A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins
Dear staff, family, and community:
It’s official — Charlottesville High School’s “Victory Lap” was triumphant! The drive-through graduation event featured several CHS-related selfie stations (including a mural painted by CHS teacher Nathan Alexander) and a Black Knights spirit station. And it concluded with the graduates walking across the stage with their name read aloud as families watched from the car and nearby teachers and staff cheered. Cars were decorated. Balloons were filled. Cowbells were rung. And, yes, tears were shed.
You can find lovely pictures on our social media channels. You can also see it for yourself when our graduation video premieres on June 4 at 7pm (the original time for graduation) on our Facebook page or on Charlottesville’s Channel 14. Thanks to Lori Shinseki (parent of Jack Heaphy ’20) for volunteering her talents on our grad video!
And special thanks to Dr. Irizarry and his admin team, the CHS graduation team, the CHS staff at large, and several division leaders, who helped bring the Victory Lap to life. Many parents and grads said they felt the love and connection — no virus can stop that. Congrats, Class of 2020!
Dr. Rosa Atkins
More views of the Victory Lap event at CHS on May 14-15 to celebrate the Class of 2020. From social media to yard signs to this event and our upcoming grad video, we invite you to help us celebrate these students!
Learning has changed this spring. We know there are losses, but we celebrate the gains as well, such as Buford Civic teacher Matt Resnick and his colleagues hosting class forums with politicians such as Virginia’s Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, and VA Del. Sally Hudson. Thanks to these teachers and others for finding new and creative ways to make learning connections!
CHS has posted information about online summer offerings in Health, PE, and Economics and Personal Finance. In addition, all schools will be offering continuing learning opportunities for selected students who have not yet been able to complete the core curriculum. And for the first time, some elementary students will take part in a free virtual “Freedom School” co-hosted by UVa’s Curry School as part of the acclaimed Freedom School program.
For the fall, our planning committees are now working on three scenarios: (1) face-to-face instruction, (2) a hybrid of face-to-face and distance learning, and (3) distance learning. The state is also developing guidelines for schools, and we are receiving health department guidance as well. Thanks for your patience — we’ll keep you posted. Regardless, it’s not too early to register your new student or re-register your returning student (see below).
During Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked you to shower our staff with love, and you really delivered! On social media we posted 100+ shoutouts that included photos and words of appreciation from students, parents, and colleagues. Some PTOs and students also created chalk art, painted murals, or developed videos. And finally, thanks also for your nominations for our amazing Golden Apple award-winners (and thanks to Better Living for their continued support). This year’s winners are: Lisa Johnson Black (Hospital Ed), Kelsey Cary (Lugo-McGinnis), Mary Caitlyn Cordone (Clark), Matthew Deegan (CHS), Kavita Kumar (Greenbrier), Calder McLellan (Venable), Matt Richardson (CATEC), Kathryn Salem (Jackson-Via), Brandy Walker (Buford), Lisa Wallace (Burnley-Moran), Cianna Washburg (Walker), and Lindsay Wayland (Johnson). Congrats to these amazing teachers!
Continued thanks to our nutrition staff for delivering more than 7,000 meals a week to students, and thanks also to Cultivate Charlottesville (the new nonprofit home of City Schoolyard Garden) for leading the Memorial Day meal delivery to give our staff a break. You can still volunteer to help our staff with deliveries. One important update is that the state has created the Pandemic-EBT card to assist families who rely on free/reduced meals. If your child already receives free/reduced meals, you do not need to do anything to receive this benefit. But if your child does not receive free/reduced meals, you can still apply for free/reduced meals to qualify for the new benefit.
In the midst of this pandemic, we have been staying connected with our families via tools such as learning books, See Saw, Canvas, social media, email, Google Meet, phone calls, and more. We have been able to connect with every single Charlottesville Schools family. For every known need, we have been able to supply a Chromebook and a WiFi hotspot. Thanks to all the teachers, counselors, principals, social workers, IT staff and more who have made this possible — and thanks for our families who are doing their part to stay connected, as well. The last day of school is June 5.
While our kindergarten open house is still on hold, our new student online forms are open. To orient students to their new schools, many of our schools– including Buford — are posting welcome videos. Families of returning students (including our preK students) can also complete re-registration forms by logging into PowerSchool if you need help logging into PowerSchool or adding a child to your account? Call your school.
In May, the School Board again met virtually as a response to the closure. As we reported in a previous community email, the most important topic was adjusting the 2020-21 budget in light of the financial impact of the pandemic. All staff members whose role was impacted by cuts have been placed in new positions at Charlottesville Schools. Find more School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video. The next meeting will be held June 11, also virtually. Tune in on Facebook at @CvilleSchools.
Our art teachers continue to find meaningful ways to connect with their students — and to connect their students to the community. A partnership with Hospice of the Piedmont supplies life-affirming student art for families facing challenges during this pandemic. See NBC29’s coverage here.
Two CHS projects are helping others. Student Meg Gist and teacher Matt Deegan shaved their heads to benefit children with cancer. And teacher Peter Davis is continuing his urban gardening students’ work from earlier this year by tending the CHS garden and sharing the produce with those in need.
We have prioritized wellness during this pandemic — and we are so glad to see teachers staying fit and connected using a program for teachers. For families, our gym teachers have been sharing physical wellness tips, and our learning page includes mental wellness resources for the family.