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Winter 2018 News & Highlights

CCS Superintendent Message

January 5, 2018

Dear families,

As we begin 2018, it is a wonderful time to reflect on the flurry of activities and opportunities at Charlottesville City Schools.teacher and students

In December, our high school students wrapped up their final semester exams, seniors finalized their college applications, and our Zero Robotics Team advanced to the final round of a global coding competition.  Other students fine-tuned their instruments and voices for a host of local holiday performances in our schools and community, and the CHS Marching Band traveled to London to march in the London New Year’s Day Parade! In our middle schools, students tested invention kits in our science labs, geared up for their January performance of Pinocchio, and enjoyed a “demo day” by U.Va. engineering students. Meanwhile, our elementary students explored off-campus educational experiences at places like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and The Paramount Theater of Charlottesville. On campus, they engaged in character building projects like Johnson Elementary’s  Painted Rock Garden and Jackson-Via’s Bully-Nots assembly (its 10th aniversary!) which remind us all of the importance of celebrating differences and being kind.

As we move into the new year, our administration is committed to sustaining the current robust educational opportunities that our schools provide, as well as meeting the future needs of our growing population.

Now more than ever, we need your input. We are relying on our families and community to weigh in as we reconsider our facilities and develop the fiscal year 2018-19 budget. We hope you can join us at one of our upcoming community meetings. Please visit the following web pages for a current schedule of meetings and more information:

I wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year!


Dr. Rosa Atkins

  • Muffins for Moms We loved seeing so many moms, dads, grandparents, uncles, and family friends participating in elementary family engagement events like Muffins for Moms, and Doughnuts for Dads. Student and family engagement facilitator Velvet Coleman was featured in The Daily Progress for her efforts to help all our students be more successful in school.

    Elementary students across the division visited the Paramount Theater twice so far this year to view live performances of My Father’s Dragon and Guess How Much I Love You and I Love my Storybook.

    students Students also visited Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello for tours and engaging cross-curricular lessons that made connections between history, math, science, and literacy!

    In November, a variety of Thanksgiving and fall fun activities included Thanksgiving pow wows, churning butter, and art projects reminding our youngest learners to be grateful.

    Thanksgiving collage

    book recommendations Clark Elementary third graders learned about writing haiku poetry using inspiration from a neighborhood walk.  They also worked on writing book recommendations for their peers and posted them on a bulletin board.

    UVA student visit First-year engineering students from U.Va. designed a learning activity for Clark students which involved leading the kids through a series of activity stations to solve a spy mystery.

    International Day Several schools celebrated International Day, including Johnson and Clark. Students prepared exhibits that represented different countries, sampled a variety of foods from around the world, and dressed in costume.  Our families were instrumental in participating in this fun and educational opportunity to celebrate differences.

    award seal Congratulations to Nathan Jordan, a first-grader at Johnson Elementary for being a 2017 Imagine a Day without Water Student Art Contest Winner in the 1st – 2nd Grade Category. The annual contest is sponsored by the City of Charlottesville Public Works.

    students Also at Johnson, Ms. Wayland’s fourth graders had their opinions published in the New York Times Kids Edition in November.  The editors sent them each their own copy of the newspaper, and the class celebrated with a reading party. The NY Times opinions editors visited the class earlier this year to teach them about voicing their opinions in a constructive way. You can read more about it here.

    Thank you, Ms. Rickabaugh for leading the effort to create a Painted Rock Garden in the Johnson schoolyard garden. Students painted rocks that celebrate each individual’s uniqueness after reading the books Something Beautiful and Only One You.  Read more about it here.

    Bully Not AssemblyMrs. U along with the Jackson-Via Bully Nots and First Friends student group presented the 10th annual Bully-Not assembly at Jackson-Via.  This entertaining production was a joyful reminder about kindness, caring, and community. Principal Malone encouraged students to send out kindness boomerangs that will surely return to them. 

    CHS AVID students visited their buddies at Jackson-Via to play games and talk about preparing for college.

    student learning about velocity
    Jackson-Via STEM and Literacy Night provided an excellent educational opportunity  for families to learn about these fields while having fun with Straw Rockets, Hot Wheels, and BeeBots.

