What‘s Happening at School Division News

Strategic Planning logo

Strategic Planning for 2017-2023

Strategic Planning logoFrom now through June 2017, we will be casting a vision for Charlottesville City Schools that will guide us through 2023.  We will be listening, evaluating, dreaming, and planning.

We’ll be seeking broad community input:

  • Students, parents, staff, administrators, and community members are invited to participate!
  • We’ll have school-based and interest-based small groups for discussion throughout January (see schedule, below). If you’re interested in participating, email goodnews@charlottesvilleschools.org.
  • Want a glimpse of what changes might be coming here and across the nation? See the video links, below!
  • We’re hosting community-wide listening session on CHS on Wednesday, January 25 at 7pm — anyone can come!

Online survey!

Use this brief Google form to start sharing ideas or to let us know how you’d like to be involved. You might consider watching two short videos (see links, below) to “prime the pump” for your responses.

Schedule of Listening Sessions (dates added as they are scheduled):

Location Date Time
Venable (RSVP to principal) Thursday, 1/12 5:30pm
Burnley-Moran Tuesday, 1/17 6pm
Greenbrier  (RSVP to principal) Tuesday, 1/17 6pm
Johnson Thursday, 1/19 6:30pm (PTO at 6)
Community-Wide Meeting at CHS Wednesday, 1/25 7pm
Jackson-Via (RSVP to principal) Thursday, 1/26 6pm
Buford (part of Parent University) Thursday, 1/26 6:30pm
CHS (RSVP to principal) Monday, 1/30 6pm
Clark Tuesday, 1/31 5:30pm
Walker Tuesday, 2/7 7pm

Related Documents and Resources:

 

For More Information:

Jeff Faust, faustj1@charlottesvilleschools.org
Beth Cheuk, cheukb1@charlottesvilleschools.org
(434) 245-2962

Golden Apple Teacher Awards | Sponsored by Better Living Building Supply

Nominate a Teacher for the Golden Apple Awards!

Golden Apple Teacher Awards Logo

Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry is sponsoring the 16th Annual Golden Apple Awards for outstanding teachers in our community’s school systems.

Applications and information are available here.  Please return all forms to your principal by Thursday, February 2, 2017.

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About the Golden Apple Award

The Golden Apple Award is a means of selecting and honoring some of the most outstanding teachers in our community.  One winner will be selected from each school. Award recipients receive a Golden Apple, as well as gift certificates from local businesses. As a “Golden Apple” teacher, each recipient is eligible to receive a $1,000 Golden Apple Grant. Grants are awarded to eight candidates: three elementary, two middle, and two high school candidates, and one from the schools that are members of the VAIS. The grant award is used for classroom materials or to support the recipient’s continued professional development.

Eligibility

Candidates are teachers at any level (pre-school through grade 12) and in any discipline. Candidates for this award have demonstrated excellence in teaching and involvement in the community outside the school.

Golden Apple Award recipients who received this award within the past three years are not eligible for nomination.

Award Ceremony

Golden Apple Award recipients are invited to a reception in their honor on Thursday, May 11, 2017, in Lane Auditorium at the County Office Building on McIntire Road. Golden Apple grant recipients will be selected and announced at the reception.

student art of snowflakes

Closing Announcements: Customize Your Settings

student art of snowflakes
Art courtesy Anton, grade 4, Venable.

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. You can learn how to change your settings here (hint: the service we use is called School Messenger, and there’s a tab in PowerSchool).  If you have not yet set up your PowerSchool account, call 245-2943.

For general information about how we announce our school closings, click here. A flyer was also sent home with students.

Students working together with Legos

Highlights & News, December 2016

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December 8, 2016

Dear families—

Walker students visiting UVA athletes
Walker students hanging out with the Hoos.

On the radio this month, you can hear students from Walker School thanking community partners for the special programs they make possible. One student chose to thank City Schoolyard Garden for creating and supporting our garden classrooms, and for working with the Local Food Hub to support our “Harvest of the Month” fresh and local snack.  Another spoke about her swimming lessons at Walker, made possible by the City’s Parks and Recreation department and the Ben Hair -Just Swim for Life Foundation. Two students spoke about U.Va., the first thanking engineering students who helped Walker students learn to code and the second recognizing the university’s Fralin Museum of Art for sponsoring the Writer’s Eye competition. These are just a few of the partners that our students thanked, and the list goes on well beyond those they mentioned, from business and nonprofit partnerships to  extensive relationships with U.Va. and PVCC and other area school divisions.

Strategic Planning logoWe’re thankful for these partnerships.  We also recognize that our most important relationship is with you, the families of our students.  As we start the process of creating the strategic plan that will guide our schools for the next six years, we want to hear from you.  We’ll have one community-wide listening session on Wednesday, January 25, at 7pm at CHS.  We’d love to see you there.  We’ll also have smaller, school-based sessions for more in-depth conversations. If you’d like to be part of those groups, please contact your principal or write goodnews@charlottesvilleschools.org. If you only have time for a quick survey, click here.  However you participate, thank you!

