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School Highlights

Celebrating Our Schools:
A Year in Review
January 2015

Agnor-Hurt Elementary School

  • Construction began this year on a new state-of-the-art expansion that will add 132 seats to the school’s classrooms and redesign traffic around the school. A new Instruction Pavilion will include space for up to 120 children in a multiage environment where students may be grouped by abilities and interests, rather than solely by age. The research-based design, focused on content areas, will also begin to be adapted for the school’s older areas as teachers develop more natural multiage learning strategies.
  • A second part of the expansion and reconstruction will place all ‘special’ activities, art, music, library, and the International Portal, into the center of the school, with redesigned spaces for all. As Agnor-Hurt moves toward a more flexible environment, this Learning Core will allow the school to see itself as a community in new ways.
  • The final part of the expansion will be a new concept of technology installation, with less expensive ‘flex-tech’ choices – including tabletop computers – which make future updates easier and significantly less costly than built in projectors or interactive boards.
  • The school’s International Portal has changed the access students have to the world, connecting them – often in real time conversations - with learning opportunities with NASA, the Virginia Historical Society, classroom contemporaries in India, and bringing them to the Live Native American concert, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
  • Agnor-Hurt’s principal, Michele Del Gallo Castner, received the Alton Taylor Leadership Award from the University of Virginia chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, the international professional educators’ society.
  • A game design curriculum has begun to revolutionize instruction in fourth and fifth grade, boosting student engagement while creating powerful cross-curricular projects.

Learn more about Agnor-Hurt »

Baker-Butler Elementary School

  • Baker-Butler’s new Creation Station, part of our Design 2015 work, offers students the opportunity to engage in maker work and technology-infused, student-centered lessons. This new learning environment encourages students to develop their creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communications skills. In addition to materials for making, such as cardboard and tools, the space also incorporates the use of iPods, iPads, laptops, and SmartBoards, to provide students multiple choices in learning, designing, and communicating.
  • During the 2014-2015 school year, BBES began a new program to support students with special needs called the VAAP (Virginia Alternative Assessment Program) class. The VAAP class, as well as the Early Childhood Special Education program, provides our students with an important educational experience.
  • The school is piloting a reading program for first graders in cooperation with a James Madison University literacy professor, along with the more traditional literacy activities to engage young learners. Students in the program read to dogs who are in training to be therapy dogs with the Service Dogs of Virginia. Research has shown that students who read to service dogs can increase their reading skills, and the students look forward to reading with the service dogs each week.
  • Baker-Butler is committed to the division’s Choice and Comfort Pathway, with teachers working hard to remake their classrooms in ways which help students make informed and effective learning choices.

Learn more about Baker-Butler »

Broadus Wood Elementary School

  • This year, the school received its first 3D printer as the result of a grant. Third grade students are using the printer to support their learning through such techniques as conceptualizing and printing artifacts from a story they are reading.
  • Students are learning the basic elements of computer programming through the MIT-developed Scratch language. Among the student applications are online publishing of student e-books and learning the fundamentals of writing and reporting information.
  • Library furnishing and flooring is supporting new Maker Curriculum uses of that learning space. The school’s librarian, along with other teachers, continue an aggressive effort to build their contemporary teaching skills while sharing their own learning on a national stage.
  • The school’s Maker Room is changing as Maker Activities have spread to every classroom. The room now serves primarily as a resource center for tools and materials, and as a small group inventive learning space.
  • Among the school’s most popular community events is its Inquiry Fair, in which individual students, small groups of students, and various grade levels participate in project-based learning. Students demonstrate research and discovery skills around a student-selected question or area of interest and present their findings at the event.

Learn more about Broadus Wood »

Brownsville Elementary School

  • The fourth and fifth grades are equipped with ‘Tool Buckets’ for every classroom. These ‘buckets’ contain a mix of digital devices, computers, tablets, and handhelds, with different operating systems. Students learn how to choose the technologies best suited to their tasks and their own needs. They learn to share and trade. Teachers are continuing their own training in the hardware and software so that they can best support this innovative plan.
  • The school opened its first Special Education Preschool Program this year, serving children with disabilities in the western portion of the county. Previously, children were bused for more than an hour to the nearest school offering a similar program.
  • The Innovation Lounge continues to offer multiage and multi-class learning opportunities, with technology enhancement. This learning space, located near the K-3 classrooms, allows investigations and groupings which may be difficult in traditional rooms.
  • Among the school’s most popular programs is the Brownsville Elective Program, implemented by the school’s PTO. The after-school learning exploration program includes instruction in technology, art, music, dance, ballet, sculpture, martial arts, and problem solving. Among the more unusual classes is African Drumming, where students learn various drumming techniques that are incorporated into the school’s choral performances.
  • In May, the school's Destination Imagination team finished fifth in the world in the Destination Imagination Global Competition held in Knoxville, Tennessee. The team bested 58 other competitors from throughout the U.S. and internationally in the Scientific category. The competition promotes project-based learning and evaluates teams based upon their creativity, presentation skills, and ability to work together and think critically to solve problems.

