What‘s Happening at School Division News

December 2022 News and Highlights

 

A Word from the School Board

At Thursday’s School Board meeting, Chairperson Lisa Larson-Torres read the following statement about the pending adoption of Virginia’s K-12 history standards. This statement will be sent to the State Board of Education and key staff members at the Virginia Department of Education:

We, the members of the Charlottesville School Board, are writing to request that the Board return to its usual process of consideration and approval of the state’s K-12 history standards as developed and recommended in August 2022 by history educators, professors, historians, parents, and others. We strongly encourage the VDOE to stay the course on its longstanding commitment to developing a more inclusive and honest curriculum.

The “August” Revisions
Throughout 2020-22, our Commonwealth trusted a committee of history educators, historians, museum professionals, parents, and community groups to conduct the scheduled seven-year revision of our state history standards. Over the course of two years, in a very public fashion, this committee made thoughtful and informed decisions. In addition, this work built upon the efforts and recommendations of Virginia’s 2020 African American History Education Commission. We would like the Board to follow its usual procedures to consider and then adopt these standards.

Read the Board’s full statement here.

Dr. Gurley at Greenbrier

 

Fourth graders at Greenbrier recently hosted Dr. Gurley and the School Board for a “Writers Feast,” where students shared their biographical writing about famous African Americans.

Cropped Revised 23-24 Academic Calendar See link in newsletter to access PDFREVISED DRAFT CALENDAR: GIVE (MORE) FEEDBACK 
Thanks to all the people (more than 1200!) who filled out the recent calendar survey. We received divided feedback about the various elements of the draft calendar, including the idea of starting a week earlier, having a week off at Thanksgiving, and how important it is to mirror Albemarle County Public Schools’ calendar. As a result, we are going to hit “pause” on the bigger changes and put forward a more traditional calendar that is similar but not identical to one that ACPS is considering. Learn more and give your feedback on the more traditional calendar! One theme of the community feedback was “If you’re going to make these larger changes to the calendar, we’d need more advanced notice.” Therefore, our calendar committee will resume work this spring to gather feedback about options for the 2024-25 school year.

Safety Flyer (cropped) for Family University: School SafetyQUESTIONS ABOUT SAFETY? REGISTER FOR FAMILY UNIVERSITY DECEMBER 8
We know that shootings in our community and hoax calls in our schools have made this fall a challenging season for many of our students, families, and staff. Join us on Thursday, December 8, 5:30-7pm, to learn more about the safety efforts in place in our schools, as well as action steps for families. Register for the Zoom meeting and submit questions here.

CHS Choirs at Grand IlluminationWINTER CONCERTS THIS WEEK
Shown at left are the combined choirs of CHS, directed by Will Cooke, singing at the Charlottesville Grand Illumination downtown on Friday night. Come out to see the choir at their winter concert this Thursday, December 8, 7 pm. Other upcoming winter concerts include CHS Orchestra, Tuesday, December 6, 7:30 pm, and the All-City Band Concert (Walker, Buford and CHS), Wednesday, December 7, 7 pm. All concerts are at the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center. (Photo by Gina Proulx).

Clark Elementary School in fallSCHOOL NAMES UPDATE FOR CLARK & VENABLE ELEMENTARY
At the School Board meeting, the division’s Naming of Facilities Committee recommended new names for Venable (Trailblazers Elementary, selected by a wide margin) and Friendship Elementary (selected by just 5 votes over the second-place choice, Summit Elementary). The Board questioned the small margin of student voting between Clark’s two names. They requested the community’s feedback on the selection of “Friendship” or “Summit” for Clark. To express your opinion, email schoolboard@charlottesvilleschools.org prior to the January 5 meeting. Learn more here.

The Candy Cane Catastrophe Poster (cropped)BUFORD THEATRE CLASSES PERFORMING ORIGINAL PLAY AT ELEMENTARIES
Buford students will perform “The Candy Cane Catastrophe,” a play written by director Paula Chanda and eighth grader Jaxon Scott for many of our CCS elementary schools this week. Congrats, Jaxon and Ms. Chanda!

Jesaun Johnson with interview committeeCHS SCHOLARSHIP NEWS!
Four winners have been selected for the Greg and Elizabeth Allen Opportunity Scholarship, a prize of $10,000 a year for 4 years of college: Diavian Thompson, Aniyah Moore, Je’Saun Johnson, and Robel Gabramedhin. CHS also nominates students for consideration for several additional major scholarships: UVA Jefferson Scholar Nominee: William Keenan; UVA Walentes Scholar Nominee: My’Nique Jones (Information about these UVA scholarships here); Emily Couric Scholarship Nominee: Ella Farina (Information here). Congratulations to these students and all those who support them!

Illustration of Apple with CCS Logo: Nominate a Great Teacher!NOMINATE A TEACHER FOR THE GOLDEN APPLE AWARD
It’s time to submit nominations for the 2023 Golden Apple Awards for Teaching Excellence in Charlottesville and Albemarle! The deadline to honor one of your child’s amazing educators is Monday, January 23. Winners receive a $500 grant for classroom materials or professional development. Click here for the online nomination form. Teachers who have won in the last 3 years are not eligible to win again. Thanks to Mr. Richard Nunley and Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry for their generous support of these awards!

