10 teachers from Charlottesville City Schools are among the outstanding recipients of the 2019 Golden Apple Awards presented by Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry.
These awards are presented annually to nominated faculty members from the public and private schools in Albemarle County and Charlottesville City.
Award recipients receive a Golden Apple, as well as gift certificates from local businesses. As a “Golden Apple” teacher, each recipient is also eligible to receive a $1,000 Golden Apple Grant to be used for classroom materials or to support the recipient’s continued professional development.
Congratulations to the following 2019 winners: Kathy Claus- Greenbrier Elementary, Melissa Combs- Venable Elementary, Will Cooke- Charlottesville High School, Maelys Croce- Johnson Elementary, Robin Ellis- Clark Elementary, Meaghan Fenton- Jackson-Via Elementary, Chris Lorigan- Burnley-Moran Elementary, Michael McCrory- Lugo-McGinness Academy, Melissa Mitchem- Buford Middle, and Kevin Paquette- Walker Upper Elementary.
2019 Charlottesville City Schools Golden Apple Award Recipients
Click on each each portrait to hear what they had to say!
This spring sophomores at CHS participated in the teen Mental Health First Aid program, a course that trains high school students how to identify and respond to developing mental health or substance abuse problems among their friends.
CHS is one of eight high schools in the nation (two from Virginia) chosen to pilot this program developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health. Supported by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the course specifically teaches students an action plan: Look, Ask, Listen, Help.
“We think it is really important to put the tools in the students’ hands so they know how to help a friend who is showing signs of mental illness or substance abuse,” said CHS School Counselor Sarah Elaine Hart.
Hart taught the three-week course along with her colleague Dominique Williams and Region Ten Prevention Director Emily Warren.
“Overall, we have found that most kids want to know what to do when a friend is struggling, even when it feels uncomfortable and hard,” said Hart. “They want to be equipped with the tools to help.”
The first national program of its kind, the course will be offered nationwide next year to students in grades 10th-12th. Students who complete the course earn Mental Health First Aid certifications.
As you make plans to attend commencement exercises for the Class of 2019 in just a few weeks, please keep in mind these important details:
When: June 6, 2019, 7:00 p.m. Graduates should arrive by 5:30 p.m.
Where: John Paul Jones Arena. Free parking is available at the arena.
A live stream of the graduation ceremony will be available at www.facebook.com/cvilleschools. No Facebook account or password is needed to view.
Security Information:Please read the following UVA JPJ Arena security policies carefully, especially noting the bag policy.
Bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and cannot exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. Clear one-gallon plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar) are also permitted.
Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand and no larger than 4.5 inches x 6.5 inches (with or without a handle or strap) can be taken into the arena and will be subject to search. An exception will be made for items necessary for medical reasons after proper inspections at a gate designated for this purpose.
Prohibited bags include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
Items needed for small children must be in a clear bag that meet the stated dimensions.
Bags and purses that do not meet the above criteria cannot be held by staff or stored inside or around JPJ Arena. For clarity, diaper bags and backpacks are also prohibited.
Arrive early. Our entrance procedures may take a few minutes and traffic is often heavy around JPJ Arena. Therefore, we request that all guests arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Please plan accordingly.
Wear as little metal as possible. Large metal jewelry/belt buckles, etc. are allowed, but can slow down the entrance process and/or delay your entry.
Understand prohibited items. Balloons, flowers, umbrellas, outside food and beverage, artificial noise makers, and strollers are specifically prohibited inside JPJ Arena. Gifts for graduates may be presented when they meet families on the plaza after the ceremony.
Current City of Promise Executive Director T. Denise Johnson has accepted the new position of Supervisor of Equity and Inclusion at Charlottesville City Schools.
“As we have begun a more public and deeper dive into addressing educational inequities, it’s become apparent that we need a dedicated position to sustain this energy and momentum,” noted Dr. Rosa Atkins. “We could not ask for a more ideal person than Denise Johnson, someone who grew up in our community, who graduated from our schools, who has worked in public education, and who has been engaged locally in building relationships, promoting equity, and addressing racism.”
Ms. Johnson is a native of Charlottesville and a 1998 graduate of Charlottesville City Schools. She studied Health at Virginia State University and received her Master’s Degree in Counselor Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has twelve years of experience as a school counselor at Hermitage High School in Henrico County, where she was part of the Henrico County Coalition of Equitable and Inclusive Schools. Ms. Johnson has served as executive director of City of Promise since 2017. Her first day at Charlottesville City Schools will be May 15.
