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Fall 2017 News & Highlights

Superintendent Message

October 19, 2017

Dear families—Sigma Lab at Charlottesville High School

As we wrap up the first quarter of the year, I want to say thanks to all of you for partnering with us for the education of your children. It’s been an eventful year in our community. Even so, our schools continue to excel and thrive. All of our Charlottesville City Schools were once again fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education, all our schools just received state-wide recognition for our sustainability and environment education programs, and our SAT scores continue to climb well-above national and state averages. To support these strong accomplishments, we are strengthening our efforts to improve and modernize our facilities.

Last fall, we hired VMDO Architects to study school capacity and make recommendations for modernization projects. We also contracted with UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service to study our enrollment trends.

Projections show our Pre-K – 12th grade enrollment will grow by more than 600 students in the next decade. Thus, the time to prepare for capacity solutions is now.

Our School Board is in the process of considering possible options. Later, you will be invited to take part in community discussions. We need your input as we seek for ways to maximize our learning spaces to meet the needs of our community. We hope you will join us!

Dr. Rosa S. Atkins, Superintendent

View previous Superintendent’s messages here.

  • BusUpcoming Days Off for Students: To mark the end of the first quarter, there will be a teacher workday (no school for students) on Friday, October 27. Coinciding with Election Day is another break on Monday-Tuesday, November 6-7, while teachers have a professional learning day and a workday.Letter P

    PowerSchool is an online tool to help schools, students, and families stay connected throughout the year. You can check grades and attendance and more. Using PowerSchool, you can customize how you receive calls, emails, or texts from the schools. Make sure all of your students are added to your parent account. If you have not completed your online re-registration, please do so right away. Canvas is a similar program that allows students and parents to access day-to-day classwork, readings, grades, and more.

    As a follow-up to the August events in Charlottesville, a number of our teachers and administrators have given interviews with national media outlets such as NPR, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and many others. These staff members have allowed the country to see how thoughtfully and carefully they have handled this situation.  You can find some glimpses of this work in the below highlights. Thanks for the good work you’re doing in our schools, and thanks for representing us so well in the media!

    Community We celebrated Farm-to-School week, presented by our Nutrition Department in partnership with City Schoolyard Garden and the Local Food Hub. Activities ranged from locally sourced lunches to visits with chickens and goats. The week wrapped up at Johnson with a visit from the First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe vi

    Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe also visited Charlottesville and attended a Clark Elementary School STEM fair. Clark fourth graders, along with the governor, rotated through activities featuring drones, robots, and driverless cars. Running the stations were volunteers from PVCC, Perrone Robotics, and our own talented CHS BACON students.

    All nine of Charlottesville City Schools received “Virginia Naturally” state recognition for increasing the environmental awareness and stewardship of our students.

    GardeningLugo-McGinness Academy administrator Stephanie Newcomb Carter was recognized by the UVA Teen and Young Adult Health Center as 2017 Outstanding Community Partner. Lugo-McGinness Academy provides an alternative educational setting for Charlottesville students in grades 5-12.

    Read more about how we are “building bridges to engineering” through our innovative iStem program in the October 2017 edition of Bloom Magazine and follow @CCS_iSTEM on Twitter for ongoingOur Schools By Beth

    Walker Upper Elementary Across our schools, various fundraisers took place to help victims of recent events and natural disasters. The Walker Upper Elementary Peace Squad raised $868 for  hurrican victims and the Concert for Charlottesville Fund.

    Joining the Charlottesville City Schools staff is Krissy Vick, community relations liaison. You may hear from her in future communications. Beth Cheuk will remain active in communications but will take on additional responsibilities in grant-writing and other areas.

    We’ve expanded our Facebook and Twitter pages! Our school division (@CvilleSchools), all our schools, and programs ranging from iSTEM to athletics have active social media accounts. To see an ever-growing list, click here.

  • Charlottesville High School 2017

    Fine Arts

    Fine ArtsCHS hosted a group of singers from the Metro Nashville Public Schools to collaborate on a joint musical recording of entertainer BeBe Winan’s song “Right Now (We Need One Another).”  Read The Daily Progress coverage here. A response to this summer’s violence, this beautiful video was shown at the Dave Matthews Band Concert for Charlottesville.

    Forty CHS students stayed after school for a “paint-in” organized by art teacher Rachel McLaughlin (see photo, above) as one response to the Charlottesville events of August 11-12. The inspirational messages have been posted around the school.

    The CHS Theatre program will present “A Night of One Act Performances” at the Black Box Theater on October 25 at 7 p.m. The evening will feature two plays, “1601” and “The Firebugs.” In fact, the musical “1601” is student-created and directed!  Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults, and $15 for VIP seating. Click here to order tickets online.

