Coronavirus Updates and Information

2020 Pandemic Response Plan

Letter from the Superintendent – Fri., April 10, 2020
Letter from the Superintendent – Fri., March 27, 2020
Letter from the Superintendent – Wed., March 18, 2020
Letter from the Superintendent – Mon., March 16, 2020
Letter from the Superintendent – Fri., March 13, 2020
Letter from the Superintendent – Mon., March 2, 2020

 
*More general information about the Coronavirus can be found on the Student Health Page.*

*Find details on meal distribution and bus routes HERE.*

*Find more information on the SPS Continuity of Learning Plan HERE.

Last Call – Student Item Pick-up
Suffolk Public Schools is providing one last opportunity for students to come and pick up any items that may still remain at school including medications, personal belongings, or any other school supplies.
At the elementary level, families will be able to pick-up these items on Tuesday, May 5th, and Wednesday, May 6th by appointment only. Please contact your respective school on Tuesdays or Wednesdays to set up your appointment. At the secondary level, families will be able to pick up these items during the week of May 4th-May 8th by appointment only. Please contact your respective school to set up your appointment.

We know you may have questions, and we will release additional information as soon as it becomes available. Please continue to monitor the Suffolk Public Schools – Emergency Information web page for updates. Employees should monitor SPS email for further information as well.
 
Pandemic Planning Checklist for Individuals and Families
– Store a two week supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store or if stores are out of supplies, it will be essential for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.

– Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.

– Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough, and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.

– Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.

– Become a Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.

– Please get involved in your community as it works to prepare for a pandemic.

***Click to find additional checklist items.***

Updated Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

FAQs

How can students receive refunds from School Bucks, the online pre-payment option for student meal accounts?
Since the 2019-20 School Year has ended, we will not be accepting online meal payments until the next school year begins. You may mail payments to Food & Nutrition Services 119 Forest Glen Drive, Suffolk, VA 23434. If your student is graduating this year or you desire a refund, please contact Food & Nutrition Services at 757-925-5789. You may email KelliRandolph@spsk12.net with your child’s name and school along with your name and mailing address to request a refund.

Will high school students scheduled to graduate with the Class of 2020 be able to graduate?
Yes. The Virginia Department of Education is providing flexibility through state waivers that would allow all students who are on track to graduate with the Class of 2020 to graduate on time, despite the closure of school. This includes the following situations:

  • Students currently enrolled in a course for which they need a standard or verified credit in order to graduate.
  • Students who have successfully completed a course required for graduation, but have not earned the associated verified credit.
  • Students who have not completed the state-selected test.
  • Students who are currently enrolled in or have previously completed a course leading to a career and technical education credential necessary for a standard diploma but have not yet earned the credential.

Will there still be graduation ceremonies for all SPS high schools and program centers?Unfortunately it is too soon to answer this question due the current limitations of large group settings. We are exploring other options such as a Virtual graduation, but We will keep you posted as more information is available.

Will students move up to the next grade level?Our school leaders are actively exploring options for how we will close out grades for the 2019-20 school year. We are working toward outcomes that will be fair, equitable and positive for all students. The Virginia Department of Education has provided flexibility to local school divisions as it relates to promotion to the next grade.At our school board meeting on April 9, 2020, we will also present potential grading options for our Virtual Nine weeks, including a pass/fail option.We expect to send a separate communication with more details as soon as possible.

Will students receive report cards?
Please review the Superintendent’s Letter from APRIL 10.

How will students grades be impacted Will students receive report cards?
Please review the Superintendent’s Letter from APRIL 10.

My child is in elementary school. Why did he/she receive scholastic books for the current and previous grade, instead of their upcoming grade?
Please view the Elementary Instruction FAQs

How will students know if they are accepted into Project Lead the Way, IB  or Gifted Education?
Suffolk Public Schools has received inquiries on the status of candidates for entrance into our Project Lead the Way specialty programs at Lakeland and Nansemond River High Schools, and the International Baccalaureate Program at King’s Fork High School. Admission notification letters will be mailed on April 10, 2020. Elementary gifted students will receive enrichment activities from their school gifted resource teachers virtually. Parents may contact their school’s gifted resource teacher for more information. We will determine a date later this summer for district screening for gifted education.

Will Part-Time Employees be paid during the school closure?April 10 will include payment for permanent part-time 3,4, and 5-hour cafeteria staff, part-time teacher assistants, part-time custodians, part-time school resource officers, part-time parent resource assistant, part-time nurse assistant, part-time assistant (Teacher Supply Store), priority substitutes (both teacher and bus driver), and long term designated teacher substitutes. 

Will the extended school closure effect Spring Break?
As of our Superintendent’s conference call with the Virginia Department of Education on Friday, March 13, no decisions have been made to change Spring Break at this time.

How Will SPS Continue Teaching and Instruction?
Instructional packets went home with elementary students on Friday, March 13, 2020 (which have now been replaced with instructional material from scholastic). At the secondary level, we encourage our students to use the SPS connect initiative to participate in learning activities through Google classroom, the Google suite, and additional instructional resources that can be found HERE.

