What‘s Happening at Buford

Buford virtual forum screenshot showing Sally Hudson and student participants

Students engage with elected officials via virtual forums

Buford virtual forum screenshot showing Sally Hudson and student participants
Del. Sally Hudson speaks with Buford students during a virtual forum Q&A.

Buford seventh and eighth grade students had the opportunity to meet with a variety of elected officials throughout the spring thanks to the efforts of history teacher Matt Resnick.

About 30 students joined the virtual forums to engage online with local leaders such as Del. Sally Hudson, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Charlottesville city councilors to learn about their jobs and ask questions.

Related Link

“Buford virtual forums connect students with elected officials.” – The Daily Progress

Screenshot of School Counselor Jacob Epps on tour of building

Hey future Trojans! Check out this school tour and meet the teachers!

We are excited to welcome our new Buford Trojans when schools re-open. For now, get to know your future school by joining Principal Dr. Jesse Turner, Assistant Principal Kevin Anderson, and School Counselor Joshua Epps for a virtual tour made especially for you!

Also, we hope the video below helps you see the many faces of Buford Middle School. We can’t wait to meet you face-to-face. Go Trojans!

Logo for Buford Trojans

Buford Distance Learning Resources

Logo for Buford TrojansThese resources will answer some of your Buford-specific questions about learning. We have also posted a Frequently Asked Questions page about distance learning at Charlottesville City Schools.

To start working on learning activities, students should log into Canvas. For help with learning activities or how to log in, please contact your teacher by email. Office hours are listed below.

April 2020 News and Highlights

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins

Photo collage of staffDear staff, family, and community:

When I first thought about a column for this month’s “News and Highlights,” I thought that it would be all news and no highlights. During this pandemic, we are focused on finding solutions and passing the information along to you. So, yes, there is a lot of news in this email.

However, I also realized that even in this challenging time, we have a lot of highlights, too! Can we give a virtual round of applause to the custodial staff who kept our students and staff safe prior to the closure? (And they continue to keep our remaining in-office staff members safe, too!) Let’s give a shout-out to our nutrition team and so many volunteers and partners for establishing fully functional neighborhood-based student meal delivery program on DAY TWO of our closure! Each week, they serve more than 7,000 meals! Let’s also recognize our IT team — they are getting our last students connected with chromebooks and connectivity. (And let’s also recognize them for putting us in such a strong position BEFORE the crisis — Cville Schools has previously won national recognition for the strength of our tech planning and execution.) And of of course, I want to thank our principals, teachers, counselors, social workers and so many more for their continued focus on students’ learning and well-being.

So read on. You’ll find “news you can use.” You’ll also find some much-needed smiles and inspiration. During this time, remember to stay safe. Stay connected. And let’s keep learning!

Dr. Rosa Atkins

 

CHS Engineering teacher Matt Shields using CHS lab to make PPE for health care workers.

Responding to the pandemic, CHS Engineering teacher Dr. Matt Shields has made protective equipment for area health professionals. Using the school’s lab and 3-D printer, Shields has made hundreds of items such as face masks and “ear savers” to make continual mask-wearing more comfortable. Students have helped tweak designs — and have seen the truth in Shields’ philosophy that “engineers make the world a better place.” Find details here.

HELPING YOUR STUDENT LEARN THIS YEAR 
Cover of Pre-K Learning book.Last week, we began teaching NEW material to our students. We have posted learning/family resources and a learning FAQ. If your family needs a chromebook or internet access, contact your principal. Learning books for Pre-K to grade 1 have been mailed — contact your school if you didn’t get one. Grades 2-4 are using Chromebooks to check SeeSaw. Grades 5-8 are working in Canvas. (Walker has a learning site set up as a gateway.) We are de-emphasizing grading, and SOLs have been cancelled. Instead, we are focused on preparing students for the fall. This video explains more. Teachers have been reaching out to families — if they haven’t been able to reach you, please contact your school!

QUESTIONS ABOUT SUMMER SCHOOL AND FALL
illustration of sun and leaves with words "summer school/fall learning"There is still a lot up in the air, both regarding coronavirus and plans for future instruction on the local, state, and federal levels. Summer school is likely to be online, although if it is safe to go face-to-face, we will try to do so. Stay tuned also about a virtual “Freedom School” summer partnership with UVa’s Curry School for elementary students. For the fall, we are making a Plan A (for face-to-face instruction) and Plan B (for distance learning if schools are still closed). One way or another, we will be ready to help your students learn.

