What‘s Happening at Buford

Students participate in the CHEF Kids program at PB&J.

Buford students visit PB&J Fund for CHEF Kids program

Students participate in the CHEF Kids program at PB&J.
Guided by a PB&J Fund volunteer, Ms. Wisbauer’s students learn proper slicing and dicing techniques as they prepare their homemade marinara sauce.

Students in Ms. Marcy Wisbauer’s Independent Living class participated in the CHEF Kids cooking program at the PB&J Fund, a local non-profit group that teaches culinary arts and nutrition to area students.

The eighth graders made homemade chicken parmesan while learning about proper knife handling, basic slicing, dicing, and chopping skills, food prep safety, and how to choose healthy and affordable food options. See photo gallery here.

“We have a couple of students in the class that may want to become chefs, so this exposes them to what it would be like to work in a professional kitchen,” said Wisbauer.

CHEF Kids program manager John Robinson said the program is popular with middle school kids who may have never had opportunities to cook meals from scratch. More than 11,000 students have passed through the PB&J Fund kitchen or participated in one of the on-site programs since the kitchen opened in 2013.

Along with cooking, Wisbauer teaches a variety of life skills lessons as part of the Independent Living elective course, including money management, sewing, career exploration, and workplace readiness skills.

Related links

 

Students pose for picture in colorful tunics at Walker International Day.

News and Highlights December 2018

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins and the Charlottesville School Board   
Forum participants place stickers on poster

Dear community members—

Thanks to so many of you who have shared your voice and time with us during our conversations about equity at Charlottesville City Schools.

At our second forum this past week, we reflected back some of the action items that have arisen so far from parents, staff, students, and community members. Participants voted on their top-priority action items. In addition, we invited participants to add any ideas that were missing from our summaries.

We are still listening. We need to hear from as many voices as possible. You can vote on your priority actions (and give us any missing ideas) by going to charlottesvilleschools.org/equity-forum. We are also working with students to make sure we hear their key perspectives. In addition, we invite faith communities, clubs, or groups to contact us about hosting a mini-forum so we can receive additional feedback.

Why is listening so important? We cannot fully address these issues unless we better understand them.

The values our community is expressing – that all students are loved, that all gifts are recognized, that all potential is nurtured – are the values of our staff, leaders, and Board. We have been actively working to promote this vision for decades, and yet, like schools across the country, our schools show how challenging it is to eradicate disparities.

So we are listening to learn what has been working and what needs to be improved. What haven’t we tried? What barriers are we not seeing?

In addition to listening, we are also acting. We are forming a committee on equity with a broad coalition of school and community stakeholders. We are doing internal reviews of our data, programs, and efforts. We are mapping resources of sister school divisions and model equity programs so that we can learn from others. The School Board is drafting an equity policy that will guide our practices and lay a foundation for parity.

In short, we continue to listen. We are taking first steps to review and revise our past efforts and plan future action. We are guided by our confidence that your values are our values and that together, we want to seize this moment to make a difference for our community.

With appreciation,

Dr. Rosa Atkins, Superintendent
Juandiego Wade, School Board Chair

UVA Engineering student working with Clark kindergartener.

Kindergartners and fourth-graders from Clark “kid-tested” first-year UVA Engineering students’ designs at the UVA Design Lab. Meanwhile, Walker students also tested the college students’ projects in the Alpha Lab at Walker. UVA’s budding engineers designed age-appropriate interactive educational activities. Read more here.

BUS STOP MEET & GREETS PROVIDE BOOKS, SNACKS, SMILES
Family engagement coordinator distributes books and snacks to children at bus stop.Throughout the year it is not uncommon to see Family Engagement Facilitator Velvet Coleman greeting families at the bus stops. She is a familiar face to families and often passes out free books and snacks to children as well as educational resources to parents. Learn more about our efforts to promote family engagement here. Recently, Ms. Coleman and Dr. Atkins chatted about ways families can connect with their schools. See the video here.

