May 2021 Newsletter banner with Johnson students dino-dancing

News and Highlights: May 2021

May 2021 Newsletter banner with Johnson students dino-dancing
Johnson students dino-dancing as part of a teacher appreciation video. Need a smile? Watch the video here!

A (Farewell) Message from the Superintendent

portrait of Dr. Rosa AtkinsDear staff and families–

After 15 years as your superintendent, I can safely say that public schools work because we are all in it together. As I reflect on our community and what we have — and have not yet — been able to accomplish, I remember Dr. King’s reminder of our mutual interdependence; we are “tied in a single garment of destiny.” The future health and prosperity of Charlottesville depends on all of the members of our community.

So I say thank you to all the fibers in this single garment — to students, bus drivers, nutrition workers, parents, aunties, teachers, custodians, instructional assistants, volunteers, community partners, School Board members, taxpayers, City employees and Council members, and so many more…. Thank you for working toward our mutual prosperity.

I also add, “Do not tire of doing good.” Life together is challenging. The past six years have made us feel more divided than united. COVID-19 has brought massive change and challenge. And these challenges make us weary. Self-care and rest are key — but let us continue to find new ways to connect and serve each other.  Let us find a way to balance holding high expectations and extending a healthy measure of grace.

Best wishes for you, Charlottesville! I’m confident in the future success of your schools and your community!

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins

Senior staff giving artwork by Sahara Clemons '19 to Dr. Atkins as farewell present.
Senior staff present artwork by Sahara Clemons CHS ’19 to Dr. Atkins as farewell present.

Superintendent Transition 

Jim Henderson portrait
Jim Henderson

As we bid farewell to Dr. Atkins, we look ahead to a transitional time. We will be guided in the months to come by Acting Superintendent Jim Henderson, who retired from the schools in 2020 as associate superintendent following a career dedicated to Charlottesville Schools.

In addition, the School Board has contracted the executive search services of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) to guide the hiring of the next superintendent.

Follow the process at We want to hear from you! Help us find the right superintendent for Charlottesville City Schools! Follow the process at

We want to hear from you! Help us find the right superintendent for Charlottesville City Schools!Need translation? Text 953-1802

Complete Superintendent Search Survey

Let’s Get Ready for Fall! Forms are Ready!

Hello fall greeting banner on jungle background with tropical leaves. Welcome autumn banner. Invitation to new harvest season. Template for poster design, prints, flyers. Vector illustration.

Help us get ready for the fall! Registering or re-registering now will help us prepare. If you hope for your child to ride the bus this fall, please help us by updating your records!

For Returning Students (students who are currently enrolled)

  1. Re-register your returning student for the fall (log into PowerSchool and click “Re-Register” to update contact information/permissions, 1 per student; call your school for login help).
  2. Let us know your your tentative fall learning plans for your students (non-binding brief Google form, 1 per student).
  3. Need after-school care? See update below about the YMCA After School registration, which opens Sunday (grades K-6).

New students (students who are NOT currently enrolled)

  1. If your child will begin attending Charlottesville City Schools in the fall, register online as a new student. Your school will follow up with you about next steps.
  2. Need after-school care? See update below about the YMCA After School registration, which opens Sunday (grades K-6).
  3. Have a preschooler? Charlottesville City Schools offers free preschool for qualifying 3- and 4-year-olds.  Learn more and apply here!

Shakespeare's R&J student posterTheatre CHS Places 2nd in State & Orchestra Concert Performs May 19

Congrats to Theatre CHS for placing second in the state in the VHSL one-act competition for class 3 with their performance of “Shakespeare’s R & J.” And further congrats to junior Cole Lyman, who won “actor of the year” in the competition!

CHS Orchestra flyer -- see page for informationIn addition, Charlottesville City Schools has been named as one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the nation!  This distinction was awarded to 686 districts across the country!  Thank you to all the administrators, teachers, students, parents and community members for your support of music education!

Need more fine arts in your life? CHS Orchestra returns for a free spring concert TONIGHT (Wednesday, May 19) at 7pm outdoors at the athletic stadium.

UVA Law Students Boost CHS First-Generation College Applicants With Essay Help

UVA Image of Participants in the Law School-CHS Avid College Essay Partnership
Image courtesy UVA School of Law

“By having first-generation law students reviewing the essays of young adults who were the first members in their own family to apply to college, we were able to build a connection between individuals who could relate to one another in a unique and special way.”—Chelsea Park, CHS AVID Coordinator

Read about this wonderful partnership between University of Virginia School of Law students and Charlottesville High School first-gen college-bound students that led to an abundance of college acceptances and scholarships (including a full ride to Syracuse University for one student)!

Schools Host Vaccine Clinics in Partnership with Blue Ridge Health Department

School-Based Covid Vaccine Clinic information. Info included on webpage.

Hundreds of Walker Students Receive Climate Action Activity Kits

Solar-powered night lights, plant-your-own-herb-gardens kits, and decorate-your-own-t-shirt kits were among the fun activities included in hundreds of Climate Action Activity Kits given to Walker Upper Elementary School students this spring. Thank you, Community Climate Collaborative, Virginia Discovery Museum, City of Charlottesville Energy & Water Management team, and others for supporting our students’ hands-on learning.

