July 2009


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



Strategic Planning Process: The School Division is currently in the beginning stages of revising its next Strategic Plan for 2009-2014. The Board held a retreat in early June, and began discussing priorities and benchmarks for the future. Input from employees was sought in May, and the board will be piloting using social networking technology to garner input from parents, employees and the community. The Board’s work session in June was devoted, in part, to exploring the use of a Division wiki to encourage asynchronous collaboration, discussion and feedback regarding the strategic plan 


Online Streaming of Graduation Ceremonies: Nearly 1100 seniors from Albemarle, Monticello, Western Albemarle and Murray high schools crossed the stage and accepted their diploma at graduation ceremonies held June 5-6 in Charlottesville. The school division used online video streaming to allow friends and family members of the graduates who were unable to attend to view the ceremony in real time.


757 unique viewers from nearly every continent viewed the ceremonies through the video stream over the Internet. While most viewers were in North America, viewers in Australia, Asia, Europe, and South America logged on to watch the ceremonies.  


Central Office Restructuring: The Division is completing the central administration and instructional support restructuring as proposed in the 2009-10 budget. The five Lead Instructional Coaches begin their duties on July 1, as will the Director of Secondary Education.  Employees affected by the elimination of their positions from the 2009-10 budget will transition to other duties after June 30. Instructional Coaches participated in three days of intensive professional development in mid-June, and will be prepared to roll out the new Coaching Model in August.


Installation of Turf Fields: The Board accepted the donations from the anonymous donor, Parks and Recreation, and from the Monticello High School Athletics Boosters club. Installation of the artificial turf field at Monticello High School is underway and the field is expected to be in use in August for sports practices. Monticello is the first of the three high schools to proceed with the installation. Albemarle and Western Albemarle are continuing to raise money to cover the school-based funds needed to match the anonymous donor’s gift.


Facilities: Construction is nearing completion on the additions and renovations at Greer, and Brownsville elementary schools, and Albemarle High School.  Several other schools are receiving HVAC upgrades over the summer in addition to these major projects. All projects are expected to be completed on-time and at or below budget.


Bus Driver Hiring: Due to the large number of retirees and the lifting of the hiring freeze for critical positions, the School Division has held several hiring fairs to recruit the estimated 40 new bus drivers needed for 2009-10. Many strong candidates have been identified and a large group – including newly appointed Asst. Superintendent for Operations and Systems Planning Dr. Bruce Benson—completed driver training and team-building activities in mid-June.


Summer Opportunities: The School Division is again hosting two sessions of high school summer school for those students needing credit recovery, or to earn additional course credit, allowing for expansion of elective courses in their schedule. The sessions are being conducted at Jack Jouett Middle School this summer due to the extensive construction at Albemarle High. Additionally, summer remediation programs for elementary students are also held at many schools beginning June 29. Enrichment opportunities, such as the Journey Through Hallowed Ground two-week history camp and Odyssey 2025 hands-on science camp, both for middle schoolers, also are offered. There are two enrichment camps for elementary students, one for Lego robotics and one for acting. For the first time this summer, the division is hosting a two-week Algebra readiness program for rising middle-school aged African-American male students. This program, known as M3 – Men. Math. Mission – is a partnership with the 100 Black Men of America and State Farm Insurance, and has as its goal incrasing the number of African-American males who are enrolled in and successful in upper-level math classes.


July Meetings:  The School Board will hold its next regular meeting on July 9th.          


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