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November 9, 2009


The Center for Survey Research, a unit of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, recently posed this question to 1,026 individuals from the Danville, Pittsylvania County and Caswell County geographic areas: When a child from the Danville region is ready to leave home, do you think it would be better for them to stay in the Danville region or move to some other area to live? The responses from the group were enlightening. Nearly seventy (70%) percent said it was better to leave. Just under twenty (20%) percent indicated that it was better to stay along with nine (9%) percent saying that it depends. The final two (2) percent indicated that it did not matter. I am of the opinion that this is a reflection of the economic downturn coupled with a perception that there is a lack of availability of good-paying jobs in this area. There are some good employment opportunities available for young people in this geographic region if they have the skill sets that employers are seeking. Also, we must partner with local businesses and industries to heighten awareness regarding employability expectations and the availability of good paying jobs. Finally, the survey included this question: Have the schools in the region gotten better, worse or remained about the same? Nearly thirty-two (32%) percent say the schools have gotten better with just over twenty-two (22%) percent indicating that schools have gotten worse. Nearly half (46%) indicated that schools have remained about the same. “Sameness,” writes Petrarch, “is the mother of disgust, variety the cure.”  Indeed, if these figures are accurate, we must assess our standing in the school community and make plans for improvement. However, almost every objective measurable tool used to assess school and school division success indicates that Pittsylvania County Schools has shown phenomenal growth over the past ten (10) years. This division’s assessment data is consistently above State and national norms. It is a tribute to the vision and direction-setting of our School Board, the leadership of our administrative team, the expert instruction provided by our teachers, the support services supplied by our classified staff and the dedication of our students. Clearly, it is the quality of our professional staff that makes Pittsylvania County Schools A Great Place to Learn and Work!


Students will be dismissed at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13, 2009. The remainder of the day is designated as a Teacher Workday. Teachers will use this time to plan, consult, grade papers, prepare bulletin boards, etc. Please be reminded that all teacher aides and full-time nurses work a full day.


November 9-13, 2009, is School Psychology Awareness Week. This year’s theme, "See the possibilities in you. We do!" focuses on shining a light on the positive work school psychologists do to promote the endless possibilities for academic and personal success in the lives of the students they serve. The program involves a series of resources and activities that school psychologists can use to reach out to school staff, students and parents to help students feel connected, supported, and ready to achieve their individual goals. Pittsylvania County Schools and the Virginia Department of Education is pleased to join the National Association of School Psychologists in celebrating the contributions that school psychologists make to our collaborative work as professional educators.

Pittsylvania County Schools, the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have designated this week as Virginia Farm-to-School Week. All schools in Virginia, kindergarten through college, are encouraged to purchase, serve, and promote locally grown foods in their cafeterias. Providing locally grown foods is an effort to distribute healthier, fresh produce to schools while supporting Virginia agriculture. Pittsylvania County Schools Nutrition Program has asked our local produce supplier to source local produce to serve during this week. Elementary schools will be offering Virginia grown apples and sweet potatoes, and middle and high schools will be offering Virginia grown apples and cabbage.



Congratulations to Ms. Debra Bray and the Tunstall High School Trojan Vanguard Band for being named USSBA Virginia State Champions recently in Salem, Virginia. This is the second year in a row that the band has won the State competition. Last weekend the band traveled to Annapolis, Maryland, to compete in the USSBA Nationals against fifteen (15) other Division I bands in the Annapolis Naval Stadium. This was a three day event with bands competing from all across the United States. Please join me in acknowledging the fabulous success of the Trojan Vanguard Band. Detailed results from the national competition will be shared in the Minute as they are made available.


Book Buddies are an integral part of the instructional program at Mt Airy Elementary School. Presently, there are seven (7) volunteers working with the 25 students enrolled in the program.  Each morning this small but growing group of caring instructors gathers in the library to work one-on-one with the students. The participants really enjoy this reading program because of the individual attention they receive which contributes to their overall skill development. All in all, this program has been a great boost to improving student academic achievement at Mt. Airy Elementary School. 


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PLEASE NOTE DEADLINE DATE:  Wednesday, November 18, 2009, is the deadline to provide extra pay submissions to our payroll department for the month of November.  The early deadline date is because of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

The Pittsylvania County School Board will conduct its next meeting on November 10, 2009, here at the Administrative Offices in Chatham, Virginia. The closed session will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the business meeting will start at 7:00 p.m. All interested persons are invited to attend.

The next Principals’ and Supervisors’ meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 12, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. in the Boardroom at the School Board Office. Agenda items should be submitted to Ms. Janet Hancock, Clerk of the Board.


American Education Week (AEW) is scheduled for November 15-21, 2009. AEW spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great. The annual theme of Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility reflects the challenge of providing students with quality public schools so that they can grow, prosper, and achieve in the 21st Century. The calendar of events includes the following:

  • Monday, November 16: American Education Week begins. 

  • Tuesday, November 17: Parents Day. Schools invite parents into the classroom for a hands-on experience of what the day is like for their child.

  • Wednesday, November 18: Education Support Professionals Day. Individuals who provide invaluable services to schools are recognized for their outstanding work.

  • Thursday, November 19: Educator for a Day. Community leaders are invited to serve as educators to get a glimpse at a day in the life of a school employee.

  • Friday, November 20: Substitute Educators Day. This day honors the educators who are called upon to replace regularly employed teachers.

The Budget Calendar has been approved for the 2009-2010 school year. Public presentation of budget priorities may be presented to the School Board on November 10, 2009, and again on December 8, 2009. Other dates and times relative to the budget process are to follow. Now is the time to begin reviewing new initiatives and submitting them to your supervisor. The School Board has adopted a process that can be outlined by your immediate supervisor. On behalf of the Pittsylvania County School Board, may I say thanks for your continued involvement in the budget process. Budget Web Site

The Employee of the Week schedule is on-line. You can review the schedule by clicking on this link:

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