Pittsylvania County Schools: 
A Great Place to Learn and Work!

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P.O. Box 232 • 39 Bank Street, SE 
Chatham, Virginia 24531  
Telephone:  (434) 432-2761 • 1-888-440-6520
Fax: (434) 432-9560


Superintendent's Weekly Wrap-Up




Superintendent's Weekly Wrap-Up

School Year 2016-2017


October 21, 2016

Employee of the Week:

Please join in recognizing Mrs. Pattie Pickeral, Administrative Assistant at Southside Elementary School, on her selection as Employee of the Week for Pittsylvania County Schools. Please click on the following link to find out what employees do to make this A Great Place to Learn and Work! http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/staff/employee-of-week/

State Teacher of the Year Recognition:

I had the good fortune to attend the Mary V. Bicouvaris 2017 Teacher of the Year Recognition Ceremony on Monday, October 17, 2016, in support of Mr. Jason Ince. The event was held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia. The award is named for Dr. Mary Bicouvaris who was the 1989 Virginia Teacher of the Year and the 1989 National Teacher of the Year. She was born in 1939 in war-torn Greece. Early in her life she developed a love for democracy and a love for teaching. She began her teaching career in Hampton, Virginia, in 1963, before she became an American citizen. In her role as National Teacher of the Year, she communicated a simple but powerful message:

“My message to America would be one of pride, hope, and promise in the educational system of a nation that sent the first man to the moon and which has yet to reach its greatest potential. I speak of the need to reach a national consensus on what is good for America’s children and what is needed for this country to maintain its position on the world stage.”

In the address by Dr. Billy K. Cannaday, Jr., President of the Virginia Board of Education, to the eight finalists and the audience, he spoke of his favorite teacher who would not accept less than his and his classmates’ best work. He remarked that she inspired his heart as well as taught his mind.

Mr. Jason Ince represented Pittsylvania County Public Schools well. He returned from the Celebration on Monday evening in time to take his students to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, the next morning.


Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) Accountability Indicators Stakeholder Survey:

The Virginia Department of Education is asking for feedback about Virginia’s plan to implement the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). ESSA replaces No Child Left Behind and provides states with flexibility to improve accountability systems, assessments, and overall approaches to school improvement. School accountability systems evaluate schools based on multiple factors and provide important information to school administrators, teachers, parents, and the community about school performance. The purpose of this survey is to identify those factors, also known as accountability indicators, which you think are important to know about schools.

The survey is open to any interested stakeholder, including - but not limited to - parents, educators, school administrators, school board members, business professionals, advocates and community members. Participation is voluntary. The survey is anonymous; participants will not give their names on the survey, and it will not be possible to match survey answers to participant identities.

The survey may be accessed directly at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ESSAinVA. The survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete and will remain active until Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

In addition to providing input on accountability indicators by participating in the ESSA survey, stakeholders are encouraged to provide additional comments about ESSA during the development of Virginia’s State plan for federal accountability. The Department has developed an ESSA webpage which provides general information about ESSA, as well as links to ESSA communications and stakeholder engagement materials. Written comments or questions are continuously accepted via email at ESSA@doe.virginia.gov.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Dr. Jennifer Piver-Renna at 804-225-3698 or Jennifer.Piver-Renna@doe.virginia.gov

1-2-3 Go! Initiative:
This school year all four Pittsylvania County high schools will participate in the 1-2-3 Go! Initiative. This initiative will provide high-school students and their families with hands-on assistance as they prepare to attend one of Virginia’s colleges or universities. The 1-2-3 Go! Initiative, spearheaded by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, includes three distinct components as three steps to college: Educational Credit Management Corporation College Night events, Virginia College Application Week and the Super FAFSA Project. These three services provide students with critical assistance from counselors, advisers and experts on how to prepare, apply and ultimately pay for their higher education.

For more information, please go to: http://www.schev.edu/123Go


W!SE Gold Star Teachers Announced:
I am pleased to share that the following teachers were named as Gold Star Teachers for the 2015-2016 school year. Please congratulate these teachers.