MUFFINS WITH MOMS, DONUTS WITH DADS CONNECTS SCHOOLS & FAMILIES
Mom with two boys at Muffins with MomsLike all of our elementary schools, Johnson Elementary offers opportunities for moms, dads, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and/or special friends to join their students for some quality time at school. Recently, the school hosted two breakfast and books events–Muffins with Moms and Donuts with Dads. Additionally, the pre-K and kindergarten classes prepared a delicious soup supper for their families, and many families and friends attended the school’s annual International Day celebration. 

VENABLE ALL-STARS SING NATIONAL ANTHEM IN JOHN PAUL JONES ARENA
Venable students sing National Anthem at UVA Women's Basketball GameOur fourth grade chorus proudly sang the National Anthem at the UVA women’s basketball game in front of students from schools across Charlottesville and Albemarle. Way to go, 4th graders! Pictured left, a live video of the students on the jumbotron in the John Paul Jones Arena as they sing before the game begins. See the video here.

CHS STUDENTS TOUR WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY
Latino students touring Washington and Lee University.Thanks to the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, GEAR UP, and Virginia Latino Higher Education Network, several of our Hispanic CHS students took a free school field trip to Lexington, Virginia to visit one of the nations top liberal arts colleges, Washington and Lee University. During the college visit, the group toured the campus, met with admissions officers, and enjoyed lunch.

CHS THEATRE PRESENTS “HEATHERS” – OPENING NIGHT THURSDAY
"Heathers The Musical High School Edition" promotional poster.“Heathers The Musical” is a PG-13 version of the off-Broadway show. Considered a “dark comedy,” “Heathers” revolves around serious issues that students continue to face today. Take a sneak peek at CHSTheatre rehearsals here. Rated PG-13,this show is recommended for high school aged students and older. The show runs Thursday-Sunday in the CHS Black Box Theatre. Order tickets and learn more about the show here.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar 12/5 Walker/Buford Chorus Concert, 7pm, Walker Auditorium
12/6  City Schoolyard Garden Harvest of the Month
12/6  School Board meeting, 5pm, CHS Media Center
12/6  CHS Theatre presents “Heathers The Musical” through 12/8
12/7 CHS Art First Fridays exhibit (portraits of musicians), 5-7pm, Music Resource Center, 105 Ridge Street
12/10 Venable Winter Concert, 6pm
12/11 Jackson-Via Winter Concert 6:30pm
12/11 Burnley-Moran Winter Concert 6:15pm (dinner at 5:30pm)
12/11 Johnson Winter Concert, 6 pm
12/12 Walker Orchestra Winter Concert, 7pm
12/12 CHS Art exhibit, “(W)here to Stay,” 6-8pm, Jefferson School
12/13 CHS Choir Holiday Pops Concert, 7pm, MLKPAC
12/18 Clark Winter Concert 6pm (dinner at 5:30pm)
12/18 Greenbrier Winter Concert 6pm
12/18 CHS mid-term exams through 12/21
12/19 All-City Band Concert, 7pm, MLKPAC
12/24 Winter Break – no school through 1/4/2019
1/7 Classes Resume

More Looks at Cville Schools

Student dancers wearing colorful tunics at Walker International Day.

Walker Upper Elementary students performed a dance at International Day in the school cafeteria. The school-wide celebration included student projects that featured food, dance, music, and costumes from countries around the globe. ESOL teacher Elena Kryzhanovskaya, a former ESL student and refugee from Ukraine who moved to Charlottesville when she was eight years old, organized the event. Learn more about Mrs. K’s heart for her students here. 

CHS students with Nashville's Fab 5 performing "Need One Another (Right Now".)

A video by musicians from CHS and Metro-Nashville Public Schools has earned a 2018 Advocacy in Action Award from the music education non-profit, Music for All. The musical remake of Bebe and CeCe Winans’ song, “Right Now (We Need One Another),” was recorded last year in response to the events of August 11-12 in Charlottesville. The music video features 80 CHS choir and orchestra musicians, along with Nashville’s Fab 5, a group of student singers who attend different schools at MNPS.  Watch the video here.

