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January 2020 News & Highlights

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A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins

Ms. Clarke's fourth grade classroom renovationDear staff, family, and community:

As we start 2020, I’ve been looking ahead to what the year will bring. Here are four areas you will hear more about:

Facilities. In early 2019, our Board endorsed a plan to reconfigure our schools. We received $3 million from the City to help us plan and design a new Walker (for preschool) and Buford (for grades 6-8). Once the bidding process is complete, the City will then select a firm to help with this work. Find updates here, and stay tuned!

Equity. The last year or so has been marked by public conversations and bold action on equity in our schools. On February 19 and 26, we’ll hold public events to continue this conversation, and you can also learn more detailed updates here.

Data. Among our most foundational work in equity — and in overall school improvement — is committing to a set of indicators that will show our progress and needs. This sounds simple, but in a world of changing tests, evolving tools, and unintended consequences, it is not. So we are thoughtfully exploring our top goals and the best way to measure them.

Substitute teachers. We — like school divisions across the country — have had shortages in areas such as substitute teachers, CLASS after-school staff, and bus drivers. We are doing internal work to assess the substitute situation and our responses (via marketing, training, compensation). And we are considering options for our community’s after-school care needs. In the meanwhile, help us spread the word! We are looking for substitute teachers and after-school staff — and our colleagues at the City (who manage student transportation) are looking for bus drivers (and substitute bus drivers). Together, let’s find good solutions and talented individuals.

As always, we invite you to partner with us. This might mean checking in with your teacher, attending events or meetings, volunteering, or just staying informed.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Dr. Rosa Atkins

Group photo of Family Engagement/Parent University Leaders

Did you enjoy Parent University? Have you chatted during a Bus Stop Meet-n-Greet? Or perhaps your family enjoyed the winter break calendar of suggested activities. Thanks to Velvet Coleman, Bianca Johnson, & partners! Recently, the Daily Progress featured our family engagement team.

  • Dr. Joseph Williams headshotThe Cville Schools staff and administrators have engaged in a variety of trainings related to equity — and we’ll continue to offer these important workshops. But families are a big part of the work, too. So in response to PTO requests, Cville Schools has worked with UVA professor (and Cville Schools parent) Dr. Joseph Williams to provide two free workshops for families. This past Saturday was a session on implicit bias, and this Saturday, we’ll cover “How to Talk to Your Child about Race.” Sign up here.

  • Jackson-Via renovationAs part of our elementary modernizations, Jackson-Via just completed a $1.25 million improvement to its entrance, lighting, tech, furnishings, and more. This follows work at Clark in 2018, and Burnley-Moran is up next. In addition, we continue to plan for the redesign of Buford and Walker. The RFP for design and planning services was posted in December. An overview of these plans (moving 6th grade to Buford; returning 5th-grade to elementaries; creating a dedicated early education center at Walker) is on our web site.

  • Dad demonstrates sewing for preschool studentsIt’s time to apply for preschool: Cville Schools offers free preK classes for qualifying 3- and 4-year-olds. The joint application is here (for Cville Schools, ACPS, and MACAA). Among the changes this year, incomplete toilet skills are no longer an automatic disqualifier for Cville Schools — we’ll look at students on a case-by-case basis. Other preschool news (aside from planning for an early childhood center — see above item) includes the “Creative Curriculum,” a research-based resource that ties together play, literacy, math, and personal growth as kiddos explore everyday subjects like balls or clothes. Pictured left, one of our parents demonstrates sewing as part of the unit on clothing.

  • Walker students participate in cooking clubThe Walker after-school program (EDGE) offers options ranging from sign language to theatre — come see Peter Pan on 1/17! Since 2003, a cooking club has brought Cville area chefs to work with students, started by former nutrition coordinator Alicia Cost and now run by Becky Calvert. It’s almost time for spring EDGE sign-ups. Spring info and sign-ups will be published 1/27. Sessions start 2/5; fee is $20 or free to students with free/reduced lunch. For more info for students OR adult volunteers, visit the EDGE web site.

