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Air Quality and Other Updates, June 8, 1:15pm
Dear CHS staff and families–
We are excited to celebrate the class of 2023 tonight at Ting Pavilion at 7pm.
We are actively monitoring air quality conditions in Charlottesville due to smoke from Canadian wildfires that has descended into our region. As I write this, we are in the “red” level of poor air quality (2 levels on the chart are higher than red). Levels may fluctuate throughout the afternoon, and NOAA’s Rapid Refresh forecaster indicates that local levels may improve to yellow by this evening.
We will hold the one-hour event downtown as scheduled. Due to the air quality, masking is recommended (though graduates of course can remove their mask before walking the stage).
Each family will need to follow their own judgment about the event. This is especially true if you have a family member who is in the “sensitive” category, which includes “people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and pregnant people.”
If anyone chooses to stay home, consider watching via our free livestream. Viewing options include:
Soccer Games We are cheering on our boys and girls soccer teams as they compete in the state class 3 “final four.” However, VHSL is monitoring conditions for tomorrow’s games in Fredericksburg. Coaches will keep players updated, and we will post any updates for fans on CHS social media accounts.
Starting on July 1, Ms. Summer Thompson, the longtime and beloved principal of Johnson Elementary, will be the new principal of Walker. (Dr. Adam Hastings, the current principal of Walker, has decided to step back, moving to serve Burnley-Moran Elementary as their assistant principal.)
Throughout her career, Ms. Thompson has worked for Cville Schools as a teacher, math specialist, assistant principal, and principal. She is universally respected, and I am delighted that she will be leading Walker.
We thank both of these Cville Schools leaders and appreciate their past and future service. To read letters from Ms. Thompson and Dr. Hastings, click here.
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.
With love, Royal A. Gurley, Jr.
REMINDER: 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.
So proud of the Class of 2023! Our seniors celebrated at the annual CHS Decision Day in May.
$17.6 MILLION TO SUPPORT BUFORD MODERNIZATION, PLUS A POSSIBLE NEW NAME
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 email@example.com. Click here to see slides, or stay tuned at Thursday’s Board meeting to learn more.
CHS STUDENTS: STATE DEBATE CHAMPS AND MORE
–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!
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS: 4 SLOTS OPEN, CANDIDATES ENCOURAGED TO APPLY
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.
FAMILY RESOURCES: FREE TUTORING
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.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES IN THE FALL: FAMILIES HAVE A NEW OPTION
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
THANK YOU, RETIREES!
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!”
— Moses Bright, Johnson Elementary School (17 years)
— Belinda Bullock, Jackson-Via Elementary School (7 years)
— David Dierolf, Charlottesville High School (5 years)
— Mik Dietlin, Division Administration Office (19 years)
— John Donnadio, Charlottesville High School (12 years)
— Mary Douglas, Charlottesville High School (17 years)
— Robert Dunnenberger, Walker Upper Elementary School (35 years)
— Susan Higgins, Burnley-Moran Elementary School (11 years)
— Suzan Hiller, Charlottesville High School (25 years)
— Joyce Johnson, Walker Upper Elementary School (34 years)
— Suzan Roberts, Lugo-McGinness Academy (30 years)
— Teresa Seto, Greenbrier Elementary School (9 years)
— Mary Beth Shelar, Walker Upper Elementary School (24 years)
— Gregory Thomas, Lugo-McGinness Academy (9 years)
— Benjamin Weiner, Venable Elementary School (22 years)
STRATEGIC PLAN IS GETTING CLOSE
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.
NEW COMMUNICATIONS TOOL COMING: PARENTSQUARE
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?
VDOE SEEKS INPUT ON ENGLISH CURRICULUM STANDARDS
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Find more info and events on our website, social media, or our Google calendars!
I’ll keep my remarks brief for this newsletter. Simply put, I want to call your attention to two updates that are important to our community.
School safety: This post describes our past and current steps to promote safety. It also includes an update from the Charlottesville Police Department, which on April 30 will start staffing a new elementary-based school resource officer to deepen the connection with our elementary communities.
School facilities: This post reflects back on what we heard from the community this winter and spring as we began a conversation about our growing enrollment and its impact on our facilities.
Thank you for engaging with us on these and other topics. We appreciate your partnership for the safety and education of our students, and for the health of our community.
