What‘s Happening at School Division News

ArtConnections postcard

ArtConnections exhibit features student artwork and community-wide letterpress printmaking project

ArtConnections poster

Charlottesville City Schools celebrated student artistic achievement with the annual division-wide Jeff Suling Art Exhibit March 4-13 in the Charlottesville High School small gymnasium.  This year, the exhibit also included a special opportunity for City students to work with renowned letterpress artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

Known as “ArtConnections,” the exhibit aims to illustrate how art relates to and connects diverse areas of school curriculum and students’ everyday lives. Selected student artwork from preschoolers through 12th graders was featured and the community was invited to three public receptions which included two evening open houses and a Saturday celebration with hands-on art activities.

More about Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. and “Finding Wisdom” letterpress printing project

photo of artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.Charlottesville City Schools participated in a large scale community printmaking project called “Finding Wisdom,” led by Detroit-based printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. Kennedy conducted both in-school workshops as well as created a display of original prints based on ideas generated by Albemarle County and Charlottesville City Schools students.  Earlier this year, both school divisions collected aphorisms, statements, and words of wisdom from students which Kennedy printed in his signature style from handset wood and metal type, and eco-friendly and affordable chipboard. Prints are on display at various locations including CHS, Buford and Walker Schools.

Members of the community were able to engage with Kennedy on March 9 at the “ArtConnections” celebration at CHS, where he led a printmaking workshop. This event was free and open to the public (more details about “ArtConnections” mentioned above).

Throughout the month of March, Kennedy will be conducting in-school workshops working with art students at six city schools (CHS, Buford, Walker, Burnley-Moran, Johnson, and Venable). Prints generated during the in-school workshops will also be displayed at each school.

The “Finding Wisdom” residency coincides with the VA Festival of the Book and is supported by Virginia Humanities Virginia Center for the Book. It involves many facets of the Charlottesville-Albemarle community including Boys & Girls Club, JMRL, PVCC, Jefferson School Tenants, Descendants of the enslaved at Monticello, UVA, and other local cultural organizations. 

Elementary students work on a measuring activity.

Superintendent’s Message-February 2019

 

A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins 

Dear community members—

As you know, equity has been a priority for many years, and it has received particular attention in the last months. I’m writing with an update on our latest work to support equity, including our FY2020 proposed budget, a school reconfiguration plan, the Quest program, and our Program of Study for next year.

  • We continue to seek feedback from staff, from CHS and Buford students, and the community. Gatherings include meetings with Habitat families, Westhaven and Friendship Court community members, and churchgoers across the city.
  • We have used equity as our lens for the requested 2019-20 budget. Examples include a living wage for all annually appointed positions, another significant pay increase for instructional staff, and new positions in areas such as family engagement, the AVID college prep program, and our social-emotional learning program.
  • Our Board has endorsed a school reconfiguration plan that would create a preschool center with extended-day services and early interventions. (This center would be located on the current Walker School campus). The plan also returns 5th-graders to elementary schools and would modernize Buford Middle School to maximize opportunities for the City’s 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-graders. City Council has shown support for this plan by tentatively designating a $3 million allocation for planning and design. We recognize that serving our students well — in preschool, in fifth grade, in middle school, in all grades– is a true equity priority.
  • We have continued long-standing conversations about ways to diversify our Quest (gifted) program, and we have increased the program’s emphasis on push-in, whole-class teaching.
  • Our Program of Study for next year gives attention at Walker, Buford, and CHS to continue “unleveling” our instruction to promote student diversity within classrooms. Similarly, professional learning will emphasize the skills needed to support this model. Next year’s Program of Study also converts the African-American history class at CHS to the honors-option model to encourage enrollment; this was a suggestion from the CHS Black Student Union when they addressed the School Board this fall.
  • We are finalizing an equity committee that will guide our work on establishing a policy that will be foundational to this “equity lens.” This committee will also offer input in areas such as family engagement, instructional and professional learning practices, institutional changes in areas such as unleveled classes, alignment between grade levels, and minority HR recruitment.
  • We have posted an opening for Supervisor of Equity and Inclusion to maintain this momentum. Help us find the right person!