Is It Possible to Have COVID-19 and Remain Asymptomatic?Yes, and if you are infected, you can still transmit the virus with mild to no symptoms. Transmission is greater by air/droplet than on surfaces. However, the risk of transmission still remains when touching contaminated surfaces. 

How Can I Help Prevent the Spread of Illnesses?
We want to remind our community to sanitize frequent touch points (handles, doorknobs, etc. frequently. We are promoting the practice of good hand hygiene and cough etiquette to limit the spread of germs and prevent infection. Suffolk Public Schools asks that you continue to encourage and model this behavior at home. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash bin.

SEF Art Gala, Teacher Grant Info, and More…

Due to COVID-19 and our need to practice social distancing, the Suffolk Education Annual Fundraising Gala for the Arts is now virtual! How can an art gala be virtual? SEF will showcase performances and exhibits during a live webcast premiere on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. With this new format, students will be allowed to submit their talent by photo or video, and teachers are asked to encourage students to participate. Share with your families and friends, and help celebrate the fine arts in SPS. 

Also…Teachers, looking forward to the 2020-2021 school year, the Suffolk Education Foundation has extended the deadline for instructional grant applications to May 12, 2020. Scholarship application deadlines are extended as well. 

For any questions, please contact the Suffolk Education Foundation at suffolkef.contact@gmail.com.

The Digital ID Experience

Members can view their digital ID card at anthem.com or on our mobile app, anytime.  The digital ID card works just like the one members would get in the mail.  They can show, email or fax it to their doctor right from their phone or computer.

It’s always up to date.  And, they can share it with family members. Members
have the option to get a digital ID card only, stopping any ID card from being mailed in the future.  Through various communications, members are encouraged to go digital and set their preferences.  A member can set their digital preference through anthem.com or the mobile app during Registration or through their Communication Preference Center. 

1. Registration:  When a member registers at anthem.com or on the mobile app, they can select their digital ID card preference. If they register on Sydney their preference is pre-selected to digital.  If a member does not change this digital
selection and completes registration, they are consenting to switch to the digital ID card only and won’t receive a printed card in the future.


2. Communication Preferences:  On Anthem.com or the mobile app, a member
can select, review or change their ID card preference anytime under their
communication preferences.  Under “Profile” a member would select their
Communication Preferences and view or update their preferences.

3. Members who have their ID card preference set to digital will get an email
notification letting them know when they, or a dependent, have a new digital
card because of a life event or renewal.

1,000 Point Pulse Challenge

Join the All NEW 1,000 Point Self Care Challenge! 
Registration Through Pulse Begins: 4/4/20Challenge Dates: 4/6 – 4/19/20****Points for this challenge will not post automatically.  They will be entered for each individual (who completed) manually.  Please allow time for this process to take place.
***Remember to log in to Pulse every day.  We now have additional programming including:

  • Aaptiv – Exercise Podcasts
  • MeQuilibrium – Stress Reduction Program
  • And… Sleep Guide

You have the ability to self report these activities.  Login to Pulse and click Tracking – Stats and choose the category that best meets that activity completed.

Questions: annemccoy@spsk12.net

Twitter: @SPSK12Wellness

Web: wellness.spsk12.net

Optima Health Webinar – Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19

As we work through the details from yesterday’s announcement from Governor Northam, we want you to know that we are aware of the mental stress and anxiety this situation can have on our employees. Optima Health is providing a webinar entitled “Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19” tomorrow, March 25, at noon. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to receive tips/tools on how to navigate through stress during this time.

To join the zoom meeting, click on the link below:https://zoom.us/j/306025482?pwd=YnIxYk1PRUFsQzZNMDUwY21rK1NoUT09

To contact Optima Health for any additional questions or concerns, please visit www.Optimaeap.com.

Va. Gov. Closes School for the Remainder of the Year in response to COVID-19

Suffolk Public Schools will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year per the order from Governor Northam.

Additional guidance will be released by the Virginia Department of Education tomorrow, March 24, 2020. Suffolk Public Schools will provide an update of our plans for continuity of learning, meal distribution, and division operations later this week.

Thinking to use telemedicine?

CLICK HERE, and follow these simple instructions designed for employees who might need or want to use telemedicine at this time. All copays are waived to encourage employees to use this option for doctor visits. 

March Specials at the Teacher Supply Store

What’s the purpose of the Teacher Supply Store?
The SPS Teacher Supply Store will offer Suffolk Public School teachers the opportunity to shop for free classroom supplies on a monthly basis.   This initiative is a partnership with the Suffolk Education Foundation.

What’s the schedule for the store?
The store will be open every Thursday from 2:30-6:00 pm. During the 2019-20 school year, the store will be open September 12 through April 23. Please note, the store will be closed the month of December and over Spring Break. The store will also open during extended hours on preservice days and on some teacher work days. Special store openings will be posted on the SPS website.

