January 1, 2012
As a former teacher, elementary school principal, and currently as Superintendent, I’ve always found the time before and after winter break to be one of my favorite times of the year on our calendar. Our schools use this season to organize concerts and special events, celebrate our community service organizations and support families in need in their local communities. When I received an email today about one of our student performance groups at First Night Virginia, I was reminded that our performing arts students work during the winter break to share their talents throughout the community.
We emphasize life-long learning skills in our mission statement and our teachers work very hard and creatively in the classroom to deliver core content that engages our students. Just as important are those outside-the-textbook skills that were on such prominent display these past few weeks—caring for others, collaborating with teammates, fine-tuning performances until they were just right, and adapting to solve unanticipated problems. Together, all of these capabilities shape success.
This also is a time of year for reflection upon the many contributions our students receive from our families and volunteers. We are grateful for the suggestions and advice from our advisory councils and parent teacher organizations. We appreciate all those in our community who come to our concerts, plays, sporting events and celebrations to encourage our students and cheer their achievements. We benefit from the volunteers who assist teachers and students in the classroom. In today’s highly demanding environment, every one of you makes a measureable difference in the lives of our students.
Finally, this also is the time of the year for resolutions. Mine is to set the aspirational bar high for our students and ourselves as educators, then work as hard and imaginatively as I can to provide the resources and support our teachers and students need to excel. I’m hoping you’ll join me in making a resolution of your own to participate in our school community—by devoting at least two hours a month to attending a school event, serving on a committee, volunteering in a school or offering your ideas for how we can improve a program. Our students need you.
For more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact one of our schools or the Office of Community Engagement. Thank you for supporting our young people and the educators in our schools.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.
January 3, 2011
Albemarle County community members and local employers serve as outstanding partners to our schools. Our community provides support through local revenues essential to running our schools. Financial donations make additional resources available for students and volunteers provide thousands of hours to assist educators and the young people served by them. Our schools also give back a return on the investments made by community partners.
Community members including parents, senior citizens and business employers take great pride in the accomplishments of our young people, their teachers, and the schools. Supporting our local public schools is a top priority for those who live and work in this community. In the 2009 Community Survey sponsored by local government, newer residents ranked quality of schools as a key reason they chose to live in our community. Overall, quality education was ranked by residents as the #1 important service in Albemarle County.
UVA Head Football Coach Mike London, Hundred Black Men of Central Virginia Volunteer, Speaks to Young Men
Providing excellent schools isn’t just about serving our young people well.
It’s about serving our entire community well.
- Tony Wayne, AHS physics teacher, receiving award at the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council Banquet
At an October work session, School Board members talked with representatives from local businesses about ways to strengthen partnerships to help forge an even stronger community.
Consider the following:
- Well-established employers such as the University of Virginia and State Farm Insurance, as well as new employers such as the Defense Intelligence Agency, say emphatically that excellent schools are important to recruiting and keeping employees. Their employees want first-rate schools that allow children to thrive as learners. They value programs that provide opportunities for young people to excel in academics, arts, and sports as well as to become leaders and good citizens who provide service to their community.
- Patrick Bond MoHS Eagle Scout led a project to build an amphitheater at Walton Middle
- The directors of the Chamber of Commerce and the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development indicate that excellent schools are a key attractor for private sector companies and small businesses that are investigating relocation or start-up in our community.
Chamber President and CEO Tim Hulbert Visits MESA at AHS
- The director of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Association of Realtors reports that excellent, well-maintained schools lead to higher home values, ease of real estate sales, and the attractiveness of the community in which schools are located.
- Local businesses and private sector service providers such as Union Bank and Trust and Martha Jefferson Hospital know that investing in the public education of our community’s young people makes sense. They see numerous graduates of our high schools who’ve become excellent local employees often after successful degree completion from Piedmont Virginia Community College or a four-year university.
2010 MoHS Graduation Ceremony
- Researchers from the Weldon-Cooper Center of the University of Virginia know from their 2009 survey of Virginia’s employers that employers want employees who have a great work ethic, can work as members of teams, see the big picture of the business in which they work, appreciate diversity in the workplace, and figure out solutions to problems. These are just a few of the 21st century workforce skills needed along with technological and basic learning skills.
Henley students work in teams to test different wind generator propellers
- Albemarle County Public Schools does business to the greatest degree possible in our community with local contractors, small businesses, and service providers. Our schools provide jobs to over 1500 families. We are a member of the business community and a contributor to the economic vitality of the county.
Baker-Butler Educator Trains Service Dogs
Fifth graders raise the flags each day at Stony Point School
An excellent school division is a hallmark of Albemarle County. Excellence is reflected in the workforce we employ, the performance of the young people we serve, and the good citizenship of staff who also volunteer and serve as leaders in non-profit organizations throughout Albemarle County.
We appreciate your past support. We need your continued support in 2011 to provide our young people with the best public education we can offer.
Thank you for taking pride in our schools and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!