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 2017-2018

 

August 11, 2017

Welcome back! I hope each of you and your families had a restful and enjoyable summer. Time off is so important to living a productive life. I have met new staff and been in all of the schools this week and felt the excitement and enthusiasm as we begin a new year. I congratulate you on the accomplishments made during 2016-2017. Preliminary accreditation of the schools looks to be outstanding. Ms. Brenda Dawson, Director of Assessment and Accountability, has calculated the results of the 2016-2017 tests, and at this time it is predicted that 100% of the schools in Pittsylvania County will be fully accredited. This report is also supported by information received from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Official notification from the VDOE is available as follows:

August 15 - VDOE issues a news release on Statewide, division and school pass rates — overall and by student reporting group — on 2016-2017 State assessments.

September 13 - VDOE issues a news release on Statewide, division and school pass rates — overall and by student reporting group — on 2016-2017 State assessments.

September 26 - VDOE issues news release on cohort graduation and dropout rates.

As we begin this year, our vision, to be recognized as having an innovative, challenging and exemplary school system and mission to educate and nurture students to be successful and productive citizens have been bolstered by the results of your hard work last year. This year we will continue to set our sights high. The following goals for this upcoming year align with the goals developed in your schools’ School Improvement Plans.

Accreditation

  • All Schools Fully Accredited

Standards of Learning

  • 1st Goal - Pass Rates Above State Average

  • 2nd Goal - Pass Rates Above 90%

  • 3rd Goal - All Passing Scores (70% - Math, Science, Social Studies; 75% - English)

PALS

  • Increase in the Percentage of K-2 Students Reading on Grade-level as Identified by PALS

SAT/ACT

  • Improvement in SAT and ACT Average Scores with Long-term Goal to be at or Above State Average

Dual Enrollment/Advanced Placement

  • Increase the Number of Dual Enrollment and Advanced Placement Opportunities Available for Students

Career and Technical Education

  • Increase the Number of Students Taking Industry Certification Tests

  • Increase the Number and Types of Industry Certification and Training Opportunities Available for Students and Teachers

  • Increase the Number of Career Pathways Available for Students

  • Develop a K-12 Computer Coding Curriculum

**Note: In May 2017, thirteen high school seniors earned a high school diploma and an associate degree from Danville Community College. Also, during the 2016-2017 school year, students in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes passed 1,505 licensure or certification exams. In 2015-2016 students earned 1,471 certifications and in 2014-2015 they earned 1,421.
 

Employee of the Week:
Please join in recognizing Ms. Denise Dawson, Special Education Coordinator, 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 News:
Governor McAuliffe & Board of Education Announce 2017 Virginia Index of Performance Awards: (Parts of Article Reproduced-Author: Charles B. Pyle)

Eight Pittsylvania County Schools and the School Division Recognized!
Governor Terry McAuliffe and the State Board of Education announced that 386 schools and 17 school divisions earned 2017 Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) awards for advanced learning and achievement. The VIP incentive program recognizes schools and divisions that exceed State and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the Governor and the Board.

Chatham Elementary School and Union Hall Elementary School were two of the one hundred forty-six schools in Virginia that earned the 2017 Board of Education Excellence Award. Pittsylvania County Schools was one of fifteen school divisions of the 132 school districts in the State to earn the 2017 Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award. There were 231 schools in the State that earned the Distinguished Achievement Award. Six schools in Pittsylvania County received this award. They were Chatham High School, Dan River High School, John L. Hurt Elementary School, Southside Elementary School, Stony Mill Elementary School, and Tunstall High School.

Congratulations!

Virginia Ranked 6th Best School System in America:
In a recent article in WalletHub.com. Virginia’s Pre-K-12 education system ranked 6th in a state-by-state breakdown of best and worst school systems. WalletHub’s researchers used 21 key measures of quality and safety to find the best school systems in the nation.

Division News:
The division had excellent participation at each of the professional development activities planned during the teacher workdays. Thank you.