This spring, Charlottesville City Schools hosted two important events relating to school safety. A community forum for parents and teachers featured comments from national school security expert Dr. Dewey Cornell, Police Chief Thierry DuPuis, and Assistant Superintendent Kim Powell. To see a recap, click here. The schools also co-hosted a “Trauma in the Context of School Safety” forum along with regional partners who are creating training and awareness opportunities to support coordinated, trauma-informed practices in our schools and community agencies. Finally, just this week, Del. David Toscano visited Greenbrier and CHS to glean staff and our community partners’ ideas about school safety for Virginia’s new House Select Committee on School Safety.
Thank you for keeping your student cafeteria accounts current. Families recently began receiving automated phone, email, or text alerts through School Messenger when account balances reach -$10. If you want to modify how you receive messages from us, log into PowerSchool and change your “contact manager” settings.
Renovations are underway for the track at CHS. These improvements will allow the CHS track teams to resume hosting track meets and will better serve the school’s and the community’s needs. The track will be closed for use until renovations are complete (likely August).
Speaking of running, consider coming out for CHS’s annual Band on the Run 5K on May 5, which benefits the band and cross country team.
Keep your eyes open for a “Bus Stop Meet and Greet” with book give-aways from family engagement coordinator Velvet Coleman. She is also piloting Family Engagement On Demand, a mobile-friendly online tool that gives you great ideas and resources to support your child in the classroom.
The School Board named James Bryant, a Charlottesville Schools alum and long-time employee, to fill an interim Board membership created when Adam Hastings stepped down. Details can be found in “School Board News,” below.
Assistant principals Ryan Devlin, April Douglas, Dina Fricke, and Brad Taylor successfully completed the 13th School Leaders Institute for Recently Appointed Administrators (RAA) program offered by Virginia Tech.
A powerful Clark duo–Principal Anna Isley and Instructional Coach Elizabeth Korab — presented successful leadership strategies at the conference of Women Education Leaders in Virginia.
Cecil Thompson, Coordinator of Administrative Support Services, visited neighboring schools as part of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s NextGen Project to enlighten, empower, and encourage youth through reading and excellence.
Patrice Harris of Greenbrier was named 95.1’s Teacher of the Month for March.
The annual All-City Chorus Concert was “lovely,” with uplifting songs such as “All You Need is Love” by the combined 4th-grade choir, and with the music teachers collaborating on “Love Will Keep us Together.”
And Art Connections featured more than 2000 works of student art from all schools, including high-tech Virtual Reality art. Visitors could even become a human spirograph. and CHS engineering students developed an automated attendance tracker.
Schools across the division enjoyed speakers through the Virginia Festival of the Book. For some of our elementary students, the highlight was meeting UVa alum, astronaut, and author Leland Melvin.
Thirteen Charlottesville students were Bus Stop poetry winners, responding to this year’s theme of “Peace and Justice.” Look for the following students’ work on a bus near you: W. Kahwaji (Burnley-Moran); U. Rai, A. Morrison (Greenbrier); N. Becker-Mantanbault (Jackson-Via); Ms. O’Brien’s & Ms. Lee’s classes (Venable); V. Santiago, P. Thompson, J. Weilar (Johnson); Q. Connaughton (Walker); M. Saxon-Green (Buford); Z. Bryant, J. Emery, I. Crickner, F. Newman, L. Keesecker, & D. Rimm-Kaufman (CHS).
Buford, Walker, and CHS parents and guardians are invited to take a survey about college-level classes sponsored by the CHS PTO and Counseling Department. The survey is part of a national conversation about college prep and high school stress.
Our preschool students were treated to a fun and free day that included carnival rides, games, and a pizza picnic lunch thanks to the generosity of the Charlottesville Dogwood Festival and other sponsors. Find more (adorable) photos here.
Elementary schools — including Walker School — have wrapped up their season of iSTEM family nights, which invite families to an evening of hands-on experiments and building activities. At Clark, 3rd-graders even created their own flyer about the event as part of their unit on “functional texts.”
Fourth-graders at all schools prepped mini derby cars for a first-ever City competition hosted at CHS. CHS winners qualified to compete in Culpeper, where Burnley-Moran student Harry Shullaw won the mini-derby race and Walker student Hazel Conklin won the stock car division!