Lugo-McGinness AcademySNOW DAY MESSAGES, WINTER BREAK, & POSSIBLE CHANGE TO OUR MASS COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS
As we head into the season of winter weather, please keep tuned in for updates. If we need to change our schedule, we will contact you via SchoolMessenger. You can also check our website, social media channels, and local media. (If you’re not getting SchoolMessenger phone or email updates, contact your school.) Missing some messages? We’ve been having some issues this fall, and are considering a change to a new provider that combines the functions of School Messenger and Remind. And speaking of closings, remember Winter Break starts Monday, December 19, and kids return to school on Tuesday, January 3.

School Board UpdatesSCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS AND BUDGET PROCESS
Find December’s “Mini-Minutes” here with updates on several areas reported in this newsletter. Next meeting is January 5. Find the full calendar of budget meetings and input opportunities here. Interested in future meetings? Sign up to receive notices of School Board meetings.

More Looks at Cville Schools

Chris Long chatting with Venable fans

Giving back: Charlottesville City Schools students are big fans of NFL veteran Chris Long, and it’s not just because he’s a two-time Super Bowl champion. Thanks to the Chris Long Foundation, our division now has an EdZone Essential Needs Closet in all six of our elementaries. On Wednesday morning Long came to Venable to launch the initiative and hang out with some young fans. Photo by Jack Looney.

Black Men Meet-Up at CHS

Strengthening community bonds: Thank you to the more than 40 people who came to the Black Men Meet-up at CHS last week to meet students and discuss ways to support our schools. The diverse group of Black men included political leaders, community advocates, Cville Schools staff, members of the military, and more. Thanks to the Alliance for Black Male Achievement for their partnership! To get connected with this effort, contact Denise Johnson, johnsod2@charlottesvilleschools.org.

Cville students Exploring Foods

Let’s eat! Food is about nourishment, culture and community. At Lugo-McGinness Academy (left), students plan and prepare special meals for their classmates and teachers in their Neighborhood Kitchen program. Through our partnership with Cultivate Charlottesville, students enjoy local produce every month: December was spinach (right)! And, this Wednesday, all cafeterias will be serving a halal chicken sandwich (as always there will also be a vegetarian option as well).

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Illustration of world history, including map, globe, books

Charlottesville School Board Statement about Virginia’s Revised History Standards

Illustration of world history, including map, globe, books

December 1, 2022

To the members of the State Board of Education,

We, the members of the Charlottesville School Board, are writing to request that the Board return to its usual process of consideration and approval of the state’s K-12 history standards as developed and recommended in August 2022 by history educators, professors, historians, parents, and others. We strongly encourage the VDOE to stay the course on its longstanding commitment to developing a more inclusive and honest curriculum.

The “August” Revisions

Throughout 2020-22, our Commonwealth trusted a committee of history educators, historians, museum professionals, parents, and community groups to conduct the scheduled seven-year revision of our state history standards. Over the course of two years, in a very public fashion, this committee made thoughtful and informed decisions. In addition, this work built upon the efforts and recommendations of Virginia’s 2020 African American History Education Commission. We would like the Board to follow its usual procedures to consider and then adopt these standards.

The “November” Alternate Standards

By contrast, the surprise alternate standards announced by the Youngkin administration on a Friday night in November were hastily developed by a consultant without public input and without the participation of the VDOE subject-area experts.This led to a number of ill-informed recommendations, such as omitting African American history to such a degree that not even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was included in the original version. The idea that Virginia’s indigenous tribes and communities would be portrayed as “immigrants” is also inaccurate and offensive. Units of study about ancient China and Mali were both removed from the K-5 curriculum. These errors and omissions underscore the haste of the process, the lack of public review, and the political motivation to prioritize White, European perspectives. After the Board correctly rejected these November standards, there is now a consideration of merging the August and November standards, but a quick mash-up of the two sets will not lead to a thoughtful or cohesive curriculum.

A Shared Goal to Teach Our Whole History

The Governor has stated that his goal is “to teach our history, the good and the bad.” As parents, teachers, and students have recently shared in public comment, Virginians agree that our students should be learning whole-truth history that explores multiple perspectives and experiences. The best way to do that is to consider and adopt the original August recommendations and to follow the VDOE’s own time-honored approval processes.

This past spring in Charlottesville, a group of fourth-grade students at Clark Elementary explored our own schools’ desegregation story and then wrote letters to members of the Charlottesville 12, those Black students who bravely integrated all-white schools in 1959. As part of the students’ letters, one common theme emerged: “It was hard to learn this history, but I am glad we did.” Please take the steps to assure that Virginia’s students continue to have access to a curriculum that is challenging but rewarding, one that builds understanding, empathy, and a sense of connectedness to the people of our past, present, and future. Thank you for your service!

