A Word from Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins
Dear staff, family, and community:
As the end of the first quarter approaches on October 31, I hope the year has gotten off to a good start for you and your family.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019 and all those who helped them attain a school-high on-time graduation rate of 95.7 percent! Our black students’ rate was even higher — 95.9! As CHS Principal Irizarry noted, “Even as we celebrate, we set new goals. As we continue to emphasize increased rigor and high expectations, we will expect to see more students pursuing the advanced diploma. But regardless of the type of diploma our students have earned, we celebrate this accomplishment and the good work our teachers, counselors, and staff are doing.”
Yes, we approach our schools with a combination of pride for what we’ve accomplished and a strong commitment to doing better. This fall, we have rolled out a wide array of commitments for improving our schools for everyone. You can learn more about these commitments by visiting charlottesvilleschools.org/equity.
Dr. Rosa Atkins
This fall, Charlottesville City Schools began an innovative model for gifted instruction. The new model is a collaboration between gifted resource teachers and classroom teachers, bringing the enriching activities of the gifted program to all students. These changes come after years of revising our old model and after months of soliciting feedback and consulting with experts. To learn more, find information on our web site or in the Daily Progress.
Walker students now choose not one, but two electives, selecting from art, band, choir, orchestra, pre-engineering, and Spanish. This has increased the enrollment and diversity of fine arts classes and helped students identify their own interests. Read more.
In other fine arts news, world-class violinist Anyango Yarbo-Davenport visited Buford and CHS musicians, the CHS orchestra announced a tour to Lisbon & Madrid, the CHS choir raised more than $9,000 for hurricane-devastated Ocracoke Island, and CHS art students are contributing to a future mural in the City.
CHS has earned a national grant to support a peer-to-peer mentorship program. Newly-arrived immigrant and refugee students are matched with a mentor who has their same background and experiences, but who has been at CHS longer. “Having peers actually caring about them, reaching out, welcoming them… it just makes such a huge difference… You see them light up,” said ESL teacher Tina Vasquez. See NBC29’s coverage here.
Through visits to Camp Albemarle, field trips to Wildrock, time in our school gardens, and Farm-to-School Week activities, we are reaping nature’s wellness and educational benefits. Recently all schools earned (another) “Virginia Naturally” award for our efforts in sustainability and environmental learning. And the City’s Public Works staff is helping us save energy and water by providing educational materials for students and staff.
Teachers are “changing the narrative” to include more diverse and local voices and history in social sciences. We are one of six school divisions included in a Virginia Humanities grant to train teachers and write new curriculum. “We want to be on the cutting edge of this work,” notes social sciences coordinator Neeley Minton.
The fall has also offered ways to explore our schools’ history. September marked the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Charlottesville Schools, and in October, a new historic marker at Johnson will explore the schools’ integration from 1959-1962.
Using hands-on activities related to everyday life such as changing leaves, water quality, and the heat retention of blankets, our STEM program is helping students understand the world around them. One real-life lesson? Failure is an important first step to learning and growing. To learn more about Cville Schools’ innovative and robust STEM programming, check out CCS_iSTEM on Twitter or attend a STEM Family Night at your school!
Recent School Board activity includes a review of the division’s latest student data reports, an update about our 2019-20 equity commitments, and a first reading of proposed equity and anti-racism policies. (To review the drafts and provide feedback, click here.) Board members also voted to approve several documents to finalize their commitment to the new model for gifted education. For School Board information, including agendas, minutes, and livestream video, read more here.
10/23 Dedication of Historic Marker at Johnson (call 245-2962 to learn more)
10/26 Buzz-by-Belmont Family 5K (open to all & sponsored by Clark PTO)
10/30 Minds in Motion, MLK PAC, 7pm
10/31 End of First Quarter
11/1-5 No School (Professional Learning and Teacher Workdays)
11/7 Harvest of the Month in all schools (thanks, City Schoolyard Garden!)
11/7 School Board Meeting, CHS Media Center, 5pm
11/11 CHS and Buford Bands Veterans Day Concert, 11am (CHS) and 2pm (Buford)
11/12 School Health Advisory Board Meeting, Division Annex at CHS, 4pm
11/12 Walker STEM Night, 6pm
11/13 Special Education Advisory Committee Meeting, Johnson, 5:30pm
11/18 CHS Band Fall Concert, 7pm
11/19 Buford Orchestra Fall Concert, 7:30pm
11/19 Lugo-McGinness Student/Family Celebration, 12pm
11/27-29 Thanksgiving Break
Burnley-Moran students bike during recess. By partnering with the City’s Safe Routes to Schools program, all elementary schools have a biking unit during PE. This fall, Burnley-Moran instructional assistant Myk Reid worked with the City to provide bikes during recess. Said one second-grader, “This is obviously the best day of my life!” See more photos.
Congrats to the Buford Volleyball team, with a 13-2 record so far! Fall sports are underway at CHS and Buford — thanks to the marching band, cheerleaders, and fans for their support!