What‘s Happening at CHS

Award-winning CHS band celebrating success at tournatment of champions

CHS Celebrations Fall 2022

⚫ 🟠 Go Black Knights! ⚫ 🟠

 

Join us in celebrating these recent CHS accomplishments: 

  • CHS graduation rates 🎓
    • The class of ’22 posted a 93% on-time graduation rate, surpassing the state average. Since 2017, the school has posted rates at 90% or above. Graduation is not just a “CHS” thing – it is a preschool, elementary, Walker, Buford, AND CHS accomplishment. 
  • Golf state championship
    • Congrats to senior Preston Burton, who earned the school’s first-ever state championship in golf and led the team to fourth place. Congrats also to CHS teacher and coach Josh O’Grady! Read the Daily Progress story here.
  • Band awards 🎺
    • Kudos to our Marching Knights for an amazing showing at the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative Tournament of Champions this weekend! The school won first place in its class, best general effect, best music, and best visuals. Go Band and Director Jason Hackworth!
  • Engineering 🥓 
    • On Friday our engineering students got to talk about patents and intellectual property straight with the source: the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Watch the news story here.
  • National Merit Semi-finalist 🤩
    • Senior Claire Newman was just named a National Merit semi-finalist for her top-1% performance on the PSAT last fall.

 

 

Andy Jones named new CHS Athletic Director

Andy Jones will be CHS’s new Athletic Director

October 21, 2022

Dear CHS community –

At our staff meeting this week, I had the honor of introducing our new athletic director, Andy Jones. Mr. Jones is a familiar face to many of our students and athletes, since he is a long-time assistant coach for CHS boys basketball and has coordinated Buford’s athletic programs for many years.

Mr. Jones has worked for Charlottesville City Schools since 2005, first as a teacher and then an instructional coach. (Mr. Jones has coached both athletes and teachers!) He won a Golden Apple award at Buford in 2014. Mr. Jones played basketball at Longwood University before completing his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina and later earning his master’s at Mary Baldwin.

Strong relationally and organizationally, Mr. Jones began his work as athletic director this week. Please join me in welcoming him!

Mr. Rashaad Pitt, CHS Principal

CHS Clear Bag Sign: Language says Clearly, Your Safety is important. ONLY CLEAR BAGS ALLOWED AT CHS TICKETED EVENTS

Clear Bag Policy at CHS Begins October 3

CHS Clear Bag Sign: Language says Clearly, Your Safety is important. ONLY CLEAR BAGS ALLOWED AT CHS TICKETED EVENTSDear CHS Community,

In keeping with other area venues’ safety practices, starting October 3, 2022, Charlottesville High School will pilot a clear bag procedure for spectators and audience members at all school-sponsored ticketed events during the first semester of this year. This impacts events at locations such as Theodose Stadium, the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center, the Black Box Theatre, and both gymnasiums.

Across the country and locally (including at Albemarle County Public Schools and UVA), clear bag policies are being implemented as a way of keeping fans and attendees safer, while also expediting entry into events. It will limit the type of bags that spectators or audience members bring into ticketed events, with some exceptions for medical or childcare needs. Event staff, with the support of school administrators, will implement this procedure at event entrances.

Clear bag sign side 2: Clear Bags Only, UNLESS BAG IS CLEAR, SPECTATORS CANNOT BRING ITEMS SUCH AS: backpacks, camera bags, cinch bags, COOLERS, COMPUTER BAGS, FANNY PACKS, OR purses. NEED HELP WITH A BABY BAG or MEDICAL SUPPLIES? LET US KNOW.Clear bags that allow all contents to be seen will be permitted. There are no limits on bag size or style as long as it is a clear, see-through container. Clear bags will be made available for purchase at school entrances upon request to guests. Unless the bag is clear, spectators cannot bring bags such as the following: backpacks, camera bags, cinch bags, purses, fanny packs, coolers, and computer bags.

We will post signage in parking areas as a reminder since other types of bags will need to be returned to the car or another safe location during the event.

Student-athletes, student performers, game officials, media, and other professionals who are participating in the ticketed event will be permitted to take their equipment bags and other personal bags into the locker room or other designated spaces.

This procedure will remain in place through the first semester of school. As always, we are continually identifying new ways to promote safety, and we will keep you posted about any changes or additions to our procedures.