Charlottesville City School Board

Lisa Larson-Torres, Chair
James Bryant, Vice-Chair
Lashundra Bryson Morsberger
Emily Dooley
Sherry Kraft
Jennifer McKeever
Dom Morse


On Friday night, November 11, 2022, Gov. Youngkin’s administration released an alternate set of proposed history standards for K-12 students in Virginia. The governor’s proposed new standards would replace the draft learning standards developed by state and local social studies leaders, community groups, parents, social studies teachers, university professors, museum specialists, and historians  in August 2022. The August standards were created over a two-year process, and social studies leaders consider the August version of the social studies standards to be more inclusive and more aligned with teaching whole truth history.

By contrast, some have described Gov. Youngkin’s standards as regressive in nature and Eurocentric. Historians, history leaders, and community members have accused the Youngkin administration of “whitewashing” in the alternate standards made this November. For instance, Gov. Youngkin’s new standards remove the curriculum changes that were implemented as part of the 2020 African American History Education Commission. Additionally, the November standards removed all Mali and Ancient China from the Elementary standards. Indigenous communities across the state have spoken against the new standards referring to indigenous groups as “the nation’s first immigrants.” Critics say that in addition to taking a step backwards towards yesteryear’s history standards, the Youngkin administration is not following best practices for transparency, adhering to previous approval processes, or allowing adequate time for review.

Following an outcry at a public hearing on Thursday, the Virginia Board of Education has asked for a slow-down to the process. They have requested that the Youngkin administration revise their draft standards, and they have requested a comparison chart for (A) the existing 2015 standards, (B) the August revisions recommended by historians and social studies leaders, and (C) the standards proposed by the Youngkin administration. The Board’s request to combine the Youngkin standards with previous state standards fell short of some critics’ request to simply return to the August 2022 recommendations of historians/history teachers. There will be additional review processes to come. The Board is anticipated to vote on the revisions sometime this winter.

For clarity, the history standards are updated at least every seven years, and most revisions are put out for public comment and then approved (sometimes with corrections or edits) by the Virginia Board of Education.

Timeline:

  • 2015: Virginia’s K-12 history standards updated
  • 2020: African American History Education Commission (AAHEC) makes recommendations for more inclusive history, which are then incorporated.
  • August 2022: Historians/history teachers make their recommended 7-year updates to the standards, maintaining and expanding the recommendations of the AAHEC
  • Fall 2022: Youngkin administration delays approval of the 7-year update
  • Nov 11, 2022: Youngkin administration  releases alternative history standards created by the Youngkin administration and paid consultants and sets aside usual processes
  • Nov 17, 2022: After outcry at public hearing, Virginia Board of Education slows down the approval process for the Youngkin administration’s standards, asks for revisions to the Youngkin standards, and requests comparison chart showing the 2015 standards, the historians’ proposed 2022 revisions, and the Youngkin administration’s alternative standards

This page gives links to recent reporting and statements about the process, as well as some action steps for people to give feedback about the process or the Governor’s proposed history standards.

Links to Reporting and Draft Standards

Want to Share Your Voice? Consider These Steps

  1. Stay tuned with this process.

  2. As developments emerge, you can email comments to emily.webb@doe.virginia.govboe@doe.virginia.govsuperintendent@doe.virginia.gov, and aimee.guidera@governor.virginia.gov.

Name Recommendations Announced for Clark and Venable

Like many communities, universities, and K-12 schools across the country, Charlottesville City Schools is aware that our schools’ names send a message to our students, staff, and community and should therefore reflect our values.

Update on School Names

After two years of public feedback, the division’s Naming of Facilities Committee is recommending new names for the first two schools discussed. Although the committee considered keeping or modifying the names Venable and Clark, in the end, members decided that maintaining the original names in any way would continue to uphold the original, problematic namesakes. The final step of the process was for third and fourth graders at the two schools to vote:

  • At Venable, students selected Trailblazers Elementary by a wide margin. The name:
    • honors the Charlottesville 12, their parents, and other early Cville Schools desegregation heroes 
    • is an invitation for students to continue blazing new trails today. 
  • At Clark, students chose Friendship Elementary by a narrow margin. 
    • The name Friendship Elementary honors the relationships that are at the heart of a school and references the current name of Friendship Court, which anchors the school in a geographic place that is home to many Clark students. The name of Friendship Court is subject to change as part of the facility’s redesign.
    • The second-place vote at Clark was Summit Elementary, which evoked the school’s mountain views and the goal of encouraging students to reach new heights. 

The Board questioned the small margin of voting (5 votes) between Clark’s two names. They requested the community’s feedback on the selection of a new name for Clark between “Friendship” and “Summit.” To express your opinion, email schoolboard@charlottesvilleschools.org prior to the January 5 meeting.

 

History

  • The Naming of Facilities Committee was formed in 2020. You can find information about their past meetings and work below.
  • After a pandemic pause, the division’s Naming of Facilities Committee  (formed of teachers, parents, administrators, community members, etc.) resumed work this year. The first schools they are focused on are Clark and Venable.

What’s Being Decided?

