Also, you and your family might enjoy meeting up with Books on Bikes, a group of Charlottesville City Schools teachers, librarians, staff, and even trained doggie pals as they make summertime deliveries of books and freezy-pops.
Charlottesville City’s elementary schools will hold kindergarten open houses on Thursday, April 20 at 3:30 – 6:00 PM. Students should visit the open house for the school they will attend. (Not sure which elementary school your child will attend? Find out here.)
- Complete online forms here (in English and español) — forms are also available at open house
- Visit the open house with proof of residency and other documents (see list here).
- Find answers to other questions (including non-resident applications) on our registration page.
We’re excited to meet our new kindergarten students and their families!
- Información acerca de kindergarten en español
- Para leer esta página en español, indica “Translate” (traducir) en la parte por encima de la página y escoja “Spanish.”
- More kindergarten information
Registration for the fall CLASS program at the elementary schools and Walker will begin on Wednesday, May 31.
Registration is underway for Camp ExL, the summer program from CLASS. Spaces are limited and will fill up fast!
Program dates run from June 19th—July 28th between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. with additional wraparound hours available for extra cost. This fun summer opportunity is open to students in pre-k—3rd grade during the 2016-2017 school year.
Welcome to our Clark Elementary School Twitter feed. We can’t wait to share all the wonderful things going on at Clark!
— Clark School (@clarkbees)
January 24, 2017
As you know, we are developing the strategic plan that will guide our Charlottesville schools through the year 2023. So far, we have gotten a great response from students, staff, and parents — and we want to hear from you, too.
Three opportunities are available for staff and parents:
- A community-wide listening session will be held this Wednesday (1/25) at CHS at 7pm. Join us!
- An online survey is another way you can share your feedback and ideas.
- A schedule of school-based meetings is on the web site, as well.
This monthly newsletter will reflect on some of the ideas we’ve heard so far, connecting the ideas with recent activities in our schools.
—Dr. Rosa S. Atkins, Superintendent
Early Feedback from our Meetings and and Survey Responses:
- This month, CHS photo and African-American history students partnered on an community project in which they interviewed and photographed local black leaders to document African-American lives, leadership, and experiences. The images and content will be presented to the CHS community during their African-American History Month assembly.
- CHS student Saad Khaleefa more than impressed the crowd at the annual community celebration honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he read his essay describing this experiences as a refugee from Syria. Khaleefa won the high school writing contest (and classmate Thomas Inigo was a finalist); the contest was curated by PVCC judges and sponsored by the Albemarle County Rotary Club Foundation.
- Thanks to the school division’s new iSTEM program, fifth-graders at Walker School designed, built, and tested boats for a journey up the “James River” in a classroom simulation. In addition to the STEM skills, the project incorporated history and language arts skills. Similarly, third-graders across the division designed and built garden structures to protect the schools’ lettuce from winter, among other projects. You can catch a broader glimpse of the work of this new iSTEM program at STEM nights hosted by the elementary schools this winter.
- Burnley-Moran students have been writing letters to (and receiving correspondence from) senior-citizen pen pals throughout the year. This month, they’re going to meet each other face-to-face!
- Clark Elementary organized a “community helper day” for its kindergartners, inviting special guests including their own award-winning crossing guard Ms. Ruth Hill. Other guests are future and current community helpers from CATEC, with high school students representing fields such as firefighting, dental, and medical care.
- CHS eleventh-grade English classes took advantage of performances of The Grapes of Wrath at the Paramount Theater offered by the National Players. Thanks to the theater, the actors visited CHS to offer related workshops with English and drama classes. Similarly, a number of our elementary school students were able to hear the Richmond Symphony accompany a screening of The Snowman, also at the Paramount.
- CHS biology students recently partnered with UVa Health professionals to present their research at a student symposium.
- Buford students will soon be watching Hidden Figures, a powerful reminder that each of us can use our talents to impact our world.
- Our partnership with City Schoolyard Garden offers hands-on learning across the curriculum. Students, staff, and parents are pleased with these ongoing activities and are glad to see expansions, including the green roof project on the new garden shed at Greenbrier.
Recent examples include:
- Our strategic plan process includes focus groups with students at all our schools, including our alternative program, Lugo-McGinness Academy. Students have brought important and unique perspectives but also share many of the same educational goals and preferences as their teachers and parents.