This is a long list, but it is merely a snapshot of the work we continue to do to promote equity. We hope it is a reminder to our community that we remain committed — in fact, we have redoubled our commitment — to every student, every day, everyone.

–Dr. Rosa S. Atkins
(This letter was revised on 3/27/19 to include the change to the CHS African-American history class in next year’s Program of Study.)

Johnson School celebrating the 100th day of school with 100-year-old students.

100-year-old students with canes, beards and baldness celebrate Johnson Elementary’s 100th day of school. To see more of what is happening in all six elementary schools, click here.

ACADEMIC ADVISING UNDERWAY AT CHS, BUFORD, AND WALKER
CHS students visit curriculum fair at lunch.Through lunchtime and evening curriculum fairs, classroom visits, and one-on-one meetings, teachers and school counselors at CHS and Buford are providing important information to students and families about academic options for 2019-2020. Meanwhile, Walker School counselors have been visiting all city fourth graders to help prepare them for their transition to a new school next year. Read more here.

MUSIC COLLABORATION EARNS TRIPLE GOLD IN MUSIC FOR ALL AWARDS
Student musicians on stage for Right Now music collaboration at CHSThe Charlottesville High School music program was recognized for excellence in three categories (Community Service Project, Community Engagement, and Community Events) by the 2019 Music for All Advocacy in Action Awards for its 2018 music collaboration with students from Metro Nashville Public Schools. Read more here.

BACON CLUB SIZZLES AT REGIONAL, STATE, AND WORLD COMPETITIONS
BACON Club members pose with medals and trophies.Congrats to CHS BACON for placing #3 in the WORLD in the Zero Robotics coding tournament sponsored by MIT and NASA. Meanwhile, the FTC Robotics team and the Science Olympiad competitors excelled in regional competitions and are heading to states! Read more here.

PARENT UNIVERSITY COMING SOON FOR ELEMENTARY FAMILIES
Parent University flyerMark your calendars now for Parent University! All PreK-Grade 4 families are welcome to attend either night for parent workshops, information booths, and a chance to connect with other families. Jackson-Via will host the first night on March 5 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., or join us at Greenbrier on March 14 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.. Read more here.

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH (ALL YEAR LONG)
Christen Edwards stands by her decorated door for Black History Month.Bulletin board and classroom door decorations, Soul Feasts, Career Days, guest speakers, and film screenings are just a few of the ways we are celebrating Black History Month in February. But, we are also finding year-round ways to explore both local and diverse history– thanks to the efforts of our Coordinator of World Studies Annie Evans, our talented teachers, and our invaluable community partners. Read more here.

SCHOOL BOARD NOTES
Cville Schools official logoRecent actions from the School Board include finalizing the FY2020 budget requests, adopting a school reconfiguration plan, and approving the 2019-20 Program of Study. Board members will soon select an interim member to fill the remaining months for the term of Amy Laufer, who stepped down following a move outside the City. For the latest School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video, read more here.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT-A-GLANCE
illustration of calendar2/14 TheatreCHS presents “Mamma Mia!” though 2/17
2/15 Jackson-Via and Venable Soul Fests, 5:30pm
2/15 Burnley-Moran Family Dance, 6:30pm
2/16 District Jazz Festival, Albemarle HS
2/18 No School–Professional Learning Day for teachers
2/19 Jackson-Via PTO Meeting, 6pm
2/19 Kindness Week through 2/22, various activities at each school
2/21 Buford International Night, 5:30pm
2/21 Greenbrier Family Learning Night, 6pm
2/21 Jackson-Via 3rd/4th Grade Literacy Night, 6pm
2/21 CHS Band Assessment Preview, 7pm, MLKPAC
2/22 Burnley-Moran Black History Month Celebration and Career Fair. 8:30am
2/22 Greenbrier Winter Movie Night
2/25 Burnley-Moran Book Fair and Read Across BME through March 1
2/25 CHS Project Discovery Workshop, 4pm
2/26 Buford Band Assessment Preview, 7pm, Buford Auditorium
2/27 Walker Band Assessment Preview Concert, 7pm, Walker Auditorium
2/28 Burnley-Moran Write Night, 5:30pm
3/1 District Band Assessments through 3/2, Fluvanna HS
3/4 Art Connections Exhibit and activities through 3/13

More Looks at Cville Schools

Principal Kershner and friends on steps of Venable.

