m., Buford Auditorium
  • February 2, Jr. Regional Orchestra Festival, 9 a.m., Jouett Middle School
  • February 8-9, All-District Chorus, Albemarle High School.
  • February 14-17, TheatreCHS presents “Mamma Mia!” 7:30 p.m., MLKPAC (click for more info)
  • February 16, District Jazz Festival, Albemarle High School
  • February 21, CHS Band Assessment Preview Concert, 7 p.m., MLKPAC
  • February 26, Buford Band Assessment Preview Concert, 7 p.m., Buford Auditorium
  • February 27, Walker Band Assessment Preview Concert, 7 p.m., Walker Auditorium
  • March 1-2, District Band Assessments, Fluvanna High School
  • March 4-13, ArtConnection Exhibit, weekdays, MLKPAC
  • March 6, ArtConnections Open House, 4-6:30pm, MLKPAC
  • March 9, ArtConnections Saturday Celebration, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., MLKPAC
  • March 9, District Orchestra Assessments
  • March 13, ArtConnections Open House, 4-6:30 p.m., MLKPAC
  • March 14, District Choir Assessments, Eastern View High School
  • March 21, All-City Chorus Festival, 7 p.m., MLKPAC
  • March 22-24, TheatreCHS New York Trip
  • March 22-23, Jr. Regional Orchestra
budget clip art: chart with dollar sign

Budget Development

budget clip art: chart with dollar signIt’s time to develop the 2019-20 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, January 10 at 5 pm, CHS, School Board Meeting
  • Tuesday, January 15 at 6 pm, Jackson-Via PTO (open to entire community)
  • Thursday, January 17 at  6 pm, CHS PTO (open to entire community)
  • Thursday, February 7 at 5 pm, CHS, School Board Meeting

School Board meetings are the first Thursday of the month at 5 pm in the CHS media center. The next meeting is Thursday, January 10 (the second Thursday of the month due to Winter Break).

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

Students pose for picture in colorful tunics at Walker International Day.

News and Highlights December 2018

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins and the Charlottesville School Board   
Forum participants place stickers on poster

Dear community members—

Thanks to so many of you who have shared your voice and time with us during our conversations about equity at Charlottesville City Schools.

At our second forum this past week, we reflected back some of the action items that have arisen so far from parents, staff, students, and community members. Participants voted on their top-priority action items. In addition, we invited participants to add any ideas that were missing from our summaries.

We are still listening. We need to hear from as many voices as possible. You can vote on your priority actions (and give us any missing ideas) by going to charlottesvilleschools.org/equity-forum. We are also working with students to make sure we hear their key perspectives. In addition, we invite faith communities, clubs, or groups to contact us about hosting a mini-forum so we can receive additional feedback.

Why is listening so important? We cannot fully address these issues unless we better understand them.

The values our community is expressing – that all students are loved, that all gifts are recognized, that all potential is nurtured – are the values of our staff, leaders, and Board. We have been actively working to promote this vision for decades, and yet, like schools across the country, our schools show how challenging it is to eradicate disparities.

So we are listening to learn what has been working and what needs to be improved. What haven’t we tried? What barriers are we not seeing?

In addition to listening, we are also acting. We are forming a committee on equity with a broad coalition of school and community stakeholders. We are doing internal reviews of our data, programs, and efforts. We are mapping resources of sister school divisions and model equity programs so that we can learn from others. The School Board is drafting an equity policy that will guide our practices and lay a foundation for parity.

In short, we continue to listen. We are taking first steps to review and revise our past efforts and plan future action. We are guided by our confidence that your values are our values and that together, we want to seize this moment to make a difference for our community.

With appreciation,

Dr. Rosa Atkins, Superintendent
Juandiego Wade, School Board Chair

UVA Engineering student working with Clark kindergartener.

