August 11, 2017
back! I hope each of you and your families had a restful and enjoyable summer.
Time off is so important to living a productive life. I have met new staff and
been in all of the schools this week and felt the excitement and enthusiasm as
we begin a new year. I congratulate you on the accomplishments made during
2016-2017. Preliminary accreditation of the schools looks to be outstanding. Ms.
Brenda Dawson, Director of Assessment and Accountability, has calculated the
results of the 2016-2017 tests, and at this time it is predicted that 100% of
the schools in Pittsylvania County will be fully accredited. This report is also
supported by information received from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
Official notification from the VDOE is available as follows:
August 15 - VDOE issues a news release on Statewide, division and school pass
rates — overall and by student reporting group — on 2016-2017 State assessments.
September 13 - VDOE issues a news release on Statewide, division and school pass
rates — overall and by student reporting group — on 2016-2017 State assessments.
September 26 - VDOE issues news release on cohort graduation and dropout rates.
As we begin this year, our vision, to be recognized as having an innovative,
challenging and exemplary school system and mission to educate and nurture
students to be successful and productive citizens have been bolstered by the
results of your hard work last year. This year we will continue to set our
sights high. The following goals for this upcoming year align with the goals
developed in your schools’ School Improvement Plans.
Goal - Pass Rates Above State Average
Goal - Pass Rates Above 90%
Goal - All Passing Scores (70% - Math, Science, Social Studies; 75% -
and Technical Education
Increase the Number of Students Taking Industry Certification Tests
Increase the Number and Types of Industry Certification and Training
Opportunities Available for Students and Teachers
Increase the Number of Career Pathways Available for Students
Develop a K-12 Computer Coding Curriculum
In May 2017, thirteen high school seniors earned a high school diploma and an
associate degree from Danville Community College. Also, during the 2016-2017
school year, students in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes passed
1,505 licensure or certification exams. In 2015-2016 students earned 1,471
certifications and in 2014-2015 they earned 1,421.
Employee of the Week:
Please join in recognizing Ms. Denise Dawson, Special Education Coordinator,
on her selection as Employee of the Week for Pittsylvania County Schools. Please
click on the following link to find out what employees do to make this A Great
Place to Learn and Work! http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/staff/employee-of-week/
Governor McAuliffe & Board of Education Announce 2017 Virginia Index of
Performance Awards: (Parts of Article Reproduced-Author: Charles B. Pyle)
Eight Pittsylvania County Schools and the School Division Recognized!
Governor Terry McAuliffe and the State Board of Education announced that 386
schools and 17 school divisions earned 2017 Virginia Index of Performance (VIP)
awards for advanced learning and achievement. The VIP incentive program
recognizes schools and divisions that exceed State and federal accountability
standards and achieve excellence goals established by the Governor and the
Chatham Elementary School and Union Hall Elementary School were two of the one
hundred forty-six schools in Virginia that earned the 2017 Board of Education
Excellence Award. Pittsylvania County Schools was one of fifteen school
divisions of the 132 school districts in the State to earn the 2017 Board of
Education Distinguished Achievement Award. There were 231 schools in the State
that earned the Distinguished Achievement Award. Six schools in Pittsylvania
County received this award. They were Chatham High School, Dan River High
School, John L. Hurt Elementary School, Southside Elementary School, Stony Mill
Elementary School, and Tunstall High School.
Virginia Ranked 6th Best School System in America:
In a recent article in WalletHub.com. Virginia’s Pre-K-12 education system
ranked 6th in a state-by-state breakdown of best and worst school systems.
WalletHub’s researchers used 21 key measures of quality and safety to find the
best school systems in the nation.
The division had excellent participation at each of the
professional development activities planned during the teacher workdays.
