Dancing scene from the Jackson-Via Bully Knots program.

Highlights and News Winter 2018

January 5, 2018

Dear families,

As we begin 2018, it is a wonderful time to reflect on the flurry of activities and opportunities at Charlottesville City Schools.

Dr. Atkins shares story time with elementary students.
Taking time out of a busy day to visit with some of our elementary students.

In December, our high school students wrapped up their final semester exams, seniors finalized their college applications, and our Zero Robotics Team advanced to the final round of a global coding competition.  Other students fine-tuned their instruments and voices for a host of local holiday performances in our schools and community, and the CHS Marching Band traveled to London to march in the London New Year’s Day Parade! In our middle schools, students tested invention kits in our science labs, geared up for their January performance of Pinocchio, and enjoyed a “demo day” by U.Va. engineering students. Meanwhile, our elementary students explored off-campus educational experiences at places like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and The Paramount Theater of Charlottesville. On campus, they engaged in character building projects like Johnson Elementary’s  Painted Rock Garden and Jackson-Via’s Bully-Nots assembly (its 10th aniversary!) which remind us all of the importance of celebrating differences and being kind.

As we move into the new year, our administration is committed to sustaining the current robust educational opportunities that our schools provide, as well as meeting the future needs of our growing population.

Now more than ever, we need your input. We are relying on our families and community to weigh in as we reconsider our facilities and develop the fiscal year 2018-19 budget. We hope you can join us at one of our upcoming community meetings. Please visit the following web pages for a current schedule of meetings and more information:

I wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year!


Dr. Rosa Atkins

Division-Wide News

clip art that says "Don't Forget"Reminder: Schools will be closed on January 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Thank you for keeping your student cafeteria accounts current. Families will soon begin receiving automated telephone alerts through School Messenger when account balances reach -$10.

The division will be holding several community meetings to gather input on solutions to our growing enrollment.  Visit www.charlottesvilleschools.org/facilities for a current list of scheduled meetings and to learn more. The next meetings are 1/23 at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church and 1/31 at CHS.

Budget development for FY 2018-19 is currently underway. Please join us at one of the upcoming information sessions to learn more or visit www.charlottesvilleschools.org/budget to view the budget development work session presentation and calendar.

Cville Schools 2018-19 calendar. Call 245-2962 for details.Thanks for your strong response to our request for feedback about the draft 2018-19 academic calendar! The survey inquiring about winter break scenarios received more than 1,000 responses. By a 2-1 margin, it showed a preference for a two-week winter break that begins on a Monday and ends on a Friday. See calendar here. The Charlottesville School Board voted for this winter break option at its meeting on 1/4. The Albemarle County School Board will vote on the ACS calendar — possibly with a different winter break — next week.

A variety of adult education classes will begin on January 8 at the Thomas Jefferson-Adult Center for Education @ PVCC. Assessments are currently underway every Tuesday in January at 6 p.m. and every Wednesday at 10 a.m.  For more information, contact 434-961-5461 or 434-961-6461.

Ned Michie is presented with a framed resolution thanking him for 13 years of service. Pictured with School Board Chair Juandiego Wade and Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins.
Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins and School Board Chair Juandiego Wade present Ned Michie with a resolution and gift for his service to Charlottesville City Schools.

At the December School Board meeting, Ned Michie was honored for his 13 years of service on the Board. In January, Lisa Larson-Torres was welcomed to the Board.

A creative gesture created by Waynesboro middle school students offers friendship and peace to Charlottesville City Schools.
A creative gesture created by Waynesboro middle school students offers friendship and peace to Charlottesville City Schools.

Students and staff from Waynesboro’s Kate Collins Middle School presented Charlottesville Schools administrators with a large painting that resembles the City of Charlottesville crest with images that promote peace, friendship, and kindness.  The young artists called it a large “Thinking of You” card for our city.


One of Ms. Savoy’s students enjoying the cozy nook she added to her classroom using funds from her “Super Teacher” award.

Teacher Rachel Savoy updated her classroom this year using her Virginia Lottery Super Teacher award money. ​After reading the book “The Third Teacher” about classroom design, she updated her classroom library and added alternative seating options for her students (tall stools, rolling chairs, a ball chair, a standing perch stool, a corner bench, and short stools). Her husband donated his carpentry skills and built a tall counter near the windows and a bench seat for a corner nook.