Learn more about Brownsville »

Cale Elementary School

  • Cale became the first school in the county and one of the few in Central Virginia this year to offer a Dual Language Immersion Program, in which 50 percent of all instruction during the school day is in English and 50 percent is in Spanish. The program is offered in grades K-2 and will continue to expand each school year into higher grade levels. Research has shown that learning a foreign language in elementary school can benefit the cognitive development of students across all subject areas.
  • Among the highlights of Cale’s community outreach was the school’s first STEAM Fair, which showcased student projects in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math. Related to the school’s maker curriculum, STEAM projects and instruction during the school year provide students with opportunities to engage in the problem-solving process. Students are able to share insights about their learning, think creatively, and solve difficult challenges. This activity is consistent with the school’s dedication to higher-level thinking, incorporating technology into the classroom, and making inquiry-based learning the central focus of the academic day.
  • Summer outreach also included two MakerCamp experience opportunities this summer. One within the summer school at the school building, a second in a “pop-up MakerSpace” within the Southwood Community. Both locations strengthened literacy, numeracy, and the connections between school and community.

Learn more about Cale »

Crozet Elementary School

  • The school inaugurated three outdoor tennis courts funded by QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia. The courts are scaled to elementary school student size and are incorporated into the school’s physical education program. All students in grades 1, 2 and 3 received tennis racquets. The courts are available for community use when school is not in session.
  • As part of the division’s ongoing Library redesign efforts, the school library received new furniture this year and new whiteboard writing surfaces to encourage public authorship and creativity.
    Crozet Elementary’s Gifted Program, which strives to work with all students, continues to support students in becoming self-motivated readers, writers, makers, and innovators. The students actively share their work globally via blogs and video.
  • The schools refurnished cafeteria supports social learning during meals and flexible uses at other times. Easy to fold and move tables allow the space to be rapidly reconfigured.
  • The Greater Virginia Green Building Council’s Green Schools Challenge for Environmental Stewardship gave their top award to Crozet for the school’s “Living Lab Rain Garden Habitat,” which was completed this year. A living laboratory, the outdoor rain garden includes 60 varieties of plants native to Virginia, a weather station, a sundial, and bird houses, all incorporated into the school’s science classes. The idea for the garden came from students, who completed work on the project over a three-year period.

Learn more about Crozet »

Greer Elementary School

  • Greer hosts a highly diverse student population, serving students and families that speak over 30 languages. We have a targeted English program for students who are new the United States. This includes immersion within grade level classrooms so that students can practice English skills with their English-speaking peers. Greer is staffed with four English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) teachers that make this tailored instruction possible.
  • Greer teachers work in highly-collaborative teams that study and design effective instructional practices that they implement with students daily. This professional practice allows teachers to meet a variety of student learning needs within the classroom. Collaborative teams monitor and analyze student learning progress and create their instructional plans with individual learning needs in mind.
  • The school has a strong commitment to innovative strategies with technology, an important component of serving students who lack certain opportunities at home. Laptop computers and tablet devices bring the world into the lives of students, provide support for learning challenges, and build skills for this century.
  • Greer teachers hold Morning Meetings with students daily. These Morning Meetings are a component of the Responsive Classroom approach and part of the school’s positive climate focus that emphasizes relationships, respect, leadership and collaboration. School-Wide Morning Meetings are held monthly with the entire school community including parents. School-Wide Morning Meetings are modeled by teachers and led by students. Following School-Wide Morning Meetings, parents gather for “Coffee Chats” with administrators and school staff.
  • Ninety rising kindergarten students participated in a week-long Kindergarten Camp. This opportunity helped children experience the structure of school and establish relationships with teaching staff prior to the beginning of the school year.
  • New cafeteria furnishings support social learning during meals and offer new flexibility in that space.