TAKING CARE OF OUR STAFF
Ralph Taylor of the Burnley-Moran CLASS programDuring the closure, we have prioritized our staff by paying all contract employees such as instructional assistants and nutrition/custodial staff. CLASS employees are being paid through the CLASS budget (which has been helped by families generously donating a month or even more of their spring payments). School bus drivers and crossing guards are being paid by the City. Hourly employees such as part-time nutrition staff are being paid as work is available. We hope to continue supporting all of these employees, but we are also aware that future budget cuts will impact our spending plans.

TAKING CARE OF OUR STUDENTS
Photos of students and staff using video conferences to #stayconnectedCCSFace-to-face classes may be cancelled, but our teachers, counselors, and staff are still finding ways to connect. From a simple phone call to teacher parades to distributing books for our students to staff read-alongs (or even puppet shows) to a virtual theater cabaret and an online art show, we are making connections. Some principals are maintaining routines by posting school-wide meetings or daily/weekly announcements, complete with the pledge and honoring birthdays. In addition to teachers’ office hours, counselors are holding office hours and setting up appointments. Region Ten is also providing key supports. We’ve posted mental health resources on our learning page.

MORE LEARNING RESOURCES
Logo for TV Classroom lessons led by Virginia teachersOur teachers and instructional coordinators have done a great job of pulling together distance learning curriculum. But the state is also providing options that might help your family. Working with the state, PBS stations in Virginia are showing teacher-led lessons on weekday afternoons on station 41.2 or Comcast 265 or 1146. From 1-2pm are K-3 learning segments, and from 2-3pm, episodes teach algebra and life science. Starting April 27, from 3-4pm, the network will offer an AP prep week. The public media network has also upped its educational programming in other ways.

WHAT ABOUT GRADUATION?
Class of 2020 Celebrating our Seniors graphicDuring this disruptive season, we have a special place in our hearts for the Class of 2020. Given the continued cancellation of public events, we are brainstorming other ways to celebrate our seniors. For starters, we’ve made a CHS-themed “I ♥ a Senior” frame for your Facebook profiles, as well as some Cville Schools “In This Together” frames for all our families. (You can find these frames on our Cville Schools and CHS Facebook pages.) We’re also rolling out some other celebrations as we look ahead to more formal virtual celebrations later this spring. We’ll keep you posted!

WHAT ABOUT KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION?
Staff and K student hug at Greenbrier's kindergarten camp 2019Another favorite event was cancelled this April — when our future K students and their families come see the school, meet the teachers, and bring required paperwork. We’re so sorry to miss this special occasion, but online forms have been posted here, and we’ll keep you updated about how to get the required documents to us. We’re also thinking about the more important part — how to connect kids and teachers.

SCHOOL BOARD NOTES
Cville Schools official logoThe School Board held its first virtual meeting in April, as a response to the closure. Staff provided updates in all areas relating to the coronavirus closure. Find more School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video. You can find a similar update by watching the April 14 episode of Cville 360, a new government news program. The next meeting will be held May 7, also virtually. Tune in on Facebook at @CvilleSchools.

UPCOMING EVENTS AND IMPORTANT LINKS
illustration of calendarOngoing: Preschool applications. Find info online.
Coming soon: Online registration for kindergarten See details.
5/7 School Board Meeting (virtual), 5pm
6/4 CHS Virtual Graduation, 7pm

Key Links: Coronavirus Closure landing page ♦ Food/ Volunteering Information ♦ Learning/ Family Resources ♦ Learning FAQ 

More Looks at Cville Schools

Burnley-Moran teacher Ernest Chambers virtually leading the Avocado Dance

Burnley-Moran gym teacher Ernest Chambers connected with students virtually for a run-through of a school favorite, the Avocado Dance. Don’t miss the video!

Girls' indoor track state champs in 4x400 relay

In March, the girls’ indoor track team had a big day, earning two relay state championships! The 4×200 was run by E. Schock, M. Packer, E. Burns, A. Ventre. The 4×400 (shown above) was run by Packer, Ventre, L. Hoskins, and K. Van Der Pluijm. The team earned 4th overall with many students placing. We’re so proud!

Buford staff holding books as part of their video celebrating reading

Buford staff virtually teamed up to bring a smile and encourage their students to keep reading and learning. Watch the video here.  For more fun videos and to see glimpses of our learning tools, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

Students performing play at Greenbrier Elementary.