    “Books and Breakfast” at Greenbrier Elementary was well worth the early wake-up to gather with more than 100 friends and family. Kudos to the staff for hosting such a large turnout!

    stone soup and salad Greenbrier students had the chance to make  stone soup after reading the picture book “Stone Soup.” The popular folk story reminds people to  share and “bring what you’ve got.” Sharing the meal they prepared together, the students also enjoyed salad using some of the vegetables from their City Schoolyard Garden.

    students Thanks to the generosity of many in our community, many of our children received gifts, toys, books, and food from the Toy Lift  and PB &J programs during the holiday season. It was an exciting day when a U-Haul full of items arrived at Greenbrier Elementary and many volunteers helped unload the gifts.

    Venable student James Fox was thrilled to be named Thursday’s Hero by the U.Va. football team. He had a special visit with the Hoos and special guests. You can see it here.

    “The Rainbow Schoolbus Goes Deep into Protesting,” a short film about peace created by Venable students in Mr. Nussbaum’s class,  was featured during the Virginia Film Festival Family Day.

    running team The Burnley-Moran Girls on the Run team wrapped up their season with a celebratory final 5K run after a 3-month season of goal-setting, personal achievement and teamwork.

    student hands on learning PreK and K students at Burnley-Moran participated in a Community Helpers Job Fair that included volunteer students from CATEC.  Students rotated through various stations including  dentistry and cosmetology.

    What better way for Burnley-Moran students to learn about our community than to ride on the Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) bus and tour the neighborhood!

  • Geography bee winnersCongratulations to our 2017 Geography Bee school champs: fifth grade Walker student Elias Garcia and Buford seventh grader Aidan Peters (repeat winner)!

    Minds and MotionOur Minds in Motion Team XXL just gave a lively performance at TEDxCharlottesville at The Paramount Theater of Charlottesville. In partnership with the Richmond Ballet, Minds In Motion provides our Walker and Buford  students a weekly opportunity to learn about dance, dedication, and performance.

    Teacher of the Month Walker teacher Ms. Cynthia Scheiber was selected as Monticello Media’s Teacher of the Month for October. She won a Papa John’s Pizza party for all of her students and gifts from Cityspa Day Spa and Albemarle Dental Associates. She was honored all month on local radio stations. Congratulations!

    college visit A group of Buford Middle School boys went on a college tour to Hampden-Sydney College.  While there, they got to visit with school president Larry Stimpert.

    During Buford Career Day, students heard presentations from a variety of community businesses and organizations including the Charlottesville Fire Department,  Peacock Auto Repair, and the CATEC nursing program.

    student work Many Buford artists had their work up for auction at the City Schoolyard Garden’s annual Cultivar Youth Gallery Night and Benefit at Mas Tapas.

    The Buford Band played a concert to honor veterans at James Monroe’s Highland in observance of Veteran’s Day. The program included the University of Virginia Army ROTC cadets and a living timeline of veterans from the American Revolution to Desert Storm.

    Drama production Stage Left Productions is currently practicing for their upcoming play, Pinocchio, that will be presented on January 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Walker School.

    UVA Engineering professor Greg Lewin and his first-year students visited Buford for a day of science and engineering demos. See a sample of the demos here.

    student lab After reading the book, A Long Way to Water by Linda Sue Park, students at Walker  worked to determine the most effective way to carry water long distances.

    Peace SquadNew Peace Squad students attended a showing of  Wonder. “This movie was a perfect way to celebrate this great group of students who ‘Choose Kind’ on a daily basis!” said adviser Charlotte Geddy.

  • Student Aleena Haidari and alum Kibirti Majuto earned an opportunity to ride on a float in the New Year’s Day 2018 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California after winning an essay contest about social justice. The float, titled “Keeping the Promise,” honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other social justice advocates. Each  student also received a $5,000 grant to be used for community projects  or furthering their education.

    Donation At the December School Board meeting, members of the Student Investment Club donated $1,350 of their earnings to City Schoolyard Garden.

    Extra, extra read all about it! The Knight Time Review student newspaper now has a new website. Click here to see the latest edition.

    Jonah Weissman — along with several U.Va. students — was awarded a scholarship from the SANS Institute for scoring in the top 100 of a cybersecurity program being tested in Virginia.

    student publishedStudent Ian Clickner’s poem, “Rap del fauno,” was published in Albricias, a student journal of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, an honor society for students enrolled in Spanish and/or Portuguese.

    student history projectCHS student Jacob Floyd presented his Veteran’s History Project at the “Human Side of War” presentation at Cityspace. The project is part of an annual assignment in which students interview veterans and create videos or podcasts for history teacher Matt Deegan’s classes.