Does the Teacher Supply Store replace the $100 School Specialty Voucher that teachers usually receive?No. The Teacher Supply Store is in addition to the $100 School Specialty Voucher that teachers receive.

How often may I shop?
Teachers may shop once a month in the store.

Who is eligible to shop at the Teacher Supply Store?
Any teacher in Suffolk Public Schools who works in a school building directly with students. This includes classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, resource teachers, Title I Teachers etc.

What’s the process for shopping in the store? How does it work?
Teachers will be given a designated amount of “STAR Credit” each month to spend in the store. Once teachers arrive, they should follow the steps below to shop:

  1. Display your SPS badge to the Teacher Supply Store Associate or volunteers when you arrive
  2. You will receive a shopping bag.
  3. Shop for your items up to the maximum STAR Credit value
  4. Complete a brief store Check Out Form on your SMART Device or on the store computer.
  5. Check out at the counter with a Store Associate

What types of supplies do you have in the store?
The store is stocked with everything from copy paper to markers, pencils, chart paper, glue sticks, office supplies, art paper and much, much more. The stock of the store may vary from, month to month based on donations that are provided to the store. But in general, teachers can expect to find a wide range of useful classroom resources on our shelves.

What’s the process for getting supplies for students who are unable to purchase school supplies?
School administrators and Guidance Counselors should contact our Parent Relations Facilitator, Bonnie Maki at 934-6202 if supplies are needed for specific students in your school. We are happy to coordinate with you individually to provide an opportunity for counselors and principals to come to the store to pick up items for students in need.

Binders … Children’s Books … Colored Pencils … Composition Books … Construction Paper … Copy Paper … Disinfecting Wipes (Lysol only, not Clorox on any with bleach) … Dry Erase Markers … File folders … Glue sticks … Hand sanitizer … Legal pads … Loose Leaf Paper … Markers … Paper clips … Pencils … Prize box items … Sticky notes … Tissues … Young Adult Books … Ziplock Baggies 

Are you looking for more ways to earn Wellness Points?

Are you looking for more ways to earn Wellness Points?

  • Login to Pulse
  • Click on Programs and then “All”
  • Scroll Down to Whil – Emotional Intelligence
  • Complete 20 Whil Sessions in one month for 200 points!

OR

  • Login to Pulse
  • Click on Your Profile Picture
  • Then click on Recipes and Deals OR login directly by going to zipongo.com and using your Pulse login.
  • Track calories for 20 days in a month for 300 points!

May 15, 2020 is program completion day.  Staff with 40,000 points, completed bio metrics, and completed RHA (initial health survey) will earn a $200 (Taxable) reward.

SPS Closed Friday, February 21

Due to inclement weather conditions, Suffolk Public Schools will be closed Friday, February 21. All after-school activities are cancelled.

Evening Activities Cancelled Due to Weather

Due to the winter weather advisory, Suffolk Public Schools has cancelled all after-school activities and programs for Feb. 20. The athletic teams traveling for state competitions will proceed as scheduled.

Now Available Online — SEF Grant Applications for 2020-21

The Suffolk Education Foundation announces that applications are now available for its 2020-21 instructional grant program. Currently there is $18,500 available for instructional grants. Proposals are due electronically by email no later than Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

This year’s grant application is available online at the SEF’s website.


INSTRUCTIONAL GRANT GUIDELINES for 2020-2021 School Year

Overview
The Suffolk Education Foundation (SEF) coordinates an instructional Grant Program annually.  These funds supplement regular departmental expenses and budgets. The Grant Program is designed to encourage faculty efforts to support innovation and to enhance the quality of instruction at Suffolk Public Schools.

Eligibility
SEF grants are awarded either directly to a specific school in Suffolk Public Schools or to the Suffolk Public Schools division as a whole, and to no other type of organization or institution. For purposes of this document, the grantee is the school/division; the agent is the school employee. The funded grant must meet both the mission of the Suffolk Education Foundation, and the priorities of Suffolk Public School

Scope and Requirements

A SEF instructional grant is a commitment of funds to support an experience, a program or a project that otherwise might not be funded. There shall be no minimum award amount for instructional grants; however the maximum amount awarded from SEF will be $2,000.

Projects may relate to one teacher’s classroom, to the needs of a particular grade, subject or school, or to the needs of the division. Grant-funded activities will be shared with colleagues at both the school level and the division level upon completion of the program. Grant dollars will not be used to fund refreshments or personnel costs, such as stipends or salaries.

Primary consideration will be given to applications which supplement and enrich the curriculum; benefit a diverse student group; promote an innovative approach to student learning experiences; and would not normally be funded from other sources

Grant Requirements

1. Participate in at least one site visit by SEF staff and/or board member(s).
2. Submit a satisfactory Follow-Up Summary Report upon completion of the grant program (form provided by SEF) by May 1. Positive, negative, and unexpected results should be shared. Failure to submit a follow-up report will preclude the grantee from receiving additional funding.