Learn more about Greer »

Hollymead Elementary School

  • The school’s 2014 Heritage Festival, an annual multi-cultural sharing event each fall, drew the highest level of participation by families since its inception.
  • This year, the school is expanding its Arts Integration Mode to all six grade levels. Music, art, media, and gifted resource teachers team with instructional coaches to work with grade-level teams to integrate fine arts and research into a unit of study. Benefits include more choice in what students learn and how they demonstrate their learning.
  • The recently reconstructed Library/Media Center, joined to the Art Studio through an internal courtyard, supports both traditional learning and the Maker/Arts focus. With flexible spaces and furniture, and indoor and outdoor learning opportunities, the Library has truly become the Learning Core of the school.
  • Engineering projects linked to the engineering/mechatronics program at nearby Sutherland Middle School have strengthened all parts of the core curriculum, while helping students experience the value of creative problem solving.
  • Over the last two years, project-based learning has evolved from the “project” being done at home to projects developed and created at school. Examples have included creating an indoor playground, Native American arts, an economics fair, math videos, a sound and light parade float, and creating musical instruments.

Learn more about Hollymead »

Meriwether Lewis Elementary

  • Meriwether Lewis received the 2014 Virginia State Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award. Each year the Board of Education recognizes those schools in the Commonwealth that meet excellence goals for student performance that are established by the Board of Education and the Governor. In the prior school year, Meriwether Lewis earned the federal government’s prestigious Blue Ribbon School designation.
  • Kindergarten begins the MLES experience with activities as diverse as discussing everything from holidays to science with classrooms as far away as Ireland through Skype teleconferencing, daily Twitter “kinderchallenges” among schools within and outside of the Division, and an inventive ‘Camp Day’ of hands-on learning activities led by volunteers from the County’s leadership team.
  • The school began a broadcasting studio used by students to develop televised reports. Among the programs each day is the school’s morning announcements. The school also is incorporating Galaxy tablets in art classes, using the technology to research and design projects as part of the school’s emphasis on project-based, hands-on learning activities.
  • Choice-based Art is an important part of the school’s instructional design, as students choose to work creatively from a wide range of materials and artistic strategies. MLES students are also building digital art portfolios of their work.
  • The Library has a new Maker Hub, the result of a Design 2015 grant that expanded student learning space. 3D and 2D fabricators join more traditional materials to offer many creative options to students.
  • The Library has also benefitted from a PTO gift of handheld devices to support digital learning. This has significantly expanded student opportunity.
  • Project-Based and Maker-Infused work can be seen in every MLES classroom as teachers learn to engage children in a variety of ways to meet individual needs. The curriculum is now brought to life as students find their own ways to discover their learning.
  • Meriwether Lewis begins each day with its “Morning Movers” program, in which teachers and students engage in exercise and dance activities. The program is part of the school’s holistic approach to health and wellness, which also includes an annual Health Fair. The fair teaches students about nutrition, stress relief, physical fitness activities that include martial arts, various forms of dance, allergy awareness, and improving reading and comprehension skills.

Learn more about Meriwether Lewis »

Murray Elementary School

  • Murray students in several grade levels participate in “Passion Projects” throughout the year as an extension of the school’s focus on project-based learning. Students develop their own ideas based upon interests and work together either individually or in teams to problem-solve.
  • The redesigned Murray Commons – a cafeteria during lunch, a meeting, auditorium, and MakerSpace at other times – serves as the core of the school. With comfortable and flexible furniture, window-side eating and charging counters, a diner-style booth for small group work, easy access to an outdoor patio, and new projection system, this room supports the widest range of activities, including multiage and multiple class programs.
  • Murray is experimenting with tablet-supported learning in one classroom as the school begins to embrace new levels of connectivity and choice.
  • Many Murray classrooms have been reconfigured by teachers in order to increase student Choice and Comfort. These changes help students prepare for life, study, and work in this century by allowing them to learn how to create their own effective work and study environments – whether working on their own or in groups.
  • All Murray students lead school-wide morning meetings at some point during the year. The meetings are part of the school’s climate-enhancement program, Responsive Classroom, which teaches leadership skills, healthy interpersonal relationships, and collaboration. Teachers model leading the morning meeting in September, and each month thereafter, different grade levels take the leadership role, culminating in kindergarten students leading the meetings.
  • Murray students are actively engaged with Drexel University’s Problem of the Week Math Forum, in which they solve problems posed by the university’s faculty. Students interact with the professors online in applying and sharpening their critical thinking and analytical skills.

Learn more about Murray Elementary »

Red Hill Elementary School

  • Red Hill is entirely organized by grade bands, rather than by single age groupings: Kindergarten and first grade students, second and third grade students, and fourth and fifth grade students share classrooms. This approach, now in its second year, allows instruction to be individualized based upon specific student learning needs. Students also serve as role models for younger classmates, and teachers are better able to integrate curriculum. In addition, these bands often interact with each other, extending these benefits.
  • The iBuild room provides a flexible learning space for maker/project-based learning initiatives and serves as a warehouse for the materials and supplies teachers use to engage students in building and design.
  • Another multi-purpose room serves as a tutorial setting and our TV studio, where students produce and broadcast our daily morning announcements throughout the school, learning editing, performance, and technical skills.
  • The school hosted the first countywide field day for all preschool students and their teachers, an event that will become annual. The day featured outside exhibitors and demonstrations on health and fitness, nutrition, exercise, and the arts. It also served as a valuable opportunity for teachers to share ideas on best practices.
  • Red Hill introduced 1:1 computer technology for all fourth and fifth graders. Students received individual laptops and instruction that expands access to learning resources, increases the ability to collaborate on school projects, and improves digital literacy.