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.  We’ll see your students back in school on Tuesday, January 3.

–Dr. Rosa S. Atkins

Division-Wide News

First draft of the 2017-18 calendar. To receive this data by phone or in an alternate format, please call 434-245-2962.Remember, following winter break (12/19-12/30), there is a teacher workday on Monday, January 2, 2017.  Students return to school on Tuesday, January 3.

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.

Communications logos: You can customize how you receive messages from us
Customize your settings in PowerSchool unless you want to receive early-morning calls about school closings.

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 goodnews@charlottesvilleschools.org. Learn more or take a brief survey here.

Polly Sibert and Laura Thomas
Award-winners Sibert and Thomas.

A big congratulations to Dr. Polly Sibert of Walker and Laura Mulligan Thomas of CHS. These two orchestra directors received statewide recognition this week for their continued excellence and leadership. Dr. Sibert won the JMU Outstanding Music Educator Award, given to one alum annually. Laura Thomas won the Philip Fuller Award from the VA Band/Orchestra Directors Association. Details are here.

The Charlottesville Schools community extends condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, and students of Patricia Stanton, who taught Latin at CHS for more than 40 years until her passing in November.

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. Chambers, highlighted by the Virginia Education Association
Mr. Chambers, highlighted by the VEA.

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!

CHS teachers Josh O’Grady and Zachary Bullock were able to present their experiences on the teaching  the “History of Sports in America” and implementing the “flipped classroom” at the annual conference of the National Council of Social Studies in DC.

Messrs. Bullock and O'Grady at the NCSS conference in DC.
Messrs. Bullock and O’Grady at the NCSS conference in DC.
Rodney Redd, CHS Athletic Director
Rodney Redd, CHS Athletic Director.

Rodney Redd was named athletic director at Charlottesville High School, bringing broad experience as an athletic director, coach, and teacher.  Welcome!

Our adult education programs were featured in a nice piece in the latest edition of the Virgnia Foundation for the Humanities’ magazine. 

In November, the Special Education Advisory Committee hosted a community discussion about how to prepare your child for “Life After High School, Now.”

Multi-aged kids coding at Johnson for "hour of code"
Multi-aged coders at Johnson for “Hour of Code.”

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.

 

CHS News

16-17 Zero Robotics programming team from CHS
16-17 Zero Robotics programming team from CHS.

The Zero Robotics programming team of the CHS BACON science club has coded their way to the top (again). At the end of round three of the competition, the team finished #2 (US) and #4 (world). For round four, they are partnered with teams from the UK and Australia. Good luck!

CHS’s pilot of a “double robot” allows student Ashton Ryan to attend his math class from home. Thanks to Ashton for working with us to see if this technology would be a good solution for students in the hospital or with other situations that keep them out of school. In addition to Charlottesville Tomorrow (see first link), NBC29 featured the story.

Alaijah Ragland. Image courtesy Ryan M. Kelly/Daily Progress.
Alaijah Ragland. Image courtesy Ryan M. Kelly/Daily Progress.

Basketball season’s underway, and the boys’ and girls’ teams are off to a strong start. In the first game of the season, Alaijah Ragland reached the rare milestone of scoring more than 1000 points in her high school career; she was also named Schewels Athlete of the Week.

Signs of unity and appreciation:  Link Crew, the CHS mentoring program, created a “Wall of Thanks” for students & staff. Click here to see a few of their notes.  And the “Becoming a Global Citizen” class created a unity display of posters reminding students that “we are black, white, Muslim, Christian,” (and more), and “we are unified, Americans, together, Black Knights.”

Matt Savage piano workshop
Matt Savage piano workshop.

Piano students enjoyed a workshop with sixteen-year-old prodigy Matt Savage. Savage, who is on the autism spectrum, has toured the world and performed for heads of state. Thanks to the Charlottesville Jazz Society for the opportunity!

The CHS marketing and finance department hosted a panel discussion with Union Bank reps to discuss financial planning as part of their EverFi programs. Students Maia Shortridge and Dyshe Smith and spoke as part of the event.

Ever Fi financial literacy event and Theatre CHS at LiveArts.
EverFi financial literacy event and Theatre CHS at LiveArts.

At this year’s one-act play conference and Virginia Theatre Association conference, Theatre CHS earned a variety of awards. Emma Strock was honored as “best actress” at the former, and at the latter, Elliot Craft got a nod for best actor, Patrick O’Shea earned 1st and 2nd in costume and scene design. CHS earned a shout-out for sound/music design, placed 2nd in Improvathon, and won an honorable mention for best one-act play for “The 39 Steps.” Finally, all six seniors earned college callbacks. You can see “The 39 Steps” at CHS from 12/9-11.