3. Share the results upon completion at least once within your school and once division-wide, so the program can be replicated or improved upon, extending the grant impact

Deadlines for 2020-2021 Grant Proposals

Instructional grant applications will be accepted until Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Grant funds will be distributed in August 2020, unless otherwise arranged. Follow-Up Summary Report (form provided by SEF) due by May 1, 2021.

Scoring

The Suffolk Education Foundation reserves the right to reject any application that is not deemed complete. Applications are scored using the rubric explained within the application.  Your Principal’s approval is part of the process.  In addition, the Director of Technology is also required to approve any purchase of technology for Suffolk Public Schools computers or other devices.

March Specials at the Teacher Supply Store

New Location:  John F. Kennedy Middle School …

Regular hours will be Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. … 
Drive around the left side of the building … Circle all the way around the building — beyond the Technology Center … Enter Door #20.
 

What’s the purpose of the Teacher Supply Store?
The SPS Teacher Supply Store will offer Suffolk Public School teachers the opportunity to shop for free classroom supplies on a monthly basis.   This initiative is a partnership with the Suffolk Education Foundation.

What’s the schedule for the store?
The store will be open every Thursday from 2:30-6:00 pm. During the 2019-20 school year, the store will be open September 12 through April 23. Please note, the store will be closed the month of December and over Spring Break. The store will also open during extended hours on preservice days and on some teacher work days. Special store openings will be posted on the SPS website.

Does the Teacher Supply Store replace the $100 School Specialty Voucher that teachers usually receive?No. The Teacher Supply Store is in addition to the $100 School Specialty Voucher that teachers receive.

How often may I shop?
Teachers may shop once a month in the store.

Who is eligible to shop at the Teacher Supply Store?
Any teacher in Suffolk Public Schools who works in a school building directly with students. This includes classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, resource teachers, Title I Teachers etc.

What’s the process for shopping in the store? How does it work?
Teachers will be given a designated amount of “STAR Credit” each month to spend in the store. Once teachers arrive, they should follow the steps below to shop:

  1. Display your SPS badge to the Teacher Supply Store Associate or volunteers when you arrive
  2. You will receive a shopping bag.
  3. Shop for your items up to the maximum STAR Credit value
  4. Complete a brief store Check Out Form on your SMART Device or on the store computer.
  5. Check out at the counter with a Store Associate

What types of supplies do you have in the store?
The store is stocked with everything from copy paper to markers, pencils, chart paper, glue sticks, office supplies, art paper and much, much more. The stock of the store may vary from, month to month based on donations that are provided to the store. But in general, teachers can expect to find a wide range of useful classroom resources on our shelves.

What’s the process for getting supplies for students who are unable to purchase school supplies?
School administrators and Guidance Counselors should contact our Parent Relations Facilitator, Bonnie Maki at 934-6202 if supplies are needed for specific students in your school. We are happy to coordinate with you individually to provide an opportunity for counselors and principals to come to the store to pick up items for students in need.

Binders … Children’s Books … Colored Pencils … Composition Books … Construction Paper … Copy Paper … Disinfecting Wipes (Lysol only, not Clorox on any with bleach) … Dry Erase Markers … File folders … Glue sticks … Hand sanitizer … Legal pads … Loose Leaf Paper … Markers … Paper clips … Pencils … Prize box items … Sticky notes … Tissues … Young Adult Books … Ziplock Baggies 

How to Volunteer … Sign up here.
If you are interested in helping on “shopping days” and/or with behind-the-scenes volunteer opportunities, please use the Sign-Up link above to select your day and time.   If you have questions, contact Lesa McNamara, store manager, lesamcnamara@spsk12.net 

How to Make Donations
Monetary donations will be accepted, as well as donations of office and school supplies.  Contact Lesa McNamara, store manager,  lesamcnamara@spsk12.net 

 

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Access SafeSchools Professional Development Courses for the Facilities and Planning Department and the custodian staff.

School safety is more complex today than ever before.  That’s why thousands of schools and districts use their market-leading programs to better manage compliance and prevent serious safety incidents across their campuses.  The subscription-based programs are proven to help busy administrators save time and money, but most importantly, they can help make schools even safer for students, staff, and parents.

K-12 Safety Suite

The suite of online safety and compliance programs has been specifically designed for school use and includes easy-to-use solutions for staff training, student training, tip reporting, SDS and chemical management, and incident management. Using SafeSchools programs, districts have reduced injuries and claims, resulting in significant savings each year, all while increasing safety and compliance!

Some Drugs Will No Longer Be Covered

As part of our routine formulary review process, changes to the National, Essential and Traditional Open Drug Lists take effect April 1, 2020. Most are multi-source brand drugs (those with generic equivalents) that will be removed from the lists or moved to a higher benefit tier. Generic or brand-name alternatives will be covered in their place.

The Food and Drug Administration follows a rigorous review process for approving generics to make sure they work just as well or better than their brand-name equivalent.

We’ll notify impacted members by mail starting January 31, 2020. The letters will tell members about other options they have for lower-cost alternative drugs that are covered.

Questions? Contact your broker or account rep.