  • After two years of forums, surveys, conversations and more, the committee recently made the decision to select new names for both Clark and Venable and has committed to not selecting names that honor individuals. At the last community forum (Oct. 19), participants directed the committee to send any final questions back to the schools for input, so 3rd- and 4th-graders are holding elections on the possible new names.
  • At Venable, the final two options were Trailblazers Elementary (in honor of the Venable 9, their parents, and other early Cville Schools desegregation pioneers AND in the spirit of encouraging our students to continue blazing new trails) and 14th Street Elementary (in honor of the street where the school is located, as a geographic connection to the school’s Civil Rights history).
  • At Clark, the final two options are Friendship Elementary (for the relationships that are at the heart of our schools and the Friendship Court neighborhood where so many Clark students live) and Summit Elementary (since Clark sits on a hilltop with views of the summits of the Blue Ridge Mountains and since reaching a summit evokes the idea of accomplishing goals and reaching new heights).
  • Students at both schools also have the option of write-in votes.

What Was the Community Input?

  • As reflected in the October 2022 survey, there was an overwhelming majority of people in the community who felt that the schools should no longer maintain a connection with their original namesakes. There was mixed opinion about whether to select brand-new names or “repurpose” the names Clark and Venable and find new namesakes. Ultimately the committee decided that to maintain the names – even with new namesakes – would uphold the connection to two people who directly enslaved people, perpetuated damaging myths about slavery, and/or led in the genocide against Native Americans.
  • At the community forum on October 19, 2022, participants directed the committee to use their own judgment and to see further input from the schools for any remaining questions.
  • Venable third- and fourth-graders voted during the week of November 7; Clark third- and fourth-graders will vote on November 21.

School Names Committee

Beginning in the fall of 2020, the superintendent convened a committee to review our schools’ names. The committee took a pause to address the pandemic, a new superintendent, and other matters, but is now resuming work. Updates from the committee will be posted to this page. 

Click here to sign up to receive email updates

Resources for the Committee

Community member Phil Varner has compiled historical resources and information on our schools’ namesakes and the original process for naming our schools. You can find a brief introduction to the namesakes and a 56-page research compilation.

If you have additional materials that you believe are relevant and helpful, please email schoolnames@charlottesvilleschools.org so that this process can be as informed and complete as possible.

Notes from Committee Meetings (listed oldest to most recent)

Reporting/Media Coverage

City schools to review names of Clark, Venable elementaries first (Daily Progress, April 29, 2021)

Revised Draft Calendar for 2023-24 School Year

Revised Draft Calendar and Survey for 2023-24

Revised Draft Calendar for 2023-24 School YearThanks to all the people (more than 1200!) who filled out the recent calendar survey about our initial draft calendar. We received divided feedback about the various elements of the draft calendar, including the idea of starting a week earlier, having a week off at Thanksgiving, and how important it is to mirror Albemarle County Public Schools’ calendar.

As a result, we are going to hit “pause” on the bigger changes. One theme of the community feedback was “if you’re going to make these larger changes to the calendar, we’d need more advanced notice.” Therefore, our calendar committee will resume work this spring to gather feedback about options for the 2024-25 school year.

We will present a more traditional calendar for the Board on December 1 (the soonest the Board will vote will be January 5).  This revised draft calendar aligns more closely (but not perfectly) with ACPS’s Draft Calendar 1 (one of two calendars they have proposed). You can give your feedback on this draft of the calendar, below.  Find a printable PDF of the revised calendar here.

Complete our Second Calendar Survey

Revised Draft Calendar for 2023-24 School Year

 

Comments about the calendar:

  • Spring break: Our practice is to designate the first full week of April as our spring break. We are sometimes asked, “Can’t you align spring break with U.Va.’s?”   U.Va.’s spring break is typically near the beginning of March, which for K-12 students would make for a very long stretch without a break later in the spring. So while we recognize that this would be a good solution for U.Va. families, we feel that it doesn’t represent the interests of all our students and staff. A 2016 survey indicated that a majority of respondents favored keeping spring break during the first week of April.
  • Religious Holidays: Our practice is not to observe religious holidays as school holidays (but we do try to avoid scheduling special events on major religious holidays). Students or staff who wish to be absent to observe a religious holiday are encouraged to do so.
  • History about the calendar development: For over a decade, the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school divisions have worked together for a common calendar, although the two calendars are not always identical. A joint committee works together to create draft calendars, and then we ask for input from students, teachers, administration, and parents. If necessary, the committee makes revisions to the drafts before submitting the recommended calendar(s) to the two school boards for approval. In November 2022, ACPS indicated that developing a shared calendar is not a priority for 2023-24.

November 2022 News and Highlights

 

A Word from Dr. Gurley

Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr.Dear families and staff,

Our community is going through so much right now. Between the gun violence in our community this fall, the UVA shootings last weekend, and multiple hoax 911 calls that have prompted school lockdowns, we are grieving and afraid and tired.

And yet: our schools continue to be a place of hope and growth. Pre-K teachers gather their students around them to enjoy a book. Elementary students write about what they want to be when they grow up (a few examples from Clark: a teacher, a doctor, a pizzamaker). CHS band members learn from JMU musicians. And students work for change: On Friday afternoon Buford students rallied against gun violence, calling for safety and peace while supporting one another (see photo below).