Senior night for volleyball
Senior night for volleyball.

Congratulations to the CHS football team, who ended their season in the regional semi-finals, after earning their first home play-off game in more than a decade.  Sabias Folley (for both offense and defense), Trejon Bryant,  Rakeem Davis, Larry Henderson,  Lorenzo Louderback, and Shandon Pritchett earned first-team all-conference honors. Davis was also named Falcon Club Player of the Week in November.

The volleyball team also qualified for the play-offs, and both the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams qualified for regionals.

DE environmental sciences analyzing data about the school's solar energy harvest
DE environmental sciences analyzing data about the school’s solar energy harvest.

Environmental science students at CHS have been busy, whether they are heading outside to do water testing in McIntire Park or analyzing the data of for the energy gained from the school’s solar panels.

Mr. Bullock’s history students “visited” the Great Wall of China thanks to Google Virtual Reality, while Mr. Deegan’s students explored history by way of Broadway, examining lyrics from Hamilton.

Coding artists.
Coding artists.

Art students have been using scratch programming to add sound  to their art.  Does that maken them enginartists?

Kibiriti Majuto ’17 was featured in an article in The Atlantic, titled “The Refugee who Became Class President.” Kibiriti is a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and serves as the CHS senior class president, among other leadership roles in the school and community.

Choir singing national anthem. Courtesy Ashley Thornton/ScrimmagePlay
Choir singing national anthem. Courtesy Ashley Thornton/ScrimmagePlay.

The CHS choir sang the national anthem at the last home (regular season) football game, and the Sirens (an all-female a cappella group) sang at U.Va.’s annual Lighting of the Lawn. In addition, the band performed at the City’s Veterans Day celebration.

Opening of the CHS student-run writing lab.
Opening of the CHS student-run writing lab.

Need help writing a paper?  You’re in luck, because there is now a student-run CHS writing lab operating during lunch hours.

CATEC students continue their successful launch of their new CISCO partnership for IT certification. Culinary students also held their annual Thanksgiving fundraiser, offering pies and other holiday dishes, and nursing students hosted a blood drive.

Walker and Buford News

Marco Lopez with his award-winning art
Marco Lopez with his award-winning art.

Eighth-grader Marco Lopez won the middle-school category of the Charlottesville Public Works’ “Imagine a Day without Water” art contest. Congratulations!

Seventh-graders were able to enjoy a performance “Black Angels Over Tuskegee” at the Paramount Theatre, telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Buford students volunteering at Johnson Elementary
Volunteering at Johnson Elementary.

The waiting list is long for Buford students who want to spend their lunch going to neighboring Johnson Elementary to help young friends read. The weekly program is so popular that a once-per-quarter limit has been implemented for Buford students.

Buford students explored a wide variety of futures on career day, with visits from more than 20 professionals ranging from video game programmer, radio talk host, police officer, lawyers, real estate agent, human resource officer, public relations staffer, UVA softball coach, former pro athlete, ACAC fitness trainer, and even a UVA scientist who brought in some human brains!  Thanks to all who offered their time.

Career day at Buford
Career day at Buford — games, brains, and more!
Students meeting with military re-enactors on Veterans Day
Learning about history on Veterans Day.

Buford students celebrated Veterans Day three ways. Civics students attend Veterans’ Day events at the Jefferson School African American History Center.  The school held a program with area vets who shared their stories of military service. And the band performed in the celebrations at Highland.

The National Junior Honor Society was able to attend the Charlottesville TedEx program in November, exploring the “Power of One,” which happens to be the Buford group’s theme, as well.  How will you be the one to stand up for others?

Walker and Buford students in the schools’ Stage Left Theatre are preparing for their family-friendly winter production of Beauty & the Beast, which has been rescheduled for January 24 at 6:30pm at Walker.  Break a leg!

Colonial Day at Walker Shcool
Colonial Day at Walker School.

History students in sixth grade enjoyed a colonial market activity.  As seen in the photo, Connecticut offered maple syrup, apple cider, and smiles.

Walker teachers prove that it’s not all-work-and-no-play. Prior to the Thanksgiving Break, they offered a staff talent show for students, ranging from music to comedy. Outside, the students showed their own talents by conquering some obstacle course-like challenges set up by the Charlottesville Police Department.

Peace Squad teaching the power of "One"
Peace Squad teaching the power of “One.”

The Walker Peace Squad hit the road to all six Charlottesville elementary schools, presenting their own adaptation of the award-winning picture book One.  After their play, Walker students led their elementary friends in a discussion of the book and ways to stand up for kindness in their schools. Continuing the theme of kindness, back at Walker, students and teachers celebrated a wacky, tacky dress-up day to show that it’s wacky to be mean.

Walker School’s annual Bingo Night included some new faces — the school invited future Walker families to join in the fun.

hand-made cards sold by functional skills class
Cards from the functional skills class.
Students testing a green roof design
Testing a green roof design.