Is Your Retirement Planning Full of Question Marks? …

Attend a free, no-obligation retirement planning seminar to help turn your questions into answers.

  • As you consider the future, you may be wondering:
    • Will I be able to retire comfortably?
    • How can I prevent running out of money during retirement?
    • Can someone answer my questions about the VRS Pension?
    • Would taking the Partial Lump-sum Option Plan (PLOP) be advantageous to me?
  • Learn the strategies you need at our retirement planning seminar. This seminar from VALIC can help you:
    • Estimate the cost of retirement
    • Understand how your Social Security benefit fits into your strategy
    • Develop a plan for pension income and retirement savings distributions (including PLOP)
    • Take action now to help achieve retirement goals
  • Wednesday, January 29
  • Tuesday, February 25
    • 4:30 p.m – 6 p.m.
    • 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 5 
    • 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
  • King’s Fork High School (Black Box Theater)

Click here to register:  https://tinyurl.com/sktbvf8

Presented by:
Tim Hewitt, Financial Advisor
VALIC
757.650.1319
tim.hewitt@valic.com

Contact Human Resources if you have questions.

Custodian Appreciation Day – Wednesday, Jan. 8

Suffolk Public Schools will be taking the opportunity to celebrate Custodian Appreciation Day.

Not part of a national event, this local celebration was created to ensure that this important segment of the school division’s workforce was given a day of well-deserved recognition for their hard work and dedication throughout the year.

Getting an Outside Phone Line

Starting Monday, December 9, every SPS phone will require you must press 8 to reach an outside line.

Press 8 to Escape! 

This change is the beginning of other safety enhancements to our phone systems coming soon.

For safety reasons now, we encourage leaders to share this information with ALL building staff and add a printed reminder on phones which are accessible in more public setting, such as information desks, offices, conference rooms, and the like.


#GoOpenVA

#GoOpenVA is a collaborative initiative that allows educators throughout Virginia to create, share, and access openly-licensed educational resources. These Openly-licensed Educational Resources (OERs) are free digital materials that can be used or modified to adjust to student needs. Want to check out the #GoOpenVA recources? In Chrome, click on the Waffle in the top right corner, scroll down, and click on the GoOpenVA icon.

Virtual VA Professional Learning Opportunities: Register NOW – Space is Limited

Virtual Virginia’s Professional Learning program empowers educators to explore new instructional practices and the flexibility to achieve more—all at their own pace. Virtual Virginia offers online professional learning opportunities for all Virginia public school educators at no cost.

2020 District-Wide Teachers of the Year

Congratulations to Emma Neave, an 8th-grade English teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School, who has been selected as the Suffolk Public Schools’ 2020 City-Wide Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations also to Gwendolyn Mann of Pioneer Elementary School, who is the district-wide Elementary School Teacher of the Year … Sharon Criner of King’s Fork High School, who is the district-wide High School Teacher of the Year … and Sahmod Earls of Lakeland High School, who has been selected as the 2020 City-Wide Rookie Teacher of the Year.

 2020 City-Wide Teacher of the Year

Emma Neave

Emma Neave

Now in her 6th year of teaching, Emma Neave is known to many as an instructional leader, a superior and inspiring teacher, and an advocate for education who works tirelessly to meet the instructional requirements necessary to impact her students, regardless of their educational needs. Emma is very active in her community and in her church, where she serves as a member of the Youth and Christian Education Committee, pianist, and recording clerk.

“If we want to impact a student truly, educators must acknowledge and address all of a student’s needs,” Neave explains.

In the classroom, students know Neave for her exciting and engaging lessons and methods of teaching. “Ms. Neave makes learning easy and fun,” said one of her former students. “She is always outgoing and teaches in a way no other teacher does. If you don’t get it the first time, she’ll most definitely strive her hardest to help you understand, even if it has to be one on one.”

Neave believes that every individual, regardless of circumstances, can learn, and as an educator, it is her duty to ignite her student’s love for learning. “It is our responsibility to ensure each child has the proper support and encouragement to reach their full potential,” explained Neave. “Everyone is smart in their own way, and teachers must draw upon students’ strengths while helping them to improve where they struggle.”

“Emma inspires [us teachers] as she serves as eighth-grade team leader, a mentor supporting two mentees, and working with co-teaching regularly,” said one of her colleagues. “I have worked in 5 different school divisions and observed hundreds of teachers, and I can easily say Emma is one of the most talented teachers I have worked with,”

Intending to improve curriculum and assessments, and ensuring fair and quality assessments for all Virginia Students, Neave served on the Division Curriculum and Assessment Team and the State of Virginia’s Grade 8 Reading SOL Committee.

Whether her students are working collaboratively or engaging in a new project or activity, Neave exhibits tremendous care and passion for each child, and goes above and beyond to make learning fun!

Neave earned her Masters of Art in Teaching from Sweet Briar College. 