Kindergartners and fourth-graders from Clark “kid-tested” first-year UVA Engineering students’ designs at the UVA Design Lab. Meanwhile, Walker students also tested the college students’ projects in the Alpha Lab at Walker. UVA’s budding engineers designed age-appropriate interactive educational activities. Read more here.

BUS STOP MEET & GREETS PROVIDE BOOKS, SNACKS, SMILES
Family engagement coordinator distributes books and snacks to children at bus stop.Throughout the year it is not uncommon to see Family Engagement Facilitator Velvet Coleman greeting families at the bus stops. She is a familiar face to families and often passes out free books and snacks to children as well as educational resources to parents. Learn more about our efforts to promote family engagement here. Recently, Ms. Coleman and Dr. Atkins chatted about ways families can connect with their schools. See the video here.

MUFFINS WITH MOMS, DONUTS WITH DADS CONNECTS SCHOOLS & FAMILIES
Mom with two boys at Muffins with MomsLike all of our elementary schools, Johnson Elementary offers opportunities for moms, dads, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and/or special friends to join their students for some quality time at school. Recently, the school hosted two breakfast and books events–Muffins with Moms and Donuts with Dads. Additionally, the pre-K and kindergarten classes prepared a delicious soup supper for their families, and many families and friends attended the school’s annual International Day celebration. 

VENABLE ALL-STARS SING NATIONAL ANTHEM IN JOHN PAUL JONES ARENA
Venable students sing National Anthem at UVA Women's Basketball GameOur fourth grade chorus proudly sang the National Anthem at the UVA women’s basketball game in front of students from schools across Charlottesville and Albemarle. Way to go, 4th graders! Pictured left, a live video of the students on the jumbotron in the John Paul Jones Arena as they sing before the game begins. See the video here.

CHS STUDENTS TOUR WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY
Latino students touring Washington and Lee University.Thanks to the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, GEAR UP, and Virginia Latino Higher Education Network, several of our Hispanic CHS students took a free school field trip to Lexington, Virginia to visit one of the nations top liberal arts colleges, Washington and Lee University. During the college visit, the group toured the campus, met with admissions officers, and enjoyed lunch.

CHS THEATRE PRESENTS “HEATHERS” – OPENING NIGHT THURSDAY
"Heathers The Musical High School Edition" promotional poster.“Heathers The Musical” is a PG-13 version of the off-Broadway show. Considered a “dark comedy,” “Heathers” revolves around serious issues that students continue to face today. Take a sneak peek at CHSTheatre rehearsals here. Rated PG-13,this show is recommended for high school aged students and older. The show runs Thursday-Sunday in the CHS Black Box Theatre. Order tickets and learn more about the show here.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar 12/5 Walker/Buford Chorus Concert, 7pm, Walker Auditorium
12/6  City Schoolyard Garden Harvest of the Month
12/6  School Board meeting, 5pm, CHS Media Center
12/6  CHS Theatre presents “Heathers The Musical” through 12/8
12/7 CHS Art First Fridays exhibit (portraits of musicians), 5-7pm, Music Resource Center, 105 Ridge Street
12/10 Venable Winter Concert, 6pm
12/11 Jackson-Via Winter Concert 6:30pm
12/11 Burnley-Moran Winter Concert 6:15pm (dinner at 5:30pm)
12/11 Johnson Winter Concert, 6 pm
12/12 Walker Orchestra Winter Concert, 7pm
12/12 CHS Art exhibit, “(W)here to Stay,” 6-8pm, Jefferson School
12/13 CHS Choir Holiday Pops Concert, 7pm, MLKPAC
12/18 Clark Winter Concert 6pm (dinner at 5:30pm)
12/18 Greenbrier Winter Concert 6pm
12/18 CHS mid-term exams through 12/21
12/19 All-City Band Concert, 7pm, MLKPAC
12/24 Winter Break – no school through 1/4/2019
1/7 Classes Resume

More Looks at Cville Schools

Student dancers wearing colorful tunics at Walker International Day.

