The Virginia Daily Education News is a daily update (Monday through Friday) of education news throughout Virginia. Links are created to various newspapers throughout the state. Questions or comments regarding the Virginia Education News should be sent to email@example.com.
Wednesday, December 04
At the November meeting of the Westmoreland County School Board there were both student and adult awards presented. First on the award list was author Mya Outlaw who received a certificate from chairman Iris Lane recognizing her hard work. Outlaw, a third grader at Washington District Elementary School, recently had her book “A Ladybug’s Life” published by the American Reading Company. Next, clerk Linda Dillard and members of the school board received certificates from the Virginia School Board Association acknowledging their time and effort. Lane noted that receiving these awards “show that we are developing and growing”.
Scores in math, reading and science posted by 15-year-olds in the United States were flat while their counterparts elsewhere — particularly in Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian provinces or countries — soared ahead, according to results of a well-regarded international exam released Tuesday.
Richmond school administrators are taking a kinder but more serious approach to fixing long-failing schools, the city’s School Board heard during a work session Monday. In an update on academic improvement, interim Superintendent Jonathan Lewis and Chief Academic Officer Victoria Oakley said this year’s plan was more focused on building cohesive teams in specific schools.
Charlottesville and Albemarle County schools are working to change 25 years of student assessment. School leaders met at Buford Middle School Monday to discuss a program called project-based learning.
Virginia may get its own state-level results in the next administration of the international test known as PISA, which compares performance in math, science and reading for students around the world. The state’s Board of Education is requesting that the General Assembly approve $600,000 in the next biennial budget to pay for the extra testing and administration fees needed so that the state can receive separate results following the 2105 test.
It’s almost as much a perennial as the holiday itself – once again legislators from beyond the Blue Ridge and from the sprawling suburbs of Washington are hoping the General Assembly will allow school boards to send pupils to school in August, instead of leaving them at liberty to visit Virginia’s theme parks and beaches until after the Labor Day weekend.
For the second consecutive year, every second grade student at Metompkin Elementary School will receive 50 books to keep, courtesy of the school. They got their first installment of books to take home last week, just before Thanksgiving vacation began. Called “Break the Cycle,” the book giveaway is part of the school’s commitment to get more of its students reading at grade level.
Area lawmakers said Tuesday that they plan to make reforming the state’s standardized tests a linchpin of their legislative agenda next year, but how that reform might take shape remains up for debate. The rub is in finding consensus among divisions on what reforms they’d prefer, Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, said in a meeting of area legislators and the Albemarle County School Board. Without consensus, he said, officials shouldn’t expect real or lasting change from the legislature.
The WJC School Board has established a temporary, part-time position aimed at reviewing and updating the school division's policies and procedures. In a unanimous vote on Nov. 19, the School Board hired a retired school board clerk, who did not previously work in the WJC school division, to serve as "policy review coordinator" at a rate of $40 per hour.
Fairfax County Public School teachers vented their frustrations through a new survey, which was sponsored by the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers.
The Loudoun County School Board Tuesday dropped its effort to acquire a 17-acre lot in Ashburn for use as an elementary school site. The board voted 6-3 in June to authorize the use of its eminent domain powers to obtain the tract as the site for a new elementary school, known as ES-27, to serve Ashburn and Brambleton students.
A girl was cut on the leg with scissors at Henderson Middle School today and a boy faces a charge of aggravated assault, a schools spokeswoman said. Felicia Cosby said one explanation that has been given was that the cutting came after "horseplaying."
Because of its commitment to safe driving, Floyd County High School was recognized Monday by State Farm with a $25,000 grant through its Celebrate My Drive program. High schools across the country and Canada asked students and community members to make safe driving commitments during one week in October as part of the program. The schools with the most commitments were recognized with grant funds.
Downtown Suffolk is starting to look a lot more festive after students from Suffolk’s public schools began a two-day campaign to spruce up businesses in the area for Christmas. In an annual tradition intended to warm hearts, 42 talented art students from five elementary schools, two high schools and one middle school are painting the windows of several business, according to Lesa McNamara of the school district’s administration offices.
Monday, December 02
Fairfax County Public Schools earned “Silver” certification – the third highest level – in the Virginia School Boards Association’s annual Green Schools Challenge. A total of 38 school districts from across the commonwealth were honored in the “friendly challenge,” designed to encourage school districts to support environmentally friendly efforts in their facilities and the broader community.
Retired Waynesboro Schools art teacher Lynn Hilton Conyers was recently honored by the Virginia Art Education Association as Virginia's Retired Art Educator of the Year for 2013.
Shrieks, yells and the sound of footsteps racing up and down stairs could be heard down a hallway at Stonewall Jackson Middle School. The ruckus was more than just excitement before a school holiday, it was science in action.
Annie Downing kept a secret from her classmates until she was a freshman at Jamestown High School. Downing, now a 17-year-old senior, was diagnosed in the third grade with dyslexia, a learning disability that causes problems learning to read. Dyslexia specifically affects spelling, vocabulary, pronunciation and word recognition, and can be genetic, according to the International Dyslexia Association.
For the first time in Fairfax High School history, the school's Wind Ensemble was selected to perform at the 2013 Virginia Music Educators' Association convention.
The Isle of Wight County School system is doing its part for conservation and ecology, and even getting recognition. Kenita Bowers, school spokeswoman, stated first in a press release that IWCS has gone from gold to certified platinum in the 2013 Virginia School Board Association’s Green Schools Challenge. IWCS was certified gold last year and won first place in the Student Population 5,001-10,000 category.
The schools are coming up with other ways to recognize achievement and good behavior, but some parents say the loss of traditional honor roll takes away an important student incentive.
Starting early with a foreign language makes it easier later, says Mount Herman Principal Sandra Smith. She scoffs at critics who say preschoolers aren't ready for bilingual instruction.
More than 30,000 Chesterfield County public school students could have county-issued laptop computers within two years if the School Board and Board of Supervisors sign off on a plan being pushed by Superintendent Marcus J. Newsome.
Seven-year-old Michael Bowman thinks girls are “boring” and doesn’t want them in his second-grade class. Luckily, Michael is a member of Riverview Elementary School’s only all-boy classroom. “It’s easier to learn,” he said about being in a class without girls. “They talk too much.”
As a commission tasked with securing city school funding nears the end of its mission, a solid, specific source of revenue remains an enigma. Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Sustainable School Funding, which first met in August, said work did not begin in earnest until September, which gave the group a tight timeframe.
Members of the Amherst County Board of Supervisors and the school community met with state lawmakers on Monday with a discussion that focused primarily on education and state-imposed mandates.
The county has become one of the first localities in the state to permanently install cameras on school buses that are designed to catch drivers illegally passing the stopped buses. At least 15 other jurisdictions - including Dinwiddie and Petersburg - have entered into pilot programs with the camera vendor, Redflex Student Guardian. Prince George is one of the first to make their contract with the company permanent.
Although they didn't make it to the championships this year, the season wasn't a complete bust for Brick Busters. Between the cheers and high-fives, it was clear this season was a success for the team, a FIRST LEGO League squad consisting of six children from the Shenandoah Valley. "It was amazing to see these bright, talented students acting as a team," said Jennifer Armstrong, the coach of Brick Busters. "However, we were disappointed not to be asked to continue on to Championships. It was a great, fun-filled day."