2020 Elementary Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools

Gwendolyn Mann

Gwendolyn Mann

Gwendolyn Mann, a 2nd-grade teacher at Pioneer Elementary School, has been named the 2020 Elementary School Teacher of the Year.  Now in her 11th year of teaching, she is known to be creative, compassionate, talented, flexible, and willing to go the extra mile to assure student success. “My goal as a teacher is to instill a passion for learning within my students by providing them with an educational environment that is encouraging and positive,” explained Mann.  

Through teaching, Mann is able to engage her students in fascinating lessons, using strategies that address each child’s learning style. She believes that her teaching method of hand-on, mind-on, and welcoming and enthusiastic class environment will help students achieve academic success and build their self-confidence to continue taking risks during the learning process. “Throughout all of our interactions, it is obvious her energy and zest for education has been an inspiration to many, her enthusiasm for teaching contagious,” explained one of her colleagues.

Mann communicates with her student’s families daily, making connections with 100% of the students’ families in her class. “Mrs. Mann’s knowledge of school programs to help her students, as well as her teaching style is one for all educators to emulate,” explained the parent of a student in Ms. Mann’s class. “The confidence that both of my children gained during their second-grade year with Mrs. Mann is a priceless gift that will carry with them through their lives.”

Mann currently serves on the Pioneer Elementary Leadership and PBIS teams. She is also her grade level chairperson, the building representative for the Suffolk Reading Council, Chairperson of the March of Dimes Committee and has given her time to volunteer as a coach for Girls On the Run for five years. She also regularly participates with enthusiasm during professional development, leadership, and staff meetings.

Mann earned her Masters of Science in Teaching from Old Dominion University.

2020 High School Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools

Sharon Criner

Sharon Criner

Sharon Criner, a science teacher at King’s Fork High School, has been named High School Teacher of the Year.  In her 7th year of teaching, she is known for showing passion for both her subject matter and the students she teaches.

Criner believes that as a teacher, she is not only responsible for teaching content, but she is also responsible for helping her students grow as individuals. Her goal is to help her students become productive members of the global community. “One of the most important things that I can do for all my students is to show them that I believe in them,” explained Criner. “I do not accept the idea that some people are just not good at science and math from my students. I show them that, when given the proper tools, anyone can be successful.”

“Ms. Criner showed respect and expressed a genuine interest in my child that was reassuring. I felt like part of a team, and even though she had many other students, she took the time to address my child’s needs as an individual. We never felt like just another number,” explained the parent of a child in her class.

As a teacher, Criner takes her profession seriously and plays an instrumental role in evolving the minds of the future. “She has an informed interest in instructional planning and can be counted upon to come up with an effective solution to most of our instructional issues and concerns,” explained King’s Fork High Principal, Derrick Bryant. “This award would only service to solidify what we at King’s Fork High School already know, that this candidate doesn’t just teach Chemistry, she is positively influencing young people.”

In sharing her love for the KFHS Bulldogs, and having a vision for building a strong sense of school pride and positive culture at KFHS, Criner worked with IB students to host the first Homecoming Dance in 10 years at the school as a fundraiser to raise money for the IB program. She has also served as a Senior Class Sponsor at KFHS for three years. She gives back to her community by volunteering with her church, working with youth, serving on the Finance Council, and being active in the Saint Mary’s Women’s Club. Also, Criner’s family has adopted a street to clean up and participates in other clean up days as well.

Criner earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Virginia Tech.

2020 City-Wide Rookie Teacher of the Year

Sahmod Earls

Sahmod Earls

Sahmod Earls, an Agriculture Education teacher at Lakeland High School, has been selected as the City-Wide Rookie Teacher of the Year. He is known for his kindness, patience, and creating a place of comfort for his students, where they feel safe and know that he genuinely cares for them and their future. One student stated, “Another reason why I love the class is the fact I have a voice there. I am free to not only voice my opinion, but explain my reasoning. Mr. Earls shows great respect, and doesn’t judge me and will reason with me instead of denying me if he feels different.” Another shared, “There is never a dull moment in this class, and I feel as if I grow and develop as a person every minute I continue to spend in the classroom.” 

Earls’ character has made him a favorite of many of his students. “His willingness to listen and attempt new strategies and techniques in the classroom will doubtlessly lead to years of instructional success and student engagement,” explained Lakeland High School Principal, Douglas Wagoner. “Ultimately, Mr. Earls has done a masterful job of blending all of the input he receives into his effective brand of instruction.”

The rookie teacher is a graduate of Lakeland High School and takes pride in returning to his alma mater to teach. “I don’t believe I chose to be a teacher, but the profession chose me,” explained Earls.

Earls earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Virginia State University.

2020-2021 Division Calendar

2020-2021 School Calendar (Employee)

2020-2021 School Calendar (Student)

KEY DATES in 2020-2021 School Calendar

Are You Google Level I Certified?

Submit Your Google Certification Form

Secondary teachers ~ if you have recently earned your Google Level I certificate, let us know.

Elementary teachers ~ if you are Google Level I certified share that news with us.

Complete the form to share your certificate. This information will help us plan next steps for Google training. And of course we love a little competition between buildings so let’s see who has been working on that training.