Dan River High School
Ms. Heather McDowell

Tunstall High School
Mr. Matt Beard
Ms. Michelle Carter

ARC Assists Students with Internships:
ARC has placed 15 special education students on Wednesdays through Fridays and 10 on Mondays and Tuesdays this school year in work sample/internships at Marshall’s Department Store, Unique Industries, Essel Propack, and Old Oak Hardwood Flooring. The students’ involvement with these companies provides them with valuable workplace experiences that can lead to future employment opportunities. ARC continues to solicit support for this program from businesses and organizations in Pittsylvania County and Danville.

Gretna Elementary School Fall Concert and Book Fair:
On Tuesday, October 4, 2016, Gretna Elementary School held their Fall Concert and Book Fair. Prior to the concert, students and their family and friends had the opportunity to visit the book fair. At 6:30 p.m., third, fourth, and fifth grade students performed patriotic songs under the direction of Ms. Carol Moorefield. The school is celebrating America; therefore, the concert and book fair had a patriotic theme

Gretna Elementary Garden:

The Gretna Elementary School garden has been exciting for the students and staff to watch throughout the summer. Now that the Autumn season is here, the garden has numerous flowers and all kinds of butterflies. It has blueberries, string beans, cucumbers, gourds, corn, and most intriguing is the Tahitian Squash plant. The squash was planted in late May. It was approximately six inches tall and was in a six inch pot. Everyone has enjoyed watching this plant grow. It has literally taken over approximately half of the garden. Everyone wondered for a long time if the plant would actually yield any squash, but it did, and boy did it ever. The first squash was picked last week weighing 19 lbs. There are seven more squash on the vine that are not quite ready to pick. The squash lying on the ground is the 19 lb. squash. In total, over 100 lbs. of squash has been harvested.


Tunstall Army Junior ROTC Cadets Restore Freedom Shrine:
Cadets of the Trojan Battalion Army Junior ROTC program at Tunstall High School recently replaced the Freedom Shrine which has been missing since the school renovation began in 2009. The Freedom Shrine is a collection of over thirty facsimiles of key documents from the history of the United States. Local chapters of the National Exchange Club provide shrines to schools, government buildings, and other public places. According to the organization’s website, “The National Exchange Club is the only service organization exclusively serving communities in the United States. More than 650 local clubs throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico provide individuals with opportunities to use their time and talents to benefit their local communities and the country as a whole. The Exchange’s Vision is “A strong America, safe communities, and unified people.” The Mission is “Exchange, inspiring communities to become better places to live.” The Freedom Shrine collection includes the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, the inaugural addresses of several Presidents, and Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech. The oldest document is the Mayflower Compact of 1620. With the help of Mr. Ralph Lawson, a member of the Martinsville Exchange Club, a replacement of the original Freedom Shrine was made available using one that was removed from the old Liberty Fair Mall in Martinsville. Mr. David Bandy, the Tech instructor at Tunstall, installed plywood backs for the plaques and an outline of the Liberty Bell for the Exchange Club sign. Mr. Bandy has special interest in the project. His father was a veteran of World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. One of the documents in the Shrine is General Anthony McAuliffe’s 1944 Christmas letter to the troops surrounded at Bastogne. The letter describes his response to the German demand for surrender, and his famous one-word reply, “Nuts,” boosted the morale of the troops and strengthened their resolve to continue fighting. The Shrine has been mounted in the JROTC/ English wing of Tunstall High School where it will be used by both departments. Mrs. Adrian Nester’s Advanced Placement English writing classes were the first classes to use the shrine for their study of key documents. “Citizenship in American History and Government” is a key component of the Army Junior ROTC curriculum and the study of these documents is an important part of the Junior ROTC mission “to motivate young people to be better citizens.” The Freedom Shrine is once again readily available for use by all the students at Tunstall High School.


