The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) recently named two innovative Chesterfield County Public Schools programs as 2020 VSBA award winners.
Each year, VSBA highlights successful K-12 innovative programs and initiatives in Virginia’s public schools in a friendly competition among the state’s school divisions. The Chesterfield Career and Technical Center’s work-based learning program was the winner of the VSBA Excellence in Workforce Readiness Award, while the school division’s Food and Nutrition Services department was named the winner of the 2020 VSBA Food For Thought Competition.
Chesterfield County Public Schools was one of nine Virginia school divisions that received the Excellence in Workforce Readiness honor from the VSBA. The Chesterfield Career and Technical Center Work-Based Learning Program was awarded second place for districts with a student population above 10,001 students. The awards program, created in 2018 by the VSBA Task Force on Workforce Readiness to highlight exemplary programs in Virginia’s public schools, focuses on preparing the state’s future workforce. The Chesterfield Career and Technical Center offers a variety of high-quality opportunities for career awareness and work-based learning.
“It is excellent to see the innovative workforce readiness programs at the Chesterfield Career and Technical Center being recognized for their hard work,” Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said. “The students in our programs participate in the highest standards of work-based learning and career preparation, which deepen their knowledge through first-hand experience that sets them up for success in the workforce.”
One of the innovative ways the Chesterfield Career and Technical Center celebrates the success of the work-based learning program is with an annual Career Signing Night, a tradition that recognizes students who have secured gainful post-secondary employment. Modeled after athletic college signing celebrations, the CTC event highlighted all graduating seniors attending the school who had accepted an offer of employment or a paid internship that represented a step toward career advancement. Seniors who had enlisted with a branch of the Armed Forces also were included in the event. Almost all students recognized had connected with their employer through the work-based learning program.
Chesterfield County Public Schools was one of six Virginia school divisions that received the 2020 Food For Thought Competition honors from the VSBA. The Food and Nutrition Services department was awarded this distinction in the category of Meal Access to Fight Hunger for school divisions with a student population greater than 10,001 students.
The competition was created in 2012 to educate, engage, and empower school leaders to address childhood hunger and provide all students in Virginia with healthier, more nutritious school meals. This is the ninth year the awards were given out.
“Even though COVID-19 created a number of challenges as it relates to serving healthy school meals and providing access to meals, our Food and Nutrition Services employees were able to serve more than 1.5 million meals while schools were closed this past spring,” Dr. Daugherty said. “Their creativity and innovation ensured that the needs of our students were met.”
COVID-19 required the Food and Nutrition Services team to think outside the box in order to create a new distribution program that did not exist, with the sole purpose to reach and continue to distribute meals to children without delay. Through it all, the Food and Nutrition Services staff comforted the children they know, love and miss by providing nourishment with service and a smile.
Winning divisions were recognized during a virtual awards ceremony. To view the virtual awards ceremony that took place, please visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4500689628544937741