As Thanksgiving approaches, I count the many blessings of our school community. I am so grateful to each one of you for what you bring to our table. Enjoy your time off this week (no school Wednesday-Friday).

With love,
Royal A. Gurley, Jr.

Buford students: End gun violence. Photo by Mike Kropf

“End the gun violence”: Buford students held a walkout Friday to raise awareness about gun violence and honor area victims, including the UVA students killed. Photo by Mike Kropf, Daily Progress. 

Cropped 23-24 Academic CalendarDRAFT CALENDAR: GIVE FEEDBACK TONIGHT
[This information is now outdated. Please find the latest information here.] As a reminder, please review the draft calendar for the 23-24 school year and take a brief survey. Consider asking your student to complete the survey, as well! This calendar has some significant changes (including a proposed week off at Thanksgiving and moving start/end dates up by a week), so your input is especially welcome. In addition, the calendar committee requests feedback about how important it is for our calendar to align with Albemarle County Public Schools’. The calendar committee of teachers, parents, and administrators values your input, so please be sure to complete the survey before it closes tomorrow morning!

Chris Long Foundation logoCHRIS LONG FOUNDATION LAUNCHES EDZONE CLOSETS
Later this month, we’ll celebrate the launch of a new partnership with the Chris Long Foundation to establish EdZone closets at all elementary schools. The EdZone closets will offer students essential items, such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, menstrual hygiene products, deoderant, clean socks and underwear, and seasonal items like umbrellas, hats, and gloves. Items will be distributed in a private and respectful manner by staff who already supporting students on a daily basis (such as school administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses, or social workers). Thanks to the Chris Long Foundation for its ongoing support of our students! Learn more here.

Golf State Champ Preston BurkeATHLETICS UPDATES: GOLF STATE CHAMP AND MORE!
Congratulations to CHS’s first-ever golf state champion, Preston Burton! After setting many golf records and leading the team to fourth place at states, Preston recently signed to play golf and continue his studies at William & Mary. Congrats to Preston, his teammates, and Coach Josh O’Grady! In addition, ninth grader Elaina Pierce won the Jefferson District Cross Country Championship and broke the school record with a 5k time of 18:31. Senior football player Eddison Duolo earned the Falcon Player of Week honor earlier this month. Head football coach Eric Sherry, who is stepping down from the role after twelve years, mentored countless players like Eddison: Thank you, Coach Sherry. And finally, welcome to new athletic director Andy Jones, a longtime CHS employee who previously managed Buford’s athletics.

Safety Flyer (cropped) for Family University: School SafetyQUESTIONS ABOUT SAFETY? REGISTER FOR FAMILY UNIVERSITY DECEMBER 8
We know that shootings in our community and hoax calls in our schools have made this fall a challenging season for many of our students, families, and staff. Join us on Thursday, December 8, 5:30-7pm, to learn more about the safety efforts in place in our schools, as well as action steps for families. Register and submit questions here.

Two Buford Theatre Students with MedalsTHEATRE SUCCESS AT BUFORD AND CHS
CHS and Buford theater students had an impressive showing at the recent Virginia Theater Association Festival. Buford’s one-act play, “The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet,” received an Excellence in Performance & a Special Judges Award for Best Energy. Five students were selected as All Star Cast Members and Giana Bricker was named Best Actor! CHS’s one-act play, “The Book of Will,” received superior ratings. Senior Conrad Heins received 1st place for scenic design of “Hairspray” and junior Emerson Norton received second place for costume design for “Hairspray.” Additionally, at the Jefferson District One-Act festival, senior Stella Gunn’s student-written and student-directed production of “No Home But Ropes and Stakes” received 1st place, with Best Actor awarded to senior Gian Serrano. When the play moved on to regional competition, ninth grader Olivia Colvin received the actor award recognition. Congratulations to theater directors David Becker (CHS) and Paula Chanda (Buford)!

World History illustrationUPDATE ON VIRGINIA’S K-12 HISTORY STANDARDS
Gov. Youngkin’s administration has set aside the usual process for approving K-12 history standards developed by history teachers and historians. Instead, on Nov. 11, his administration released an alternative curriculum. Following an outcry at a public hearing on Thursday, the Virginia Board of Education has asked for a slow-down to the process. Learn more here.

Illustration of Apple with CCS Logo: Nominate a Great Teacher!NOMINATE A TEACHER FOR THE GOLDEN APPLE AWARD
It’s time to submit nominations for the 2023 Golden Apple Awards for Teaching Excellence in Charlottesville and Albemarle! The deadline to honor one of your child’s amazing educators is Monday, January 23. Winners receive a $500 grant for classroom materials or professional development. Click here for the online nomination form. Teachers who have won in the last 3 years are not eligible to win again. Thanks to Mr. Richard Nunley and Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry for their generous support of these awards!