7th and 8th graders present “When Ancestors Come to Dinner”

The set for "When Ancestors Come to Dinner," a play presented by Buford 7th and 8th grade students in observance of Black History Month.
The set for “When Ancestors Come to Dinner,” a play presented by Buford 7th and 8th grade students in observance of Black History Month.

Throughout the month of March, Buford Middle School has observed Black History Month in a variety of ways including a school-wide performance of “When Ancestors Come to Dinner” presented by 7th and 8th grade students.

Buford Reading Specialist Edna Harris organized the play auditions and performances.

“Once students auditioned, I sent out “Golden Tickets” to announce they were selected for the role they tried out for,” said Harris.  “All students who auditioned received golden tickets via email, and the sounds of joy when they yelled ‘I got a golden ticket!’ were priceless.”

“When Ancestors Come to Dinner” tells the story of the Wooling family, a family of five who reminisces about contributions of African Americans in history while sitting at the dinner table. As their discussion develops, different people come to the stage to share their contributions to the United States of America.

The students were also invited to Greenbrier Elementary School to perform the play for students in grades 2-4.

“These are priceless moments in middle school,” said Harris. “Every day since then, the students have come to ask if I will create another play for them because it was so much fun.”

Buford play performance at Greenbrier Elementary School.
Buford students performing “When Ancestors Come to Dinner” at Greenbrier Elementary School.

logo for Walker Buford United PTO

Walker Buford United PTO meeting Wednesday

logo for Walker Buford United PTOThe Walker Buford United PTO will meet on Wednesday, March 11 at 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Tonsler Park Recreation Center. All families of Walker Upper Elementary School and Buford Middle School are invited to attend.

On the Agenda:

  • Family Life parent information session with SARA representative
  • Cell phone use guidelines discussion
  • WBU PTO Non-Profit Bylaws discussion
  • Buford Community Day(s) request and discussion
  • Black History Celebration at Buford report
  • Teacher Appreciation update
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Fundraising

To keep up with the latest PTO efforts, please join our Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/walkerbufordunited/, and visit our web site, http://www.walkerbufordunited.org.

Summer activity packet for upper level grades

City and Schools promote energy and water conservation-Summer Update

Energy and Water Management Program Spring Quarter Update reminding people to reduce energy and water waste.Charlottesville City Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team are working together to reduce the energy and water footprint of all City schools. In 2019, the School Board approved an Energy and Water Performance resolution, showing a commitment to achieving and maintaining high performing school facilities. 

Continuing on past efforts, the City’s maintenance and development teams are specifying high efficiency building equipment, such as high-efficiency chillers and LED lighting, and are enhancing operational control through advanced building automation systems. Charlottesville Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team continue to investigate ways to accelerate the installation of high performance equipment throughout our schools.

The City is also working with each school to raise awareness about energy and water saving practices through education and outreach efforts that include distributing educational materials and providing tips and strategies that students and faculty can use to reduce the energy and water impact at our schools. 

Each quarter a different theme emphasizes aspects of energy and water efficiency/conservation. The 2019-2020 themes are:

  • Fall (September – November): The Value of Energy and Water
  • Winter (December – February): Understanding Our Energy and Water Use
  • Spring (March – May): Smart Energy and Water Use
  • Summer (June – August): Keep Going! Summertime Savings

Have questions about this program? Contact the City’s Energy and Water Management Team at EnergyWaterTeam@charlottesville.org.

Learn more about other green initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools here.

2019-20 Education and Outreach

Summer activity packet for upper level grades

Summer Quarter: This summer the Energy and Water Management Team wants you to take what you learned around how to save energy and water at school and apply it at home!

Let’s first focus on reducing our energy waste at home. This can look like turning the lights off when you leave a room, making sure you power down and unplug electronics when you are not using them, and making sure doors and windows aren’t left open when your home’s heating or air conditioning is running.

When you look at water, there are some easy ways we can reduce our water waste at home. Remember to always turn the water off when not in use (like while we are brushing our teeth), don’t forget to fill up your reusable water bottle with tap water when you are thirsty, and if you see dripping faucet or running toilet tell an adult to fix it! Plus, if you help your family with some gardening projects outside, look to the weather to do the watering work or collect rainwater to use for watering later.

This summer let’s all commit to saving energy and water. Take this pledge and start implementing these easy steps at home today!

This summer I pledge to be an energy and water saver at home!

