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March 2024 News & Highlights

Posted Date: 3/27/24 (2:50 PM)


Dr. Justin Malone portrait and other photos of CHS staff members welcoming himWednesday, March 27, 2024

A Word From Dr. Gurley 

Dear Cville Schools community –

We are almost to Spring Break, a time when we all take a deep breath. Thanks to everyone’s work – staff, families, students– in making this year so positive.

In the past month or or two, we have had a few opportunities to see our schools through someone else’s eyes. After 23 French students visited CHS for a week in February, interim principal Mr. Leatherwood told his community: “The visiting students commented on CHS students’ friendliness, our students’ close connections with their teachers, the fun of high school basketball, and more. Let’s use these French visitors’ eyes to remember what is special about our school!”

And just last week, we had visitors from the Environmental Protection Agency visit the CHS urban farm. Listen to what the EPA’s mid-Atlantic region administrator, Adam Ortiz said: “Charlottesville High School is doing it right here.  Other high schools should pay attention, because all the good things are happening here.” While his comments were focused on the urban farming program, what he loved – the real-life learning, the community-building, the local partnerships – is also true of CHS and Cville Schools more broadly.

So I am thankful for new eyes who can help us see ourselves and our strengths.

I am also thankful for “old eyes” – long-timers who know our families and our schools deeply. I was heartened to see the wellspring of appreciation and support for Dr. Justin Malone as we announced his return to CHS as principal starting in July. I won’t say he has “old eyes,” but his ongoing commitment to our schools and community are part of why the selection committee felt so strongly about him. Learn more about Dr. Malone here.

As we head into spring break, I am thankful to all of you, with “new” eyes, “old” eyes, or somewhere in between. Together, we help each other see the path forward clearly.

Dr. G


📆 Upcoming Dates:

  • March 28 – School Board Meeting, 5pm, CHS Media Center (this is the “April” meeting)

  • March 29, and April 1-5 – No School, Spring Break for Students (Teacher Workday followed by Spring Break; offices are closed Monday 4/1)

  • April 10Online forms open for next year’s new and non-resident students (including kindergarten students)

  • April 25 -- Kindergarten Open House (details to follow)

  • May 27 – Memorial Day (Schools and Offices Closed)

  • June 6 –  CHS Graduation, 7pm, Ting Pavilion

  • June 7   Early Dismissal for Last Day of School

Art by: Tanyia Napper, Walker, grade 6


🎉  Staff Celebrations
Summer Thompson and Adele LaFontaine earn recognition from JMU and William & Mary
  • Congratulations to Walker principal Summer Thompson, who won JMU’s Literacy Alumni Award, honoring her contributions to literacy education through her teaching, her support for the literacy learning of all students, and her principled leadership within the school community.

Summer Thompson and Adele LaFontaine

  • Congrats also to Greenbrier reading specialist Adele LaFontaine for being selected for William & Mary’s inaugural cohort of their fellowship to promote best practices in literacy education. Sponsored by the William & Mary School of Education Literacy Lab, the cohort includes 8 educators from across the state as part of their "Translating Research Into Practice" fellowship.

🎊 The Staff Celebrations Keep on Coming!
  • Big appreciation and congratulations to the various CHS staff members who supported our inaugural season in the all-ability Medford League basketball program. Our students went all the way to the semis in the championship tournament. Forgive me if I miss names, but thanks to Alexa Mottas (CHS LEAP teacher), Terrell "Coach T" Mulford (CHS health/PE teacher), Kayti Burke (CHS instructional assistant), Molly Feazel-Orr (CHS special education teacher), and Andy Jones (CHS athletic director).

  • Interim CHS Principal Kenny Leatherwood was featured in Cville Weekly for the many ways he has stepped up to serve our community!

  • A team of CCS staff presented a literacy workshop for staff from Dinwiddie County Public Schools. The DCPS staff reported that it was one of their best professional learning experiences ever. Thanks to Deborah Johnson (instructional coach, Johnson), Elaina Arsenovic (teacher, Johnson),  Lindsay Kamide (reading specialist, Johnson) Maelys Croce (teacher, Johnson), Tess Krovetz (teacher, Jackson-Via), and Stacy Reedal (literacy coordinator).

  • If you enjoyed this year's free Cville Puzzle Hunt on the Downtown Mall, thank Jackson-Via's Greg Ochsenschlager (special education teacher)!