- The CHS science club BACON (Best All-around Club of Nerds) offers a model for how students can take ownership of their learning. Students pick the projects they wish to focus on and work independently on their goals. As adviser Dr. Matt Shields notes, “It’s about as far away as you can get from ‘My dad did my science fair project.'” For a fifth straight year, the students working on the Zero Robotics team qualified for the international finals in the programming competition sponsored by NASA and MIT. Good luck at the finals, BACON!
Students at CATEC also offer a model of charting their own path and exploring possible careers ranging from health care to culinary arts. New this year is the program’s partnership with tech giant CISCO, offering industry-recognized certifications in IT. CATEC recently hosted the regional competition for Skills USA, showing the range of the program’s offerings. CHS students Luis Becerra-Vargas and Ed Pollock, respectively, earned 2nd and 3rd in Culinary Arts at the competition. Congratulations!
- Even younger students can take ownership of their learning. This year, thanks to a grant from the Shannon Foundation, Venable students will lead their own parent-teacher conferences. Using portfolios of their own work, students will reflect on their growth and learning as well as articulate their goals for the future.
While students in all curriculum areas offered specific examples of ways their teachers offer choice and independence, Buford and CHS students enrolled in engineering classes say that choice and independence are at the heart of these classes. Students are given structured expectations about what they will learn and what projects will guide them through the curriculum, but on a daily basis, students work independently and with peers to accomplish these goals.
Recent examples include:
- Across our elementary schools, classrooms and even whole schools host periodic or daily “morning meetings” to celebrate successes, define goals, and build community.
- This year’s new Link Crew program at CHS has connected upper-class mentors with ninth-graders to help younger students make a good transition, establish connections, and have fun.
- More than wins and losses, athletics is about character. At a recent basketball game, CHS recently honored graduate Rashard Davis, who just helped the JMU football team earn a national championship. Davis is known for his work ethic, values, character — and setting college conference records. Similarly, girls’ basketball coach Jim Daly recently tweeted, “Our leading scorer from last night [Daeja Wade] was back in the gym by 9am to coach a 1st/2nd grade basketball team — nice reminder of what a great group of girls we have!”
- Walker students recently worked on some jigsaw puzzles while blindfolded! The challenge — completed with a little help from some friends — was organized by the schools’ counselors, who organize monthly lessons to build connections, character, and culture.
- Jackson-Via recently earned a grant from Charlottesville’s “Sister Cities Commission” to support the school’s Harry-Potter-like “house” system. Connected to Charlottesville’s sister cities in Africa, Bulgaria, France, and Italy, the “houses” are student groups designed to build both interpersonal and international connections.
- Wellness and nutrition have also received attention in the focus groups. While Charlottesville has won national awards for its commitments to healthy activity, local foods, and more, there is always room for improvement. New nutrition coordinator has met with a feedback group of Walker students, and a parent group focusing on fresh and healthy school meals has also been formed. Find the group on Facebook here!
- Lugo-McGinness Academy, the school division’s alternative school for students in grades 7-12, is leading the way for us to reexamine school culture and discipline, focusing on relationships, student growth, and self-awareness.
Recent examples include:
- Teachers at all levels incorporate learning games into their curriculum using hands-on items like dice or internet game-show-like tools like “Kahoot.”
- Perhaps the model of “purposeful play” comes from kindergarten, including Johnson students recently choosing from a range of centers to explore “community helpers” — opting to play with a hospital-themed doll set, a child’s construction work table, dress-up stations, and more.
- A recent pep rally at CHS marked the semester’s end with laughs and games such as life-sized “Hungry, Hungry, Hippos.”
- When possible, students prefer an atmosphere of “fun but serious.” One example they offered is their fine arts classes where it is fun to sing or draw or play an instrument, but the atmosphere is still marked by work and accomplishment.
- Recess remains a priority for students, teachers, parents, and child-development experts, especially when recess is augmented by regular “get the wiggles out” activities such as brain breaks, mini-dance parties, “Fun Fridays,” and other times for unstructured activities.
Continue to attract and support such high-quality teachers and staff
- Continue to support equity in achievement
- Continue our commitment to the arts
- Reexamine our facilities and how they will support learning
- This is just a sampling of ideas we’ve heard. If you think one is missing, let us know by filling out the survey or attending a meeting!