  • I pledge to turn the lights off when I leave a room,
  • I pledge to power down and unplug electronics when I’m finished with them,
  • I pledge to close windows and doors when my home’s heating and cooling systems are on,
  • I pledge to turn the water off when not in use,
  • I pledge to use a reusable water bottle instead of a single-use plastic bottle,
  • I pledge to report water leaks as soon I see them,
  • I pledge to come back to school in the fall ready to keep saving energy and water!

You are now ready to be an energy and water saver! Together we can all have a huge impact at home and at school.

Activity Sheets for Grades K-4

Activity Sheets for Grades 5-12

Paper copies of the activity sheets were included with our summer meal distribution program. Copies can also be found in the main office of each school building, or you can contact the Energy and Water Management Team, at EnergyWaterTeam@Charlottesville.gov.

Energy and Water Management Program: Spring Quarter Poster image discusses reducing water and energy wasteSpring Quarter: Reducing our Energy and Water Waste

This spring the Energy and Water Management Team is back with more reminders to help us trim up our energy and water use!

Help our school reduce energy waste! Make sure outside doors close behind you and tell an adult if propped open. This will help keep our cooled and heated air inside our school rather than letting it escape through open doors to the outside!

Don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle along with you wherever you go! Fill it up from tap water, which comes from our rivers and is cleaned to make it safe and taste good. Before dumping out any left over water, think reusable by giving it to some plants that would happily enjoy that water.

Spring Quarter Tips:
1. Keep outside doors closed
2. Fill up your reusable water bottle with tap water
3. If you see a water leak or an open outside door, report it!

If we each reduce our energy and water waste at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits,together we can have a real impact.

Energy and Water Management Program Winter Quarter posterWinter Quarter: Understanding our Energy and Water Use

Did you know that the greenhouse gases produced from energy used at all 10 Charlottesville City Schools is equal to the greenhouse gases produced by 500 homes? We know our schools need resources to operate but what exactly uses energy and water in our schools every day?

We are asking students and faculty to try to identify what uses energy and water when you walk into your classroom each day. For energy, think about the overhead lighting, computers, electronics, and air conditioning/heating. For water, think about the water fountain in the hallway and sink in your classroom. What about at home?

There are also the items that aren’t as noticeable such as leaving your phone plugged in even when it’s fully charged or not paying attention to that dripping faucet. Even when a phone is plugged in and is fully charged, it still uses 2.24 watts of energy, and that slow drip…drip…drip of a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons of water a year!

Let’s reduce our energy and water impact at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits we can do each day.

Winter Quarter Tips:

  • Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
  • Make an effort to unplug personal electronics.
  • Turn the water off when not in use.
  • If you see a water leak or hear a running toilet, report it!

 

water and energy management posterFall Quarter: The Value of Energy and Water

The energy and water that we use at home and in our school are typically provided using finite resources. In Virginia, fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) are used to produce over 60% of the electricity that we use, with nuclear and renewables making up the rest. We also use natural gas directly to heat our school and to heat our water. The water we use is pumped from reservoirs fed by rivers and is treated before coming to our homes and school as clean, potable water.  Simply put, our demand for electricity, natural gas, and water (the amount we use) has a direct impact on these resources. We have a responsibility to manage what we use but we’re also empowered with the ability to make lasting change.

In many cases we use more than we need, so we already have simple opportunities to reduce our impact. The best place to start is just becoming aware of when and how we use energy and water throughout our typical day. As you do your normal activities, think about how long you leave your lights on, leave your phone plugged in, and leave the water running. Now think about how you can adjust your behaviors to trim that up a bit.  It’s a game of inches, not miles, and small changes add up to big savings.

Fall Quarter Tips:

  • Last one out? Flip the switch!
  • Turn the water off when not in use.

 

7th graders learn about medical careers at “Inside UVA Medicine”

Seventh graders participate in hands-on learning at UVA School of Medicine and School of Nursing.Buford seventh graders recently visited the University of Virginia School of Medicine and UVA School of Nursing for the 5th annual “Inside UVA Medicine” event.

The field trip introduced middle schoolers to various careers in the UVA Health System from nurses and doctors to engineers, computer programmers, and emergency techs.

Seventh graders from Buford Middle School visit the Medical Simulation Center at UVA School of Medicine.Buford School counselor Joshua Epps said, “This was an amazing trip that allowed scholars the opportunity to explore careers in the field of medicine and reinforced the message that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to.”

During their visit, students toured the Helipad, CT room and participated in a hands-on experience in the simulation center where they learned about blood pressure and pulse readings among other things.

Photo credits: Sheena Washington