August 2008


A monthly communications report from the Albemarle County School Board to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors


Transportation Services Efficiency Report: At its August 14th meeting, the School Board received a Transportation Services Efficiency ReportIn the fall of 2007, the Resource Utilization Study results included several recommendations that could affect the efficiency of the Transportation Services Department. Subsequently, the Department engaged in a thorough analysis of its operations to include examination of existing bus routes, potential use of alternative vehicles and potential use of alternative fuel. In addition, the Department developed a long-term projection on the cost of fuel, projected usage and its impact on the budget. 


The Transportation Services study revealed several areas in which improvements in efficiency could be made.


1. The elimination of two bus routes;

2. The purchase of smaller buses to be used in the southern end of the County which will result in fuel savings;

3. The proposal to allow limited use of alternative vehicles to transport small numbers of students such as those with special needs, small work study groups, etc.

4. The recommendation not to convert the Division’s bus routes to biodiesel fuel due to its additional cost and its potential negative impact on operations.

5. An update on projected fuel costs vs. what was budgeted for 2008-2009 and the potential additional amount that may be needed for fuel.


Savings from implementing these recommendations equal $97,403* for the 2008-2009 school year and an annual sustainable fuel savings of approximately $140,529.


* Cost savings for 2008-09 are $340,529, but are offset by projected increased fuel costs of $243,126 over budgeted fuel costs for this year.


A copy of the full report and data can be found on the division website at under Reports to the Board.


Opening of School Year 2008-2009: On August 20th, Albemarle County Schools opened its 27th school, the Community Public Charter School (CPCS), for middle school students.  The school opened with 27 sixth graders, with plans to add 7th and 8th grades in subsequent years.  CPCS will use William Glasser’s Choice Theory to engage students in making positive choices, to take responsibility for their own learning and understand that their choices have consequences, positive or negative.  The curriculum is arts-infused. 


In addition, Crozet Elementary’s historic bell is ringing again after 15 years of silence.  Last year, the 5th grade students raised money to restore the bell which is from the old Crozet elementary school. 


The School Division also has a number of our schools working to implement innovative projects funded by community grants:


Ø      Henley Middle School will further its Green School efforts by working to install solar panels with grant money from Dominion Virginia Power;

Ø      Twenty-five Albemarle County teachers were awarded Shannon Foundation grants and will be doing projects with their students ranging from using GPS to create a “Mapquest” of their neighborhood to installing a biofilter to collect runoff water from their parking lot and analyzing the water and its impact on the local streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay


Summer Teacher Development: Teachers were busy this summer preparing to deliver innovative, engaging, relevant lessons to students.  Some examples:


Ø      Western Albemarle High School’s John Hobson and Burley Middle School’s Chris Shedd were among 10 educators selected for the “Virginia Experiment” Teaching American History Teaching Fellows Program.  The program uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to learn more about history and incorporate the technology into classroom learning 

Ø      Angela Worley, biology teacher at Albemarle High School, was the only American teacher on a trans-Atlantic voyage from the Canary Islands to Brest, France.  She studied sediment cores to better understand climate conditions related to Global Warming.

Ø      Albemarle High School history teacher Ted Thill was selected to attend an intensive, hands-on seminar hosted by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History entitled, “North American Slavery in Comparative Perspective.”  Participants conducted historical research through primary documents, visits to plantations, including Frederick Douglass’s to study the development of chattel bondage in mainland North America from the perspective of the larger world. 

Ø      A team of five ACPS teachers instructed other teacher participants in the use of technology at the Teacher’s Institute at the National Gallery of Art.  Becky Fisher, Melanie Dusci, Paula White, Barbara Huneycutt and Kristie Obrecht demonstrated technology examples from Albemarle County Schools and tutorials in programs like iPhoto and Garageband in order to create podcasts. 

Ø      Denise Collado, World Languages Department Chair at AHS  won a scholarship to take a graduate level seminar at UVA on the Spanish Civil War.   She will share her knowledge with her Spanish IV and V and AP students this year. 


CAI Institute:  The school division also hosted its own week-long professional development conference, the Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Institute, which ran for a week in June.  More than 350 ACPS educators took part in the intensive work to create standards-based, but concept-centered instructional units that engage students and align with what they have learned in previous years and will be learning in the future.  Teachers also worked on creating common assessments that will be given across classrooms in the division to ensure mastery of content no matter which teacher a student has or which school s/he may attend.



Benjamin F. Hurt Resolution:  At its August 14th meeting, the Board approved the request from the Albemarle High School Class of 1958 that the center entrance to Albemarle High School from Hydraulic Road to Albemarle High School be named Benjamin Hurt Drive.


Follow-up to Last Board-to-Board Question: At the last Board-to-Board presentation, there was a question regarding the number of gifted students.  For the 2007-08 school year, there were 521 identified students in elementary school, 558 identified students in middle school, and 765 identified students in high school, which represents 15 percent of students division-wide are identified as gifted. 


September Meetings:  The School Board will hold its regular meetings on September 11 and 25, 2008. In addition, a meeting with the Legislators is scheduled on September 15th and a student conduct meeting is scheduled for September 22nd.   


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