Elementary students work on a measuring activity.

Superintendent’s Message-February 2019

 

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins 

Dear community members—

As you know, equity has been a priority for many years, and it has received particular attention in the last months. I’m writing with an update on our latest work to support equity, including our FY2020 proposed budget, a school reconfiguration plan, the Quest program, and our Program of Study for next year.

  • We continue to seek feedback from staff, from CHS and Buford students, and the community. Gatherings include meetings with Habitat families, Westhaven and Friendship Court community members, and churchgoers across the city.
  • We have used equity as our lens for the requested 2019-20 budget. Examples include a living wage for all annually appointed positions, another significant pay increase for instructional staff, and new positions in areas such as family engagement, the AVID college prep program, and our social-emotional learning program.
  • Our Board has endorsed a school reconfiguration plan that would create a preschool center with extended-day services and early interventions. (This center would be located on the current Walker School campus). The plan also returns 5th-graders to elementary schools and would modernize Buford Middle School to maximize opportunities for the City’s 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-graders. City Council has shown support for this plan by tentatively designating a $3 million allocation for planning and design. We recognize that serving our students well — in preschool, in fifth grade, in middle school, in all grades– is a true equity priority.
  • We have continued long-standing conversations about ways to diversify our Quest (gifted) program, and we have increased the program’s emphasis on push-in, whole-class teaching.
  • Our Program of Study for next year gives attention at Walker, Buford, and CHS to continue “unleveling” our instruction to promote student diversity within classrooms. Similarly, professional learning will emphasize the skills needed to support this model. Next year’s Program of Study also converts the African-American history class at CHS to the honors-option model to encourage enrollment; this was a suggestion from the CHS Black Student Union when they addressed the School Board this fall.
  • We are finalizing an equity committee that will guide our work on establishing a policy that will be foundational to this “equity lens.” This committee will also offer input in areas such as family engagement, instructional and professional learning practices, institutional changes in areas such as unleveled classes, alignment between grade levels, and minority HR recruitment.
  • We have posted an opening for Supervisor of Equity and Inclusion to maintain this momentum. Help us find the right person!

This is a long list, but it is merely a snapshot of the work we continue to do to promote equity. We hope it is a reminder to our community that we remain committed — in fact, we have redoubled our commitment — to every student, every day, everyone.

–Dr. Rosa S. Atkins
(This letter was revised on 3/27/19 to include the change to the CHS African-American history class in next year’s Program of Study.)

Johnson School celebrating the 100th day of school with 100-year-old students.

100-year-old students with canes, beards and baldness celebrate Johnson Elementary’s 100th day of school. To see more of what is happening in all six elementary schools, click here.

ACADEMIC ADVISING UNDERWAY AT CHS, BUFORD, AND WALKER
CHS students visit curriculum fair at lunch.Through lunchtime and evening curriculum fairs, classroom visits, and one-on-one meetings, teachers and school counselors at CHS and Buford are providing important information to students and families about academic options for 2019-2020. Meanwhile, Walker School counselors have been visiting all city fourth graders to help prepare them for their transition to a new school next year. Read more here.

MUSIC COLLABORATION EARNS TRIPLE GOLD IN MUSIC FOR ALL AWARDS
Student musicians on stage for Right Now music collaboration at CHSThe Charlottesville High School music program was recognized for excellence in three categories (Community Service Project, Community Engagement, and Community Events) by the 2019 Music for All Advocacy in Action Awards for its 2018 music collaboration with students from Metro Nashville Public Schools. Read more here.

BACON CLUB SIZZLES AT REGIONAL, STATE, AND WORLD COMPETITIONS
BACON Club members pose with medals and trophies.Congrats to CHS BACON for placing #3 in the WORLD in the Zero Robotics coding tournament sponsored by MIT and NASA. Meanwhile, the FTC Robotics team and the Science Olympiad competitors excelled in regional competitions and are heading to states! Read more here.

PARENT UNIVERSITY COMING SOON FOR ELEMENTARY FAMILIES
Parent University flyerMark your calendars now for Parent University! All PreK-Grade 4 families are welcome to attend either night for parent workshops, information booths, and a chance to connect with other families. Jackson-Via will host the first night on March 5 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., or join us at Greenbrier on March 14 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.. Read more here.

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH (ALL YEAR LONG)
Christen Edwards stands by her decorated door for Black History Month.Bulletin board and classroom door decorations, Soul Feasts, Career Days, guest speakers, and film screenings are just a few of the ways we are celebrating Black History Month in February. But, we are also finding year-round ways to explore both local and diverse history– thanks to the efforts of our Coordinator of World Studies Annie Evans, our talented teachers, and our invaluable community partners. Read more here.

SCHOOL BOARD NOTES
Cville Schools official logoRecent actions from the School Board include finalizing the FY2020 budget requests, adopting a school reconfiguration plan, and approving the 2019-20 Program of Study. Board members will soon select an interim member to fill the remaining months for the term of Amy Laufer, who stepped down following a move outside the City. For the latest School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video, read more here.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar2/14 TheatreCHS presents “Mamma Mia!” though 2/17
2/15 Jackson-Via and Venable Soul Fests, 5:30pm
2/15 Burnley-Moran Family Dance, 6:30pm
2/16 District Jazz Festival, Albemarle HS
2/18 No School–Professional Learning Day for teachers
2/19 Jackson-Via PTO Meeting, 6pm
2/19 Kindness Week through 2/22, various activities at each school
2/21 Buford International Night, 5:30pm
2/21 Greenbrier Family Learning Night, 6pm
2/21 Jackson-Via 3rd/4th Grade Literacy Night, 6pm
2/21 CHS Band Assessment Preview, 7pm, MLKPAC
2/22 Burnley-Moran Black History Month Celebration and Career Fair. 8:30am
2/22 Greenbrier Winter Movie Night
2/25 Burnley-Moran Book Fair and Read Across BME through March 1
2/25 CHS Project Discovery Workshop, 4pm
2/26 Buford Band Assessment Preview, 7pm, Buford Auditorium
2/27 Walker Band Assessment Preview Concert, 7pm, Walker Auditorium
2/28 Burnley-Moran Write Night, 5:30pm
3/1 District Band Assessments through 3/2, Fluvanna HS
3/4 Art Connections Exhibit and activities through 3/13

More Looks at Cville Schools

Principal Kershner and friends on steps of Venable.

Charlottesville City Schools has earned state and national recognition for our efforts to support the whole child, which includes mental wellness, social emotional learning, and supporting students who have experienced trauma. The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development recently cited our exemplary work in its “Nation of Hope” report.  Learn more about this work here.

Tyree Carter passing basketball to teammate through arms of two Louisa opponents.

As varsity teams begin post-season play, it’s also time for spring sports tryouts. For information and winter athletics highlights, read more here.

Teacher helps students point to ABC's on chart.

It’s time to register for preschool! Applications for eligible 3- and 4-year-old children are due March 1. For more information and applications, read more here.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org