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February 2021 News & Highlights

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The Superintendent and School Board discuss educational legislation with Del. Sally Hudson.

A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Staff and Families:

In our December newsletter, I presented some key elements of a new plan for returning to in-person instruction. In this column, I am pleased to say that come March 8, this plan will become a reality.

  • As a reminder, this plan offers the option of 4 days/week of in-person instruction to students in PreK-grade 6. If you wish to revisit your decision about online vs in-person instruction, please contact your school by Friday. Buford and CHS will offer in-person supports for those students most in need while maintaining their current schedules for online learning for all students. You can find additional details on our website.
  • One element that supports this reopening is the vaccination of our staff. For this, we thank the Blue Ridge Health Department and the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Regional Emergency Operations Center for their leadership in helping us and our colleagues in Albemarle County Public Schools. And thanks also to volunteers from both school systems, including our nurses, for their support of these efforts.

We know that as we look ahead to bringing more students back into our buildings, there will be bumps. We know that bus transportation is one area of challenge — and there will be others.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the school year, we can only solve the problems we know about, so please keep reaching out to your teacher, your school counselor, your principal, the central office staff, or the School Board. Whether your child remains online or starts coming into our schools, we want to help our students continue to learn and grow.

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins

  • go2grow logoIt’s time to apply to preschool for next year — and there’s a new, simpler way to do it called Go2Grow. Go2Grow works with local public schools, Head Start programs, and private providers in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, and Greene. Families can review and sign up using a single, online application. Go2Grow applications can be filled out by any family with a child, birth to age 5, looking for care in Central Virginia. Taking applications now!

    Visit Go2Grow website

  • Academic Advising Season for Walker Upper Elementary School graphicFrom virtual curriculum fairs to online orientations, Buford, CATEC, CHS,  and Walker have been working to help students and families understand their options for next year.
    If you missed any sessions or want a refresher, you can find materials and information online:   Buford   |   CATEC   |   CHS    |   Walker

  • Kindness Week flyerIn honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week, the school division school counselors encourage students and families to spread kindness throughout the community using this Kindness BINGO game. Complete a card by the end of the week and enjoy spreading (and receiving) some kindness!
    Find BINGO Cards:  Elementary   |   Walker/Buford    |   CHS

  • Virginia Department of Education logoThe Virginia Board of Education presented Charlottesville High School with the 2020 Continuous Improvement Award for increased graduation rates and decreased drop-out rates for three consecutive years, among other achievements. Congratulations and Go Black Knights!

  • Vice-Mayor Magill zoom meetingFourth graders in Mr. Christ’s class at Jackson-Via Elementary learned more about civic engagement during a Zoom call they requested with Vice-Mayor Sena Magill! They discussed everything from her duties as vice-mayor to her birthday to how they feel about the city’s monuments. Way to go, Jackrabbits!

  • CHS Information Session for Teacher for TomorrowCHS will offer a dual enrollment (DE) Teachers for Tomorrow course in partnership with Virginia State University in 2021-22. Students interested in a future teaching career can earn three college credits and a high school CTE credit, as well as gain experience in field work at local elementary and middle schools, visit colleges, and learn more about the classroom and the world of education.

    • See News Coverage
  • Jefferson School African American Heritage Center logoCCS and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center have partnered to provide 25 teachers professional learning opportunities to support our English/History collaboration initiative and help bring a local African American perspective to all departments. Embracing Our Narratives (EON) aims to help educators better understand our community and develop a more inclusive curriculum. Dr. Andrea Douglas & Dr. Kimalee Dickerson gave an overview of EON at the February School Board meeting.

  • Clip of news story on Mental Health Services in SchoolsWe are proud to partner with UVA on the Virginia Partnership for School Mental Health state initiative. The value of school-based mental health services cannot be overstated, and this program aims to train and sustain a new generation of practitioners. In addition, National School Counselors Week just wrapped up, with a  shout-out from the Virginia Department of Education to Walker counselors John Kronstain and Liz Dinwiddie! Hear more from them about how our school counselors are connecting with students.

  • CHS Fine Arts Celebration flyerJoin the CHS Fine Arts Department for their annual CHS Fine Arts Celebration tomorrow (February 10 ) from 7:30-8:30 p.m.  This is free and open to the public via Zoom. Links will be added to the Charlottesville School calendar.  Celebrate our CHS artists, musicians, and actors!

    After All-District Band Auditions were held virtually, 35 CHS students, 22 Buford Middle students, and five Walker Upper Elementary students earned All-District spots, while 10 CHS students earned All-State bids. Congratulations to all of our student musicians, and thank you to CHS Band Director Jason Hackworth for chairing this event, which included managing more than 440 student digital entries and 25 judges.

    Recent Performances:

  • National Science Bowl logo Congratulations to the following CHS BACON Club students (Best All-around Club of Nerds) for their third-place finish in last weekend’s Virginia Science Bowl competition, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy: Nikolas Dillery, Margaret Fischman, Avery Niven, Venetia Smith, and David Wiles.

    “This intrepid band of science rockstars went up against the top teams in the state…. At the end of a grueling eight-hour day of quizzing, their only losses were to Langley High School and perennial champs, TJHSST,” reported CHS Engineering Teacher and BACON Club Advisor Matt Shields.

  • Despite the pandemic, there is no shortage of athletic news. Here are the highlights:

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • The Cville Energy and Water Management Program team launched its third quarter campaign this month, encouraging students, staff, and families to pick an action and do an action that helps save energy and water.

    Try these helpful tips:

    • Start off small: Pick a small action like turning lights off as you leave a room or turning the faucet off when scrubbing your hands with soap (or choose your own!).
    • Repeat, repeat, repeat: Do your energy and water saving action over and over again, each day!
    • Grow your action: Expand your action to save more energy and water by including your family!


    • Calendar logoCHS Fine Arts Celebration, February 10, 7:30-8:30pm
    • Drive-thru COVID-19 Testing (FREE), February 12, 19, 26, 3-7pm, CHS parking lot
    • School Board Budget Approval Meeting, February 18, 5-8pm. Learn more at
    • Special Education Advisory Committee Meeting, February 24, 5-6:30pm
    • Liberation & Freedom Day Learning Activities, March 3

    Follow Schools Calendars

  • School Board Updates graphicAt the January 7 School Board meeting, the Board elected Board Chair Lisa Larson-Torres and Vice-Chair James Bryant.  The Board also heard updates on literacy, student and family engagement, equity, and budget development.  In January, the Board also voted to consider March 8 as the target for offering in-person instruction, a date they re-affirmed at their February meeting while authorizing the schools to expand the number of students eligible for in-school services.  Their February meeting also included updates on the state’s guidance for supporting transgender students, a more inclusive social science curriculum, next year’s academic calendar, and budget.

    • Additionally, the 2020-21 Martin Luther King Community Award was presented to our School Board member Leah Puryear at the 36th Annual Charlottesville MLK Celebration. Congratulations, Leah, on this well-deserved honor, and thank you for your tireless work in our community! Fellow School Board member Juan Wade presented the award. Watch both speeches here:

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