Clark Elementary School in fallSCHOOL NAMES UPDATE FOR CLARK & VENABLE ELEMENTARY
The division’s Naming of Facilities Committee is finalizing its recommendations for the future names of Clark and Venable Elementary, which will both have new names. As one of the final steps in the process, third and fourth graders at the two schools have been holding elections about which new names the schools will have. After a final review, the committee will send recommendations to the School Board in December, with a vote in January. Learn more here.

Illustration of coatsTEMPERATURES ARE DROPPING — CONSIDER DONATING A COAT TO OUR COAT DRIVE
Our Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team is hosting a coat drive through December 9 to make sure that all of our students stay warm this winter. They are accepting donations of new coats dropped off at any school (or the division annex offices behind CHS). One shopping option is Burlington Coat Factory, which just celebrated its opening in town with a $5,000 classroom supplies grant to Greenbrier Elementary. Or find wishlists at Amazon or Walmart. The FACE team is particularly looking for outwear that fits older students, who don’t always want an actual coat, instead preferring a vest or hoodie such as a sherpa-lined fleece.

Flute player in CHS bandCHS BAND EARNS INVITATION TO ROME!
Congratulations, Marching Knights, for an amazing showing at the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative Tournament of Champions: winner of first place in its class, best general effect, best music and best visuals. In addition, this week, the band received an official invitation to perform in the prestigious Rome New Year’s Eve Parade in 2023/24. Go Band and Director Jason Hackworth!

Lugo-McGinness AcademyLUGO-MCGINNESS EARNS $45,000 GRANT
Congratulations to Lugo-McGinness Academy for securing the second year of a $45,025 Virginia Department of Education K-12 School Innovation Grant. LMA provides an alternative setting for students in grades 9-12, and the grant supports LMA’s efforts to empower students to be changemakers in their school and communities.

School Board UpdatesSCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS AND BUDGET PROCESS
Find November’s “Mini-Minutes” here with updates on areas such as state-driven staff bonuses, our growing number of ESL students, and the latest on transportation, safety, literacy, strategic planning, and more. On October 20, there was a budget work session. Watch video here. To learn more about the data from our recent public budget survey, click here for video. Find the full calendar of budget meetings and input opportunities here. Interested in future meetings? Sign up to receive notices of School Board meetings.

More Looks at Cville Schools

Investigating the Rivanna River Watershed.

Fourth graders from across the division visited Camp Albemarle this fall for an amazing hands-on experience learning about the Rivanna River Watershed. Similarly, Buford students conducted water-quality testing activities in the creek behind CHS.

Venable and CHS AVID

Our students are learning the ropes, whether on the playground at Venable (left) or at a ropes course in Richmond (CHS AVID students, right).

Chance2Dance at Walker

Walker students recently showcased new dance skills learned through the school’s partnership with Charlottesville Ballet, Chance2Dance.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Logos for Chris Long Foundation and Ed Zone

Chris Long Foundation Launches EdZone Partnership with Charlottesville City Schools

EdZone program begins impacting Charlottesville youth through distribution of essential needs items


Charlottesville, VA
— On Wednesday, November 30th, the Chris Long Foundation and Charlottesville City Schools officially launched the latest component of the Foundation’s new EdZone program: the distribution of essential needs items at all six CCS elementary schools during the 2022-2023 school year.

Chris Long launching EdZone Closets with students and Principal Chantel Beverly
Chris Long launching EdZone Closets with students and Principal Chantel Beverly. Photo courtesy Jack Looney.

Ed Zone LogoEach elementary school (Burnley-Moran, Clark, Greenbrier, Jackson-Via, Johnson, Venable) will identify a dedicated space (an “EdZone closet”) where students can access basic supplies that many other students take for granted. Essential needs items include things like soap, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste, menstrual hygiene products, deodorant, clean socks and underwear, and seasonal items like umbrellas, hats, and gloves.

Chris Long Foundation LogoIn close consultation with participating schools to assess and determine student needs, CCS’ Coordinator of Family and Student Engagement will procure and distribute these essential needs items to the elementary schools through a central storeroom at the CCS Division Administrative Annex at Charlottesville High School. Elementary school students in need will be identified by professional staff who are already supporting them on a daily basis (e.g., school administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses, social workers) and can help them access items from the EdZone closet in a way that respects their dignity and privacy. The Foundation has future plans to support periodic drive-through “Response to Essential Needs” events at Charlottesville High School, where all CCS families can pick up bags of essential needs items and grocery cards.

“There’s evidence that students who are not getting these basic needs met can suffer from stress and low self-esteem. It can cause them to feel disconnected from their classmates and even miss school, all of which affects how they feel about being at school and ultimately, their performance,” said Chris Long, founder of the Chris Long Foundation. “The goal of our EdZone partnership with CCS is to support student success by ensuring kids arrive at school comfortable, confident, and ready to learn.”

“We are so appreciative of the support from the Chris Long Foundation, with their vision for meeting students’ needs in ways that are respectful. The EdZone closets will make a big impact,” commented Chantel Beverly, principal at Venable Elementary School, which is hosting the program launch.

Superintendent Dr. Royal Gurley agreed: “When I arrived at Charlottesville City Schools last year, the wide diversity of our students’ experiences was immediately apparent. One step toward eradicating academic disparities is to truly make our students feel welcome, supported, and equipped to succeed. We thank Chris Long and the Foundation for being such good partners in this work.”