Thanks for your support as we work to keep our students, staff, families, and community as safe as possible. “Clearly,” your safety is important to us! Go Black Knights!

With appreciation,

Mr. Rashaad Pitt
Mrs. Kim Powell, and  Dr. Royal A. Gurley

Preston Burton Wins First-Ever State Golf Title for CHS

Golfing Knights Finish Fourth Statewide

October 12, 2022

Preston Burton wins CHS's first-ever state golf title
Burton, left, won the state title in Richmond.

CHS golfer Preston Burton has made CHS history by taking home the school’s first-ever state title.

The senior won the Virginia High School League Class 3 state championships at Stonehenge Golf and Country Club in Richmond on Tuesday. Coached by Joshua O’Grady, the CHS Golf Team also finished fourth, the second-best state finish in CHS history.

The individual win caps a banner career for Burton, who was also a four-time All-District First Team; two-time District Player of the Year; two-time Regional Player of the Year; and two-time All State. Additionally, he holds the school’s record for lowest round, most wins in a career, most wins in a season, and longest winning streak.

Black Knights Golf also won its first regional championship in Staunton in September.

“Teamwise, it was pretty cool for our five seniors to go out with the school’s first regional championship as well as the fourth-place state finish,” O’Grady said. “As for Preston, he is no doubt the greatest golfer in CHS history but I would go as far to say he is one of the greatest athletes in the history of CHS.”

The CHS Golf team members are Preston Burton, Landon Rybolt, Griffin Walts, Ben Ewing, Graham Morrison, and Leo Cafferillo.

Class of 2022 Earns 93 Percent Graduation Rate

4 graduates at CHARLOTTESVILLE BLACK KNIGHTS' GRADUATION 2022Ninety-three percent of students at Charlottesville High School graduated on time in 2022, surpassing the state rate of 92.1 percent. 

“We are very proud of our students, plus the families, teachers and staff members working alongside them,” said Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools. “So much hard work, persistence and care goes into every diploma.”

These are the first on-time graduation rates—measuring how many students earn their diploma within four years of entering ninth grade—published during Gurley’s superintendency. He began in the post in October 2021

Charlottesville High School serves the City’s approximately 1,200 ninth through twelfth graders.

On-time graduation rates also remained high for most student groups, including

  • 100% for Asian students
  • 90% for Black students
  • 97% for white students
  • 97% for multi-racial students
  • 92% for students with disabilities
  • 90% for students who are economically disadvantaged. 

Rates dropped among Hispanic students, from 90 to 77 percent, and English language learners, from 90 to 74 percent. The small number of students in each of these categories (39 and 34 students, respectively) makes these groups’ percentages subject to swings. In all groups except Hispanic students, CHS student rates matched or exceeded the state averages.

The overall on-time graduation rate of 93 percent continues a trend of strong performance by CHS over the past five years, with rates that have reached or exceeded 90 percent since 2017. In 2021 the school posted its all-time high of 96.4 percent.

In another indicator of life-readiness, CHS followed a state trend of massive growth in the number of students who received workplace credentials and certificates. The total number of credentials earned by CHS students more than doubled, from 204 in 2021 to 435 in 2022.

The percentage of students earning advanced diplomas also exceeded the state, at 59 vs. 53 percent. In 2021 CHS’s advanced diploma rate was 61 percent. It also dropped this year for Black and Hispanic students, to 31 percent and 36 percent, respectively, erasing gains made the previous year.

 

Photo of football on field. Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

August 25: First Football Game of Season

Photo of football on field. Photo by Dave Adamson on UnsplashHello Black Knight Family,

Our first football 🏈 game of the year is this Friday night against Western Albemarle. Please plan to come out and support the CHS football, team, cheerleaders, band, and our community. Game time is 7:00 PM. Gates will open at 6:30. Varsity Football tickets are $7.
Here are some things to know that we hope will make the game night experience pleasant and convenient.

Purchasing Tickets:

  • On-line Tickets: Available through Ticket Spicket: spicket.events/charlottesville
  • While online purchases are preferred, gate tickets will also be sold.
  • See below for free admission information.

