A Letter from Dr. Gurley
Dear staff, students, and families,
With just a week-and-a-half left before summer break, I want to say thank you to all those in the school division who are already working hard to make next year (and the years after that) successful.
Here are just a few examples:
Groundbreaking for our modernized middle school will happen on the last day of school. I appreciate Principal Rodney Jordan and his team at Buford for making a thoughtful plan for how our students can continue to succeed while their campus is under construction. Click here for project details.
‘Tis the season for staffing changes, and I am always thrilled when we find the talent we are looking for within our division. Two examples: Johnson’s longtime principal Summerlyn Thompson is becoming principal of Walker School, and former Clark principal and instructional coach Dr. Anna Isley will be heading up our division’s professional learning. We also say thank you to this year’s retirees, who are listed below. And if you or a friend is looking for a great employer, consider Cville Schools!
We are working with colleagues at ACPS to prepare for the smooth transition of CATEC to Charlottesville City Schools leadership in summer 2024. And we are continuing to finalize our five-year strategic plan to guide our work through 2028.
Of course, it’s not “all work and no fun.” To encourage our 12-month staff to adopt a summer mindset, schools and offices will be closed on Fridays this summer. In addition, some of our central office staff will be working out of various locations while the Dairy Road office gets a light renovation. We’re still happy to help you — but call or email first so you are sure to find us.
Royal A. Gurley, Jr.
There is early dismissal on the last day of school, Friday, June 9.
Elementary (PreK-grade 4) dismisses at 12:00pm.
Walker & Buford dismiss at 12:45pm.
CHS dismisses at 1:40pm.
LMA dismisses at 11:30am.
The VDOE invites the public’s feedback on the 2017 English Standards of Learning as a part of its regularly scheduled review and revision. The 2017 English Standards of Learning can be accessed on the Virginia Department of Education’s website. Public comment may be offered through this form provided on the Virginia Department of Education website, or by emailing email@example.com.
The Virginia Department of Education has awarded our division a $17.6 million grant to support the modernization of Buford Middle School, including the renovation of the fine arts building, a terraced outdoor classroom, and a redeveloped school garden. The three-year construction and renovation project begins immediately after school ends this year. Students will not be displaced during construction – they will first learn in existing spaces while new spaces are built, and then they will learn in new spaces while existing spaces are renovated.
Additionally, the Board is soliciting feedback on the question of renaming the school “Charlottesville Middle School” when students begin using the new building in August 2025. This recommendation follows a trend in avoiding school names that honor specific individuals, and recognizes that the school will become the site where all City students first come to learn together. This recommendation is time-sensitive since we will soon need to start ordering custom materials for the redesigned school. The Board will discuss this recommendation as part of its project update on Thursday, June 1, and they will vote on the matter on June 27. Email the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to see slides, or stay tuned at Thursday’s Board meeting to learn more.
At the May School Board meeting, the Board approved a slight change to the 2023-24 calendar – adding one more teacher workday to allow schools to be closed during the presidential primary election on March 5, 2024. In addition, the Board approved the 2024-25 academic calendar, which starts and ends one week earlier. Remember, you can subscribe to our Google Academic Calendar and have these dates automatically appear on your phones or devices.
–Congratulations to your CHS Black Knights, the No. 2 VHSL Debate Team in Virginia, led by Nava Khurgel and Alison Bird, who won the state championship for the Public Forum event. CHS also claimed third in Public Forum (Solly Goluboff-Schragger and Sophie Brissett), as well as eigth in Lincoln-Douglas (Lily Curtis).
— Three films by the CHS Film Club have been named “Official Selections” of the VHSL Film Festival, to be honored with a screening and awards presentation on June 3. Buy tickets for the festival here.
— CHS senior Jacob Lightbourne is helping foster creativity in the community through his Eagle Scout Service Project.
— Congratulations to the five CHS seniors each awarded a scholarship from the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia: Eddison Duolo, Rocco Fleming, Robel Gabramedhin, Malchiel “Scoot” Jones, and Noah Ivery. Many other scholarships will be announced at the Senior Celebration event on Tuesday, June 6, 6:30pm in the CHS atrium.
