The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) has released its 21st annual Showcases for Success directory, highlighting successful K-12 programs in Virginia’s public schools. This year’s directory of programs highlights successful projects related to innovative programs, school initiatives and partnerships from 56 school divisions across the commonwealth.
Three Chesterfield County Public Schools programs are featured: CCPS College and Career Readiness Month, Enable the Future at Tomahawk Creek Middle and Social Emotional Learning at Ecoff Elementary.
“We strive daily to create safe, supportive and nurturing learning environments in our schools,” noted School Board Chair Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. “These innovative programs illustrate our work to meet children’s needs now while preparing them for successful futures.”
Added Superintendent Dr. James Lane: “These programs represent some of the great work being done in Chesterfield County Public Schools. We are excited to share them with our colleagues across the state.”
The VSBA directory includes more than 110 innovative and creative initiatives ongoing in school systems across Virginia.
What do I want to be when I grow up?
Helping nearly 60,000 students answer that question is the driving force behind the school division’s College and Career Readiness initiative. More than 4,000 teachers turn back the clock to their college days — decorating classroom doors and bulletin boards in their college’s colors with information about their alma mater, telling stories about their favorite classes and donning their old college sweatshirt. Two college fairs end the month for students. Business partners visit to share how school experiences prepared them for their jobs.
The 2016-17 school year was the sixth year the school division designated time to purposefully help students envision their futures, while making connections and understanding how knowledge learned in grades K-12 relate to their potential careers.
Using project-based learning, blended learning and service learning, Tomahawk Creek Middle is thriving by combining these three learning opportunities with creativity, collaboration and critical thinking through Enable the Future.
The program focuses on active, hands-on learning opportunities that are innovative, engaging and relevant, challenges students with difficult assignments and are showing them their lessons have real-life application. Through Enable the Future, Tomahawk Middle students are now working with computers, 3-D printers and local engineers to develop prosthetic hands for young people.
Social Emotional Learning is an initiative at Ecoff Elementary that provides a framework for students to build upon five competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making and positive relationship skills. Components include daily class meetings to build community, home activities to engage families and cross-age buddies to create service learning leadership opportunities.
During the past two years, student achievement has increased in math SOLs (68 percent to 83 percent) and reading SOLs (69 percent to 85percent). This initiative supports educating the whole child and enhances classroom learning environments.
“In addition to highlighting some of the best practices taking place in Virginia’s schools, the VSBA Showcases for Success directory can serve as a starting point to develop similar programs in other school divisions,” said Gina G. Patterson, VSBA executive director, “It is important to highlight innovative programs at all levels in school divisions, and the VSBA Showcases for Success directory illustrates that there are excellent programs and initiatives taking place in Virginia’s public schools.”
VSBA is a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards that promotes excellence in public education through leadership, advocacy and services. The association offers conferences, information, training and counseling designed to meet the needs of the commonwealth’s educational leaders. The directory is available on the VSBA website at www.vsba.org/showcases. A total of 118 programs from 56 school divisions from across Virginia are included in the directory.