Local motivational speaker Alex-Zan speaks to Jackson-Via students to promote good character traits. In partnership with Charlottesville City Schools, Zan will visit all six elementary schools to promote his message as well as share his history as a member of the Charlottesville 12, the infamous group of students who first integrated our city schools.

Local motivational speaker and civil rights pioneer Alex-Zan shares his message, “Today’s thinkers are tomorrow’s leaders” with third and fourth grade students at Jackson-Via. In partnership with Charlottesville City Schools, Alex-Zan is visiting City elementary schools (three per year) to assure that at least once during their elementary years, all Charlottesville students hear Alex-Zan’s positive messages and learn the story of the Charlottesville 12, the group of students who first integrated our city schools. See more photos here.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Students visit Fralin Art Museum at UVA.

Highlights and News November 2018

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins
Dr. Rosa Atkins

Dear families –

As we look ahead to our second Community Forum on Equity on November 27 at 7:30 p.m. at CHS, I wanted to give you a few updates.

Thanks to all of you who came to our first forum in October. With more than 400 community members, employees, and students present, along with many following along on Facebook, we were able to hear valuable feedback on issues of equity and achievement in our schools. We also gathered hundreds of responses from our online surveys and have made that data available to you at www.charlottesvilleschools.org/NYT. You can read through and add your voice to the conversation.

While we move forward to identify and implement tangible ways to help all of our students excel, we will continue to celebrate signs of the achievement and growth we see in our students, from our elementary schools’ extended-day literacy program to CHS students using their photography skills to tell their peers’ global stories in a community exhibition.

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins,
Superintendent

Venable teacher reading to students in EBL after school program.

Venable Elementary teacher Karen Minor reads to first grade children during Extended Bridges to Learning, an after-school literacy program that provides small group instruction to students in grades K-5. EBL is funded in part by a Virginia Department of Education grant. Read more about EBL here.

NEW PILOT PROGRAM AT WALKER EMPOWERS STUDENTS’ DECISION-MAKING
Super-Why and First Lady at Greenbrier Using a $6,000 grant from CFA Institute,Walker Upper Elementary School students are deciding how to spend the funds on school improvements. The new program employs a process known as participatory budgeting. The unique curriculum leads all sixth graders through a semester-long process that includes these steps: Discover, Dream, Design, Decide, and Do. We can’t wait to see what they decide to do! Read more about the program here.

STRING OF MUSICIANS TEACH, PERFORM, AND INSPIRE
Stock photo of violinist Ray ChenStudents of all ages interacted with an impressive lineup of musicians this fall. Third-graders attended the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival Children’s Concert and fourth-graders visited UVA to hear the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia perform “Jazzing Up the Orchestra” with the Free Bridge Quintet. Contemporary cellist BJ Griffin led three days of workshops at Buford, Walker, and CHS to teach students about his unique style that combines classical composition and hip hop. Ray Chen, acclaimed violinist who has played in concert halls around the world, performed for CHS students courtesy of Tuesday Evening Concert Series. And, most recently, students from across the division visited The Paramount Theater to see the touring strings duo, Black Violin.Johnson teacher Lindsay Wayland posted a video from the concert and commented, “Best. Field trip. Ever.”

DRAFT SCHOOL CALENDAR FOR 2019-20 POSTED FOR FEEDBACK
French exchange students participate in Conversation Cafe at CHS.The Charlottesville-Albemarle School Calendar Committee has created a draft calendar for the 2019-20 school year. We would like your feedback. Please review the draft calendar and complete a brief survey by November 16.

SCHOOL-WIDE MORNING MEETINGS PROMOTE POSITIVE SCHOOL CULTURE
Teacher sings on stage at BME school-wide morning meeting.Elementary schools across the division are using monthly school-wide morning meetings to build school tradition, pride,and a sense of belonging for students.“These gatherings help us sustain a strong school culture and climate across all grade levels,” says Burnley-Moran Principal Dr. Elizabeth Korab. Read more about these meetings here. 

