York County School Board Newsletter

YCSD School Board Notes - September 2014

On behalf of the entire School Board, I am writing to share updates on the work of the School Board during these opening weeks of the new school 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

Last week, the Virginia Department of Education released school accreditation ratings based upon Standards of Learning (SOL) test results from the 2013-14 school year. The School Board is pleased to report that all 19 YCSD schools are fully accredited, making the division one of just 22 school systems in the state to have all schools fully accredited.

Dr. Stephanie Guy, the division's chief academic officer, provided the Board with details on each school's SOL results as part of the Strategic Plan Status Update at our work session this month. One of the objectives in the Strategic Plan is that the division and each school will meet or exceed state and federal targets for all students and subgroups including closing achievement gaps in math, English and the Federal Graduation Index.

While test results have shown progress towards reaching this objective, one area of focus continues to be reading instruction at the third grade level. This year, all elementary schools will be implementing a new K-5 Literacy Model which emphasizes literacy connections and balanced reading and writing instruction this year. Teachers also have new materials that better align with state standards. Additionally, a committee has been established to develop a literacy instructional model for middle and high schools.

Another objective of the School Board's Strategic Plan is to expand access to student data for students, parents and guardians. The new Aspen Family Portal is a key component in reaching this objective. Families can use the Aspen Family Portal to view student schedules, assignments and grades, as well as daily attendance records and family contact information. Starting in October, all students in grades 1-12 will receive an electronic interim report through the Aspen Family Portal. Students in kindergarten will begin receiving electronic interim reports during the second quarter of the school year. If you have not yet activated your Aspen Family Portal account, please be sure to do so as soon as possible. If you have questions about your account, please contact your child's school.

Operational Matters

Interim Superintendent Carl L. James, Ed.D., provided the School Board with a report on the opening of the school year. Overall, we had a smooth beginning to this year and we would like to thank our administrators, teachers and staff for all the hard work they put in to getting our buildings prepared and ensuring our students are learning from the very first day of school. We did experience some of the typical transportation delays that can be expected at the start of the school year. The division does have a shortage of drivers, as do many other divisions in the area, but staff are actively working to hire and support new drivers.

Early reports also show that several schools experienced growth in student enrollment, placing the division above projected enrollment figures. Staff will continue to monitor these enrollment figures to take the appropriate actions regarding staffing and class sizes.

Energy conservation is also a priority for the division. Since record-keeping began in 2004, the division has saved more than $3.7 million in energy costs. During this week's monthly meeting, we also recognized principals of this year's ENERGY STAR Awards. An ENERGY STAR qualified building meets very strict energy, lighting and indoor air quality standards set by EPA. These buildings use less energy, are less expensive to operate, and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their counterparts. This year, 14 buildings earned the designation.

Also during this week's meeting, the School Board received information about the status of the major construction and renovation projects that began during the summer. At Coventry Elementary School the breezeway enclosure project is scheduled to be completed by October 1. Work remains on the installation of the fire alarm and access control systems. The Grafton Bethel Elementary School Heating, Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) project is complete with the exception of the minor roof work and final adjustments to the HVAC system. Roof work at Magruder Elementary is scheduled to be complete by September 30. Minor work remains on the installation of flashing, gutters and downspouts. The Seaford Elementary School classroom addition and breezeway renovation are on schedule to be completed by the end of October. Finally, the Tabb Middle School parking lot addition and renovation project is complete with the exception of repairs to the lights. The remaining work on these projects does not impact the operation of the schools.

The School Board is looking forward to a very productive year as we welcome our new Superintendent Victor Shandor, Ed.D., who joins us officially in November. Our next School Board meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, October 13, at York Hall. I look forward to additional opportunities to share important information regarding our schools.


Thank you for your support of our students and staff!

Mark Medford
School Board Chair
On Behalf of the York County School Board

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