Other Info:

  • Concessions: Available (Cash Only) / Limited Hot Food Items
  • Parking: We recommend the lots on the campus side of Melbourne Road. There is limited street parking. Handicap parking is available in the upper lot inside Theodose Stadium.
  • Outside Food/Drink: Not Allowed
  • Use of Tobacco Products/Vaping: Not Allowed
  • Free Admission/Passes Honored:
    1. Anyone 62 or older
    2. Cville Schools Employees
    3. Children who have yet to start kindergarten
    4. Pass Holders w Approved passes such as Jefferson District or VHSL
    5. Household Family of CHS staff (spouse/children w/ staff member)
CHS logo

Greetings and Announcements from Mr. Pitt (August 17, 2022)

CHS logoDear Black Knight families, 

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2022-23 school year at Charlottesville High School, and to introduce myself as your new principal. 

I come to CHS with 16 years of experience as an educator and school leader. I spent 10 years of my career teaching history at the middle and high school levels. Most recently, I have served as the Assistant Principal of George Wythe High School in Richmond. I am also the proud father to three childrenTalia, Jayla, and Elijah. As an educator I believe that relationship-building is a key to excellent instruction. It is my goal to provide an education and resources that will benefit all students.

Our children receive the best education possible when the school and families work together. With that in mind, I plan to be in frequent contact with families and invite you to reach out to me, pittr1@charlottesvilleschools.org. I would love to meet you in person at CHS’s Open House this Tuesday, August 22, from 5-7pm. 

It is truly an honor to become a part of the Black Knight Family within the Charlottesville community, and I am humbled and excited to build upon the work of the previous administration. 

Look for more CHS information soon, but for tonight, have a great evening!

Best Regards,
Rashaad R. Pitt 

 

P.S. Here are some announcements for upcoming CHS events.
We apologize to those who didn’t receive this information earlier due to a School Messenger glitch.

 

Fall Sports Parent Meeting TONIGHT at 7pm

The CHS Fall Sports Parent Meeting will be held virtually this Wednesday, August 17, at 7 pm at CHS.  If your child is participating in fall sports, please join us to learn about info such as concussion awareness, buying tickets, CHS social media, and many other items. Click here for the link to join the meeting via Zoom. Questions? Mike Mountjoy: 434-245-2621

 

Orientations & Open Houses

  • Freshman orientation is Monday, August 22, 1:30-3:30pm at CHS
    • For students only
    • Drop off at MLKPAC if you’re dropping off your child
    • Transportation to be offered (we’ll notify 9th-graders when finalized)
  • CHS Orientation for students taking CHS virtual classes, Tuesday, August 23, 4pm at CHS
  • CHS Open House: Tuesday, August 23, 5-7pm at CHS

 

Preparing for Back to School 

Teacher assignments and students schedules were posted to PowerSchool earlier today. To find them, log into your PowerSchool portal. (And if you haven’t re-registered your returning students, do this while you’re logged in!)


See
http://charlottesvilleschools.org/backtoschool for additional back-to-school information including school supply lists, COVID testing events, and more.

Illustration of backpacks and hearts saying "Welcome back to school. Stay curious and have fun!"

Back to School 2022

Illustration of backpacks and hearts saying "Welcome back to school. Stay curious and have fun!"We’re ready to welcome you back on Wednesday, August 24!

This page is designed to help you have a great start to the year:

  • Free Back-to-School COVID Testing
  • Teacher Assignments/Student Schedules
  • Re-Registration (Back-to-School Forms)
  • School Supply Lists
  • Free Back to School Bash
  • Information from Your School
  • Open Houses
  • COVID Safety
  • Transportation/Walk to School Updates
  • Calendar (School Holidays, etc.)

Scroll down to learn more. Need information about something else? Call your school or let us know at goodnews@charlottesvilleschools.org.

 

School-Based COVID TestingBack-to-School COVID Testing (August 17, 21, and 22)


Join us for FREE COVID testing for Cville Schools staff and students:

  • Wednesday, August 17, CHS MLKPAC (come inside), 1–2pm
  • Sunday, August 21, CHS (drive-thru), 2–4pm
  • Monday, August 22, Buford (drive-thru), 4–6pm
  • Also sign up for free, weekly, in-school testing!

Learn more at charlottesvilleschools.org/covid-testing.

Sign Up for Testing

 

illustration of clock and scheduleTeacher Assignments/Student Schedules

Assignments and schedules will be posted to PowerSchool on Wednesday, August 17 at 4pm. To find them, log into your PowerSchool portal. (And if you haven’t re-registered your returning students, do this while you’re logged in!)