Established in 2010 as an outgrowth of the City’s Dialogue on Race, City of Promise offers supports and solutions to improve educational and other key outcomes in the Charlottesville neighborhoods of 10th and Page, Westhaven, and Star Hill.
“I am so excited about this opportunity. My years in public education and my time at City of Promise have given me a unique perspective on how the schools and the community can work together to promote positive outcomes for everyone,” noted Ms. Johnson. “I see this as an extension of the work I have loved so much at City of Promise.”
Dr. Atkins continued, “We have valued Denise as a partner in promoting equity in the past, and today we welcome her as a colleague. But we recognize that equity is not a ‘program’ and it does not fall to one person. Each of us at Charlottesville City Schools must continue to work to make sure that all our efforts and programs reflect equity. Denise will facilitate these conversations and changes.”
5/21 Clark Spring Concert and Fine Arts Night, 5:30pm
5/21 CHS Orchestra Spring Concert, 7:30pm
5/22 Walker Stage Left Theatre Play, 6:30pm
5/30 Minds in Motion Performance, CHS MLK PAC, 7pm
The 2019 ArtQuest program exhibit will be taking place at CitySpace gallery during the month of May. A special opening reception will be held Friday, May 3 from 5:30-7pm as part of the Charlottesville First Fridays Gallery walk tradition. The exhibit features artwork produced in the 2018-19 school year by the 5-12th grade ArtQuest participants. Free and open to the public.
Stage Left Theatre, our after school theater program at Walker Upper Elementary and Buford Middle School recently welcomed Broadway actress and director/choreographer Judine Somerville along with local artist and president/founder of DMR Adventures for a Broadway Masterclass. Students learned performance techniques and worked on auditioning skills while having fun through the fine art of theater.
Celebration and congratulations are in order….
CHS student and pianist Dante Walker won the local Omega Psi Phi Talent Hunt at CHS in March and advanced to the next level where he beat some stiff regional competition to win first place again in Dulles. He was competing against dancers, actors, other pianists, and instrumentalists.
More than 200 CHS Choir, Band, and Orchestra members and chaperones traveled to Atlanta,GA to participate in the WorldStrides 2019 Atlanta Heritage Festival and returned with an abundance of awards. Competing against 18 ensembles from across the nation, they earned the Grand Championship Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a high school music program at the event. Other accolades include: Instrumental Sweepstakes (Best Orchestra and Band), Outstanding Orchestra (CHS String Ensemble), Outstanding Band (CHS Concert Band),five gold medals (Festival Choir, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Combined String Orchestra, and String Ensemble),four Adjudicators Awards (both bands and both orchestras), and two Maestro Awards (soloists Barrett Crusse and Danny Dupes). See news coverage here.
Congratulations to our musicians who represented Charlottesville High School in the 2019 All-Virginia Choir, Bands, and Orchestra at the Richmond Marriott and Convention Center; culminating performances were held at the Carpenter Center.
Pictured left to right, top row: Adria Cafferillo, Choir; Reid Dodson, Symphonic Band, Parker Nelson, Choir, Margaret Ann Doran, Choir, and Anna Bon-Harper, Symphonic Band. Seated: Sarah Garretson, Orchestra.
Buford School artists swept the 2019 Peace & Dialogue Art Contest hosted by Rumi Forum Charlottesville (RFC). Congratulations to Ella Brown (1st place), Ezhar Zahid (2nd place), and Amare Anderson (3rd place)! Using the theme, “E Pluribus Unum-From Many, One,” students were asked to explore their understanding of diversity and community, and how, in our country, we are many and yet, also one. These students and their families will attend the RFC awards dinner where they will be recognized for their outstanding work.
To see more artwork from students across Charlottesville City Schools, visit the online art galleries for each school:
(ATLANTA, GA) Topping a long list of accolades earned at the WorldStrides 2019 Atlanta Heritage Festival, Charlottesville High School musicians won the Grand Championship Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a high school music program at the event.
More than 200 CHS students and chaperones traveled to Atlanta on April 11-14 to participate in the festival. CHS band, orchestra, and choir members performed in the competition which included 18 ensembles from New York, California, Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama, and Virginia.
“Taking the CHS Music Department on the road was a tremendous experience,” said CHS Orchestra Director Laura Thomas. “It was truly gratifying to share our band, choir, and orchestra with others from all over the country. Bringing home the Grand Championship was icing on the cake!”