Walker Upper Elementary students performed a dance at International Day in the school cafeteria. The school-wide celebration included student projects that featured food, dance, music, and costumes from countries around the globe. ESOL teacher Elena Kryzhanovskaya, a former ESL student and refugee from Ukraine who moved to Charlottesville when she was eight years old, organized the event. Learn more about Mrs. K’s heart for her students here. 

CHS students with Nashville's Fab 5 performing "Need One Another (Right Now".)

A video by musicians from CHS and Metro-Nashville Public Schools has earned a 2018 Advocacy in Action Award from the music education non-profit, Music for All. The musical remake of Bebe and CeCe Winans’ song, “Right Now (We Need One Another),” was recorded last year in response to the events of August 11-12 in Charlottesville. The music video features 80 CHS choir and orchestra musicians, along with Nashville’s Fab 5, a group of student singers who attend different schools at MNPS.  Watch the video here.

Local motivational speaker Alex-Zan speaks to Jackson-Via students to promote good character traits. In partnership with Charlottesville City Schools, Zan will visit all six elementary schools to promote his message as well as share his history as a member of the Charlottesville 12, the infamous group of students who first integrated our city schools.

Local motivational speaker and civil rights pioneer Alex-Zan shares his message, “Today’s thinkers are tomorrow’s leaders” with third and fourth grade students at Jackson-Via. In partnership with Charlottesville City Schools, Alex-Zan is visiting City elementary schools (three per year) to assure that at least once during their elementary years, all Charlottesville students hear Alex-Zan’s positive messages and learn the story of the Charlottesville 12, the group of students who first integrated our city schools. See more photos here.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

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 Forums and Updates

From October 2018-March 2019, Charlottesville City Schools hosted a series of community forums to receive feedback on our shared goals for equity. This page offers updates and resources related to these forums and recent equity initiatives. For an overview of current programs and commitments that promote equity in our schools, visit our main equity page.

Questions or comments? Contact Beth Cheuk or Denise Johnson. See contact information at bottom of page.

Equity Update, May 2019: Priorities for 19-20

At the School Board annual retreat on May 31, 2019, Beth Cheuk and Denise Johnson discussed the feedback heard so far and the top ideas that were emerging as priorities for the upcoming school year.

The four recommended priorities are:

  1. Supported/Supportive Staff
    This includes diversifying our staff and equipping our educators to succeed and help all students succeed.
  2. Diverse, Inclusive, and Rigorous Learning Experiences
    Let’s embrace our diversity — in classrooms’ student composition and in richly varied and challenging learning activities.
  3. Growing Relationships
    As we help our staff and students feel connected, supported, and safe, we will learn from one other for our mutual gain.
  4. Equity Foundations
    We want to be systematic and proactive as we make positive change. Let’s follow — and establish — best practices.

To see the slides from this presentation and learn more about how these ideas were generated and what specific changes or commitments they represent, click here.

Equity Update, April 2019

At the April 11 School Board meeting, Dr. Atkins and Beth Cheuk, joined by Charlene Green of the City of Charlottesville’s Office of Human Rights, presented an Equity Update.

Equity Committee Update, March 2019

On February 27, Dr. Atkins convened the first meeting of the equity committee. The committee (see list below) is comprised of teachers, staff, parents, School Board members, the Mayor, City employees, and community partners — with members often wearing multiple “hats” of “parent and employee” or “community partner and alumna.”  City of Charlottesville Youth Opportunity Coordinator Daniel Fairley co-led the Charlottesville Youth Council’s facilitation of student feedback from CHS and Buford; he along with CHS Principal Dr. Eric Irizarry agreed to serve as a liaisons to the Charlottesville Youth Council and other student groups so that student voice would also be represented.

This advisory committee will help the schools review feedback and determine priorities to help shape the foundational underpinning and the execution of work toward equity in the schools. This committee works alongside others — staff, School Board, other advisory committees, PTOs, etc. — as one of many avenues for accomplishing these goals. We are not trying to make a new “equity” program; instead, we need to assure that equity is the lens through which we view all programs.