 

PowerSchool logoRe-Registration (Back-to-School Forms)

Each fall, each returning student must be re-registered to update telephone numbers, give annual permissions, and submit any transportation requests. (If your student is new or started after April 2022, you do not need to re-register.)

To re-register, login to the PowerSchool website (not the app). Any family that has not re-registered their student should have received an email on Sunday, August 14 from 2-3pm. If you need any help re-registering or adding a child to your PowerSchool account, please call your school.

 

COVID school supplies (mask, hand sanitizer, books, pens, apple)School Supply Lists

Find your school’s list here. Need help with supplies? Go to the Back to School Bash (next item).

 

Back to School Bash Flyer. Call 245-2400 for details.Back to School Bash (August 20)

The Back to School Bash is Saturday, August 20, 10-12am at the Ting Pavilion. Learn more here.

 

Information from Your School

Each school will distribute customized information, such as about open houses (see next item).

Illustration of backpacks and hearts saying "Welcome back to school. Stay curious and have fun!"Open House Information (August 22-23):

  • Monday, August 22:
    • Elementary Meet and Greet Appointments, 8am–4pm,
      Look for information from your school about how to make an appointment!
    • Buford Meet and Greet, 12–4pm
    • Walker Meet and Greet, 12–4pm
    • CHS 9th Grade Orientation, 1:30-3:30pm
  • Tuesday, August 23:
    • Buford Meet and Greet, 2–6pm
    • Walker Meet and Greet, 2–6pm
    • CHS Orientation for students taking CHS virtual classes, 4pm
    • CHS Open House, 5-7pm

 

COVID SafetyBack to School sign with covid safe text and school supplies

Find the latest on our COVID safety protocols here. In addition, we offer free, weekly (or one-time) COVID testing for students and staff. Even if you participated this summer or last year, learn more and sign up here.

 

Illustration of bikers and walkersBus/Transportation Information

If your student was assigned to a bus or waitlist, you should have received a personalized message on Sunday, August 14 around 2-3pm. The City will work to add more students to routes beginning in early October. Find more information about transportation and how we’re supporting students in our expanded walk zones here.

 

Calendar (School Holidays, etc.)

The easiest way to keep up with school holidays is to subscribe to our Google “Academic Calendar.” You can also subscribe to each school’s official calendar for school events. Visit charlottesvilleschools.org/calendar to learn more.

 

Mr. Rashaad Pitt Named New CHS Principal

Mr. Rashaad Pitt is named new principal of CHS
Mr. Rashaad Pitt begins as the principal of CHS on August 15.

Monday, August 8, 2022

The new principal of Charlottesville High School is an educator and instructional leader with seventeen years of experience, whose expertise includes restorative justice, community outreach, and professional development. Mr. Rashaad Pitt most recently served as assistant principal at George Wythe High School in Richmond Public Schools. He will begin the role of CHS principal effective August 15.

Mr. Pitt began his journey as an educator in 2006 as a history teacher in Petersburg City Public Schools. Working in a range of settings such as Chesterfield County Public Schools, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and Hampton City Schools, Mr. Pitt has served as teacher, middle school success coordinator, high school dean of students, and career academy principal.

Dr. Gurley noted, “Our staff and parent committee was impressed by the wide range of experiences and skills that Mr. Pitt will bring to this position. Even more so, we all appreciated his warmth and positivity.”

Mr. Pitt earned his bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University, a master’s degree in education from Walden University, and a master’s degree in educational leadership

from Regent University. His areas of experience include restorative justice, community outreach, professional development, and instructional leadership. Mr. Pitt has lectured at the University of Richmond and is a contributing author for volume 2 of Next in Line to Lead: The Voice of the Assistant Principal.

“I am excited to begin this next chapter,” noted Mr. Pitt. “I want to build on the strong success and good work of Dr. Irizarry, and I look forward to working with the excellent leadership team and staff at CHS.”

As Mr. Pitt enters his 17th year in education, he is the proud father of three beautiful children, Talia, Jayla, and Elijah.

Important Updates to School Transportation

We are facing a significant shortage of school bus drivers as we begin the 2022-23 school year. While the City continues to recruit bus drivers, it is time for us to try new strategies such as:

  • Supporting walking in expanded walk zones
  • Encouraging use of public transportation
  • Collaborating with community partners to support biking
  • Adding mini school buses (hopefully electric)

Our old transportation model is not going to work for this fall or the future, and we are committed to working together to find solutions. We particularly want to minimize the equity impact of these changes. We have spent the summer in conversation with families, community partners and the City of Charlottesville. We look forward to continuing to build on ideas that make our schools and city safer, healthier, and more environmentally friendly.