2018 FALL PHOTO GALLERY – HIGHLIGHTS THAT MAKE US SMILE
Super-Why and First Lady at GreenbrierWhile we have begun a challenging conversation this fall, there is also much to celebrate in our schools. From fine arts to fun runs to fall festivals, here is a look back at some of the highlights from the last month. A few other fun facts? From CHS alone, we have the band’s 1st-place finish in regionals, a top-6 state finish for Theatre CHS, and football players Sabias Folley and Isaiah Washington earning player-of-the-week honors.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar 11/13 Buford Orchestra Concert
11/21 Thanksgiving Break begins – no school until 11/26
11/27 Second Community Forum on Equity, CHS, 7:30 p.m.
11/28 CHS Orchestra Concert
11/29 CHS Band Concert
12/5 Walker/Buford Chorus Winter Concert
12/6 School Board Meeting, 5pm CHS Media Center
12/6-12/8 TheatreCHS presents “Heathers”

More Looks at Cville Schools

Students visit Fralin Museum of Art at UVA

Walker Upper Elementary students discuss a painting by American artist Rozeal with a museum docent at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. This fall, all students in grades 3-8 are participating in Writer’s Eye, an education program sponsored by the Fralin that encourages kids to use art as inspiration for writing prose and poetry. Photo Credit: Coe Sweet Photography.

Crossing guard Miss Ruth hugs a Clark student

Known for her compassion and care, Clark School crossing guard Ruth Hill keeps children and families safe as they travel to and from school. “I love each of these children as if they were my own,” said Hill. Read more here.

CHS Teacher Matt Shields with father

When he is not teaching physics and engineering or taking BACON Club students to MIT for global robotics competitions, CHS teacher Matt Shields spends his time doing other things like… donating a kidney to his father! Learn more here. Photo Credit: Sarah Cramer Shields

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

A Letter from The Principal about School Culture

Illustration of young teens holding a sign saying "positive school culture"

Dear Buford Families,

At Buford, we are actively working to create an inclusive environment that provides for the physical and emotional safety of all of our students.

Some of the immediate actions we have taken include:

  • Increasing supervision in the hallways and during transition.
  • Mobilizing groups for students who need skills in conflict resolution and social-emotional awareness.
  • Having direct conversations with students about how we should treat one another including a no-tolerance policy for bullying.
  • Beginning discussions with student on how to intervene and how to report.
  • Instituting a homeroom in the mornings to provide students a calmer, less chaotic start to the day,.
  • Continuing the “Peace Squad” club (originated for fifth- and sixth-graders at Walker School) so students can continue to learn the skills of being an “upstander” and can continue to promote the trademark message, “Kindness is cool.
  • Training for staff with a certified trainer has also been scheduled for 11/7.
  • Announcing the creation of a committee to address school culture. To volunteer, see details, below.

While this work will be ongoing, several events held during the week of 10/22-26 have directly addressed this issue.

  • Monday, 10/22 – Buford United Student Assembly, which reiterated school expectations and the message of kindness and inclusion.
  • Wednesday, 10/24 – Unity Day celebration, which spread the message of kindness, inclusion, and unity.
  • Thursday, 10/25 – Presentations from Liz Ianelli, a psychotherapist and clinical industry expert on bullying, and Susan Sutton, a nationally recognized school counselor and cyberbullying consultant, followed by a Q&A with Mrs. Carter.
  • Friday, 10/26 – Susan Sutton’s student presentation on cyberbullying.

The emotional and physical safety of our kids is deeply important to me not only as a principal, but also as a parent. I look forward to working with all of our families as we continue to shape and mold Buford Middle School into the school we want it to be for all of our students.

Mrs. Stephanie Carter
Principal

In addition to the above events and others that are planned for the 2nd quarter, we are seeking parent volunteers to serve on a committee to address school culture. Our school needs your voice! If you are interested in serving in this capacity, please contact me via email at carters2@charlottesvilleschools.org or by phone at 434-245-2411.