Along with the Grand Championship Award, the musicians also earned the following:
Instrumental Sweepstakes (Best Orchestra and Band)
Outstanding Orchestra (CHS String Ensemble)
Outstanding Band (CHS Concert Band)
Five Gold Medals (Festival Choir, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Combined String Orchestra, and String Ensemble)
Four Adjudicators Awards (both bands and both orchestras)
Two Maestro Awards (soloists Barrett Crusse and Danny Dupes)
The packed travel itinerary also provided opportunities to explore the host city, including an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert, a tour of the MLK Jr. Historic Site, a Braves/Mets game in the new SunTrust Park, and a visit to the Georgia Aquarium.
CHS Band Director Jason Hackworth said his students had a hard time picking just one favorite part of the experience. “One student summed it up perfectly– ‘All of the trip has been wonderful, but the best part has been the time spent with each other.’ Fantastic sentiment, and one I will gladly echo.”
CHS Choir Director Will Cooke added, “I am grateful for this opportunity to celebrate the unifying power of music in a day and age where what separates us or makes us different is too frequently the headline.”
The CHS music program is among the most decorated in Virginia, earning eleven “Blue Ribbons” from the Virginia Music Educators Association which recognizes schools whose top band, choir, and orchestra all earn superior ratings on annual district assessments.
Earlier this month, the following CHS musicians earned top state honors by participating in the 2019 All-Virginia Choir, Bands, and Orchestra at the Richmond Marriott and Convention Center: Adria Cafferillo, Choir; Reid Dodson, Symphonic Band, Parker Nelson, Choir, Margaret Ann Doran, Choir, and Anna Bon-Harper, Symphonic Band, and Sarah Garretson, Orchestra.
Finally, this weekend, tenth grader Dante Walker won the regional Omega Psi Phi Talent Hunt, held at Dulles. His piano skills outpaced a variety of performers, including dancers, actors, other pianists, and instrumentalists from across the state.
I’m grateful to the Charlottesville Police and the Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s office for making an arrest and receiving a guilty plea to bring resolution so quickly. Thanks also to the CPD for working alongside us from the moment we received the threat until now to make sure that our schools are safe.
I’m appreciative of our school counselors and our other student services practitioners who provided mental wellness support to our students and staff as they returned to school. In addition to our own staff members, volunteer counselors represented Region 10, Counseling Alliance of Central Virginia, and Central Virginia Counselors of Color.
I’m reminded by members of our Black Student Union and Latinx Student Union that not only do we need to look at isolated incidents, but we must also keep our focus on larger racial inequities and the structures, practices, and aggressions that perpetuate them.
I’m hopeful about our past, current, and planned work to promote equity in our schools, which aligns with the feedback we have been broadly seeking from students, staff, and community members. For an update, click here.
I’m delighted to announce that work began this week to upgrade entryway security at CHS, Buford, and Walker. This previously scheduled work complements last year’s security enhancements at our elementary schools. This work should be completed by August.
I’m thankful for school leaders and their staff, who helped our schools smoothly reopen and quietly return to being places of learning, relationship, and personal growth.
Thanks to all of you for your support of the schools, our staff, and our students. Best wishes for spring break.
Dr. Rosa Atkins
“Self Expression through Hairstyles” is a project by Rachel Wilson’s photography classes at Charlottesville High School featuring CHS students and staff. The video debuted at the Black History Month assembly at CHS, but we thought our families and community would enjoy seeing it, too. Great job to all the students involved in the project! Click here to see the video.
VISITING PRINTMAKER TEACHES STUDENTS THE ART OF LETTERPRESS Printer Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. conducted several letterpress workshops at our schools and other places in the Charlottesville area as part of his “Finding Wisdom” residency with Virginia Humanities’ Virginia Center for the Book. Students got to make their own prints using their own words of wisdom. Read more here.
VIDEO EARNS TOP HONORS FROM FUTURE-READY SCHOOLS FILM FESTIVAL Congratulations to iSTEM teacher Teresa Amasia and Burnley-Moran Elementary, winners in the “school” category of the Future Ready Schools Film Festival. This humorous video illustrates how our schools are empowering (and preparing) future-ready students! See what happens when a teacher finds himself inexplicably in the future. Or does he?See the video here.
THERAPY DOGS VISITS SUPPORT LEARNING IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS Certified therapy dogs Chuleta, Marley, and Luna are a few furry friends who make regular visits to Jackson-Via and Johnson Elementary Schools to offer social-emotional support to students while at school. “The dogs have become part of the school community,” said Principal Dr. Justin Malone.Read more here.
PARENT UNIVERSITY STRENGTHENS HOME-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP Parents and caregivers attended two Parent University sessions at Jackson-Via and Greenbrier Elementary Schools. Workshops on literacy, math, special education, and social-emotional learning were among the many topics discussed. Parents also learned about strategies and resources they could use to help their children at home. Read more here.