Students in the functional skills classroom have started a small business called Hands-On greeting cards. They make and sell cards for holidays, birthdays, and general notes.

Walker students have been hanging out with U.Va. athletes lately, including tickets to the November 21  women’s basketball game, for which Walker students designed the team’s warm-up gear and participated in half-time activities.

Elementary News

Children at the elementary tailgate party at CHS
Friday Knight Lights: future CHS cheerleaders.

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.

Monticello magic -- something for each of our second-graders.
Monticello magic — something for each of our second-graders.

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.

Students building a structure to protect lettuce from frost
Protecting lettuce from the freeze.

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.

Students conducting a science experiment with cabbage in the garden
Experimenting in the garden at BME.

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.

Multiplying with cookies
Multiplying with cookies at Clark.

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.

Loading the truck for the food drive at Greenbrier
Loading the truck for the food drive at Greenbrier.

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!

Family collecting kale from the garden's harvest
Sharing the garden’s harvest with families at Jackson-Via.

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.

International Day at Johnson
International Day at Johnson.

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!

Students working together with Legos
Working together at Venable.

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).

School Board Update

Student demonstrating double robot to School Board
Ashton Ryan demonstrating the double-robot system to the School Board. Image courtesy Cville Tomorrow/Aaron Richardson.

At their November meeting, the Board voted to renew Dr. Atkins’ contract as superintendent.  They heard updates on the long-term facilities planning, reviewed key measures of academic success, and learned about the process for developing the school division’s 2017-2023 strategic plan (see Superintendent’s letter, above for ways to get involved).  They also participated in a demo of the school division’s piloting of a “double robot” system to allow students to attend class virtually.  In their December meeting, the Board discussed a possible raise to the rates of the CLASS program’s summer program, possible new course additions at CHS for 2017-18, a draft of the 2017-18 school calendar, and more.

Upcoming Events

CATEC's new tech labs to support its partnership with CISCO
CATEC’s new tech labs to support its partnership with CISCO

Upcoming events include:

  • CHS Holiday Pops Concert, 12/8, 7pm, MLKPAC
  • Multiple elementary concerts, 12/13 (Burnley-Moran’s is on 12/15)
  • CATEC Open House, 12/14, 5pm
  • Multi-School (Walker, Buford, CHS) Band Concert, 12/14. Walker beginner band at Walker at 6:30pm; the other Walker, Buford, CHS bands will be at MLKPAC at 7:30pm
  • Engineering Expo at Buford (for current and future students & families), 12/15, 6pm
  • 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
  • CHS Curriculum Fair, 1/10,  5-7, CHS Atrium
  • 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 Peter and the Wolf, 1/21,  3pm, MLKPAC
  • No School for Teacher Workday, 1/23
  • 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
  • Buford offers Parent University, 1/26, 6pm

Curious about next year’s calendar? Review the draft!

Remember that you can subscribe to our Google calendar of school holidays and as well as Google calendars for school-specific events. Instructions are at charlottesvilleschoools.org/calendar.

Logo for "Hour of Code"

Hour of Code in All Schools, December 6-8

Logo for "Hour of Code"From December 6-8, all nine Charlottesville City Schools will be participating in the international “Hour of Code,” an event designed to expose all students to the world of computer programming.  Want to join the fun at home? Explore some of the age-appropriate activities here:

16-17 Zero Robotics programming team from CHS
16-17 Zero Robotics programming team from CHS, ranked #5 globally

Charlottesville City Schools Participate in International Hour of Code

From December 6-8, all Charlottesville City Schools will take part in this year’s Hour of Code events. Hour of Code is a national emphasis, taking place this year during December 5-11, to expose students to computer science. From elementary through high school, Charlottesville students will engage in a variety of programming activities, working on their own, in groups, or receiving mentoring from other students.

“The Hour of Code has really taken off, both in our area and around the world,” notes Charlottesville City Schools’ director of technology Jeff Faust. “The idea is to help students see that coding is not something that just a few experts can do – it’s something anyone can do, and it’s a skill that employers are looking for.”

Hour of Code events have spread around the world, with actors, athletes, and politicians pitching the program and stopping by schools to code with students.

Charlottesville City Schools has been an early adopter of technology and is a charter member of the League of Innovative Schools. With Chromebooks in students’ hands from third grade through high school, and with a growing array of computer science classes at CHS and CATEC, students can graduate with industry credentials and an increasingly valued skill set. A team of CHS students is presently ranked #5 in the world in the NASA- and MIT-sponsored Zero Robotics programming competition.

“In Charlottesville, we are well equipped to train our students in computer science,“ notes Susan Ramsey, the division’s science coordinator. “Charlottesville is a tech hub, and our schools are building a framework so that Charlottesville students grow up coding.  All students should graduate with a basic coding ‘literacy.’ For students who choose to dive in deeper, we have a built number of pathways, from workplace readiness to AP computer science classes.”
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Naia Fairchild and Francis MacCall, homecoming queen and king. Photo courtesy ScimmagePlay.

