Daily News

The Virginia Daily Education News is a daily update (Monday through Friday) of education news throughout Virginia. Links are created to various media outlets throughout the state. Simply click on the headlines below for the full news articles. Questions or comments regarding the Virginia Education News should be sent to Peter Sengenberger, assistant executive director, at peter@vsba.org.

Thursday, April 17

Hatrick’s ‘Artificial Crisis’ Claim On Budget Draws Ire

The already heated budget debate between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board erupted last week following sharp comments from outgoing Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick. During Hatrick’s “superintendent report,” which he gives each regular…

Harrisonburg City School Board OKs Salary Scales

The Harrisonburg City School Board unanimously approved 2014-15 salary scales for its employees during a work session on Tuesday night. Although the budget approved by the board earlier this month reflects these pay scales, Superintendent Scott Kizner…

Smyth County School Board will consider closing Sugar Grove Combined School

“We have run out of places to continue to cut if we don’t get some residents,” said Smyth County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Robinson when discussing next year’s budget at Monday’s school board meeting. Robinson said the school system…

Stafford speakers support schools

More than 30 concerned Stafford County residents filled the Board of Supervisors’ chambers Tuesday to discuss the proposed real estate tax rate and the creation of a countywide stormwater district. About 28 people asked the Board of Supervisors…

Richmond City Council hears pleas for school, safety funds

Richmond City Council members heard pleas for more funding for schools, police and firefighters at a public hearing Monday night on the budget proposed by Mayor Dwight C. Jones. Against the backdrop of an ongoing debate over how to improve the…

Board may drop under-65s from retiree health insurance

Danville Public Schools is considering some big changes to its health insurance package for employees, including switching providers and trimming back on who will be eligible for participation in the division’s group plan.

School Board adopts more flexible teacher probation policy

Teachers hired to work in Williamsburg-James City schools will now work under a more flexible probation policy after the School Board voted 6-0 Tuesday night to change its policy. The school division's previous policy dictated a three-year probation period…

School Board awards cafeteria expansion, high school refurbishment contracts to N.C.-based firm

A construction company based in North Carolina is set to start working on two projects - refurbishments at Jamestown High School and cafeteria expansion at Berkeley Middle School - after the Williamsburg-James City School Board voted Tuesday to award…

Debate questions wide range of topics

Contenders for Danville School Board and Danville City Council fielded questions ranging from spending priorities and Bible distribution in schools to job recruitment efforts and mistakes during a debate at Alpha and Omega Church on Monday night.

Honeywell and NASA bring hip-hop physics tour to Pulaski

More than 1,000 students from Dublin and Pulaski Middle Schools got to experience a new lesson that brought science and math to life on stage. The FMA Live! Forces in Motion tour stopped at Pulaski County High School…

Lunsford Middle Learns the Effects of Bullying

Students at J. Michael Lunsford Middle School got a lesson on the effects of bullying from someone who has been on both sides of the equation. Author Ben Mikaelsen spoke to students April 1st about the unusual places life has taken him and the…

Why rural schools need online courses

An innovative learning tool made its big debut in an unlikely place today. It's an online, Spanish language learning program that students at Highland County High School took for a spin.

Growing Focus on STEM Education

STEM education continues to be a focus for local schools, including Thomas Harrison Middle School. The school has one of the top programs for science, technology, engineering, and math in the state. The STEM program at Thomas Harrison has…

Some Bristol, Va. students to attend new school

Some students in the Bristol, Virginia School System will be going to new schools next year as part of the district's rezoning plan that was announced Monday. Too many students, overcrowded classrooms, and small schools are all reasons why…

Darden students team up with sixth-graders on problem solving

Students from Henley Middle School and the University of Virginia helped a CEO make key decisions on employee pay, charitable giving and company-wide equipment upgrades during a Tuesday afternoon work session. But with only $250,000 to invest…

Extended Tazewell County school days set to resume normal schedule

The last vestiges of winter’s snow have melted away for Tazewell County students. Tazewell County school days that were extended to help make up for time lost to snow days will now be going back to a normal schedule.