Charlottesville City Schools has earned state and national recognition for our efforts to support the whole child, which includes mental wellness, social emotional learning, and supporting students who have experienced trauma. The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development recently cited our exemplary work in its “Nation of Hope” report.  Learn more about this work here.

Tyree Carter passing basketball to teammate through arms of two Louisa opponents.

As varsity teams begin post-season play, it’s also time for spring sports tryouts. For information and winter athletics highlights, read more here.

Teacher helps students point to ABC's on chart.

It’s time to register for preschool! Applications for eligible 3- and 4-year-old children are due March 1. For more information and applications, read more here.

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

Find us on the web at charlottesvilleschools.org

 

Black History Month decorations at Clark Elementary

Celebrating Black History Month (all year long!)

Division-wide, many events and activities were planned to celebrate Black History Month ranging from classroom decorations to special morning announcements to Soul Feasts and assemblies. 

Two students pose in Johnson photo booth.

At Johnson Elementary School, second grade students created a backdrop for a Kehinde Wiley-inspired photobooth for African American Heritage Night. Thanks to our talented second graders for creating the backdrop and our parent photographer John Robinson for capturing these beautiful photos. See the photo album here.

At Buford Middle School, students heard from Charlottesville-area residents that participated in the summer’s Charlottesville Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Montgomery, AL.  For news coverage, click here.

Special school-wide morning meetings were held at most elementary schools and some included student recitations of the poem “I am Somebody.” Here is a great reminder for all of us from a fourth grader at Johnson Elementary:

Meanwhile, Rachel Wilson’s photography classes at CHS produced a project to showcase “Self Expression through Hairstyles” using portraits and motion GIF files of students and staff at CHS. See the video here.

Dr. Rosa Atkins attends the Career Showcase at Burnley-Moran Elementary School.
Dr. Rosa Atkins attends the Career Showcase at Burnley-Moran Elementary School.

Burnley-Moran hosted a Black History Month Celebration and Career Day that featured a drumming assembly along with a showcase of African-American leaders from throughout our city. Last year’s event brought more than 40 local professionals together–many of them CHS alumni. Here are a few photos from this year.

 

Clark staff members provide entertainment during the school's annual Soul Feast.
Clark staff members provide entertainment during the school’s annual Soul Feast.

Like several of our schools, Clark Elementary held its annual  Soul Feast, which featured a full menu of fried chicken, collards, and more. This year the “Ladies of Soul” (all Clark staff members) gave a special performance.

CHS hosted its annual speaker series  featuring a variety of guests like documentary photographer Ruddy Rowe. Additionally, CHS hosted a film screening to tell the story of Drewary Brown to a new generation of Charlottesville residents, and CHS’s African-American history students visited Jefferson School for a special program with Monticello and other community partners. 

Christen Edwards stands by her decorated door for Black History Month.
CHS teacher Christen Edwards decorated her classroom door for Black History Month.

Meanwhile, we want to applaud the efforts of our teachers, librarians, and World History Coordinator Annie Evans for their year-round work to incorporate local and African-American history across the curriculum all year long.  From preK-12th grade, our students encounter diverse voices, stories, and experiences in classroom materials, the arts, and student activities. 

Charlottesville City Schools is one of six school systems statewide involved in Changing the Narrative, a Virginia Humanities initiative that aims to explore black history and culture in schools and encourages young people of color to explore and highlight their heritage.

Related media links:

 

 

 

 

Third-graders with their wares at market day.