Like all of our schools, Burnley-Moran honored African-American history month, but they pulled out all the stops, with a history gallery, an African dance demonstration, and a vibrant career fair populated by African-American leaders throughout the Charlottesville community, many of whom are CHS alums or connected to Charlottesville City Schools.
After reading the novel Inside Out and Back Again, Clark fourth-graders extended their learning with a guest speaker from the International Rescue Committee of Charlottesville. Immigrants and refugees are an important part of our Charlottesville and Clark community!
Students rocked the annual “Jackson-Via’s Got Talent” show, and on a different night, they donned their pajamas for a well-attended “PJs and Popcorn” night in celebration of math and literacy.
Johnson’s fourth-graders enacted their annual wax museum of historic figures who come to life for visitors. Henry “Box” Brown, Sacagawea, Alexander Hamilton, and many more were on hand to tell their stories. Younger social studies scholars created their annual Not-Quite-the-Fourth-of-July Parade, donning costumes such as the Statute of Liberty or the American flag to learn about our country’s symbols.
Venable All Stars celebrated Women’s History Month with visits from female trailblazers Jane Goodall, Pocahontas, Bessie Coleman, and more! Earlier in the month, suffragettes stood outside the school at arrival time with signs and posters demanding that women receive the right to vote. For more pics: https://goo.gl/nXga2d
Walker student Hazel Conklin won the stockpile division at the regional soap box derby in Culpeper! She was assisted in this STEM project by Troy Brown, Elias Garcia, and Oliver Jackson (not pictured). Congrats also to their advisor, iSTEM teacher Chris Chamberlin. Hazel has qualified to compete in the Local Masters Race this June, also in Culpeper.
Students Hallie Goode and Allie Floyd have been awarded the Red Cross Youth Heroes Award for our region for their kindness and persistence in helping and befriending Walker’s functional skills students. Way to model kindness and inclusivity, girls!
This spring, Ms. Washburg and Ms. Woods’ 6th grade classes collaborated to host the Confidence Carnival! Positive affirmations, games, face painting, and a visit from a UVA Women’s Basketball player made for a great morning!
Peer mentors at Walker not only welcomed the City’s fourth-graders for a visit, but they even wrote personalized letters to each student (delivered at the elementary schools) to express greetings!
The 3rd annual AVID College and Career Night at Walker brought many families and community representatives to the school for a fun-filled evening helping students peer into the future.
“El Espectaculo!” at Walker was spectacular. Fifth-graders in the event showcase what they’ve learned across the curriculum in the Elementary Spanish program. Here’s a nice recap: http://bit.ly/2Hs6RwT.
The Walker Peace Squad visited all six elementary schools to perform an original play and raise the question, “What are some ways you can stand up when you see someone being mean to someone else?”
Buford, Walker, and CHS parents and guardians are invited to take a survey about college-level classes sponsored by the CHS PTO and Counseling Department. The survey is part of a national conversation about college prep and high school stress.
Buford’s Aidan Peters qualified to compete at the VA State Geographic Bee at Longwood University.
Amanda, Eleanor, Ella, Emma, Harriet, Niharika, and Saba represented Buford in the History Day regionals at UVA! Ella and Emma will represent us at the state finals!
The Buford Middle School Orchestra earned a Superior rating for their beautiful performance at the District Orchestra Assessment.
17 Buford orchestra students made the 2018 Junior Regional Orchestra while 14 band students made the All-District Band—more than any other middle school in the area!
Buford’s Abby Paquette and Elisabeth Scharf shared their experiences in the Foundations of Engineering and Engineering 1 classes at the International Techology and Engineering Educator Association in Atlanta, GA.
Buford students performed well in the Virginia Mathematics League Contest–the 7th grade team came in fifth in the league and fourth in the region; Christian Millard was ranked in the top 35 7th graders in the league; The 8th grade team came in fourth in the league and third in the region; and Camden Baucom was ranked in the top 35 8th graders in the league!
In other math news, the Buford MathCounts team finished 2nd in regional competition.
Buford student Miya Anderson participated in the 29th Annual African-American Read-in on Sunday, February 18, 2018 at Buford Middle School. Students read excerpts from their favorite books and poems to celebrate Black History Month and African-American literature.