Comprised of 33 people, the committee is broken into four work teams:

  1. Institutional structures: with possible areas of focus such as unleveling classes, school-to-school alignment, program or hiring practices (staff contacts: Eric Irizarry/Jim Henderson)
    1. Pam Brown
    2. Sylvia Elder
    3. Dr. Bernard Hairston
    4. Joyce Ivory
    5. Toni Kim
    6. John Kronstain
  2. Instructional changes & professional learning (staff contacts: Paula Culver-Dickinson/Patrick Farrell)
    1. School Board member James Bryant
    2. Christine Esposito
    3. Daniel Fairley
    4. Dr. Daphne Keiser
    5. Michelle Packer
    6. Rachel Rasnake
    7. Dr. Joseph Williams
  3. Family communication/community engagement and efficacy (staff contacts: Beth Cheuk/Velvet Coleman)
    1. Pastor Lehman Bates
    2. Pat Cuomo
    3. Charlene Green
    4. Sgt. Robert Haney
    5. Eric Johnson
    6. Jessica Taylor
  4. Policy: equity policy, definitions, equity audit/checklists, metrics (staff contacts: Dr. Rosa Atkins/Dr. Kendra King)  
    1. Melvin Grady
    2. Dr. Adam Hastings
    3. Denise Johnson
    4. School Board member Lisa Larson-Torres
    5. Becka Saxon
    6. Mayor Nikuyah Walker

Among their first responsibilities, work groups have been asked to review the Community Priorities for Equity (see next section of this page) as a starting point for determining initial recommendations within their focus areas.

Final Results Regarding Community Priorities for Equity, March 2019

As described below, we conducted a series of 15+ school-based and community events (as well as online opportunities) for staff, students, parents, and community members to share their ideas. In addition to responding to the 32 ideas gleaned from our initial community feedback, community members have continued to share their ideas and feedback through the open-ended response portion of the survey, through contacting staff and School Board members, through meetings, and more.  The Charlottesville Youth Council also compiled a list of top themes gathered from the student focus groups they facilitated at CHS and Buford; they met with Dr. Atkins in March to discuss these ideas. These ideas along with earlier feedback submitted by the CHS Black Student Union in October is reflected either in the original 32 ideas or in a list of additional ideas and commentary in the attached document (below). Finally, on March 22, members of the Black Student Union and the Latinx Student Union held a school walk-out to raise awareness for their revised list of strategies for promoting equity.

[As of  March 23:] While the School Board and staff have not had time to formally respond to this revised list yet, Board Chair Jennifer McKeever notes, “When I review the list that Black Student Union created, I see many areas in which our schools are actively engaged. Their ideas are very complementary to the work we’ve been doing in our schools. This includes greater security (work begun this week); making changes to the CHS African-American history class to encourage enrollment (included in the Program of Study for 2019-20); and further diversifying classes so that all students learn local and Black history (we are presently one of six school divisions in Virginia to participate in a grant-funded project to embrace ‘hard history’ through a project with Virginia Humanities and community partners.)” As the school division posted on Twitter, “We’re glad to hear you and work with you.” [Update: at their April 11 School Board Meeting, Dr. Atkins and the School Board posted a response to the BSU as part of an Equity Committee Update.]

  •  Community Priorities for Equity (This document includes a spreadsheet that summarizes the community feedback that we have heard so far. The data on the spreadsheet is accurate through 3/1/19; the “additional ideas” section is largely up to date and includes the Black Student Union’s revised list.)

Action Steps, February 2019

In the February News and Highlights, Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins offered an update to the community about recent efforts to promote equity. Click here to see the newsletter.