Orchestra students learn from visiting singer/cellist

BJ Griffin with Walker orchestra students.Singer/cellist BJ Griffin and his pianist Jason Brown spent three days in music workshops with Walker, Buford, and CHS orchestra students. The visit culminated with a performance with the CHSO for Walker and Buford orchestra students at the CHS Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center.

“I can’t say enough positive things about this experience,” said Fine Arts Coordinator Aaron Eichorst. “It’s the best kind of instruction and engagement we strive to provide. What an honor to be part of it.”

During the performance, students sang along and clapped to Griffin’s renditions of pop hits by artists like Michael Jackson, Lordes, and Ed Sheeran.

Griffin is known for his solo and ensemble performances that mix classical, jazz, and pop music. He is also a singer/songwriter that has worked throughout the east coast. For more about Griffin, visit https://www.bjgriffinmusic.com/about.

 

Photograph of two children with arms around eachother.

CCS News and Highlights October 3, 2018

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins
Dr. Rosa Atkins

Dear families —

“Every Learner. Every day. Everyone.” These words embody our mission – that at Charlottesville City Schools, we want to support all of our learners.

How are we doing on that? By some measures, we’re doing great. Our graduation rate rose to 92.6%, and for black students, that rate has risen 25 points since 2006. Data shows that as students move through our schools, they show strong growth. As we’ve emphasized social-emotional learning and added supports for positive behaviors, our suspensions have dropped significantly.

However, by other measures, we still have work to do. On Virginia’s “standards of learning” tests, our African-American students are often not meeting the state’s standards. While we and others see these tests as faulty, even so, this is a sign that needs attention. Similarly, we want to diversify the students who enroll in advanced and AP classes, who participate in our gifted programs, and who attain the state’s advanced diploma.

We take these matters seriously. To familiarize yourself with our approaches to promoting equity, please visit charlottesvilleschools.org/equity. We create opportunities and supports throughout our schools, and we work with local and national partners to study and address underlying issues.

Relatedly, you might have followed community discussions about our schools’ dress codes and whether they ban hate symbols that were displayed during the violence in August 2017. Presently, there is no explicit ban in the Albemarle or Charlottesville code, but our School Board stated that symbols of hate are not appropriate in our schools. We and Albemarle County Public Schools have agreed to work together to explore not only the issue of hate symbols, but also the larger question of how we can better serve all of our students.

To further explore these topics, we invite you to a community forum on Tuesday, October 23, at 7 p.m. We help our children learn and grow. Our community and schools will learn and grow, too.

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins
Superintendent

Jackson-Via students enjoying Wildrock

Educating the whole child requires time for creative play. Jackson-Via preschool students enjoyed the playhouse during a field trip to Wildrock, a local natural playground. After a morning in the mud kitchen and creek, our youngest learners were fast asleep on the bus ride back to school.

VA FIRST LADY AND SUPER WHY! VISIT GREENBRIER ON LITERACY TOUR
Super-Why and First Lady at Greenbrier Toting a Wonder Woman backpack and a cartload of picture books, Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam visited Greenbrier. PBS’s popular character Super Why! was also there to give high fives and hugs. Stopping in to surprise several classrooms, the First Lady paused in one preschool class to read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?” Cville Schools is proud to partner with the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area, Albemarle County Schools, and MACAA Head Start to provide quality early childhood education.

BUFORD COMMUNITY MURAL IN PROGRESS
Painted portrait of Anne Martin Anyone who has been at Buford in the last 10 years probably recognizes this face! Head custodian Anne Martin, wearing the school’s “I am Excellent” t-shirt, is one of many who are featured on a new mural spanning the cafeteria wall. “So many people give so much to the school, and I think that this is a lovely representation and really tells the story of Buford,” said Principal Stephanie Carter. Funded in part by the Charlottesville Mural Project, the finished mural will feature teachers, students, and other Buford community members. Local artist Eliza Evans is donating her time to paint the portraits.