BUFORD STUDENTS HEAR FROM CVILLE PILGRIMAGE PARTICIPANTS Buford Middle School students hosted area residents who participated in the 2018 Civil Rights Pilgrimage to several sites in the South including Montgomery, AL. Gathering in small groups, the guests shared their first-hand accounts of the experience and why they participated. For news coverage of the visit to Buford,click here.For a recap of other events and activities during Black History Month,read more here.
WALKER STUDENTS FORM NEW STUDENT GOVERNMENT A new student government which includes two representatives from each homeroom and an elected executive council is underway at Walker School. “We’re so proud of them,” said Instructional Coach Erika Pierce. “After delivering campaign speeches, they have hit the ground running with so many ideas to make Walker School a great place to be.” Ideas include school-wide celebrations, improved recycling efforts, and talent shows.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
3/28 Early dismissal for students/Professional Learning for staff/End of third grading period
3/28 “Power of We” presentation on community resilience, 6pm MLK PAC
3/29 No school for students/Teacher Flex Workday
4/1 Spring Break through 4/5
4/4 CHS All-Virginia Choir, Band, & Orchestra through 4/6
4/9 Walker rising 5th grade information session, 5:30pm
4/11 School Board Meeting, 5pm CHS
4/11 City Schoolyard Garden Harvest of the Month
4/18 Kindergarten Open Houses and registration, 3:30-6pm
4/18 Theatre CHS performs “The Crucible” through 4/20
4/24 CHS Chorus Spring Concert, 7pm MLK PAC
4/25 City Schoolyard Garden Root Celebration, 4:30pm Greenbrier
4/25 Buford Engineering Night, 5:30pm
4/27 CHS Prom
4/30 Walker Orchestra Spring Concert, 7pm
More Looks at Cville Schools
Johnson Elementary second graders created the backdrop for the Kehinde Wiley-inspired photobooth featured at the school’s African American Heritage Night. Thanks to the school’s art teacher, Jocelyn Johnson, and parent photographer, John Robinson, for capturing the beautiful Johnson family. See more photos here.
The Knightengales, Charlottesville High School’s female ensemble, earned all Superior ratings at the District 13 Concert Assessment.For the latest highlights of our flourishing fine arts program, click here.
Nutrition Services Director Carlton Jones, along with Geoff Shaw and his son, Lincoln, celebrate our recently renamed “Lisa’s Local on the Line” menu offerings to honor the legacy of Lisa Reeder.Learn more here.
Find more info and events on on our website, social media, or our Google calendars!
The fine arts program at Charlottesville City Schools infuses our schools with enrichment and experiences that encourage artistic expression at all grade levels. Here are just a few of the recent arts-related events and accomplishments we are celebrating.
Congratulations to our musicians who represented Charlottesville High School in the 2019 All-Virginia Choir, Bands, and Orchestra at the Richmond Marriott and Convention Center; culminating performances were held at the Carpenter Center. Pictured left to right, top row: Adria Cafferillo, Choir; Reid Dodson, Symphonic Band, Parker Nelson, Choir, Margaret Ann Doran, Choir, and Anna Bon-Harper, Symphonic Band. Seated: Sarah Garretson, Orchestra.
TheatreCHS students just returned from New York City where they participated in the Broadway Theatre Group Hamilton Summit. Students enjoyed two days of acting, dance, and vocal workshops with cast members from “Hamilton.” They will also visit the Upward Citizens Brigade Improv Club and saw “Hamilton” on Broadway in the Richard Rogers Theatre. Click here for news coverage of their trip.
The annual division-wide ArtConnections exhibit featured student art from across the division. Two evening open houses which included performances by the Walker and Buford School jazz bands gave the public an opportunity to celebrate the many talents of our kindergarten through 12th grade artists. A Saturday celebration attracted more than 600 visitors and featured hands-on art activities including letterpress printmaking with visiting artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.
Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. also conducted several letterpress workshops at our schools and other places in the Charlottesville-area as part of his “Finding Wisdom” residency with Virginia Humanities’ Virginia Center of the Book. Charlottesville High School art students got to make their own prints using their own words of wisdom.
Congratulations to the following CHS musicians who earned selection by competitive audition for the 2019 All-Virginia Orchestra and Band: Senior Sarah Garretson placed third chair cello in the All-Virginia Orchestra while junior flutist Reid Dodson and senior horn player Anna Bon-Harper were selected for All-Virginia Band.