Two teachers from CCS presented at the NAEYC in Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Kateri Thunder and Alisha Demchak at the NAEYC conference in Atlanta.

Dr. Kateri Thunder & Alisha Demchak of Burnley-Moran presented on young children’s goal setting at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual conference in Atlanta.

When he is not facilitating the fine arts program in our schools, Aaron Eichorst (Fine Arts Coordinator) is making his own! Eichorst’s paintings are currently on display at the Second Street Gallery.

Picture collage of students participating in various coding activities.
The 2017 Hour of Coding was a division-wide opportunity to teach computer science.

All nine schools in our division participated in the 2017 Hour of Code, a nationwide initiative that introduces students to computer science during Computer Science Education Week. Students and teachers were hard at work with coding activities using sites like Tynker.com, Code.org, and Ozobot.com.

Students in Buford engineering program.
Jude Fairchild, Graham Lenert and Iya Feggans are all studying engineering with Brendan Martin at Buford Middle School.

Our iSTEM program made headlines for its efforts to promote diversity within science, technology, engineering, and math. It was recently highlighted in U.Va.’s Cavalier Daily and also on Charlottesville WMRA Public Radio.

December was a time for holiday performances and seasonal fun at Charlottesville City Schools. Here is a festive look back on some of the best moments.Collage of various scenes from the Charlottesville City School winter performances.A collage of holiday pictures

Elementary News

Family engagement facilitator Velvet Coleman helps connect home and school at the Muffins for Moms event at Johnson Elementary.

We loved seeing so many moms, dads, grandparents, uncles, and family friends participating in elementary family engagement events like Muffins for Moms, and Doughnuts for Dads. Student and family engagement facilitator Velvet Coleman was featured in The Daily Progress for her efforts to help all our students be more successful in school.

Elementary students across the division visited the Paramount Theater twice so far this year to view live performances of My Father’s Dragon and Guess How Much I Love You and I Love my Storybook.

Students learning at stations at Monticello.
Elementary students learning about the five senses at Monticello.

Students also visited Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello for tours and engaging cross-curricular lessons that made connections between history, math, science, and literacy!

In November, a variety of Thanksgiving and fall fun activities included Thanksgiving pow wows, churning butter, and art projects reminding our youngest learners to be grateful.

A variety of pictures showing Thanksgiving and fall fun activities.

Clark Elementary third graders learned about writing haiku poetry using inspiration from a neighborhood walk.  They also worked on writing book recommendations for their peers and posted them on a bulletin board.

UVA student helps Clark student solve a mystery.
A UVA engineering student helps a child find clues to solve the spy mystery.

First-year engineering students from U.Va. designed a learning activity for Clark students which involved leading the kids through a series of activity stations to solve a spy mystery.

Three students pose in authentic Iranian costumes at International Day at Johnson Elem.
Sisters at Johnson International Day model authentic costumes of Iran and pass out food samples.

Several schools celebrated International Day, including Johnson and Clark. Students prepared exhibits that represented different countries, sampled a variety of foods from around the world, and dressed in costume.  Our families were instrumental in participating in this fun and educational opportunity to celebrate differences.

Artwork by Nathan Jordan, first place winner.

Congratulations to Nathan Jordan, a first-grader at Johnson Elementary for being a 2017 Imagine a Day without Water Student Art Contest Winner in the 1st – 2nd Grade Category. The annual contest is sponsored by the City of Charlottesville Public Works.

Also at Johnson, Ms. Wayland’s fourth graders had their opinions published in the New York Times Kids Edition in November.  The editors sent them each their own copy of the newspaper, and the class celebrated with a reading party. The NY Times opinions editors visited the class earlier this year to teach them about voicing their opinions in a constructive way. You can read more about it here.

Thank you, Ms. Rickabaugh for leading the effort to create a Painted Rock Garden in the Johnson schoolyard garden. Students painted rocks that celebrate each individual’s uniqueness after reading the books Something Beautiful and Only One You.  Read more about it here.

Dancing scene from the Jackson-Via Bully Knots program.
Principal Justin Malone in the grand finale of the 10th Annual Bully-Knots Assembly.

Mrs. U along with the Jackson-Via Bully Nots and First Friends student group presented the 10th annual Bully-Not assembly at Jackson-Via.  This entertaining production was a joyful reminder about kindness, caring, and community. Principal Malone encouraged students to send out kindness boomerangs that will surely return to them. See more here.