Students receiving climate action kits at home.
Courtesy CBS19. Watch their news story here!

Burlney-Moran art walk; students studying and sketching artBurnley-Moran Students Present Art Walk, Annual Art Show, and More Art News

Burnley-Moran enjoyed a perfect spring day for their Art Walk! Students visited several outside stations with their classmates to view artwork created by schoolmates. During their visits, the students took time to draw the images in their own booklets and to write reflections on each piece responding to prompts such as “What kind of mood or feeling could the artist be showing?” “Does this artwork remind you of anything from your life?” or “What does this artwork inspire you to do?”

Want to go to a virtual gallery? This year’s annual CCS student art show is online at  The show also features a student-created coloring book exploring the theme of “Resilience,” a quality that has taken on special meaning during the pandemic.

YMCA logoYMCA After School Registration Opens Sunday, May 23

On Sunday May 23, the YMCA will open registration for the fall YMCA After School program in Charlottesville City Schools (formerly the CLASS program). On Sunday afternoon, we will notify families in elementary school (including Walker). In the meanwhile, learn more here — registration links will be posted to this page on Sunday.

Staff Shout-Outs

Susan Muse, Emily Waters, Bria Williams
Honorees and teachers Susan Muse, Emily Waters, and Bria Williams
  • Susan Muse, English teacher at Buford, won first place in a writing contest in the literary magazine Streetlight for her poem, “Renegade.” An accomplished writer, Susan has published in many other literary magazines and anthologies and has earned a variety of accolades including winning the Signet Poetry Award, being selected to Who’s Who in Poetry in American Colleges and Universities, and being inducted in Sigma Upsilon, an honorary fraternity for writers.
  • Emily Waters, orchestra teacher at Walker and CHS alum, recently won a graduate school innovation award from James Madison University for creating teaching materials that bring hip hop into her orchestra classes — not to mention TikTok. Watch more here!
  • Bria Williams, history teacher at Walker and CHS alum, is a Dean’s Scholar in the Summer 2021 Cohort of American University’s Masters of Education Policy and Leadership Program. She was selected for exemplifying academic excellence, in addition to her commitment to the School’s values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a Dean’s Scholar, Bria will receive a $30,000 program scholarship. She will also serve as an Ambassador to the School of Education, as well a Program Advisor to the Dean and Program Director.

Unsung Heroes award honoring Moss Dix, Instructional Assistant, Jackson-Via Elementary School, Roger Inge, Custodian, Greenbrier Elementary School, Del Meggett, Custodian, Walker Upper Elementary School, and Henry Rush at Johnson Elementary, Walker, and Charlottesville High School. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we partnered with the Kindness Cafe to deliver a custom treat to every school-based staff. The Kindness Cafe, managed by former teachers from CCS and ACPS, provides meaningful employment for adults with cognitive disabilities while creating a joyful, inclusive community space.

And while our teachers are amazing, we know that not all our superstars are teachers, so this spring we’ve been honoring our “unsung heroes.” Staff members have nominated their peers — from the ranks of our custodians, IT staff, nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and more — to shine a spotlight on those who go above and beyond. This week’s winners are shown here — scroll through our Facebook page to see others.

CHS Sports Roundup 

collage of sports honorees
Images courtesy CBS19 and ScrimmagePlay.

Spring sports are fully underway — and the athletic department wants students to look ahead by scheduling their sports physicals now and checking for summer training schedules.  We’re always proud of our Black Knights, but going toe-to-toe with the defending state champion is big. So here’s to baseball knocking off Fluvanna; girls’ soccer tying Western, and boys’ soccer (themselves the defending state champions) beating Western! Go Black Knights!

Special honors came in this week for three seniors:


Seniors at CHSCelebrating our Seniors

It hasn’t been a traditional year for our seniors, but CHS has been working to find ways to celebrate them and their accomplishments.

Other Updates:  School Safety Model, School Names Committee, Reconfiguration

  • At their May School Board meeting, the School Board approved the new safety plan as recommended by the Superintendent Committee on School Safety and Security Resources.
  • At their May 3 community conversation on school names discussing the names of Clark and Venable elementary schools, the consensus of the gathered group was that they were in favor of changing both schools names — and they were also in favor of gathering additional community feedback. Look for a survey (yes, another survey!) soon.
  • The School Board and City Council continue to have discussions about the School Board-approved plan for reconfiguring our schools. The plan would create a preschool center, return 5th-graders to elementary schools, and modernize Buford Middle School for grades 6-8. This summer will be a key time for gathering community feedback on these important projects.

icon of calendarUpcoming Calendar Events

May 21-22: School Board Retreat
May 31: Memorial Day (no school)
June 10: School Board Meeting
June 5: CHS Graduation, 10 am
June 8: Synchronous Virtual Learning Day due to primary election
June 11: Last Day of School (Early Dismissal/Remote Learning Day)