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


September 30, 2016

Employee of the Week:
Please join in recognizing Ms. Anita Adams, Administrative Assistant for Instruction, at the Pittsylvania County School Board Office, 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/


Tunstall High School Recognized by the
National Blue Ribbon Schools Program:

U.S. Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr., announced on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, that Tunstall High School has been named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School. Tunstall High School is one among 279 public and 50 private schools receiving this honor.

Schools are nominated for the award by the state department of education, and then complete a comprehensive application about school practices. Schools may apply for status as Exemplary High Performing—among the top schools in a state—or Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing—schools making the fastest progress in their state in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Tunstall High School staff, along with Central Office administrative staff, will represent Tunstall High School at a two-day awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., to celebrate their hard-won achievements.

This award says a lot about the excellent educational practices being used in Pittsylvania County Schools. Tunstall High School will represent our County well. Congratulations!

September Principals’ and Supervisors’ Meeting:
Dr. Annie Wimbish, former Superintendent of Schools in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Senior Associate at Schlechty Center, provided professional development to administrators at the September 15, 2016, Principals’ and Supervisors’ Meeting. The title of her session was Framing Poverty which provided administrators with information regarding the impact poverty has on students, families and schools. She had worked with Dr. Ruby Payne and Dr. Bethanie Tucker on understanding poverty and ways to assist students living in poverty.

At the end of her work session with administrators, she asked participants to respond to two statements as follows:

  1. Some responses of administrators concerning what “I used to think ……. But now I know” were:

  • I used to think “that inappropriate responses were a choice,” but now I know “it may be a lack of social knowledge.”

  • I used to think “that poverty wasn’t a major issue within my school,” but now I know “that poverty is the #1 issue affecting my students’ learning.”

  • I used to think “that everyone had hope,” but now I know “that hope has to be taught and encouraged.”

  1. Some responses of administrators concerning what “One thing I will do differently as a result of today’s experience were:

  • “I will assist families in gathering the resources that they need.”

  • “I will commit to reminding our school community on a daily basis about the living conditions of some of our students.”

  • “I will provide more opportunities for these types of discussions so that our school better understands the lives of students coming from poverty and how to form better relationships with the students and their families.”

Pittsylvania County Schools’ Staff Present at Conferences:
Ms. Robin Haymore, Director of Special Education, and Mr. Nick Myers, School Psychologist, presented at the Virginia Academy of School Psychologists (VASP) Fall Conference on September 29 and 30, 2016, in Blacksburg, VA. They presented a 3 ½ hour workshop entitled “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports (VTSS)…Changing How We Do Business!”

Ms. Shauna Adkins, Special Education Teacher at Brosville Elementary School, has been asked to present at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, VA. The title of her presentation is Making Math Relevant for Students with Disabilities, and she will cover topics such as how to make math relevant for students with disabilities through alignment/assessment, differentiation, student engagement, and paraprofessional involvement. Also, she will discuss the success she experienced piloting and implementing the EQUALS math program.

Culinary Students Pass ServSafe Exam:
The Culinary Arts II students at Pittsylvania Career and Technical Center (PCTC) recently took the ServSafe Exam. The ServSafe program is developed by the National Restaurant Association with the help of food service industry experts who face the same risks. ServSafe is the leader in food safety training and certification. Congratulations to the following students who passed the exam - Audrey Manzano and Jessica Petty.

Brosville Elementary School Students Celebrate First 6-week Accelerated Reader Party:
All students at Brosville Elementary School who achieved their Accelerated Reader goals during the first marking period were invited to attend a party following the theme "Read Across the Country" on Friday, September 30, 2016. As part of this celebration Bailey Bulldog, Brosville’s Mascot, introduced Florida and Disney World to the students.

Pittsylvania County Schools Receives School Security Equipment Grant:
The Virginia Department of Education has awarded Pittsylvania County Public Schools $100,000 from the 2016 School Security Equipment Grant Program authorized by the 2013 General Assembly for upgrades to security equipment at the four County middle schools. The school division will provide a 25% match to purchase and install additional security cameras at Chatham Middle, Dan River Middle, Gretna Middle, and Tunstall Middle Schools.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia Entrepreneurial Challenge:
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced last week that he is partnering with Virginia Commonwealth University and Junior Achievement of Central Virginia to host the Virginia Entrepreneurial Challenge on Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16, 2016, at the VCU School of Business. The Challenge will be a weekend-long entrepreneurship boot camp for high school juniors and seniors. The weekend will culminate in a pitch competition in which Governor McAuliffe will attend and announce the winning team.

The mission of the Challenge is to expose high school students to entrepreneurship education, and to provide students with the opportunity to develop and pitch their own ideas to a panel of judges comprised of top Virginia business leaders and educators. Over the two days of the Challenge, teams of five students will be mentored by business leaders, VCU faculty and undergraduate students, and Junior Achievement volunteers. Students will propose cutting-edge business ideas that address today’s challenges in the new Virginia economy.

“In a high-energy college setting, surrounded by experts in the field, students will experience the true essence of entrepreneurship and learn some of the skills and tools to set them up for success - problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, business presentations,” said Jay Markiewicz, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Programs in the VCU School of Business. “Most importantly, they will leave with confidence and the belief that 'I can be an entrepreneur!'”

