August 5, 2016
Welcome back! I hope you have had a restful and
enjoyable summer. While the days have gone by incredibly fast, many students and
countless numbers of you participated in the numerous activities that took place
across the division during the summer months. The Instructional Department
offered multiple professional development opportunities for teachers, and
students participated in a litany of activities this summer. Many attended
summer school, the CyberSecurity Camp at the STEM Academy, the Piedmont Summer
Regional Governor’s School, athletic conditioning and sports camps in the
schools, and the Academy for Engineering and Technology summer camp. Thirteen
students were able to graduate after attending our secondary summer school.
Also, several staff members represented the school division on State committees.
I wish for each of you an excellent and safe beginning to this school year.
On August 16, 2016, the Virginia Department of Education will publicly release
Statewide, division and school Standards of Learning (SOL) pass-rates — overall
and by subgroup — on 2015-2016 State assessments. According to the data that we
have at this time, it is projected that Pittsylvania County Schools will have 17
of 18 schools meeting full accreditation standards. While the scores are
preliminary, the indicators that we have at this time support this assumption.
We anxiously await the official release of the scores on August 16.
Last year, each of you worked extremely hard to accomplish improved Standards of
Learning (SOL) scores. The long hours, worry, and sleepless nights that you
experienced will make this achievement so much more meaningful. This hard work
has further bolstered the strong instructional foundation that has been created
in Pittsylvania County. This year we will continue to use school improvement and
Professional Learning Communities models to strengthen our curriculum and
instructional programs. Research of standards-based education shows a clear
correlation between curriculum alignment, mapping, and pacing monitored by
periodic assessments and strong student achievement.
The data support the impact your work is having on increasing student outcomes.
On seventy-nine percent of the Standards of Learning assessments, Pittsylvania
County Schools’ pass-rates are at or above the State average. Students are also
taking advantage of the increasing opportunities to take more rigorous classes.
Many are completing high school having earned college credits, Career and
Technical Education certificates, placement in the college or university of
their choice, acceptance in their preferred military program, or a seat in a
trade or apprentice school. Students are seizing the increasing number of
opportunities available to them because they have been exposed to a rigorous
curriculum and outstanding instruction at every level. Thank you!
Health Insurance Information:
Pittsylvania County Schools will offer a Health Savings Account (HSA) program as
an additional option for employees this school year. HSAs are similar to
personal savings accounts, but the fund in the account is used for health care
expenses. The employee owns and controls the money in his/her account. Like any
health care option, HSAs have advantages and disadvantages. If you would like
additional information, you may contact Mrs. Tracey Worley, Director of Finance.
You may access information regarding HSAs on Pittsylvania County Schools’
Employee Benefits webpage at http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/benefits/
Health Insurance Meetings:
Anthem and BB&T will be hosting informational meetings for employees regarding
the new High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account. The meetings
are scheduled in the high school auditoriums as follows:
- Dan River High School Friday, August 5 at
- Gretna High School Friday, August 5 at 9:00
- Chatham High School Tuesday, August 9 at
- Tunstall High School Tuesday, August 9 at
Representatives will be available to discuss the
new plan option and answer questions.
Several colleagues have asked for explanations regarding the abbreviations on
each of our pay stubs. Payroll staff members have provided a link on the
benefits webpage that provides information about all of the acronyms except
those associated with liens, levy's, garnishments and support payments. You may
access the link by clicking
http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/benefits/ or by going to the Pittsylvania County
Schools Benefits webpage.
Reminder to VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan Members:
Planning for retirement is essential. As part of the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan,
hybrid members have the opportunity in increase your retirement savings.
Voluntary contributions allow hybrid members to accumulate additional savings on
a pre-tax basis. Hybrid members are encouraged not to wait for auto-escalation
to take effect next year. By contributing 4 percent now, you will receive the
full 2.5-percent employer match. In addition, taxes on the contributions and
earnings are deferred until withdrawn, providing even more financial benefit.
Please contact Mrs. Janet F. Hancock, Clerk of the Board, if you should have
any questions or need additional information.
Virginia Again Earns Top Special Education Rating:
For a fourth consecutive year, Virginia has earned the highest possible rating
from the U.S. Department of Education for compliance with the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Virginia is one of 23 states
and territories that received a “Meets Requirements” designation on the federal
education department’s 2016 IDEA report card. Virginia earned the maximum number
of possible points on all 10 compliance indicators — including indicators
related to the disproportionate identification of minority students for special
education services and disciplinary actions — and on five of the 14
performance-related indicators in achieving a total score of 87.5.
We greatly appreciate the work of the special education department in
Newly-appointed Virginia Secretary of Education:
Dr. Dietra Trent replaces Anne Holton, as Secretary of Education. Ms. Holton
resigned in July.
Ready for Success Program:
The “Ready for Success” pilot program begins this school year at the
Pittsylvania County STEM Academy. This program is designed to assist students in
grades K-5 to improve academic outcomes by providing behavioral intervention and
supports at the child and teacher levels. Serving as a tier 3 intervention, the
program will provide a small group setting for students needing targeted
assistance. The curriculum is structured around the Incredible Years for
Teachers Classroom Management Program (TCM), and includes parent education.
Students in this program will receive their education at the STEM Academy for a
designated period of time. Upon completion of the program, students will return
to their base school.
Mark Your Calendars:
- Please go to
to find all staff development activities scheduled on August 5, 8, and 9,
- Teachers Follow Half-Day Schedule-August 5,
- Division Professional Development Day-August
8, 2016 (go to link above for information)
- School Board Meeting-August 9, 2016, Closed
Session at 6:30 p.m. and Open Session at 7:00 p.m.
- First Day of School-August 10, 2016