    Sixteen CHS Orchestra and Band members were selected for the 2017 South Central Senior Regional Orchestra. Congratulations to Laura Mulligan Thomas and Jason Hackworth, plus the following students: Alice Owen, Frances Owen, Margaret Lather, Kiran Klubock-Shukla, Jamila Pitre, Parker Sullivan, Joshua Rugumayo, and Victoria Kremer, violin; Tilden Fernandez and Joe von Storch, viola; Sarah Garretson, Carmen Day, and Owen Fernandez, cello; Claire Inlow, clarinet; Ella McLaren, bassoon; and Anna Bon-Harper, french horn.

    Music DepartmentIn other music news, Victoria Kremer earned 1 of the 20 first-soprano spots in the 2017 Virginia Senior Honors Choir. The CHS Marching Knights won 1st place overall for class AAA at the Lynchburg Classic. And CHS Choir Teacher Will Cooke and his students celebrated when they received a baby grand piano from a generous donor.

    Ninth-grader Anisha Tamang won 1st in the National Dance Foundation’s 2017 Middle School Art Contest! She made this award-winning collage last year at Buford.

    General News

    Demetrius Ragland Congratulations and good luck to senior Demetrius Ragland for being one of two delegates representing VA this month at the Global Youth Institute in Iowa. His project studies food insecurity in Haiti. Steven Newman and JonahAVID Seniors Weissman were named National Merit semifinalists, and a number of CHS students earned commended student status: Campbell Brickhouse, Owen Fernandez, Tilden Fernandez, Margaret Fitch, Emma Hale, Fré Halvorson-Taylor, Rachel Inlow, Charlotte MacDonald, Jamie Nachbar, Risa Purow-Ruderman, and Roland Ryan.

    18 of our CHS AVID seniors got their first college admissions offers from Longwood University. The CHS AVID program, a college preparatory program that focuses primarily on students who will be first-generation college students, recently visited Longwood University (LU), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Lynchburg College, Virginia State University (VSU) and Virginia Tech (VT).  15 were also recently admitted to VSU. Way to go, seniors!

    CHS Scholastic Bowl team was victorious over Matoaka High School in round one of  the televised Battle of the Brains competition.

    CHS hosted a Vietnam War video screening and panel discussion in connection with the WHTJ/WCVE PBS initiative, “Vietnam: Virginia Remembers.” Panelists included several retired Vietnam War veterans who shared their perspective with students from CHS and The Miller School. Senior Nadiya Khaydari also presented a student documentary she produced in teacher Matt Deegan’s history class. The event coincided with the recent documentary series “The Vietnam War,” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.


    FootballThe CHS Football is off to a strong 5-2 start, including a 76-7 romp for Homecoming.  At the end of September, quarterback Sam Neale was named Falcon Club Player of the Week.

    To conclude a great season, CHS Golf placed third at regionals, with senior AJ Stouffer placing second and qualifying for states. See this video of AJ putting for birdie on #11 at the state match in Blacksburg, VA.

    Volleyball, field hockey, and cross country have had solid seasons, including  three thrilling overtime wins for field hockey and cross country’s first place finish at the Rod Camden Invitational in Lynchburg.

    CHS AthleticsFollow CHS Athletics
    on the web at
    and @CHSBlackKnights on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Buford students presenting Six Buford Middle School engineers traveled to the National Museum of American History in D.C. At the Smithsonian, they ran a design challenge for CEOs and educational leaders. Brendan Martin and his students also presented their experiences and the tools they use, such as Seesaw and Trello.

    As one response to the Charlottesville events of August 11-12, Mr. Cormier prompted his art students to consider a quote about “learning to love” by Nelson Mandela. Their beautiful artworks were then displayed along with the full quote on a wall in the cafeteria for all the school to see and learn from.

    Cauliflower mac-n-cheese or roasted cauliflower pizza? Buford students had the chance to taste test and vote for their favorite dish as part of the Veg-Off and Harvest Festival organized by City Schoolyard Garden.

    Buford PE classes were visited by the Charlottesville Cardinals wheelchair basketball team, offering an inspirational model for how to overcome challenges.


    Walker School held its iSTEM Family Night in October, with marble mazes (for mastering mass) and a CSI crime scene to help students solve the Case of the Missing iPhone.

    Sentence surgeons at workWalker students are using putting the fun in fundamentals. Students learned about human, natural, and capital resources by creating their own show, “Top Chef: Pizza Edition,” in Ms. Trent and Mr. Piedra’s classes. Other out-of-the box learning activities were English students performing “sentence surgery” in Ms. Stromberg’s classes, or art students using icing  to create color-wheel cookies in Ms. Pagni’s classes.


