Chesterfield County Public Schools’ 2022 Teacher of the Year knew that she and her teacher colleagues were in for a very different experience as students returned to instruction last fall during the middle of an international pandemic. Many teachers, students, and parents were confused and unsure about how to navigate this new educational landscape, she noted.
“All summer, I worked to create documents, start-ups, and how-to guides and videos for staff and also for students and their families,” the first-year instructional designer said. “I collaborated with my administration and other colleagues to come up with ways to make technology less intimidating (and dare I say, fun?) for all stakeholders. I was on a mission to make teachers love Canvas [the school division’s learning management system], so that they could pack a powerful punch with their lessons and keep their students engaged and invested in their education.”
In a year where instructional technology has been critical to student success, Clover Hill Elementary School Instructional Designer Raegen Dinelli has been selected as Chesterfield County Public Schools’ 2022 Teacher of the year. Dinelli, a former fifth-grade teacher who has been at Clover Hill Elementary since 2006, also was selected as the school division’s 2022 Elementary School Teacher of the Year.
“My philosophy of teaching has always been ‘whatever it takes,’ ” Dinelli said. “I’ve always believed that teachers and students could do anything, and this year we were really put to the test. Now I believe that teachers and students can do ‘virtually’ anything!”
“Raegen exemplifies the outstanding work done by our teaching staff during this most challenging school year,” Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said. “She assisted teachers with learning new ways of reaching students to teach them. She was creative, inventive, and resourceful, helping make the transition as easy as possible for all teachers and students at Clover Hill. And, as Principal Karyn Andersen notes, this outstanding work continues daily.”
The 2022 Middle School Teacher of the Year is Robious Middle’s Suzanne Potocko, a sixth-grade math teacher. A teacher colleague, Katherine Herceg, wrote of Potocko, a 29-year veteran of teaching: “Despite her vast classroom experience, though, Suzanne continually reflects on her practice and modifies it year after year. She continually pursues the ‘perfect’ lesson, always in an effort to improve her students’ understanding. … I have learned so much about the importance of ‘relentlessly pursuing’ our students and simply not allowing any one of them to give up.”
The 2022 High School Teacher of the Year is Thomas Dale High’s Tracy Longworth, a science teacher. Her principal, Dr. Chris Jones, noted: “Words cannot express how much Tracy Longworth means to Thomas Dale High School. For more than 20 years, she has poured her heart and soul into our students, faculty and staff, and our entire school community. This year, she has elevated her impact even more. … Her desire to dream big is an inspiration and has set the examples for us all to follow.”
Prekindergarten Application Events #
Prekindergarten application events will be held May 17-18 from 4-7 p.m. in the Early Childhood Welcome Center parking lot (10045 Courthouse Road).
In order to process an application, parents are asked to bring all required documentation including a picture ID, the child’s birth certificate and proof of income along with residency documentation. Spanish-speaking staff will be available at this event.
Applications will be only accepted for these elementary schools: Bensley, Bellwood, Beulah, Bon Air, Chalkley, Marguerite Christian, Crenshaw, Crestwood, Curtis, A.M. Davis, Ecoff, Enon, Ettrick, Gates, Falling Creek, Hening, Hopkins, Jacobs, Matoaca, Providence, Reams, Salem Church, Elizabeth Scott and Wells.
Chesterfield County Public Schools offers prekindergarten services to children who meet specific eligibility criteria at several elementary school sites. Prekindergarten is a full-day program that follows the school division’s school calendar and school hours. CCPS’s prekindergarten office’s mission is to provide early childhood education services to Chesterfield County’s 4-year old children who are most in need, as determined by the family’s economic needs and environmental risk factors that may impact the child’s Kindergarten readiness.
For more information, please click here or call 804-706-6061.
CCPS is hiring! #
Our highest needs positions are teachers, food services associates, and school bus drivers for school routes and field trips. School bus drivers are offered flexible hours, competitive pay, full-time health benefits, paid vacation and sick time, membership in the Virginia Retirement System, and paid CDL training for candidates who do not have CDLs. Interested candidates can apply here or email [email protected] for further questions.
Advisory Committee Opportunities #
Advisory committees established by the Chesterfield County School Board are one way that community members connect with their local schools. Advisory committee members are appointed from each of the county’s five magisterial districts and include parents, teachers, staff members, students and other community members interested in helping Chesterfield County Public Schools achieve its vision of creating a better tomorrow.
The School Board is currently seeking applicants for the following advisory committee seats:
- Audit & Finance Committee: Bermuda District
- Citizens Budget Advisory Committee: Bermuda (partial term ending June 30, 2022) and Dale districts
- Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee: Matoaca District (partial term ending June 30, 2022)
- Gifted Education Advisory Committee: Bermuda and Midlothian districts, as well as a community representative (partial term ending June 30, 2023)
- School Health Advisory Board: Bermuda, Clover Hill, Matoaca and Midlothian districts
PLEASE NOTE: Committee members must reside in the magisterial district they represent. Community Representatives on the Gifted Education Advisory Committee are appointed by the Superintendent and can reside in any magisterial district. Interested individuals can apply online here. Applications are due by May 13, 2021.