CHS AVID students visited their buddies at Jackson-Via to play games and talk about preparing for college.

Hot wheels experiment on JV STEM and Literacy Night.
A student learns about velocity using a Hot Wheels car.

Jackson-Via STEM and Literacy Night provided an excellent educational opportunity  for families to learn about these fields while having fun with Straw Rockets, Hot Wheels, and BeeBots.

“Books and Breakfast” at Greenbrier Elementary was well worth the early wake-up to gather with more than 100 friends and family. Kudos to the staff for hosting such a large turnout!

Students enjoying homemade stone soup and salad.
Students feast on homemade stone soup and salad.

Greenbrier students had the chance to make  stone soup after reading the picture book “Stone Soup.” The popular folk story reminds people to  share and “bring what you’ve got.” Sharing the meal they prepared together, the students also enjoyed salad using some of the vegetables from their City Schoolyard Garden.

Thanks to the generosity of many in our community, many of our children received gifts, toys, books, and food from the Toy Lift  and PB &J programs during the holiday season. It was an exciting day when a U-Haul full of items arrived at Greenbrier Elementary and many volunteers helped unload the gifts.

Venable student James Fox was thrilled to be named Thursday’s Hero by the U.Va. football team. He had a special visit with the Hoos and special guests.  You can see it here.

“The Rainbow Schoolbus Goes Deep into Protesting,” a short film about peace created by Venable students in Mr. Nussbaum’s class,  was featured during the Virginia Film Festival Family Day.

Group photo of the Girls on the Run participants.
The Girls on the Run team celebrating their final 5K run.

The Burnley-Moran Girls on the Run team wrapped up their season with a celebratory final 5K run after a 3-month season of goal-setting, personal achievement and teamwork.

PreK and K students at Burnley-Moran participated in a Community Helpers Job Fair that included volunteer students from CATEC.  Students rotated through various stations including  dentistry and cosmetology.

Students from Burnley Moran get to ride on the Charlottesville Area Transit bus while learning about community.
These students toured the neighborhood on the CAT bus as part of their lesson on community.

What better way for Burnley-Moran students to learn about our community than to ride on the Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) bus and tour the neighborhood!

Walker and Buford News

Winners of the 2017 Geography Bee at Walker and Buford Schools.
Winners of the 2017 Geography Bees at Walker and Buford Schools.

Congratulations to our 2017 Geography Bee school champs: fifth grade Walker student Elias Garcia and Buford seventh grader Aidan Peters (repeat winner)!

Minds in Motion team performing on stage at The Paramount.
Minds and Motion Team XXL performing on stage at The Paramount Theater.

Our Minds in Motion Team XXL just gave a lively performance at TEDxCharlottesville at The Paramount Theater of Charlottesville. In partnership with the Richmond Ballet, Minds In Motion provides our Walker and Buford  students a weekly opportunity to learn about dance, dedication, and performance.

Walker teacher Cynthia Schibert is named Teacher of the Month by Monticello Media.

Walker teacher Ms. Cynthia Scheiber was selected as Monticello Media’s Teacher of the Month for October. She won a Papa John’s Pizza party for all of her students and gifts from Cityspa Day Spa and Albemarle Dental Associates. She was honored all month on local radio stations. Congratulations!

Buford boys shaking the hands of the Hampden-Sydney College president.

A group of Buford Middle School boys went on a college tour to Hampden-Sydney College.  While there, they got to visit with school president Larry Stimpert.

During Buford Career Day, students heard presentations from a variety of community businesses and organizations including the Charlottesville Fire Department,  Peacock Auto Repair, and the CATEC nursing program.

Student art for auction.
Middle school artwork up for auction at the annual City Schoolyard Garden Cultivar event.

Many Buford artists had their work up for auction at the City Schoolyard Garden’s annual Cultivar Youth Gallery Night and Benefit at Mas Tapas.

The Buford Band played a concert to honor veterans at James Monroe’s Highland in observance of Veteran’s Day. The program included the University of Virginia Army ROTC cadets and a living timeline of veterans from the American Revolution to Desert Storm.

Students practice for the production "Pinocchio."
Rehearsing for Pinocchio, Stage Left Productions actors practice their lines after school.

Stage Left Productions is currently practicing for their upcoming play, Pinocchio, that will be presented on January 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Walker School.