Engineering 1 students at Buford Middle watched a live virtual tour of MIT let by the CHS BACON Zero Robotics team. The tour gave these 8th graders a glimpse into what opportunities are ahead in the Cville Schools iSTEM program!
Eight Buford girls participated in the Girls Excelling in Math Tournament run by the Village School. The 8th grade team of Abby Paquette, Lidia Shimer, Lucy Armengol, and Sylvie Bon-Harper finish is 1st place and Abby finished 2nd overall as an individual. The 7th grade team of Sarah Burns, Vicky Gonzalez, Elie Lewin, and Lowell Tolton finished in 2nd place and Sarah finished 5th overall as an individual.
Congratulations to eighth grader Silas McClellan who correctly spelled “subterranean” to become the 2017-18 school spelling bee champion for Buford Middle School.
Buford Middle School civics students Abby, Jaimin, and Kaia presented their project “Hate Speech vs. Right to Assembly and Free Speech (Permit or No Permit)” at the Public Education Foundation 2018 Luncheon at the Boar’s Head Inn.
Congratulations to our Fencing Team for hosting another successful tournament. Students competed fiercely on three different stages. Ms. Carney has sponsored our team for several years and continues to do a wonderful job. https://buff.ly/2E1lXaF
On February 13, CHS hosted a ribbon-cutting to celebrate a new partnership, the CHS/CFA Institute Finance Academy. The partnership supports financial education and cultivates interest and awareness of the investment profession. The CHS/CFA Institute Finance Academy will impact three programs at CHS: the Student Investment Group (see next item!), the AVID program (including a business-style renovation of the AVID seniors’ classroom, and the economics and personal finance classes required of all CHS students.
For the second time in three years, the CHS Student Investment Group (SIG) is one of six American finalists in the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Global High School Investment Competition! The team will join others from the U.S., China, India, Brazil, Norway, Canada and the United Kingdom in Philadelphia at the Wharton Business School in May. Team members are Lucas Higgins, (SIG founder), Cole Fairchild, Whit Rudder, Maya Block, and Hunter Randle. SIG receives support through our partnership with CFA Institute.
CHS debaters won state competition and qualified for nationals! To read more, click here.
CHS debaters won state competition and qualified for nationals!
Fré Halverson-Taylor & Owen Fernandez took first place in Public Forum (4-0) while Junior Dani Szabo went 4-0 and placed 2nd in the Lincoln-Douglas category. Overall, CHS won 3rd Place Sweeps. Altogether, we had 11 qualify for states and 9 participated. Congrats to all students for their amazing performances: Julianna Brown, Cole Fairchild, Ellie Detert, Lena Keesecker, John Emery, Alyce Yang, Evelyn McKenney.
Just prior to the VHSL Super-Regional Tournament, our qualifier, Cole Fairchild, had a family emergency. Alternate Dani Szabo stepped in the day before and came up with an upset win! Since his speaker points were so high (a perfect in the final), CHS also took 2nd place sweeps, an almost impossible feat with a single debater. At states, he was part of a three-way tie for 2nd!
Show Less Debate News
A contingent of CHS students spent a day at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center, working with the Cville Youth Council to make meaningful change as part of the community’s “Dialogue on Race.” For more on this important conversation, click here. Other CHS news related to this topic includes area high schools’ “Big Read” of The Hate U Give, which was read by CHS 9th-graders, who also participated in a group forum led by UVA professor and CHS parent Lisa Woolfork. In addition, throughout February, a series of community speakers offered opt-in presentations to students for Black History Month, which concluded with the school’s annual assembly. This year’s assembly speaker was Rashard Davis ’16, winner of a 2018 Super Bowl Ring with the Philadelphia Eagles!
The number of students enrolled in honors courses at Charlottesville High School is up 21 percent this year, with increasing diversity. This is in part due to greater use of “honors-optional” classes that allow students within a single class to elect assignments and readings that qualify for honors credit. For Charlottesville Tomorrow’s reporting on this progress, click here.
Buford, Walker, and CHS parents and guardians are invited to take a survey about college-level classes sponsored by the CHS PTO and Counseling Department. The survey is part of a national conversation about college prep and high school stress.
CHS BACON: state and global qualifiers in Zero Robotics, FTC Robotics, Science Olympiad, and more. Click here for more.