The following sessions were held:

  • Success for All Students, Teachers and Families

  • Building Relationship with Dr. Annie Wimbish (PK - 12 teachers; Limit of 200/session)

  • Suicide Prevention (PK - 12 teachers; Limit of 30/session)

  • IALR 3-D Printing Mobile Lab (Gifted & MS Science teachers; Limit of 15/session)

  • PowerSchool Training for Attendance Clerks

  • Bus Driver Training

  • SOL Writing for Grade 8 Teachers

  • SOL Writing for Grades 5-7 Teachers

  • Fusion Training

  • Librarians Training

  • My Sidewalks Training

  • Apex Learning Teacher Training

  • Music Teachers Workshop

  • HS Physical Education and Driver Education Training

  • Secondary and Elementary Facter Training

  • Therapists Meeting

  • Special Education Liaison Meeting

Chamber Grants:
The Chamber of Commerce’s selection committee will be reviewing grant applications submitted by teachers at the end of last school year and will notify applicants of award amounts by August 15, 2017.

MiddleBorder Forward Community 500 Grants:
MiddleBorder Forward’s Community 500 Impact Project is offering financial support up to $500 for local projects. If you are interested, the details are available at www.middleborderforward.org. The application deadline is August 18, 2017.

YEA! Recruitment:
2017-18 Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) applications are available. The application deadline is September 29, 2017.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield - Employee Assistance Program (EAP):
The school division’s insurance carrier, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, provides an Employee Assistance Program that assists members in accessing needed support. Whether an employee is seeking guidance for a family problem, resources for assistance with a financial or legal concern, tips on work issues or options for dependent care – this group is available to help. You may access the EAP brochure on the school division’s website at http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/benefits/.

The website and the 24/7 toll-free number are as follows:
anthemEAP.com   1-800-346-5484

Please review the information at this site relating to your health and dental insurance coverage opportunities: http://www.brainshark.com/bbandt/vu?pi=zImz18ncZYzMbjPz0&intk=704437653

Also, please review these tips provided by Delta Dental:
http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/superintendent/2017-2018/delta-tips.htm

Professional Education at Averett University-Provisional to Full Teaching Licensure Track:
Averett University seeks to offer a Growing Teachers initiative. This is a customized program designed for teachers who are provisionally licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and need to complete their Professional Studies Requirements. This is in response to the educational workforce needs of our region, and derived out of conversations with local K-12 educational leadership about their marketplace needs.

Special Students in the Professional Education program will move through an individualized track of their personally required courses to complete their Virginia licensure. Coursework offered will include the educational classes required for Virginia licensure, such as Human Growth and Development, Curriculum and Instructional Procedures, Classroom and Behavior Management, Foundations of Education, Language Acquisition and Reading and Reading in the Content Area.

Please check with Mrs. Janet Hancock, Clerk of the Board, prior to taking any coursework to ensure it will satisfy licensure requirements.

Dan River Interact Club Receives Grant:
drhs interact

Members of the Dan River High School Interact Club received a $250 Mini Grant from VaABC during their participation in YADAPP (Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program) Conference held at Longwood University. The members designed a STAN (Strategies to Act Now) Plan on how to prevent/reduce the use of Drugs and Alcohol in the Ringgold Community among teens.

Pittsylvania County JROTC Programs Summer Camp:
Twenty-eight cadets from the Pittsylvania County Schools Army Junior ROTC programs participated in Camp Eagle Army Junior ROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC) located on the Virginia Army National Guard, State Military Reservation at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The mission of the camp is: “To motivate young people to be better citizens,” and the staff of the camp did all that it could to challenge these future leaders. The students who graduated from this year's camp are: from Chatham High School; Bryanna Bushy, Elisa Miller, Montgomery Siebert, Lindsey Stafford, and Topanga Wolf; from Dan River High School; Julyanna Bressette, Austin Burke, Alexis Crews, Adam Hughes, Tomi McGinnis, Gabriel Neelsen, Josh Pettiford, Landon Tate, Hannah Wade, from Gretna High School; Lucas Davis, Tionne Fitzgearld, Brandon Hall, Thomas McNeal, Wesley Johnson, Ashley Peters, Brandon Waller, and from Tunstall High School; Kevin Adkins, Madison Austin, Allen Ford, Megan Hylton, Trey Lakey, Mallorie Patrick, R.J. Strader, and Dakota Wilson.