Elementary School Highlights

Clark students working on a design challenge with "Hot Wheels" trackThe start of 2019 has been a busy one for our creative and innovative elementary students in Charlottesville City! Keep reading for some of our recent elementary activities.

Bee-bot robots set up on a course at iSTEM night.

And looking ahead, mark your calendars now for Parent University! All PK-Grade 4 families are welcome to attend either night for parent workshops, information booths, and a chance to connect with other families.  Jackson-Via will host the first night on 3/5 from 5:30-7:30, or join us at Greenbrier on 3/14 from 5:30-7:30.

Math and STEM nights are a big hit with families as they come to school to design, build, play math games together. STEM stations include a Bee Bot obstacle course, a parachute drop, straw rockets and a photo booth!

Students are using their critical thinking skills to solve challenges at Clark Elementary. A team of third- graders worked together to complete a challenge from BreakoutEDU. Fourth-graders at Clark also worked in teams to explore the effects of mass and force on motion and energy.

Clark students and staff also made a thank-you video to show how much they are enjoying and benefiting from their summertime classroom renovations:

Jump! Hop! Push-ups on the wall! Jackson-Via students have a new way of releasing energy as they walk the school’s new sensory path in their hallway. For more details, see the following video or click here for NBC29’s coverage:

Greenbrier students presenting at MLK JR CelebrationAnd a successful book swap at Jackson-Via collected 1300 books, sending home 3 books per child!

Happy birthday to Martin Luther King Jr.! Greenbrier held its annual MLK Jr. birthday celebration on January 25. For the assembly, each grade level created a mural with a famous quote from MLK Jr. and spoke about what the quote meant to them. After a presentation of the “I Have a Dream” speech with pictures of Greenbrier students showing examples of character, the students sang “Happy Birthday” to Martin Luther King Jr. and enjoyed cake with their lunch.

1st-graders learning what dissolves in water.What materials dissolve in water? At Venable, first-grade scientists worked together to experiment with the solubility of different liquids and solids including cornstarch and rocks.

First and third-graders building the Great Wall of ChinaBobcat Buddies in third grade and first grade at Burnley-Moran worked together to design and build a representation of the Great Wall of China.

Families, math games, and pizza were abundant at the Greenstone Community Center for Johnson’s K-second grade Quest Math night. The stations were led by third- and fourth-graders who wore “Johnson Math Teacher” t-shirts and “teacher” badges. Students left with math games to play at home.

In art class at Jackson-Via, Pre-K and second-grade students constructed sculptures with an assortment of materials.

Jackson-Via sculptors displaying their art

 

Third-graders with their wares at market day.Third-graders across the city recently participated in Market Day at their schools. They learned about economics and ancient civilizations while creating items to sell at a school “market.”

Third-graders waiting for a performance at the Paramount TheatreElementary students from Burnley-Moran, Johnson, Venable, and Walker went to the historic Paramount Theater to attend the play Phantom Toll Booth on Thursday, January 24. They enjoyed watching the actors bring the classic by Norton Juster to life!

Walker students engaged in participatory budgeting.At Walker Upper Elementary School, 15 sixth-grade student groups presented proposals of how they would spend a $6,000 grant as a part of a participatory budgeting program. (Yes, 6,000 real dollars generously donated by CFA Institute.) On January 16, students hosted a referendum, and the winning project was a proposal to have soccer and basketball tournaments at recess. The project was organized by parent Serena Gruia For more details, check out the story on Cville Tomorrow.

Fore more updates, follow @CvilleSchools or your own school on Facebook or Twitter!

 

Clark classroom upgrades big hit with students

“It’s like a home away from home,” said one fourth grader, referring to her new classroom space at Clark Elementary.

Fourth grade classroom renovations at Clark Elementary School were completed this fall as the first project in a  division-wide plan to modernize facilities.  The project, completed by VMDO Architects, included upgrades to classroom furniture, lighting, and flooring, along with new cubbies,  library nooks, and shelving.

“We are so grateful to the City of Charlottesville for supporting these efforts to upgrade our schools,” said assistant superintendent Kim Powell. “As we turn our attention to the next phase of design at Jackson-Via Elementary, we are confident that next year’s project will be just a strong and impactful.”