The following sessions were held:
Success for All Students, Teachers and Families
Building Relationship with Dr. Annie Wimbish (PK - 12 teachers; Limit of
Suicide Prevention (PK - 12 teachers; Limit of 30/session)
3-D Printing Mobile Lab (Gifted & MS Science teachers; Limit of 15/session)
PowerSchool Training for Attendance Clerks
Writing for Grade 8 Teachers
Writing for Grades 5-7 Teachers
Learning Teacher Training
Physical Education and Driver Education Training
Secondary and Elementary Facter Training
Special Education Liaison Meeting
The Chamber of Commerce’s selection committee will be reviewing grant
applications submitted by teachers at the end of last school year and will
notify applicants of award amounts by August 15, 2017.
MiddleBorder Forward Community 500 Grants:
MiddleBorder Forward’s Community 500 Impact Project is offering financial
support up to $500 for local projects. If you are interested, the details are
www.middleborderforward.org. The application deadline is August 18, 2017.
2017-18 Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) applications are available. The
application deadline is September 29, 2017.
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield - Employee Assistance Program (EAP):
The school division’s insurance carrier, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, provides
an Employee Assistance Program that assists members in accessing needed support.
Whether an employee is seeking guidance for a family problem, resources for
assistance with a financial or legal concern, tips on work issues or options for
dependent care – this group is available to help. You may access the EAP
brochure on the school division’s website at http://www.pcs.k12.va.us/benefits/.
The website and the 24/7 toll-free number are as follows:
Please review the information at this site relating to your health and dental
insurance coverage opportunities:
Also, please review these tips provided by Delta
Professional Education at Averett
University-Provisional to Full Teaching Licensure Track:
Averett University seeks to offer a Growing Teachers initiative. This is a
customized program designed for teachers who are provisionally licensed in the
Commonwealth of Virginia and need to complete their Professional Studies
Requirements. This is in response to the educational workforce needs of our
region, and derived out of conversations with local K-12 educational leadership
about their marketplace needs.
Special Students in the Professional Education program will move through an
individualized track of their personally required courses to complete their
Virginia licensure. Coursework offered will include the educational classes
required for Virginia licensure, such as Human Growth and Development,
Curriculum and Instructional Procedures, Classroom and Behavior Management,
Foundations of Education, Language Acquisition and Reading and Reading in the
Please check with Mrs. Janet Hancock, Clerk of the Board, prior to taking any
coursework to ensure it will satisfy licensure requirements.
Dan River Interact Club Receives Grant:
Members of the Dan River High School Interact Club received a $250 Mini Grant
from VaABC during their participation in YADAPP (Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Prevention Program) Conference held at Longwood University. The members designed
a STAN (Strategies to Act Now) Plan on how to prevent/reduce the use of Drugs
and Alcohol in the Ringgold Community among teens.
Pittsylvania County JROTC Programs Summer
Twenty-eight cadets from the Pittsylvania County Schools Army Junior ROTC
programs participated in Camp Eagle Army Junior ROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge
(JCLC) located on the Virginia Army National Guard, State Military Reservation
at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. The mission of the camp is: “To motivate
young people to be better citizens,” and the staff of the camp did all that it
could to challenge these future leaders. The students who graduated from this
year's camp are: from Chatham High School; Bryanna Bushy, Elisa Miller,
Montgomery Siebert, Lindsey Stafford, and Topanga Wolf; from Dan River High
School; Julyanna Bressette, Austin Burke, Alexis Crews, Adam Hughes, Tomi
McGinnis, Gabriel Neelsen, Josh Pettiford, Landon Tate, Hannah Wade, from Gretna
High School; Lucas Davis, Tionne Fitzgearld, Brandon Hall, Thomas McNeal, Wesley
Johnson, Ashley Peters, Brandon Waller, and from Tunstall High School; Kevin
Adkins, Madison Austin, Allen Ford, Megan Hylton, Trey Lakey, Mallorie Patrick,
R.J. Strader, and Dakota Wilson.