For more information about specific committees, please visit http://mychesterfieldschools.com/family-and-community-engagement/school-board-advisory-committees/. You can view upcoming meeting dates for each committee here: https://tinyurl.com/CCPSAdvisoryCalendarFY2021
May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month #
This annual observation celebrates the many contributions that generations of AAPIs have made to American history, society, and culture. The Federal Asian Pacific American Council announced this year’s theme, Advancing Leaders through Purpose-Driven Service, as one to recognize the efforts of advancing leaders.
We celebrate and honor Asian American and Pacific Islanders for their contributions to enriching America’s history, this month and every month. You can learn more and browse resources to celebrate this month by visiting: https://fapac.org/AAPI-Resources. Learning for Justice has also compiled resources to celebrate and teach the diversities of AAPI identities. You can access the resources by clicking here.
May 13 School Calendar Reminder #
The 2020-21 school calendar is winding down. A quick reminder that Thursday, May 13, 2021, is a student and staff holiday. As we look to the 2021-22 calendar, we offer another reminder that school begins prior to Labor Day. For planning purposes, you can find CCPS calendars here.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month – Kickers Kick Off Mental Health Awareness Month #
The Richmond Kickers are bringing awareness to Mental Health Awareness Month on May 8. The Chesterfield Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition will have a resource table at this Saturday’s soccer match.
The Chesterfield Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition brings together organizations in Central Virginia that are working to educate residents about mental illness, risk factors for suicide and support resources within our community. By educating people of all ages they are widening the safety net in our community so people can recognize the warning signs of suicide, take the appropriate steps to help the person in crisis and identify the appropriate help. Here is a message from the team to support mental health awareness.
Resiliency, Anxiety, and School #
As lives change throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety, and concerns are not often discussed at home. This article by Dr. Delany Ruston provides strategies, tips, and resources to talk with your child about anxiety and school.
The Childmind Institute has a myriad of resources ranging from sleep to changing negative thinking patterns. WorryWiseKids.org also is a valuable resource, most recently posting a blog post about the importance of validating life’s ups and downs, and that discussions of failures need not be mentioned as a negative, but as building resilience.
The more we talk with our children about their concerns, the more caring adults can dispel fears and create positive pathways for communication and mental well-being. Sometimes something as simple as slowing down and taking a breath can make a huge impact on anxiety.
Supportive Partners: Chesterfield County Mental Health Support Services and Chesterfield County Public Schools. #
Dr. Jennifer Rucker, director of the school division’s Equity and Student Supports Services team, and Melissa Ackley of Chesterfield County Mental Health Support Services review services provided during this past year, and reflect upon the long-term collaborative partnership between Chesterfield County Public Schools and Chesterfield County Mental Health Support Services.
This collaboration is designed to meet the various needs for Chesterfield students and families. The conversation includes Dr. Lauren Wynne (Coordinator or School Counseling Services), Laura Early (Coordinator of Psychological Services), Carrie Jones (Adult and Emergency Services Manager), and Larissa Carpenter (Child and Adolescent Services Team Manager).
County Council of PTA’s Annual Awards Ceremony #
You are invited to join the Chesterfield County Council of PTA’s for their annual awards ceremony scheduled virtually Monday, May 10 from 6-8 p.m. via Zoom: http://bit.ly/20-21AwardApp.
This event is open to all PTA members, school division staff members and prospective PTA members. Guest student performances include the Cosby High School Treble Concert Choir, the Manchester Middle School Chorus, and a Robious Middle School student poetic reading. Guest speakers include Superintendent Dr. Mervin Daugherty, Bermuda District School Board representative Ann Coker, and Amy Bartilotti from the school division’s Office of Family and Community Engagement.
All schools with active PTAs and PTSAs will receive awards and accolades for their hard work this 2020-2021 academic year! We hope to see you there!
Internet Connectivity Service Federal Assistance Opportunity #
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is supporting programs that will soon be available to assist Chesterfield County families with Internet connectivity. This is a temporary opportunity provided to assist families and households with students to access online learning opportunities. The Emergency Broadband Benefit starts May 12 and provides up to $50 per month towards the cost of home Internet access for families with incomes at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Eligibility includes households approved for F&RL, SNAP, Medicaid.
Chesterfield County Free Day at the Children’s Museum #
Mark your calendars, Chesterfield County residents : Chesterfield County Free Day is happening on Thursday, May 13! Chesterfield County residents can enjoy free admission at the museum, as well as free access to two virtual field trips! Learn more at CMoRVA.org/events/chesterfield-county-free-day.
Please note, due to ongoing capacity limitations, Chesterfield County residents will need to reserve their free tickets in advance. Tickets to the museum will become available about one week prior to May 13.