A generous group of local individual donors, foundations, and businesses stepped up to fully fund the launch of EdZone. Funders include Better Living Building Supply, Woodard Properties, Diane and Howie Long, Pam and Frank Edmonds, the Genan Foundation, Ellen and Michael Geismar, and Frank Saul Construction.

EdZone is the newest program created by the Chris Long Foundation to advance educational equity issues in communities around the United States. Over the next year the program will expand to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and St. Louis, Missouri, two cities where Long played in the NFL. EdZone also distributes high-quality, culturally-relevant books in schools to advance student literacy and develop a lifelong love of reading. In May 2022, in partnership with FirstBook and Charlottesville City Schools, the Foundation distributed over 2,500 books at Burnley-Moran Elementary School. Chris Long served as a guest reader for the event and engaged with students about his own school experience, his family and interests, and his time in the NFL. The Foundation also supported two CCS “Response to Essential Needs” drive-through events in December 2020 and December 2021.

About the Chris Long Foundation
The Chris Long Foundation is a nonprofit, founded by two-time Super Bowl Champion and 2018 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, Chris Long. By bringing together a community of elite athletes and passionate fans, the Chris Long Foundation relentlessly serves our overlooked neighbors, both domestic and international, by creating solutions for clean water and education access. Visit www.chrislongfoundation.org to find out more.

About Charlottesville City Schools
Charlottesville City Schools serves approximately 4500 students in nine schools, from three-year-olds in preschool to students who qualify for services after high school. By meeting each student’s personal and academic needs, the schools are committed to ending the predictability of life outcomes based on factors such as race and poverty. Learn more at charlottesvilleschools.org.

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.

 

 

Renovated lab spaces at CATEC support the new IT partnership with CISCO.

Charlottesville School Board Statement about CATEC

For over 50 years CATEC has successfully existed as a joint operation between ACPS and CCS as equal financial partners, all as documented by our written partnership agreement that dates back to 1969.

This is further evidenced by our recent investment of millions of dollars into the physical infrastructure that comprises the CATEC facility, not to mention our continuous investment in CATEC’s curriculum and operations.

To date, we have had surface level discussions with ACPS which resulted in our having questions on behalf of our students around the future operation and governance of CATEC in the event of a change in ownership.

We were scheduled to meet with ACPS about this last month, but they abruptly cancelled that meeting. They have yet to reschedule or to address those concerns.

We are very perplexed that ACPS’ next step was to make an announcement to the media and participate without us—their partner—the October 21 Daily Progress article.

At no time did we understand from ACPS that their decision is predicated on modernizing the facility; if that were the case, surely we, as ACPS’ equal financial partner, would have been brought into that discussion.

Rather, we understand that, while there is some intent to modernize the campus, ACPS has bigger plans for its own expansion into the space. In any further reporting on this issue we encourage reporters to speak directly to ACPS about its specific plans.

We are hopeful for the future inclusion of CCS students, but how CCS students would be successfully integrated is unclear. For instance, something as simple as a bell schedule change could significantly reduce CHS students’ access to programming.

We have engaged licensed appraisers to help us value the real estate, personal property, and goodwill which comprise CATEC; this is contemplated by our long standing 1969 agreement and its intentional way of handling either party’s interest in leaving the partnership.

These steps will help us evaluate any offer ACPS brings, as well as potentially exercising our other options under the 1969 agreement.

As always, CCS will continue to prioritize our student’s needs as we continue to work to deliver quality educational programming for all of our stakeholders.

–Charlottesville School Board
October 21, 2022

October 2022 News & Highlights

 

A Word from the School Board

Dear families, students, and community members –

In response to the Youngkin administration’s proposed changes regarding the treatment of students who identify as transgender and non-binary, the Charlottesville City School Board strongly affirms Superintendent Dr. Gurley’s commitment to “continue to support our LGBTQ+ students, staff, parents/guardians, and others within our school communities.”

In this stance, we are supported by federal Title IX legislation, which extends school protections based on gender identity. In addition, our approach is in keeping with Virginia law, which requires the Virginia Department of Education to issue guidance to support transgender students according to “evidence-based best practices.” It’s worth noting that a recent attempt to legislatively overturn this law in Virginia failed. Our approach also follows our own nondiscrimination policy, which since 2013 has protected students based on gender expression and identity. On top of all this, protecting students is the right thing to do.

Read full message here.

Buford Free Book Bus

Nothing like a good book to get you dancing! Watch a video of Buford students and staff grooving to DJ Q while the Free Book Bus gave away 300+ books to 7th graders and their teachers. The Free Book Bus will be back at Buford this Friday for 8th graders. 