Learn more about Red Hill »

Scottsville Elementary School

  • Scottsville has embraced the Division’s “Maker Infused Curriculum” Pathway, increasing student interest and engagement. Student projects happen in classrooms, in the reconfigured library, and outside, where gardening supports science and other curricular plans
  • The MakerSummer program has continued for the second year, strengthening student skills through student-developed projects.
  • As a Focus School, Scottsville has surpassed reading and math SOL benchmarks during spring 2014 testing.
  • Scottsville School is in the process of coordinating an after-school Lego Club.
  • Our Gifted Resource Teacher and Media Specialist collaborate with classroom teachers to create STEM activities across grade levels.
  • Our school partners with the recently opened Scottsville Boys and Girls Club to jointly prepare students for 21st century success.

Learn more about Scottsville »

Stone-Robinson Elementary School

  • Stone-Robinson initiated a One-to-One computing program this year, issuing laptop computers to all fifth graders. The computers are used to ensure students have the opportunities to both collaborate more effectively and to individualize their learning, while building technology skills.
  • New renovations have connected our Art Room to the outside and to a flexible Maker Studio supporting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) learning. These two rooms are flooded with natural light, have improved LED lighting that saves energy while minimizing student distraction, and will be used as SRES teachers reconceive instruction based on contemporary learning and brain research.
  • Innovative technology now supports Stone-Robinson’s at-risk learners. Tablet devices allow more effective work on literacy, numeracy, and social skills.
  • The school’s volunteer service program reached more than 6,000 hours of service providing classroom assistance to teachers in all grade levels.
  • Consistent with the school division’s values of community, respect, excellence, and young people, Stone-Robinson expanded its Acorns to Oaks character-building program, including the development of a “Bully Busters” anti-bullying team.

Learn more about Stone-Robinson »

Stony-Point Elementary School

  • Stony Point teachers, teaching assistants, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, social workers, school psychologist and the administrative staff all work together to provide students with the best possible learning environment. The school has a long history of integrating art and writing with content and curriculum, including a new initiative for design, engineering, and student choice. Outdoor learning is encouraged through use of courtyards, woodland trail, and playground. Stony Point recently received a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant to further develop outdoor learning spaces.
  • Fourth and fifth grade students at Stony Point have their own computers for use during the school day. This One-to-One approach has strengthened literacy and math instruction, improved writing opportunities, and provided new chances for creativity, including Arduino – micro computer – programming.
  • The Stony Point PTO supports the school’s learning community. Their dedication provides resources for classrooms and school and engaging activities for children. Contributions include: sponsorship and facilitation of after school clubs, a carnival, an auction fund-raiser, assisting Maker Night activities, providing breakfasts and lunches for teachers, volunteering in classrooms, maintenance of the school’s woodland trail and gardens, and completion of a painted interactive outdoor learning circle.
  • Outdoor interaction is a major part of the education program at Stony Point. While technology is embraced, so is hands-on learning in the environment. Students investigate our woods and fields as activities for math, science, and writing. Outdoor play is used as a starting point for many parts of the curriculum.
  • Creative “making” is critical to learning. Arts and craft projects, inventions of all kinds, constructed explorations which involve everything from basic arithmetic to physics, fill classrooms and corridors. At Stony Point research that indicates how learning is strengthened when the brain and hands work together is taken seriously.

Learn more about Stony-Point »

Woodbrook Elementary School

  • With the support of a $40,000 grant from the Lastinger Family Foundation, the students partnered with Green Adventure Outdoor Learning Project to build a student-led outdoor environmental learning center. Through a pilot partnership with the Learning Project, students are learning to research, design and construct a sustainable, environment-based learning center on school grounds. The outdoor center will provide ongoing learning opportunities while supporting environmental sustainability and stewardship.
  • Woodbrook ran its entrepreneurial-based MakerSummer School for the second year, boosting student achievement through engaging student-centered project work.
  • The Library-Media Center collaboration with the Arts Studio continues to pay dividends for Woodbrook students as cross-curricular projects spread through the outdoor courtyard when weather permits. The Library itself continues to evolve with improved media and collaboration spaces.
  • Through a STEM Northrop Grumman Electronics System Grant for the advancement of girls in Engineering (Solar Cars Project), students with a limited understanding of the English language worked with other female colleagues to design, build and race their own solar powered car. The program increases student awareness of and excitement for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and fosters language acquisition and cooperation, assertion, respect, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • This past summer, the school conducted a Summer Arts Enrichment Program that included artistic contributions to the community’s IX-Art Park. The arts-infused, project-based learning approach to Woodbrook’s summer program culminated in an art show at the new park. See a video of our accomplishments at http://vimeo.com/102232363.

