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February 2023 News & Highlights

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A Letter from Dr. Gurley

Dear staff and families,

As your superintendent I am always asking, how can we ensure our schools are the best possible place for our children to learn and grow?Dr. Gurley Here are some of my recent focus areas:

We must be a place where the best teachers and staff want to work. Our School Board has announced its plan to vote in favor of a collective bargaining resolution in March. This would give teachers and other staff a voice in their pay, benefits, and working conditions. This is a milestone moment for our schools to show how deeply we value our educators.

We must be kind, firm, and wise toward students who are struggling. As we reported at the February School Board meeting, we have been seeing some challenging behaviors in our schools this year, reflecting national trends. Our schools aim to provide both social-emotional and restorative supports as well as clear, consistent expectations and accountability. This is a hard balance, but one that I am sure all parents are familiar with. We will continue to refine our approaches regarding both individual students and the collective safety of our schools.

We must have the voices of students, families, and the community at the table. To all those who stay in touch with teachers, staff and administrators: Thank you for fostering the important relationship between school and community. No matter the issue – such as safety, equity, mental wellness, or opportunity – we can go farther when we go together. In that light, as we begin to plan for our school division’s future in a new strategic plan, I hope that our whole community will help us by filling out a very quick survey that will arrive in your inbox this Wednesday. A Steering Committee of staff, parents, and community members is currently forming, and we are planning opportunities for students and others to participate in focus groups.

On a personal note, Derrek and I also want to thank everyone for your well wishes on the arrival of our daughter.

With love,
Royal A. Gurley, Jr.


No School (and Offices Closed) Monday, February 20 for Presidents Day.

CHS Symphony Concert Performers

Tradition! Theater, choir, band, orchestra and visual arts students came together to put on the annual CHS Symphony Concert and Fine Arts Showcase–including cast members of the CHS Spring Musical “Fiddler on the Roof” in costume. Come see “Fiddler” Feb. 16-19 at MLK PAC. Over 100 students are involved on and off-stage! Click here for tickets. Photo by Gina Proulx.

  • GATECThe Charlottesville School Board voted on 2/2 to acquire and take on sole leadership of CATEC programs. There will be no changes for staff or families for the 2023-24 year, and as we look to the future, we view this as an administrative change that will not impact programming for high school students or adults. Find more information about the purchase here.

    • student achievementsCongratulations to CHS freshmen Emma Bennett-McConnell and Mira Masri, who earned spots in the Virginia Senate Page Program, representing the Black Knights and gaining hands-on experience in leadership and civics in Richmond.
    • Congratulations to CHS senior Violet Craghead-Way on her 1st place win at the regional English Speaking Union Shakespeare Contest! On to Nationals in NYC!
    • The Fralin Museum of Art at UVa announced the winners of the 2022 Writer’s Eye contest, with two winners from Cville Schools! Olivia Ramírez-Weaver won 3rd place in middle school prose, and Jaikeira Washington won Honorable Mention in high school prose.
    • With too many students-musicians to mention, Cville Schools led the way with placements in district bands and orchestras. Congrats to all!
  • crossing guardIn honor of Crossing Guard Appreciation Day (officially 2/8), we salute these dedicated staff who keep students safe on their way to and from school. In addition, our school crossing guards successfully advocated to City Council for the upcoming installation of school zone speed cameras at Monticello Avenue (Clark) and Cherry Avenue (Buford and Johnson). Be sure to slow down and say thank you to your school crossing guard, including Jaime.

    Wayne is pictured here. 

  • student at whiteboardOur ongoing commitment to engineering and other STEM fields has been on display recently, as Buford students held an engineering open house to demonstrate their work for families and future students. CHS’s BACON (Best All-around Club of Nerds) resumed their tradition of hosting the regional Science Olympiad. And BACON is resuming another tradition: taking students to Europe to see the CERN labs that are at the forefront of engineering and physics.

  • CHS Job FairWith both immediate openings and jobs for next school year, we’re hosting a job fair on Saturday, February 25, from 10am-2pm at Charlottesville High School. Positions range from teachers to substitutes to crossing guards and more. Spread the word! Learn more about current openings at Charlottesville City Public Schools - Job Openings ( All jobs available for interviews at the fair will have #JoinCvilleSchools in the title.