At their January meeting, the Board elected Juan Wade and Sherry Kraft as chair and vice-chair, respectively. The Board expressed its appreciation to outgoing chair and vice chair Amy Laufer and Leah Puryear (both of whom will remain on the Board). In addition, the Board voted to approve the 2017-18 Academic Calendar, the 2017-18 Program of Studies , and the tuition for the CLASS summer program. The Board also discussed the budget for 2017-18, heard updates about the “Link Crew” mentoring program at CHS, and more.
Upcoming events include:
- Stage Left Theater presents Beauty and the Beast, 1/24, 6:30pm, Walker Auditorium
- Community Strategic Plan Listening Session (open to all), 1/25, 7pm, CHS (Click here for a list of other listening sessions).
- Buford offers Parent University, 1/26, 6pm
- CHS Symphony/Choir Concert with Fine Arts Showcase, 2/1, 7:30pm, MLKPAC
- School Board Meeting, 2/2, 5:30pm, CHS Media Center
- Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meeting, 2/14, 8:45am, Division Annex at CHS (call 245-2400 for more information)
- CATEC Open House, 2/16, 4-6pm
- TheatreCHS presents In the Woods, 2/16-18 at 7:30 (also 1:00 on 2/18). MLKPAC. Tickets available here.
- Professional Learning Day (no school for students), 2/20
- School Board Meeting, 3/2, 5:30pm, CHS Media Center
- View previous editions of the Superintendent Message.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
STEM education is one of the most talked about elements of K–12 education today. Charlottesville City Schools provides a wide variety of STEM-related opportunities for students beginning in pre-Kindergarten and continuing through high school. These opportunities help CCS students discover and develop their interest in these disciplines.
Throughout the school year, a variety of STEM-related programs enhances the learning possibilities of all students. These include in-school activities like robotics and coding workshops, as well as family nights which enable students and their families to have fun with math and science.
STEM & Math Night at Jackson-Via
Jackson-Via recently held its 2017 Math & STEM evening, where CHS students from the science club BACON (Best All-around Club Of Nerds) came to help run the activities.
The first-ever all-elementary tailgate was a success. Their cuteness and cheers propelled the CHS football team to a big win. Thanks to the Burnley-Moran PTO for organizing the event.
Second-graders across the division enjoyed their annual field trip to Monticello, filled with history, beauty, gardens, and even math. Visiting Monticello’s “edible laboratory,” students guessed the weights of pumpkins, recorded weather, and tasted fennel.
Thanks to a partnership with Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, students in the after-school CLASS program have new, fun options for staying on the move and healthy, as profiled by the Newsplex.
As part of the new iSTEM program, third-grade engineers in every school designed, built, and are testing frost-covers for their schools’ lettuce plants. Who can keep their lettuce healthy this winter?
Students from Burnley-Moran, Johnson, and Venable went to see a national production of “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” at the Paramount Theater.
Burnley-Moran students used their garden for both history and science this fall. Kindergartners studied “long ago” by “hunting” with arrows made with the garden’s corn cobs (using baskets as targets). First graders boiled cabbage leaves to see how adding either a base or an acid will change the color of the purple cabbage water to either blue or red.
Clark third-grade bakers practiced their math skills twice, by measuring ingredients and then laying out the cookies in even rows for multiplication practice. Students also held their own Thanksgiving Day parade (with floats) after reading Balloons Over Broadway.
Greenbrier students collected 1,199 cans of food for the Salvation Army, and students have been watching the progress of their new garden shed’s living roof. All that’s left is the planting! Thanks to City Schoolyard Garden and volunteers!
Jackson-Via welcomed Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe to lunch in recognition its school-wide free & reduced lunch program. And the school celebrated “Family Harvest Day,” sharing fifteen pounds of kale, lettuce, and baby spinach from their garden with families, students, and teachers.
Johnson hosted a number of special events, from an art workshop hosted by the Embassy of Oman, to their annual International Day celebration honoring their students’ varied backgrounds, to a kindergarten and pre-k soup supper, and a Thanksgiving pow-wow with kindergarten-aged native Americans. Plus, the students earned a school-wide dance party by earning so many compliments!
