The Virginia Beach Education Association sponsored the 2014 Virginia Beach Education Foundation’s Pearls of Wisdom Oyster Roast. While there, VBEA leaders ran into Dr. Aaron Spence, incoming Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
The Pearls of Wisdom Oyster Roast is an annual fundraiser to benefit the Virginia Beach Education Foundation. The mission of the VBEF is to raise private sector support to fund innovative and creative learning programs for the students of Virginia Beach City Public Schools and to reward educational excellence.
The Virginia Beach Education Association will be a continual sponsor of events benefiting the Virginia Beach Education Foundation, believing the grants and programs they make possible are making in difference in Virginia Beach classrooms.
Thank you to all who attended and supported the Virginia Beach Education Association / Virginia Beach Education Foundation Barnes & Noble Book Fair on March 1, 2014. Read Across America Day, NEA’s national reading celebration, takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Now in its thirteenth year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources. For several years, the VBEA has teamed up with Barnes & Noble to incorporate a fundraising book fair to benefit the Virginia Beach Education Foundation, which provides grants for innovative and creative learning programs in our schools.
Students from many schools visited the book fair where they received Cat in the Hat goodies and listened to Dr. Seuss books read by board members Bev Anderson and Dottie Holtz. Thanks to student’s Karis McLaughlin, from Red Mill ES and Damian Ream from the Va. Teachers for Tomorrow of Kellam HS who read and dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2.The following schools and teachers had students who attended:
Congratulations to teacher Sara Chiaveratti (dressed as The Cat in the Hat) from John B. Dey Elementary School who had the highest number of students attend. Sara received a basket filled with gift cards that were donated by Karen Mallard and VBEA.
Earlier, I released a statement in response to the scheduled Saturday makeup days where I expressed our acceptance. However, it’s clear from the response of many of our members, that I should look deeper into the impact of closures due to inclement weather and makeup days on instructional time and employees in Virginia Beach
We’ve analyzed this, comparing days and time lost to state requirements. Having done so, it is clear that VBCPS needed only to make up 2 instructional days, one of which was made up on January 24th, to meet the state requirement for number of days attended.
Due to our extended instructional calendar, the school closures caused by inclement weather did not reduce our number of instructional hours to below state requirements. However, it did have an impact on seat time for high school credit courses, as Virginia Beach was already below the state requirement from day one due to the hybrid 4×4 schedule. This state requirement can be waived, as it has been already.
We know that the makeup day schedule for tomorrow, February 15th, will go forward, and will be the second day of the two required to meet the state requirement for number of instructional days.
Today, we’re asking the School Board and Superintendent to do the following:
1. Cancel all remaining makeup days after February 15th for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. This includes the makeup day scheduled for March 28th, which may be used later in the case of additional inclement weather.
2. Hold all employees harmless for time lost from closures due to inclement weather. While appreciating the need to show that the district is using taxpayer funds wisely, VBCPS must also treat their employees professionally and fairly. Additional makeup days in the name of justifying spending, and nickel-and-diming staff to make up hours, is an assault to their dedication and professionalism and harms employee morale.
3. Waive the lost seat time for high school credit courses. While we recognize the value of instructional time, this was done to allow for the hybrid 4×4 schedule at our high schools, and it should be done in response to the lost time due to inclement weather.
4. Re-open discussion regarding the 2013-14 school calendar. The School Board and Superintendent need to recognize that the additional instructional days and time built into our 183-day schedule should be used flexibly in the case of inclement weather forcing the closure of schools. Having the goal of a 183-day instructional calendar is great, but this goal should not be preserved at the cost of the major disruptions caused by making up days on holidays or weekends. When needed, this flexibility in our calendar should be used first, then teacher workdays, then holidays, and then weekends as a last resort. In addition, when weekends are used, both Saturday and Sunday should be considered as to not show preference to any particular faith.
The VBEA does share in the mission of VBCPS to provide a quality education to all students, and I truly believe all our members are dedicated to this mission. However, VBCPS employees should be treated professionally and fairly at all times, and this includes understanding the damaging impact of the current makeup schedule has on employee morale and the impact employee morale has on the quality of education. Hopefully understanding this, we look for the School Board and Superintendent to take action on our recommendations above.
– Trenace Riggs, VBEA President
VBEA President Trenace Riggs spoke on the proposed changes to employee health care benefits at the January 14th, 2014, Virgina Beach City Council meeting. She asked that the city council not balance the budget on the backs of their employees, incrementally adjust premiums as needed, and to not break their promise of providing an employer contribution toward health care insurance premiums for current employees who retire after 25 years of service.
VBEA Member Karen Drosinos was singled out by the Virginia Lottery for a 2013 Super Teacher Award. The award recognizes “teachers who go the extra mile” and come with a $2,000 check plus another $2,000 for classroom supplies.
This isn’t Karen’s first award. In 2011, she was named Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year for Virginia Region II.
Way to go, Karen!