The six-day camp was sponsored by the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officer Training
Corps and conducted by staff drawn from 24 high schools in the South & Central
Virginia Area and North Carolina. It combined hands-on leadership training as
the students participate in a series of activities ranging from orienteering to
rappelling to obstacles courses to survival skills. The first training event was
the Modified Army Physical Fitness Test (MAPFT) which was conducted on the
morning of the first day of JCLC. The MAPFT consisted of three events – one
minute of pushups, one minute of sit-ups, and a one-mile run. Numerous cadets
from all four schools were given leadership roles in their respective companies
throughout the camp. Every day presented challenges to the students as they
rotated through leadership roles planning and organizing each day’s activities.
The week of activities culminated in a field day where each student group
competed for camp honors in athletic and organizational events that test both
physical and mental and collaborative skills. Cadet Brandon Hall was selected
for the Camp Eagle 2017 Commandant’s List. To earn this distinction, Cadet Hall
was chosen by his company cadre to appear before the selection board chaired by
the Camp Command Sergeant Major, Russell Wilder. The board included the company
commanders and company first sergeants. For this recognition, Cadet Hall was
determined to be in the top three percent (3%) of all 240 cadets at JCLC. Cadet
Thomas McNeil also of Gretna received the C Company special recognition award
for his contributions to the company.
All of the JROTC Instructors of Pittsylvania County are very proud of those
cadets who attended JCLC-Eagle. They would also like to extend a special thank
you for those individuals from Pittsylvania County who provided support to the
cadets and cadre of JCLC. Mrs. Karen Plum has served over six years as a nurse
for JCLC, and Randy Fowles has volunteered his time for the past several years
to help with the marksmanship training. Ms. Kelia Washington and Mrs. Sherelle
Clark from Gretna High School were with the cadets throughout the training every
day and all day as chaperones. Bus drivers Larry Clark from Gretna High School,
Ronnie Emerson from Dan River High School, and Steven Kokinda from Chatham High
School provided transportation throughout the week’s training. Without the help
of these individuals, JCLC would not be possible.
This year Sergeant First Class Eddie Perdue (Ret) from Chatham High School
served as an instructor for the rope bridge team training; Sergeant First Class
Michael Coder (Ret) from Dan River High School served as a platoon evaluator in
B Company; First Sergeant Jeffrey Pannell (Ret) from Gretna High School was the
first sergeant of C Company, and Major Herbert Daniel (Ret) also from Gretna
High School served as the public affairs officer. Sergeant Major Bill Royall
(Ret) from Tunstall High School worked as the S1/ personnel officer while
Lieutenant Colonel David King (Ret) also from Tunstall High School was the
assistant S3/ training officer.
Pittsylvania County Schools Army Junior ROTC cadets, cadre, and support
personnel gather by the “Red Horse” monument at Camp Pendleton, Virginia, at the
conclusion of Camp Eagle 2017 Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC). The
monument is dedicated to members of Virginia Air National Guard’s Virginia
Beach-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron at Camp Pendleton and includes a memorial
to honor 18 unit members and three Florida Army Guard aviators who perished when
the C-23 Sherpa they were flying in crashed in a cotton field near Unadilla,
Ga., on 3 March 2001.
Pittsylvania County Schools’ Students Perform Well on AP Tests:
The Advanced Placement Program released the results for the 2017 AP Calculus
Exam on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. This year’s outcome reflects the results of
Chatham High School and Tunstall High School. The results also reflect the hard
work of our AP Calculus teachers. Please join me in expressing gratitude to Mr.
Daniel Tittiris, Ms. Paige Echols, and Mr. Marvin Fuqua who worked tirelessly to
assist students including offering three Saturday study sessions.
Please join me in expressing appreciation to our
teachers and students for this outstanding work. Mr. Tittiris said, “The AP
teachers are excited about the possibilities for the future of AP Calculus in
Pittsylvania County Schools as we continue to partner with our Central Office
administrators, principals, and AP Calculus teachers.”
