September 1, 2017
Employee of the Week:
Please join in recognizing Mrs. Sonia Williams, Second Grade Teacher at Twin
Springs 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!
Letter from Dr. Steven Staples, State
As we all witness the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area,
the question most often asked is “What can we do to help?” Our counterpart in
Texas, the Texas Education Agency (TEA), has provided some useful guidance.
As many of you are aware from news reports, the rain and flooding continues in
many parts of the state, so TEA will not have a clear understanding of what is
needed in affected communities and schools until the flood waters recede and the
damage can be fully assessed. Right now, TEA is focused on working with those
schools and districts affected by this weather and flooding. In the short-term,
they encourage anyone interested in assisting to donate to the American Red
Cross. The Houston Independent School District also
recently posted a list of current needs for donations for its students and
Obviously, any decision about direct assistance is a local matter. We provide
this information as a resource to inform and support any action you might
consider to help during these difficult times.
We will provide more information on how we can support students in Texas once
TEA can assess the full damage.
Steven R. Staples, Ed.D.
Commonwealth of Virginia
I have heard from several principals about the efforts you and your students
are making to assist the families in Houston. Thank you. As always, you step up
to the plate to assist others.
What Does the Public Think About School Accountability Options?
In response to the changes made to federal legislation in the Every Student
Succeeds Acts (ESSA), the Virginia Department of Education is developing metrics
other than standardized test performance, including student growth, achievement
gaps, dropout rates, and absenteeism to accredit public schools. In July,
Compass Point, A Collection of Data, Articles and Insights from the Commonwealth
Educational Policy Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University, conducted a
poll to determine what the public thinks about school accountability options.
A focus of the discussion has been on the use and number of standardized tests
to rate public schools. Sixty-one percent of the respondents to this poll
indicated that when rating public schools, there should be more emphasis placed
on student improvement. Thirty-three percent thought more importance should be
put on the number of students reaching proficiency.
The tables below provide a breakdown of results by different groups across the
Virginia Department of Education Considers Changes to Impact Standards of
Learning (SOL) Tests on Accreditation:
The Virginia Department of Education is considering significant changes in how
SOL tests impact school accreditation and how many tests students will need to
pass to earn a diploma.
At this time, students in grades nine through twelve need to pass nine SOL tests
in order to earn an advanced diploma, and they must pass six to earn a standard
diploma. Proposed changes may reduce the number needed for graduation for both
School divisions may also see a difference in how accreditation is calculated.
Revisions being considered to the Standards of Accreditation (SOA) may give
schools credit for student growth, how well students in different groups
perform, and absenteeism. The Accreditation ranking of schools may be determined
by a combined score rather than just SOL pass rates. The Department of Education
would therefore be looking at a "combined score" rather than just SOL pass
The State Board of Education has held public hearings on the proposed changes to
the Standards of Accreditation and will take action on the new Standards this
Deputy Harris Silverman, School Resource Officer at Tunstall High School and
lead instructor for the Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy's
detection and apprehension of driving under the influence training program,
shared the following with me.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to your division employees, Mr.
Jeff Buchanan, Ms. Tara Mills, Ms. Jenny Watson, and Ms. Kristen Williams. They
each elected to volunteer and assist the Police Academy with our recent
Standardized Field Sobriety Test training held this week. These four educators
used their personal time to assist us in educating law enforcement officers in
new national standards of detection, evaluations, and prosecution of impaired
It is this spirit of collaboration and support that makes our community one of
the best places to ‘learn and work’.”
Please join me in thanking Mr. Buchanan, Ms. Mills, Ms. Watson, and Ms. Williams
for representing Pittsylvania County Schools. Also, I would like to thank
Officer Silverman and the other School Resource Officers for all that they do
for the schools.
Character Word of the Month -
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
Day – Holiday for All Personnel and Students, Monday, September 4, 2017
Membership Report Due to Ms. Finney, Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Membership Report Due to Ms. Finney, Thursday, September 7, 2017
Membership Report Due to Ms. Finney, Friday, September 8, 2017
COHORT Training I, ECC/TC, Friday, September 8, 2017 (All Day)
PowerSchool Assessment & Analytics Window Pre-Test, EL & MS ends September
Initial MAP Assessment Testing Window – K-8, Ends September 16, 2017
Screening – Grades 1-3, Ends September 17, 2017
Screening – Grades PK-K, September 20 –October 15, 2017
Healthy Virginians Week – September 4 – 8, 2017
Grade 9 September 15, 18-19
Grade 10 September 12-14
Grades 6-8 September 20-22, 25-29
Grades 4 & 5 September 5-8, 11
HAPPENED THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:
September 4, 1609-Navigator Henry Hudson discovered the island of Manhattan.
September 4, 682-English astronomer Edmond Halley observed the comet named
September 5, 1914-Battle of Marne begins, French and British forces prevent
German advance on Paris.
1958-“The Huckleberry Hound Show” featuring Yogi Bear premieres.
1966-First Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day telethon raises $1 million.
September 6, 1995 - Cal Ripken played his 2,131st consecutive game setting a
new record. Lou Gehrig previously held the record.
September 7, 1977 - The Panama Canal treaties were signed by U.S. President
Carter and General Omar Torrijos Herrera. The treaties called for the U.S.
to turn over control of the canal's waterway to Panama in the year 2000.
September 8, 1960 - NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL,
was dedicated by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The facility had been
activated in July earlier that year.
Please send media requests to:
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!