CHS BACON: state and global qualifiers in Zero Robotics, FTC Robotics, Science Olympiad, and more:
#2 in VA at Jefferson Lab Science BowlAfter qualifying for the international finals of the elite programming competition Zero Robotics (again), team leader Jonah Weissman received special recognition for developing a github interface for version control.
CHS BACON also qualified for state competition in FTC Robotics. (Again!)
As they prepped to send up their first satellite, the BACON ThinSat team toured labs at UVA today, including the Aerospace Engineering department.
Not only did CHS host the regional Science Olympiad tournament, but students also brought home (OK, they already were home) a team trophy. Jamie Nachbar and Clara Stelow earned 3 medals each!
BACON came in 2nd place in Jefferson lab’s state Science Bowl competition, losing only to governor’s school and perennial champ, TJ High School for Science and Tech.
Seeing a need, students are creating an ID scanner to record when students come into the building. Their software is software ready for testing, and hardware in development. Look for the prototype!
Show Less BACON News
Fine arts acclaim in music, visual arts, creative writing, theatre! Click here for more.
Orchestra seniors with their Orlando trophiesState and local recognition and appreciation:
An ELEVENTH Blue Ribbon for all-around excellence in band, choir, and orchestra. High Schools ear blue ribbons from the Virginia Music Educators Association when all three of the schools’ top performing groups earn superior ratings (the highest possible).
Orlando Music Festival Excellence: It was a clean sweep for the CHS orchestra, as they claimed first place in the gold division for both 2A and 3A competition, PLUS the outstanding orchestra award, two adjudicators awards, and the instrumental sweepstakes award. Then at the airport heading home, the orchestra was invited to give a command performance — listen to the NPR story here.
State band and choir: Sharon Reitsma, Charlotte MacDonald, Clare Inlow, and Anna Bon-Harper performed with All-Virginia bands; and Adria Cafferrillo, Sarah Garretson, Victoria Kremer, Beau LeBlond, and Parker Nelson repped CHS at the all-state choir.
Art awards: Jane Ormsby won third place in the 2018 VA School Boards Assoc. Regional Forum Art Contest; Tiara Strait and Aleena Haidari won awards in the Rumi Forum’s Annual Peace and Dialogue Art and Video Contest.
Creative Writing Winners: Seven CHS students were winners in the Mirabella writing contest sponsored by Tupelo Press’s Teen Writing Center: Rachel Beling, Ryan Doherty, Sarah Hale, Fentress Lynch, Alice Owen, Elana West-Smith, and Gabe Yeargen. Their works will be published in an anthology.
Rising Stars!Rising Star Awards: Congrats to the CHS winners of the Arthur C. Greene Rising Star Awards: Rachel Beling (Poetry), Ashley Clark (Creative Writing), Kiki Dowell (Theatre), Parker Sullivan (Choir & Orchestra), and Deveny Watson (Visual Art).
After Theatre CHS’s stellar spring musical (South Pacific), the program goes quiet, right? WRONG: Next up? The Tempest on April 26-27, to be followed by a host of year-end performances such as Dessert Theatre. Plus, broadway performer Deon Ridley spent a day leading CHS theatre classes!
Congratulations to Margaret Lather, Ella Harrigan, and Florence Pinkston, who took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively, in the high school prose category for the UVA Fralin Museum of Art’s Writer’s Eye Contest!
Need a verbal hug? Visit the hallways of CHS and read the hundreds of encouraging post cards sent to Charlottesville students from people all over the world. Thanks to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Blue Ridge for your efforts to promote positivity through this #DearYoungPerson campaign.
The CHS Model United Nations delegation met with a team of real-life ambassadors at the Nigerian Mission in New York while they attended the National High School Model United Nations, the world’s largest UN conference.
How should we remember war? Students trekked to the Dogwood Vietnam Memorial to see the memorial in honor of the 28 local men who died in the Vietnam War. One student reflected: “You figure out that not everything is a given.”
Spanish IV and AP students recently visited the UVA School of Architecture. Students toured the A School & heard from students who had studied abroad in Barcelona.
Traveling the globe with virtual reality…. CHS students took a trip with GoogleVR to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
AVID students visited CFA Institute to learn more about their work and careers in finance.
Art students visited Second Street Gallery for a workshop.
Public Presentations and Pitches
CHS students in general — and AVID students in particular — have had a host of opportunities to pitch ideas and present research.
