Shortly after the incident in Florida, Alleghany High School received two threats. After the second threat, we decided to do a “live” Facebook feed for our parents. The details are as follows: At 6:00 pm on the evening of the 2nd threat, we posted on our web page, Facebook page, Twitter account and made a School Messenger announcement to our parents that at 7:00 pm that evening, myself and the Sheriff would be doing a “live” Facebook video chat to provide parents the facts of the incidents and to give parents an opportunity to ask
Jeff Smith, VASS President-elect and Superintendent of Hampton City Schools and Jared Cotton, Region VI Chair and Representative to the VASS Board of Directors and Superintendent of Henry County Schools, recently served as members of two key panels at the state Symposium on Strengthening the Pipeline from School to Work. The symposium, which was held at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, was organized by State Board of Education member Anne Holton who also serves as a Visiting Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government. Both Smith and Cotton discussed how they transformed schools in their divisions to better prepare their students for the world of work and they shared specific strategies for creating work-based learning opportunities and promoting career awareness.
Five VASS members recently attended a House Education Subcommittee meeting to testify on behalf of an amendment to Senator Newman’s SB 969 which reversed the State Board’s actions to allow a locally developed performance assessment to be used in place of the current SOL test to earn a verified credit in high school history and social science. SB 969 explicitly prohibited the use of a locally developed performance assessment from being used.
The amendment, which was supported by Senator Newman, was seen as a compromise in that it required the state to develop and score a performance assessment in high school history for a verified credit rather than having it done locally. VASS Past President and Poquoson City Schools Superintendent Jennifer Parish, VASS Board Member and Harrisonburg City Schools Superintendent Scott Kizner, VASS Legislative Chair and Frederick County Schools Superintendent David Sovine, Salem City Schools Superintendent Alan Seibert and Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Amy Griffin were prepared to testify against SB 969 had the amendment not been offered. Due to the more positive language in the amended bill, only Jennifer Parish made remarks in support of the change. The subcommittee voted to pass the amended bill.
IT IS NO SECRET that the nation is dealing with a shortage of teachers.
Compounding this problem is the complex nature of some preparation programs that are riddled with unnecessary credits. They are an institutional barrier for motivated candidates to enter the teaching profession.
More problematic for states is the sheer number of teacher shortages in key subject areas.
A recent study from the Virginia Department of Education found 10 areas with critical teaching shortages in the commonwealth: special education, elementary education (pre-kindergarten through sixth grade), middle education (sixth through eighth grades), career and technical education, mathematics (sixth through 12th grades, including Algebra I),
The Great Bridge High School football team deserves a better stadium. So does the Deep Creek High School football team. I also think the Western Branch track needs to be replaced, as well as the “new” Grassfield High School track, and probably more tracks at our middle and high schools.
But let’s look at why that has not been done. I have spoken and written many times about the importance of providing adequate public school funding for our school divisions’ needs. The state doesn’t provide any money for capital needs to school divisions. That funding falls completely on each locality.
Our city has provided funding for some of our outstanding
Nottoway Superintendent Rodney Berry and Franklin County Superintendent Mark Church will join VASS Board member Scott Kizner for educational travel to Helsinki and Berlin this summer as EF Education First Scholarship Award winners. During their travel, Rodney, Mark and Scott will interact with officials from the Finnish National Board of Education, visit Helsinki schools, and meet with local educators in an effort to learn about Finland's top-ranked educational system and the opportunities it provides its students. While in Berlin, they will attend a summit on the Influence of Technology on Society where they will hear from world-renowned speakers, attend expert-led workshops, and explore the connection between technology and education in addressing global issues.
Patrick County Superintendent Bill Sroufe, whose upbringing was one of neglect and poverty as well as physical and sexual abuse, has written an inspiring story about how one teacher helped him find the courage to rise above the chaos and evil in his life to create one with purpose and triumph. In his book Everyone Needs a Mrs. Bailey, Bill shares how we can all become champions for the children in our care.
Bill undertook the writing of his book after an encounter with former astronaut Leland Melvin when they were both presenters at a professional conference. Bill’s presentation was to be about the impact of teachers, specifically how his life was changed by his 6th grade math teacher, Mrs. Bailey. When he told Leland his story, Leland promptly changed his own
As a member of the Steering Committee for the Small and Rural Schools Coalition, I am happy to see that the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate support some of the same issues we see as important in rural school divisions.
Both bodies propose budgets that include enrollment-loss funding, which will be beneficial to many of the 71 schools divisions that have joined the Coalition. Hopefully, this support will continue in the future.
I also am proud to see the flexibility that the Senate added to the At-Risk Add On Amendment by allowing those dollars to be used for recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. The House also provided flexibility with an additional $70 million of lottery funding even though I would have preferred if that
VASS worked with Strategic Value Media to create the guide, a web portal to a large network of vendors that supply goods and services to educators. The guide, which highlights companies that are VASS Business Members, is designed to help school division leaders make efficient and fully informed purchasing decisions.
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