Frequently Asked Questions (August 2, 2022)

Why Are the Walk Zones Expanded?

Read below for our June 2022 update. Briefly, the bus driver shortage will not be fixed by better advertising, pay, benefits, or bonuses (the City has tried). The City needs 40 school bus drivers but expects to have 8. Apply for the position here!

Illustration of bikers and walkers against blue squareWhat Are the New Walk Zones?

The revised walk zones are about 0.75 miles for elementary schools (about 20 minutes), and 1.25 miles for Walker, Buford, and CHS (about 30 minutes). These distances are on the lower range of schools across the region and country, and these expanded walking (or “family responsibility”) zones are an important part of addressing the bus driver shortage. In some cases we have rounded up to get to the end of a cul-de-sac or natural neighborhood boundary. In a few cases with CHS students, we have extended the walk zone as high as 1.6 miles if the path is very walkable. We have stayed within or close to our projected time estimates for the walk.

If you have questions about why you are in a walk zone or don’t believe your child’s route is safe and can’t find a safe alternative, please contact walkzones@charlottesvilleschools.org or call 434-245-2400.

Are There Any Limits or Exclusions to the Walk Zones for Safety?

To ensure safety, we’ll provide bus eligibility in situations where walking infrastructure isn’t adequate (such as railroad tracks). The City is working now to address some of these issues – click here for a list of confirmed projects (updated weekly).

In a few cases, even if the route is not pedestrian-friendly,  we have not given the student bus eligibility because we are asking the family to take responsibility for finding a safe way to transport their child for a short distance. In these rare situations, the home is very close to the school or the less-safe area of the route is very close to the child’s home.

There will also be exemptions for specific students for special needs such as documented medical conditions.

If you have questions about why you are in a walk zone or don’t believe your child’s route is safe and can’t find a safe alternative, please contact walkzones@charlottesvilleschools.org or call 434-245-2400.

 

I Didn’t Get a Notification about Whether My Child is in the Walk Zone or Bus Zone. What do I do?

Please call your school.

Are There Recommended Walking Paths? Where Will Crossing Guards Be?

We have created maps with commonly used walking routes to our elementary schools and middle school (based on distance, sidewalks, and crossing guards), but there may be other routes that your family prefers.

Click on the links below for printable PDFs of our maps (you can also browse images of maps in the slideshow below):

Please consider the following:

  • On our maps, different colored lines show commonly used routes to school. Most routes have sidewalks, but areas with low neighborhood traffic (but no sidewalk) or areas where there is a brief stretch without a sidewalk may still be considered a good route.
  • On our maps, orange stars are locations where we are planning to have a crossing guard. These include locations where we have had a guard in previous years as well as new locations identified by families, staff and community partners. We are CURRENTLY HIRING for these positions. We are hoping to add crossing guards to even more locations.
  • Some routes may include walking across parking areas, and most routes cross driveways and entrances to homes and businesses. Point these out to your student as you are practicing the route to and from school.
  • We recommend that students walk in groups and/or with at least one responsible adult, and consider visibility when choosing your route.
  • For routes traveled by many elementary students (such as between Friendship Court and Clark), we are working out details for either staffed walking groups (“walking school buses”) or additional crossing guards along the path.

Have suggestions to improve these maps? Email walkzones@charlottesvilleschools.org 

Want tips for walking safely to school? Watch Dr. Gurley’s video, guest-starring some friends from Clark Elementary:

 

Want to Find Walking Buddies or a Rainy Day Carpool?

If you are interested in connecting with other families who share much of the same recommended route, please talk to your neighbors or contact your school PTO to see if they have an app to recommend or another process for coordinating walking buddies, biking groups, or rainy day carpools for your neighborhood.

Would a Bike Make This Easier?

Contact Community Bikes at 434-260-0893 or info@cbikes.org.

When Will Bus Assignments Be Announced?

Later in August, the City will give us routing information. If you requested bus service, at that point, we will reach out to you again, letting you know this student’s bus information (if assigned to a bus) or announcing they are on the waitlist. See next section for tips on how to estimate if your child will be on the bus.

We’re in the Bus Zone. Is My Child Likely to Get a Spot on the Bus?