We're keeping this art in the newsletter for one more month because all three of these artists earned 2nd or 3rd place in the region in the Virginia School Boards Association's art competition! Artworks are show cropped below. Well done, Lucy Benedict (Walker, 2nd place), Ruby Hoier (Buford, 3rd place), and Jinho Park (CHS, 2nd place)!
Lucy Benedict cat art
Ruby Hoier Moulin Rouge art

🔤 Time to Apply for Preschool and Childcare for Fall 2024

It's time to apply for free preschool and childcare for this fall! Programs in our schools and in our area serve qualifying children who will still be younger than 5 years old by September 30. Apply for free early childhood education through our local Go2Grow website. Learn more about preschool here!
Apply for Preschool and Childcare Illustration
SchoolMint logo

2024-25 Forms for New (or Non-Resident) Students Opens April 10

These forms are for:
  • Kindergartners (both new and returning students)

  • New students (grades 1-12)

  • Returning and prospective new non-resident students (grades KG-12)

  • (Note: Re-Registration for our currently enrolled students will happen later in the school year.)


Starting Wednesday, April 10, our online registration platform, SchoolMint, will feature both the new student registration form as well as the application for returning and new non-resident students. 

The new student registration form gathers the information needed to complete an initial enrollment file with CCS.  In addition, SchoolMint has the option for families to securely upload any of the required registration documents, including a heath form with immunization history.  For questions on what is required, or for more information, please follow this link: 

Stay tuned for more information about the Kindergarten Open House on April 25, a great way for you and your child to learn about their new school and meet the teachers.


🕶️ Safety & Learning Information for Solar Eclipse, Afternoon of April 8
A rare solar eclipse will take place on the afternoon of April 8, and our area will experience 80-90% totality; in other words, the sun will be partially blocked with light dimming, like on a cloudy day. The event will occur during our elementary and middle dismissals. While this solar eclipse is an opportunity for learning (and fun), students should be taught not to look directly into the sun without using special sunglasses. (The schools will provide glasses, and a learning guide has been prepared for teachers.) Our science & innovaction coordinator Dr. Tonya Coffeey has also prepared a Family Learning and Safety Guide. If you have questions about your child’s safety, please contact your school. 

  💙 Can’t afford to buy groceries? SNAP can help!
The Virginia Department of Social Services is asking everyone to spread the word about SNAP benefits to help families. The state's CommonHelp website is a one-stop portal for benefits information and applications. Learn more (and find flyers in a variety of languages) here.

Child in white lab coat giving thumbs up

CDC & Cville Schools Update COVID Guidance

In March, the CDC revised their COVID guidance, and Charlottesville City Schools is adopting new practices that reflect the new CDC guidance. See below for our current guidelines.

When Should Your Child Stay Home?

Your child may go to school with a mild runny nose or cough, but keep your child home when they have:

  • Fever (100.0°F+) within the last 24 hours without taking ibuprofen or  or acetaminophen (Tylenol) 

  • Uncontrolled cough or nasal drainage

  • Diarrhea or vomiting within the last 24 hours

Other Reasons to Stay Home:

  • Red, crusty, or itchy and draining eyes

  • If the student has tested positive or been diagnosed with a respiratory virus such as flu, RSV, COVID, or pertussis (whooping cough)

  • If they have any other untreated contagious disease such as impetigo,  or conjunctivitis.

When is it Safe to Return to School?

It's safe for your child to return to schools when the child's overall symptoms are improving AND

  • No fever for 24 hours without taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol)

  • No vomiting or diarrhea in last 24 hours

  • Your child can manage respiratory secretions

  • The student is able to maintain concentration and manage in the school building for a whole school day 

A Note about COVID:

Per the CDC, people who have tested positive for COVID do not necessarily need to stay at home for 5 days. If the person has been fever-free (without Tylenol, etc.) and their symptoms are improving, the person can return to school. The CDC encourages people returning to school to wear a mask and wash hands often. As a reminder, the City has improved ventilation practices at all schools.

📷Good News Glimpses
Burnley-Moran students with arms outstretched while singing
Jackson-Via student climbing rock wall
School Board chair Torres and Mayor Wade visiting Knight School
  • Left: Burnley-Moran performers in the K-1 spring concert!
  • Middle: A Jackon-Via student advances higher up the rock climbing wall in gym.
  • Right: School Board Chair Lisa Larson-Torres and Mayor Juan Wade join other Cville Schools leaders to serve dinner to and speak with Knight School participants.
Clark student operating a robot

Clark hosted a Math & STEM night with the help of volunteers from CHS BACON & UVA Data Science.

Greenbrier singers in glow-in-the-dark t-shirts

Greenbrier 2nd-graders perform "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as part of a "Glow Show."

UVA football players lead Venable reading groups
Walker gifted specialialist Esposito mobbed by former Johnson students
New outdoor "tree" fort at Johnson with student inside
  • Left: Thanks to UVA football players who came to lead reading groups for Venable students!
  • Middle: Walker gifted resource specialist Christine Esposito gets a giant group hug from her former Johnson students during 4th-graders' tour of Walker.  
  • Right:  A recent addition to Johnson's trails and outdoor learning spaces is this "tree fort!"

