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December 2023 News and Highlights

Cville Schools News & Highlights

Thursday, December 14, 2023
A Word From Dr. Gurley 
Portrait of Dr. Royal A. Gurley at CHS Graduation

Dear Cville Schools community –

It goes without saying that this season has had its challenges for our schools. We see this most clearly at CHS, but I know that our other campuses – like schools across the country – have their own needs and challenges. We are actively working to support our staff and students. And I am so grateful to all those whose hard work and dedication have been a continuous beacon of light. 

One message we have heard is that despite the challenges – or maybe because of the challenges we face – we need to celebrate the wins. See the selection of photos below of some of the many wonderful things happening in our schools. Below that, there are also a few short updates and reminders as we head into winter break. 

Thanks to our staff, our students, our volunteers, our parents and guardians, our School Board members, and our community partners – we appreciate all you do. 


Have a great last day of school tomorrow, and then we’ll see you on Tuesday, January 2.

Dr. Gurley

Lobsang Tashi art in progressArt-in-progress by Lobsang Tashi, Grade 5, Walker. As part of a collaboration between Walker and Community Attention Foster Families, this small (3"x1"!) painted block will join a set being given to a child in foster care.

REMINDER: Winter Break & January Days Off 
  • Monday, December 18-Monday, January 1: Winter Break & New Year’s Day Holiday. Schools closed for students and staff.
  • Monday, January 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Schools closed for students and staff.
  • Friday, January 26: Teacher Workday. Schools closed for students.
📷 Good News Snapshot
Second graders and Buford thespians

Our second graders were starstruck by the cast of Buford’s “Elf: The Musical,” which they took a field trip to see earlier this week. Check out the story on NBC29. Brava, theater director Paula Chanda! 

Mindfulness in Cville Schools

We are participating in an expansion of a mindfulness-based professional learning program organized by UVA with proven benefits for teacher well-being and student outcomes. Above: Johnson student-teacher Audrey Powell working in pre-K. 

2001 CHS girls basketball champs
CHS Marching Knights
Cville Schools Family Engagement food bags
  • Left: Charlottesville City Schools finally honored CHS’s undefeated 2001(!!) state championship girls’ basketball team last Friday. Thanks for the advocacy of champions Morgan Smith and Donna Churchman and thanks to athletic director Andy Jones for supporting their efforts and righting this wrong.
  • Middle: The CHS Marching Knights are representing the US in Rome’s storied New Year’s Eve parade. Check out the story on CBS19’s “Feel Good Friday.” AND the band once again dominated all-district band selections, with 42 students receiving the honor. Bravo, director Jason Hackworth! 
  • Right: Our family engagement team and schools partnered with the Emergency Food Network to supply winter break food bags to 250 students/families. Thanks to Family and Community Engagement coordinator Bianca Johnson, along with our school mental health professionals! 
CHS spirit week nail salon

CHS students and staff have been bringing the spirit this week! Black Knight Time included lots of opportunities for community-building and fun, including a nail salon (above), cookie decorating, basketball tourney, open mic, and more. 

Art by Shoukufeh Alizada of CHS

Congratulations to Cville Schools winners of the City’s “Imagine a Day without Water” art contest: Shoukufeh Alizada of CHS (above) and Willa Chow of Greenbrier (below).

Art by Willa Chow of Greenbrier
Judine Somerville Broadway master class
Clark's Rodney Hearns
Parkside Bakery
  • Left: Not one, but two Broadway stars have led workshops for our CHS theater students this fall. (In November, Jennifer DeNoia, who was Elphaba in Wicked, and this week, Judine Somerville (above), one of The Dynamites in the original Hairspray!, above). Thank you, David Becker, for all the meaningful learning opportunities you provide for students!
  • Middle: At Clark, Rodney Hearns doubles as a crossing guard and custodian to ensure our students and families are cared for both indoors and outdoors. In a letter to the school, one community member recently observed, "He was so bright and uplifting when talking to each student and parent. It was apparent that it is not 'just a job' to him." 
  • Right: Students in CHS’s post-graduate Parkside program for functional skills run the weekly Parkside Breakfast Bakery for CHS staff. Students take orders, handle payments, prepare food, and make personal deliveries. Kudos to teacher Molly Feazel-Orr!

Show our teachers how much you value them: Submit a nomination for the 2024 Golden Apple Awards for Teaching Excellence in Charlottesville and Albemarle! The deadline to honor one of your child's amazing educators is Monday, January 22. Winners receive a $500 grant for classroom materials or professional development. Click here for the online nomination form. Teachers who have won in the last 3 years are not eligible to win this year. Thanks to Mr. Richard Nunley and Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry for their generous support of these awards!

Golden Apple
School Board updates

Read the December Mini Minutes here.  




The designers who are leading the work of our middle school design advisory group have asked for public feedback about possible design elements for the middle school. (This is a follow-up to the survey we put out about 6 weeks ago.) Take the survey here!

Middle school designs

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