Now that the Clark students have settled in, here is what some of them had to say about their new learning spaces.

Related links:

Coleburn, Caroline. “Students and Teachers Welcome Upgrades to Clark Elementary School.” Home – WVIR NBC29 Charlottesville News, Sports, and Weather, 29 Aug. 2018. 

Kreth, Gracie. “$1M Clark Elementary Classroom Modernization Kicking Off.” Daily Progress/Charlottesville Tomorrow. 20 Jun. 2018

Cville Schools logo

School Board announces timeline for interim appointment

On February 21, 2019, the Charlottesville City School Board will appoint an interim member of the School Board to fill the vacancy created by the January 10, 2019 resignation of Ms. Amy Laufer. The interim member will hold that office until the end of Ms. Laufer’s term on December 31, 2019.

Nominations of qualified Charlottesville City voters are sought for the interim appointment. Applications (with information about the process, qualifications, and more) can be found here and are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, February 1, 2019.

On Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 5 p.m. at CHS, the School Board will hold a public hearing to receive input from applicants. All candidates who wish to be considered must be present at the February 7 meeting. At CATEC on Thursday, February 21 at 5 p.m., the Board will vote and announce its decision.

Comments and any questions for clarification should be submitted to the Clerk of the Board, Leslie Thacker, either by emailing thackel1@charlottesvilleschools.org or by calling (434) 245-2945.

Nation at Hope report graphic

“Nation at Hope” report cites exemplary work of Cville Schools

graphic promoting Nation at Hope report

Charlottesville City Schools and its work to support the whole student is featured as an exemplary approach to supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic development in a report released this week by a prestigious national commission.

The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development  published “From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope”  which argues that our nation is at a turning point, understanding that social, emotional, and cognitive development underpins children’s academic learning. This breakthrough understanding about how people learn is fueling a growing movement to educate children as whole people, with social and emotional as well as academic needs, the report says.

screen shot of Aspen Report cover
Click to see full report

Charlottesville City Schools’ community-driven strategic plan with a focus on social and emotional wellness was specifically cited in the report. In addition, they note that Charlottesville Schools have begun explicitly teaching social-emotional skills and implementing related evidenced-based practices. Also highlighted was the school division’s partnership with area agencies, such as our Community Services Board, Region 10, to provide school staff training in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training program (ASIST).

“I am pleased that our school system — and our community — recognize that learning is not just about academics, but about the whole child,” noted Patrick Farrell, Intervention and Support Coordinator. “And just as we have learned from other school divisions, I’m glad that our work in this area is a resource for others.”

Charlottesville’s tiered systems of support for academic, behavior, and mental wellness have previously received state attention and recognition in a separate report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. These school-wide supports complement the division’s efforts to teach social and emotional skills, to implement trauma-responsive practices in our schools, and to promote both wellness and positive school culture.

More information about the Aspen Commissions’s report is available at NationatHope.org.

Students brainstorming with teacher during participatory budgeting exercise.

Participatory Budgeting program concludes with $6,000 award

Students raising hands during participatory budgeting discussionTo conclude a semester-long participatory budgeting project, sixth grade students at Walker Upper Elementary School  hosted a showcase Wednesday, January 16, 2019 . to present a variety of student proposals for school improvements.

Visitors, along with students and school staff, voted for their favorite project, and the winning proposal was awarded a $6000 donation to help fund the project by the CFA Institute.

A proposal to organize student basketball and soccer tournaments and award prizes received the most votes. See the proposal here:

Basketball and Soccer Tournaments Proposal

“CFA Institute is excited to support the Participatory Budgeting Project to help students discover how finance can transform lives and communities” said Kelli E. Palmer, director of corporate citizenship for CFA Institute.

Participatory budgeting, a process that has gained national and local attention, engages members of a community to deliberate and make decisions on how to use resources. The entire sixth-grade class began this project in the fall with the prompt, “How might we improve the school experience at Walker?”