Author tells Gandy students about writing and a special ape

Author Katherine Applegate has written hundreds of children’s and young adults’ books, including the successful Animorphs series, and has won national acclaim, including the prestigious Newberry Medal. Despite her success, Applegate’s visit…

Exhibit showcases students' artwork

A graphite drawing of a girl looking cross-eyed at the lady bug on the bridge of her nose was getting some attention Monday night. The occasion was Henry County Public Schools’ reception honoring students whose artwork is on display at…

1950 time capsule found in walls of school

The Roanoke school system once budgeted $1 million for a new school, according to a dated capital plan, back when the entire annual school operating budget was just a couple of million dollars. Newspaper ads boasted $300 a month for…

Arrest made after threat at Central High School on Facebook

A person has been arrested after a threat was posted on the social network Facebook Tuesday concerning Central High School, police said. Sgt. Duane Phillips of the Wise County Sheriff's Office said the post was taken as a legitimate threat and a suspect…

CCSO arrests students after EVHS after-prom party

Following a weeklong campaign trying to educate students about the dangers of underage drinking, Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office deputies charged several students with alcohol and drug offenses at an after-prom party…

Sharper's high school faces decision on 'tarnished' hero

An autographed photo of Darren Sharper wearing his former Green Bay Packers uniform sits next to an autographed mini Packers helmet in the trophy case at Hermitage High School. Down the hall by the gym, Sharper's name appears on the sacred "Wall of Fame"…

Wednesday, April 16

Fairfax school advocates make last-ditch effort on more funding

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) officials and supporters put a full-court press on county supervisors last week and implied that the county’s lauded school system might suffer in quality unless it received more money.

Floyd County School Board hears 'ideas' for budget cuts

At the Floyd County School Board meeting tonight, Dr. Kevin Harris, school superintendent, presented some ideas for cutting almost $1 million dollars from next year’s budget. In a meeting of the Floyd County Board of Supervisors last week…

YCSD Takes First Step in Superintendent Search

York County School Division board members voted unanimously Monday to turn to a statewide organization for help in the quest for a new superintendent. The division will use the Virginia School Boards Association for a national search to replace Eric Williams

Finalized rezoning plan to affect 1 in 5 of city's elementary students

About one in five of the city’s elementary school students will attend a different school next year under a rezoning plan finalized Monday night. At its regular meeting, the Bristol, Va., School Board unanimously approved a plan to shift students among…

Senator Kaine Praises Lynchburg STEM Academy

The gap between education and industry has never been wider. Now, with the aging workforce, businesses and students are left scrambling for answers. In steps the XLR8 ("Accelerate") STEM Academy at Central Virginia Community College.

Virginia educators unveiling new series of online Spanish courses for students

Virginia educators are launching a new series of online Spanish courses for students. The Virginia Department of Education is unveiling the prototype for the program on Tuesday. Officials say the new virtual courses for beginning, intermediate and…

Early start on careers for FTB, CMS students

Eighth-graders at Culpeper Middle and Floyd T. Binns Middle schools got a glimpse into the future Friday. Students from the two middle schools learned from 29 local businesses during FTB Career Fair, as organizations explained the steps it takes…

School funds urged: But board makes no changes to budget plan

Despite urging from three speakers to increase local funding for the county schools, the Henry County Board of Supervisors on Monday made no changes to proposed school funding for the coming fiscal year.

Va. honors 2 schools for black students

Two former Rosenwald schools in Virginia are being recognized for their education of young black students. Two historic highway markers have been approved for the schools, one in Southside Virginia, the other in Orange County.

Virginia Students Test Cyber Skills in 2014 Governor's Cybersecurity Cup Challenge

Eight teams from Virginia schools high schools competed in the final match of the 2014 Governor's Cybersecurity Cup Challenge, a state-wide cyber competition that offers students real hands-on learning experience in cyber defense.

School dedicates field to slain grad

Thomas Dale High School honored a former student last week as it dedicated its newly improved field after Matt Gwaltney, a 2001 graduate who was killed during the Virginia Tech massacre.

8 ACPS Teams Qualify for Destination Imagination Global Finals

Forty Albemarle County Public Schools students representing eight teams from elementary, middle and high schools in the division have qualified for Destination Imagination’s Global Finals, which will be held next month at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Governor’s School students win big at science fairs

Two students from the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School have managed to innovate and achieve greatly at a recent series of science fairs. Julia Hager, a senior at Pulaski County High School, and Anna Makarova, a senior at Christiansburg High School, both entered experiments into the fairs that earned top prizes in the competition.