  • Better living golden apply award logoMaybe a new teacher has gotten off to a great start. Perhaps it’s time to show appreciation for the teacher who’s put in good work for decades. Either way, it’s time for the annual Golden Apple nominations for outstanding teachers, sponsored by Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry. Take a few minutes — perhaps working with your student — to submit a nomination to your principal by 1/27. (Winners from the last three years aren’t eligible, but you can still jot them a note of appreciation!) 

  • illustration of curriculumThe first semester ends Friday, but it’s already time to think about next year! Check out upcoming ways to learn about our course offerings. For instance, Buford has a family curriculum night on 1/28, CHS has one on 2/3, Buford’s engineering expo is 2/13, and CATEC has an event on 2/25. Plus, Walker counselors are visiting elementary schools, and a video helps Walker families understand their choices. Counselors are checking in with Buford and CHS students to help them plan for a future that extends well beyond high school. Have questions? Ask your teacher, counselor, or principal!

  • snow photo of DOA building‘Tis still the season for snow and ice. Take time now to prepare for a weather closing. To choose phone, email, or text notifications (and to check your contact information), log into PowerSchool and select School Messenger at left. Then in the top-left corner, click the three-menu lines and select “Preferences” to make your choice and check your info. Find more instructions. Need help logging into PowerSchool? Call your school, 245-2943, or 245-2962. Find more info about weather closing and notifications.

  •  CCS logoIn December, the School Board said farewell to interim member Ned Michie. In January, they welcomed new member Lashundra Bryson Morsberger, re-elected Jennifer McKeever and Leah Puryear as chair and vice chair, and approved committee assignments. Thanks to all for serving! December also began the budget development season (see the calendar of budget events and presentation slides). Areas of action include changes to the policy about distributing medicine in school, and the approval of the 2020-21 academic calendar and program of studies. Reports were given about family engagement, special education, the strategic plan, and the equity committee. Find more School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video.

  • illustration of calendar1/16-17 CHS Musical Theatre Education class presents Pippin, 7pm, Black Box Theatre, $10 adults ($5 students/alum)
    1/17 Early Dismissal, End of 2nd Quarter, & Afternoon Professional Learning
    1/17 Walker Stage Left Performs Peter Pan, 6:30pm, Walker Auditorium
    1/20-21 No School (MLK Day on 1/20; teacher workday on 1/21)
    1/21 Budget Update Meeting, 5pm, Jackson-Via (open to all)
    1/28 Buford Family Curriculum Expo, 6pm (Walker families welcome!)
    1/29 CHS Symphony/Choir/Arts Celebration, 7:30, MLKPAC
    1/30 Walker 5th Grade Band Winter Concert, 6:30pm, Walker Auditorium
    2/3 CHS Curriculum Fair & Buford Family Night, 4:30-7pm, CHS Cafeteria. (Buford Family Information Session will take place from 6:30-7pm in A-Commons.)
    2/5 Walker EDGE Clubs Begin for Second Semester
    2/6 School Board Meeting, 5pm, CHS Media Center
    2/6 Harvest of the Month Snack Program (thanks, City Schoolyard Garden)
    2/13 Buford Engineering Expo, 5:30-7pm, Buford (open to all)

More Looks at Cville Schools

Zymir Faulkner spinning a basketball by Andrew Shurtleff/Daily Progress

Go Black Knights! Basketball, sideline cheer, swimming, track, and wrestling are in season. Boys’ hoops (12-1) won the Daily Progress Holiday Classic, and Zymir Faulkner (above) was the DP’s athlete of the week. Prior to Friday’s basketball game, the state championship boys’ soccer team was honored and received their rings. Spring tryouts start 2/24 — info will be posted to

Pippin poster and cast (musical theatre ensemble class)

The arts are always in season at Cville Schools. Students from CHS’s musical theatre ensemble class are presenting Pippin 1/16 and 1/17 in the Black Box. Walker students are presenting Peter Pan 1/17 at Walker. ALL CHS arts students are performing and presenting on 1/29. Don’t miss it! 

Two students during Venable Hour of Code activity

Students participated in the Hour of Code (national programming activities). Our iSTEM teachers present coding year-round, leading to computer science pathways at CHS and CATEC. And shout-out to CHS BACON (Best All-around Club of Nerds) for qualifying for the state FTC Robotics championship!

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

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