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January 2023 News & Highlights

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New Names for Clark and Venable; Share Your Thoughts about Burnley-Moran and Johnson

Last week, the Board voted to rename Clark and Venable to reflect our community’s values. Clark  will be Summit Elementary School, and Venable will be Trailblazers Elementary School. These final decisions cap a review process that began in the summer of 2020. Thanks to so many of you for your thoughtful input.

The name Summit Elementary refers to the school’s mountain views; it is also meant to encourage students to both reach new heights and consider themselves “a gathering of leaders,” touching on three meanings of the word summit. The name Clark was for Gen. George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War officer who also enslaved people and led in the genocide against Native Americans.

The name Trailblazers Elementary honors the Charlottesville 12, the students who first desegregated Venable Elementary and Lane High School, as well as their parents and other early desegregation trailblazers in Charlottesville Schools. The name is also an invitation to current students to continue blazing new trails today. The name Venable was for Col. Charles S. Venable, a member of the Confederate Army and math professor at the University of Virginia who perpetuated damaging myths about slavery throughout his life.

The earliest implementation date would be August 2023, but if there are decisions about additional schools’ name changes this spring, the division may make all name changes at once, perhaps in August 2024.

Your Opinion Matters graphicSurvey Open for Burnley-Moran and Johnson
The Naming of Facilities Committee will now turn its attention to Burnley-Moran and Johnson Elementaries. A community survey on these two schools’ names opens today, and a Zoom forum will be held on Thursday, January 26 at 7pm. You are invited to share your voice on the survey and in the forum.

Our website contains more information about Clark, Venable, and the name-review process.



  Congratulations to Our Superintendent! The Gurleys became a party of three when they welcomed their baby daughter, Hollan, into the world last week. Dr. Gurley writes: undefinedShe is perfect! I canundefinedt wait for her to meet her Cville Schools family!undefined

Congratulations to Our Superintendent! The Gurleys became a party of three when they welcomed their baby daughter, Hollan, into the world last week. Dr. Gurley writes: “She is perfect! I can’t wait for her to meet her Cville Schools family!”

  • Reminder logoAll schools and offices will be closed this Monday, January 16, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. There will also be no school for students on Monday, January 23 due to a Teacher Workday. Click here to subscribe to our Google Calendar.

  • Academic Calendar ScreenshotAt its January meeting, the School Board approved the 2023-24 Academic Calendar, which is similar to previous years’ calendars. As a reminder, the calendar committee will reconvene in the spring to consider possible changes such as a week off at Thanksgiving or an earlier start in August for the 2024-25 calendar.

  • Stylized globe with the continents raised up books reading history on the bottomAfter several months of controversy, the state’s Board of Education is set to consider Virginia’s K-12 history standards. In the fall, conservative members of the BOE disrupted the usual approval process, and the Youngkin administration brought forward an alternate set of learning standards. After a public outcry about these alternative standards, the BOE requested to see these standards merged with those originally submitted by a committee of teachers, history, professionals, and families. Currently, both professional historians and the Virginia Department of Education have separately submitted merged standards for the BOE’s consideration. The BOE’s next meeting will be on February 2. You can learn more on our website, including ways to share your voice.

  • Family University logoStudents in grades 3-8 will be taking Virginia’s Reading and Mathematics Growth assessments from Jan. 24-Feb. 10. Later this spring, students will take the state’s SOL tests. Have questions about these state tests? Want to use this data to better understand and support your child’s growth? Join Family University tomorrow (Thursday, January 12) from 5:30-6:30. 

  • CCS LogoOur principals work hard for our students, staff, and community. Take a minute and show your appreciation during Virginia School Principals Week, January 15-21. Consider something like a note, a tweet, or a cup of coffee. And while we’re celebrating our principals: Johnson Principal Summer Thompson was featured in the Daily Progress’s annual “Distinguished Dozen” profiles in December, along with Burnley-Moran Crossing Guard Kevin Cox!

  • Black shape of Virginia Governor's scoreboard Virginia Department of EducationSix of our schools earned state recognition in the area of nutrition and physical activity. Jackson-Via and Johnson received a silver award, and Buford, CHS, Venable, and Walker earned bronze. Thanks to our school and division-level wellness and school health committees! Learn more about our wellness policy and programs here. Or find more about the scorecard award here.

  •  Close up photo of a compass, with The community is offering two great opportunities for students and families:undefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedStudents aged 14-18 can apply for paid spring internships through the City’s CAYIP program. Learn more and apply here by this Friday to gain valuable work experience! (The program is also offered in the summer.)

    • ​​​​​​​CCS parents/guardians who meet income guidelines can apply for City of Promise’s Dreambuilders program. This learning program offers a $1,500 grant for parents as they reach self-sufficiency and educational goals for their family. Application deadline is Jan. 15. Apply here.
  • Photo of fruits and vegetables in brown paper sacksThank you, Giant Food and Giant customers, for the Nourishing Our Youth Round Up Program award of $26,413! These funds, from Giant customers rounding up their grocery purchase to the nearest dollar, have enabled us to provide fresh fruit to the food pantry at Buford, continue a fresh fruit and vegetable program at Johnson, provide the football team with a before-game meal, and pay off student meal debt (which would otherwise be paid for by the school division).

  • School Board Updates graphicAt its January meeting, the Board elected a new chair and vice chair, Mr. James Bryant and Mr. Dom Morse, respectively. In addition to both being educators, Mr. Bryant and Mr. Morse are also alumni of Charlottesville Schools. We also recognize Lisa Larson-Torres, previous School Board Chair, for her leadership and tireless commitment to our division.

    Other updates from the Board meeting include: approval of the 2023-24 Program of Studies (course offerings), budget updates from the Governor’s tentative budget, and discussion of a new state-required policy requiring that parents/guardians be notified when sexually explicit materials are being used for instructional purposes. Learn more about the Board meeting by reading the January Mini-Minutes.

  • CCS logo Nominate a great teacherIn addition to the Teacher of the Year Awards (scroll down to see winners below!), our division participations in the the Golden Apple Awards of Charlottesville-Albemarle. Sponsored by Better Living Building Supplies and Cabinetry, these awards honor outstanding educators who have demonstrated excellence in teaching and community involvement. Nominate a teacher now – the deadline is January 23.

More Looks at Cville Schools

A photo of four men smiling, and a photo of someone getting their hair cut

Free Cuts for the Kids: Thank you to our community for coming together to offer free barber shop cuts to Buford and CHS students at House of Cuts (on the UVA Corner, 103 14th St. NW), in partnership with 100 Black Men of Central Virginia. Walk-ins welcome or book an appointment Questions? Email Links to donate a haircut: CHS | Buford.


Two young students that are holding a banner that says

Celebrating Outstanding Educators: Congratulations to the Charlottesville City Schools Teachers of the Year: Joan Evans (Burnley-Moran); Caitlin Natale (Clark); Sarah Scavone (Greenbrier); Heather Grunden (Jackson-Via); Kristi Hartwell (Johnson); Sharlene Abney Chang (Venable); Amy Wissekerke (Walker); Patricia Luke (Buford); Pam Brown (CHS); and Samantha Woodall (LMA). At the School Board Meeting, Ms. Chang was named the division Teacher of the Year, moving on to the regional competition.

Photo of 2nd grade students building a model of our state’s geographical regions and landmarks

Learn Local: Our curriculum includes many ways for students to develop a strong sense of place. Here are Johnson second graders this week working together to build a model of our state’s geographical regions and landmarks. 

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