Learn more about Woodbrook »

Yancey Elementary School

  • For the 2014-15 school year, Yancey was awarded a Virginia Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant of $140,000. This grant supports Yancey’s after-school enrichment program, Club Yancey. Currently the program has partnerships with the Jefferson Area Board of Aging, 4-H, Albemarle County Parks and Recreation, Book Baskets, and Food Lion among many others. The grant will expand the number of students who are able to participate in the program.
  • Kristie Obrecht, the school’s media specialist, received a grant by US Cellular to expand supplies for the school’s Maker Curriculum, increasing student learning opportunities. The new materials will expand students practice and creative time with engineering concepts.
  • Yancey has participated in the Global Cardboard Challenge, a Maker Engineering international event. The Challenge provides students with the opportunities to design, create, and revise building projects using cardboard. The school is partnering with Monticello High School and with Target and Kroger on video support for the project and for cardboard and other supplies.
  • Yancey students and staff have a strong focus on community service and conduct bake sales and collect coins for the Albemarle and Fluvanna SPCAs. Students made cards for children at the UVA Children’s Hospital, and crafts to sell to raise money for charities. Spirit Week in the spring focuses fundraising efforts on Relay for Life, and this winter the school community is collecting shoes in partnership with the Salvation Army.

Learn more about Yancey »

Burley Middle School

  • The fine arts program includes an award winning jazz band and an award winning women’s ensemble (the Bearettes); additionally, all performing groups received a rating of “Superior” in District XVIII assessments. There is also have a vibrant visual arts program, and the work of student artists is celebrated throughout the building’s corridors.
  • A focus on project based/maker work for students includes core academic classroom projects built around historical engineering and writing through Minecraft, as well as a newly recreated Career Technology and Education program with classes that involve work in engineering design, computer coding, circuitry, and traditional tools.
  • A student run gardening project brings children outdoors and provides hands-on experience with the sciences.
  • Burley Middle School teachers have committed themselves to an internal coaching system which builds both technology-centered and maker-infused curriculum. This process is most clearly seen by the shared website (http://bms1to1.weebly.com/sample-work-2014-15.html) that highlights new ideas and the resulting student work, while tying these efforts to both the Division’s Life Long Learning Competencies and the Seven Pathways. that highlights new ideas and the resulting student work, while tying these efforts to both the Division’s Life Long Learning Competencies and the Seven Pathways.

Learn more about Burley »

Community Public Charter School (CPCS)

  • The school expanded its arts-infused curriculum with the support of $33,000 in state grants. The funds are being used to enhance the school’s arts program offerings to include enhanced graphic and visual arts as well as new creative programs in metal-working and ceramics.
  • CPCS students will soon be joining the Division’s game-based learning initiative, a project that supports language, math, and history will explore this content through the Minecraft.Edu curriculum.
  • This year under a new program funded by the Shannon Foundation, the school began an environmental education project based upon the Lewis and Clark expeditions. Students are researching discoveries by the explorers and recreating their findings by collecting and propagating seeds to re-establish native plants. The project includes work with the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center, field trips, and instruction from the Wintergreen Nature Foundation. Students are interviewing naturalists, compiling journals, and comparing present day habitat to that which existed in the early 19th century.
  • Among the most popular programs at the school is a weekly session on mindfulness available to all students. Students learn from an outside instructor how to focus and increase their concentration skills, eliminate stress, and build healthier and more productive interpersonal relationships. This program is funded by a local community partner and the work parallels programming put in place at the University of Virginia Curry School to research and develop effective ways to support young people as learners.

