A variety of supports to keep our students safe and healthy
Charlottesville City Schools offers a variety of programs to support our students. The foundation is a commitment to wellness and promoting a positive school culture. Beyond that, we proactively make plans to keep our students safe.
A System of Supports: VTSS and PBIS
Charlottesville City Schools has implemented a framework for creative a positive, consistent school culture using the models of Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports (VTSS) and Positive Behavorial Intervention and Supports (PBIS). The school division has won a trailblazer’s award for the way we have included attention to mental wellness in our implementation of VTSS.
Charlottesville City Schools recognizes the strong link between a child’s social, emotional, and physical health and their ability to learn. Schools also play an important role in teaching children about wellness.
In 2016, our school division won a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award in recognition of our policies in place to promote healthy choices for our students and staff.
Our 2017-23 Strategic Plan places a strong emphasis on “Safe and Supportive Schools,” with specific goals for social, emotional, and physical wellness.
The School Health Advisory Board—made up of health professionals, community agencies, parents, educators and students—advises the School Board in the development and evaluation of policies and programs that support the health and well-being of students, families, and school staff.
- Charlottesville City Schools Wellness Policy (Policy JHCF)
- CCS Wellness Policy Brochure (2017) — distributed to all families
- School Health Advisory Board
- Physical Fitness Programs at Charlottesville City Schools
- School Nutrition at Charlottesville City Schools
- School Nurses and Student Health
- Information about student insurance for qualifying families (FAMIS)
- School Counselors, Social Workers and Psychologists including Bullying Prevention and Peer Mediation
- School-wide Positive Supports (Virginia Tiered Systems of Support and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports)
- School Community-Building Programs
- Green Initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools
- Employee Wellness Benefits
- Safety Programs and Planning
Partners and Related Programs:
Fostering School Community and Relationships
One of the goals for Charlottesville City Schools is to promote a positive and inclusive culture in our learning communities. Relationships are at the heart of a thriving community. We strive to encourage strong relationships among and between staff, students, and families through mentoring and other initiatives.
- A strong sense of community is at the heart of our division-wide framework for supporting students’ academic and behavioral needs (Virginia Tiered Systems of Support and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports). Both Johnson Elementary and our alternative learning center, Lugo-McGinness Academy, have led the way as we establish practices that build community, encourage good behavior, and deepen relationships.
- From school-wide meetings at Venable to Fun Fridays at Clark to the Harry Potter-style “house” system at Jackson-Via, our elementary schools promote a positive sense of community. Need another example? How about the “welcome back” field days at the start of each semester at Burnley-Moran.
- We believe in mentoring, whether that means Buford eighth-graders serving as reading buddies at neighboring Johnson Elementary, upperclassmen at CHS welcoming ninth-graders through Link Crew, or teachers, coaches, and community leaders guiding students at every step of the way.
- Our school counselors foster social-emotional health in a variety of ways. They offer classroom lessons, such as Walker students guiding their blindfolded partners to solve jigsaw puzzles. They also sponsor clubs and groups such as the Walker Peace Squad or the Jackson-Via Bully-Nots.
- Relationships (and reading skills) can deepen even during the summer through our teachers’ and librarians’ Books on Bikes program! The BoB team visits neighborhoods to deliver free books, popsicles, and smiles. (A therapy dog even makes the rounds!)
- Parents are a big part of our school communities, whether through staying connected, volunteering, or attending events such as Doughnuts with Dad at Johnson. We are proud to have a Family Engagement Coordinator and are so grateful for the good work of our active PTOs!
- Clubs, athletics, and our amazing fine arts programs also build relationships and community.
School safety is not limited to the school day. We are a model of community partnership for areas such as mental health (partnering with Region 10 to staff no-fee counselors at CHS, Buford, and Walker); trauma-informed practices (co-founding and partnering with the Charlottesville Trauma Network for staff training and agency consistency); and community policing (working with the Charlottesville Police Department and their school resource officers).
School leaders work throughout the year evaluating security measures and planning for crises and emergencies. Student safety is our top priority. We work with local police, develop building-specific security procedures, and participate in emergency management training and activities. Each school has a threat assessment team to promote safety in the schools. Through a partnership with the Charlottesville Police Department, school resource officers work at Buford, Walker, and CHS, plus an all-elementary officer who visits schools regularly.
Our plans include:
- Training for all employees
- Routine safety drills
- Building-specific security procedures
- Strong school-based staffing of counselors, social workers, and psychologists
- Threat assessment teams at all schools
- School resource officers (SROs) at the upper elementary, middle, and high schools (plus an all-elementary SRO) through a partnership with the Charlottesville Police Department
- Surveillance cameras, screening procedures for visitors, buzz-in entrances, lighting/locking upgrades, and standardized exterior door signage to assist first responders
- Continued awareness of local or national events and their impact
- Participation in local emergency management activities and drills with government, school, and public health officials
- Attendance at school safety conferences to stay in step with best practices
- In addition, in March 2018, the Charlottesville School Board approved a Resolution on Gun Violence Prevention.
These emergency plans complement our larger goals for promoting safety by supporting all students and creating a positive school culture.
There are concrete steps you can do now to make sure you stay informed and to help create a positive community.
- Keep your contact info up-to-date. Has your telephone number or email address changed? Contact your school!
- Customize how you hear from us – choose phone, email, or text! Log in to PowerSchool and click on “Contact Manager.” For help creating your PowerSchool login, call 245-2943. Or click here for detailed instructions about how to edit your contact settings.
- Stay connected with your school’s PTO!
- Talk to your children about school safety, particularly when there has been a national incident. Click here for tips from the National Association of School Psychologists.
- Follow the national conversation on school safety and advocate as you see appropriate.