Students discussiong participatory budgeting ideas during brainstorming session.“What I love most about this project is that it is an activity that includes everyone,” said Principal Adam Hastings. “Oftentimes, special projects such as this are only accessible to a handful of students, but in this case, we wanted every student to have a voice.”

Serena Gruia, Walker School parent and founder of Creative Might design studio, developed the Participatory Budgeting Program (#PBatWalker) and, along with social studies teachers and volunteers, led students through a series of collaborative efforts using the framework, “Discover, Dream, Decide, Design, Do.”

“The intention behind this project is to build community, demonstrate the need for and power of student agency, and create a space for students to make a valuable impact on their environment,” said Gruia.

Proposed school improvements included a school garden, upgraded bathrooms, and offering athletic tournaments. To see student-produced videos of all 15 proposals and learn more about #PBatWalker,  visit www.PBatWalker.com.

RELATED LINKS

RELATED NEWS COVERAGE

Mamma Mia! poster

Fine Arts Upcoming Events

At Charlottesville City Schools, we value the fine arts.  We invite you to come see our students’ talents this winter, whether in band, choir, dance, theater, orchestra, the visual arts or more (see calendar below).

Photo collage of fine artsPhoto collage of fine arts at Cville Schools

Upcoming Events

  • January 10, Buford Middle School student art exhibit at City Hall
  • January 18,  Walker Stage Left Theatre presents: The Trial of Goldilocks, 6:30 p.m., Walker Auditorium
  • January 20, CHS Orchestra presents Serge Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” with special guest Jamie Bernstein, 3 p.m., The Paramount Theater. (click for more info)
  • January 29, Walker School 5th grade band concert, 7pm, Walker Auditorium
  • January 30, CHS Symphony/Choir Concert, 7:30pm, MLKPAC
  • February 1, Buford Stage Left Theatre performance, 6:30 p.m., Buford Auditorium
  • February 2, Jr. Regional Orchestra Festival, 9 a.m., Jouett Middle School
  • February 8-9, All-District Chorus, Albemarle High School.
  • February 14-17, TheatreCHS presents “Mamma Mia!” 7:30 p.m., MLKPAC (click for more info)
  • February 16, District Jazz Festival, Albemarle High School
  • February 21, CHS Band Assessment Preview Concert, 7 p.m., MLKPAC
  • February 26, Buford Band Assessment Preview Concert, 7 p.m., Buford Auditorium
  • February 27, Walker Band Assessment Preview Concert, 7 p.m., Walker Auditorium
  • March 1-2, District Band Assessments, Fluvanna High School
  • March 4-13, ArtConnection Exhibit, weekdays, MLKPAC
  • March 6, ArtConnections Open House, 4-6:30pm, MLKPAC
  • March 9, ArtConnections Saturday Celebration, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., MLKPAC
  • March 9, District Orchestra Assessments
  • March 13, ArtConnections Open House, 4-6:30 p.m., MLKPAC
  • March 14, District Choir Assessments, Eastern View High School
  • March 21, All-City Chorus Festival, 7 p.m., MLKPAC
  • March 22-24, TheatreCHS New York Trip
  • March 22-23, Jr. Regional Orchestra
budget clip art: chart with dollar sign

Budget Development

budget clip art: chart with dollar signIt’s time to develop the 2019-20 budget for Charlottesville City Schools! We’d like to hear from you.

Upcoming opportunities for the community to learn more and share your thoughts are:

  • Thursday, January 10 at 5 pm, CHS, School Board Meeting
  • Tuesday, January 15 at 6 pm, Jackson-Via PTO (open to entire community)
  • Thursday, January 17 at  6 pm, CHS PTO (open to entire community)
  • Thursday, February 7 at 5 pm, CHS, School Board Meeting

School Board meetings are the first Thursday of the month at 5 pm in the CHS media center. The next meeting is Thursday, January 10 (the second Thursday of the month due to Winter Break).

You can also check out the resources and information at charlottesvilleschools.org/budget.