As part of their celebration of International Education Week, Venable students practiced saying hello non-verbally in the style of different cultures. And then they made a mannequin challenge to document those greeting poses! Venable students have also been using their voices (singing the national anthem for UVA women’s soccer), their hands (making useful objects out of gourds from the garden), and their ears and eyes (finding matches during bingo night).
The draft calendar for the 2017-18 school year has been posted online. The calendar is developed jointly by the Albemarle and Charlottesville schools, through the work of a committee that includes staff and parents. The School Board will vote on this calendar at its January meeting.
New this year for winter closing notifications: This year, all families will receive emails and calls at all times (including early morning) unless families customize their settings via PowerSchool. Find instructions here. If you have not yet set up your PowerSchool account, call 245-2943.
The division will be holding a number of events to gather feedback and input for our 2017-2023 Strategic Plan. A community-wide listening session will be held at CHS on Wednesday, January 25 at 7pm — come join us! Or if you wish to participate in a smaller, school-based session on another day, please contact your principal or write firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more or take a brief survey here.
Five of our teachers were honored at the 2016 Chamber of Commerce dinner, serving as the guests of Bill Kehoe, recipient of the 2016 Chamber Paul Goodloe McIntire Citizenship Award. The outstanding teachers honored from Charlottesville City Schools were Michael Keller and Brendan Martin of Buford Middle School, Michel Ann Sizemore of Jackson Via Elementary, and Sarah Gallagher and Rachel Rasnake of Walker Upper Elementary.
Mr. Ernest Chambers, physical education teacher at Burnley-Moran Elementary, was profiled in the Virginia Education Association’s Journal of Education.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave a shout-out to the schools’ partnership with City Schoolyard Garden and Local Food Hub, which supports innovating programs such as as our Harvest of the Month program, our extensive Farm-to-School Week offerings, and our year-round commitment to fresh, local foods and garden classrooms. Thanks to both organizations for your support!
In November, the Special Education Advisory Committee hosted a community discussion about how to prepare your child for “Life After High School, Now.”
Across the division, Charlottesville Schools participated in the international Hour of Code, a event designed to expose students to computer programming. Charlottesville Schools has extensive and growing support to help students learn to code.
At its fall conference, the Virginia Board of Education honored Charlottesville City Schools for receiving a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award.
Upcoming events include:
- Multiple elementary concerts, 12/13 (Burnley-Moran’s is on 12/15)
- Winter Break and Teacher Workday, 12/19 through Monday, 1/2
- Classes resume, Tuesday, 1/3
- School Board Meeting, 1/5, 5pm, CHS Media Center
- Community Budget Presentation, 1/10, 5:30pm, CHS Media Center
- No School for Martin Luther King Day, 1/16
- End of 2nd Quarter, 1/20
- CHS Orchestra presents family-friendly Peter and the Wolf, 1/21, 2pm, MLKPAC
- No School for Teacher Workday, 1/23
- Stage Left Theater presents family-friendly Beauty and the Beast, 1/24, 6:30pm, Walker Auditorium
- Community Strategic Plan Listening Session (open to all), 1/25, 7pm, CHS
Friday Knight Lights: Join families from all six elementary schools at the first-ever elementary tailgate party at the CHS Football game on November 4. Festivities include face-painting and visits from the CHS football team, band, and cheerleaders. The fun starts at 6 before kick-off at 7 (see flyer below).
The Walker Upper Elementary School Family extends an invitation to all current 4th graders and their families (and any CCS families, for that matter) to attend Bingo Night on Wednesday, November 16 at 5:30pm.
City fourth-graders have been on the go, between their annual science field trip to Camp Albemarle and their field trip Cabell Hall for the Charlottesville Youth Orchestra’s superhero-themed performance.
Thanks to the Special Education Advisory Committee for organizing a September ice cream social to help build community and support for our families in the special education program!
City Schools enjoyed special foods, visitors (including chickens and goats), plus time in the garden during Farm-to-School Week. Thanks to City Schoolyard Garden and Local Food Hub for organizing, and thanks also to Casa Alma and Caromount Farms for time with feathered and furry friends!