Superintendent Message October 24, 2016

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October 24, 2016

Dear families—

Naia Fairchild and Francis MacCall, homecoming queen and king. Photo courtesy ScimmagePlay.
Naia Fairchild and Francis MacCall, homecoming queen and king. Photo courtesy ScimmagePlay.

The first quarter of the year is almost over, and I hope that most of you have connected with your students’ teachers at back-to-school nights or conferences. We want to work with you to make sure we’re meeting the needs of all our students. We’ve seen a number of examples this month of ways that we challenge and encourage our students to do their best, from all-state jazz musicians to elementary STEM successes to the very special moment when Naia Fairchild was named the CHS homecoming queen.  In the arts, athletics, academics, in gardens, at camps, in labs, or in concert halls, we give our students a wide variety of opportunities to learn and grow.  You can read through this newsletter to see some examples of what we’re already doing.

Of course, we want to do even better. We will soon begin the process of creating our school division’s six-year strategic plan for 2018-2024. We want to hear from students, parents, teachers, staff, and community members as we dream and create plans to support our students even better.  If you would like to have a role in this process, please write goodnews@charlottesvilleschools.org.

–Dr. Rosa S. Atkins

Division-Wide News

First draft of the 2017-18 calendar. To receive this data by phone or in an alternate format, please call 434-245-2962.Remember, there will be no school for students on October 28, November 7, and November 8  for professional learning or teacher workdays.  Some schools will hold parent-teacher conferences on November 7.

The draft calendar for the 2017-18 school year has been posted online with a request for community feedback. The calendar is drafted jointly by the Albemarle and Charlottesville schools, through the work of a committee that includes staff and parents.

Dr. Atkins announcing the CHS String Ensemble's trip to Ireland.
Dr. Atkins announcing the CHS String Ensemble’s trip to Ireland.

Charlottesville Schools Superintendent Rosa Atkins was named one of two national finalists for the Women in School Leadership Award for Superintendents, sponsored by the School Superintendents Association and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Thanks to all the United Way Day of Caring volunteers who helped in our classrooms, gardens,  and more on September 21!

Students meeting a chicken in the Johnson garden
Farm-to-School week featured lots of visitors in the gardens.

Did your student enjoy Farm-to-School Week? (Thanks, City Schoolyard Garden and the Local Food Hub!) If you would like to help our schools make these sorts of efforts more of a year-round reality, consider joining a new parent group that will work with the schools as part of a grant from the health department. You can learn more by joining their Facebook group.

Maynard, Tewksbury, and Webb-Jordan: Teachers who earned a national Gold Star!
Maynard, Tewksbury, and Webb-Jordan: Teachers who earned a national Gold Star!

Recent professional highlights for our teachers:

  • One of our elementary iSTEM teachers, Liz Petry, was a presenter at VMI’s 5th annual STEM education conference last month.
  • All three CHS teachers for economics & personal finance (Meagan Maynard, Deb Tewskbury,and Yumeka Webb-Jordan) earned national “gold stars” for their students’ financial literacy, given by w!se (Working in Support of Education), a nonprofit that encourages financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and workplace readiness.
  • CHS history teacher Zach Bullock was named one of 50 worldwide “flipped ambassadors” by the Flipped Learning Global Initiative.

    Nikki Franklin and Shannon Gillikin serving on Curry School panel
    Nikki Franklin and Shannon Gillikin serving on Curry School panel
  • Buford engineering teacher Brendan Martin (and students) recently presented at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum to teach national leaders from education, technology, science, history, & math about the school’s innovative engineering partnership with U.Va, the Smithsonian, and other partners.
  • Nikki Franklin and Shannon Gillikin (both of Jackson-Via) served as panelists at a recent conference hosted by the Curry School of Education at U.Va., focusing on the TeachStrong effort to rethink teachers’ training and professional development.

CHS News

CHS Marking Knights performing at Caroline Invitation, earning 2nd overall and 1st for color guard
CHS Marking Knights performing at Caroline Invitation, earning 2nd overall and 1st for color guard

The CHS Marching Knights received a prestigious invitation to perform in the London London’s New Year’s Day Parade & Festival in 2018.  Schools are vetted before invitations to the largest New Year’s event in the world. It will be the band’s first international trip!

The band is also enjoying a strong marching season, recently earning 1st place Percussion, 1st place Music, and 1st place class AAA at the Midlothian High School Showcase of Bands. On October 29 at 2pm, they will  host their annual Cavalcade  competition, a great chance to see and hear top bands from across the state.

CHS earned top honors (again) as a w!se Blue Star school for financial literacy, and the schools’s three economics and personal finance teachers also earned top honors as Yellow Star teachers.  Congratulations to our students and teachers Meagan Maynard, Deb Tewksbury, and  Yumeka Webb-Jordan!