UVA Engineering professor Greg Lewin and his first-year students visited Buford for a day of science and engineering demos. See a sample of the demos here.

A Walker student makes a water carrier in the engineering lab.
A Walker student makes a water carrier in the engineering lab using cardboard, plastic wrap, string, and a stapler.

After reading the book, A Long Way to Water by Linda Sue Park, students at Walker  worked to determine the most effective way to carry water long distances.

Walker Peace Squad visits Crown Theater to see the movie "Wonder."
Walker Peace Squad visits the Violet Crown Theater to see the movie Wonder.

New Peace Squad students attended a showing of  Wonder. “This movie was a perfect way to celebrate this great group of students who ‘Choose Kind’ on a daily basis!” said adviser Charlotte Geddy.

CHS News

Student Aleena Haidari and alum Kibirti Majuto earned an opportunity to ride on a float in the New Year’s Day 2018 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California after winning an essay contest about social justice. The float, titled “Keeping the Promise,” honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other social justice advocates. Each  student also received a $5,000 grant to be used for community projects  or furthering their education.

Student Investment club makes donation to City Schoolyard Garden at December School Board Meeting.
Student Investment Club leaders present City Schoolyard Garden representatives with a $1350 donation at the December School Board meeting.

At the December School Board meeting, members of the Student Investment Club donated $1,350 of their earnings to City Schoolyard Garden.

Extra, extra read all about it! The Knight Time Review student newspaper now has a new website. Click here to see the latest edition.

Jonah Weissman — along with several U.Va. students — was awarded a scholarship from the SANS Institute for scoring in the top 100 of a cybersecurity program being tested in Virginia.

Image of magazine that features a poem published by Ian Klickner.Student Ian Clickner’s poem, “Rap del fauno,” was published in Albricias, a student journal of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, an honor society for students enrolled in Spanish and/or Portuguese.

CHS student Jacob Floyd presented his Veteran’s History Project at the “Human Side of War” presentation at Cityspace. The project is part of an annual assignment in which students interview veterans and create videos or podcasts for history teacher Matt Deegan’s classes.

The Sigma Lab recently got a brand new 3D printer.
A new 3D printer was an exciting special delivery for the Sigma Lab.

The CHS BACON Club launched a giant weather balloon attached to a transmitter that was built with a laser cutter and 3D printers. Designed to be reusable, the balloon was expected to reach 100,000 feet and travel 70 mph during its one hour flight. See video of the launch here. And, speaking of 3D printers, the lab has a new one!

CHS Zero Robotics Team
Members of the CHS Zero Robotics Team gather in the Sigma Lab. Photo courtesy Sarah Cramer Shields

The CHS Zero Robotics team will travel to MIT on January 11 for the final round of the 2017 Zero Robotics contest sponsored by NASA and MIT.  During the finals, CHS students’ code will control small robots aboard the International Space Station. Astonauts aboard the ISS will judge the final round of robot maneuvers while the teams watch via a live video feed.

Students used the Sigma Lab to create their blueprints for benches they are building.
Students used the Sigma Lab to create blueprints for benches they are building.

The Sigma Lab has had a variety of cross-curricular activity. Besides the typical engineering and robotics projects, the Garden-to-Market classes and the art classes have been using the lab to help them build benches and bird houses to go around CHS. Also, educators from Shanghai recently toured the lab to learn more about creating their own STEM curriculum in China.

AVID students participate in a panel discussion on the teenage brain at the Curry School of Education.
AVID students participate in a panel discussion on the teenage brain at the Curry School of Education.

The AVID program was honored to host Emerging Leaders as part of the Global Leadership Initiative. AVID students also participated in a panel discussion on the teenage brain at the UVA Curry School of Education.

CHS students attending the Womens Global Initiative at UVA.
CHS students attending the Women’s Global Initiative at UVA.

A group of female CHS students attended the Women’s Global Leadership Forum, hosted by U.Va  as part of its bicentennial celebrations. Women from the university and around the world gathered to discuss “The Role of Women in 21st Century Democracy.”


CHS alum Kendall Ballard earned  her second all-region recognition for Ohio University.  Read more here.