    3D printer The CHS BACON Club launched a giant weather balloon attached to a transmitter that was built with a laser cutter and 3D printers. Designed to be reusable, the balloon was expected to reach 100,000 feet and travel 70 mph during its one hour flight. See video of the launch here. And, speaking of 3D printers, the lab has a new one!

    Robotics The CHS Zero Robotics team will travel to MIT on January 11 for the final round of the 2017 Zero Robotics contest sponsored by NASA and MIT.  During the finals, CHS students’ code will control small robots aboard the International Space Station. Astonauts aboard the ISS will judge the final round of robot maneuvers while the teams watch via a live video feed.

    Sigma LabThe Sigma Lab has had a variety of cross-curricular activity. Besides the typical engineering and robotics projects, the Garden-to-Market classes and the art classes have been using the lab to help them build benches and bird houses to go around CHS. Also, educators from Shanghai recently toured the lab to learn more about creating their own STEM curriculum in China.

    AVID students The AVID program was honored to host Emerging Leaders as part of the Global Leadership Initiative. AVID students also participated in a panel discussion on the teenage brain at the UVA Curry School of Education.

    women's global initiative A group of female CHS students attended the Women’s Global Leadership Forum, hosted by U.Va  as part of its bicentennial celebrations. Women from the university and around the world gathered to discuss “The Role of Women in 21st Century Democracy.”


    CHS alum Kendall Ballard earned  her second all-region recognition for Ohio University.  Read more here.

    CHS basketball Both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams competed in 2017 Daily Progress Holiday  Hoops tournament in December. The girls finished third after defeating Western Albemarle in the final game.  The boys, also competing for third place against Western, eventually fell to the Warriors.  Players Nick Motley, Jessica Antwi and TC Younger were selected for the all-tournament teams.

    Jess Antwi was featured in Scrimmage Play’s First Off the Floor to discuss CHS’ girls varsity basketball regular season win over rival Monticello High.

    CHS golferCHS golfer AJ Stouffer has been named the 2017 Central Virginia Golfer of the Year. Read about his accomplishments here.

    The CHS softball facility continues to see improvement. Last winter, new dugouts were erected and this year a new infield is being installed. A special thank you to the City of Charlottesville and Parks and Recreation for aiding us in this process.

    CHS footballIn CHS football, Ben Casarez was featured in Scrimmage Play’s First Off the Field to discuss CHS’ exciting win over Monticello High.  The game completed a 5-0 record at home for the Black Knights and secured a place in the regional play-offs in Salem, VA.  Player Sam Neale has committed to play football for Washington and Lee University and Rakeem Davis will play for James Madison University.



    CHS marching bandThe CHS Marching Band traveled to London to march in the 2018 Lord Mayor of London’s New Year’s Day Parade. There were over half a million spectators in the streets, and it was broadcast around the world to more than 250 million people. The band presented a beautiful violin to the Lord Mayor painted by CHS alum Vail Prior.

    scholarship recipient Charlotte MacDonald was the first recipient of a $1000 scholarship from The Virginia Marching Band Cooperative Control Board.

    The annual CHS Symphony Choir Concert and Fine Arts  showcase will be held on January 31 at 7:30 p.m. at the MLK-PAC.

    CHS TheatreThe CHS Theater department came home with a host of awards from the Virginia Theatre Association State High School Festival. The CHS one-act play earned finalist (top 6 in VA), the improv team earned second, and the tech Olympics team placed third. Additionally, there were many individual award recipients and  several college call-backs.  Plans are now underway for CHS Theatre’s next productions, South Pacific and The TempestCHS orchestra