The CHS Orchestra continues its tradition of excellence, recently earning top honors at the 2019 District Orchestra Assessments. The String Ensemble earned all “Superior” ratings and straight A’s in all 28 subcategories for their performance and sight reading at grade 6, the most difficult level of music. The top CHSO has earned a superior rating at every District Assessment performance at grade 6 since 1984. Here is a sample:
Meanwhile, the CHS Concert Orchestra earned all “Superior” ratings and nearly straight A’s in all subcategories for their stage performance at grade 5 and also earned “Excellent” for sight reading.
The Knightengales, Charlottesville High School’s all female ensemble, earned all Superior ratings at the District 13 Concert Assessment. Congratulations to (pictured left to right) Lolly Lynch, Anne Boura, Al-Nisa Utz, Casey Casarez, Emily Webber, Emma Harrison, Renee Lyons, Kyla Rose, Bobbie Jo Fassler, Eliza Smith, Sylvie Bowman, Courtney Snapp, Ceci Becker, Parker Nelson, and Esmerelda Lopez. The troupe recently performed with other Charlottesville-area women’s ensembles in a concert benefitting The Shelter for Help in Emergency.
Congratulations to the following CHS choir students who earned positions in this year’s All-Virginia Choir to be held in Richmond in April: (pictured left to right) Adria Cafferillo, Margaret Anne Doran, Parker Nelson, Eoin Sprinkle, Sarah Garretson, and Javier Fortune.
Meanwhile, the Buford Middle School Symphonic Band was one of three middle schools in our district to receive unanimous Superior ratings at District 13 Concert Band assessments. The band is now preparing to travel for their spring trip to the MUSICALE Festival in Williamsburg, Virginia in April.
Other Notable News
Buford Middle School 8th grade Civics and Economics classes visited Charlottesville District Court where they got to see what they are learning about in the classroom in real-time action. Thanks to Judge Downer, the court clerks, members of the Sheriff’s department, and the Commonwealth’s Attorneys for giving our students this valuable educational opportunity.
The CHS Black Knight Debate team hosted the VHSL Regional Debate Tournament which included schools from Blacksburg, Danville, Bedford County, Salem, and Sherando. CHS won first place in the Sweepstakes, and the following students will advance to Super-Regionals in April: LINCOLN-DOUGLAS- Dani Szabo (1st), Ellie Detert (4th), and Alex Ralston (5th ); PUBLIC FORUM – Lena Keesecker & Talia Sherman (3rd) and John Emery & Maisie Fischman (4th).
Walker students in Mrs. Scheiber’s 6th grade Language Arts classes participated in the Charlottesville League Debate competition at Jack Jouett Middle School. They had to debate the topic, “The benefits of zoos outweighs the harms.” Congratulations to this group of first-year debaters which includes the following teams: Olivia Wade and Cyrus Wyatt, Zoe Kershner and Sela Knight, Evan English and Robert Scott, Naia Downs-Reeve and Maya Butler, and Elle Polifka and Ellery Long. All teams won at least one out of three rounds of competition and special recognition goes to team Cyrus and Olivia for winning two rounds, and to Sela, Cyrus, and Olivia for receiving outstanding speaker points.
Congratulations to the following CHS students for being selected as winners of the Tupelo Press Mirabella Poetry & Prose teen writing contest. These students were invited to read their works at the area awards ceremony held at St. Anne’s-Belfield School: “pale-lunged” by Rachel Beling, “Al Hudaydah” by Kiran Klubock-Shukla, “A First Goodbye” by Cassie Hersman, and “The Radioactive Ghost of Kilkenny” by James O’Brien. Their writings will be included in an annual anthology of teen writing which will also include “The Evil Lake” by Lily Deleo, “Hope” by Mathew Farina, “A Father” by Ari Pyle, “Warmth” by Robin Guziejka, “Our Soldiers” by Colin Saint, and “Our Sweet Sensations” by Nyah Catherine-Lim.
Sixth grade Walker student Mohammad Haidari won first place in District 13 in the American Legion Post 74 writing contest. He received a certificate and check for his essay, “I Like Living in America Because…” and moved on to the regional competition.
Using a generous PTO grant that funded 20 point-and-shoot digital cameras, students in Rachel Wilson’s photography classes at CHS visited Clark and Johnson Schools to teach elementary kids the basics of digital photography.
This humorous video, written, produced and directed by Amasia, illustrates how our schools are empowering (and preparing) future ready students. Watch the video to see what happens when a teacher finds himself inexplicably in the future. Or does he?