Learn more about CPCS »

Henley Middle School

  • Henley has reestablished a global college-readiness program at the school. Its Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program serves nearly 20 eighth grade students. The program is designed to equip students with higher-level organizational, writing, research and study skills that prepare them to succeed in college. Often participants are the first in their family to attend college.
  • Spark Labs, enlarged learning spaces capable of holding two or three traditional classes, continue to see increasing use as HMS teachers explore collaborative instruction which allows more small-group work and individual support. These newly designed areas also expand student learning environment choice, developing skills essential for this century’s colleges and careers. Math and science teachers have worked hard to construct activities which take advantage of the possibilities of these rooms.
  • The evolving Library design has increased student comfort and student access to materials and technology.
  • Henley’s Personal Computer Initiative began this year with students in one grade receiving computers for in-school and at-home use. These devices have strengthened student opportunities and choices in traditional academic core areas while supporting technical learning.
  • Redesigned courses in Career and Technical Education, including mechatronics, advanced manufacturing, and entrepreneurship, have engaged a large number of Henley students, as these opportunities change how students understand their future choices. HMS teachers traveled to the World Maker Faire and the New York Hall of Science this year in order to study new teaching ideas, and have worked with the Division-wide CTE group to expand this curriculum for every student.
  • Among the highlights of the school’s project-based learning and team-teaching approach is its annual Environmental Superheroes Project. Students visit the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville and present exhibits, artistic narratives, and musical performances while discussing topical environmental issues, challenges and solutions with the public.
  • Henley sent three student teams to the Global Finals for Destination Imagination, a worldwide competition for students based upon the ability of students to excel in project-based learning challenges. Teams are evaluated based upon their creativity, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and presentations. Teams qualify for the global competition by placing among the top teams in Virginia. Thousands of students from all over the world compete in the finals. The HMS fine arts team placed 15th in the world among 83 competitors.

Learn more about Henley »

Jouett Middle School

  • Jouett’s honored Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program led to its selection as a showcase school for other school divisions seeking to establish or improve their programs. AVID is a college-readiness program, teaching students organizational, research, study and planning skills in addition to raising the level of their academic performance. Often participants are the first in their family to attend college. Jouett has infused the program’s principles to all students in the school, and its program was ranked among the top three percent of the thousands of programs in the world.
  • A new program in material science at the school is funded by a Shannon Foundation grant. The program empowers students to create useful materials from discarded household items. As they learn the science behind thermoplastics and recycling, students become active producers, creators and transformers, rather than passive consumers. For example, students will produce plastic filament from recycled containers at a cost of 10 cents per kilogram, compared to retail prices that range as high as $50 per kilogram. The process reduces by 90 percent the greenhouse gasses emitted in 3D printer filament production.
  • The engineering and mechatronics program engages a large percentage of the student body in programs that not only build these future skills but also strongly support mathematics education.
  • Language Arts teachers have reconstructed their teaching to strengthen writing instruction through the ‘writers’ workshop’ design – building peer feedback skills while improving all forms of communication.
  • In history classes teachers have taken advantage of the new computer access to reconsider how curriculum is addressed, as students now not only study the past but learn to analyze it and bring new insight to their classmates.
  • The school is implementing a Developmental Designs approach to school climate, based upon the premise that healthier relationships in a school foster more academically and socially successful students. Developmental Designs resources help teachers ensure that the middle school student needs of fun, competence, relationships and autonomy are met. Two school systems recently visited to learn from the school’s program implementation.

Learn more about Jouett »

Sutherland Middle School

  • A Sutherland seventh-grade student finished first in the Charlottesville Area Startup Weekend, which encouraged budding entrepreneurs of all ages to submit business proposals to venture capitalists. He started work on his project during a MakerSummer school camp. His work incorporates Arduino and Mechatronics to complete a physical component and sensors to determine balls and strikes for baseball.
  • The MakerSummer summer school camp offered a redefinition of what “summer school” can be. Students engaged in projects of interest and caught up (and excelled) in academic curriculum as they did so.
  • A Sutherland student team completed a Morse Telegraph and Relay. The Telegraph was made in eighth-grade Science and Technology classes and was used to communicate between the Sutherland Middle School and Hollymead Elementary School. Virginia’s Secretary of Education was part of the event. This model was presented by students and staff members to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and led to the school being named as one of three Smithsonian Schools in the nation.
  • The Sutherland Career and Technical Education engineering curriculum has energized a large part of the student population. Students work with everything from programming to wood construction, from lathes to Arduinos to 3D printers, and produce everything from music to test prosthetics.
  • The school’s seventh-grade team has completed the rollout of its one-to-one (1:1) initiative, in which all students receive laptops. The team established criteria for various technology information and communication programs. The 1:1 initiative is designed to equip students with access to learning resources, research, and project collaboration opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

Learn more about Sutherland »