CHS boys varsity basketball team playing regular season game against Monticello High. Photo courtesy Scrimmage Play

Both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams competed in 2017 Daily Progress Holiday  Hoops tournament in December. The girls finished third after defeating Western Albemarle in the final game.  The boys, also competing for third place against Western, eventually fell to the Warriors.  Players Nick Motley, Jessica Antwi and TC Younger were selected for the all-tournament teams.

Jess Antwi was featured in Scrimmage Play’s First Off the Floor to discuss CHS’ girls varsity basketball regular season win over rival Monticello High.

AJ Stouffer named 2017 Central Virginia Golfer of the Year. Photo courtesy Andrew Shurtleff/TheDaily Progress
AJ Stouffer named 2017 Central Virginia Golfer of the Year. Photo courtesy Andrew Shurtleff/TheDaily Progress

CHS golfer AJ Stouffer has been named the 2017 Central Virginia Golfer of the Year. Read about his accomplishments here.

The CHS softball facility continues to see improvement. Last winter, new dugouts were erected and this year a new infield is being installed. A special thank you to the City of Charlottesville and Parks and Recreation for aiding us in this process.

Parents and players on Senior Night game versus Monticello High. Photo courtesy of Scrimmage Play.

In CHS football, Ben Casarez was featured in Scrimmage Play’s First Off the Field to discuss CHS’ exciting win over Monticello High.  The game completed a 5-0 record at home for the Black Knights and secured a place in the regional play-offs in Salem, VA.  Player Sam Neale has committed to play football for Washington and Lee University and Rakeem Davis will play for James Madison University.



Marching band in the London New Year's Day Parade.
The CHS Marching Band performs in the London 2018 New Year’s Day Parade.

The CHS Marching Band traveled to London to march in the 2018 Lord Mayor of London’s New Year’s Day Parade. There were over half a million spectators in the streets, and it was broadcast around the world to more than 250 million people. The band presented a beautiful violin to the Lord Mayor painted by CHS alum Vail Prior.

Charlotte MacDonald receives $1,000 scholarship from VMBCCB.
Charlotte MacDonald receives $1,000 scholarship from VMBCCB.

Charlotte MacDonald was the first recipient of a $1000 scholarship from The Virginia Marching Band Cooperative Control Board.

The annual CHS Symphony Choir Concert and Fine Arts  showcase will be held on January 31 at 7:30 p.m. at the MLK-PAC.

CHS theater students celebrate their success at the Virginia Theatre Association State High School Festival.

The CHS Theater department came home with a host of awards from the Virginia Theatre Association State High School Festival. The CHS one-act play earned finalist (top 6 in VA), the improv team earned second, and the tech Olympics team placed third. Additionally, there were many individual award recipients and  several college call-backs.  Plans are now underway for CHS Theatre’s next productions, South Pacific and The Tempest.

2017-18 CHS Orchestra, photo credit: CHSO alum parent Michael Bailey



Upcoming Events


Jan. 8 – 5 p.m. – Prospective Family Information Night incl. Engineering at CHS

Jan 8 – 5:30 p.m. – Budget Update and Input Meeting at Clark Elementary

Jan. 10 – 6 p.m. – Budget Update and Input Meeting at Buford Middle

Jan. 11 – 6 p.m. – Budget Update and Input Meeting at CHS

Jan. 11 –  6 p.m. – Buford Engineering Expo at Buford Middle

Jan. 13 – All-District Band Auditions at Walker Upper Elementary

Jan. 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – No school

Jan. 18 – 5:30 p.m. – iSTEM/Math Night at Venable School

Jan. 19 – 6:30 p.m. – Pinocchio Stage Left Performance at Walker Upper Elementary

Jan. 20 – 9:30 a.m. – Jr. Regional Orchestra Auditions at J. Jouett MS

Jan. 22 – No school -Teacher Workday

Jan. 23 – CHS Curriculum Fair & Junior Parent Night at CHS

Jan. 23 – 6 p.m. – Community forum on growth and capacity at Mt. Zion First African American Church

Jan. 24 – 7 p.m. – Walker 5th grade Band Winter Concert at Walker

Jan. 30 – 6 p.m. – Jackson-Via iSTEM Night at JV

Jan. 31 – 7:30 p.m. – CHS Symphony Choir Concert Fine Arts Showcase at MLK-PAC


Feb. 1 – 5 p.m. – School Board meeting and budget review at CHS

Feb. 22-25 – 7:30 p.m. –  South Pacific at MLK-PAC