  • Remember to re-register your child to request bus service and tell us your level of need.
  • Remember, the bus zones are 0.75 miles for elementary and 1.25 miles for Walker, Buford, and CHS.
  • The closer you are to the school, the less likely it is that you’ll get assigned to the bus. For a rough estimate, you can use Google Maps (click directions, then the walking icon) to calculate the walking distance between your home and the school.
    • Generally speaking, the students who live furthest from the school who have expressed a need for the bus will be assigned on a priority basis.
    • Those who live closest to the school and who have not expressed a high level of need are likely to be wait-listed.

What If My Child is Not Assigned to the Bus?

Remember, even if you live in the “bus zone,” there is a possibility that your child will not be assigned to the bus when school starts on August 24:

  • Please make a plan for this student, and practice it if you intend for your child to walk, bike, use a scooter, or take a CAT (City) bus.
  • Make a back-up plan for inclement weather.
  • Talk with other families in your neighborhood and consider organizing groups to walk, bike, and/or carpool to school together – your PTO may be able to assist in this effort or recommend an app.
  • The public CAT buses might be a good option for some students.

More about CAT Routes for Older Students

Image of Charlottesville CAT Routes for City. Click on image for PDF of full map on City website.
Click on image to find full map.
  • All schools zones are served by existing CAT routes except Greenbrier:
  • CAT is free for people under 18 and has operated fare-free since the pandemic
  • Need to find your route? Use a tool like Google Maps (click directions, then the bus icon) or find out more here.
  • This is an opportunity to support the expansion and enhancement of the public  transit system while developing students as life-long public transit users

illustration of construction worker in yellow boxI Heard the City is Making Sidewalk and Intersection Improvements. What Are They?

We have been in conversation with parents, community members, and the City about intersections and sidewalks that need enhancement. The City has been supportive and has made a list of scheduled improvements (see below).  We meet with the City regularly to propose additional solutions and get status updates, and we will update this list about once a week. Thanks to the City and to community members for doing this research and advocacy!

See List of City Bike & Pedestrian Improvements

Notes about the project statuses:

  • Projects are added when the City confirms that they can undertake them
  • “Completed” means that the project is complete
  • “Scheduled Improvement” means that the work is expected to be completed within 30 to 60 days
  • “Planned” means that the City has a plan for this work, and it will be scheduled when resources and/or funding is allocated
  • “Open” means that a staff member has not been assigned to this intersection

Notice a Street or Sidewalk Issue that Needs to be Addressed?

  • Check out the list of upcoming improvements, above.
  • The MyCville app is a great way to report infrastructure concerns to City Public Works (or call 434-970-3333, option #2). Upload photos or describe areas of concern.
  • To report a “close call” of a walking or biking accident, use this form to help the City improve safety.

Will Walk Zones Shrink or Expand in the Future?

If there are issues with these walk zones, let’s work together to find solutions. We will continue to work with families and the City to make improvements. As we learn more and as the City addresses known issues, we may expand these walk zones further. Please remember, our expanded walk zones are still on the “short” side of regional and national averages.

What Other Strategies or Ideas Are Being Considered?

See below for other ideas, including mini-buses, partnership with JAUNT, and more. Have a new idea? Let us know at walkzones@charlottesvilleschools.org.

Want to Help?

Any Other Updates about Transportation?

  • Our staff has been out walking routes to school this summer with good results reported so far.
  • We have held four “talk and walk” events at key locations impacted by the expanded walk zones (Friendship Court, Hearthwood Apartments, South First Street, and Westhaven).  We’ve found good discussion and receptivity at all locations so far. Upcoming event:
  • We are finalizing locations for crossing guards and reviewing applications.
  • The City – which hires drivers and oversees school bus operations – continues to recruit and train bus drivers, but the number of available drivers has not significantly increased. Apply here!
  • The City is also in conversation with JAUNT about the possibility of sharing drivers (as is already the case with CAT drivers).

Still Have Questions?

Read below for the original information we shared with families back in June. And join us at our final meeting to discuss these changes:

 


Update from June 2022

As we look to fall 2022, our school bus challenges appear to be worse, not better. While the City will continue to recruit bus drivers, it is time for us to try new strategies such as

  • supporting walking in expanded walk zones
  • encouraging use of public transportation
  • collaborating with community partners to support biking
  • adding mini-school buses (hopefully electric)

Our old transportation model is not going to work for this fall or the future, so come help us find ways that make our schools and city safer, healthier, and more environmentally friendly. We particularly want to minimize the equity impact of these changes. Look below for the dates and details for community “Talk and Walk” sessions, or sign up to learn more or work to be part of the solution!