Biology classes participated in a student symposium co-hosted by the UVa Medical Center. CHS students’ research was guided by medical professionals.
AVID students pitched community solutions — and received $10,000 to support them! — at CFA Institute’s Project SERVE. This pitch event is one of many ways that the new CHS/CFA Institute Finance Academy is promoting real-world skills and financial literacy.
CHS students presented a wide range of ideas at the Tom Tom Founders Festival. Topics and presentations included BACON, AVID’s Project SERVE winners, City Schoolyard Garden, AP Psychology, and more.
AVID students also presented their Project SERVE ideas at the Public Education Foundation luncheon.
Lugo-McGinness Academy students shared their stories and student perspectives on alternative education experiences during a round-table event for representatives from Newport News Public Schools who came to learn about the success of the program.
CHS celebrated its students’ commonalities and differences with another beautiful Diversity Assembly this March.
CHS Urban Farming & Entrepreneurship class is preparing for the spring with a student-built chicken coop to host the newest and smallest CHS Black Knights!
The CHS Amnesty Club hosted a “Hunger Banquet” to raise food, money, and awareness of local and global hunger issues.
CATEC students debuted their school-bus-food-truck called “Technical Eats” during the Tom Tom Founders Festival’s Makerville Expo, and CATEC student Alonda Clark placed 3rd in the Skills USA competition for Nurse Assisting.
CHS AVID students organized a “Food for Hoops ” community 5v5 basketball tournament at Tonsler Park. Jerry Harris, Kajesha Taylor, and Jaquan Wood put in the organizational work and even paid for the event’s catering!
CHS athletes have been winning in sports AND sportsmanship! For more sports news, click here.
CHS athletes have been winning in sports AND sportsmanship!
CHS received a sportsmanship award from VHSL after the winter season since the school has had no player or coach ejections in the first two sports seasons. Thanks for keeping it classy! And spring athletes, let’s keep it going!
Golfer A.J. Stouffer, P/C Andrew Shurtleff, Daily ProgressSenior golfer AJ Stouffer was named the Newsplex’s athlete of the week in March. Among other district and regional honors, Stouffer won this year’s community-wide Charlottesville City Championship, the youngest champ in its history.
The CHS softball facility continues to see improvement. Last winter, new dugouts were erected, and this year a new infield is being installed along with a new sound system courtesy of Crutchfield. A special thank-you to the City of Charlottesville and Parks and Recreation for aiding us in this process. Similarly, CHS Baseball’s facilities have seen major upgrades over the last few years thanks to the school’s partnership with the Tom Sox of the Valley Baseball League.
Five football players made commitments to continue their athletic and academic careers: Trejon Bryant (Glenville State), Rakeem Davis (JMU), Larry Henderson (Glenville State), Sam Neale (Washington & Lee), and JakePoe (Hampden Sydney).
Kennedy Wardlaw at statesWinter sports highlights:
Ella Reed and Zoe DeGuzman both qualified AND PR’ed at the Class 4A VHSL State Swim Meet. Ella dropped more than a second off of the 100m breaststroke, and Zoe dropped nearly 5 seconds off of her 200 m free.
Girls and boys basketball both completed fine regular and post-season runs before ending in round 2 of regional play.
Senior track athlete Kennedy Wardlaw qualified for states after placing 3rd in regionals in the triple jump.
Senior Isaac Kenner was named to the All Central Virginia Wrestling team, the first Black Knight to be so named since Wade Kammauff four years ago.
Alumni sports highlights:
Football’s Rashard Davis ’12 earned a Super Bowl ring with the Eagles (and came back to serve as the speaker at the CHS Black History Month assembly).
Golf’s Emmy Timberlake ’16 won her first college golf tourney this spring. She shot a 77 to earn medalist honors for Dennison U. in the rain at the Wooster Spring Invitational.
Field hockey’s Kendall Ballard ’16 (Ohio University) played on Team USA when they recently scrimmaged against UVa. Kendall scored the two final goals!
Show Less Athletics News
CHS counselors led a series of Stress-Less Week activities as the first semester wrapped up.
Walking under the banner, “United in spirit, united in cheer,” cheerleaders (and friends) from CHS and Western Albemarle appeared together in the Dogwood Parade.
