What‘s Happening at CHS

“Concert for Charlottesville” Video Earns National Awards


A music video collaboration by musicians from Charlottesville High School and Metro Nashville public schools has earned 2018 Advocacy in Action Awards from the music education non-profit organization, Music for All.

The musical remake of Bebe and CeCe Winans’ song, “Right Now (We Need One Another),” was recorded by Charlottesville High School and Metro Nashville Public Schools musicians last year in response to the events of August 11-12 in Charlottesville.

The music video features 50 CHS orchestra students and 30 members of the CHS choir, along with Nashville’s Fab 5, a group of student singers that attend different schools at MNPS.

“It was remarkable that in such a short amount of time, we were able to join with the folks from Nashville to create a new song of hope for the future,” said CHS Choir Teacher Will Cooke.

Following the two-day collaboration, the music video was featured among a long line-up of musical performers including Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, and Ariana Grande at the Dave Matthew’s Band Concert for Charlottesville last September.

“To see all of us up on the jumbotron at the Dave Matthews concert was truly a thrill,” said CHS Orchestra Teacher Laura Thomas. “I get goose bumps every time I think about it.  It was our students singing and playing and trying to promote a positive message.”

The two groups reconnected in the spring in Nashville at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School.  The CHS and Fab 5 singers recorded a second musical tribute in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Read more about it and see the music video “Shine” here.

According to James P. Stephens, Jr., Director of Advocacy and Educational Resources for Music for All, the Advocacy in Action Awards recognize “the amazing advocacy work that is being done in scholastic music programs across the country.” The group’s mission is “to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.”

This video is being recognized as a winner in three subcategories of Community Engagement:

    • Outstanding Community Engagement Video
    • Outstanding Community Event
    • Outstanding Community Service Project

Related Links

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

 

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.

 

CHS Marching Band performing "Starry Knights" at 2018 Cavalcade.

CHS hosts Cavalcade marching band competition

CHS Marching Band on the field at Calvalcade at CHS showing scenes of Van Gogh's "Starry Nights."Nearly 1700 musicians participated in the Charlottesville High School Marching Knights  Cavalcade, an annual high school marching band competition, on Saturday, October 6 at the Charlottesville High School stadium.

The competition included 22 bands from high schools across Virginia for an afternoon of music and marching performances. A panel of judges evaluated the bands in each of five classes in music, marching, general effect, color guard, percussion and drum major. Awards were given to the top finishers in each division.

CHS Marching Band performing "Starry Knights" at 2018 Cavalcade.As host, the CHS Band did not compete, however, they performed their “Starry Nights” exhibition.  The performance featured evening sky-themed music (think “Moonlight Sonata” and “Twinkle Twinkle”) and visuals featuring Van Gogh’s famous painting. The band recently competed with this performance in the 2018 Hermitage Classic competition and placed 2nd out of 12 A/AA bands.

The Cavalcade competition has been a tradition in the Charlottesville music community for 30 years, starting under the direction of long-time band director and community member Vincent Tornello. The competition is highly regarded by Virginia bands not only for its top-notch musical and marching performances, but also for its beautiful setting in Charlottesville and the warm hospitality provided by the CHS Band community.

 

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.

Photo of an African-American graduate

Graduation Rates Rise; Community Forum on Equity Scheduled for 10/23

Female graduate walks across the stageContinuing a pattern of growth, the Charlottesville High School on-time graduation rate rose to 92.6 percent for the class of 2018, which exceeds the state’s overall rate. The drop-out rate fell to 4.8 percent, also superior to the state’s rate.

The on-time graduation rate also rose for African-American students in Charlottesville, hitting 88.3 percent. Since 2006, this rate for Charlottesville’s black students has risen almost 25 points.

“We are so proud of our students and the staff who support them. The growth in our black students’ graduation rates in the last twelve years is tremendous,” noted Dr. Rosa Atkins, superintendent. “Even so, we are never complacent, and we see areas for growth. We want to make sure that all of our students are fully prepared for life after graduation.”

PhotoOne growth area is the attainment of the advanced studies diploma across all racial and ethnic groups. At 73 percent, Charlottesville’s white students exceed their state peers in attaining this advanced diploma. Yet Charlottesville’s students of color are far less likely to attain the advanced diploma, which most closely aligns with the requirements of most four-year colleges and universities.

“When we look at our graduation rates, we celebrate the gains our students have made. And just as we encourage our students to do, we then set new goals for achievement,” noted Dr. Atkins.