The Challenge is a product of partnerships formed through the Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship. Governor McAuliffe formed this Council in August 2015 to foster and support innovation and entrepreneurship for Virginia’s young people. It is open to high school juniors and seniors from across the Commonwealth. Students may sign up individually or as a member of a team or be nominated by their school. To register for the Challenge, please visit the program’s webpage on the VCU Department of Business’ website: https://business.vcu.edu/departments-and-centers/management/entbootcamp.html

Virginia Students Outperform Nation on SAT
Performance in Reading Improves, Mathematics Steady
Article by Charles B. Pyle, Director of Communications, Virginia Department of Education

Virginia public school graduates in 2016 continued to buck a multiyear, nationwide trend of sharply lower achievement on the SAT college-admissions test.

The College Board, which publishes the SAT, reported today that the average scores for public school graduates in the Commonwealth rose by one point in reading, held steady in mathematics, and fell one point in writing. Nationwide, achievement declined in all three subjects on the SAT.

Sixty-five percent of Virginia’s 2016 public school graduates took the SAT, which is, by far, the predominant admissions test in Virginia; therefore, it is a key indicator of the effectiveness of schools in preparing students for the first year of college.

“With the redesign of the SAT this year, the performance of Virginia’s 2016 graduating seniors caps a decade-long trend of increased achievement,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “The challenge now as the Commonwealth revises its diploma standards is to maintain strong academic performance while expanding the high school experience to include the 21st-Century skills demanded by today’s employers.”

The Commonwealth’s public school graduates outscored their nationwide peers on all three subsections of the college-admissions test:

• Virginia’s public school mean score in reading of 516 was 29 points higher.
•Virginia’s public school mean score in mathematics of 513 was 19 points higher.
•Virginia’s public school mean score in writing of 493 was 21 points higher.

Of the 2016 Virginia public school graduates who took the SAT, 45.2 percent achieved the College Board’s benchmark for college readiness. The benchmark score of 1550 (critical reading, mathematics and writing sections combined) indicates a 65-percent likelihood of achieving a B-grade-point average or higher during the first year of college. Nationwide, 37.3 percent of SAT takers met the readiness standard.

“While the overall performance of Virginia students compares favorably with that of their nationwide peers, the wide achievement gaps visible when we dig deeper into the data remind us that outcomes are not improving for far too many students of color,” Board of Education President Billy K. Cannaday Jr. said. “Narrowing and ultimately closing these gaps is the state board’s top priority.”

The achievement gaps between student subgroups are also reflected in their mean scores.

The “2016 SAT Virginia All-Student Mean Scores” table includes the performance of private, parochial and home-schooled students.

The College Board also reported today that 2016 Virginia public school graduates took 140,170 Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. Of those tests, 62.6 percent earned a grade of 3 or higher, which is the generally accepted benchmark for college credit.

Jobs for the Future and Virginia Department of Education Summit Highlights Innovation in Student Assessments:
On September 26, 2016, more than 400 educators, school system leaders, and policymakers from across the Commonwealth met with officials from Jobs for the Future and the Virginia Department of Education. This day-long summit focused on innovation in assessments and highlighted district-led efforts to help schools and educators assess student learning in new and meaningful ways.

Ms. Rebecca E. Wolfe, Senior Director of Jobs for the Future said, "Virginia is a model for the nation in how thoughtfully it is supporting districts to develop K-12 assessments that are worthy of our children's time and better measure a range of learning." As Virginia continues to look at ways to improve the Standards of Learning and the assessments associated with them, students’ best interest is being placed at the center of each discussion. Educators in the Commonwealth are developing standards that prepare students for college and careers and encourage deeper learning, such as the ability to solve complex problems and to collaborate and communicate effectively. Educators are realizing the need for students to be able to write extensively, conduct research, and use project-based work. These are critical to an overall vision of personalized, student-centered education.

In Pittsylvania County, we are closely examining our assessment strategies. While standardized tests are good measures for some things, they are only one tool to gauge student learning. As the State transitions to other means of assessing student learning, the Instructional Team will be working with teachers to develop other approaches as well. Many of these are being used in our classrooms each day.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • School Board Disciplinary Committee Meeting – Monday, October 3, 2016, @ 6:00 p.m. in the School Board Office conference room

  • Twin Springs Elementary School 20th Anniversary, Monday, October 3, 2016, Hotdog dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Program @ 6:00 p.m.

  • *Report Cards Sent Home – Wednesday, October 5, 2016 (Please note change in date)

  • Family Life – October 3-5, 2016, (PM, Grade 4) @ Chatham Elementary School

  • Family Life – October 3-5, 2016, (AM, Grade 4) @ Union Hall Elementary School

  • Family Life – October 3-6, 2016, (PM, Grade 5) @ Chatham Elementary School

  • Family Life – October 3-6, 2016, (AM, Grade 5) @ Union Hall Elementary School

  • Workkeys Testing – October 3-7, 2016

  • Fall SRC Correction Window by Schools – October 3-7, 2016

  • Character Word of the Month for October – Honesty

  • VSBA Bullying Prevention 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, September 30, 2016 04:06 PM