Want to Know More?

Attend our Work Sessions (actually, they are “Talk and Walk” Sessions)

  • Join us to discuss what these changes mean for your neighborhood and help us find solutions. We’ll meet for an hour and then walk to a school. (A school bus will be available for the return trip.)
    • Wednesday, July 6, 5-6:30pm, Westhaven
    • Friday, July 15, 12-1:30pm, Friendship Court, 418 Garrett St.
    • Friday, July 22, 12-1:30pm, Hearthwood Apartments, 2111 Michie Drive
    • Friday, July 29, 12-1:30pm, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, 105 Lankford Ave.
    • Wednesday, August 10, 5-6pm, Online Community Q&A. Register here.

 

We’ll also be at “Healthy Streets, Healthy People” (organized by Move2HealthEquity and WellAWARE), Washington Park, July 16, 9am-1pm

Other Ways to Help and Stay Tuned

  • Sign up here to…
    • receive e-mail updates about the changes
    • and/or express interest in working to be part of the solution, including becoming a crossing guard

Want to work towards a more walkable, bikable Charlottesville? Consider joining the Piedmont Mobility Alliance. We’ll  also be be at the “Healthy Streets, Healthy People” event sponsored by Move2HealthEquity and WellAWARE at Washington Park on July 16, 9am-1pm!

More Information

Update on Bus Driver Shortage

This national problem is not getting better. The City has tried increasing pay, offering bonuses, and increasing marketing without long-term success.

Details about the Bus Driver Shortage

Screen Capture of New York Times headline "As Schools Reopen, Districts Are Desperate for Bus Drivers School officials are getting creative, offering bonuses and other incentives to address a driver shortage that the pandemic made worse." Shows photo of school bus.
New York Times, Aug. 27, 2021
  • The City (which manages our school buses) is down to fewer than 10 school bus drivers. Last year, there were about 20, but to fully staff the program, 40 are needed!
  • Higher pay is not enough to turn around this national trend that began before COVID
    • The City has increased pay, bonuses, and marketing without long-term success
    • The City also has vacancies in CAT drivers, who have jointly served as school bus drivers in the past
    • This is part of an ongoing, national trend that was in place a long time ago but made worse by COVID
    • There is no end in sight for this trend. We need to try new solutions for this fall and for the future. But the new solutions can make for a better, healthier, more environmentally friendly Charlottesville.

What Strategies Can We Try?

We have looked at other college towns to see what is in place in similar communities. We need your help to work out the details, but here’s what we’re planning:

  • Bus service for special-education students will remain in place
  • Expanding walk zones (up to a 20 minute walk at elementary, up to a 30 minute walk at Buford, CHS, and Walker)

Details about Expanding Walk Zones

  • Our current walk zone lengths are among the shortest in the country (0.3 mile for elementary, 0.5 mile for Buford/Walker, and 0.7 mile at CHS)
  • New zones: approximately 0.75 mile walk for elementary (up to a 20-minute walk), approximately 1.25 mile walk for Buford/Walker/CHS (up to a 30-minute walk)
  • These walk zones will put us closer to regional averages (see chart, below)
  • Walking distances to bus stops will also lengthen to create route efficiencies
  • To ensure safety, we’ll provide bus eligibility in situations where walking infrastructure isn’t adequate (such as railroad tracks)
    • We’ll create an appeal process to review routes that are not perceived as safe
  • We’ll offer supports for inclement weather (for example, walking school buses can distribute umbrellas, etc.)
Community Walk Zone
Charlottesville Current .3 mile elementary/.5 Buford/Walker/.7 mile CHS
Albemarle .5 – .7 mile elementary/1 – 1.2 miles all other
Alexandria City 1 mile elementary/ 1.5 miles high school
Arlington 1 mile elementary/ 1.5 miles all other grades
Fairfax 1 mile elementary/1.5 miles all other grades
Loudon 1 mile elementary/1.25 miles all other grades
Manassas 1 mile all students
Richmond 1 mile elementary, 1.5 miles all other grades
Waynesboro 1 mile all students
Average Excluding Cville Current .94 mile elementary, 1.28 mile all other grades
New Charlottesville .75 mile elementary, 1.25 mile Walker/Buford/CHS
  • Expanding crossing guard staffing, including “walking school bus” guides
  • Making free bicycles/helmets available through community partners (repair services are also available)
    • Partners such as Community Bikes and the City’s Safe Routes to School program can assist with bikes and bike repairs
    • Our PE classes teach road biking skills
  • Expanding use of CAT routes for older students