Walton Middle School

  • The outstanding Career and Technical Education curriculum ranges from computer programming, to a student business group that developed and manages a morning coffee cart for teachers, to wood working in our wood shop. Students work with web programming, Scratch, and Arduino development while building entrepreneurial skills.
  • The Walton Library-Media Center assists students as they move toward Monticello High School and college by offering a student-centered environment in which students learn to manage their own study skills and work time. The Library has many forms of alternative technologies which help students discover how to choose tools in this century and how to use them well, while keeping literacy as the focus.
  • WLHW, the student operated and staffed morning news show, is not just a program about newscasting. Involved students learn the highly technical work of lighting, sound, video capture, digital editing, and digital broadcasting.
  • Mathematics at Walton have changed in response to both student needs and the highly technical requirements of our changing economy. There is more creativity in math classes, and utilizing our One-to-One computers, more ‘real world’ examples.
  • WMS student writers share their work with the world, learning with feedback from authentic audiences.
  • Walton Language Arts teachers have begun working in a re-imagined classroom which combines choice and comfort with team teaching, allowing far more small-group support and individual attention.

Learn more about Walton »

Albemarle High School

  • The MESA (Math Engineering and Science Academy) program is a highly competitive county-wide application program that offers an accelerated and enriched curriculum. The MESA curriculum blends math and science with an engineering and application focus. Collaborative project based learning is the key to the MESA environment. Students use calculus, physics, and chemistry to solve problems analytically and verify their results empirically through experimentation using engineering modeling and analysis. In 2013, MESA students won the International Robotic Sailing Regatta, topping every college team in attendance. The MESA program houses over 200 students.
  • The AHS Library was reconfigured for 2013-2014 and brings the school together in an exciting Learning Commons which combines active education opportunities with dramatically increased book circulation. For 2014-2015 this facility grew with the addition of a student-centered music production studio and a college and career center. In the future new uses for the flexible creativity center, and expansion of quiet writing into the school lobby will further develop this hub of the school.
  • The One-to-One computer program has begun with strong support from both teachers and students, as these computers build educational opportunities and lifelong skills in responsible and effective technology use.
  • A new flexible MakerSpace is supporting all AHS students in uses of both traditional and contemporary tools, and in the creation of student-driven projects, making school both more relevant and more engaging.
  • Beyond consistently strong results on standardized tests, AHS prepares all students to be college ready. The AVID program, introduced in 2010, has created increases in minority student enrollment in AP and Dual Enrollment classes. In the Class of 2014, 70% of seniors - 301 students - took at least 1 college level course. 224 from that class earned an Early College Scholars diploma. Those students earned an Advanced Studies Diploma with a Governor’s Seal, earning at least 15 college credits while in high school. All applied to and were accepted to college.
  • The Fine Arts programs received state and national recognition. Students earned awards at the Virginia Theater Conference and performed for the Governor’s Residential School for the Arts, and with the All-State Choir, the All-State Jazz Ensemble. The Literary Magazine received the Gold Medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
  • To recognize student artists, AHS designed a new academic route for students: the Arts & Letters Pathway. In addition to course study, students participate in internships, community learning, and a capstone project in their senior year. Students choose from eight areas of concentration: art, ceramics, photography, band, orchestra, choral, creative writing, and theater.
  • The new Alternative Arts Pathway, “A3 House,” supports students interested in non-traditional musical performance and engineering, in video production, and in other arts.

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Monticello High School

  • The Health and Medical Sciences Academy is a four-year program designed to engage students interested in STEM-Healthcare careers. Designed to provide students with a foundation for post-secondary education and/or workforce readiness in certified health related professions, students explore core content with technology through integrated projects, case studies, and focused learning experiences.
  • Monticello partners with UVA’s Community Scholars Program with online interactive modules offering UVA courses to ambitious students. Students also take courses on campus through the High School Community Scholars program.
  • Monticello’s innovative Library/Media Center has garnered attention from across the nation and as far away as Australia. Hosting 40,000 students and 3,000 classes per year, it includes a makerspace, music studio, student-run help and invention desk, ‘HackerSpace’ for creative technologies, and quiet study, The Library is a Magna Awards 2015 Grand Prize winner, a national recognition program for best practices, co-sponsored by American School Board Journal and the National School Boards Association.
  • One-on-One, One-to-the World - In 2013-14 all ninth grade students were issued a computer, increasing access to the world around them. With the goal of strengthening students’ capacity to be lifelong learners, teachers created more project opportunities, infused more maker work into their curricula, and developed alternative ways to assess student learning. Now including 9th and 10th grade, students are creating digital portfolios to archive and reflect on their work.
  • Theater and dance programs are award winning programs for students from every demographic group.
  • Monticello continues its commitment to the High Schools of the Future process with flexible spaces that encourage student freedom and responsibility. The campus operates and looks like a university environment where trust in students results in appropriate behaviors.