As part its commitment to supporting all students, Charlottesville City Schools will host a community forum on equity on Tuesday, October 23, at 7 p.m. at Charlottesville High School.

What’s Happening? Black Knights on Twitter

As the @CHSBlackKnights Twitter feed suggests, our students and staff have been busy since the first day of school. Here are a few recent stories from the feed…

The Second St. Gallery is featuring the “Teeny Tiny Trifecta” art exhibit–small works of contemporary art by local artists including CHS student Sahara Clemons and Walker art teacher Samantha Pagni! Online sales open 9/8 here.

 

 

Zyahna Bryant traveled to Hartford, Connecticut to accept the Harriett Beecher Stowe Center 2018 Student Prize. Congratulations, Zyahna!

 

Cole Fairchild attended his first School Board meeting as our newest student representative. He is one of three students selected to serve for the 2018-19 school year.

 

100+ students showed up for the first BACON Club meeting.

 

Members of the Cross Country team were among the 400+ volunteers helping with the Charlottesville Track Club ‘s 36th Annual Womens 4-Miler to benefit the UVA Cancer Center Breast Care Program.

 

“Dreaming America: Poems by Detained, Undocumented Latin American Teens” is a play devised, directed and performed by TheatreCHS students, inspired by the book of the same title. Performance is coming up on September 18 at CHS.

 

Tina Yawson from Charlottesville’s sister city in Winneba, Ghana visited with Ms. Sweet’s art students and several coordinators and instructional coaches.

 

Black Knights translate for families at our ESL Back to School Night.

 

First CHS BSU meeting of the year! Great turnout and discussion!

 

Our Link Crew leaders meet with their assigned freshmen crews and get to know them by sharing Hi’s and Low’s.

 

Cville Weekly had this to say: “There’s something so charming about employing a group of high schoolers to perform at your reception, but make no mistake: These aren’t your regular high schoolers. By the time they’re rising seniors—like the kids in Chestnut Oak, one of the quartets in the current CHS string ensemble —many of them have already performed in world-class venues such as the Chartres Cathedral in France or St. Mary’s Church in Killarney, Ireland. In other words, they’re practically pros.”

 

After an emotional 11-month recovery from a lacerated pancreas, field hockey player Alex Ferguson scored the game-winning goal in the Black Knights’ season opener. She is the first Schewels Athlete of the Week for the 2018-19 season.  Read the C’ville Varsity story here. PC: Cville Varsity

 

Mr. Deegan’s World History students tell their personal stories in a creative way using Mad Libs to build “Where I’m From” books, inspired by George Ella Lyon’s poem. Thanks for the idea and materials, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities!
Logo badge for 2019 Best Schools-Niche

Charlottesville Schools Ranked #6 in Virginia

Logo badge for 2019 Best Schools-NicheThe 2019 Niche.com K-12 rankings are out, and Charlottesville City Schools earned an A+ , placing #6 overall among Virginia school districts and landing in the top 3% in the nation.

Niche ranks nearly 100,000 schools and districts based on statistics and millions of opinions from students and parents. Additional recognition for CCS from a variety of Niche categories include:

  • #2 of 133 – Most Diverse School Divisions
  • #3 of 132 – Best Places to Teach in Virginia
  • #6 of 132 – Districts with the Best Teachers in Virginia.
  •  A+ ranking in College Prep and Diversity categories and A in Academics and Teachers.

We’re proud of the good work of our students and teachers, and we appreciate the support of our community. While any given ranking system has its limitations, Charlottesville City Schools has done so well by so many measures, that the combined feedback paints a portrait of excellence. Three other indicators would include:

Venable student with tshirt

Back-to-School Nights

After a great start to the school year, attend a Back-to-School Night to check in with teachers and get a better sense of what’s coming up!

As Yom Kippur approaches, we note that we accidentally scheduled some back-to-school nights on 9/18. We apologize & will develop better systems to prevent a recurrence. If you can’t attend but want to meet with your teacher or get school updates, please contact your school.

  • Burnley-Moran:  Tuesday, September 18, 5:30-7pm
  • Clark: Tuesday, September 18, 5:30-7pm
  • Greenbrier: Tuesday, September 18, 6-7:30pm
  • Jackson-Via: Tuesday, September 18, 6-7:30pm
  • Johnson: Tuesday, September 18, 6-7:30pm
  • Venable:  Thursday, September 20, 5:30-7:30pm (Welcome Back Pot Luck to follow)
  • Walker: Tuesday, September 11, 6-8pm
  • CHS: Monday, September 17, 5-7pm
  • LMA:  tba