Hampton School Board to consider possible additional funding from city

The city of Hampton is poised to give the school division extra money to alleviate some of the cuts in its recently approved budget. But School Board members say it is too early to speculate where any such money would be used.

Tuesday, April 15

Early childhood educators stress learning process needs jump start

Each day, when High Point Elementary School teachers Cindy Timp and Veronica Widener get to school, they know they’re in for some fun. The pair teach an inclusion classroom of prekindergarten students, which means there are a few students…

Floyd County School Board's budget cuts to affect positions

Discussion about budget cuts will be a main item of business at the Floyd County School Board’s meeting today at 4:00. Dr. Kevin Harris, school superintendent, told The Floyd Press today over $970,000 will need to be cut from the school budget…

School superintendent candidates to be interviewed at public forum

The hunt for Lancaster County’s next school superintendent is down to two finalists, announced school board chairman Dr. Robert Westbrook at Monday’s meeting of the board. A forum during which the public can meet and question the two candidates…

An early start in Caroline?

On Monday evening, the Caroline County School Board will discuss starting the school year before Labor Day this fall. The Aug. 20 start would mean that students could get out a month earlier, ending around May 20, said Superintendent Greg Killough.

Louisa replacement schools taking shape

Nearly three years after a magnitude-5.8 earthquake rocked the sleepy town of Mineral, an end is in sight for construction on the two Louisa County schools damaged and subsequently torn down after the quake.

Students get excited for SOLs at rally

Albert Harris Elementary School held an SOL pep rally on Friday to encourage students to succeed on the state-required tests. Students sang popular songs such as Katy Perry’s “Roar” and YLVIS’s “What Does the Fox Say?” with lyrics…

Henrico foundation holds corporate spelling bee

The Henrico Education Foundation held the HEF Corporate Spelling Bee to raise money for instructional grants, scholarships and other programs in Henrico’s public schools.

Schools' pharmacies: A prescription for savings

Superintendent James Roberts admits he felt uneasy last spring as his school division prepared to launch an unusual initiative. The Chesapeake Public Schools Heartbeats Wellness Center opened in a storefront…

Social media echoes across crimes and investigations

When Waynesboro Police K-9 officers pulled into the parking lot at Waynesboro High School last October, a tweet was generated inside the high school by students within 39 seconds. Soon, Twitter feeds reverberated across the high school, alerting the students…

New Virginia transition center to benefit students with disabilities

The Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Commonwealth University have established a new center to support students with disabilities, the department announced last week. The Center on Transition Innovations will serve as…

Students at two Fredericksburg schools to receive free lunches next year

What’s better than a free lunch? How about free lunch for your whole school. Thanks to a federal program, all the students at the Original Walker–Grant School and Hugh Mercer Elementary in Fredericksburg will get free lunches starting in the fall.

LCS to Participate in Walk to School on Earth Day

Lynchburg City Schools' Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program will be participating in Walk to School on Earth Day at four LCS elementary schools. Safe Routes to School is a national program to make walking and biking to school a safer and more appealing…

Richmond Plans to Make School Routes Safer for Two Elementary Schools

Students at two elementary schools in Richmond will soon have a safer route to school. The Richmond City Council is set to accept a $160,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation at its council meeting Monday night.

Smithfield's Bria Kelly ready for what comes next on 'The Voice': Smithfield teen trying to advance on NBC talent show, and trying to graduate on time, too

Bria Kelly wants to make this clear: She loves her hometown. The 18-year-old singer from Smithfield, who has gained national attention on the sixth season of NBC's talent search reality show "The Voice," said some people have…

Virginia high school searching for answers after 6 suicides in 3 years

The seemingly unconnected deaths of the teenagers have been blamed on the ‘high-pressure, high-achieving culture’ of the nationally ranked school in Fairfax, among other factors. ‘How many more need to die before somebody wakes up and realizes…

Monday, April 14

First Lady meets with students, school officials

It's the right diagnosis for Virginia -- that's the message from Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe about Medicaid expansion. The First Lady stopped at Stonewall Jackson Elementary School Thursday to meet with Bristol, Virginia school superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg…

Parent petitions Richmond City Council to put more funding toward schools

Parents of students in Richmond Public Schools are stepping up the pressure for school funding as the deadline for city council’s vote on the budget approaches. Two months ago, Tunya Bingham, one of the co-founders of Richmond Urban Collective…