School supplies and "Back to School COVID Safe" signCOVID UPDATES AND REMINDERS
Our schools continue to practice COVID safety. Due to a classroom at one of our elementaries having four possibly related cases, we have shifted that classroom temporarily to virtual learning. This is the first time this year that a shift to virtual has been necessary, and we hope it will not be a common occurrence. Here are ways families can promote COVID safety:
— Wear masks (strongly recommended if there is a case in your class or when community transmission rates are at medium or high)
— Sign your child up for a booster (the bivalent booster targets both the original virus and the Omicron variant). Vaccines are widely available.
— Sign your child up for our free, weekly COVID testing program
— Follow our COVID dashboard

Upcoming days off for studentsCALENDAR REMINDERS: NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS 10/27-28 OR 11/7-8
At the end of October and beginning of November there are several days off of school for students:
Thursday, October 27 (Professional Learning Day) and Friday, October 28 (Teacher Workday),
Monday, November 7 (Teacher Workday) and Tuesday November 8 (Teacher Workday; also is Election Day).
Keep up with school dates by subscribing to our Google Calendar.

Clark SchoolSCHOOL NAME REVIEW FOR CLARK AND VENABLE
The committee that is reviewing the names of Clark and Venable elementaries would like community feedback via this survey. The survey explores the possibilities of keeping the names as-is, keeping the names but changing the people the names honor, and finding new names. A virtual community forum about these names will be held on Wednesday, October 19 at 5pm. Register here.

Cville School Bus (Daily Progress)BUS UPDATES IN NOVEMBER
The City continues to make regular, minor updates to bus routes and assignments. They have hired more drivers and will expand bus routes beginning November 9–this will impact all bus riders, and we will send out updated route information at that time. The City has also raised the drivers’ base wage to $21/hour. Families, thank you for your continued patience and support!

CUPE flyerFAMILY Q&A ORGANIZED BY CHARLOTTESVILLE UNITED
This Wednesday, October 12 at 7:30pm, advocacy nonprofit Charlottesville United for Public Education invites you to attend a virtual Q&A with school leaders and VMDO architects for updates ranging from transportation to the middle school modernization process. Learn more  |  Sign up

welcome in many languagesCVILLE SCHOOLS OPENS ESL WELCOME CENTER
Cville Schools has just opened a welcome center to help families whose primary language is not English. The budget-neutral center is a “one-stop shop” to help newly arrived families register for school, submit documentation, complete language-screening tests, and more. Another goal of the welcome center is to orient families to our schools and community with resources such as the “Welcome to Charlottesville” coloring book developed in many languages by Charlottesville’s Free Book Bus. Finally, we’d like to connect newcomers to a friendly face with experience helping ESL families. The welcome center is open at the division’s central office annex at the back of CHS, Tuesday and Thursdays, 8:30am-3:30pm or by appointment. Call 434-245-2421 with questions.

Logo for VA's School-Based COVID Testing ProgramsKEY DATES FOR DEVELOPING NEXT YEAR’S BUDGET
At last Thursday’s School Board meeting, the Board approved the calendar of meetings to develop next year’s budget. Thanks to all who have completed the initial input survey (we’ve received more than 400 responses so far). If you haven’t yet, please fill out the survey by end-of-day tomorrow (Tuesday). Data will be shared as part of the Board’s upcoming work session on October 20. Due to the need to ease our reliance on one-time federal COVID money as well as inflationary pressures, your input is especially valued.

UVA Football Ticket FlyerFREE TICKETS TO UVA-UNC FOOTBALL GAME
UVA Athletics is offering the Cville Schools community two free tickets per household to the UVA-UNC football game on November 5 (gametime TBD). Additional tickets can be purchased for $10. Request/purchase tickets here.

Spanish Flyer for Family University Workshop (cropped)FAMILY UNIVERSITY: ACCESSING MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Our next Family University will be on Thursday, October 13, from 5:30-6:30pm. We hope you can join us to learn more about using the mental health resources our schools offer! The flyer at left is shown in Spanish because we’ll have a Spanish-speaking break-out room, too.

¡Tendremos una sala de Zoom en español! Register here.

Clear Bag Sign CHSCLEAR BAG POLICY AT CHS TICKETED EVENTS
As part of our ongoing efforts to promote safety, we are joining Albemarle County Public Schools and UVA in piloting a clear-bag policy for spectators and audience members at CHS-sponsored ticketed events. The pilot will be in place through the first semester, and if we make any further changes, we will keep you posted. Find details here.

School Board UpdatesSCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS AND UPDATES
The School Board usually meets the first Thursday of the month at 5pm in the media center at CHS. You can join in person, via Facebook, or via Zoom. Here are mini-minutes from the recent October meeting as well as last month’s September meeting. Interested in future meetings? Sign up to receive notices of School Board meetings.

More Looks at Cville Schools

PreK iSTEM at Greenbrier

Yep, that’s a lemon! These three-year-olds in pre-K at Greenbrier tested which snacks would float or sink, then had a taste…science is truly a journey of discovery! 

Kaydan Lawson of UVA Women's Basketball visiting Johnson

UVA Women’s Basketball players like Kaydan Lawson visited Johnson Elementary to volunteer with math, reading and PE. Thank you, Hoos!

Thank you Custodians

We are so grateful to our custodians! Here are some of the ways our schools said thank you to “the keepers of the clean” for National Custodian Recognition Day on October 2. 

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

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.