Buford Brings Home the Gold from New York Theatre Experience

Congrats to Buford Trojan Theatre and director Paula Chanda for ALL their success at the National Youth Theater Experience! Among those who brought home awards are Ziv Wethly (All Star), Charlie Dontanville (Best Featured Performer), Al Retanado (All Star Crew - Stage Manager), Luz Rivera-Flores (Honorable Mention Soloist), and Ruby Hoier (2nd Place Overall among 8th-Grade Soloists). Congrats to the entire cast and crew of Buford's Addams Family!

Thanks to the Walker students who volunteered at Greenbrier's STEM night!

And to learn how math+silliness=community building, check out both schools' Pi Day celebrations earlier this month:  Buford  | Walker

👟 Congrats to Elaina Pierce (shown) for finishing 2nd in the mile at the Adidas Indoor Track Nationals this past weekend in Virginia Beach. She also placed 3rd in the 800M! This follows her VHSL Class 4 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP in the 1600M at 4:59.46, beating the 2nd place finisher by 3 seconds and 3rd place finisher by 10 seconds. She also placed 2nd place in the 1000M at states! 

🏀Congratulations to  Quels Allen , who was named to the VHSL Class 4 All-State girls basketball team, and teammate  Avery Stavitski , who was named to the second team. This nice story in the Daily Progress acknowledges the impact these teams made not just on the court, but in the school more generally.  On March 5, the Boys and Girls Basketball teams were honored by Charlottesville City Council.
Elaina Pierce at Adidas Nationals
Solly Goluboff-Schragger

🏅  At  the VHSL 4D Regional Debate Tournament, Ginger Craghead-Way qualified for the super regional in Congress and Mira Masri is first alternate. In Lincoln Douglas debate, Lily Curtis placed 4th and qualified. In Public Forum debate, Gabe Damiani and Nava Khurghel placed 3rd, qualifying, and Sophie Brissett and Solly Goluboff-Schragger placed 4th (first alternates). 

Congrats also to Solly (shown) for being named CHS's first-ever National Speech & Debate Association Academic All American! The award celebrates academic excellence and debate/speech success. 

📺 Media Spotlight: EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz and staff visited the Urban Farming classes at CHS, and to say they came away impressed would be an understatement. Congratulations to teacher Peter Davis and the students who gave tours to the EPA staff as well as other community partners. Watch on NBC 29 or CBS 19.

🖤 Recently, our 10th-graders visited the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at UVA, the UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Powerful day of learning! Find photos here.

Students showing EPA leader the CHS Urban Farm

🎵Congratulations to the CHS Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble, as well as the Choir's Knightengales, all of whom earned a rating of Superior! (Due to Ms. Water's maternity leave, the orchestra performed for exhibition only.)  And congrats to GudrunCampbell, Elle Polifka, and Gavin Mortimer for their selection in the Virginia All-State Orchestra. Special congratulations to Elle and Gavin for also earning all-state choir honors, along with Cecelia Morrison. And congralations also to band musicians Julia Crum and James Rambo for their all-state selections, as well! 

🏊🏼 🏀  Swimmer Teddy Buckner and basketball player Kayla Drumheller were honored as FLOW student athletes of the month. Teddy led the Black Knight Swimmers to 12th place in the state, breaking his own school record in the 100 Breaststroke with a time of 1:01.17 and finished 10th in the State.  Kayla was the defensive backbone for the dominating girls hoops team earning 2nd team All-District. She also was the backbone for this dominating team. Kayla participates in CATEC's Culinary Arts program.  

🎨 CHS art students created works inspired by UVA's brain research. The exhibition -- called Magnify: Art in the Microscopic World -- is hosted by UVA Brain Awareness Outreach  The free show will be up through March 31 at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative (306 Main St.) Thanks to CHS art teacher Jennifer Kett for her leadership on this project (and thanks also to CHS alum Sarah Hunter-Chang)! Watch CBS19's report here.

School Board Update: Mini-Minutes, Safety & Budget Updates

  • The "April" aSchool Board meeting is March 28 (to avoid Spring Break).

  • March 7 Mini-Minutes are here.

  • CHS SAFETY UPDATE: Find a summary in the 3/7 mini-minutes. The main take-aways are that (in keeping with community support shown on recent survey), CCS and CPD will continue learning more about the "community resource officer" model for school-police partnership, and the Board will vote 3/28 about whether to purchase weapons detectors for use at sporting events.

School Board Updates with Cville Schools logo
  • CCS BUDGET UPDATE: CCS adopted a budget that requires a $9 million increase in funding while we await final figures from the City and Virginia. Based on the latest information from the City, the schools are anticipating that the City will contribute an additional $7 million. The City will approve its budget on April 9, and the schools will modify their budget once the City finalizes its budget and the state approves a conference budget. Learn more in these recent articles in Cville Tomorrow or The Daily Progress.

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