Thinking of becoming a Google Certified Educator?

Now is a great time to work on achieving this goal. The answers to these Frequently Asked Questions should get you on the right track.
Where Do I Train?  
The Google for Education Teacher Training Center contains a wealth of resources for all exam preparations. Access the training center here: Google Teacher Center Training
How Do I Register for the Test?
Register for a Google exam ONLY when you are ready to test because you must test within seven days of registration. To register for any Google certification exam, choose the “Certifications” tab in the teacher center and follow the prompts. Access the registration page here: Google Certification Registration
I’ve heard changes have been made to the Google Certification exams.  How do these changes affect me?
Google has migrated to a new company for exam administration called ProctorU that will be fully utilized beginning July 2nd. All exam test takers can continue to use the old company, Kryterion, through July 1st.
To register for an exam on Kryterion click here:
Kryterion Registration.

To register for an exam on ProctorU click here:
ProctorU Registration.

As always, the technology department is here to assist you with all your Google needs.  For questions or support please reach out to any ITRT.

5 Tips For Using Online Care With Your Child

Are you feeling under the weather? What about your child?
Doctors are online to provide care for you and your family. Stay home and talk to a doctor anytime 24/7.
Tips to help the whole family feel comfortable during an online visit:
• Find a quiet place. Start the visit from a private space with minimal distractions so you can focus on speaking with the doctor. 
• Use video visits when possible. Doctors use video to help assess your health
and determine next steps for care. 
• Write down concerns and notes you want to discuss. It can be helpful to keep track of symptoms before the visit. Details may include when the symptoms
started and how they’ve changed.
• If it’s for your child, have them participate! Your child can view the doctor’s
picture and name, or help choose a doctor. 
• Stay engaged. Ask questions during the visit and follow any post-visit care guidelines. If you need to, talk to your child afterward so you both understand the
next steps for care.

CLICK HERE to have a visit!

Welcome to i-Ready – Round Two: NEW Custom Webinars for Friday, May 1st

Suffolk Public Schools’ K-8 Teachers & Students Have Access to the i-Ready Platform through June 30

i‑Ready is a comprehensive assessment and instruction program that delivers online lessons that provide tailored instruction and practice for each student to accelerate growth. There are both online instruction and printable resources for teachers and families. Suffolk Public Schools is piloting the platform through June 30. This is an OPTIONAL resource for schools/teachers to use at their discretion. The pilot does not include access to the i-Ready Diagnostics features. Teachers and their student accounts have already been added and are live for immediate use. Details for logging in and getting start are available below. Public and custom SPS-only professional development support is also available.

Friday, May 1st – iReady Professional Learning Custom Webinar Options for Suffolk Teachers and School Leaders

  • School Leader’s Introduction to iReady – 9:00a-10:00a 
    • Similar to the April 3rd webinar but increased information on the reporting features and middle school admin are highly encouraged to attend as well
  • Using i-Ready Online Instruction to Support Students During a School Closure: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM – Two Different Sessions, One for Each Level
    • Elementary Session:  Brief program overview with a focus at how to better engage parents to get more student usage and analyzing student usage data
    • Middle School Session: Program overview with a focus on how to use the site as a supplemental intervention during the virtual nine weeks to support struggling learners

i-Ready Weekly “Office Hour” for SPS Teachers & School Leaders

i-Ready PUBLIC Webinars – Available to All & Registration Required

CodeVA Annual Trainings Moved Online for Summer 2020 – Register NOW

CodeVA Has Some News for Virginia Educators!!

The good news? We have moved all of our computer science professional learning sessions this summer to take place online. We care about your safety, the safety of our employees, and the community at large. Our professional learning sessions will take place from July 10th to July 31st this summer completely online. 

The better news? Our professional learning sessions are still 100% free for current Virginia public school teachers. Our programs will support you while using computer science in your classroom, no matter what you teach.

The best news? You can register today! We’re offering professional learning sessions for teachers from kindergarten to twelfth grade, in both year-long and one-time formats. Click the buttons below to learn more and register today!

Learn About CodeVA Trainings!

Register Today!

Professional Learning Opportunities for Virtual Teaching & Learning Resource Page – UPDATED DAILY

– Updated Daily & Carefully Curated (No Product Sells)

– Instructional & Leadership Best Practices for Virtual/Digital/Distance Learning

– Live and On-demand Selections

– Learning Opportunities for teachers as well as school & central office administrators

Click the flyer to view the webpage.

Guidelines for STAR/Renewal Points for Webinars

April Wellness Newsletter

Connect with SPS Wellness on Twitter @SPSK12Wellness

  • The April Wellness Newsletter is here. Read All About It!
  • Looking for Wellness Spotlights for future Newsletters. Please send in a picture and description to annemccoy@spsk12.net of how you are keeping wellness a priority.
  • Reminder: May 15, 2020 marks the end of the SPS Employee Wellness Program for the 2019-2020 school year. Make sure you sync connected devices and programs prior to the closing date

Twitter: @SPSK12Wellness

Web: wellness.spsk12.net

1,000 Point Working From Home Challenge

Join the All NEW 1,000 Point Working From Home Challenge! Login to Pulse today and register.