ARTIST, CREATOR OF UVA MEMORIAL VISITS CHS
Artist Eto Otitigbe speaking to CHS students. Eto Otitigbe, the designer of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA, spoke to art, history, and engineering students at CHS about the project to honor the enslaved people who helped construct the first buildings at UVA. Otitigbe discussed the importance of learning about history in the context of art. “Through creativity and artistic expression, we can inspire and gather ideas from different perspectives,” he said. Photo credit: Jeneene Chatowsky, UVA Advancement Communications.

iSTEM and MATH CLASSES TEAM UP FOR CODING LESSON 
Two boys working with a lap top and Spheros. Walker students in Ms. Skeen and Ms. Gallagher’s math classes joined iSTEM teacher Mr. Chamberlin for a lesson in square roots and computer coding. Using Spheros, small programmable robots that roll and light up, partners found the square root of a number, made a path with masking tape, and created code to make the Sphero travel along the path.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar 10/4 School Board Meeting
10/5 Fall Harvest Festival
10/6 Clark Buzz by Belmont 5K Run/Walk
10/12 CHS Homecoming football game
10/23 Community Forum on Equity
10/26 Friday Knight Lights All-Elementary Football Tailgate
10/26 End of 1st quarter

More Looks at Cville Schools

Three boys on a hayride at apple orchard.

Johnson students enjoyed picking apples while they learned about the fruit’s life cycle at Carter Mountain’s “Apple School.”  Next up? Farm-to-School Week activities and tastings at all our schools this week thanks to City Schoolyard Garden and the Local Food Hub. Photo credit: Rebecca Covington.

Principal and teacher playing math game with pediatric patient.

A patient at UVA Children’s Hospital plays a math game with elementary teacher Deborah Johnson and Principal Eric Johnson. To read more about our Hospital Education Program, click here.

Boy and girl smiling with arms around eachother.

“We are the same because we both like recess. We also both like art,” write two Clark students. The project was inspired by reading “Same, Same but Different.”  Learn more and see the amazing photos by ESL teacher April Hoffman here.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Secretary Qarni receives tshirt from two Venable students

VA Sec. of Ed visits as division celebrates VA Farm to School, Healthy Schools Week, and Buford Fall Harvest Festival

VA Secretary of Education Atif Qarni visits Venable Elementary garden.Charlottesville City Schools, in partnership with City Schoolyard Garden, celebrated a week of garden activities, visits from farm animals, and made-from-scratch lunches made with local ingredients provided by area farmers through Local Food Hub.

During Charlottesville Healthy Schools Week and VA Farm to School Week students sampled a variety of healthy foods including farmer’s market salsa and vegetable soup while also taste-testing local goat cheese, pears, and apples.

On Thursday, Charlottesville City Schools hosted special guest Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni at Venable School. Secretary Qarni and members  of his staff joined students for lunch, visited the garden to see goats from Caramont Farms, and sampled cherry tomatoes, CSYG’s October Harvest of the Month.

Throughout the week, students across the division also mingled with goats, bees, chickens, and sheep in our school gardens and learned about composting, apple pressing, wool carding, and more.

Dr. Atkins with children in garden petting a goat.The week culminated with the Fall Harvest Festival at Buford Middle School at 5:30 p.m. This annual free community event offered food, fun, music, and garden activities for all.

Charlottesville City Schools partners with the local nonprofit City Schoolyard Garden for a shared vision: Young people thrive with the opportunity to engage with nature, to enhance their academic learning through hands-on experience, to cultivate skills for healthy living, and to grow in leadership.

Together, Charlottesville City Schools and City Schoolyard Garden manage nine garden spaces including one at all six Charlottesville public elementary schools, Buford Middle School, Charlottesville High School, and our alternative high school, Lugo-McGinness Academy. These gardens encompass over 26,383 square feet of diverse organic gardens with over 33,724 student interactions for over 3,500 youth each year.