The six-day camp was sponsored by the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and conducted by staff drawn from 24 high schools in the South & Central Virginia Area and North Carolina. It combined hands-on leadership training as the students participate in a series of activities ranging from orienteering to rappelling to obstacles courses to survival skills. The first training event was the Modified Army Physical Fitness Test (MAPFT) which was conducted on the morning of the first day of JCLC. The MAPFT consisted of three events – one minute of pushups, one minute of sit-ups, and a one-mile run. Numerous cadets from all four schools were given leadership roles in their respective companies throughout the camp. Every day presented challenges to the students as they rotated through leadership roles planning and organizing each day’s activities. The week of activities culminated in a field day where each student group competed for camp honors in athletic and organizational events that test both physical and mental and collaborative skills. Cadet Brandon Hall was selected for the Camp Eagle 2017 Commandant’s List. To earn this distinction, Cadet Hall was chosen by his company cadre to appear before the selection board chaired by the Camp Command Sergeant Major, Russell Wilder. The board included the company commanders and company first sergeants. For this recognition, Cadet Hall was determined to be in the top three percent (3%) of all 240 cadets at JCLC. Cadet Thomas McNeil also of Gretna received the C Company special recognition award for his contributions to the company.

All of the JROTC Instructors of Pittsylvania County are very proud of those cadets who attended JCLC-Eagle. They would also like to extend a special thank you for those individuals from Pittsylvania County who provided support to the cadets and cadre of JCLC. Mrs. Karen Plum has served over six years as a nurse for JCLC, and Randy Fowles has volunteered his time for the past several years to help with the marksmanship training. Ms. Kelia Washington and Mrs. Sherelle Clark from Gretna High School were with the cadets throughout the training every day and all day as chaperones. Bus drivers Larry Clark from Gretna High School, Ronnie Emerson from Dan River High School, and Steven Kokinda from Chatham High School provided transportation throughout the week’s training. Without the help of these individuals, JCLC would not be possible.

This year Sergeant First Class Eddie Perdue (Ret) from Chatham High School served as an instructor for the rope bridge team training; Sergeant First Class Michael Coder (Ret) from Dan River High School served as a platoon evaluator in B Company; First Sergeant Jeffrey Pannell (Ret) from Gretna High School was the first sergeant of C Company, and Major Herbert Daniel (Ret) also from Gretna High School served as the public affairs officer. Sergeant Major Bill Royall (Ret) from Tunstall High School worked as the S1/ personnel officer while Lieutenant Colonel David King (Ret) also from Tunstall High School was the assistant S3/ training officer.

jrotc

Pittsylvania County Schools Army Junior ROTC cadets, cadre, and support personnel gather by the “Red Horse” monument at Camp Pendleton, Virginia, at the conclusion of Camp Eagle 2017 Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC). The monument is dedicated to members of Virginia Air National Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron at Camp Pendleton and includes a memorial to honor 18 unit members and three Florida Army Guard aviators who perished when the C-23 Sherpa they were flying in crashed in a cotton field near Unadilla, Ga., on 3 March 2001.