Community-Based Forums, December 2018-March 2019

As we continue to gather community input, we have been visiting with city residents in community centers and churches. We held a second gathering for teacher/staff input. We also partnered with the Charlottesville Youth Council to host student-led classroom discussions and gather feedback from students at CHS and Buford. Special thanks to parishioners at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church,  Ebenezer Baptist Church, Habitat for Humanity families, CHS students, and others for sharing your input with us. Here is a snapshot of some of these visits.

Second Community Forum at CHS, November 27, 2018

Our objective for the second forum was to reflect back what we’ve been hearing from the community so far. Our staff and School Board have been seeking community input through events, online tools, emails, and face-to-face conversations. We asked forum participants to respond to a list of 32 main ideas and vote on their “top 10.”

After community members had a chance to review and vote on their top 10 ideas, our moderator, City of Charlottesville Office of Human Rights Manager Charlene Green, presented the results and facilitated a time of questions and comments. The evening continued with remarks about next steps moving forward from Charlottesville City Schools Coordinator of Community Affairs and Development Beth Cheuk, Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins, and School Board Chair Juandiego Wade. Finally, the forum concluded with commentary from each member of the School Board.

  • A live stream of the evening’s presentations can be found here. 
  • Want to share your voice? Visit www.publicinput.com/3575 to vote on your own top 10 or add your own thoughts and comments.
  • Results from the online survey are visible to participants. Results from the posters at the event on November 27 may be seen below. In addition, staff members have been visiting community centers, congregations, and CHS to see additional perspectives. These votes are being assembled and will be presented once the process is final.

Results from Equity Forum Statement Stations

Participants were asked to visit 4 statement stations and vote on their top 10 main ideas using stickers. A fifth station was available to add missing or new ideas.

Results from Second Forum – “Top 10” picks from Statement Stations

  1. Hire and support teachers of color
  2. Re-examine the Quest (gifted) program
  3. Focus on systemic barriers
  4. Continue or expand preschool
  5. Equip teachers to meet the needs of all students
  6. Promote student diversity within classrooms
  7. Support/retain effective teachers and principals
  8. Keep diversifying libraries/curriculum/activities
  9. Ensure budget prioritizes equity
  10. Explore outside factors that impact schools

Next Steps (from December 2018 community newsletter)

From our School Board and Superintendent (see longer message here):

In addition to listening, we are also acting. We are seeking volunteers and nominations for a committee on equity representing a broad coalition of school and community stakeholders. We are doing internal reviews of our data, programs, and efforts. We are mapping resources of sister school divisions and model equity programs so that we can learn from others. The School Board is drafting an equity policy that will guide our practices and lay a foundation for parity.

In short, we continue to listen. We are taking first steps to review and revise our past efforts and plan future action. We are guided by our confidence that your values are our values and that together, we want to seize this moment to make a difference for our community.

First Community Forum at CHS, October 23, 2018

On October 23, nearly 500 community members came together at Charlottesville High School for our first Community Forum on Equity.  Prior to the meeting, parents were asked to complete a brief pre-survey about their and their students’ experiences at CHS. (See results here.)  School representatives, including Superintendent Rosa Atkins, addressed the group and discussed the results of the survey, noting that when the results were filtered by race, the priorities for discussion were slightly different, and the overall “satisfaction” rates were higher for white students/families than for students/families of color.

Participants then split into small moderated groups to discuss the top five areas of concern for the African-American survey-takers.  Click here to review comments from the first Community Forum or contribute new ones. You can also find information concerning the main topics discussed.

The school division offered a separate forum for teachers and staff and gathered feedback on the same five topics.

Staff members and volunteers then reviewed the comments captured from the public and staff forums, developing a list of 32 action items that were commonly suggested. These 32 action items then became the basis of the next round of discussion.

Other Resources

Related media coverage

Contact:

Beth Cheuk
Coordinator of Community Affairs and Development
cheukb1@charlottesvilleschools.org or 434-245-2962

Denise Johnson
Supervisor of Equity and Inclusion
johnsod1@charlottesvilleschools.org

 

“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

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