Monday, September 28, 2015

Office Hours at Axton Elementary was a Success!

I had a great day at Axton Elementary School last week for my scheduled Superintendent Office Hours!  It was great to connect with students, staff, and parents as I spent the day at the school.  The list below includes some of my activities throughout the day:

  • Observed students participating in a lesson in the media center.
  • Met with Mr. Boone to review data and discuss goals for Axton Elementary School.
  • Met with parents to discuss how their child is adjusting so far this year.
  • Visited several classrooms to observe high-quality teaching and learning taking place.
  • Worked with students in a first grade and third grade classroom.
Working with Students in Math
I was impressed with both the students and staff at Axton Elementary.  Students were working diligently to master essential skills, and teachers were working hard to actively engage students in learning.  I saw lots of hands-on activities, positive teacher/student interaction, and effective technology use as I visited each classroom at Axton.  I was also impressed with the high levels of student engagement, which was the result of highly engaging and relevant lessons.  Great job, Eagles!  I look forward to future visits to Axton Elementary! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Celebrating Gains at Campbell Court Elementary!

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to the staff at Campbell Court Elementary about the gains their students achieved this past year.  Based on preliminary SOL results, CCE experienced gains in the following areas:

  • Passing rates for English: Reading increased by 5 percentage points when compared to Spring 2014.
  • Passing rates for mathematics increased by 3 percentage points when compared to last year.
  • The passing rate for African American students increased by 16 percentage points for English: Reading!
  • The passing rates for Hispanic students increased by 1 percentage point in English: Reading and 9 percentage points in mathematics!
While it appears that Campbell Court Elementary will most likely miss full accreditation status this year by only 1 percentage point when the final results are published, it is important to acknowledge the gains that were made last year.  In addition, it is vital to acknowledge the fact that these gains happened because of  the hard work and diligence on behalf of the staff and students at CCE.  Based on the progress made last year, I'm 100% confident that CCE will earn regain their full accreditation status at the end of this school year!  Thanks for all you do, Bengals!


Celebrating Success with the FC Cavaliers!

It was an honor to meet with the faculty at FC Middle a couple of weeks ago to congratulate them on the progress they are making toward increasing student achievement.  I was proud to announce that their students have demonstrated gains in all content areas.  Some of the increases are noted below:

  • Passing rates for English: Reading increased by 8 percentage points when compared to Spring 2014 results.
  • Passing rates for mathematics increased by 7 percentage points when compared to Spring 2014 passing rates.
  • Passing rates for science increased by 12.5 percentage points!
  • Passing rates for social studies increased by 7 points over Spring 2014 results.
In addition to increases in overall passing rates, FC Middle experienced increases for specific student groups to include the following:
  • The passing for African American students increased by 12 percentage points in English: Reading and 9 percentage points in mathematics.
  • The passing rates for Hispanic student increased by 15 percentage points in English: Reading and 16 percentage points in mathematics.
I am very proud of the progress teachers and students are making at FC Middle, but there is still work to do.  I stayed for the rest of the faculty meeting to participate in some of the department discussions around student data and effective instructional strategies.  I was pleased to hear the powerful conversations taking place among the teachers and administrators.  Teachers discussed effective instructional strategies in all core areas.  In addition, they discussed ways to improve student behavior. The teachers discussed ways to encourage reading and writing throughout the curriculum.  In addition, they talked about ways to support students with mastering essential vocabulary.  The math teachers talked about the importance of using the vocabulary to encourage students to use "the language of math" each day in the classroom.  I am confident that students will continue to achieve success at FC Middle.  Have a great year, Cavaliers!  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Way to Go, Lancer Staff!

I had the opportunity to speak to the staff at Laurel Park Middle School this week.  I wanted to take the time to thank them for their collaborative efforts in support of student success.  Based on last year's SOL results, Laurel Park Middle School students made substantial gains.  In fact, I highlighted several points of pride that are noted below:

  • Passing rates for Laurel Park students increased in all core areas!
  • Student passing rates increased by 13 percentage points in English: Reading.
  • Student passing rates increased by 12 percentage points in Science.
  • Student passing rates increased by 7 percentage points  in mathematics.
  • Student passing rates increased by 3 percentage points in Social Studies.
  • Students met the state benchmark in all areas except English: Reading which is only 1 percentage point away from the state benchmark.
  • Passing rates for African American students at Laurel Park increased by 17 percentage points in English: Reading and 18 percentage points in mathematics.  
It is important to note that these results did not happen by accident.  It was clearly a collaborative effort throughout the school.  I was fortunate to see this in action when I visited Laurel Park last year.  I was impressed to see teachers working together to analyze data and plan for instruction.  I also observed teachers assisting students in other content areas to ensure that students mastered the necessary content.  During the meeting on Wednesday, teachers made a list of several strategies that they feel contributed to student success.  In addition, teachers worked together to discuss resources that will be needed to continue to promote student achievement at Laurel Park.  I also had fun watching the Lancer faculty participate in a great team building activity!  Laurel Park is filled with hard working, positive professionals who are dedicated to meeting the needs of every child.  I know that they will have continued success with their students this year.  Indeed, they are off to a great start.  Go Lancers!

Laurel Park teachers thinking critically and working as a team!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Warrior Strong: Hat's off to the MVHS Faculty!

MVHS Faculty showing their Warrior Spirit!

I had the pleasure of speaking to the MVHS faculty this week to congratulate them on their successes from the 2014-2015 school year.  Although final assessment results and accreditation ratings have not been officially released from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), MVHS has a lot to celebrate.  I shared the following highlights with the MVHS faculty this week:

  • Based on preliminary assessment data, MVHS is expected to earn full accreditation for the 2015-2016 school year.
  • MVHS passing rates for mathematics increased by approximately 12 points in one year, while still maintaining passing rates above 80% in all other core areas.
  • The on-time graduation rate for MVHS increased from 90% to 90.4%, which is well above the on-time graduation rate for Virginia.
  • African American students continue to show gains in English: Reading passing rates with an increase each year over the past two years.
  • Hispanic and LEP students at MVHS earned a passing rate of 100% in English: Reading for the past two years.
It is important to note that these positive results are only realized through hard work and dedication on the part of staff and students at MVHS.  I am proud of their accomplishments and I'm looking forward to even more successes this year.  It is clear that the staff and students at MVHS have great pride in their school.  They are indeed, "Warrior Strong!"