4 CHS singers singing to support the organization SARA
Knightingales singing to support SARA

Knightingales Brianna Ramirez, Rebecca Sutphin, Casey Casarez, and Kiana Anderson were invited to sing with the UVA Women’s Chorus in a benefit concert for SARA (the Sexual Assault Resource Agency of Charlottesville).

CHS history teacher Zach Bullock was named one of 50 worldwide “flipped ambassadors” by the Flipped Learning Global Initiative.  In flipped classrooms (used by a number of teachers at CHS and in other Charlottesville schools), teachers typically present “lectures” via brief video presentations that students watch as homework. That leaves class time for activities, solving problems, and the opportunity to ask questions of teachers or classmates.

IMG_2394Elizabeth Bambury and Rachael Inlow took advantage of a Jefferson-Madison Regional Library program, listening in English & español to acclaimed Chilean poet Christian Formoso. iMuy bien!

Congrats to Caleb Rose and Stella Sokolowski, just named to the All-State Jazz Ensemble. Only 40 are selected from across Virginia!  And 15 CHS Orchestra members were selected for the 2015 South Central Senior Regional Orchestra!

Latino Student Association holds salsa-tasting event during lunch
Latino Student Association holds salsa-tasting event during lunch

Two signs of diversity….  Photography students have hung an exhibition of their images of CHS students and staff in the atrium.  Part of the national Inside Out project, the images showcase the beauty and diversity of our students.  In addition, a new Latino Student Association has formed and has held events at CHS to promote an appreciation for Latino cultures.

Francis MacCall  and Naia Fairchild, who has Down syndrome, served as king and queen of homecoming. In March 2015, Naia and her mother offered the keynote address to the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress.

Art field trip to Ix Park with artist Chicho
Art field trip to Ix Park with artist Chicho

Art I and art II classes visited Ix Art Park to work with local artist Chicho Lorenzo. Students cut stencils and spray-painted their designs on canvas and around the Art Park.

CHS and Buford students explored how businesses use technology in Charlottesville’s annual CBIC Tech Tour.

Two recent evening events benefited students, a college night and  a workshop about how the latest brain research can make learning easier.

Human anatomy students at the UVA Health Sciences Library learning from medical school mentors
Human anatomy students at the U.Va. Health Sciences Library learning from medical school mentors

Students in human biology took a field trip to the U.Va. Health Sciences library, where mentors from the medical school assisted the students with research projects. The students will present their research in the spring.

CHS students recently hosted French peers from Charlottesville’s sister city of Besançon, part of a series of exchanges between the two communities.

Walker and Buford News

Face-painting at Buford Harvest Festival
Face-painting at Buford Harvest Festival

Buford Middle School enjoyed another successful Harvest Festival, celebrating the school’s amazing garden and community. Thanks to City Schoolyard Garden for their leadership!

Young Women Leaders Program Food Drive
Young Women Leaders Program Food Drive

Buford students and their U.Va. mentors collected more than 2,000 pounds of food for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank through their involvement with the Young Women Leaders Program.

Buford engineering students recently made a presentation at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum to teach national leaders from education, technology, science, history, & math about the school’s innovative engineering partnership with U.Va, the Smithsonian, and other partners.

Learning by building
Learning by building

CHS and Buford students explored how businesses use technology in Charlottesville’s annual CBIC Tech Tour.

Buford history students have been doing some hands-on learning about life on the Great Plains, delivering wheat to the market and building a sod house.

Throughout the month of October, the National Junior Honor Society at Buford Middle School, an organization of 8th graders dedicated to community service, is holding a winter hat and glove drive to help the children of Charlottesville.  Items may be dropped off in the school’s bins.

Congratulations to Buford students Sohl Park, Pray Meh, and Maya Wilmer, who placed 1-2-3 in the Rumi Forum’s Annual Peace and Dialog Art Contest.

Ready for fall foliage? Walker art students beat nature to the punch by creating beautiful leaf-inspired art.

Leaf artworks by Walker students
Details from works by Nyonnika, Isaac, and Hannah.
Jin Pickering Making Lemonade
Jin Pickering Making Lemonade

Sixth-grader Jin Pickering recently used a lemonade stand to raise money to feed the homeless through the Haven, tripling his goal!

The Walker Upper Elementary School Family extends an invitation to all current  and future Walker students to attend Bingo Night on November 16 at 5:30pm.

Walker CLASS students played “Human Hungry Hippos” to end a great week!

CLASS students playing human hungry hippos
CLASS students playing human hungry hippos
Walker students testing soil samples
Walker students testing soil samples

Walker’s new swimming program for 5th-graders is off to a good start and was featured by NBC29.

As part of our new iSTEM program to build a bride to the engineering programs at Buford and CHS, Walker students recently measured their soil components for their green roof project.