Building Relationships and Increasing Results Workshop – October 29, 2016:

Averett University’s Professional Development Academy is offering a conference on Saturday, October 29, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, entitled “Building Relationships and Increasing Results” in the Frith Fine Arts Center Lobby. The workshop is being conducted by Dr. Annie Wimbish, a former teacher aide, teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Dr. Wimbish currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Averett.

Dr. Wimbish spoke to Pittsylvania County Schools’ administrators at the September 2016 Principals’ Meeting about understanding poverty. The principals were highly complimentary of her session because of the quality of information provided and the interactive manner in which the workshop was conducted. The principals have requested follow-up opportunities.

All instructional staff, teacher aides, teachers, and administrators are encouraged to attend. Admission is free, and recertification points will be awarded to those individuals attending both this workshop and the workshop scheduled in Spring 2017. Administrators who attended the September 2016 Principals' Meeting and participated in Dr. Wimbish's workshop may use those hours as well. If attending, please be sure to sign in as a participant at each workshop.


VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan – Auto-Escalation Reminder
Beginning January 1, 2017, the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan’s auto-escalation feature goes into effect. Automatic contribution increases and matching employer contributions make growing your retirement savings even easier!

Who is affected? Hybrid members reported by Pittsylvania County Schools to VRS prior to September 15 and hired on or before September 1, 2016, who are not currently making the maximum voluntary contribution of 4 percent, will see their voluntary contribution amount increase by 0.5 percent of compensation on January 1, 2017, including members who are not currently making voluntary contributions to the Hybrid 457 plan.

Why is it beneficial?
Auto-escalation offers you a convenient way to save more for your retirement:

  1. The more you save in voluntary contributions — the more you receive in matching employer contributions. When you contribute 4 percent, your employer contributes 2.5 percent!

  2. It’s easy – no action required! You only need to take action if you choose to opt out.

  3. Incremental increases help you make sure that you’re saving more as you get closer to retirement age when you’ll start withdrawing from your savings.

Members can opt out October 1 through December 15, 2016. To opt out, log into Account Access at www.varetire.org/hybrid, and select Hybrid 457 Deferred Comp Plan #307059 by clicking View Account, then clicking Contributions, or call Investor Services at 1-VRS-DC-PLAN1 (1-877-327-5261) and select option 1.

Save more now! Why wait? You can choose to increase your voluntary contributions today – set aside the maximum of 4 percent to get the maximum employer match!

Mark Your Calendars:

  • School Board Breakfast with Legislators – Monday, October 24, 2016, @ 8:30 a.m., PCTC

  • Meeting for Parents and Students interested in earning an Associate Degree – Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 7:00 p.m., Silverman Auditorium, Danville Community College

  • Averett Advisory Board Meeting – Tuesday, October 25, 2016, @ 11:30 a.m., Averett University

  • Cradle to Career Meeting – Wednesday, October 26, 2016, @ 12:00 noon, Averett University

  • Co-Teaching Teams Meeting – Thursday, October 27, 2016, 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., School Board Office Boardroom

  • School Board Agenda Meeting – Thursday, October 27, 2016, @ 9:00 a.m.

  • Industrial Maintenance Dedication Ceremony – Thursday, October 27, 2016, @ 10:00 a.m., PCTC

  • Read for the Record – Thursday, October 27, 2016, http://www.jstart.org/campaigns/read-record

  • “Building Relationships and Increasing Results” conference – Saturday, October 29, 2016, 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon, Frith Fine Arts Center Lobby, Averett University

  • Read Aloud to a Child Week - http://readtothem.org/ - October 23 – October 29, 2016

  • Character Word of the Month for October – Honesty

  • VSBA Bullying Prevention Month – October 2016

  • Month of the Young Adolescent – October 2016

  • Computer Learning Month – October 2016

  • National Book Month – October 2016

Please send media requests to: http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/media/.  This may be (1) to request media presence on site to cover an upcoming event or (2) to request media coverage (without media on site) of an upcoming event or (3) to report news from a past event.  Thank you for identifying the great things happening in the schools!


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Last update: Friday, October 21, 2016 02:21 PM