  • January

    • Jan. 8 – 5 p.m. – Prospective Family Information Night incl. Engineering at CHS
    • Jan 8 – 5:30 p.m. – Budget Update and Input Meeting at Clark Elementary
    • Jan. 10 – 6 p.m. – Budget Update and Input Meeting at Buford Middle
    • Jan. 11 – 6 p.m. – Budget Update and Input Meeting at CHS
    • Jan. 11 –  6 p.m. – Buford Engineering Expo at Buford Middle
    • Jan. 13 – All-District Band Auditions at Walker Upper Elementary
    • Jan. 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – No school
    • Jan. 18 – 5:30 p.m. – iSTEM/Math Night at Venable School
    • Jan. 19 – 6:30 p.m. – Pinocchio Stage Left Performance at Walker Upper Elementary
    • Jan. 20 – 9:30 a.m. – Jr. Regional Orchestra Auditions at J. Jouett MS
    • Jan. 22 – No school -Teacher Workday
    • Jan. 23 – CHS Curriculum Fair & Junior Parent Night at CHS
    • Jan. 23 – 6 p.m. – Community forum on growth and capacity at Mt. Zion First African American Church
    • Jan. 24 – 7 p.m. – Walker 5th grade Band Winter Concert at Walker
    • Jan. 30 – 6 p.m. – Jackson-Via iSTEM Night at JV
    • Jan. 31 – 7:30 p.m. – CHS Symphony Choir Concert Fine Arts Showcase at MLK-PAC


    • Feb. 1 – 5 p.m. – School Board meeting and budget review at CHS
    • Feb. 22-25 – 7:30 p.m. –  South Pacific at MLK-PAC
  • Don't forgetReminder: Schools will be closed on January 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

    Thank you for keeping your student cafeteria accounts current. Families will soon begin receiving automated telephone alerts through School Messenger when account balances reach -$10.

    The division will be holding several community meetings to gather input on solutions to our growing enrollment.  Visit Charlottesville City Public Schools - Facilities Home for a current list of scheduled meetings and to learn more. The next meetings are 1/23 at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church and 1/31 at CHS.

    Budget development for FY 2018-19 is currently underway. Please join us at one of the upcoming information sessions to learn more or visit Charlottesville City Public Schools - Budget to view the budget development work session presentation and calendar.

    Calendar iconThanks for your strong response to our request for feedback about the draft 2018-19 academic calendar! The survey inquiring about winter break scenarios received more than 1,000 responses. By a 2-1 margin, it showed a preference for a two-week winter break that begins on a Monday and ends on a Friday. See calendar here. The Charlottesville School Board voted for this winter break option at its meeting on 1/4. The Albemarle County School Board will vote on the ACS calendar — possibly with a different winter break — next week.

    A variety of adult education classes will begin on January 8 at the Thomas Jefferson-Adult Center for Education @ PVCC. Assessments are currently underway every Tuesday in January at 6 p.m. and every Wednesday at 10 a.m.  For more information, contact 434-961-5461 or 434-961-6461.

    award recipient At the December School Board meeting, Ned Michie was honored for his 13 years of service on the Board. In January, Lisa Larson-Torres was welcomed to the Board.

    peace and friendship artwork Students and staff from Waynesboro’s Kate Collins Middle School presented Charlottesville Schools administrators with a large painting that resembles the City of Charlottesville crest with images that promote peace, friendship, and kindness.  The young artists called it a large “Thinking of You” card for our city.

    student nook updateTeacher Rachel Savoy updated her classroom this year using her Virginia Lottery Super Teacher award money. ​After reading the book “The Third Teacher” about classroom design, she updated her classroom library and added alternative seating options for her students (tall stools, rolling chairs, a ball chair, a standing perch stool, a corner bench, and short stools). Her husband donated his carpentry skills and built a tall counter near the windows and a bench seat for a corner nook.

    NAEYC conference Dr. Kateri Thunder & Alisha Demchak of Burnley-Moran presented on young children’s goal setting at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual conference in Atlanta.

    When he is not facilitating the fine arts program in our schools, Aaron Eichorst (Fine Arts Coordinator) is making his own! Eichorst’s paintings are currently on display at the Second Street Gallery.

    Hour of Code participation All nine schools in our division participated in the 2017 Hour of Code, a nationwide initiative that introduces students to computer science during Computer Science Education Week. Students and teachers were hard at work with coding activities using sites like,, and

    engineering students Our iSTEM program made headlines for its efforts to promote diversity within science, technology, engineering, and math. It was recently highlighted in U.Va.’s Cavalier Daily and also on Charlottesville WMRA Public Radio.

    December was a time for holiday performances and seasonal fun at Charlottesville City Schools. Here is a festive look back on some of the best moments.

    holiday concert 1Holiday concert 2


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