Elementary News

Students examining and drawing butterflies at Camp Albemarle
Nature drawing activity at Camp Albemarle

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 in “upcoming events,” 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.

Jackson-Via students petting a goat during Farm-to-School Week
Farm-to-School Week fun

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:

Students are visiting U.Va.’s Fralin Museum to brainstorm ideas for the museum’s annual competition of writing inspired by art.

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!

Community, four ways: "Lunch with Cop," Firefighter visits, Donuts with Dad, and friends on the playground
Community, four ways: “Lunch with Cop,” firefighter visits, “Donuts with Dad,” and friends on the playground
Burnley-Moran students responding to their senior pen pals. Photo courtesy Ryan M. Kelly/Daily Progress
Burnley-Moran students responding to their senior pen pals. Photo courtesy Ryan M. Kelly/Daily Progress

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.

Making globes at Clark
Making globes at Clark

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.

Students "taste-testing" books at Greenbrier
“Book tasting” at Greenbrier

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.

Richmond Ballet teaching CLASS students to tap
Richmond Ballet teaching CLASS students to tap at Jackson-Via

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.

Sink or float? Parent-led density lesson at Johnson
Sink or float? Parent-led density lesson at Johnson

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.

Scientific observation activity at Venable
Scientific observation activity at Venable

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.

School Board Update

City Councilperson Bob Fenwick and School Board members Ned Michie, Amy Laufer, and Sherry Kraft celebrate the CHS Band's invitation to the 2018 London New Year's Day Parade with former Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL
City Councilperson Bob Fenwick and School Board members Ned Michie, Amy Laufer, and Sherry Kraft celebrate the CHS Band’s invitation to the 2018 London New Year’s Day Parade with former Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster (in red).

At their October meeting, the Board approved the calendar for developing the 2017-18 budget and the membership lists of advisory committees. The Board also heard reports about the after-school CLASS program as well as the new extended day program for selected elementary students who need assistance with literacy. The Board discussed capital improvements as well as the schools’ annual indicators of success.

Upcoming Events

CHS Marching KnightsUpcoming events include:

  • Last Day of First Quarter, October 27
  • Teacher Workday (no school for students), October 28
  • Cavalcade, the CHS Marching Knights’ annual band competition, October 29, CHS Athletic Stadium, 2pm. Tickets at gate.
  • School Board Meeting, November 3, 5pm, CHS Media Center
  • Friday Knight Lights:  Elementary Tailgate Party at CHS Football, November 4, 6pm
  • Teacher Workday/Parent Conferences at some schools (no school for students), November 7
  • Flyer for Elementary Tailgate at CHS Football game on 11/4. Call 245-2962 for more info.Professional Learning Day (no school for students), November 8
  • Bingo Night at Walker (current 4th-graders invited), November 16, 5:30pm
  • Buzz-by-Belmont Clark 5K, November 19, 9am. All families welcome!  Details here.
  • CHS Band Kicks off the Schools’ Fall-Winter Concert Season, 7pm, MLKPAC
  • Thanksgiving Break, November 23-25

Curious about next year’s calendar? Review the draft and give us your feedback!

Remember that you can subscribe to our Google calendar of school holidays and as well as Google calendars for school-specific events. Instructions are at charlottesvilleschoools.org/calendar.

2017-18-calendar-1st-draft

Draft Calendar for 2017-18

2017-18-calendar-2nd-draft_with_flex_dayThe revised draft calendar of the 2017-18 school year for Charlottesville City Schools is below. Thanks to all who completed the survey.

For over a decade, the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school divisions have worked together for a common calendar. A joint committee creates a draft calendar, and then we ask for input from students, teachers, administration, and parents. If necessary, the committee makes revisions to the draft before submitting a recommended calendar to the two school boards for approval.

  • 2017-18 calendar 2nd draft
  • Since the majority of survey respondents supported the proposed draft, the only changes from the original draft are to convert the half-day scheduled for 2/16 into a full teaching day, and to change how we will handle snow days.
  • The calendar will be presented to the School Board for review in December with an expected vote in January.

A word about this year’s calendar:

  • Winter break:  We have traditionally held a two-week break running Monday-Friday. This year, the committee has proposed a two-week break that starts on a Wednesday to allow travel time for families before the holidays.  The October 2016 survey of the initial draft indicated that a majority of respondents favored this approach.
  • 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 at 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. The October 2016 survey of the initial draft indicated that a majority of respondents favored this approach.
  • Half-days: This year’s calendar introduces two new early dismissal days in the spring semester in place of one full day off for a teacher workday prior to spring break. The October 2016 survey of the initial draft indicated enough concerns about the half-days that we eliminated one of them.
Dr.RosaAtkins_Feb16_cropped-as-news-button

Atkins Named One of Two Finalists for National Superintendent Award

Dr. Rosa Atkins
Dr. Rosa Atkins

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins, superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools, has been named one of two finalists for the AASA Women in School Leadership Award for Superintendents. Each year, the AASA, or School Superintendents Association, joins with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to offer awards recognizing the country’s outstanding female teacher (or school-based employee), principal, and superintendent.

