York County School Board Newsletter

YCSD School Board Notes - September 2013

On behalf of the entire School Board, I want to welcome everyone back to school this year. I hope the start of the school year has been positive and productive for your family. Thank you to all our faculty and staff for the hard work that took place to prepare for the opening of school!

Academic Matters

We started off the work of the school year with a very busy School Board work session last night. Division staff updated the Board on several objectives under Goal One of the Strategic Plan. Specifically, staff addressed division and school progress toward meeting state and federal targets, closing achievement gaps, and the percentage of graduates earning Advanced Studies Diplomas.  17 of 19 YCSD schools met or exceeded all state benchmarks and preliminary reports indicate those schools will be fully accredited. Bruton High School and York River Academy are Accredited with Warning in Mathematics. Division staff members have already met with the principals of these two schools regarding plans to support teachers’ mathematics instruction. In the “All Students” category, YCSD students met or exceeded state averages on every state math and English exam. Detailed information from this strategic plan update is available on the division website.

The School Board considered a Resolution Concerning High Stakes, Standardized Testing of Virginia Public School Students. The resolution reflects the division's belief that student achievement is more than performance on standardized tests. It warns against state and federal overreliance on standardized, high stakes testing, noting that such overreliance can lead to a superficial level of learning that results on a focus on that which can be easily tested by standardized tests. The resolution calls upon the Virginia General Assembly to reexamine the state's system of accountability to encompass balanced assessments. It also calls upon the York County School Division faculty and staff to continue to focus on meaningful, transformative learning rather than an over-emphasis on content coverage for standardized testing. We plan to vote on this resolution at our Board meeting on Monday, September 23.

Operational Matters

Division staff provided the Board with information regarding the Virginia High School League (VHSL) transfer rules for students participating in VHSL activities. According to the VHSL, “a student who has attended one high school and transfers to another high school without a corresponding move on the part of his or her parents is ineligible for VHSL activities for 365 days.” School divisions have authority to grant waivers in certain cases when a request to transfer is not for athletic participation purposes. The School Board has asked the division to craft a policy and/or regulation to govern the approval of waiver requests in limited situations involving undue hardship for students.  

During the June School Board Work Session, division staff provided the Board with several possible scenarios for changing high school start times. We resumed a conversation on the topic of school start times last night, focusing on potential next steps. Board members reviewed a series of questions that could be posed to parents and community members through a confidential survey. Any change that might be made to school start times would not just impact the high schools, but would likely affect all students and every family in our school division. We determined that posing a survey right now might be premature because we would like more information regarding potential impacts, including costs. The School Board will continue to consider this matter.  

Financial Matters

Division staff members will provide background information on various departmental budgets at Work Sessions throughout the year.  Mr. Doug Meade, Director of Information Technology, provided the Board with information regarding the technology budget.  For example, the division's Energy Management program, which is managed by IT staff, has garnered $3.4 million in avoided costs to date.

Upcoming Meetings

Our next School Board meeting will be held at York Hall at 7 p.m. on Monday, September 23. Agendas for the meetings will be posted prior to the meetings on the School Board meeting page of the division website. I look forward to additional opportunities to share important information regarding our schools.


Thank you for your support of our students and staff!

Barbara S. Haywood
School Board Chair
On Behalf of the York County School Board

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