Pittsylvania County Schools’ Students Perform Well on AP Tests:
The Advanced Placement Program released the results for the 2017 AP Calculus Exam on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. This year’s outcome reflects the results of Chatham High School and Tunstall High School. The results also reflect the hard work of our AP Calculus teachers. Please join me in expressing gratitude to Mr. Daniel Tittiris, Ms. Paige Echols, and Mr. Marvin Fuqua who worked tirelessly to assist students including offering three Saturday study sessions.

datatable

Please join me in expressing appreciation to our teachers and students for this outstanding work. Mr. Tittiris said, “The AP teachers are excited about the possibilities for the future of AP Calculus in Pittsylvania County Schools as we continue to partner with our Central Office administrators, principals, and AP Calculus teachers.”

Pittsylvania County Schools Recognized by Virginia Department of Education:
During the Classrooms, Not Courtrooms conference in Richmond, Virginia, on July 25, 2017, the Virginia Department of Education awarded the Virginia Tiered Systems of Support (VTSS), Distinction in Implementation of Leadership Team Award to Pittsylvania County Schools.

Pictured Left to Right: Dr. Steven Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction-Virginia Department of Education, Ms. Deborah Powell, Principal-RAS/STEM Academy, Ms. Ann Cassada, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, Delegate Lamont Bagby, Virginia House of Delegates, Ms. Teresa Petty, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Dr. Mark Jones, Division Superintendent, Ms. Robin Haymore, Director of Special Education, Dr. Jeff Early, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, and Mr. Steven Mayhew, Principal-Dan River High School.

Schools to Participate in Electricity Demand Response Event:
As part of our energy management plan for the schools, we are again participating in a Demand Response program. In the case of a very high power use period, the schools could be asked to turn down our power usage in the schools.

On Tuesday, August 15th from 2:15 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. the school division will be running an audit to see how well the schools can perform. (This is only for August 15, 2017, back on regular schedule starting on August 16, 2017.) The audit will be used to set the amount of the school system's payment for participating in the program. Last year, Pittsylvania County Schools received approximately $35,000. This money was used to pay for projects around all of the schools.

All of the air conditioning will be set to nighttime set points at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 15th. Only the air conditioning in office areas will come back on after 4:00 pm unless there is a specific need in other areas. Please notify Mr. Mike Hutson, Director of Maintenance & Facilities, if you should need air conditioning in other areas of your building after 4:00 p.m. on August 15.

Your participation and cooperation is greatly appreciated. The list of schools being audited is listed below.
Tuesday, August 15th, 2:15 - 4:00 PM EDT

Pittsylvania Schools – Brosville Elementary School
Pittsylvania Schools – Dan River High School
Pittsylvania Schools – Dan River Middle School
Pittsylvania Schools – Tunstall High School
Pittsylvania Schools – Tunstall Middle School
Pittsylvania Schools – Twin Springs Elementary School

Please be reminded that this is a one-time event and will not happen again this school year unless there is an emergency (very high demand on the power company). During the five years the school division has participated in this program, there have only been two emergency shutdowns.

Churches Hold Back-to-School Prayer Services:
Moffett Memorial Baptist Church held a back-to-school prayer service on Thursday, August 10, 2017, for the Pittsylvania County and Danville City communities. Representatives from Moffett Memorial Baptist Church, Pittsylvania County Schools, Danville Public Schools, Danville City’s Mayor’s Office, and the Danville/Pittsylvania County Church-based Tutorial Program spoke.

First Presbyterian Church of Danville will be having a Community Prayer Service on Monday, August 21, at 7 p.m. During this prayer service, Pittsylvania County and Danville City educators will be honored, and the church will pray for all teachers and school personnel. The church has invited all to join them.

The Great American Eclipse – August 21, 2017:
Ms. Elizabeth Craig, Director for Middle and Secondary Education and Lead Director for Science, has provided information to the schools relating to the Eclipse that will occur on August 21, 2017. Please contact her if you should have a question regarding the Eclipse. Ms. Craig’s letter to the Science Liaisons is provided below.