Pittsylvania County Schools Recognized by Virginia Department of Education:
During the Classrooms, Not Courtrooms conference in Richmond, Virginia, on
July 25, 2017, the Virginia Department of Education awarded the Virginia Tiered
Systems of Support (VTSS), Distinction in Implementation of Leadership Team
Award to Pittsylvania County Schools.
Pictured Left to Right: Dr. Steven Staples, Superintendent of Public
Instruction-Virginia Department of Education, Ms. Deborah Powell,
Principal-RAS/STEM Academy, Ms. Ann Cassada, Assistant Superintendent for
Support Services, Delegate Lamont Bagby, Virginia House of Delegates, Ms. Teresa
Petty, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Dr. Mark Jones, Division
Superintendent, Ms. Robin Haymore, Director of Special Education, Dr. Jeff
Early, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, and Mr. Steven Mayhew,
Principal-Dan River High School.
Schools to Participate in Electricity Demand Response Event:
As part of our energy management plan for the schools, we are again
participating in a Demand Response program. In the case of a very high power use
period, the schools could be asked to turn down our power usage in the schools.
On Tuesday, August 15th from 2:15 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. the school division will
be running an audit to see how well the schools can perform. (This is only for
August 15, 2017, back on regular schedule starting on August 16, 2017.) The
audit will be used to set the amount of the school system's payment for
participating in the program. Last year, Pittsylvania County Schools received
approximately $35,000. This money was used to pay for projects around all of the
All of the air conditioning will be set to nighttime set points at 2:15 p.m. on
Tuesday, August 15th. Only the air conditioning in office areas will come back
on after 4:00 pm unless there is a specific need in other areas. Please notify
Mr. Mike Hutson, Director of Maintenance & Facilities, if you should need air
conditioning in other areas of your building after 4:00 p.m. on August 15.
Your participation and cooperation is greatly appreciated. The list of schools
being audited is listed below.
Tuesday, August 15th, 2:15 - 4:00 PM EDT
Pittsylvania Schools – Brosville Elementary School
Pittsylvania Schools – Dan River High School
Pittsylvania Schools – Dan River Middle School
Pittsylvania Schools – Tunstall High School
Pittsylvania Schools – Tunstall Middle School
Pittsylvania Schools – Twin Springs Elementary School
Please be reminded that this is a one-time event and will not happen again this
school year unless there is an emergency (very high demand on the power
company). During the five years the school division has participated in this
program, there have only been two emergency shutdowns.
Churches Hold Back-to-School Prayer Services:
Moffett Memorial Baptist Church held a back-to-school prayer service on
Thursday, August 10, 2017, for the Pittsylvania County and Danville City
communities. Representatives from Moffett Memorial Baptist Church, Pittsylvania
County Schools, Danville Public Schools, Danville City’s Mayor’s Office, and the
Danville/Pittsylvania County Church-based Tutorial Program spoke.
First Presbyterian Church of Danville
will be having a Community Prayer Service on Monday, August 21, at 7 p.m. During
this prayer service, Pittsylvania County and Danville City educators will be
honored, and the church will pray for all teachers and school
personnel. The church has invited all to join them.
The Great American Eclipse – August 21,
Ms. Elizabeth Craig, Director for Middle and Secondary Education and Lead
Director for Science, has provided information to the schools relating to the
Eclipse that will occur on August 21, 2017. Please contact her if you should
have a question regarding the Eclipse. Ms. Craig’s letter to the Science
Liaisons is provided below.
Good Afternoon Science Liaisons:
As you know the Great American Eclipse that is set to occur on August 21st
is quickly approaching. I hope that you will discuss this natural phenomenon
with your classes before it occurs as well as share this information with
the other teachers at your school. Of course, Pittsylvania County will not
experience a total eclipse since we are not in the direct path of the sun
through South Carolina, but we will have a partial eclipse and darkening
effect during the daylight hours weather permitting. You can find an
enormous amount of information about the upcoming eclipse at NASA's Eclipse
2017 website .