More about CAT Routes for Older Students

Image of Charlottesville CAT Routes for City. Click on image for PDF of full map on City website.
Click on image to find full map.
  • All schools zones are served by existing CAT routes except Greenbrier:
    • CHS and Walker are on Route 9 (pink)
    • Buford has nearby stops on Route 4 and 6 (red & yellow)
  • CAT is free for people under 18 and has operated fare-free since the pandemic
  • Need to find your route? Use a tool like Google Maps (click directions, then the bus icon) or find out more here.
  • This is an opportunity to support the expansion and enhancement of the public  transit system while developing students as life-long public transit users
  • Exploring smaller Type A school buses run by Cville Schools

More about Mini Type A School Buses

  • These 15-passenger “Type A” school buses have all the markings and safety features of full-size buses
  • Thanks to recent legislation to address the school bus driver shortage, drivers no longer need a commercial driver’s license to operate a Type A bus. Drivers would be trained and tested by the City’s transportation department (they still need a “S” or “school” endorsement).
  • We’ve had more than 30 Cville Schools employees express interest in serving in this capacity
  • We’re talking with companies that can provide Type A school buses, including electric, but these will not be available until later in the school year

Illustrations of school bus types from Type A (15-passenger) to full-size Type D. There is a sentence describing the buses in greater detail. Click on the image to find full information about the four types.

What About the Equity Impact of These Changes?

Puzzle pieces: diversity, equity, belonging, inclusionThese transportation challenges are real – and the expanded walk zones impact many of our black and brown students. Let’s work together to find solutions.

  • We are holding “Talk and Walk” sessions in impacted neighborhoods to hear feedback and find solutions
  • We plan to hire staff to guide the “walking school buses” (up to a 20 minute walk for elementary, up to a 30 minute walk for other students)
  • We’ll staff more crossing guards. Apply here!
  • We’re talking with community partners about ways to support students and families.
  • Have a question or an idea? Join us at a “Talk and Walk” session or call 434-245-2400.

Is My Student Going to Get on The Bus?

  • Do you live within the new walk zones? The distance is ~.75 mile for elementary, and ~ 1.25 miles for Walker, Buford, and CHS. For a rough estimate, you can use Google Maps (click directions, then the walking icon) to calculate the walking distance between your home and the school. We may “round up” the zone to get to the end of a cul-de-sac, neighborhood area, or natural boundary line.

Even with these changes, bus space will still be limited. Re-register your children now to help the City plan the routes. The “Type A” buses will not be available at the start of the year, so thanks for your continued patience.

What about Carpooling?

We appreciate a carpool, and yes, there’s an app for that! In fact, there are a lot of free apps. We hesitate to endorse a single solution, but we know that the apps will work best if people agree on one or two to use. PTOs may wish to investigate and make a school or division-wide recommendation.

We’re Still Exploring Ideas

Other possibilities include

  • Potential trial of per-child stipends for families impacted by these changes (based on attendance). Could include different levels of stipend based on need (and ways for people to donate or decline stipends if they wish)
  • Voucher program for items like new walking shoes
  • Share your ideas with us! Join us at a “Talk and Walk” session or call 434-245-2400.

That’s a Lot — How Can I Help?

Illustration of "Volunteer" with colorful hands raised

  • We are still working on details – join us at “Talk and Walk” work sessions followed by a community walk to a school
  • Sign up here to…
    • receive e-mail updates about the changes
    • and/or express interest in working to be part of the solution, including becoming a stationary or walking crossing guard (same job application — apply here)
  • Get connected with the Piedmont Mobility Alliance

A Vision for the Future

Icon of 3 people having a shared idea (lightbulb)

If we do this right, rethinking how students get to and from school will have long-term benefits for our community:

  • A more walkable and bikable city
    • Better physical and mental health
  • Better public transportation
  • Less environmental impact

Want to be part of the solution? Join us at one of our summer “Talk and Walk” sessions, sign up to get updates, or join the Piedmont Mobility Alliance.