And upcoming: consider coming out for CHS’s annual Band on the Run 5K on May 5, which benefits the band and cross country team.
School Board Member Adam Hastings stepped down in March as part of a family move outside the City limits. Following the state’s processes, the School Board appointed James Bryant to serve as interim member. Mr. Bryant both graduated and retired from Charlottesville City Schools! For details on this process, click here. Thanks to both Dr. Hastings and Mr. Bryant for their service to the Board!
On April 10, the City of Charlottesville approved Charlottesville City Schools’ budget request of $54 million as part of the schools’ overall 18-19 budget of $83.7 million. One of the key features of the budget is support for teachers, with a 4 percent salary increase for teachers and increased salary supplements for teachers with advanced degrees. Other new initiatives in the budget call for planning for a specialized academic academy and an internal grant program to support teacher innovations.
Other recent topics discussed by the Board include:
A renewal of the school division’s 1:1 technology program that provides a Chromebook for every student in grades 3-12
Approval of the CLASS summer camp tuition schedule, with an eye to keeping the program affordable at all income levels
An update about Greenbrier’s pilot of classrooms with a particular emphasis on social and emotional learning
Discussion of school safety and student-led walk-outs in the wake of the Parkland shootings. For additional information, click here.
Approval of the 18-19 Program of Study for CHS, Buford, and Walker
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.
We now need to hear feedback on our draft foundational language (mission, vision, values, Portrait of a Graduate) as well as draft priorities and goals.
Options for you to give feedback about the strategic plan: Take a survey! Join a focus group (discussion will be focused on the survey questions)! Or do both!
In May 2017, our School Board adopted a new strategic plan to guide our schools through the year 2023. This plan was created out of nearly 50 meetings with parents, students, employees, community members, and more. We are excited about our goals for academic excellence, safe and supportive schools, and organizational supports. Please read on to learn more about the plan and about how we’ve already begun to advance these ideas for the benefit of our community.
The artwork of more than 500 Charlottesville City Schools students from pre-K to grade 12 is now on display throughout the Downtown Mall.
For the first time, the division’s ArtConnections: Jeff Suling Annual Art Exhibit has moved out of the schools and onto Main Street, with student artworks hanging in more than two dozen businesses. The exhibit launches today, with an opening celebration planned for this Friday evening, May 5, during First Fridays at the CODE building. The art will be on display the entire month of May.
Visitors to the Downtown Mall can use this map to find all of the art, which spans from the Violet Crown to the Office of Human Rights.
“I am so thrilled that our whole community will get to witness the talent, expressiveness, and imagination of our city’s young people,” said Aaron Eichorst, fine arts coordinator for Charlottesville Schools, who organized the exhibition. “This exhibit is a testament to how deeply our division values the arts and how our teachers nurture students’ creativity all year long.”
The Charlottesville Schools ArtConnections annual exhibit is a more than 40-year tradition.
More information about the Opening Celebration this Friday:
CHS Jazz Band performs at 7:30pm at the CODE building courtyard
At sundown (approx. 8pm) there will be a special student art projection on the wall of the CODE building.
Opinion Sought on Recommended Name Change for Buford Middle School (June 5, 2023)
Groundbreaking for Modernization Project Set for Friday, June 9
As part of the plans for modernizing Buford Middle School, Charlottesville Superintendent Dr. Royal A. Gurley Jr. has recommended a name change to Charlottesville Middle School effective August 2025, when students are planned to begin using the new building on the school campus.
The School Board discussed the possible name change at Thursday’s meeting and plan to vote on the decision at their next meeting on Tuesday, June 27. The schools began seeking community feedback on the question on May 25. Community members can email email@example.com to register their input.
The decision is time-sensitive since some items that include the renovated school’s name have long planning or order-fulfillment timelines. For instance, a committee is currently being formed to make decisions about signage and other environmental graphics.
“This recommendation follows the current trend to move away from school names that honor individuals,” noted Dr. Gurley. “In addition, it indicates that we are essentially building a new school serving grades 6-8. The recommended name is fitting since this middle school will become the place that welcomes all Charlottesville sixth-graders from their neighborhood elementary schools.”