Tax rate to stay at current level

The York County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday night there will be no change to real estate taxes for fiscal year 2015, holding the rate at 75.15 cents per $100 valuation. That means the school division will not get additional funding from the board…

Richmond’s $1.6 million warehouse battle

Tucked away along the Boulevard in Richmond is an old Richmond Public Schools Warehouse.  Richmond Mayor, Dwight Jones has been trying to get school leaders to hand over the property to the city so they can sell it to an interest developer…

Danville Public Schools Board members question reorganization plan

Superintendent Edward Newsome went to the mat Friday in defense of his reorganizational plan for Danville Public Schools — a move that triggered a series of tense disagreements, school board policy debates and large procedural confusion…

Fairfax County Schools extend year by another day due to snow days
The Fairfax County Public Schools district announced Friday it will add yet another day onto the end of the school year as a result of excessive snow days. Wednesday, June 25 will now be the last day of the school year for all schools in Fairfax County.

It's official: School begins on August 12 and 9 week grading periods enacted

Botetourt County School Board approved the new calendar for school year 2014-15 at the regular meeting on April 10. School will begin on August 12 and end on May 22. In the move, the school board also approved 9 week grading periods.

Va educators partner to help disabled students

Educators in Virginia are partnering to help students with disabilities succeed after they leave school. The Center on Transition Innovations is a collaboration between the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Louisa high schoolers get a taste of college

A year from now, Louisa County High School juniors David Puchalski, Lindsey Vest, Ryan Crawford and Trey Chisolm will cross the graduation stage as recipients not only of high school diplomas, but also associate degrees.

Virginia Middle, High Point teachers named McGlothlin Award winners

The mustachioed teacher was sitting in his classroom Friday when there was a rap at the door. Outside, there stood a line of elementary school children, some of them with fake handlebar mustaches, who chorused, “We love you, Mr. Cregger!”

School courtyard transformed into a garden oasis to honor shooting victims

In just a few hours Saturday morning, a group of dedicated students and community members had transformed a drab school courtyard into a garden oasis. Picnic tables surrounded by flowers were arranged in the corners of the courtyard…

Photo: Harding Avenue teacher turns into sundae for fundraiser

Harding Avenue Elementary School in Blacksburg participated in Jump Rope for Heart to help support the lifesaving mission of the American Heart Association. The students learn about the importance of having a healthy heart through healthy eating and exercise.

Forest Middle School Students Hear Bronwyn's Challenge

Eighth graders at Forest Middle School got an early lesson on the importance of safe driving.  Bronwyn's Challenge is an initiative the YOVASO students at Jefferson Forest High School started.

Vice chairwoman in hospital; board status unclear

School Board member Elizabeth Daniels is ill, and it's unclear when or whether she will return to serving on the board. Daniels, who serves as vice chairwoman, was in serious condition as of last week at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center…

Academy bid OK'd by board

The Henry County School Board on Thursday awarded the base bid for the second phase of construction at Magna Vista High School’s Warrior Tech Academy. The bid was awarded to Daniel & Co. Inc. of Danville in the amount of $203,850, pending…

Richmond school board seeks task force volunteers

The Richmond City School Board is currently receiving applications for volunteers to serve on the Facilities Task Force committee, a group that will work to evaluate the district’s surplus properties, existing in-use properties, as well as…

Student Suspended After Alleged Facebook Threats

A parent at Robert E. Lee High School reported that a student had made threats on her Facebook page towards other students at school. The school administration contacted police officers and together they looked into this and addressed it with the student.

Lockdown at Maury lifted after search for weapon

Maury High School in Norfolk went on lockdown Friday morning because of the threat of a possible weapon. Shortly after 11 am., WAVY News started receiving messages from students and parents about Maury High School being on lockdown.

One injured when car hits Smyth school bus

One person was injured when a school bus was struck Friday afternoon, according to the Virginia State Police. A Ford Explorer struck the rear of a Smyth County school bus traveling south on U.S. Highway 11 at the intersection of state Route 107, according to…

High School Sexting Ring Investigated in Fairfax Co.

More than a dozen underage high school students are under investigation in Fairfax County, Va., in connection with a sexting ring. According to the search warrants, the teens started sexting when they were in middle school.

Waynesboro Woman Charged After School Bus Incident

A Waynesboro woman has been charged after an incident last month in which she boarded a Waynesboro Public Schools bus and cursed and threatened the driver in front of a busload of students.