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October 31, 2011

The Pittsylvania County School Board recognizes that its employees are the most valuable resource to the organization. Furthermore, the Board acknowledges that during these difficult economic times the employees have remained devoted, committed and dedicated to educating and serving the students of Pittsylvania County to the best of their ability. Employees of the school system are currently into the fourth year without having received any percentage raise or step increase in salary. This has created a financial hardship on the staff. On Thursday, October 27, 2011, the Pittsylvania County School Board voted to provide a one-time bonus to all employees utilizing the following formulas:

  • Full-time employees (1172 - participating in the Virginia Retirement System) with
    an employment date prior to July 1, 2011, will receive an $800 bonus in their
    November check

  • Part-time employees (258 – not eligible for the Virginia Retirement System)
    hired prior to July 1, 2011, will receive a $400 bonus in their November check

  • Full-time employees (39 - participating in the Virginia Retirement System)
    hired after July 1, 2011, and before November 1, 2011,
    will receive a $400 bonus in their November check

  • Part-time employees (9 - not eligible for the Virginia Retirement System)
    hired after July 1, 2011, and before November 1, 2011, will receive a $200
    bonus in their November

    Note: Individuals hired after November 1, 2011, will not be eligible to receive a bonus.

    Please take time to acknowledge the action taken by the School Board on behalf of its employees.

Mr. J. Samuel Burton, Chairman
(Chatham/Blairs District)

Dr. Charles H. Miller, Jr., Vice-Chairman
(Banister District)

Mr. Calvin D. Doss
(Gretna/Callands District)

Mr. Don C. Moon
(Staunton River District)

Mr. W. Neal Oakes
(Dan River District)

Mr. R. Todd Sanders
(Westover District)

Mr. Morris C. Stowe
(Tunstall District)

The Board takes seriously their responsibility to manage and control funds made available for the organization. Indeed, we are fortunate that during difficult economic times the Board stays committed to making Pittsylvania County Schools A Great A Place to Learn and Work!

Students will be dismissed at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 4, 2011. Building and district level administrators are reminded that the remainder of the day is designated as a Teacher Workday. Teachers will use this time to plan, consult, grade papers, prepare bulletin boards, finalize grades, etc. Please be reminded that all teacher aides and full-time nurses work a full day.

In 2011-2012, two prizes of $25,000.00 will be available from the McGlothlin Foundation to award a Kindergarten through 5th grade public school teacher and a middle/high school public school teacher who each excel in their fields. This award is intended to recognize innovative full-time classroom teachers with at least five years of experience from core curriculum areas who have not previously won major awards in education. It is my understanding that $10,000 of the award money is to be used, within a year, for international travel to broaden the thinking and experience of the winning teachers. Should you desire more information, please click on this link.


Please join me in congratulating Mr. Jacob Gruse, Business Instructor at Dan River High School, on his selection 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!

The 2011-2012 HOSA (Health Occupations Student Association Club) officers have been elected! The Club’s mission, Helping Hands, Helping Others, was evident when the newly elected HOSA officers held a school-wide 9/11 presentation. The power point showed a powerful video clip and interesting facts. A candle was lit in memory for each flight and the lives that were lost. Special guests attending were members of the Blairs and Mt. Hermon Volunteer Fire Departments, JROTC members, representatives from the Central Office and civil servants from the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Department. To show support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HOSA members held a school-wide Pink-Out on October 28, 2011. Informational posters were placed throughout the building for students and staff to read about cancer facts and statistics. Also, members of HOSA plan to support our area veterans by marching in the Veterans Day Parade on November 6, 2011. It is my understanding that the HOSA creed suggests that students using the knowledge and skills they have learned in the Health Occupations program will propel them on the pathway to becoming responsible citizens.

Recently, eleven (11) members of the Gretna Harriers Running Club (Gretna Middle School), participated in the 15th annual Chatham 5k/1 mile race. The following are the results:

  • The mixed team of Cole Worley, Hunter Cline, Dylan Cline, Walker Cline, and Tabitha Patterson won the mixed team category.

  • Tabitha Patterson was the 3rd female overall in the 5k race. Cole Worley was 2nd in the boy's 14 and under category, and Hunter Cline was 3rd in 14 and under division.

  • Sophia Short was 1st in the girl's 14 and under category. Dylan and Walker Cline provided solid team support with 24 minute finishes. Cory and Sean Hammock also had strong finishes in their first 5k race experience.

  • In the one mile race Nathan Rowland finished 3rd overall (2nd in the boys’ overall race) with an eight (8) minute run. Jayla Davis finished 3rd in the girls’ 13 and under division. Eric Anderson also had a strong finish in his first one mile race.

    All of these students have demonstrated great enthusiasm, sportsmanship and a solid work ethic during the last two months of preparation. Accolades to Ms. Julie East, 7th grade science teacher, who has provided invaluable assistance with the club, including designing and coordinating the purchase of the Gretna blue and gold Harriers shirts. Also, special thanks to former Gretna High School track coach, Wayne Owen, for his guidance and assistance.

Recently, National School Lunch Week was observed at Kentuck Elementary School. The theme, Let’s Grow Healthy, inspired nearly 150 parents to eat with their children during the week. Students learned where food comes from and that school lunch helps kids grow strong and healthy. Special thanks are extended to the cafeteria staff for making this event exciting and enjoyable for the students, parents and faculty. Also, the students and staff at Gretna Middle School enjoyed watermelons, grape tomatoes, cabbage and apples all grown in the Hillsville and Martinsville, Virginia areas. There were daily prizes, and Miss Amber Short, 6th grade student, sang "American Honey" as part of the festivities.

Congratulations to Read Your Way to the Top winners! Each will receive a ticket to the race this weekend in Martinsville, Virginia. Blake Dalton, Jr., in Ms. Megan Lackey’s class from Southside Elementary School, will participate in the Kroger 200 Pre Race. Ms. Jamie Yancey’s class from Kentuck Elementary School will lead fans in the Pledge of Allegiance for the Kroger 200 on Saturday, October 29, 2011. Finally, Ms. Amy Lovern’s class at Stony Mill Elementary School will have a pizza party held at the race track.

During the month of October, thirty-five (35) of our bus drivers and aides were certified in American Heart CPR/AED. Kudos go out to these people who volunteered their time to be better prepared to care for their daily charges. Special thanks go to Ms. Debbie Shelton, Executive Administrative Assistant for Pupil Transportation, for arranging the classes for the drivers and aides.

Ms. Julia Lovelace's grade 5 science classes at Hurt Elementary School recently made musical instruments to test how sound vibrated on surfaces, strings, or columns of air. They also experimented with pitch by making instruments using straws. This was also reinforced in music class taught by Ms. Cassandra Westbrook.

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The Pittsylvania County School Board will conduct its next meeting on November 8, 2011, 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 10, 2011, 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.

The Budget Calendar has been approved for the 2011-2012 school year. Public presentation of budget priorities may be presented to the School Board on November 8, 2011, and again on December 13, 2011. 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.

November 14-18, 2011, is School Psychology Awareness Week. This year’s theme, Every Link Matters … Make a Connection, helps our students and schools focus on creating positive connections within the school community, their academics and their lives. 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.

American Education Week (AEW) is scheduled for November 13-19, 2011. This week, observed since 1921, spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from kindergarten through college and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great. The celebration highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools and educate children ready to compete in the 21st Century workplace. The calendar of events includes the following:

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