“We are so proud of Dr. Atkins and her leadership in Charlottesville and beyond. We are delighted but not surprised to see her excellence recognized on a national stage,” noted School Board chair Amy Laufer.

Atkins, a former Virginia Superintendent of the Year, was nominated for the award by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.  The award is based on achievement in four areas: meeting the needs of students; personal and organizational communication; personal and staff-wide growth and professional development; and leadership in the local community and beyond.

“I’m humbled to be one of the award finalists,” said Atkins. “I don’t view it as an individual accolade, but as recognition of all the good work accomplished by the teachers and administrators of Charlottesville City Schools. Their commitment to serving our students is unparalleled.”

Atkins has been superintendent in Charlottesville since 2006.  During that time, both student achievement and graduation rates have risen, division student enrollment has grown, and Charlottesville has been consistently recognized as one of the top-performing divisions in the state. Among other innovative initiatives, Charlottesville has invested in technology and STEM while maintaining its commitment to its acclaimed fine arts programs.  The division’s acclaimed engineering programs at Charlottesville High School and Buford Middle School are indicative of her commitment to partnership since they have been supported and made possible by the joint commitments of businesses, foundations, UVA, PVCC, the Smithsonian Institution, and other area school divisions. Charlottesville City Schools is a charter member of The League of Innovative Schools.

In 2011, Atkins was named Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, as well as Virginia State University Alumnus of the Year for Professional Education. She presently serves as past president of the Virginia Association of Schools Superintendents and vice president for the Urban Superintendents Association of America. Her previous service includes chairing the Virginia School University Partnership and serving as president of the Women Education Leaders in Virginia, along with additional leadership roles with numerous local, state and national committees and boards. In 2015 Dr. Atkins was selected by American Association of School Administrators (AASA) to serve as mentor in the inaugural AASA-Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy. In 2014, Dr. Atkins was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 Future-Ready Superintendents and invited to the American Association of School Administrators’ Digital Consortium at the White House.

Next, both finalists will interview with the award committee, and the winner will be announced at the organization’s National Conference on Education in California this March. AASA, the School Superintendents Association, advocates for the highest quality public education for all students, and develops and supports school system leaders. Founded in 1865, AASA is the professional organization for more than 10,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world.

Life-After-High-School-button

Life After High School

The Special Education Advisory Committee invites families from all our schools for a special evening to discuss “Life After High School,” considering questions about how to prepare your child to live independently after graduation.  Join us on November 18 from 5:30-7:30pm in the CHS A-Commons.

Interested in the Special Education Advisory Committee? Come to the next meeting on Tuesday, November 15, at 8:45am at the CHS Lower Building.

Flyer about "Life After High School" program sponsored by the Special Education Advisory Committee. Event held on 11/18 at CHS at 5:30. Call 245-2962 for details.

SAT-2015

CHS Continues to Outperform State & Nation on SAT

17 Students Recognized for High Performance on PSAT

CHS, State, and National Data for SAT:  In reading, CHS earned a score of 564; the state received 516 and the US, 487.  In math, the scores were CHS, 544; Virginia, 513; and US, 494.  In writing, CHS, 539; Virginia, 493; US, 472.Continuing a long tradition, students at Charlottesville High School excelled on the 2015 SAT college-readiness test, far surpassing their state and national peers (see chart, below).  In addition, based on the related PSAT test taken last fall, 17 CHS seniors have received recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, with five earning places as semi-finalists in the national scholarship competition.

  • Five National Merit Semifinalists: In the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program, five CHS students are semifinalists: Claire Jenkins, Graham Keeley, Liam O’Brien, Matthew Robinson, and Pascale Starosta. They are invited to apply to become finalists, eligible to receive National Merit Scholarships. Semifinalists represent less than the top 1 percent of U.S. seniors.
  • Twelve National Merit Commended Students:  In the same National Merit program, twelve CHS students were named commended students, representing less than the top 5 percent of test-takers: Andrew Beling, Grace Brecht, Ian Cropley, Amanda Engel, Robert Harder, Byron Harris, David Kriete, Mollie Pepper, Leighton Read, Joseph Riley, Gaia Sorensen, and Gabriella Szabo.
  • CHS, State, and National Data for SAT:  In reading, CHS earned a score of 564; the state received 516 and the US, 487.  In math, the scores were CHS, 544; Virginia, 513; and US, 494.  In writing, CHS, 539; Virginia, 493; US, 472.

“We are proud of our individual students and pleased with our school-wide success on this important college-readiness test,” notes Dr. Kendra King, Director of Student Services and Achievement.