Other Project Updates Work on the three-year project will begin on Monday, June 12. Project leaders briefed the School Board last night, celebrating the award of a $17.6 million state grant in support of the project and releasing a slide deck full of renderings showing the future facilities. They also discussed the “big picture” for how students will continue learning on the campus. First, students will learn in the current classrooms while the new facilities are constructed. Later, students will learn in the new building while the older portion of the campus is renovated. And finally, the presentation discussed the formation of the environmental graphics committee and the recommended name change.
VDOE Awards Charlottesville City Schools $17.6 Million for Middle School Modernization (May 2023)
The Virginia Department of Education has awarded Charlottesville City Schools a $17.6 million grant to support the modernization of the city’s middle school.
The grant, part of the VDOE’s School Construction Assistance Program, will enable Charlottesville to achieve the full estimated $91.8 million scope of its middle school project—including the renovation of the fine arts building, a terraced outdoor classroom, and a redeveloped school garden—without compromising funding for other school facility needs or capital improvement projects.
The City of Charlottesville oversees city school facilities, and the middle school modernization will be its first significant investment in school facilities since the opening of Charlottesville High School in 1974. It will bring all the City’s 6th- through 8th-graders into one completely renovated and expanded building that meets today’s educational, safety, environmental, and accessibility standards.
“We appreciate the schools’ diligence in pursuing all funding opportunities,” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook. “With all the inflationary pressures we face to fund so many important priorities, this grant is a major contribution.”
Construction at Buford Middle School will begin shortly after the school year ends on June 9. Students will continue to learn at the school during the three years of construction.
“As the schools brought forth this project for final approval, we and the City were eyeing this grant program with great hope,” noted Charlottesville Schools Chief Operations Officer Kim Powell. “I cannot begin to tell you how excited and thankful we are to have the state’s support on this project.”
Other related school facilities projects on the horizon include the creation of a centralized preK at Walker Upper Elementary School (which currently serves fifth and sixth-graders) in conjunction with returning fifth-graders to the six neighborhood schools. Other significant facilities improvements include the multi-year replacement project for the CHS roof which is starting this summer.
Charlottesville Schools Superintendent Dr. Gurley noted, “This grant is instrumental in helping the city achieve the full scope of the middle school project without straining support for other facilities needs. We appreciate the support from both the City and the Commonwealth.”
Letter from Dr. Gurley (April 2022)
Dear staff, students, and families–
I could not be more excited to let you know that after twenty years of talking, planning, and hoping, we will start work on modernizing our middle school in June.
After receiving construction bids in March, last week the Charlottesville City Council approved moving forward with the project. The total anticipated cost will be $91.8 million, which is the City’s first significant investment in school facilities since the opening of CHS in 1974.
What will this investment offer our students, staff, and community? This modernized middle school will meet the educational, safety, environmental, and accessibility standards of today, upgrading facilities that have been largely unchanged since their construction in the 1960s. This modernization will bring all the City’s 6th- through 8th-graders into one building, and it marks the first step in creating a centralized preK center at Walker School. And for the first time in decades, 5th-graders will learn in their neighborhood elementary schools. This project is a win for our whole community. Read on (below) to learn more.
Want to say thank you? I do! Join me in thanking the City Council for their ongoing support of our schools, including this exciting middle school modernization!
–Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr.
Just the facts: Middle school construction is planned to start in June 2023 and finish in August 2026; Buford students will continue learning in the existing facility while construction is underway. To see how your child will be impacted by the project, check the above graphic.
Upgrades included in this modernization:
Education – new spaces will support engaged learning, community-building, and instructional needs
Safety – a variety of internal safety features will accomplish the goal of connecting all learning spaces into one building so that students and staff do not need to walk outside between class changes.
Lighting – all learning spaces will have natural light, which has been shown to boost both learning and mental health
Ventilation – there will no longer be noisy in-room heating and cooling units. The new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system will result in reduced noise levels and improved air quality; in addition, windows will be operable to safely allow for fresh air on good-weather days
Energy – with fossil-free geothermal energy and many other efficiencies, the new facility will slash energy consumption by two-thirds
Accessibility – including a ground-floor main entrance, this design will resolve the many accessibility challenges that the 1965 construction presented
Want to learn more? We are in the early days of getting a green light on this project. After the construction contract is finalized, the City and contractor will develop a plan with expected project phases and timelines. We will keep you posted – especially those staff, students, and families who will be at Buford next year or during the years of construction.