As you can see in the following video, fourth-grade students are enjoying their iSTEM lessons, part of a new, hands-on science, tech, engineering, and math lessons designed to build a bridge to the science and engineering programs at Buford and CHS. In the video, students find sweet success on the fifth attempt to correctly program their robot:
More community helpers visit our our elementary schools! First, it’s “Lunch with a Cop,” when police officers visit schools at lunchtime, sometimes accompanied by McGruff the Crime Dog. Now, the Charlottesville Fire Department is making visits to teach home safety tips. Sometimes they even bring a fire truck to recess for “show and tell.” Thanks to all!
You’ve got mail! Burnley-Moran Bobcats have been writing and receiving letters from their senior pen pals at JABA’s Mary Williams Community Senior Center. In addition, their artwork is on display at the Welcome Gallery as part of art teacher Ryan Trott’s exhibition of his works inspired by children’s art.
Clark enjoyed its first whole-school meeting, with student leaders, dancing, book talks, awards, & singing happy 85th birthday to the school! And after reading the novel Rules, fourth-graders invited Clark’s occupational therapist, Lydia Cornejo, to answer student questions and make connections to the book.
You’ve heard of taste-testing some new foods, but how about taste-testing some new books? Greenbrier fourth-graders rotated through stations hosted by “chef” and teacher Ms. Kumar. Second-graders spent a super-hero themed morning exploring Marvel-ous Matter! And the whole school donned orange as part of their Unity Day celebrations.
NBC news visited Jackson-Via for the visit of Alice the Goat during Farm-to-School Week, and students, staff, and PTO volunteers are gearing up for spirit week, which concludes with their annual Rocktoberfest event, with a potluck, games, and more. And the after-school CLASS program enjoyed dance classes with the Charlottesville Ballet in ballet, modern, tap, hip hop, and/or African dance form.
Johnson’s “Donuts with Dads” event overflowed from the cafeteria into the hallways with students plus their dads, uncles, friends, and grandfathers (not to mention some moms who wanted to be part of the fun, too). In addition to breakfast, students received a book to keep. Another day, guest/mom/Walker teacher Ms. Rasnake visited the school to offer a hands-on activity exploring density.
Venable’s back-to-school night had some new leaders in charge this year — the students. The new student-led format will also be a feature of the school’s spring parent-teacher conferences, thanks to a grant from the Shannon Foundation.
In response to a suggestion from Burnley-Moran Elementary School, the Charlottesville Police Department is starting a “lunch with a cop” program in our elementary schools. Police officers visit with students during lunch, answering questions, enjoying conversation, and building positive relationships.
City Schoolyard Garden started its “Harvest of the Month” program in September with delicious local peaches. The monthly fresh and local snack is also connected to science- and garden-related lesson plans.
Our elementary schools have proven that it’s never too early in the year for some arts and inspiration! Rwandan brothers Patrick and Pacifique Niyosenga visited schools to perform and share their story of overcoming challenges. Pacifique founded the Niyo Cultural Centre, which is dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished Rwandan street children by teaching them drumming, dancing, and art to help them earn money to survive.
Burnley-Moran bobcats started off the year with their annual leave a “Positive Footprint” emphasis, following a national project for encouraging kindness, and they’ve already pulled out the bee-bots to make the programming-math connection.
Clark bees have been busy with friction projects, community design activities, participating in the Belmont “Yard Dreams” community art project, observing the national “Dot Day” creativity project, and more!
Greenbrier has started its “Walking Wednesdays” program and welcomed a large crowd to its Back-to-School Picnic.
Jackson-Via will welcome a canine friend on Fridays, as a therapy dog makes regular visits with kindergartners. And the school’s annual Grandparents Day lunch attracted a great showing.
Johnson students have been out in the garden, using their break-out boxes (and their brains), and welcoming guests to the school, including guest reader Superintendent Rosa Atkins.
Each morning, Venable classrooms hold morning meetings to greet one another, establish daily goals, and complete a fun activity. The school recently held its new monthly school-wide morning meeting, a community-building exercise with greetings, music, activities, and a read-aloud.
Join families from all six Charlottesville elementary schools for the first-ever Friday Knight Lights City Schools Tailgate! Face-painting, sign-decorating, visits with the band, cheerleaders, and football team!
- Friday, November 4, 6-7 pm (game starts at 7)
- Game tickets free for students & younger sibs, $7 for others