Challenge Dates: 4/20 – 5/3/20****Points for this challenge will not post automatically.  They will be entered for each individual (who completed) manually.  Please allow time for this process to take place.


***Remember to log in to Pulse every day.  We now have additional programming including:

  • Aaptiv – Exercise Podcasts
  • MeQuilibrium – Stress Reduction Program
  • And… Sleep Guide

Virtual Y Use Your SPS Email to RegisterCode: 5540684

Questions: annemccoy@spsk12.net

Twitter: @SPSK12Wellness

Web: wellness.spsk12.net

Anthem is Offering Teledentistry

Teledentistry, which is the use of information technology and telecommunications for dental care and consultation. Many dental offices are offering this service in light of COVID-19.

Virtual SPS – Edgenuity Resources

The following Edgenuity resources are available for staff, students, and parents as the division rolls out Virtual SPS.

Student Start Guide
Parent Start Guide
Teacher Edgenuity Handbook

New resources to help with COVID-19 mental and social needs

As our nation comes together to address the COVID-19 crisis, the health and
well-being of our members continues to be our primary concern. The outbreak
and effect of COVID-19 can be overwhelming. Social and emotional well-being is key to our members’ whole health. That’s why we have partnered with
leading community and health organizations to provide new resources and
tools to help our members navigate potential stress and anxiety and find
important social services such as help with food, housing, job training, and
transportation during this challenging time.

We remain deeply committed to supporting you and our members as we all
face the daily realities of COVID-19 together.

New resources include:

COVID-19 Mental health resource hub
We have joined with Psych Hub, a free digital hub to help our members with
the stress resulting from COVID-19. This hub brings together a variety of
resources to help members cope with social isolation, job loss and mental
health issues.

Aunt Bertha social support services
During this time, we understand members may need help with food, housing, job training, transportation and other social support. We’re partnering with 
Aunt Bertha to connect individuals and families to social services in their communities. Members can access these services by visiting Aunt Bertha and
entering their ZIP code.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources
To help our members who need more mental health support, we are providing access to our EAP website resources at no cost through June 30, 2020, to members who don’t already have it. Members can go to our EAP website to
access online seminars on emotional support and up-to-date links to news
outlets and health websites. Other resources include helpful articles, child and eldercare resources, and legal and financial information. Members can access the website using the password EAP Can Help.

Locate a COVID-19 testing facility
Members can quickly locate a COVID-19 testing facility near them with our locator tool by downloading the Sydney Care mobile app.

Go to our COVID-19 website for additional information and resources available to you and your employees.

During this time of stress and uncertainty, our mission remains unchanged – to
improve lives and the health of our communities. We’ll continue to monitor
COVID-19 and keep you informed of any new resources that can help you and your employees.

Sincerely,

Peter D. Haytaian
Executive Vice President and President
Commercial and Specialty Business Division

eSchool Update

Over Spring Break the division will be receiving a major eSchool update. eSchool, TAC, and HAC will be offline beginning Monday, April 13, 2020, through Wednesday, April 15, 2020, to allow adequate time for the work to be completed. When eSchool is restored, there may be issues with resources that are fed from eSchool. Once the update is complete, if you observe an issue with eSchool, TAC, HAC, or any program where data comes from eSchool, please report these issues via the ticketing TSR system.

Announcing the first Virtual Teacher Professional Learning Day – April 3rd

Only in-district activities will be posted in Frontline for registration and at this time only the Frontline Virtual Teaching & Learning Course Series is available for tomorrow. Please use the registration directions given by the outside organizations to attend their events.

  • Elementary Teachers are to attend self-directed learning options of their choosing, unless otherwise directed by their school admin to specific learning opportunities.
  • Secondary Teachers are to attend the Edgenuity or Google training options as they have been already directed. They are of course welcome to seek out any additional self-directed options that are available as well.

Scheduled and On-demand Options

i-READY TRAINING FOR K-5 TEACHERS AND SCHOOL LEADERS

SELF-DIRECTED PROFESSIONAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOCUSED ON VIRTUAL T & L PRACTICES AND PRIORITY PLATFORMS

ADDITIONAL GENERAL PROFESSIONAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES POSTED ON THE PL NEWS BLOG

The activities on the PL Blog and Virtual T&L Resource Pages are mostly free but some are fee-based. Posting does not indicate requirement of participation and are for information purposes only.


GUIDELINES FOR EDUCATORS WHO WANT TO RECEIVE STAR/RENEWAL POINTS FOR PARTICIPATION IN WEBINARS (LIVE OR RECORDED)

VDOE FAQS and Guidance for Licensure of Instructional Personnel

The following are links to the VDOE website for additional information regarding school closure:  Frequently Asked Questions  and VDOE Superintendent’s Memo #083-20 (Guidance for Licensure of Instructional Personnel)

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