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Murray High School

  • Murray High received $25,000 in Virginia Department of Education grants to support staff development and student initiated projects, and an additional $8,000 of grant funding to support after school clubs, a girls’ interests group, and arts-infusion in Spanish.
  • Murray High has joined the Division’s shift to personal computing, beginning a One-to-One initiative that adds to the individualization of education, as well as supporting collaboration.
  • Through the Division’s Design 2015 initiative Murray received advanced video tools to support student video filmmaking.
  • Rooms at the school received significant renovation in the past year, improving storage, lighting, and classroom technology. A new science room – designed for collaborative laboratory work – was created.
  • Students at Murray participate in a unique opportunity to pursue personal learning interests through the “Strengthening Quality Work Project” requirement for all students to present self-directed projects. For example, students have designed and built furniture, created a video on world hunger for the local food bank, learned to play the piano, created a website to feature and give exposure to local developing musicians, and to navigate professionally to compete in online gaming environments through analysis of gaming strategy data using GPS technologies.
  • Murray community members also engage globally and exert influence through their own learning agency. Students presented a workshop at the William Glasser Institute International Convention in Canada. They bi-annually develop a service learning project to benefit a community in a Latin American country. The teachers and students have also sponsored international virtual conferences for educators on the Glasser Quality Model, enlisting students, parents and teachers from five continents to present online keynotes, panels and workshops to thousands of educators worldwide

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Westeran Albemarle High School

  • The Environmental Studies Academy (ESA) at Western Albemarle High School is modeling a new pedagogical structure which offers all learners: 1) the ability to understand and apply science concepts and methods in solving environmental problems; 2) practical experience with addressing, collaborating, discussing, researching, and solving environmental issues locally, regionally, nationally, and globally; and 3) career and college readiness skills that will assist students in post-secondary employment and higher education in environmental fields. ESA received a $10,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to construct and study a student-designed solar array.
  • The science program at WAHS, apart from ESA, is undergoing its own change, based in re-imagined spaces offering choice and comfort, One-to-One computing, and a flexible pedagogy which supports and encourages student creativity.
  • The band and choir are honored regularly at regional and state competitions. The fine arts programs continue to excel, both in and out of the classroom. Multiple superior ratings, festival championships, drama productions, and participation in local art shows demonstrate the quality of WAHS student work.
  • For the 2013-2014 school year, Newsweek ranked Western Albemarle High School #283 out of approximately 26,000 public high schools in the nation in its list of America’s Best High Schools based on graduation rate, AP tests taken per graduate, college matriculation rate, AP scores, average SAT scores, and AP course offerings.
  • The leadership classes are exceptionally active in planning, organizing and implementing many student-to-community activities. WAHS has made contributions to local food banks, the Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center, and the Rich Staron Fund, which supports the needs of our students. WAHS also supports the Salvation Army Angel Tree.
  • Since its opening in 1977, Western has demonstrated athletic success: with 249 district, 81 regional, and 33 state championships. WAHS has been recognized on three different occasions with the prestigious Virginia High School League Wachovia Cup, as well as the Wells Fargo Cup, representing the most outstanding athletic program in the state.
  • The Scholastic Bowl Team at Western Albemarle High School began the year ranked #2 in the Nation. Last year the team earned a 20-0 record, were the Jefferson District Champions for the third year in a row, repeated as Conference 29 champions, earned the Region 3A West Championship, and won the Virginia State Championship. In National Competition, which included 96 teams from across the country, Western finished second in the United States.

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Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC)

  • CATEC just completed an intensive, two-year long strategic planning process engaging the business community, students, Albemarle County and Charlottesville City school staff, and CATEC staff in designing a dynamic, 21st century workforce-focused action plan. This new plan incorporates an environmental scan to determine regional workforce needs for both the short and long term. As a result, CATEC staff and the governing board are in the process of adding new program focus areas such as Information Technology, Systems Engineering, Cyber-Security, Advanced Manufacturing, and Medical Coding that will be integrated with existing programs to form four academies. Key to curricula implementation will be the establishment of a steering team for each academy that represents the vertical need for high school and community college articulation with the business community. CATEC will be a central component of a workforce development hub that includes the business community and Piedmont Virginia Community College as well as governing bodies for the city and county.
  • Students at CATEC participate in a variety of service learning projects that link workforce skills being developed to community projects. These have included food drives for the Charlottesville Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, collecting 27 pints of blood for the Virginia Blood Services, making Holiday cards for the military, and bake sales for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Students involved in these projects both give to and learn from these community activities.
  • All students in the Certified Nursing Assistant program have become CPR certified.
  • CATEC students are recognized annually at the state and national level for their exceptional work to develop workforce credentials and certifications as well as through their acceptance to post-secondary education programs such as the Culinary Arts Institute of America.

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