Good Afternoon Science Liaisons:
As you know the Great American Eclipse that is set to occur on August 21st is quickly approaching. I hope that you will discuss this natural phenomenon with your classes before it occurs as well as share this information with the other teachers at your school. Of course, Pittsylvania County will not experience a total eclipse since we are not in the direct path of the sun through South Carolina, but we will have a partial eclipse and darkening effect during the daylight hours weather permitting. You can find an enormous amount of information about the upcoming eclipse at NASA's Eclipse 2017 website .

I hope that everyone will take advantage of watching NASA's live stream broadcasting of the event on August 21st. Viewers around the world will be provided a wealth of images captured before, during, and after the eclipse by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station – each offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event.

https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive

If you plan to take your class outside, please make sure that you have been granted permission by your principal and that you have obtained written parental permission for each student before doing so. Safety rules and procedures for viewing the eclipse should be thoroughly discussed prior to the August 21st and then reviewed again with the students prior to going outside. Direct viewing of the sun or the direct eclipse can damage your eyes for life. Indirect viewing is the best way for our students to view images of the Sun during the eclipse using the pinhole method or other alternative method as recommended on the NASA website at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/2d3d-printable-pinhole-projectors. You can even download and print out an image of the state of Virginia to look through

All safety glasses or handheld solar viewers that you purchase must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
  • Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
  • Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
  • Not use homemade filters or be substituted for with ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones — because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun. There are many cheap counterfeit versions of safety glasses for sale on the internet. Please order your glasses from one of the suppliers listed on the American Astronomical Society Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page.

Also, I did find a site that may still have free glasses to give away, but supplies were running low when I last checked. FREE eclipse glasses from Astronomers Without Borders may be ordered by schools in underserved communities and remote areas that can not afford to purchase safe eclipse glasses. Astronomers Without Borders is giving away ISO-compliant safe solar eclipse glasses to needy groups willing and able to pay the cost of shipping and seeks donations to offset the cost of the glasses.

VSBA Bullying Prevention Month- October 2017:
In an effort to promote awareness of school bullying, the VSBA Board of Directors has designated the month of October as VSBA Bullying Prevention Month. Childhood bullying is a significant problem nationwide. It can cause school absenteeism, mental and physical stress, poor school performance, poor self-esteem, and in some cases, school violence. Statistics show that 160,000 children in the United States miss school each day as a result of being bullied. School board members, superintendents, teachers, and parents play a critical role in creating a climate where bullying is not tolerated. It has been proven when adults and children stand together, bullying ends.

Attached is a packet of information to help prepare for VSBA Bullying Prevention Month, and VSBA President Bob Hundley’s PSA on bullying prevention is available at: http://www.vsba.org/resources/vsba_bullying_prevention_month/

Danville Community College Offers International Relations Course with Teachers in Mind:
Danville Community College is offering an exciting new International Relations course for the first time in 20 years, and it is scheduled with teachers in mind: 6:30-9:15 p.m. on Mondays during the fall semester. It is a three-credit Political Science class. The course will be taught by Danville native (and Dan River High School graduate) Octavius Pinkard, whose extensive international experience includes work for the U.S. State Department as an election monitor, and graduate research and missions throughout Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East. He is back from his home in Belgium for one semester only, so this is an exclusive opportunity. More about his background, credentials, and plans for the class can be found here: http://www.danville.edu/NEWS/NewsReleases/2017-news-releases/octavius-pinkard.htm

New College Institute Hosts James Madison University (JMU) Leadership Program:
Qualified Candidates:

Anyone interested should contact Dr. David Martin at jmartin1735@comcast.net or at 276-224-7154. You may also gain information at the JMU outreach website, outreach@jmu.edu.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

  • Electricity Demand Response Event – Identified Schools, 2:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., August 15, 2017
  • VDOE issues a news release on Statewide, division and school pass rates — overall and by student reporting group — on 2016-2017 State assessments - August 15, 2017
  • Substitute Teacher Training – School Board Office, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., August 15, 2017
  • Fingerprinting Dan River Zone – School Board Office, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., August 17, 2017
  • Eclipse – August 21, 2017

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, August 11, 2017 02:55 PM