— Eight (!!) students earned invitations to state Governor’s School this summer: Wren Ackerman (Agriculture), Alison Bird (French), Jay Conklin (Math, Science, and Technology), Nulia Obiorah (Japanese), Rose O’Shea (Humanities), Jinho Park (Visual Art), Luke Voelme (Theater), and Ev Wellmon (Instrumental Music/Piano). Congrats to all!
— Our track & field athletes will be competing at states on Friday & Saturday in Lynchburg. Our boys & girls soccer teams play in their regional championships on Thursday evening (boys host Monticello HS at 6:00 while girls are on the road at Wilson Memorial at 6:30). Both teams have already punched their tickets for the state tournament! Go Black Knights!
Candidates are encouraged to consider running for School Board this election cycle! Following the established protocols, this is an election year when 4 seats are open. [Updated 6/2:] Mr. James Bryant, Dr. Sherry Kraft, and Ms. Lashundra Bryson Morsberger have announced that they do not intend to run for re-election; Ms. Jennifer McKeever will announce her decision about running at a later date. Mr. Bryant, Dr. Kraft, and Ms. Bryson Morsberger expressed their appreciation for the chance to serve and encouraged candidates to consider this important opportunity. Information about running for School Board is here; materials – including the required public petitions – are due on June 20 to be on the ballot this November.
The state of Virginia has launched several programs to support students, including free 24/7 tutoring resources as well as grants that are available to families to pay for tutors or other learning resources.
—Free Tutoring: Engage Virginia is a free program to help families in areas such as academics, attendance, and college or career readiness. Learn more and register for options such as free homework assistance or 24/7 tutoring.
—Family Grants for Tutoring: Families can apply for learning grants to provide student tutoring (up to $1,500 or $3,000, depending on family income). The family chooses the tutor from a pre-approved list of service providers, and the state pays the grant award directly to the provider. For more information click here.
As we look ahead to the fall, we have been rethinking our school supplies lists in several ways. Our first task has been simplifying the supply lists across schools and grades. And while we remain thankful for the work of the Back to School Bash committee, we are also creating a new system to help our families have access to the supplies they need. Families who need assistance can register below and pick up supplies when they arrive at the school’s open house or meet-and-greet for the new school year.
–Want to register for assistance with school supplies? www.tinyurl.com/ccsschoolsupplies
–Want to donate to the cause? Backpack wishlist | School Supply Wishlist
Congratulations to the following staff members who will be celebrating their retirement at the end of this school year (listed with their current school and years of service). We honored them with a reception last week, but if you know one of these folks, join us in saying, “Thanks for your service to our schools!”
The 2023-28 Strategic Plan for our division is beginning to take shape, thanks to the significant community input we received from our initial survey as well as the work of our Steering Committee, principals, and Executive Leadership Team. There is still time for you to take a survey to give your feedback. The plan will continue to be refined throughout June, with a presentation to the School Board at their June 27 meeting. The Board will vote on the final plan at their August 3 meeting.
We are excited to announce that our division will begin transitioning to a new, unified communications tool called ParentSquare this summer. ParentSquare allows families to stay connected with schools (including teachers, administrators, club leaders, coaches, PTO leaders and more) with a user-friendly online portal or app. Featuring 2-way translation for more than 100 languages, this social-media-like tool combines the functions of our School Messenger and Remind tools – and it will provide our division a website update, too. Want to learn more?
Final Call for Enjoying Student Art on the Downtown Mall: All month, our community has enjoyed the artwork of more than 500 Charlottesville City Schools students from pre-K to grade 12 on display in storefronts up and down the mall. Here are some Burnley-Moran Bobcats spotting Bobcat art. If you’d like to see it, hurry over — the art is coming down starting Friday afternoon.
A Bird in Hand: In iSTEM at our elementary schools, students have been learning firsthand about the science of life by caring for eggs in their classrooms. Here are two recently hatched chicks in the hands of a Greenbrier student (left) and a Venable staff member (right).
Signing Day: Congratulations to all our Black Knights celebrating School-to-Work Signing Day at CATEC! These graduating CHS students have accepted job offers for careers in cosmetology, nurse assistant, and auto body and service technology. Learn more here.