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August 23, 2010

What makes teachers great? With school back in session, I thought it would be interesting to share some encouraging words from several nationally recognized educators. I believe that we can gain insight from these amazing educators as to how they are able to encourage their pupils to excel in the classroom.

The Best Teachers Recognize and Value the Uniqueness of Each Student
"A good teacher knows how to read a story, and that each and every student arrives at our classroom door with a unique and intriguing yet incomplete story. The really good teachers know how to read a child's story and recognize the remarkable opportunity to help author the story. The really good teachers want to script confidence and success onto the blank pages; they want to edit the mistakes; and they want to help write a happy ending."
--- Anthony J. Mullen, 2009 NEA National Teacher of the Year

The Best Teachers Prod Their Pupils to Take Risks
"Like any teacher, my true success is with my students. My central goal is to prepare each of my students to be successful in life. I encourage them to take challenging risks because they know that I will always be there as their safety net."
-- Donna Patrick, 2010 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year

The Best Teachers Measure Success by the Achievements of Their Students
"The most satisfying part of teaching is at the end of every year, I am able to see the growth of each student academically and behaviorally and say that I was a little part of that."
--- Brad Shonk, 2010 Mississippi Teacher of the Year

In the near future you can expect to learn more about the Get Fit Dan River initiative which is funded with a $541,880 grant from the Danville Regional Foundation. Get Fit’s mission is to promote active and healthy lifestyles as well as reduce obesity in the Dan River Region. Stay tuned for more information regarding the events associated with Get Fit Dan River and how Pittsylvania County Schools may benefit from this initiative.

Your 2010 Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Member Benefit Profile (MBP) is now available in myVRS. The MBP is your annual benefits statement reflecting service and compensation reported to VRS through June 30, 2010. Your MBP also shows your earliest unreduced and reduced retirement eligibility dates, estimated benefit amounts, member contribution account balance, and other benefit coverage as of June 30, 2010. To access your MBP, go to

and enter your username and password to log into your account. If you do not have a myVRS account, select “Register Now” and follow the simple step-by-step instructions to create an account. Once you are logged in, select “Member Benefit Profile (MBP)” from the left navigation column. If you think any information in your MBP is incorrect, please contact Mrs. Janet F. Hancock, Clerk of the Board, at the School Board Office.



The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce recognizes that quality schools must prepare our students for the future by promoting educational improvements and that adequate funding sources are not always readily available to try innovative and creative programs to foster continuous improvement. I am pleased to inform you of the grants received from the Chamber of Commerce to support unique programs that help make Pittsylvania County Schools A Great Place to Learn and Work!

Ava Baines and Kate Wells
Tunstall Middle School
Bully for You Teddy Roosevelt
Award: $180.00

Tara Mills
Tunstall High School
Jeopardy in the Classroom
Award: $402.49

Lynn Simpson, Wendy Reynolds and Denise Williams
Union Hall Elementary School
Learning Facts with Rhymes ‘n’ Times
Award: $439.99

Adrian Nester and Mariah Sells
Tunstall High School
InDesign in the Classroom
Award: $449.00

Amity Griffith and Amy Scott
Tunstall Middle School
Reading … Oh, the Place You Can Go
Award: $540.00

Laura Snead and Melissa Stallings
Southside Elementary School
Experimenting With Electricity
Award: $770.35

Cheryl Williams, Patricia Craft, Valerie Dawson, Cindy Shields and Mildred Dearing
Gretna Middle School
Geometric Modeling in the Classroom
Award: $1,089.35

Denise Dallas
Tunstall High School
9th Grade Orientation and Transition Program
Award: $1,250.00

Katie Reynolds, Linda Bowden, Linda Gibson And Pansy Jordan
Gretna Elementary School
Measuring Matter Matters
Award: $2,000.00

Nancy Merricks
Gretna Elementary School
Raz Kids
Award: $2,857.80

Congratulations go out to Gretna Elementary School and Mt. Airy Elementary School on their selection to participate in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) during the 2010-2011 school year. Gretna Elementary School will receive $36,556.45, and Mt. Airy Elementary School will receive $14,662.76. Ms. Rhonda Yates, Supervisor of School Nutrition, and members of each school’s FFVP Team are to be commended for seizing the opportunity to create a healthier school environment by increasing students’ access to fresh fruit and vegetables and providing nutrition education.

Pittsylvania County’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers’ (Chatham Middle School, Dan River Middle School, and Gretna Middle School) summer programs had the opportunity to visit the science labs of Luna Innovations in Danville, Virginia. Luna Innovations “establishes technologies as essential parts of the global economy.” They constantly work to solve important problems that benefit the world through the use of the scientific method and via advanced technological concepts used in the study of nanotechnology. During the tour, Dr. Steve Joslin demonstrated science concepts as he described the process of taking soot and extracting carbon from the soot which resulted in carbon in its purest form. The students witnessed English concepts as Dr. Joslin used the appropriate public speaking skills to effectively communicate to the students the use of proper grammar and syntax structure. The students read various signs and worked to gain comprehension as they asked questions. The students watched scientists from various parts of the world come together and use mathematical and science concepts while working in the labs. History was taught as Dr. Joslin gave a tour of the facilities which is housed in a remodeled 19th Century tobacco warehouse. As Dr. Joslin described the architecture, the original brick and timber told the story of Danville’s past as “The World’s Best Tobacco Market.” Introducing students to the possibility of having a professional career in the field of science and nanotechnology is another shining example of why Pittsylvania County Schools is A Great Place to Learn and Work!

Please join me in congratulating Mr. David Scarce, Maintenance Technician, as Pittsylvania County Schools’ Employee of the Week. Please click on the following link to find out what our employees do to make this A Great Place to Learn and Work!

Visit to (1) 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 our schools!

mark calendars

Principals are reminded of the deadlines listed in the front of the electronic notebook provided at our Principals’ and Supervisors’ Workshop on August 3, 2010. May I suggest that the listing be placed in a prominent area for quick reference and review.

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