I hope that everyone will take advantage of watching NASA's live stream
broadcasting of the event on August 21st. Viewers around the world will be
provided a wealth of images captured before, during, and after the eclipse
by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude
balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station – each
offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event.
If you plan to take your class outside,
please make sure that you have been granted permission by your principal and
that you have obtained written parental permission for each student before
doing so. Safety rules and procedures for viewing the eclipse should be
thoroughly discussed prior to the August 21st and then reviewed again with
the students prior to going outside. Direct viewing of the sun or the direct
eclipse can damage your eyes for life. Indirect viewing is the best way for
our students to view images of the Sun during the eclipse using the pinhole
method or other alternative method as recommended on the NASA website at
https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/2d3d-printable-pinhole-projectors. You can
even download and print out an image of the state of Virginia to look
All safety glasses or handheld solar viewers that you purchase must meet all
of the following criteria:
- Have certification information with a
designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
- Have the manufacturer’s name and
address printed somewhere on the product
- Not be used if they are older than
three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
- Not use homemade filters or be
substituted for with ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones —
because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun. There are
many cheap counterfeit versions of safety glasses for sale on the
internet. Please order your glasses from one of the suppliers listed on
the American Astronomical Society
Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page.
Also, I did find a site that may still
have free glasses to give away, but supplies were running low when I last
checked. FREE eclipse glasses from Astronomers Without Borders may be
ordered by schools in underserved communities and remote areas that can not
afford to purchase safe eclipse glasses.
Astronomers Without Borders is giving away ISO-compliant safe solar
eclipse glasses to needy groups willing and able to pay the cost of shipping
and seeks donations to offset the cost of the glasses.
VSBA Bullying Prevention Month- October 2017:
In an effort to promote awareness of school bullying, the VSBA Board of
Directors has designated the month of October as VSBA Bullying Prevention Month.
Childhood bullying is a significant problem nationwide. It can cause school
absenteeism, mental and physical stress, poor school performance, poor
self-esteem, and in some cases, school violence. Statistics show that 160,000
children in the United States miss school each day as a result of being bullied.
School board members, superintendents, teachers, and parents play a critical
role in creating a climate where bullying is not tolerated. It has been proven
when adults and children stand together, bullying ends.
Attached is a packet of information to help prepare for VSBA Bullying Prevention
Month, and VSBA President Bob Hundley’s PSA on bullying prevention is available
Danville Community College Offers
International Relations Course with Teachers in Mind:
Danville Community College is offering an exciting new International Relations
course for the first time in 20 years, and it is scheduled with teachers in
mind: 6:30-9:15 p.m. on Mondays during the fall semester. It is a three-credit
Political Science class. The course will be taught by Danville native (and Dan
River High School graduate) Octavius Pinkard, whose extensive international
experience includes work for the U.S. State Department as an election monitor,
and graduate research and missions throughout Europe, the Balkans, and the
Middle East. He is back from his home in Belgium for one semester only, so this
is an exclusive opportunity. More about his background, credentials, and plans
for the class can be found here:
New College Institute Hosts James Madison
University (JMU) Leadership Program:
Anyone interested should contact Dr. David Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or
at 276-224-7154. You may also gain information at the JMU outreach website,
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
- Electricity Demand Response Event –
Identified Schools, 2:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., August 15, 2017
- VDOE issues a news release on Statewide,
division and school pass rates — overall and by student reporting group — on
2016-2017 State assessments - August 15, 2017
- Substitute Teacher Training – School Board
Office, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., August 15, 2017
- Fingerprinting Dan River Zone – School Board
Office, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., August 17, 2017
- Eclipse – August 21, 2017
Please send media requests to:
This may be (1) to request media presence on site to cover an upcoming event or
(2) to request media coverage (without media on site) of an upcoming event or
(3) to report news from a past event. Thank you for identifying the great things
happening in the schools!