    • hurdlerSenior Jaelyn Lynch was featured in the Daily Progress’s Athlete Spotlight, celebrating her varied athletic, academic, and community accomplishments. She just broke the CHS indoor track record in the 55M. (Photo credit: Mike Kropf, Daily Progress.) Freshman Elaina Pierce also broke the indoor track record for 1600M & 3200M. At regionals this weekend, the girls team placed 2nd and the boys placed 3rd, with Nathaniel Orban joining Jaelyn and Elaina in winning individual events. Good luck at states!
    • Best wishes to boys and girls basketball competing in regional play now.
    • CHS Wrestling Senior Xavier Castañeda and freshman Walter Pilk will compete in the state finals! Xavier also picked up his 100th career victory earlier this season.
    • Swimming took 2nd (boys) and 6th (girls) and earned multiple medals at regionals. Moving on to states are the boys team and girls medalists Ada BrantleyAddy Buckner, & Juliette Guntner. The relay team of Teddy BucknerDylan HalpertWill Keenan, and Quinn Ragsdale won 3 events and shattered the CHS record for 200 free relay. 
    • CHS Football announced that Jeff Woody will be their next coach, coming back to the area after turning around the program at E.C. Glass High in Lynchburg. Welcome, Coach Woody!
  • Art connectionCville Schools’ annual student art show is moving to a new month and a new location. Throughout May, the school division will begin a month-long art show in store fronts and inside stores along the Downtown Mall. Downtown Mall spaces that wish to participate can sign up here. Just as they used to take field trips to the CHS gym to see the art exhibition, Cville Schools students will now walk along the mall. Thanks to Fine Arts Coordinator Aaron Eichorst and our talented art teachers for reimagining this 40-year tradition!


  • Apply for pre-k It is time to make an education plan for the littlest learners in your family for this fall: Anyone with a child who will still be under 5 years old by Sept. 30 is encouraged to apply for free early childhood education: Charlottesville City Public Schools - Preschool (

  • engage virginiaThe state has just launched Engage Virginia, a free program to help families in areas such as academics, attendance, and college or career readiness. Learn more and register for options such as free homework assistance or 24/7 tutoring.

  • student technology surveyWant to share your opinions about our students’ and schools’ use of technology? The state of Virginia is partnering with Project Tomorrow to get input from students, staff, and families. The survey is optional and confidential. Find the link to the survey (open until 2/17). Questions? Call 245-2400.

  • school board updates

    At the Feb. Board meeting, Dr. Gurley offered a recap of our budget proposal

    • The Board announced its support for two staff collective bargaining units, with final approval of the resolution to come in March.
    • Strategic planning for 2023-2029 (in cooperation with Insight Education Group) will begin soon. Look for a kick-off survey later this week.
    • Mini-minutes for the February 2 meeting are here.
    • The state Board of Education moved forward with a history curriculum opposed by many teachers and professional historians (with additional public comment to come).
    • Find the full calendar of budget meetings and input opportunities here. Interested in future meetings? Sign up to receive notices of School Board meetings.

More Looks at CVille School

Fresh cuts for Buford

This is what community looks like: Barbers and braiders from House Of Cuts are at Buford this afternoon to give our students “a fresh cut to bring forth fresh confidence, determination, and drive that translates into classrooms,” in the words of co-organizer and parent Amanda Burns. Thank you to the hair stylists, 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, Charlottesville City Schools Family Engagement, and all those in our community who have donated to support. House of Cuts has also come to CHS and welcomed students for free cuts in their shop on the Corner.

Buford ambassadors greeting visitors from Walker

Moving on up: It’s already time to start thinking about Fall 2023 (!) In January Buford student ambassadors (above) welcomed sixth graders for a tour of electives options, from world languages to urban farming to engineering. And CHS held a curriculum fair last week to help students make selections for next year.


CHS Athletes at Burnley-Moran

From generation to generation: Elementary students in our division have recently been getting to know some very cool big kids: Our high school students! Left, CHS senior athletes visited Burnley-Moran to discuss healthy habits with elementary students. Right, Lugo-McGinness students have been visiting Venable classrooms to read to students.

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