    During Mix It Up Day, 30 United Way volunteers played B-I-N-G-O at lunchtime to give our fifth and sixth grade students (sitting in mixed-up seating arrangements) a chance to get to know each other better!

    As mentioned in the “division news” section, the Walker Peace Squad raised nearly $900 to benefit hurricane victims and the “Concert for Charlottesville Fund” at the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.

  • Friday Night LightsThe 2nd annual All-Elementary “Friday Knight Lights” Tailgate will be Friday, October 20 at 6 p.m. at CHS. Get to meet cheerleaders and band members before chearing on the CHS Black Knights before their game at 7 p.m.! Walk to School Day at Venable

    The annual Clark Elementary 5K Buzz-by-Belmont Fun Run to benefit the Clark Educational Fund was a success! Thank you to all of our runners, volunteers, and community partners that helped with this event.

    Our schools recently celebrated “Walk to School Day.” At Venable, students walked by grade and were greeted by CHS cheerleaders.

    The hallways in several of our elementary schools are filled with “The Best Part of Me” writing and photos inspired by Wendy Ewald’s book, “The Best Part of Me.”

    Best of Me

    Mural-making at Burnley-MoranBurnley-Moran Elementary is celebrating  Spirit Week the week of 10/16-10/20. The festivities will end with the second annual All-Elementary Football Tailgate on October 20 at 6 p.m. at Charlottesville High School. Meanwhile, Mr. Ryan Trott’s fourth-grade art students have been creating a beautiful hallway mural designed by kids from the Blue Ridge Academic Program. The mural focuses on positive messages of perseverance, effort, and accepting challenge and can be seen on the Burnley-Moran hallway walls leading to the basement level.

    New York Times at JohnsonFourth-graders in Mrs. Wayland’s class at Johnson Elementary were invited to serve as guest op-ed writers for the November issue of The New York Times for Kids. Two Times editors and their photographer came to conduct a workshop and take headshots of the young columnists. In addition, the whole school is participating in a community-building art project. Students are decorating a fist-sized rock. Each looks lovely on its own, but they will be even more beautiful when combined with others to line trails and walkways around the campus.

    Bike Safety Students at Greenbrier Elementary are bringing their bikes and helmets to school and learning all about bike safety in PE class! Mr. Green is teaching them how to complete a pre-ride check, safety gear needed for riding, proper hand signals, and reading safety signs.

    Venable celebrated the new track at the start of their annual Walk-A-Thon. This track was paid for by the Venable PTO and built by the city Parks & Rec department last summer. It is a great addition for Venable and the the neighboring community, including Lugo-McGinness Academy (Charlottesville’s high school alternative program).

    Back to School NightBack-to-School Night was a great community event with over 400 Jackson-Via family members who explored Jackson-Via, met with teachers, and shared a delicious pot luck dinner. At Math and Literacy Night, the pre-school and kindergarten families gathered for “Shiver Me Letters (and numbers),” and participated in activities that engaged the whole family.

  • Recent highlights:

    • The new wellness policy  was unanimously approved by the School Board in September. Thanks to parents, students, staff, and area experts for your input to make our revised wellness policy so strong! Read more here.School Board Updates
    • The 2017-18 Student Representatives to the School Board are CHS students   Nadiya Khaydari,  Fré Halvorson-Taylor, and Lamia West.
    •  Charlottesville High School received a $50,000 grant from the CFA Institute that will benefit the CHS AVID program. CFA will be partnering with CHS to modernize learning spaces and develop our investing, & personal finance programs.
    • Four Charlottesville City Schools teachers received grants totaling $5,724 from the Edgar and Eleanor Shannon Foundation for Excellence in Public Education. The grants make possible innovative educational projects, ranging from STEM fields to therapeutic games.
    • For details, official minutes, or other reports, visit our electronic schoolboard, accessible via our web site.
    • Register here to receive notices of future Board meetings. We livestream at
  • Upcoming events include:


    • All-Elementary Football Tailgate, 10/20, CHS, 6 p.m., Tickets $7, students and kids under 5 are free
    • CHS Football vs. W. Albemarle, 10/20, 7 p.m.
    • Cavalcade Marching Band Competition, 10/21
    • CHS Choir Fall Concert, MLKPAC CHS, 10/23, 7 p.m.
    • TheatreCHS presents “A Night of One-Act Plays,” 10/25, 7 p.m., Black Box, CHS
    • No School, 10/27, Teacher Work DayGoogle Calendar


    • School Board Meeting, 11/2, 5 p.m.
    • No School, 11/6, Professional Development Day
    • No School, 11/7, Teacher Work Day
    • CHS Band Veteran’s Day Concert , 11/11, Sprint Pavilion, 11-12 p.m.

    Remember that you can subscribe to our Google calendars for school-specific events and holidays. Instructions are at

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

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